In 1994, Turquoise Trail Charter School became one of New Mexico's first charter schools, which enabled the Turquoise Trail community to maximize its vision by refining a unique academic curriculum, utilizing site-based budgeting and management of funds, and implementing participatory governance and community involvement to focus on improving the achievement of our students.
Located 15 miles from downtown Santa Fe, the community is rural, with families living great distances from one another. Our children come from families diverse in their educational experiences and economic situations. Of the approximately 495 students enrolled at Turquoise Trail, the population has a 72/28 ratio of Hispanic children to children of all other ethnicities, including Anglo, Native American, African American, and Asian. Approximately 25% of our student population speaks Spanish as a first language. Turquoise Trail qualifies for Title I federal funds, with 67% of the student population receiving free or reduced lunches.
Since its inception, Turquoise Trail Charter School has followed an alternative curriculum that was developed and continues to be refined by the school's teachers. The curriculum is centered around the interrelated theories of multiple intelligences, learning styles, and developmentally appropriate practices. The educational program at Turquoise Trail was developed for students by staff with the following Exit Outcomes in mind: Self Directed Learners, Collaborative Workers, Community Participants-Contributors, Quality Producers, and Complex Thinkers.
The learning experiences we implement have brought students in our multicultural community into engagement with current, best instructional practices in the fine arts, physical education, and information resources. Our educational program has further refined state standards and benchmarks into integrated units and learning goals per grade level. Balanced literacy is fundamental to our instructional program, as is a comprehensive bilingual/ESL program, and inclusion of special education children in the mainstream of classroom instruction to the greatest extent possible.
Through the enriched experiences offered at the school, students gain a greater sense of basic human values, particularly through the exposure, appreciation, and respect of multiple lifestyles and cultures present in our community.