A Letter from Carolyn

Dear Friend,

Do you remember starting every day in a circle of friends? Listening to the plans of the day, and sharing aspects of your life or listening to your kids share theirs? Being ready, eventually, for “questions and comments”? Do you remember sports, mini-courses, kid co-oping, read-a-thons, and parent-sponsored camping trips? All this is still found at the Open Classroom! We continue to be a community of learners for children, parents, and teachers.

There have been many changes as well, which we would like to share with you, your friends, and family. We are now a K-8 charter school in the Salt Lake City School District. We have a permanent home, the former Lowell Elementary in the Avenues.

We have grown over the years! We have about 400 students, 18 classrooms, and 19 teachers. We have a pre-school program, as well as 7th and 8th graders. Imagine a campus with 3 year olds and 14 year olds learning together! We have our own school counselor, a special education department, speech therapist, P.E. teacher, librarian, and cafeteria and custodial staff. Some former students have returned as faculty and some as co-oping parents. The circle of life continues,

Many things at the Open Classroom are also the same. Parents co-op every week in the classroom, attend parent meetings, and participate in committee work. They continue to be authentic partners in making our school thrive.

The past 35 years of the Open Classroom have brought us here. Those endless steering meetings, parent meetings, and faculty meetings gave birth to this amazing accomplishment. We continue to journey on, often making our own way, based on what we have learned together.

I am writing you to keep alive the connections to our past as we move into our future. I hope you will help the OC stay connected to more alumni, friends, and family of the Open Classroom. Please add your information to our OC Connections database so we can stay in touch with each other. This way we can invite you to performances, picnics, galas, parties, musical productions, our annual art stroll, and reunions. We will even invite you to join us at school for lunch. Our lunch program is unlike any other school’s lunch. It’s all healthy and made with love, right here in our own kitchen.

I am still with the Open Classroom, after 35 years. Although I do not have my own classroom, I spend time in classrooms every day observing children, helping teachers with teaching and co-opers with co-oping, and supporting learning and the OC philosophy. I am renewed daily by working with our principal, faculty, parents, and especially with kids.

I look forward to making contact with you and your OC friends soon! Thank you for sending my email on to as many contacts as you can, and for taking the time to reconnect with us. Each student, each family, each friend of the Open Classroom has paved the road to where we are now. The learning community model has been proven to be the deepest, richest model for educating children.  I hope we can stay in touch and keep our community connected over the years to come.

Please come see me if you’re in the neighborhood! My office has an empty chair waiting for you.

Carolyn Turkanis

Keeper of the Connections, 1977-2012

Rebecca – class of 1983

Jonathan – class of 1981