The Hero’s Journey
As IMAGINE, our Spring school-wide performance quickly approaches, I find myself frequently returning to the arch of the hero’s journey in several aspects of our school programming. May Day invites us to cross a threshold from the ordinary to the extraordinary world where costumes, dancing, and berries and cream fill our morning with joyful fellowship. This ritual also marks a movement into the final weeks of school filled with trials of character and adventure. End of year trips, performances, learning celebrations and more. Finally, we arrive at graduation. The ultimate ritual of accomplishment and reflection. Yes, this is a full and emotional time for our young heroes. Let us guide them with wisdom, heart, and love. May the magic of the journey surround us all.
End of Year Trips: A Rite of Passage
A long standing ritual at Rainbow is the End of Year Trip. In our upper elementary and middle school programming, students experience the power of traveling together and immersing themselves in a different learning environment. Typically, this involves an expeditionary learning experience set in the natural world. From canoeing to dichotomous keys, barrier islands to wildlife preserves, the students are challenged to take positive risks, embrace environmental action, and build lasting relationships and memories with their Rainbow community.
Jubilee: Allies Along the Way
No quest is possible without allyship. I am pleased to announce a new partnership for Rainbow with Jubilee, a local nondenominational church in the Asheville community. For the past several months, I have been working with the Board and congregation of Jubilee to consider rental of Rainbow for their Sunday service and other evening gatherings. We hosted a trial event back in February, gathered feedback from Rainbow staff, and have found ourselves in a place of deep alignment. Their mission, “As a compassionate and inclusive spiritual community, Jubilee! celebrates the divine mystery in all of creation and calls each of us toward a heart-centered, compassionate, equitable and sustainable way of living and being,” echoes the principles and values of Rainbow Community School. The sale of Jubilee’s building downtown finalized our partnership. We are humbled and happy to be their “home” as they embark on their own challenges and transformations ahead. Their first service on Rainbow’s campus will be held May 21, 2023. Their website is filled with detailed information about their values, history, and more for folks who are interested. Jubilee and Rainbow are hoping to host an open event for both of our communities in June to celebrate this partnership. More details will be shared as available.
An Evening of Visioning: Every Quest Needs A Map
In my last Kaleidoscope, I shared that the Board has created a Futures Planning Committee to guide our facilities planning. On April 18th, a cross section of the community gathered with Altura Architects, to engage in a hands-on mapping activity for our entire campus. It was inspiring to see and hear all of the ideas and themes emerging for campus design. The Futures Planning Committee will meet next week with Altura to learn more about how the ideas from our community meeting will inform a more comprehensive and unified vision for our future.
IMAGINE: “Lets See What Happens”
On May 19th we will gather for a school-wide performance. We will be guided on a hero’s journey that incorporates vignette performances from each grade level. To help you prepare, here are some important general details. Classroom teachers will share more specifics, as needed.
Begins at 10:30am. Doors to the auditorium will open at 10:15am. Please be prepared to wait in your car or outside until the doors open. This gives us time to be sure we are fully set before audience members arrive.
This is the only performance including preschool and Kindergarten students. Families of this age should plan to attend in the morning only unless you have an older child.
Begins at 6:00pm. Doors to the auditorium will open at 5:45pm. Please be prepared to wait in your car or outside until the doors open. This gives us time to be sure we are fully set before audience members arrive.
This performance is for 1st-8th grade families. Students in first through fifth grade will be performing along with Omega students that elected to be part of the program..
This event is special and we are excited to share it with the community. Our auditorium seating is tight when we all gather. Please consider priority for your immediate family and limit additional guest invites. The morning performance will be recorded and shared with families.
Student Led Conferences: Everyone has a story to tell
On June 5th, Kindergarten through 8th grade families will be invited to participate in a student-led conference. Their child will guide them through the story of their school year by reflecting on their growth in the domains, sharing highlights from their experiences and artifacts from their journey. These conferences provide an intimate space for child and family to inquire, celebrate, and affirm the growth and development of a year of learning. As a teacher, I was always grateful to have this time for each child to speak their story and to be witnessed and honored in the process.
Graduation: A Ritual of Transition
Preschool will celebrate their end-of-year ceremony on June 5th at 9:30am, a sweet celebration that marks the natural progression for our littlest learners. On June 6th, Kindergarten through 8th grade families are invited to a graduation ceremony that will feature speeches from each graduating 8th grade student and an opportunity for each child to speak a memory from their school year. It is a powerful culmination of student voice, transformation, and transition. Several members of the graduating class have been at Rainbow since early childhood. We plan to host this gathering on the Athletic field starting at 6:00pm.
Community: The Cast of Characters Is Far and Wide
From Grandfriend’s Day to Spring Fling and Parent Council to Board service, this time of year embodies an inherent spirit of gratitude. Rainbow couldn’t thrive without all of you giving your time, wisdom, energy and support to all aspects of our programming. My heart is consistently overwhelmed by the beauty of this community.
Administration welcomes your feedback to help us continue to grow, learn, and develop. Our annual Family Survey is an excellent way for your voice to contribute to our evolution. Your contributions are anonymous and are reviewed alongside staff and student anonymous surveys. We thank you for taking the time to share your perspectives.
Yours In Partnership and Appreciation for the Journey,
Working with a school based schedule, I often find my rhythm is deeply entrenched with thresholds built into our school calendar. As Spring Break quickly approaches, I feel the potential of the upcoming season with so many seeds from the school year beginning to bloom. Science Fair and PIP (Personal Interest Project) talks are just the beginning of student learning and celebration on display. The final months of the year invite several opportunities to gather for fellowship and celebration of the learning journey we have taken together this year.
While our focus is wholeheartedly on finishing this school year with integrity and presence, this is also a time of visioning ahead. This month’s Kaleidoscope will share several ways we are visioning forward as an institution.
Visioning Staff Transitions and Changing Roles
For our staff, this is typically the time of year that finalizes changes in roles and sometimes creates opportunities for new professionals to join our community. Below are a few shifts that we are excited to share with you for the 23-24 school year.
First Grade Assistant Teacher: We are excited to celebrate Josie Hoban’s decision to explore a new professional path. She will be joining the team at Asheville Community Yoga to help develop and lead their Children’s Yoga Program. We are so grateful for all the love, care, and community Josie has helped build at Rainbow over the years, and we look forward to opportunities for partnership in the future. We will begin the search process for a new First Grade Assistant after Spring Break.
Third Grade Assistant Teacher: We have loved having Donna Paxon with us this past year. Her joyful presence, heartfelt leadership, and quiet wisdom have been a huge asset to the third grade classroom and our broader community. We wish Donna well as she explores new ways to grow as a professional beyond Rainbow. We will begin the search process for a new Third Grade Assistant after Spring Break.
Omega ⅞ Team: We have a few shifting roles in our Omega team. To begin, Richard is off to a grand adventure taking advantage of his dual citizenship and moving to Scotland. He has professed that if he could take Rainbow with him he would, and at the very least I am sure we will have some great pen pal opportunities in our future. Niki will be transitioning to a new role within the team. She will continue to teach mathematics and will be the primary coordinator for the diverse middle school programming that provides a natural counterpart to the academic coursework. This includes field trips, addiction and sex education, expeditionary learning, dances, community service and more. This is a role currently held by Lisa who will be reducing her time to serve exclusively in her capacity as a Spanish teacher. We will be hiring for Omega after Spring Break.
Facilities Team: Our long time Facilities Director, Max Mraz, has embarked on a new passion project with his family. They purchased some land and are building a wedding and event venue. This project has captured their heart and we can’t wait to watch it unfold. This has made room for Shaun Fain to advance to the role of Facilities Director and Eddie McCassim to take on a formal support role within our facilities team.
Hiring is a dynamic process at Rainbow. We use all types of outreach to attract high quality candidates that will help manifest the vision and mission of Rainbow. This process includes interviews with administrators, teachers, and demonstration experiences in the classroom. We will share updates about new hires as decisions are finalized in the coming weeks.
Visioning Resources for Federal Funding
As we look ahead to next year, we are also considering programmatic planning that needs our attention. Recently, families in K-6 received an outreach from Margaret Gerleve asking for some household income information. Please review this outreach and if you qualify, please return the forms by March 31, 2023. This is a wonderful way for our school to access funding that goes directly to student programming and teacher professional development.
Visioning for Living Our Mission
One of the things I deeply appreciate about our community is our ability to be flexible and compassionate. When Covid began we released some long standing traditions in support of fundamental wellness needs. We are now beginning the process of re-establishing these cultural norms.
- Technology– Computers provided a life-line to our community as children accessed education and social opportunities while in isolation. That being said, we are now ready to recalibrate our relationship with technology as a community in hopes of supporting moderation, meaning, and purposeful engagement of screen time and social media. Our final class meetings in grades 3-8 will be fostering a non judgmental space for families to dialogue about systems of healthy and mindful consumption of media and technology.
- Environmental Stewardship– Covid also had an impact on our use of reusable materials in the classroom and at community gatherings. We are hoping to revitalize our long standing tradition of using reusable materials such as water bottles, portable coffee mugs, plates and silverware any time we feast together. This often means Rainbow families travel with a “picnic pack” of plates and dishes to help reduce the need for single use materials. With all of the upcoming celebrations, we have several opportunities to practice this tradition.
Visioning for Safety
The recent news of another school shooting inherently creates ripples of grief, outrage, and disillusionment. Nothing can temper the sorrow we feel in witness to such tragedy. However, it often reminds us of how critical it is to continually communicate our approach to safety on campus. Faculty will be gathering this week to review safety protocols supporting shared responsibility for school and campus safety. We have installed a trial security system, and will grow that approach once we ensure it is worthy of replication to all buildings. All Rainbow staff complete a monthly ALICE drill training to help maintain proficiency with our emergency response systems and we complete regular age appropriate drills in the classroom. These topics can feel overwhelming to consider, and we recognize that there is power and security in preparation, shared knowledge, and consistency.
Visioning for a Thriving Campus: a message in partnership with the Board
It is with great enthusiasm that the Board of Directors and I announce that the Board has created a Futures Planning Committee to work on facilities and future planning. One of the primary roles of the Board of Directors is supporting the long term thriving of our institution. This is managed through the consistent and thoughtful application and review of policies governing the achievement of our ends and mission. One of the Board’s most visible contributions is through the acquisition and care of our facilities. In our recent history, this has included purchasing the Orchard House (Kindergarten), Omega Property, and our Allen Street rental property.
During the 2021-2022 school year the Board devoted time to evaluating our current campus. This evaluation surfaced the need to create a master facilities plan. After careful consideration, the Board has engaged Altura Architects to work in partnership with the Futures Planning Committee to design a strategic facilities document. Specific considerations include:
- Documenting a coherent short and long term vision for our facilities needs.
- Optimizing the green spaces and sacred elements of our campus with potential for remodeling and building new structures.
- Exploring the feasibility of a “More Than A Gym” structure that could provide adequate space for large group physical activity, gathering, and school-wide events.
- Considerations for traffic flow, parking, security and other safety needs that will enhance our current campus.
We will be inviting a cross section of the community to participate in an interactive visioning activity, facilitated by Altura. This step engages the wisdom of the collective, inspiring a final product in service to all of our stakeholders.
More details will be shared with the full community as we embark on this journey together. All questions can be directed to Susie or Kali DeWine, the Chair of the Rainbow Board of Directors.
May your Spring Break be filled with beauty, restoration, and connection.
Yours In Partnership and Gratitude,
Retreat and Rest
Over the holiday break, I read the book Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat During Difficult Times by Katherine May. It is a beautiful exploration of the natural world during this season of shorter days, retreat, and regeneration. Katherine encourages a slower, thoughtful, and restorative posture during this time of year, and embraces the term “wintering” for any season of life that calls upon this contemplative energy to thrive.
I was struck by the wisdom in this approach for our current stage of pandemic living. In our third year, we have learned a lot about navigating the physical and emotional impacts of Covid-19, but the trauma of the past several years remains ever-present. Beginning the process of healing is a critical next step and I welcome the opportunity to pause and begin this dialogue with you.
School-wide Parent Meeting
More Than Mindfulness: A Conversation For Healing
Date: Jan 24th, 2023
Time: 5:00-6:15pm on Zoom
Typically, Rainbow hosts a mid-year annual parent engagement meeting. This year, we will use Zoom to support maximum participation and access. Our time together will focus on initiating the healing of our disrupted society over the past several years, and the impacts on our children and school community. We will engage the Spiritual Domain to nurture our connection and resilience moving forward.
This meeting will encourage vulnerability and diverse perspectives. It will rely on deep and empathic listening. It will reflect the founding principles in our mission and vision and grow our shared understanding.
In the spirit of offering time for folks to prepare for this type of sacred gathering, below are the questions we plan to use for dialogue in small groups.
Small Triad share- Your story of pandemic education
– Think of a time during the pandemic when your expectations of schooling changed? How did this impact you, your child, your family in the immediate experience? What reflections do you have about it now?
– What lessons, strengths, fears, silver linings, have emerged for you, your child, or your family during the pandemic?
– What will help you, your child, your family, move forward with healing from this global trauma?
As we tell the students, there is no “right way” to respond to these questions. They are a guide and meant to stimulate conversation in small groups to help us grow compassion and trust within our community. RSVP with this link that will also provide the zoom information: Eventbrite Link
Winter Events and Info
Annual Ski Trip
While wintering provides space for hibernation, it can also inspire play! We are working on the return of our annual ski trip for 4th-8th grade students. Last week, Susie shared a survey with 4th-8th grade families to determine interest and participation rates. It is exciting to bring back this beloved community gathering. Details will be released soon.
School Snow Days
One of the most magical moments in the school year is waking up to a Snow Day! Our temperatures have been mild to date, but please remember that in these mountains things can change quickly. Families should receive an alert through Rediker, and can also consult the WLOS closures website and listen to the message on our school phone. We do our best to make the call early, however if conditions are changing or hard to decipher we could post a decision as late as 7:30am. Our area is notorious for having different conditions across the county. If Rainbow remains open, and you personally are experiencing unsafe driving conditions, we trust each family to make the best decision for their needs. If a delayed start is necessary, Rainbow will announce a specific opening time. All families will be able to report to Rainbow at the announced time regardless of their child’s grade level. Before school will not be open in the event of a delayed start.
This midway point in the year is also a great time for reflection and celebration. Parents often ask for ways they can support Rainbow that do not require additional resources such as time during the work day or financial expense. Offering a personal testimonial highlighting your experience at Rainbow is a great way to celebrate and share the experience of a Rainbow education.
Moving ahead, each month we will be featuring a specific set of platforms in Rainbow Reminders that we hope a small group of Rainbow families will contribute to. Each website cannot accept more than 2 reviews in a month. Any new reviews we receive will be added to a raffle monthly for a prize. For the month of January we will be featuring:
Furthermore, if you feel called to offer a video testimonial that could be featured on our website, we will give you a free t-shirt! Here is an example from the past: Whitehead Family. Reach out to me if you are interested to learn more about that opportunity.
Racial Equity Institute
Another way parents can get involved is through attending the Racial Equity Institute. With the new year we often experience a renewed sense of energy and passion. Let’s send some of this energy and passion into cultivating a socially just world for our children and ourselves. As we enter the 2023 year, we want to remind our community about learning opportunities in the broader community. Rainbow has a history of encouraging our staff and community members to dive deeply into their personal equity journey through two organizations, Building Bridges and Racial Equity Institute (REI). Building Bridges is a 9-week commitment focusing on Black racial justice and history in Asheville using both large and small groups. REI is a 2-day commitment that focuses on the racial history of the United States. Here are some upcoming opportunities to broaden knowledge around racial justice:
- REI Phase 1 Workshop- Friday & Saturday, Feb. 3 – 4, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- REI Phase 1 Workshop- Wednesday & Thursday, March 8 – 9, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- REI Phase 1 Workshop- Saturday & Sunday, April 22 – 23, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- REI Phase 1 Workshop- Tuesday & Wednesday, May 9 – 10, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Building Bridges – Dates TBA for Spring 2023, Click here to be added to their email list
Please email Danae Aicher about your interest in REI.
This time of year also marks the beginning of our enrollment season for 2023-24. We are excited to welcome you to our Open House on February 2nd, 2023. Drop in between 4:00pm and 6:00pm to tour the campus, meet the teachers, explore the classrooms, and learn all about your child’s future experience at Rainbow!
Even with winter outside our windows, some families are thinking ahead to summer plans. Rainbow will be releasing our K-8 Summer Camp opportunities and finalizing Preschool Summer Enrollment later this month. Details for programming and enrollment will be shared in upcoming Rainbow Reminders.
Holism and Connection
As we contemplate the cycle of the seasons, I am reminded of our theme for the year: Embracing Holism and Connection. The natural world is such a beautiful exemplar of this concept, modeling systems and cycles that encourage an interconnected and holistic understanding of the world. In the words of Katherine May, “Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom resides in those who have wintered.” May we all find the wisdom waiting for us in winter’s unfolding.
Yours In Partnership and Gratitude,
Dear Rainbow Friends and Families,
My deepest gratitude for the energy, orchestration, donation, and collaboration that went into realizing the successful return of the beloved Harvest Hoedown. The day was filled with joy, laughter, entertainment, and plenty of sweet treats. It was a beautiful representation of our community in action.
Community is not only built through our gatherings and events, but also through our programming and curriculum. There is care and time put into the models of Compassionate and Nonviolent communication in the classrooms. The students are participants in their own learning through self-reflection, and governance through things like class meetings. They are learning the balance of autonomy and personal needs with community and collective consent. They are taught the difference between intent and impact. The teachers model and teach concepts of empathy, active listening, systems thinking, valuing diverse perspectives, and more. All of these are essential elements of a “community mindset” that supports healthy classrooms and fosters strong relationships beyond our doors with family, community organizations, and new schools.
Omega Open House
- One of the most powerful ways to explore the impact of our programming is through the experience of our oldest learners and Alumni. Families and students of all ages are encouraged to join us on November 3rd from 4:00-6:00pm for the Omega Open House and Alumni Panel. Learn more, and RSVP for the event here.
At Rainbow, we believe in the power of adult learning and engagement to support a meaningful and transformative community experience for all. Our dynamic governance model provides monthly circle gatherings that are regularly published in Rainbow Reminders. These circles are open, and anyone is welcome. Additionally, your class meetings provide a more intimate classroom connection experience. Two additional upcoming events critical to supporting a shared understanding of our core values include:
- Talking to Kids About Race– This is an annual event that surfaces new and relevant learning every time we come together. This year, participants can expect lots of opportunities to share ideas, ask questions, and practice scenarios that further their own and their child’s understanding of race. These conversations foster our efforts to become a more equitable, inclusive, and reflective community for all.
- General Circle– This circle meets three times a year to discuss elements of our school and organizational values and programming. It is a “meeting of the minds” where every circle (parent, staff, admin, board, equity, etc.) has representation in the conversation. This year I would love to broaden the scope with more participation. The first General Circle of the year will be held on November 7th from 4:00-6:00pm in sixth grade. The topic will be Community and Family Engagement. This is a time to document celebrations, areas of growth, and strategic and visionary thinking as we plan for a thriving future. Reach out to Susie if you would like to attend.
Partnerships and Community
The word community at Rainbow extends far beyond our doors. We have long term partnerships with many local organizations such as Riverlink, Open Doors, Sunshine Project, ACS, First Step Farms, to name a few. Two community partnerships we love promoting to parents and caregivers include Building Bridges and REI, since we have seen the profound impact of their work on participants from our community. I am also coordinating and participating in a monthly fellowship group with local Heads of School. We met this week, and hope to have a rotating monthly meeting at each participating campus. This will include time for strategic conversations, collaborative thinking, and fellowship.
Children are the heart of our school and the community is the life force. We opened the school year with a theme of Embracing Holism and Connection. We flourish when the whole of our school is engaged in the work of achieving our mission. I hope you have found a place of connection and belonging within your classroom and that you continue to explore the many ways we manifest community at Rainbow.
Yours In Partnership and Gratitude,
Communication is central to the success of our community. In collaboration with weekly publications like Rainbow Reminders and regular classroom newsletters, Kaleidoscope captures the bigger picture of what is happening on campus and exciting news for Rainbow’s future.
The Final Week of the School Year
Approaching the final week of the 21-22 school year, we embrace reflection and gratitude. Your children prepare Student Led Conferences and share a portfolio of carefully selected work that speaks to their story of growth. The teachers complete Learner Profiles, comprehensive narratives of your child’s growth and development. Additionally, our graduating 8th graders complete a Domains Walk across the campus moving ever closer to the culminating ritual of graduation. Our Preschool and K-8 Graduation ceremonies center collective celebration, and provide a wonderful send off for the year.
- Preschool will gather in the Outdoor Classroom on June 1st at 10:30am for a brief ceremony and fellowship to commemorate their year as Turtles and Dragonflies.
- The K-8 graduation will be held on June 2nd beginning at 6:15pm. It has been a few years since we have been able to offer this school-wide ceremony, and it is a sacred experience to hear the highlights from the children and the speeches from the graduates. We will finish the evening with cake served by the Board of Directors. The entire ceremony will take place under a tent on the Omega Athletic Field.
- Parking will be available on our campus, and we typically engage with a few local businesses to offer additional parking in the neighborhood. Stay tuned for more details about this in Rainbow Reminders.
Finally, this time of year is opportune to collect feedback from all our stakeholders in support of strategic planning this summer. We are hoping all parents can complete the following SURVEY knowing that your voice and perspective provide critical data for shaping our future. In addition, we ask all of our staff to complete a survey evaluating the leadership and their experience as employees. Finally, we have a student survey for 4th-8th grade that helps frame their perspectives on topics such as educational approach, belonging, and social connection.
We are in a season of hiring as staff retire and transition to new roles within and beyond Rainbow. Below are the most recent updates and hires for the 22-23 school year.
4th-8th Grade Division Head: Trey Thompson (He/Him)
Trey is an experienced educator and valued administrator at his current and previous schools. He will be leaving his most recent position at Earhart Environmental Magnet School in Wichita as the 4th/5th grade teacher and administrative “Teacher in Charge.” Prior to that, Trey was working in Chicago at The Academy for Global Citizenship as the School Culture and Middle Years Program Coordinator. Spending time with Trey you quickly learn that he embodies the Seven Domains personally and professionally. We are thrilled to have him as part of the leadership team.
Omega 7/8 Language Arts Teacher: Zoe Balaconis (She/Her)
Zoe is an innovative educator with experience bonding groups and crafting engaging, interdisciplinary English and Writing courses at the lower, secondary, and post secondary level. She has been at the Buckingham Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the past six years and holds a myriad of expertise and experience prior to that school placement. She is sure to bring a wealth of knowledge, energy and heart to Omega Middle School.
First Grade Lead Teacher: Katherine Ayachi (She/Her)
Katherine has taught in elementary school for the past 29 years the majority of which was teaching in the primary years programming at the American Cooperative School of Tunis in Tunisia, Africa. Over her tenure she has developed mastery in several curriculum areas including gaining a certification as a math specialist. She believes in designing instruction through inquiry and child centered programming. We are happy to welcome her back to the states and to her roots in North Carolina.
Counseling: Kriya Lendzoin (She/Her)
Kriya has worked with Rainbow for years as our Addiction Educator in Omega Middle School. Along with continuing this role, she will also be joining our counseling team. She has a rich background in school counseling, substance abuse and wellness programming, and therapy. She has expertise helping families and students navigate adolescence to reinforce healthy and authentic identity development.
Fifth Grade Lead Teacher: Sandra McCassim (She/Her)
Sandra has over 22 years of teaching and administrative experience, and is one of our most tenured staff members at Rainbow. She fosters a classroom community built on student-centered and project based learning. She has a depth of knowledge in supporting the critical needs and opportunities of pre-adolescence, and she cultivates meaningful partnerships with parents and caregivers.
Preschool Green Door: Rose Howley (She/Her)
Rose started working at Rainbow in the Student Support Department, became a full time sub, and most recently helped usher the third grade Tigers through a fabulous year. Starting this summer, our littlest learners will benefit from Rose’s calm demeanor, playful spirit, and ability to foster a supportive environment for all learning styles and needs.
Third Grade Assistant: AJ Jones (She/Her)
AJ began her time with us in preschool and then shifted to a role as a full time substitute. When Jenny announced her maternity leave earlier this year, AJ graciously filled the role of Interim Student Support Advocate for Middle School. AJ’s journey at Rainbow speaks to her diversity of skills and adaptability in applying them with a developmentally appropriate mindset. AJ will be a great support during the bridge year of third grade.
Second Grade Assistant: Evie Jones (They/Them)
Evie has thrived this year in the role of full time substitute for the primary grades. Next year they will be taking their skills to the Second Grade classroom. Evie’s kindness, positive energy, supportive approach, and investment in learning will add to the magical experience of second grade with Eddy.
Lead Art Teacher K-8: Kate Chassner (She/Her)
Kate recently completed her Masters in Art and has been running our Arts Elective program in Omega Middle School this year. Next year she will formally shift from her additional part time role in the office to being the Art teacher for Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Her passion and creativity are sure to ignite a love of art in our children.
Summer Camp & Rainbow’s End Director: Susan Waddell (She/Her)
Susan has been a part of Rainbow’s growth and evolution over the years, and will be able to bring her full set of experiences as a parent, teacher, summer camp leader, and holistic practitioner to her new role. She is a natural to continue the legacy of adventure, joy, laughter, and memory making in afterschool and summer camp.
Office Manager: Rachel Hagen (She/Her)
For years, Rachel has ushered our first graders through a beautiful journey of learning, growth and discovery. Fortunately, her gifts will be equally valuable as she takes on the role of Office Manager, and becomes a primary resource for staff and families to remain informed and engaged.
P-K Student Support Advocate: Lissadell Greene (She/Her)
Lissadell has been working in preschool this past year as additional support. Fortunately, she will be able to offer her skills more holistically and comprehensively through this new role. She has been working in the educational field for the past 20 years as a music teacher and early childhood teacher. She also has a Masters Degree in Inclusive Education with a focus in Special Education, Infant/Toddler Mental Health, and Constructivism.
Moving on from Rainbow
We are so grateful to each of these staff members for their contributions to our community. We are better because of the time we shared.
Honoring Their Legacy
We have a few special folks who are retiring from long term roles at Rainbow. We will be honoring each of these folks with a tree and a plaque on campus.
Rainbow’s End Director and LIA Coordinator:
Denisa Rullmoss (She/Her)
Lead Art Teacher:
Tracy Hildebrand (She/Her)
Tenured RCS Board Member:
Stewart Stokes (He/Him)
While the school year is coming to a close, summer is a time of great activity at Rainbow. Preschool and camps will be running all summer and the main office remains open with staff available between 8:00am-3:00pm. In addition, opportunities for equity discussions continue with a parent discussion circle about Ava Duvernay’s documentary 13th. You can express your interest here: 13th Interest Form
Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are, and not be questioned.” I hope that you and your children have found a safe place in Rainbow this year where you have felt celebrated for all that you are. Whether you plan to continue your Rainbow journey next year, or you are moving on to something new, may you find “home” in the people and places that surround you.
Many Blessings To You All.
Rainbow Community School/Omega Middle School
The return to school in 2022 unfolded at a brisk pace reinforced by pandemic stress, student narratives and conferences, re-enrollment planning, and more. My recent conversations with staff, parents, and students have shared a theme of “emotional erosion” describing the continued mental health impacts of pandemic living. This fragility reminds us all to tread gently, offering ourselves and others grace as we strive for coherence and harmony in our daily experience. Additionally, there seems to be a collective anticipation of spring gifting renewal and new life. In this moment, I invite you to focus on the return of light spiritually and emotionally for ourselves, our children, and our school.
This month’s Kaleidoscope focuses on time where we look back at our past, pause for our present, and vision our future. Intentionally contemplating our time together can help us slow down and counterbalance the urge to simply “push ahead,” reminding us that we always have the power to reframe our perspective from a mindset of doing to being.
Looking Back At Our Past:
It is hard to believe I am nearing the end of a second year as the Executive Director of Rainbow Community School. While the pandemic has certainly impacted our shared experience over the past 2 years, I am so proud of the many accomplishments we have achieved together within and beyond COVID. Our 2020-21 Annual Report is a capstone document that highlights several of these celebrations. I hope you will take the time to read it and recognize the collaborative efforts it showcases. This document is a testament to our holistic approach and community mindset that is at the very heart of our mission and vision.
Pausing For Our Present:
As noted above this present moment has many of us feeling full. I can’t help but return to our theme for this year; Collective Enrichment and Continual Evolution, for an opportune frame. Recently, the teachers completed Learner Profiles, offering a beautiful and holistic view of each child’s educational journey. This artifact is a great example of the rich curriculum and individualized approach at Rainbow, and it is also a tool for capturing a child’s evolution over time. Hopefully, the conferences provided ample time for each family to digest these narratives and look ahead to goals for your child in the remaining months of school.
Similarly, our institution has been designing opportunities for enriched conversation and collective wisdom to source our individual and organizational evolution. Our Primary Division continues to implement Fundations, and recently gathered for a formal training and reflection opportunity. Upper grades teachers took this time to dive deep into the data provided by our standardized testing. Additionally, teachers gathered earlier this month for a fire circle with feedback and fellowship. This listening session resulted in adapting our Wednesday training schedule to offer more breath and space for organic and relevant meetings to take place, bringing a little of spring’s renewal to our professional development calendar.
If we truly center ourselves in this present moment, it feels critical to also discuss COVID. Governor Cooper recently endorsed returning to a more typical school experience. The school toolkit is evolving, and the Safety team will be meeting this Friday (2/25/22) to outline Rainbow’s next steps in alignment with this updated guidance. Throughout this journey, we have been asked by many families how they can support community wellness. It is clear that everyone continues to take steps to monitor physical health and keep students home when ill. We are grateful for this partnership. It feels equally important to commit to a healthy dialogue around COVID. Vaccination status, infection level, and mask choices, are just a few of the potentially divisive topics surrounding this pandemic. We are all susceptible, including our children, to the polarizing impacts of debate versus dialogue. At Rainbow, we have the power and ability to center our humanness and model conscious communication. The teachers and staff are committed to this practice daily, as we facilitate healthy processing of pandemic impacts with our children.
Visioning Our Future:
Visioning further ahead brings a sense of joy and play as we consider all the possibilities yet to manifest. Rainbow Summer Camps are soon to be released to the public, and the line up is exciting! From crafting to adventuring to ESL, there is sure to be a week of exploration your child can’t resist. Reach out to our Camp Director, Susan Waddell with questions.
The much awaited 2022-23 School Calendar outlines our instructional flow for next year. This calendar has been reviewed by the administration, faculty, parent council, and board in an effort to create a rhythm that supports optimal learning for our children and a balanced experience for our stakeholders.
Looking forward, there is so much to be inspired by. I am hopeful that we will find time to commune together and be nurtured by the beauty and breath of spring.
Yours In Taking Time,