Strive Not to Drive Week: Commuter Station!

Strive Not to Drive Week: Commuter Station!

Strivenot-to-drive-Facebook-Event-BannerJoin Rainbow in a city wide effort to strive not to drive for a solid week from May 15 through May 22nd. Instead of driving to work, school, community meetings, the grocery store or the gym, for example, try taking the bus, walking, carpooling with friends, or biking!

You will be rewarded for your efforts on May 18th from 8am to 9am with coffee and treats right on Haywood Road. Stop by on your way to work! Omega Middle School students will be hosting a commuter station at 574 Haywood Rd to treat people who are walking or commuting via bike, bus, or carpool!

There will be coffee from Firestorm Books & Coffee, snacks from West End Bakery and West Village Market & Deli as well as a bike maintenance station from Asheville Street & Dirt.

Come on over to chat, secure your caffeine for the morning, nourish your body, and build community!

First Grade Makes Africa Connection

First Grade Makes Africa Connection

WNC nature centerStudying Africa

Our first grade Cheetahs are on an adventure! They’re studying the continent of Africa, its people and cultures. They also have some awesome hands-on experiences that are part of their learning.

First, Sara Stender, our Campaign Manager is headed for Rwanda. In addition to being a part of Rainbow, Sara is the founder of a non-profit organization called the Africa Healing Exchange. Their organization strives to

“create a cross-cultural partnership of individuals and organizations dedicated to ending the cycle of generational trauma, addiction and related illnesses, by providing services to youth and their caregivers in post-conflict communities. AHE’s vision is to create an innovative and sustainable model to be replicated throughout the world.” 

As such, Sara frequently heads to Rwanda to make connections that will provide resilience training to caregivers in post-conflict communities.

Since the First Grade Cheetahs are studying their wonderful unit about Africa, they seized this opportunity to create a partnership with a school in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital and largest city.

They are sending over artwork and photos, gifts from the First Grade Cheetahs. Their photos show things that make them feel loved and the resources they have to put them in a safe, comfortable place.

Take a look at a video snippet of students sharing their pictures about things that make them feel special, safe and loved:

They shared their beautiful artwork during their morning centering, when Sara and fellow Rwandan travelers joined the morning centering.

They also had a chance to learn a few words in Kinyarwandan – the language spoken in Rwanda. The people of Rwanda speak some English in the schools, but otherwise, they mostly speak Kinyarwandan. Now, first graders know how to say “Hello; how are you?”

Chris Visits from the Nature Center

Next, Chris Gentile, the Director of the Western North Carolina Nature Center visited first grade on Monday, February 9, 2015. He enriched the students’ experience on learning about Africa by bringing hissing cockroaches from Madagascar and a black rat (not rattle!) snake.

Chris, at one point had the cockroaches crawling on his shirt! The kiddos also had a chance to pet the black rat snake. He was very tame, very calm and everyone seemed to notice how he wasn’t slimy at all!

petting the black rat snakeThe hissing cockroaches were definitely a hit, too. However, Miss Rachel asked Chris to please make sure all the cockroaches were back in their cage before he left. Once assured that all were accounted for (we think!) she was able to relax just a bit.

hissing cockroaches from Madagascar

 Making Connections in Rwanda

As the first graders wrap up their Africa unit, they’re going to partner up with a school in Kigali, Rwanda. On February 25, they’re going to have a Skype session with students in Rwanda!

We’ll update this post as soon as that happens!


Mark Hanf – Featured in Citizen Times For Creating AT Board Game

Mark Hanf – Featured in Citizen Times For Creating AT Board Game

Mark Hanf

Hanf’s game with a photo of some Omega students trying out the game

Mark Hanf Featured in Asheville’s Newspaper

Mark Hanf, one of our new Omega teachers, has been featured in the “Living Section”  of the Asheville Citizen Times.

He has spent time hiking the Appalachian Trail.

It’s impacted his life so much that now he wants to hike the entire length of it some day with his daughter.

In the meantime, they both can “prep” for the hike because she’s only five. The best way to do that? With a board game!

Mark Hanf Creates AT Board Game

Mark and a team of developers worked to create a game that would help people learn best practices and skills in preparation for hiking the Appalachian Trail.

The idea came to him after stopping at a shelter along the trail that had been left littered and otherwise pretty trashed. His first reaction was anger. But then he thought that perhaps others just haven’t had the training he’s had to know trail and hiking etiquette. He had been a Boy Scout.

He cleaned up the shelter and took his idea to create a board game to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy where he received a small grant. From there, the game was born.

Mark Hanf, Omega Teacher

He’s also started a Kickstarter Campaign to expand and spread awareness about the game. Fundraising for the cause exceeded the goal, totaling 1,093 backers and $57,361 raised. Success!

Read More of Mark’s Article Here




The Rainbow Warriors

The Rainbow Warriors

rainbow and black and white

Rainbow Warriors

Students who come to our school become the Rainbow Warriors. They learn about themselves, how to relate to the world, how to live sustainable lives, and how to respect all people. The Warrior is our mascot.

There is a story behind the mascot. Its roots are deep in the Native American Indian tradition.

This story is adapted from Warriors of the Rainbow by Reneé Owen.

Long ago, when various tribes roamed this land, there was an elder named Eyes of Fire, who could foresee the future. She foretold that because of the greed of the people, one day the fish in the streams would begin to die, birds would fall from the air, the oceans and seas would turn black, and the trees would cease to be.

There would come a time when “keepers of the legend, rituals, and myths would be needed to restore us to health.” The keepers of this sacred knowledge and these Ancient Customs would have a name: the Warriors of the Rainbow.

They will be humankind’s key to survival.

The Rainbow Warriors would be many and great. They must be strong of heart for there will be terrifying mountains of ignorance to conquer. They will find willing hearts and minds that will follow them on this road of returning Mother Earth to beauty and plenty once more.

These Warriors would tell how the world today has turned away from the Way of the Great Spirit and that is why the Earth is sick. Thus, the Warriors must teach the Way of the Great Spirit with love that flows like the pristine mountain streams to the oceans of life. They would show that miracles can be accomplished to heal this world and restore Mother Earth to health.

The Warriors of the Rainbow would see that their young were educated with love and wisdom of their surroundings.

They would teach respect for Nature. They would teach the people the ancient practices of Unity, Love, and Understanding. They would teach of Harmony among the people of all four corners of the Earth.

There would come a day of awakening when all the peoples of all the tribes would form a New World of Justice, Peace, Freedom and recognition of the Great Spirit. The sick and needy would be cared for by their brothers and sisters of the Earth.

The children would once again be able to run free and enjoy the treasures of Mother Earth. The rivers would again run clear, and the forest would be abundant and beautiful. The powers of the plants and animals would again be respected, and protection of all that is beautiful would become a way of life.

The day will come, it is not far away. The day that we shall see how the ancient knowledge will be our key to survival, and return us to harmony with Nature and humankind.

Photo credit: Cynthia Calhoun

Rainbow Community School Named Changemaker School

Rainbow Community School Named Changemaker School

Imagine students who are leaders.

Students with high social-emotional intelligence.

Students who express deep levels of empathy.

That’s exactly what we’re fostering at Rainbow and we are now part of the Ashoka Changemaker Network. Rainbow is one of 44 schools across the country to have this honor, because of our innovation and desire to exact social change.


Ashoka Changemaker Schools

We became an Ashoka Changemaker school because we are committed to addressing the needs of our community through developing empathy, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills in our students.

As Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, says:

Once a young person has had a dream, built a team and changed his or her world, he or she has the power to express love and respect in action. He or she will become a changemaker for life – a real contributor in a world where value no longer comes from efficiency in repetition, as it has for millennia.

Ashoka works to identify social entrepreneurs around the world. The world needs people who have the mindset for problem-solving capabilities. The Changemaker initiative looks for schools in the U.S. and abroad who exemplify these ideals. In conjunction with schools and leaders around the world, people can become changemakers.

The goal is “Everyone a Changemaker” – a world where people can quickly identify social issues and effectively address them – because they have the knowledge, freedom, and a support network to bring about needed change.


Imagine! 2014

Imagine! 2014

Our Rainbow Community has done it again: we’ve pulled off another spectacular production of Imagine!

From preschool through Omega, students performed skits, songs and lessons all wrapped up in a greater exploration of the outer self. This year’s Imagine performance complemented last year’s production that looked inward.

Each grade performed a skit and many teachers wrote the individual songs or skits themselves. Students performed them while being part of a greater, overall play, written by our very own Justin Pilla. Imagine happened on Justin’s birthday, as well – what an awesome present!

The Imagine play centered on extraterrestrial beings who came to Asheville to observe and try to be like tourists to find out information about humans. Unsuspecting students welcomed them, save one who was suspicious that the aliens really were from outer space.

Each act in Imagine was a demonstration of human knowledge through song, dance, poetry, acting, and much more.

Omega also put on a play between the two Imagine performances called “Time,” an adaptation of David Mamet’s The Revenge of the Space Pandas, or Binky Rudich and the Two-Speed Clock. One of our Omega students, Zoe E. rewrote the ending, hence the “adaptation.”

Enjoy the following photo journey of Rainbow’s 2014 production:




Everyone walked over to Calvary Baptist Church to see the Imagine Production


A Journey From Here…to the Beyond

Imagine 2014

The opening skit for Imagine


“Those are not aliens! They’re Tourists!”


First graders perform


Fifth grade dance


Third grade skit


A historical figure and a mesmerizing magical crystal


Second grade sings and performs


Our second grade teacher takes the stage!


A shadow performance


Fourth grade electrified

And a “Time” journey…


Opening scene – scientist at work – Waukegan, Earth


Theyre on another planet: Crestview, Fourth World in the Goolagong System


The king demands the sheep wool.


More about Time…

Imagine 2014

Hiding from the beings on Crestview

Imagine 2014

Hopefully this does not result in unfair punishment

Imagine 2014

The prisoners shall succumb to the pumpkin!

Imagine 2014

No, I have not seen any earthlings here. Nope.

Imagine 2014

Shall we dance?

Imagine 2014

“That Binky refuses to eat!”