“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
Tara Performing Arts High School
4180 19th St
Boulder CO 80304
Contact 303-440-4510 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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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