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Newsletter: November 2019

November  2019                       Volume 28  Number 2

Change and transformation fills the air as leaves change colors and fall to the ground. The red and orange foliage is there to remind us that change can be scary but it is also a beautiful thing. Fall is the perfect time to reflect and embrace change. It is the end of many things but it can also represent the beginning.  — The Living Urn blog

The autumn student conferences have begun. It is important to meet with them at this time of year to help them articulate their experience and what they want from this year.

As the leaves change and eventually drop, the garden browns, and the worms burrow deeper, we start to look inside. The time of transformation is upon us. The walls between worlds grow thin and the inner spirits come out to play. So too, at the school, all these things are in motion. The intending graduates are looking inward, the big room becomes more cozy with the heat of the wood stove, and our shadows are revealed. The ripeness, the abundance, the beauty of the natural world are a preparation for what is next.

Our school community has matured together to become a solid and cohesive group. The students who began the school year are all returning students. This is the perfect environment to bring in new students who can benefit from our unique style and approach. If there are young people you know who fit this description, please do not hesitate to send them our way or give us a call.

On November 5th we will be having an open house. We will have food and everyone will be welcome. There is a flier enclosed.  Please post it or give it to someone who would appreciate it. (There are more at the school.) We will be building an outdoor cob oven, weather permitting.

Come see our beautiful kitchen!  The Kitchen remodel is almost finished.  We just need to get the perfect water heater installed. Many thanks to Matt Kreitman of Groundfloor Stone for their generous donation of floor tile.

As it gets colder we are very grateful for all the help from Michael Austin.Thank you so much  for taking kids to get wood from Christina Stephenson’s place, and working so hard to cut it up.

2019 – 2020 School Calendar

November 5th: Open House

November 25th to 28th: Thanksgiving Break

Dec 16th to Jan 5th: Winter Solstice Vacation

January 20th: Open House (proposed)

February 3rd: No school

March 16th to 19th: Spring Break

May 28th: Last day of school

The first week of our 37th year!

We just had a wonderful first week of school.  This is our 37th year!  27 years of being fully democratic by having All School Council meetings and no coercion (except to clean up after yourself 😉 We ended the week with a hike up to Aspen Peak, elevation 11,103ft (3.384m)  It’s going to be a great year.

August 2019 Newsletter

Towering sunflowers and fresh organic vegetables fill our garden, awaiting the returning students. The amount of growth that can happen in a short period of time is astounding. We can’t wait to see how the students have also grown over the summer! It will be fantastic to see you all during Work Week.

Work week is Monday, August 26th through Saturday, August 31st. This year we have several big projects, the most important of which is the remodeling of the kitchen. We also need to paint one third of the big room, fix the stove pipe, and landscape. There are also smaller projects like the typical yearly cleaning. If you are a parent with a trade agreement remember that time spent during Work Week counts toward your amount owed and cleaning counts as double. Of course, we will also feed you. Moe will be making his annual chile stews.

The first day of our regular program is Tuesday, September 3rd. Remember, If you don’t have a signed enrollment contract for this year, please make an appointment with us in order to complete the registration process. Tuition will remain unchanged from last year.

This summer Iku and Moe met with 250 participants from 27 countries and another 500 Ukrainian educators for the 2019 International Democratic Education Conference in Kyiv and Vinnytsia, Ukraine.  We had a wonderful time renewing and deepening friendships and making new connections with democratic schools from all around the globe. There were sessions regarding a visiting teacher program, so we might have more international visitors in the future.

The 2020 conference will be in Nepal, October 15th through the 20th. We were not planning on going but if enough students are interested, we will consider going. It will be an amazing conference. Then in the summer of 2021, the international conference will merge with the regional conferences and Summerhill School, for a big festival in England to cerebrate their 100th anniversary. That’s right, Summerhill School, a democratic boarding school, has been in continuous operation for 100 years!

This year we will start an ongoing project to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere by planting trees.  If you are able to donate saplings or if you know someone who can, please send them our way.

Education is not merely acquiring knowledge, gathering and correlating facts; it is to see the significance of life as a whole. To understand life is to understand ourselves, and that is both the beginning and the end of education.

                                                                                                                                                                        – J. Krishnamurti

Newsletter – May 2019

NEWSLETTER                                                May 2019                                                 Volume 27 Number 3

It is unbelievable, but the school year is almost over. Not only that but we actually have a spring this year, not a surreptitious slide from winter to summer. This has been a wonderful year and the students have grown and learned so much about themselves. They know how to be in community and to make decisions together while sharing power. It gives us great joy to experience this.

Tuesday, May 14th to Thursday, May 16th we will be on a school camping trip to Panchuela Campground in the Pecos Widerness area. Students who are coming will need to be at school by 10:30 am on Tuesday. The school will not be open for a half day on Tuesday and no school on Wednesday and Thursday. If your child is going please see the attached list of necessities.

Our graduation process is an amazing, challenging, and growth-filled time for our graduates. See the fruits of their labor at the Thesis Defense Tuesday, May 21st at 5:30pm. This will help you to understand the learning that happens at The Tutorial School. You will be amazed. Then join us Thursday, May 23rd at 5:30pm for the graduation. Help us to celebrate and to send our graduates off into the world.

Pending approval from the All School Council, the first day of school next year will be September 3rd. Work week will tentatively be August 26th to the 31st. As always, Moe will cooking up his vegan red chile potato stew and his green chile chicken pozole. Please join us to make the school and grounds beautiful and safe for our children. This is also a good way to get your work/trade hours done. Help us devote all our time to the school by registering your child this spring.

Measles outbreaks have been in the news lately, as have other diseases. As a result the State of New Mexico Department of Health is being proactive to make sure schools are in compliance with state laws. If you have any questions about whether or not your child is up to date with vaccinations please talk to Moe. Also, exemptions from vaccination will need to be approved by the Department of Health. If you have any problems please come to the school to talk to Moe.


An education is the capacity to author your own life instead of merely accepting the one handed to you.

— Blake Boles


Things to bring for camping

$15 per person for gas money and food
Tent if available
Sleeping pad and pillow (the ground will be cold)
Warm sleeping bag and a warm blanket
Lantern or flashlight
Folding chair if you don’t want to sit on the ground
Water bottle (non-disposable kind)
Individual plate, bowl and utensils
Swimming suit
Sunblock/Bug spray
Rain gear/poncho
Sun hat
Good shoes for hiking
Water shoes or shoes that can get wet
Change of clothes and socks (two pairs of pants, one pair shorts, at least four pairs of socks)
Warm jacket
Toothbrush, toothpaste
Snacks and juices
Bring a trash bag for candy wrappers, litter, and other trash.

March 2019 Newsletter


March  2019                       Volume 27  Number 2

We had so much snow this winter that we were able to go sledding four times… in a row.  What a relief after all the years of minimal snowpack.  We are eagerly anticipating the green spring.  Before it got too cold, we had been going on weekly field trips which were mostly hiking.

For the first half of this school year, Field Trip Day was set up so that everyone who went to school would go on a field trip. This was designed with the intention of everyone being included. Everyone would bond together, and no one would be left behind at the school. However, what ended up happening was people stayed home. The purpose of having more togetherness was not being fulfilled.

A change was necessary. As a group we had to remind ourselves what the point of this was – to spend more time together. So, the students changed this habit, deciding that there would be more options. We’ve been enjoying things like Movie Day, Craft Day, and Family Fun Game Day on Thursdays when people wanted to stay inside. This is important to note because it shows a few of the subtle things your children are working on. They saw a problem and fixed it, showing an ability to think about what is happening around them and to affect change. They made the conscious decision to be more friendly and get to know one another better, showing care for the community.

Social support has been shown to greatly increase one’s health. Strong social ties reduce the stress hormones which cause inflammation and ultimately become a contributing factor of heart disease. All over the world, people who feel closely connected to their friends and family are living longer.

This past November, Iku and Moe went to Bengaluru, India for the 2018 International Democratic Education Conference.  There were educators and students from Europe, Asia, Oceana, but mostly from all over India.  Some of the things we learned was that there are now 47 new democratic schools in France – just in the last 5 years.  In Addition, Indonesia is about to explode with new democratic schools.

Most amazing of all was the Children’s Parliaments of India.  These are neighborhood decision-making bodies completely run and populated by children.  They deal with issues of concern ranging from broken street lights and the use of disposable plastic to abusive and alcoholic parents.  There are 50,000 such parliaments in India.  They have been to the UN and it is now a world wide movement.  Power to the children!

The next IDEC will be this August in the Ukraine – 2 days in Kiev and 6 in Vinnystia.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to meet with students from similar schools from around the world.  We are more alike than different.  We are planning a trip through Turkey and/or Georgia before the conference.  Please let us know if your child is interested in this incredible trip.

A big thank you to Eddie Brasch and Rios Wood Yard for their donations of wood.  They have kept us warm both physically and emotionally.

Many students have been working on learning to play piano this winter, and they have been doing it in a self-motivated way – finding songs to learn, listening to them online and then working on playing them. This is a great example of innate natural curiosity. People are natural learners when they can learn freely without coercion.

Spring break will be 2 weeks this year – from March 8th to March 24th.  When we get back, Angela Pi from Taiwan will be joining us as an intern until the end of the year.  We first met Angela at the 2013 IDEC in Colorado.  The next year 14 students from her school, The Humanities Exploration School, spent a week in June living here at TTS.  Since then we have seen her at the IDECs in Finland and Korea. Having her visit will be a great reminder that we have connections across the world as we are part of a global movement.

Self-determination theory, a widely accepted theory of human motivation, proposes that all people have three innate needs: autonomy (having control over one’s actions), competence (building mastery), and relatedness (connecting positively with other humans). When these needs are fulfilled, humans can act with intrinsic motivation: they can start to do things (even very challenging things) for their own sake. But when these needs are not fulfilled, intrinsic motivation falters; we no longer want to do things for their own sake. That’s when extrinsic motivation is required — in other words, threats and bribes — to motivate people to take action.

Any place that claims to “educate” must give young people actual autonomy, help them develop actual competencies, and facilitate actual social connections. It must produce self-aware and self-motivated humans, not anxiety-riddled worker bees awaiting their next orders. Places of education must lift people up and bring them together — as we envision the ideal of school — not crush their spirits and isolate them.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being.