A new International Baccalaureate charter school to open in Taos

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On Friday March 14th the Taos International School lead organizer Nadine Vigil will hold an informational session at the Kit Carson Electric Boardroom, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“I will be there all day long to answer questions from parents and help them in the process of filling out a letter of intent,” said Vigil. “This means that parents are expressing an interest in their children attending Taos International School and also allows the children to become part of the lottery process.”
The Taos International School is a Dual Language/ International Baccalaureate K-8 public state chartered school. It has an approved charter from the New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico Public Education Commission.
It will be a sister school to the New Mexico International School in Albuquerque and the Corrales International School.
“I have been working closely with both of them,” Vigil said. “Their model is really effective.”
Taos International School is scheduled to open its doors during the 2014-2015 school year.
It will begin with two kindergarten classes, two first grade classes and two sixth grade classes which will later expand to second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth grades.
The founder
Nadine Vigil has over thirty-five years of experience in education.
“I started my career as an educational assistant,” she said. “Later I became a teacher, an educational leader and an administrator. Education has been, and is, my passion.”
She helped develop and implement the first Dual Language Program within the Taos Municipal Schools District at the Enos Garcia Elementary School.
“In my educational career, I have worked with children of different cultures; Hispanic, Anglo, Native American and Asian,” she said. “I am a firm advocate of multiculturalism and bilingualism.”
She retired in 2010 as an administrator and principal with the Taos Schools but wasn’t ready to stop working yet.
“It took me two years to think it over, but I finally decided to create Taos International School,” she said. “I want to include students from all the demographic diversity that we have in Taos now. We are not just going to be another charter school—we have a unique program and mission.”
Emphasis on languages
One of its unique features is that the school will provide students with a rigorous world curriculum focusing on the 90/10 Dual Language model, said Vigil.
It will also include an International Baccalaureate primary and middle-years program aligned with the New Mexico Common Core Standards.
“We will meet all the state requirements,” Vigil said.
The acquisition of languages will be taught through the Spanish immersion program, designed for students to become bilingual and bi-literate. Children will also be introduced to Mandarin Chinese in fourth grade.
Class sizes will be kept at 20 students or less.
“The reason is that we want to offer individualized attention to the children,” Vigil said. “Our goal is developing the social, emotional and academic skills necessary to be productive members of our local, national and international community.”
An overview of the program
The International Baccalaureate Program integrates all content areas through the teaching of trans-disciplinary themes.
It prepares students to be active participants in a lifelong journey of learning, said Vigil.
“From ages 3 to 12, we focus on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside,” she said. “From ages 11 to 16, we provide a framework of academic challenge that encourages them to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world and become critical and reflective thinkers.”
The Physical Education program will be offering non-traditional sports and activities including Taekwondo, soccer, and gymnastics.
“The students can also participate in an enriched music and arts program,” Vigil said. “I want to create a nurturing environment that motivates them to come to school every day.”
The school day will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. with a 30 minute lunch period. Students will be released at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The school year will begin after Labor Day and end 180 days later.
Enrichment and after school activities
Vigil’s plans include an after-school enrichment program that will be offered to all students for one hour, following the normal school day. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. and end at approximately 4:45 p.m. every day except Wednesdays.
“Students will have the opportunity to participate in something new and interesting to them such as folclórico and mariachi,” Vigil said. “The after-school program is offered free of charge to all enrolled students and will begin two to three weeks after school begins.”
As she did during her entire educational career, Vigil looks forward to the first day of school.
“I want to offer exciting learning opportunities to the children of Taos,” she said. “That’s what my life is all about. See you on Friday, parents and kids. Nos vemos el viernes. This is the school Taos has been waiting for!”
To learn more about the school visit its website taosinternationalschool.weebly.com
Or contact Nadine Vigil at 575 776 2469 and