July 27, 2015

Dear Rainbow Parent,

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year. At our graduation celebration in June, I asked everyone to reflect on the question “Where are you now?” Of course, this can be looked at through many domains. As a parent, where are you now? Parenting can be the most rewarding and challenging quest of all – providing unlimited learning opportunities.   Where are you now, and how is being at Rainbow Community School an extension of your parenting?

Where are we now as a community school?   After working so hard for so many years, everything we have been working for is coming to fruition. We are at a place of ripening, and we all get to share in the fruit of our labor. Here are some of the things we have to be grateful for and to enjoy:

Our new and beautiful facilities. We begin the 2015-16 school year with our new campus renovated and open, including the new courtyard and athletic field. This year’s facility project will be designing and fundraising for the outdoor classroom area on the new campus. Stay posted for more information and ways to get involved in this fun, enriching project.

Our community. After growing steadily for several years, we have completed our intentional growth, with about 200 students enrolled for this year. Now we have the opportunity to focus on broadening our population. The board and faculty are making diversity and inclusion the highest priority for the near future. Our children are fortunate to be in a caring, safe, and creative community.

Our accomplishments. We have received multiple awards, including being honored as a national Ashoka Changemaker School and a National Green School. As a national leader in holistic and innovative education, we are being asked to share our holistic programming with other schools and organizations. We hope to positively impact the direction of education on a large scale.

There are a few changes this year I want you to know about:

New Administrative Roles: As our administrative team grows to include more part-time, specialized positions, our roles are shifting. Sandra McCassim is stepping up to the role of Director of Operations. Sandra is now the top manager at the school. A simple way to explain the difference between what Sandra and I do is: I lead; Sandra manages. The difference between leadership and management may seem subtle, and of course, there is a lot of cross-over. I encourage you to read the “Meet the Administrative Team” flier for more explanation.

The New Middle School Program: Our new campus is ready to serve up to 60 middle school students. When I first came to Rainbow, there were 14 students in 6th-8th grade, so the middle school program and curriculum has been through more changes than any other sector of the school. If you have attended graduation and witnessed the profound speeches these young people make, you understand how rigorous and impactful the middle school program is. With the new size of the program and new facilities, middle school students will have a menu of new electives to choose from this year – everything from 3D printing to drama to facilities management. The core of the program will remain the same, which is character building through intimate relationships.

What’s ahead, and what is here and now.

We have a visionary board, faculty, and volunteer base that is working to take us into the future. We plan to positively impact Asheville, as a community. Each year, it will become more evident how much we are integrating with the community at large by hosting events in our community center/auditorium, by providing service and philanthropy, by giving students and parents opportunities to connect, and more.

The future we are all most enthusiastic about is that of each individual child. But for now, let’s circle back around to the present. Where is your child now? Enjoy these last days of summer. Enjoy your child’s ability to completely immerse her or himself in the present moment. Savor each moment, as there will never be another moment exactly like it again. You will be amazed by how much your child will have learned and changed in a mere ten months when we gather again for our graduation celebration.

I look forward to this year of gratitude.

In peace,

Renee Owen
Executive Director

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