Taos Academy Charter School
Helping students thrive
Taos Academy Charter School has long been known for their STEM education program, advancing students in the areas of
science, technology, engineering and math. Now, with the addition of their new Career Technical Education
building and program, the school will be able to further help students excel by giving them a space
and 5th-12th grade curriculum from which to grow.
“The purpose of the building is for that career technical education — moving forward with helping
our high school students gain skills and confidence and experience for whatever it is that they
have coming next,” said Taos Academy Executive Director Dr. Traci Filiss.
After receiving money from the state through the help of Sen. Bobby Gonzales, as well as funding
from state, county and local governments, Taos Academy was able to lay the ground- work for their
new Career Technical Education Center, which will officially open its doors to students in the
Filiss said the building will help upperclassmen advance in technical areas that can lead to
college or trade jobs. “We know that not all kids are going to college,” Filiss added. “Some kids
should, and are, going into more career technical colleges or fields.
And we want to support that for our students; that’s the purpose of the building as a whole.”
Prior to the building’s existence, some students involved in extracurricular technical activities —
such as Science Club or Video Production — used to meet in the hallways or in shared classrooms.
“We can’t wait to see what these students can do with a real science lab!”
STEM + Arts Coordinator Jamie Lucero-Martinez noted that Taos Academy students are no stranger to
scientific and technological learning, and said the new building will only help advance those
skills. “For every year that the governor’s STEM challenge has been in place here in New Mexico,
we’ve had a state championship team from Taos Academy,” Lucero-Martinez said, noting that the
SCIENCE* team was being sponsored by Boeing for the 22-23 school year.
Taos Academy Principal Elizabeth LeBlanc said while students previously had access to dual
college-credit classes and community internships, these experiences weren’t necessarily adding up
to a completely cohesive plan for the next step in students’ lives. In order to change that, the
school enlisted the help of a very important group of stakeholders - the students themselves.
“We took last year and had a team of teachers who co-created this curriculum with our current 11th
graders at the time,” said LeBlanc.
“This year, we will graduate the first group that has gone through the whole curriculum that they
actually helped build.”
The building also coincides with the school’s forward focus on technology and student learning, and
specifically their Career College Pathways pro- gram. Teacher Jason Weisfeld said the goal is to start students
on a career or college trajectory at a younger age. “The idea is actually starting in fifth grade, where we’re
building 21st- century skills into our coursework,” Weisfeld said. “Then students in high school
take these broad skills and start to narrow them into pathways.”
Weisfeld said each student will design a personalized capstone project to help them complete their
pathway. He said it’s about asking the students about their personal goals. “What do you want to do when you
graduate? Do you want to go to college? Do you want to get a job? Do you want to travel? Do you
want to start a business?” he proposed.
Principal LeBlanc agreed, and said she hopes the program and new building will help students answer
an essential question: “What did this school experience all add up to, and where is it taking
TAOS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL
110 Paseo Del Canon W, Taos 575-751-3109