2015, End of Year Report
for Saraha Chidlren's School
2015, End of Year Report
for Saraha Children's School
Saraha Children's School : Year 1 Coming to a Close
Saraha Children's School, grades K-8, which functions within and as part of Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute, is concluding its first academic year on Thursday, June 11. (sound of cheering)
Origins...One year ago, we had no experience, no budget, no classrooms, no curriculum, no teachers and no students. At first there was only a request from our Director, Lama Sonam Tsering, to create the school. And a vision for the school as, in Lama's words "a real school," incorporating a rigorous academic curriculum with child-oriented education in the Dharma, including Tibetan language, meditation and lessons of mindfulness and kindness.
This is so important because Buddhadharma is entering its second and third generations of existence in the West. These are the generations of our children. Secular and spiritual, both sides should know and neither should want to neglect the other. This is how Dharma can survive as something more than a brief phenomena of a credulous generation. Through education, genuine unaffected Dharma can enter the lives of our children and abide and grow with them as they grow. It will be there for them as the fathers and mothers they become. This will become the Dharma of generations.
Autumn & Winter, 2014
( meanwhile, back at the ranch) ...After a summer of building the classrooms with volunteer hands, we started the year with so few students. Immediately budget terror reigned, week after week, so that the survival of the school was put in doubt. Nevertheless, just as we had committed to Lama Sonam to start the school, we had made promises to our parents and to our teachers to uphold it throughout the year. These promises have been our sustenance.
In response, our families and teachers have held on day after day with happy faces and fought for our school. Especially we need to commend the help of our parent families and our talented staff, Principal Susan Nakaba, Teacher Jennie Goodlett, Volunteer Teacher Matt Wells and Assistant Diana Hoffman. HERE IS A LINK to some quotes from the teachers about the school. The children have grown up over the year, and received a special and beautiful education, and the staff has grown up to understand and embody the school's vision and promise.
Apart from our own general optimism that this be so, recent outside indications of the school's growth and accomplishment include:
SCS Lotus Light Textbook
In all the world, Tibetan literature is unique. From the individual phonetics of the Tibetan alphabet up to and including the vast library of Tibetan works, the written language of Tibet was specifically created become a vessel of Buddha's wisdom teachings.
Saraha founding teacher Lama Sonam Tsering, with 20-years experience of teaching Tibetan language to Western children, personally wrote the first-year children's curriculum, the Tibetan language textbook entitled "Lotus Light" for Saraha Children's School. This is the text that students use in the first period of each school day.
Recognition, following screening of our grade-by-grade curriculum, organization and educational procedures, by the Oregon Department of Education asa registered Private Alternative Education School in the State of Oregon...
Science Fair First Prize
A first place finish (among 46 total competitors, 18 in the same category) at the University of Oregon's annual county-wide Science and Invention fair, for our children's project on the possibility and methods for sustainable, on-site Wind Energy on the Saraha campus ...
National Family Choice Book Award for Staff Member
The awarding of the 2015 Family Choice award to Administrative Assistant Diana Hoffman for her new children's book, Lighting the Earth..
Saraha Children's School
Spring and Autumn 2015 (green shoots)
Apart from these recognitions, a crucial indicator of our success is the increased enrollment that occurred throughout the Spring, and more than that, the manner in which this increase occurred. Specifically, quite a large percentage of parent/families that took the time to come to the school and stay the day, to see how it was done, committed to enroll. These new families were seeing much more than the untried image of hope and promise that guided our first year enrollment. They were seeing a functioning school that could represent itself, and could explain itself. And they could see the result in the person of the children, our children, who had made it through this first year. The fact that these test days at school are so strongly driving our enrollment is a most positive sign indeed.
Attendance increased throughout the Spring, and we have received even more applications, deposits and even full tuition payments for the Fall term. This means we are thinking right now that there will in fact be a Fall term. This may sound rather glib, but we cannot take this for granted.
Those excellent teachers want to stay. They are both sacrificing income for the opportunity to teach here, and volunteering outside of school hours to help keep the school alive. Of our existing families, all of them have committed to the coming year. We here, the staff at Saraha are also committed. It was not easy to create this school. It has been hurtin' hard to keep it this year. But it is a thing of such meaning, promise and beauty. It is a special young jewel set within the Dharma treasure jewel house of Saraha.
If all the current signs hold up, we have great confidence that the school will continue to live and grow. Why? Because this is, and can be even more, a great school. The Dharma part of the curriculum is right on, clear, brief and honest to the children. The teachers are talented, hard-working and loving to the kids. The parents are optimistic and engaged. Wonderful volunteers, from yoga teachers to energy specialists come to help. The whole environment is very close-knit happy and loving.
But we are not out of the woods yet. The school needs help. We need financial help. Help! Specifically we have a few families right now who have applied and been admitted but who will need financial aid to make it through the year. Right now, the main thing is that we need funds to be able to offer this financial aid to student/families. Annual tuition is $5,000 per child per year, $3,000 for siblings. Any amount you can give to this cause will help immediate need, and help us to build the school in the future...
The second thing we dearly want to beg for is money to fix the cracking concrete sidewalks and pavement all around the Institute and the School. It is unsightly, old and inauspicious. This is a big job. Last year we received a quote for $20,000 just for installing the new concrete. Please find a way to love Saraha and the School this much.
All of it, it only works with your help. Please make a tax-deductible donation to Saraha to support children's education at Saraha Children's School. Thanks for listening...
Sign Up for Children's Summer Workshop Events
at Saraha Children's School
Saraha Children's School will operate a number of "Science Meets Art" Children's Summer Workshops starting Wed. June 24 at the school campus. All children entering grades K-8 welcome. Spaces actually filling up quickly. Pre registration requested. Click on the image below for more details...
The Saraha Nyingma Buddhist Institute, or "Saraha" for short, is a registered 501(c)(3) status non-profit religious organization based in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Following the Buddha's teachings of Enlightenment, and practicing according to the Dudjom Lineage of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Saraha offers a full schedule of regular temple meditation events, special teachings events, and educational courses. Saraha also operates Saraha Children's School on its campus grounds. Overall, Saraha intends to offer a community-based, family friendly atmosphere where students young and old can visit and grow in age and wisdom together. For more information, click our online calendar HERE.