Student Handbook



This page is an abbreviation of our official Student Handbook, taken from our Approved Policies. It offers an explanation of our policies and procedures that clearly outlines expectations for Taos Academy students and our school community.


Our Mission

The mission of Taos Academy is to prepare students in the fifth through twelfth grade to achieve and maintain a level of excellence by supporting and promoting academic achievement, strong leadership skills, and social responsibility. Through the use of innovative curriculum, leadership training, and enrichment opportunities, we foster a community of self-motivated, independent, lifelong learners. The partnership of school, parents, and community creates a learning environment where students acquire the knowledge, leadership skills, and sense of responsibility needed to succeed in the 21st century.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to be a model 21st-century learning community developing strong leaders who have the academic and social skills necessary to succeed in the modern world.

Turquoise and Gold

Turquoise and Gold were chosen as the representative colors for Taos Academy because they represent well-being and excellence. The turquoise gem is said to bring a sense of happiness and cheerfulness, manifesting as a feeling of well-being. Gold is a universal symbol of high performance representing our goal of excellence for all Taos Academy students and staff.


Handbook Contents

Mission, Vision & School Colors

Table of Contents

Director’s Welcome Letter

General Information


Grade Policy

Student Help


Student Code of Conduct

Student Consequences

Other Policies




Taos Academy Students and Parents:

Welcome to Taos Academy, a State-Chartered public school offering a dynamic and innovative educational delivery system. It is our privilege to provide 5th -12th grade students with engaging and rigorous core curriculum, highly motivating elective classes, and leadership and career training through our state-of-the-art 21st century learning environment.

Taos Academy practices the belief that every learner deserves access to excellence in educational opportunities regardless of his or her abilities or location. Our hybrid educational delivery model uses a unique combination of direct classroom and digital instruction with proven curriculum to address each learner’s individual needs. Flexibility in scheduling allows the student to work in our technology labs or wherever a high-speed internet connection is available. Students have the option to attend the Taos Academy facility for tutoring, workshops, and classes in our media arts lab or in our science/ math/ engineering lab.

Highly qualified, experienced and licensed teachers conduct classes both on-site and from remote locations. Each student is assigned an instructional advisor for consistent contact, guidance, feedback and encouragement. Tutoring is available for students in need of some additional support. Teachers also provide support for career development, leadership training, outdoor education, and community service learning projects.

All the necessary information for staying current with Taos Academy is posted on our website, www.taosacademy.org. Please be sure to visit the Taos Academy website often and review our handbook. At Taos Academy each student is expected to apply themselves to their academic work, explore personal learning goals in 21st century classes, and be engaged positively in their relationships with all members of the Taos Academy community. Taos Academy requires a strong partnership between school, community, and home. This partnership establishes critical expectations for each student and supports their efforts to be successful. Making this effort each day will build the foundation for success today and in the future.

We look forward to providing one of the most innovative and effective educational experiences available anywhere.

Let’s have a wonderful year, together.

Together in Education,

Traci O. Filiss





School Day

Taos Academy’s school day begins at 8:00 and ends at 4:00. Students in grades 5 through 8 are required to attend campus all day on Monday and Wednesday. Students in grades 9 through 12, excluding ”College Link”, are required to attend school on campus all day Tuesday and Thursday each week. Daily on-campus schedules include on-line academic work, face-to-face academic instruction dedicated to literacy and math, 21st Century Learning courses, and one hour for lunch/recess/activity time. Individual schedules are posted at the start of school and modified throughout the year as needed. Students may attend TA campus 4.5 days per week by taking advantage of some of the following extra programs. Sign up is required to participate.

Student Success Lab:
The SSL is a learning lab designed to give students a quiet space with a high speed connection to support success with online courses. SSL is available from 8-12 on a student’s non-scheduled school days by sign up or as required due to lack of success/progress. Friday Math tutoring from 8-12 is also available. Students may be required to attend SSL and/or Friday Math tutoring for lack of progress. Students not proficient in Math and/or Reading or dropping below 2.0 GPA will be placed on probationary enrollment. 

Middle-School Plus Enrichment program offers
classes to 5th -8th grade students from 8-4 Tuesday and Thursday. This program is designed to further support the learning needs of young students. Sign up is required. Lab fees are applicable.

“College Link” Program:
Students in 11th and 12th grade who meet the College Link requirements have the opportunity to participate in our College Link Program allowing students to take UNM classes for dual credit. Students in CL are required to schedule a minimum of three lab sessions per week. See “College Link” section for more information. 

Friday “Early College” Program
: Students in 9th through 12th grade who do not meet the College Link requirements have the opportunity to participate in our Friday Early College Program allowing students to take UNM classes for dual credit.

“Career Pathway” Program
: Students in 10th through 12th grade have the opportunity to gain real word experience and credit through our Career Pathway program. Students follow a career choice pathway of classes, internship and/or volunteer hours to gain the experience and build hire ability in a field of choice. 

“STEM Institute”
: The STEM Institute classes are optional and are scheduled on non-scheduled school days by sign up only. These classes are offered for exploratory experience in different areas of science, technology, engineering, math and arts. Class dates/times vary throughout the year and are posted in the monthly newsletter as they become available. Lab fees are applicable. Dual Credit is also available. 

Alternative schedules
must be requested in writing and approved by the Director and will only be granted with permission from the student’s advisor to assure plans for academic success. This includes extended travel, illness and sports. 

Alternative schedules
must be requested in writing and approved by the Director and will only be granted with permission from the student’s advisor to assure plans for academic success. This includes extended travel, illness and sports.

Students are required to continue online academic work outside the school campus for approximately 4 hours per day or as needed to stay current with each class lesson schedule. Parents are required to provide high speed internet access from home with access to a computer and printer. Parents are also required to electronically monitor academic progress weekly, we make this easy with weekly emailed progress update and 24/7 account access. We encourage students to participate in enrichment activities offered through the community and at Taos Academy at times when they are not scheduled on campus.


Closed Campus

Taos Academy has a closed campus to provide safety for all students. Parents must give written permission for a student to leave early for an appointment, unless for an emergency. All students must check out from the office before leaving early and must have prior parental permission in writing. Students will not be released for lunch unless picked up by a parent. Please schedule all appointments on non-campus school days.



All visitors to the campus must check in and receive a visitor’s pass at the front desk located in the reception area. Visitors are to wait quietly at the reception area. The Receptionist will contact the appropriate staff member or student who will meet the visitor in the reception area and escort him/her to the approved destination. Visitors and parents are not permitted to enter the lab without escort. All visitors must adhere to all traffic flow signs and parking regulations including 5mph speed limit. Safety first!


Reporting Absences/Tardiness

If a student is absent for an on-campus school day, a parent/guardian is required to notify the school before 9 AM each day of absence. Students arriving after 8:00am must sign in at the office. See attendance policy for more information.


Winter Cancellation Policy

We will follow Taos Municipal Schools for school closure. Please be sure you have access to TV, internet or radio broadcasts that will give you this information. We will follow delay and full day closures only. Mid day closures are at the discretion of the parent depending on safety decisions. Students will not be released early from school without parent permission. Parents must give written permission to have students released early for any reason, unless in an emergency.

  • Students are required to continue to work on their classes. Students who fall behind their calendar of assignments will be subject to the consequences stated in our attendance policy.


Instructional Advisors

Each student is assigned an instructional advisor responsible for individualizing programs, monitoring and encouraging progress, supporting academic success and communicating weekly with students and parents on progress. Content teachers are also available for tutoring upon appointment.


Academic Course Structure and Progress

All TA courses are intended to be completed over the period of a semester time frame. All courses must be completed in a standard academic semester to be reflected for credit on a transcript. Students may work ahead in their classes as they are comfortable, but they must maintain the minimum established pace in all classes as indicated by the student’s progress calendar and meet a minimum mastery level of 70%. Students not completing coursework in the specified time will receive a failing grade and be required to retake the class. See more on Summer School below.


21st Century Course Structure

All students are required to participate in either 21st Century Classes offered at Taos Academy or Dual Credit classes. 21st Century Classes are designed to support post high school goals and are offered on campus and/or in the community. Dual credit High School/College classes and internships can be applied to the required 21st Century credits.


Student Assessments

Assessments are included as a part of every class. However, students are also measured through a variety of alternative methods including: portfolios, demonstrations, presentations, and collaborative projects. This variety of assessments allows students and teachers to identify strengths and problem areas and respond to them promptly. When problem areas are identified, advisors and learners develop strategies to correct the problem. Students and parents have access to continuous progress reports and weekly grades for every Taos Academy class. All assessments must be administered by a Taos Academy staff member.


Final Exams

All exams including mid-term and final examinations must be taken in the Taos Academy’s computer lab, where they will be proctored by Taos Academy staff. The student must notify their advisor when ready to take a midterm or final examination. Exams opened prior to approval will receive a zero.


Standardized Testing

Students enrolled at Taos Academy are required to participate in all standardized testing as stipulated by the New Mexico Public Education Department. Participation in these tests is required.

In order to receive a high school diploma all students must pass the Math and Language Arts sections of the 11th grade HSGA/EoC tests.


Classification Policy

Mid-high school students 5th through 8th grade must maintain a 2.5 GPA to be promoted to the next grade level. Students below 2.5 GPA will be promoted on probationary placement to determine appropriate educational programming.

Grade classification for high school students 9th through 12th is determined by the number of credits earned. Minimum credit for grade classification is as follows:

Freshman (Grade 9) 0 – 5.99 credits

Sophomore (Grade 10) 6 – 11.99 credits

Junior (Grade 11) 12 – 18.99 credits

Senior (Grade 12) 19 - 25 credits

Previous high school transcripts will be evaluated to determine student grade level and courses required for graduation.


Grade Point Average (GPA)

Grades will be calculated on a 4.0 scale. Honors classes will be weighted on a 5.0 scale. Coursework that is not completed at semester’s end will receive a failing grade which will result in loss of credit.


Graduation Requirements

Taos Academy requires the student to accumulate a minimum of 25 credits to earn a diploma. Beyond New Mexico Public Education requirements, Taos Academy students are required to participate in foreign language development, dual credit or internship, 21st Century Learning training and community service/leadership. Each student’s individual “Next Step Plan” that identifies courses required for graduation is developed by Taos Academy staff with the student and parent.


Withdrawal from a Course

Courses are assigned according to the student’s “Next Step Plan” and graduation requirements. Any withdrawal from a course requires approval from Advisor and parent and must be made before midterm to avoid penalty. Any changes may affect the graduation date and plans. All changes must be considered carefully.

  • Drop policy: Students may drop a class for any reason without penalty at or before midterm. If the drop is made after the midterm date, the student will receive a failing grade in the class. This policy includes summer school.

Friday “Early College” Program

Students in 9th through 12th grade who do not meet the College Link requirements have the opportunity to participate in our Friday Early College Program through Career Pathways which allows students to take UNM classes for dual credit. 

College Link/Dual Credit Enrollment Agreements


This program allows students classified as 11th or 12th graders to earn high school and college credit simultaneously upon successful completion of a course. To be eligible to participate in a dual credit program, the student shall obtain permission from his/her advisor, parent and Director. Students who are not on track with their regular curriculum or on any probationary behavior restriction will not be given permission to take college courses. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA to be accepted into core academic college classes. Students must obtain a registration application from their advisor and will be given guidance towards signing up. It is the responsibility of the student to cancel an unwanted class before the college’s disenrollment deadline. **NOTE: All college credit courses are also Taos Academy credit courses; therefore, all Taos Academy policies apply and will be enforced. Students enrolled in the dual credit program are required to schedule at least three lab sessions weekly at Taos Academy. Attendance is required on the scheduled days and absences will be handled through Taos Academy attendance policy.

Transcripts and Grade Reporting

Progress reports are issued regularly throughout the semester by the student’s advisor. Parents and students have access to virtual progress and grade reports at any time. It is the responsibility of the parent to learn to access academic reports and monitor progress for student success. Semester grades and transcripts are updated at the end of each semester.


Post-Secondary Planning

Taos Academy staff encourages appropriate post-secondary goals. Therefore, 10th grade students enroll in a college/career prep course to prepare for college testing, study skills, degree exploration and entrance requirements to specific college choices. We suggest families also utilize community services to plan for college placement. The Bridges Project for Education (575.758.5074) is one community service with a wealth of information to help with post-secondary planning.


College Entrance Examinations

Taos Academy will be facilitating all 11th grade students taking the ACT and /or SAT. Information on the costs, dates of registration, test locations and dates of administration of college entrance examinations may be found on their respective websites:

ACT www.act.org

SAT www.collegeboard.com

PSAT/NMSQT* www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat


Summer School

Taos Academy offers summer school to enrolled students. Students may take online courses for credit recovery, acceleration, or summer enrichment. Summer courses are offered for credit and require a $200 deposit, $100 refundable upon successful completion of the class. Students may drop a class for any reason without grade penalty at/or before midterm. If the drop is made after the midterm date, the student will receive a failing grade in the class. Deposit will NOT be returned for dropped classes.


Sports/Extracurricular Activities

Taos Academy students who maintain eligibility may participate in sports or other extracurricular activities in accordance with the Sports/Extracurricular Activity Policy listed below. TA students who are eligible may participate on Taos Municipal School teams. Students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA to be eligible to participate in sports.





Taos Academy uses a variety of digital core curriculum designed to motivate students while meeting or exceeding all national common core standards. Digital curriculum provides each student with coursework that matches their personal learning level and prescribes a learning path that best fits their academic growth. Students are assessed and given an individual learning plan (ILP) according to their skills assessment, not grade level. A student may need remediation in one area, yet be strong in another. This is the beauty of digital education; we can customize the learning for each student to best fit their needs.



Taos Academy offers elective classes designed for enrichment and to prepare students with 21st Century skills. Electives are available online, face to face, and/or for dual credit at the college level for qualifying students.


Course Library

Reading, Writing, and Language Arts

  • Language Arts All levels

  • Basic Reading Skills

  • Classics Novel Reading

  • Communication and Speech

  • Literacy and Comprehension

  • Writing Process & Practice



  • Foundational Math

  • Problem Solving & Data Skills

  • Financial Math

  • Algebra I and II

  • Geometry

  • Math Models and Application

  • Pre-Calculus

  • Trigonometry



  • Life Science

  • Physical Science

  • Earth & Space Science

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Environmental

  • Physics

  • Geology


Social Studies

  • US History

  • NM History

  • Human Geography

  • World History

  • Global Studies

  • Geography

  • Civics

  • U.S. Government

  • Economics


Life & Career Skills

  • Business Basics

  • Accounting

  • Job Skills

  • Computer Applications

  • Sociology/Psychology

  • Workplace Writing

  • Communication Skills

  • Health Sciences

  • Music Appreciation

  • Art History

  • Driver’s Education

  • Information Technology


All core academic classes are offered with an honors option. AP courses may be available upon request.


21st Century Learning Opportunities


Leadership Classes

  • Emotional Intelligence

  • Advisory Council

  • Outdoor Education

  • Community Service


Global Studies Seminar

  • World Language study

  • Current World Events

  • Socratic Discussion Seminars


Smart Labs

  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Math Lab

  • Robotics

  • Aeronautics

  • Animation

  • Digital Game Desin

  • Digital Arts & Music lab


Enrichment Workshops

  • Creative/Structured Writing

  • Hands on/real life Math

  • Literature Studies

  • STEM Institute


Career/College Prep Class

  • Degree/trade exploration

  • College/career entrance requirements

  • SAT/ACT Test prep

  • Study skills

  • Dual Credit or Internships


Physical Health Education

  • Lifetime Wellness

  • Health Education

  • Physical Education

  • Others upon availability


What is 21st Century Learning Curriculum?


Life and Career Skills

Flexibility and Adaptability

Initiative and Self Direction

Social and Cross-Cultural Skills

Productivity and Accountability

Leadership and Responsibility


Learning and Innovation Skills

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Creativity and Innovation

Communication and Collaboration


Information, Media and Technology Skills

Information Literacy

Media Literacy

ICT (Information, Communication and Technology) Literacy


Detailed descriptions available by request.





“A” Level Performance


The student’s work exceeds all of the basic requirements of the challenge/task at a very high level of competence. It is clear, carried out with unusual precision and skill, and demonstrates an in-depth understanding and analysis of the content and the challenge itself. The work is presented in an original and creative manner that communicates either new insights or intriguing perspectives.

“B” Level Performance


The student’s work exceeds all of the basic requirements of the challenge/task at a high level of competence. It is complete, has no significant errors, and demonstrates a thorough grasp of the content and the challenge/task itself. In addition, the work is well presented, and facts and ideas have been combined in order to generalize or explain conclusions and interpretations of the ideas and concepts studied.

“C” Level Performance


The student’s work satisfies the basic requirements of the challenge/task at an acceptable level of competence. It shows the required grasp of key ideas and concepts, is presented in an adequate manner, and conveys the key ideas of the challenge/task itself. Work at this level meets only the minimum level of performance and should be considered a point

from which improvement should begin.

“D” Level Performance


The student’s work does not satisfy the basic requirements of the challenge/task and must show improvement. This work demonstrates a minimal understanding of key ideas and concepts, lacks clarity and precision in its presentation, and demonstrates little understanding of the challenge/task itself. This work meets only the minimum level of competence for granting credit.

“F” Level Performance

Below 60

The student has not met the basic requirements for “D Level Performance” in the course. All strategies and/or time available to satisfy this academic requirement have been exhausted, and “No Credit” will be awarded for this course work.


Available for designated non credit courses only.

Honor Roll

Honor roll - must earn 3.0 to 3.49 GPA

High Honor Roll – must earn a 3.5 to 3.79 GPA

Director’s Honors – must earn 3.8-4.0+ GPA





  • Students will have an individualized educational program aligned to their personal learning goals to ensure success.

  • Students are required to meet the following rigorous academic requirements:

    1. To meet all state requirements for High School graduation.

    2. To show adequate yearly growth in literacy and mathematics.

    3. To have a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 to be promoted to the next level or required credits for HS.

    4. Mid-level students will successfully complete one academic or elective high school level class to enter ninth grade.

    5. High school level students will successfully complete either coursework for two college-level classes or 200 hours of participation in an internship program.

  • Students will participate in leadership training to develop personal and community life goals.

  • Students will participate in enrichment opportunities to further enhance their educational experience.

  • Students will participate in foreign language instruction. Mid High students receive HS credit with completion of two levels of the same language only.

  • Students will show evidence of becoming an independent, lifelong learner. That is, the student must demonstrate the ability to pose questions, marshal resources, and pursue learning with dedication, independence, imagination, and courage through the development of an end-of-year portfolio.

  • Two world language credits are recommended for college admission requirement.


Tutoring for Students

Students, on an individual basis, should make arrangements with their Instructional Advisor for additional help. See also Student Success Lab opportunities.


Academy Personnel

Each Taos Academy staff member can support students in solving both personal and academic problems as needed. The academy teachers/advisors and staff can provide assistance with many problems or make viable suggestions. These individuals make it a point to know students and want to see each student succeed.


Achieve Better Grades

By developing good study habits, each student accepts the responsibility for completing assignments promptly. This includes being focused and using lab time wisely, become a better learner every day. Since student success is a shared concern, parents are asked to encourage their son/daughter to maintain good study habits and ensure an environment conducive for independent study.


Keys to Student Success

Parent Support is key to student success -parents can help structure learning time, monitor weekly progress, encourage success, develop motivation strategies and get involved with the school.

Parent Support Strategies

  1. Provide a quiet study place, consistent time, and materials needed.
  2. Plan for your son/daughter to average 45-55 minutes per class per day.

  3. Encourage and inspire them towards accomplishing all educational goals.

  4. Learn how to access progress and grade reports to monitor success.(ie pacing guides)

  5. Check progress electronically at least weekly to support successful completion.

  6. Support self-study efforts and good work habits.

  7. Work with the student’s advisor to develop and maintain a learning program that is aligned to the student’s interests, educational goals and state standards.

  8. Participate in at least two school functions per year.

  9. Provide healthy lunch and snacks. Provide timely transportation to and from school as well as other scheduled activities

  10. Collaborate with other parents to support the hybrid schedule of Taos Academy Charter School.

  11. Encourage student engagement in non academic opportunities at TA.


Student Success Strategies

  1. Develop good study habits

  2. Read and understand your lesson before you begin answering the assigned questions.

  3. Take notes on the lectures, online content assignments and lab assessments.  

  4. Submit lessons equivalent to one lesson per subject per day.

  5. Be an independent learner and do your own work.

  6. Get extra help by asking your Instructional Advisor for help.

  7. Schedule a time to meet with your Instructional Advisor at school during regular school hours if needed.

  8. Access tutoring options quickly so you don’t fall behind.

  9. Look for extra-curricular activities. Get involved with the many activities that the Taos Community has to offer.

  10. Collaborate with other students – make a study date or meet in town at one of the many internet cafes to do schoolwork before some other activity.

  11. Remember that your learning is your responsibility.


Instructional Advisor Support

  1. Assist students to create individual learning plans to promote academic success.

  2. Engage students in activities to enhance learning and promote continued learning.

  3. Provide timely instructional feedback and academic support.

  4. Monitor students’ progress (pace and grades).

  5. Monitor progress towards graduation and career or college readiness.

  6. Provide students with guidance for finding and using internet resources.

  7. Communicate concerns and/or positive progress with parents and students weekly.

  8. Be available for extra tutoring needs when necessary.

  9. Encourage student engagement in non academic opportunities at TA.

  10. Content teachers support students in the teacher’s highly qualified areas.

  11. Collaborate with 21C teachers to enrich programming.


Student Success Lab and Student Success Contracts

To further support student success, Taos Academy has implemented a Student Success process. The process begins when a student falls behind their pacing calendar in any subject. The instructional advisor will start with verbal encouragement to catch up and strongly suggest attending the SSL (student success lab) on non scheduled school days or Friday for Math tutoring.

When the student falls below 70% actual grade in any one class, the student and parent are given a written warning for lack of progress. If the student does not meet their target calendar schedules in every class within 1 week or continues to fall behind, an absence is recorded and a parent, student, teacher meeting may be scheduled. The advisor may also suggest extra time for tutoring. Absences will accumulate each week until the student is back on schedule.

If the student continues to stay behind in work the advisor may place the student on a “Student Success Contract”. This step is designed to help the student get back on track and provide more structured time. Students on contract are required to attend the Taos Academy Student Success Lab on non-school days Monday through Thursday 8 -12 for a period of 30 days. Absence for lack of work does not accrue during this period. Appropriate placement may be discussed with parents, student, advisor and Director if the student continues to struggle.

The Student Success Lab is designed to be a quiet, focused and productive learning environment. Disruption of the lab will not be tolerated. Parents will be called to pick students up if they are disrupting the learning environment. Continued disruption of the lab will result in loss of the privilege to attend the SSL.




Enrollment Policy

Taos Academy sets forth the following policies: In accordance with the Charter School Act, any student, regardless of where he/she resides in New Mexico, may attend Taos Academy. Taos Academy’s enrollment policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, or need for special education services. These policies are necessary in the event that enrollment applications exceed the enrollment capacity. If it is the intent of the parents to enroll their student, the parent must submit an electronic Letter of Intent during our enrollment period for each student. Intent letters are accepted throughout the year and are added to the lottery selection. Any student with a submitted letter of intent that is not selected by the lottery will be placed on a waiting list.

Probationary Enrollment

Taos Academy holds the right to place students on probationary enrollment.


Due to the nature of the hybrid model of instruction, we ask that students only withdraw from Taos Academy at semester intervals. If this is unavoidable please give us a 30 day notice of withdrawal. Upon terminating enrollment at Taos Academy Charter School, for any reason, please follow this procedure.

  1. Inform the instructional advisor, and the office with as much notice as possible, preferably with minimum of thirty day notice.

  2. Complete and return the withdrawal form to the office.

  3. Schedule a final conference with the director and instructional advisor.

If a withdrawn student chooses to re-enroll, a new letter of intent is required and the student will be placed into the lottery or at the bottom of the wait list.

Students not in attendance, physical or online, for 10 consecutive school days will voluntarily relinquish lottery position unless arrangements have been made with the Director prior to the absence. See absence policy for more detail.

Students accruing 20+ absences, physical or online, per semester will voluntarily relinquish lottery position unless arrangements were made with the Director prior to the absence. See absence policy for more detail.




TAOS ACADEMY: Where each individual aspires to be part of a community of learners that support and celebrate a passion for excellence.

Student rights and responsibilities are part of the life of every school. The Taos Academy Leadership Program is designed to assist students in developing the skills needed to make prudent and respectful decisions so their actions are aligned with their responsibilities. The Student Code of Conduct outlines these rights and responsibilities. In the educational setting, rights provide individuals with the basic framework for making sustained progress toward worthy goals. Individual responsibilities make those rights possible.

Taos Academy recognizes that learning to make decisions is a process. One component of this learning process is being held accountable. The rules and standards outlined in this handbook have been developed to protect the rights of everyone, to insure that all students and staff are treated with compassion and respect, and to assure that our school operates in a safe and orderly manner.

In order to attain these objectives, all members of the TAOS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL community must adhere to certain guidelines in the daily activities of this campus.

Please read this document carefully. Understand your responsibilities as a student, and agree to follow all of the guidelines listed within this handbook.


Closed Campus

Taos Academy is a closed campus. Once students enter the building for the school day, they are not permitted to leave campus unless checked out by a parent, guardian or other approved release privileges are granted by the Director. Parents must give written permission for a student to leave early for an appointment, unless for an emergency. All students must check out before leaving early and must have prior parental permission in writing. Students will not be released for lunch unless picked up by a parent. Please schedule all appointments on non-scheduled school days. “College Link” students are exempt from closed campus policy.


Student Drivers

Students who wish to drive to school must obtain a school driving pass. To obtain this pass bring a copy of driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration, and an approval letter from parent. The pass is subject to safe driving inspections and can be revoked for lack of academic progress, behavioral misconduct, and/or lack of adherence to school traffic safety signs and parking regulations. Speed limit is 5mph. Director can revoke a pass at any time. Students may not visit or sit in their cars during the school day, without an escort.

Taos Academy is not responsible for the safety of vehicles or contents within the vehicle parked on campus.


Attendance Policy

For attendance purposes students must maintain a minimum performance standard and maintain an identified pace. The Learning Management System (LMS) provides teachers, parents and students with consistent and current updates of student performance.

All student activity is recorded. This includes: log in and log out time, lessons completed, time spent on assignments, grades and information about work completed and current status in each course. Students have a beginning and ending date for each course and a weekly work schedule to keep pace with the semester timeline.

Recorded Absences:

  • Academic Absences: Students will receive an absence for lack of progress in their classes. When the student reaches below 70% actual grade in any class, the student and parent are given a written warning for lack of progress. If the student does not meet their target in every class within 1 week or continues to fall behind, an absence is recorded and a parent, student, teacher meeting may be scheduled. Absences will accumulate each week until the student is back on schedule. If the student continues to stay behind in work the advisor may place the student on a “student success contract”. Students on contract are required to attend the Taos Academy Student Success Lab Monday through Thursday on their non-school days 8:00 -12:00 for a period of 30 days.

  • Physical Absences: Students will also receive an absence when not in attendance for scheduled activities or for scheduled on-campus days. All alternative schedules must be submitted in writing from parent/guardian and approved by Taos Academy Director and the student’s advisor. Students with 10 recorded absences in one semester will be reported to the local truancy agency. Parents are notified with a warning at 5 absences. Students not in attendance, physical and/or online, for 10 consecutive school days or 20 recorded absences per semester will voluntarily relinquish lottery position unless arrangements have been made with the Director prior to the absence. Policy stands for all students unless arrangements have been made in writing with the Director prior to the absence.

Tardy Policy: Students arriving after 8:00am must sign in. Students will receive an absence for every third tardy arrival.


Student Network Account and Electronic Communications

Please be advised of the following information before using Taos Academy network accounts:

Taos Academy students will be able to access the computer network on a regular basis for electronic e-mail and the Internet, including their coursework. To gain access to e-mail and the Internet all students under the age of 18 must obtain parental permission.

The following practices while using Taos Academy electronic mail and accessing the Internet shall be prohibited:

  • Any use for political or commercial purposes

  • The use of electronic mail in any matter that is contrary to school policy

  • Any use of profanity or inappropriate language on electronic mail

  • Any use that disrupts the educational and administrative goals of the school

  • Any use of the account by anyone but the authorized owner of the account

  • Any reproduction of copyrighted material without explicit permission

  • Access of material that has been deemed inappropriate for school use

  • Sending or receiving offensive messages or pictures

  • Harassing, insulting, or attacking others

  • Damaging computers, computer systems, or computer networks

  • Using another’s password

  • Trespassing on another’s folders, work or files

  • You may only log onto one machine at a time

  • DO NOT share your user-name or password with anyone.

  • You are responsible for ALL activity while your account is logged in. If you walk away from a computer while logged in, you are still responsible.

  • Read the Discipline Matrix in the Code of Conduct. If you use or plan to use technology to do harm, you risk losing your network privileges – and access to your courses – as well as being suspended or expelled from school.

  • All activities on our school network ARE monitored and logged including personal laptops.

Violations may result in loss of access as well as other disciplinary or legal action.

Staff and students will be allowed access to Internet resources with the understanding that some material that can be accessed on the Internet is inaccurate; additionally, some resources contain material that is deemed contrary to prevailing community standards and is inappropriate for classroom use, and that access of such resources will not be permitted.

The school will provide a computer interface to Internet services that students should use in accessing instructional and reference material on the Internet. This interface will be designed so that objectionable materials are not easily available (for example LightSpeed to filter objectionable material); however, the Internet is designed in such a manner that all material contained within it are accessible using various search and retrieval tools. Students and Parents must be informed that inappropriate materials could be encountered during students’ research to achieve valid instructional objectives. If inappropriate material is inadvertently encountered, students are required to notify TA staff immediately and shall disengage from the material. Students and teachers must be instructed in the necessary procedures of evaluation of information and resources as part of their ongoing education for life in modern society.


School Wear Policy

Students are expected to be neat, clean, and appropriately dressed for learning while on campus or on school sponsored field trips. Interpretation and discretion of the following dress code is subject to administrative discretion. When, in the judgment of the Director, a student’s appearance, mode of dress, and/or cleanliness is distracting and disruptive of the learning process, or constitutes a threat to safety or acceptable standards of sanitation, the student may be required to make requested modifications or be suspended until such modifications are accomplished. The Director shall be responsible for determining good grooming, proper dress and attire of the students. Additional dress or appearance standards are specified in the following policy. To avoid loss of learning time, students will be offered alternative clothes to wear through the day. Refusal to accept alternative clothes will result in dismissal from school and parent notification.


Inappropriate Dress:

The following are considered inappropriate dress for Taos Academy students:

  • Cut-offs, short-shorts, mini-skirts, oversized sagging pants, oversized sagging shirts, strapless tops, spaghetti straps, low cut tops, see through material, exposed midriff / back area, shoulder straps less than 1 inch wide, insignias representing drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, violence, gangs or foul language, or any other attire that may be disruptive or unsafe in a learning environment.

  • Any and all exposed undergarments. i.e.: bras, underwear, boxer shorts.

Other dress items inappropriate to wear at Taos Academy include but may not be limited to:

  • Head gear (bandannas, hairnets, hats, or hoods) sunglasses, chains, spiked jewelry, or any other accessory that may be disruptive or unsafe in a learning environment. Head gear and sunglasses can be worn outside, though not within the learning environment. Head coverings associated with religious dress are acceptable.


Approved styles are:

  • Short or long sleeved. Collared, turtleneck or mock turtleneck, sleeved t-shirts, and dress shirts that meet the appropriate dress requirements.

Note: No skin should be shown between the bottom of the shirt/blouse and the top of the pants/skirt when arms are stretched upward. No undergarments should show under or through the shirt. Shirts worn out can be no longer than fingertip length, shoulder straps must be at least 1 inch wide, and neckline can be no lower than 3” below collar bone.


Approved styles are:

Pants of all kinds are acceptable that meet appropriate dress requirements.

Note: Pants must fit at the waist or hip, and be properly hemmed or cuffed. No undergarments should show above, below or through the pants. Tight fitting, stretch type pants are not allowed. Also, pants that are frayed, ripped, torn, or have holes are not allowed.

Other Attire

Approved styles are:

Shorts - no higher than five inches above the knee (tight fitting, stretch type are not allowed).

Skirts - no higher than five inches above the knee (tight fitting, stretch type are not allowed).

Skorts no higher than five inches above the knee (tight fitting, stretch type are not allowed).

Jumpers no higher than five inches above the knee (tight fitting, stretch type are not allowed).

Dresses - no higher than five inches above the knee (tight fitting, sleeveless or backless, and stretch type are not allowed).

Note: Slits in Skirts, Dresses, or Jumpers can be no higher than the point where longest extended finger ends when student is standing up straight.


Winter coats, winter jackets are for Outside wear only. If a jacket is worn inside a building it must remain open. Sweaters – pull-over, cardigan, or button-down – Sweatshirts, Blazers, Vests – must be appropriately sized. Items worn Inside the school building for warmth Must meet the Dress Code

Footwear All students must wear appropriate protective footwear.


Any “style” that disrupts the educational process or endangers other students.

Headgear such as bandanas, hats, and sunglasses may be worn outdoors only.

Belt loop chains or wallet chains, spiked jewelry, and extended belts.

Any items or accessories which advertise, display, or promote any drug (including tobacco and alcohol), sexual innuendo, violence, foul language, weaponry, profanity, hatred, or bigotry toward any group.




Code of Conduct and Student Consequences

The following TA Code of Conduct has been adopted to protect and foster respect for the rights of TA students and staff. The school is a community and the rules and regulations of the school are the laws of that community. All persons enjoying the rights of citizenship are subject to the laws of their community. Each carries with it a corresponding obligation. The right to attend Taos Academy Charter School is not absolute. It is conditional on each student’s acceptance to abide by the laws of the school community until and unless the rules are changed. The Director, advisors, and school staff are responsible for maintaining school order and discipline, facilitating the education program by ensuring an orderly, safe environment. In discharging their duties, all school employees have the right to be free from intimidation or abuse and have their lawful requests and instructions followed. The following disciplinary matrix is designed to serve as a guide when administrators are determining consequences. Nothing contained within this matrix should prevent an administrator from using his or her own discretion in regards to a particular situation. Administrators will investigate all possible disciplinary situations and assign consequences in a fair and consistent manner in conjunction with the Governing Council policy. The following represents the recommended guidelines in the disposition of discipline situations at TA. Therefore, depending on the circumstances of the behavior or education status, responses may vary from situation to situation at the administrator’s discretion.

LUNCH DETENTION (LD) Loss of Extended Lunch Privilege

Lunch Detention will occur for the 40 minutes of lunchtime within the school day. Students’ assigned detention will report to the lunch detention supervisor promptly at 12:00. Students will be given 20 minutes to eat quietly at a separate detention table. After which, they will participate in community service tasks such as cleaning the lunch room, main labs, classrooms, and the outside grounds.

FRIDAY DETENTION (FD) – Friday detention will be scheduled from 8:00 to 12:00. Students’ assigned Friday detention will report to the detention supervisor promptly at 8:00. Students will participate in community service tasks such as cleaning the lunch room, main labs, classrooms, and the outside grounds.


All in school suspensions will be scheduled at the discretion of the disciplinary team. Students may be required to serve on non-scheduled school days. All suspensions are reported and tracked in the student’s permanent school records.


Students who are suspended from Taos Academy Charter School are prohibited from being on the campus or in attendance at any school activity or event for the duration of their suspension.

A parent meeting to develop or review a behavior plan/contract must occur prior to the student returning to school. Students are required to maintain contact with their advisor and continue academic coursework during suspension.


It is the Director’s discretion to recommend a hearing for student habitual behavior. Expulsion from Taos Academy will be decided in collaboration with the Governing Council, Director, Parent and student.


Disciplinary action may result in the loss of privileges to attend scheduled trips or events.

Taos Academy has a no-restraint safety policy. If a student becomes violent on campus or is in need of immediate removal due to safety concerns, the parent will be notified and the local police department will be dispatched immediately.

If an incident is considered exceptionally flagrant, then a higher consequence, including but not limited to a disciplinary hearing, may be warranted. In some cases with Level III infractions, a DPS (department of public safety) referral may be warranted. In both cases administrative discretion will be exercised.

Apology letters are required for all offenses.

Reintegration/Mediation meetings are required for all OSS offenses.

For more information on specific offenses and actions see the discipline matrix of the full downloadable PDF handbook here.





For the purposes of school board policy, a "weapon" is any firearm, knife, explosive, or other object, even if manufactured for a nonviolent purpose that has a potential violent use. Additionally defined as a "weapon" is any "look-a-like" object that resembles an object that has a potentially violent use, if, under the surrounding circumstances the purpose of keeping or carrying the object is for use, or threat of use, as a weapon.



For the protection and security of individuals and property on the TA campus, the search of individuals, including students, their personal effects, desks and vehicles on school property, will be activated as permitted under federal and state law. Such searches may be conducted without prior parental consent or the presence of a parent. In certain circumstances random searches of personal effects, district property (such as lockers and desks) and vehicles on campus may occur, including random searches with the assistance of canines. Any illegal or unauthorized objects found in any search are subject to seizure. Taos Academy Director can dispatch local Police Department at his/her discretion. Parents will be notified upon dispatch.


Video Surveillance

For the protection and security of individuals and property TA will use video surveillance equipment. TA employs a comprehensive system of cameras which are used to provide a safe and secure educational environment. Cameras are located inside and outside the buildings.



Students commit plagiarism when they use someone else’s words, ideas, or creative productions as if they were their own. In publications, plagiarism is illegal, and in scholarly work it is unethical.

Assignments are plagiarized if they are completed in whole or part by anyone other than the student who claims credit.

Copying and pasting homework, computer work, test answers, or creative productions of any kind is plagiarism.

Submitting a paper or signing a name to a creative project that has been originated in any way by another is plagiarism. Students should correct or edit their own work.

Plagiarism can occur from printed material, the internet, as well as from people, but students can avoid plagiarism by precisely quoting borrowed material and carefully crediting the source. Students must submit their own work for credit.

Any student who allows someone else to copy his or her work will receive the same consequences as the plagiarizer.


Electronic Devices

TA is committed to providing a safe, positive and productive learning and working environment. The use of Electronic Devices increases lab disruptions and results in an increased possibility of inappropriate communications. The term “Electronic Devices” shall mean any and all devices which accomplish their purposes electronically and include, without limitation, cell phones, pagers, electronic emailing devices (e.g., Blackberry), radios, tape players, CD players, DVD players, video cameras, iPods or other media players, laser pointers, portable video game players, personal laptop computers, cameras, and any device that provides a wireless, unfiltered connection to the Internet.

Consequently, the use of any and all Electronic Devices by students during the school day, whether on-campus or during a school-sponsored event must have prior approval. The “school day” shall mean the normal hours of operation of the school. While students are not prohibited from possessing Electronic Devices, unless otherwise prohibited by law or policies, rules or procedures, the Electronic Devices must be turned “off” and stored in a student’s backpack or purse, or vehicle. This Policy does not apply to the sanctioned use of Electronic Devices by teachers, or students under the direct supervision of their teacher, for educational purposes (medical contact to parent).

Use of Electronic Devices in violation of this policy shall result in the confiscation of the Electronic Device. After the first offense, the student’s parent may recover the Electronic Device from TA administrative office at the end of the school day. After the second offense, the student’s parent/guardian shall be notified that the student has twice violated this policy and that the parent/guardian must recover the Electronic Device from the TA administrative office with a 1 day ISS. After the third offense, the Electronic Device will be confiscated for the remainder of the school year. Electronic Devices that are not recovered at the end of the school year may be disposed of by TA. A student who violates this policy more than two (2) times during the school year also may be subject to discipline for engaging in willfully disruptive conduct.

TA shall not be liable or responsible for the loss of or damage to any Electronic Device brought to school and / or confiscated from a student pursuant to this policy.


PDA-Public Display of Affection

PDA or public display of affection is defined as the show of affection between two people on Taos Academy campus.

Appropriate PDA: Holding hands, less than 3 second hug, kiss on the cheek.

Inappropriate PDA is defined as any show of affection beyond those listed above.



Because of concerns for safety and security, skateboards and rollerblades are not to be used at anytime on campus. Bicycles shall be dismounted once on campus and secured to one of the bike racks provided. TA is not responsible for any loss, theft, or damage of skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, etc. brought onto campus. Bicycle and skateboard use to and from school requires use of a helmet (effective July 1, 2007 - new state law).


Habitually Disruptive Behavior

Habitually disruptive behavior is defined as a student who fails to comply with policy or is a disruption in the classroom, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at school activities or events at least five times during the school year for behavior which is initiated, willful and overt and which requires attention of school personnel to deal with the disruption.


Sexual Harassment/Misconduct

Sexual harassment regarding student-to-student, adult-to-student and student-to-adult conduct means unwelcome or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature (verbal, nonverbal, or physical). Any sexual harassment should be reported to a staff member immediately.


Bullying (face-to-face or cyber)

Bullying is an act of aggressive behavior in order to intentionally hurt another person, physically or mentally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person. Bullying behavior includes name calling, verbal or written abuse, exclusion from activities, exclusion from social situations, physical abuse, or coercion. Bullying will not be tolerated at TA.


Destruction of School Property

Students must respect the Taos Academy Charter School property. Current replacement price is imposed on any lost or excessively damaged equipment or educational materials. Grades and Transcripts may be withheld for any delinquent accounts.


Health and Wellness

Students who experience health problems during the school day must report to the administration office. Students are evaluated by the staff for emergency health problems. Students will be assessed and an attempt to reach the parent will be made. Attempts to reach a parent will always occur when a health problem exists or an injury is sustained during the school day. If the health office staff has assessed the student as able to remain in school and a parent cannot be reached, the student will be returned to class. Parents or other designated emergency contacts must pick up the student from school and sign them out in the office. Parents are requested to report any serious injury or ongoing health conditions that occur throughout the school year to the health assistant or director to support educational success and recovery. For severe illness or injury cases, Holy Cross Hospital will be dispatched.


TA Policies in accordance with the New Mexico State Department of Health, Office of School Health are as follows:

Other than meter dose inhalers, NO medications are to be carried by students on campus. This includes both prescription and over the counter medications.

Parents who wish to have over the counter medications available for distribution to their student during the school year must obtain an over the counter medication form from the administrative office and return it with the medication in the original container. The medication will be provided as needed to the student in the administrative office.


Students who require prescription medication during the school year must obtain a prescription form. It must be filled out by the prescribing Physician and the lower parent release part signed by the parent. It must then be returned with the medication in the original prescription container and the script must match the Physician orders. Prescription medications will be given within one hour of the time due and students will sign for their dose. This is assisted self-administration. When students fail to present to the office for their medication, every attempt to locate them and provide it to them will occur. However, due to emergencies this may not always be possible. If your student consistently has to be called to the office for medication, the health staff will request a parent meeting with you to determine the best solution to this problem. When a student has run out of medication, the bottle will be sent home with the student and the parent will be called. Parents should bring their students’ medication to the office at the start of the school day when possible.


Student caught in possession of either prescription or over the counter medications during the school day may be subject to Level III disciplinary measures. Students who either give or sell prescription drugs or over the counter medications to other students on campus will be subject to Level III disciplinary measures under selling, distributing or exchanging an illegal substance. It is imperative to understand that both over the counter and prescription drugs have different effects on individuals and could cause great harm or even death when given to someone for whom it was not intended.


Prescription Medications and Over the Counter Medication will not be kept year to year. Students or parents must pick up the medications in the health office by the last day of school. All medications left at school will be discarded on the last day of school. Physician orders for medications expire at the end of the school year, as do over the counter parent permission slips.


Special Education

Taos Academy will provide special education services in accordance with mandates of law, the Public Education Department, and Taos Academy Special Education Policies and Procedures Manual. Please see Special Education policy and procedures for more detail.


Sports/Extracurricular Activities

Student Participation in interscholastic activities. This includes all sports teams as well as any after school activities from which students request early dismissal.


From the NMAA Section VI - Eligibility - 6.1 Sports Participation:

Student participation in interscholastic activities plays a significant role in personal and educational development. Participation is a privilege, not a right.

Students who participate in interscholastic activities represent the school, depict its character and serve as role models to other students. Accordingly, participants are subject to a standard of academic performance and to higher standards of conduct both in and out of the school setting. Continued participation in interscholastic activities is conditioned upon observing and maintaining such standards.

From NMAA Section X: Charter School / Alternative School / Home School Student Participation

10.3 … a charter school student is eligible to participate in school district activities at the public school in the attendance zone in which the student resides, according to the New Mexico Activities Association guidelines.


As a state charter school, students at Taos Academy are able to participate in district sports and clubs and are subject to all NMAA regulations. They are also subject to our school policies while attending interscholastic activities outside of our campus.

In addition to the NMAA guidelines, Taos Academy Charter School has adopted the following policy as they pertain to our school.

A. Student who wishes to participate in an interscholastic activity outside our campus must complete an “Off Campus Sports and Extracurricular Activities Form”. Student may obtain this form from their Adviser or School Registrar. Student should allow ample time for all signatures and to be sure they are academically eligible before attending any practices.

B. TA will determine initial eligibility of participation based on most recent academic transcript. Student must have a minimum 2.0 GPA in order to start participating in the activity with no more than 1 F. If a student does not have this GPA, they will not be allowed to join the off campus activity. This is NMAA policy and all students/schools in the state are bound by it.

C. Once a student has been found eligible and form has been submitted to their Adviser, they are allowed to leave TA campus at 3:00 (or appropriate time based on activity) on their regular school days. Students are required to provide TA with schedule of all practices and games prior to participation. Students must acquire this from their coach and provide information to their Adviser.

D. Further eligibility will be determined as per Taos Academy’s regular academic policy which can be found in Student Handbook. Please note the following specifics as they relate to a student leaving early for extra-curricular activities:

Taos Academy students are aware of their grades and progress on a daily basis. It is therefore the student’s responsibility to keep grades above 70% in all classes in order to be able to leave school early for extra-curricular activities.

Gating measure is Sunday’s Edgenuity progress report. Students are subject to all academic policies regarding Academic Warnings, Academic Absences, and Academic Contract.

If a student falls below the 70% grade threshold in any class one week, they will get a warning from their adviser as part of our regular academic process. They must coordinate getting their grades up by the next Sunday report. Student should coordinate resets / re-grades with their advisor in a timely manner in order to have ample time to bring up grades before Saturday’s weekly cut-off and Sunday’s progress report.

If a student continues to be behind a second week, they will receive an Academic Absence and should continue to work with their adviser to get grades up by the next Sunday report. (See week 1)

After 3 weeks behind academic target, a student is no longer allowed to leave campus early AND goes on Academic Contract. A student who is on an Academic Contract will be considered ineligible for the entire contract period.


E. Since the NMAA requires an eligibility check every 9 weeks, Taos Academy will be providing progress reports (GPA) to the Athletic Director of the public school or to the Director of the extra-curricular activity according to their date for eligibility. Students must be aware that if they do not have the required GPA on that date, they will be considered ineligible to participate for the rest of the season. This date usually falls on a Friday and therefore may be before TA’s weekly Sunday progress report. No prior notice to student is needed since TA students can check their grades on a daily basis and should already know from their coach when the 9-week eligibility check date is.


All student handbook policies are abbreviated from Taos Academy Approved Policy. For more detail on a particular process or policy please refer to Taos Academy Policy and Procedures available at Taos Academy.