Students at the Roots and Wings Community School in Questa, New Mexico, enjoy outdoor time with goats at their rural charter school.

Route 522 in northern New Mexico stretches about 40 miles from the town of Taos up to the Colorado border, offering sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. Along the two-lane road, rundown buildings and tiny towns appear and disappear in a matter of seconds. It’s exactly what you’d imagine rural New Mexico to be, save for one anomaly: hidden among the pine trees about a half-mile off route 522 sits Roots and Wings Community School, one of a growing number of charter schools operating in rural communities across the country.

As of the 2017-18 school year, 809 rural charter schools nationwide served

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