Taos school retains charter
Following a legal battle with the New Mexico Public Education Department, the Taos International Charter school has been cleared to keep its charter for three more years.
After being denied a charter renewal by the Public Education Commission, Director Nadine Vigil took action and began her case to save her school.
The state denied the school’s charter despite Taos International’s recent progress. The school’s PARCC test scores rose dramatically from previous years, and Taos International also improved to a C grade from the Public Education Department, a jump from the previous year’s F grade.
“You never give up,” Vigil said. “If you believe in something, you do it.”
Vigil had been working with her student body for five years, and for the past three she has had a full representation of all the grades in her K-8 school. For the past three years, the school has proved its model of teaching works for students.
“That’s all we were asking,” Vigil said. “We just asked for that time to grow.”
The school was featured on the Public Education Department’s list of schools most improved in PARCC proficiency for 2017.
In December, the Public Education Commission decided not to renew the school’s charter, an action which was affirmed by New Mexico Education Secretary Christoper Ruszkowski. After an extensive appeal process, Taos International was granted a threeyear charter on the conditions that the school maintain a C average grade with the PED and affirm its
designation as an International Baccalaureate school, according to Vigil.
During the hearing and appeals process, parents turned out in support of the school and continue to keep their children enrolled. Most parents attribute the school’s success to the bilingual emphasis of the charter and the tightknit togetherness among teachers, staff and students.
“You would never see any other school in our community where the school’s staff members are outside ready to help your child get off the vehicle and guide them safely to the cafeteria no matter what the weather brings, rain or shine and snow or freezing cold,” said Taos International parent Rhonda Vigil.
Nadine Vigil said her enrollment has declined since the situation unfolded but that a majority of her students and parents decided to stay and help the school along.
“My husband and I were devastated upon hearing about the possible school closing,” said Taos International parent Julie Romero. “We decided to stand strong and support the school until the very end. We are so proud of all the progress that has been made and (ecstatic) that TIS is open.”
Taos International School is currently enrolling students in grades K-8 for next year’s school year.
The New Mexico Public Education Department did not respond to requests for comment.