About Tara

   

“As a student at Tara, I found the academic subjects enlivening and rigorous, delivered by the faculty and received by us with a sense of joy. Tara has created a truly extraordinary environment for learning.” – Alumna, class of 2001

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Location

Tara Performing Arts High School
4180 19th St
Boulder CO 80304

Contact 303-440-4510 office@tarahighschool.org



BACIS

  

Tara Performing Arts High School is committed to an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone; we extend the same rights and privileges to all prospective and current students. Tara does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, religion, disability, medical condition, marital status, citizenship status, military service status or other basis prohibited by law.

  

© 2018 Tara Performing Arts High School   |   Web design by Starkeconcepts

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Mission

Our mission is to awaken students’ minds and hearts, foster their sense of connection to each other and the world, to engage them in meaningful work and activities, and to excite them about life itself. Accordingly, we provide an educational path that asks students to step into the light as individuals and to learn to take the kind of risks involved in being truly human.

Tara is dedicated to providing opportunities for emotional growth and renewal through deep involvement in the performing arts. In addition to supporting lively intellectual development through a demanding Waldorf academic curriculum, the school encourages students to engage in artistic process as a way to explore the challenges of becoming fully human in our complex and challenging age.

“I came to Tara as a boarding student because of some vague feeling that told me I had found something special. I stayed because it was beyond my wildest dreams of what a school could be. The community welcomed me with open arms and became my family, as I was so far away from my own. Tara has taught me to engage with the world and take responsibility for my learning. It nurtures my creativity, challenges my mind, expands my heart, and strengthens my ideals every day. Most importantly, it has allowed me to discover myself and has given me the tools to mold myself into the person I hope to be.” – Twelfth grade student

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History

In their experience as educators, Laurel and Greg Fisher and Betsy Barricklow, the directors and co-founders of Tara, recognized that many students were motivated and inspired by the performing arts. They also noticed that working within a schedule which concentrates on dramatic or choral work at specific times seemed to strengthen and enliven academic studies all year.

In 1993, the founders began an after-school musical theatre program as they prepared the curriculum and planned what we believe is the only Waldorf performing arts high school in the world. The name Tara, an acronym for ‘The Arts Renewed and Arisen,’ is doubly significant, as that was the hill in Ireland where St. Patrick kept the sacred fires burning (when the evil kings had ordered that all fires be extinguished). The image fits perfectly with the vision of keeping the fire of enthusiasm alive for young people in these times.

In 1997 the high school opened with ten students; classes were held in the basement of one of the families’ homes. In 2004, we moved to the Riverside campus, our permanent home, with four grades and an expanded faculty. And in 2013, a new science building was added to the campus to further support the curriculum and the growing student body (which reached full enrollment). Over the years, our rich offerings have been refined and enhanced while remaining true to the original vision of an education that students are excited to be part of.

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Campus

Tara’s schoolhouse is situated on two acres in North Boulder, at 4180 Nineteenth Street, on the northeast corner of Riverside Avenue. In 2012/2013, we were given a generous donation to build a two-story addition to our formerly detached movement space, incorporating a new science lab and two new classrooms. Further fundraising allowed us to complete the project using “green” materials and construction methods. The students themselves raised $12,000 toward this much-needed addition to the campus. The finished building was inaugurated at the beginning of the 2013/2014 school year.

Our extended campus includes the Kelly Barn on Sumac Avenue, where dance rehearsals often take place, and the historic 155-seat Nomad Playhouse on Quince Avenue, also within easy walking distance, where all of Tara’s plays and musicals are rehearsed and performed.

In 2014, we were presented with the extraordinary opportunity to purchase the playhouse at a substantially reduced price. Thanks to a major fundraising effort and the generosity of many individual donors as well as the State Historical Fund, Tara has now assumed ownership and management of this beloved theatre. We had long dreamed of having a permanent performance home, the essential physical component of the profound work that we do in drama. Ownership of the Nomad will ensure the sustainability of our performing arts program and allow us to support other fine community theatre and events. For more information about Nomad Playhouse upgrades, projects and development, visit: www.nomadplayhouse.org

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The Substance Policy

“I am still grateful that I was part of a community that strives to foster an educational atmosphere through its substance abuse policy, where students learn to be nothing less than themselves and therefore nothing less than responsibly engaged citizens of the world.” – Alumnus, Class of 2001


The Substance Agreement is the cornerstone of Tara’s foundation and was part of the initial vision for the school. From the very beginning, we have maintained an unyielding policy regarding mind-altering substances. Any use of recreational drugs (including alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes, and prescription drugs used for recreational purposes) or any activity engaged in for the purpose of creating an altered state of consciousness is a breach of the agreement to be one hundred percent substance-free that every student signs upon entering Tara. In a community as small as ours, giving one’s word is of the highest importance. Breaking one’s word weakens the fabric of the entire school, not just the self. Our students honor their commitments on weekends and vacations year round, not just during school hours.

Specialists often point to peer pressure and boredom as two of the contributing factors to the epidemic of substance abuse. Our efforts to engage the students fully and wholeheartedly in the academic curriculum, the performing arts and travel (among other things) seek to address these factors. Our aim is to nurture and develop the very best in each student through creative work, shared efforts and friendship, and through the challenges of a Waldorf education. We are not willing to try to educate young people if they are using substances that undermine our efforts to foster clear and imaginative thinking, a rich life of feeling, and firmness of will. We trust that any parent who enrolls a student at Tara will concur with our policy and vigorously support our efforts to maintain a substance-free environment for the young people entrusted to us for their education.

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The Honor Code

The graduating class of 2011 observed that the substance policy would be strengthened if it were held in the larger context of the principles and ideals alive at Tara. Beginning at the before-school senior retreat, the class of 2012 discussed the topics of honor, respect, trust and accountability in preparation for creating Tara’s first written Honor Code. Writers from this class spent many hours working on and producing the final document.

The Honor Code sets forth the principles we hold as the highest ideals for our community. Each year’s senior class reviews and revises the document so that it remains a living representation of students' ownership of the ideals that are such an important part of our school; the Honor Code is read aloud to the community at the yearly Michaelmas festival and is available at the Tara office.


“More than anything, we realize that this document is merely a description of the qualities that are apparent the moment one steps onto our campus. We all felt it as freshmen, and we appreciate having it in written form because it is at the heart of the Tara experience.” – Twelfth Grade Student

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Testimonials

From Alumni

“As a direct result of my varied and intense high school education, exploring life outside my comfort zone has always felt natural and exciting.” – Alumna, Class of 2001


“I really wanted to write and thank you for all that you have done for me. I didn’t realize how well Tara prepared me for college until I got here. All my new friends seem to be in a constant state of panic over homework and such. However, I feel like I have all the time in the world, considering the work load of my senior year. The academics at Puget Sound are very competitive but I am doing very well. Before I got my first essay back, my professor gave a long speech about how the average college freshman’s grade goes down almost a full letter grade from their average grade in high school. He said that the average Puget Sound student got a B-. I actually ended up being pleasantly surprised when I got an A-. I'm doing just as well in all my classes. The only class I didn’t get prepared for at Tara is Chinese, but even in that class I find that the work ethic Tara gave me makes it much easier.” – Alumna, Class of 2009

Tara has taught me to focus thoroughly and participate in the actions of my existence.
Tara has taught me to listen first and judge later.
Tara has taught me to look at the details for a more in-depth understanding of the subject.
Tara has taught me how to find something to enjoy in every class, every job, every activity no matter how ridiculous or mundane.
Tara has taught me how to present myself in order to be understood in the way I desire.
Tara has taught me the importance of receptivity and gratitude.
Tara has taught me to recognize life as a living process in which the understandings that I receive from my experiences change over time. Tara has taught me to reflect and observe those sometimes subtle yet substantial changes.
” – Alumna, class of 2010


My internalization of the substance policy ran along a continuum from ninth to twelfth grade. As I revisited my commitment each year it solidified my values a little more each time. What started as a choice in ninth grade became a fully embodied and conscious lifestyle in twelfth grade.” – Alumnus, class of 2011


From Students

“As a student at Tara, I found the academic subjects enlivening and rigorous, delivered by the faculty and received by us with a sense of joy. Tara has created a truly extraordinary environment for learning.” – Alumna, class of 2001


I know that I gained a lot of things from this trip, but the simplest thing that comes to mind is a new trust and confidence in myself. I learned that I can take care of myself, even when I am tired. And as I stood in front of the art work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I learned, in addition to all of the particulars that are part of my knowledge from the History of Art class, what a deep impact standing in front of a painting can have on me. My emotions start to change. And if I stand there long enough and just let the painting speak, I feel like it transforms my psyche.” – Ninth grade student, New York Trip


Going so deep into the text of the play is fascinating. When rehearsals end, I can feel myself surfacing and breaking from the dense waters that I’ve been immersed in. Heavy, weighty and strong are the waves that drag me to and fro in these pools, and I drift with them readily.” – Tenth grade student


“To further enhance our understanding of geological formations we embarked on a four-day paddle trip down the San Juan River. While we were on this trip we hiked into areas of geological interest, having what would normally be classroom learning with pictures to illuminate the words. Here, the lectures are delivered while we are in the actual environment, and the pictures are made by nature itself. As I write this, I am looking at Comb Ridge. It is a massive sandstone monocline that is 100 miles in length, so big that it can be seen from outer space. What an amazing way to learn!” – Tenth grade student

From Parents

“Tara is an extraordinary place. As the parent of a Tara graduate, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what my student received at the school. The ‘teenage years’ are foundational years for all of us, and to have the kind of foundation that Tara provides is an exceptional opportunity for a young person. At Tara, students experience their education, from academics to travel to performance, as a life full of meaning, free of the imperative to be someone they’re not. To have a safe place as a high school student to explore and discover one’s world, one’s abilities and one’s inner self is a gift indeed.” – Alumni parent


“Tara brought out the best in both our children. They certainly benefited from the rich artistic life and healthy social environment that Tara offered, but it wasn’t until they went off to college that we began to realize the true value of their Tara experience. Not only were both children well prepared academically, but more importantly they were ready ‘as individuals’ to contribute to the broader community. They had a thirst for learning and a depth of understanding about themselves, which was revealed in their self-assurance and ability to rise to any challenge.” – Alumni parent


Tara changes student’s lives, helping them mature into insightful and joyous human beings. And it teaches them how to connect deeply and genuinely with each other. Last month, all of the members of my son’s graduating class ‘came home’ to Tara to see this year’s musical and just to hang out with each other again. I am immensely grateful for how Tara nurtured my son and his classmates and gave them a safe place to grow and explore together.” – Alumni parent


I wish I could more articulately express how you all [Tara students] have inspired me this weekend with your production of Les Misérables. I know that I speak for many when I say that your performance touched my heart and soul and spirit in a deep way. While I am aware of many of your names and personalities, it remained easy to stay in the story because of the level of your acting and the fact that it came straight from your hearts. I could see and feel that it was your intention to convey all the important lessons that Les Misérables offers us for our lives. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for enriching my life in such an impactful and lasting way.” – Alumni parent


I have several times this year been on the verge of attempting to write an eloquent—or perhaps mushy—letter, thanking you for the many wonderful gifts that my daughter is (and, indirectly, I also am) receiving from you all at Tara. Of course I love what I see (on my rare visits), hear about from her, or read about (in teacher comments and other communications from the school); also the very heart-warming welcome I invariably receive from Tara faculty and students whenever I have the good fortune to be around. But, more than that, I thank you for the wonderful person that she is enabled to be. There is so much shoddy, cheap, (commercial) stuff in the world today to seduce people, distract them, and dumb them down. It is no small wonder for a haven/a workshop to be created, as you have done at Tara, where love, creativity, joy in working, working together, and in studying great art and literature and music, time to reflect, appreciate and express and share what is living in everyone’s soul is their daily bread. The example you all set with your lives—your dedication, love, creativity, hard work, joy, and honesty—is at the heart of what I feel all your students are taking in. As a parent, and just as a citizen of the world, it is indeed much to be grateful for. And so, I thank you.” – Eleventh grade parent

From Faculty

“I have had the privilege and opportunity to teach each of the senior classes at Tara. The privilege, of course, is the chance to meet each day for a two-hour main lesson with a group of exceptionally eager and capable young people. The Tara students are inquisitive, quick to learn and very open to the several themes we undertake to study. Many college teachers of my acquaintance will complain about indifference and ennui in their students; Tara students are rather more like a team of spirited horses that need to be reined in, not urged or compelled to move forward.” – Dr. George Russell, Visiting Science Teacher

“The students’ constant eagerness to learn and to know all that could be known about various subjects requires me to stay fully awake, totally present to each student an utterly fulfilling experience. ” – Bill Fisher, Visiting English Professor

Other Letters

“Dear Senior Class of 2010, Your letter and messages to me and the gift of the Viktor Frankl book Man’s Search for Meaning warmed my heart on a cold day. Viktor Frankl is one of my heroes. I am impressed that you study this book, and it also touches my heart that you read Reason for Hope as part of your high school Zoology curriculum. It was a hard book to write. I shall be in Colorado later this year, maybe we will meet.” – Jane Goodall, Primatologist and author of Reason for Hope

“I recently returned from a trip to New York where my husband and I enjoyed several Broadway plays. On our last evening there, we attended The Fantasticks, my all-time favorite show. Attending the same performance was a group of students from Tara... it caught our attention because we, too, are from Colorado. I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about having such a large group of high school students in the audience because that play requires such an intimate connection between the performers and the audience... a connection that might not be possible with a group of high school ‘kids’. But my concerns were absolutely unnecessary. These students conducted themselves with the utmost maturity, and they were fully engaged in the performance. They looked and acted like young ladies and gentlemen. These kids knew how to behave at a performance and it was clear that the adults accompanying them had no reservations whatsoever about taking these kids ‘on the road’. It was a pleasure to be in the audience with this group, and I must commend the teachers for selecting such a marvelous array of theatrical genres for the kids to enjoy. I plan to follow your school website, and I hope to be able to attend a performance or two at Tara in the future. Thank you for providing such great opportunities for Colorado’s kids!” – Audience Member, New York Trip, 2012

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Opportunities


ADMINISTRATIVE SPECIALIST
Tara Performing Arts High School is seeking a half-time Office Assistant to support our Front Office Manager in all operations, including maintaining the front office as the welcoming and logistical hub of the school, interfacing with students, parents and faculty/staff and otherwise supporting the leadership in fostering the mission of the school and smooth daily operations. Applicants must be confident and capable using google applications such as gmail, calendar, sheets and team drives. Capacity to work with online programs such as MailChimp and SignUpGenius are also required, along with a willingness and ability to learn and implement the new school management system (BigSIS) we are in the process of adopting. Candidates should also be experienced with IT and AV equipment for the purposes of trouble-shooting and overall systems management in cooperation with the Front Office Manager and the school’s Leadership Council. Interest and background in Waldorf education is preferred but not required.

Tara Performing Arts High School is an accredited stand-alone Waldorf high school in Boulder, Colorado.

This is a half-time position, paid on an hourly basis, that requires regular office hours in addition to flexible hours assisting with front-of-house duties for student performances, after-hours meetings, trips, special events and other “above and beyond” activities to support the administrative team, the school and its work. Please send a cover letter, resume and references to Jan Linsley, jan@tarahighschool.org or call 303-440-4510. We are eager for the right person to start as soon as possible.


BUSINESS MANAGER
Tara Performing Arts High School in Boulder is seeking a part time Business Manager to manage and oversee all financial functions in cooperation with our Board of Trustees and Finance Committee. Accounting knowledge is required. Duties include preparing and tracking the annual budget, managing ongoing cash flow analysis, tracking receivables, overseeing the bookkeeper, monitoring enrollment and preparing student/family contracts, and managing components of HR responsibilities such as creating faculty and staff letters of agreement and coordinating employee benefits. Attendance at monthly and quarterly Finance Committee and Board meetings is required. Non-profit knowledge, intermediate Excel skills and QuickBooks experience are preferred.

This position requires an average of 15 to 20 hours per week with regular office hours on campus. Salary is commensurate with experience. Please send a cover letter, resume and references to greer@tarahighschool.org or call 303-440-4510. We are eager for the right person to start as soon as possible.