West High School boasts a beautiful campus that looks somewhat like a castle in the heart of Denver. It is within walking distance of a robust business community and located near major transportation thoroughfares. Unfortunately, for many years, the educational results at West have been dismal for the majority of its students.
In fact, more students currently opt out of attending West each year (860) than those who attend (~725) their district-assigned school. Principal and teacher turnover has been rapid and chronic, resulting in the average proficiency rating of students dropping as low as 14% as demonstrated by the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test. Additionally, the graduation rate hovers around 50%.
Over a period of one year, a community committee known as the West Denver Equitable Education Collaborative has met more than 33 times to conduct a thorough assessment of the situation, consider potential models to turn the school around, and finally to make their recommendations for the organizations they want to undertake education reform at the “new” West. The committee chose Generation Schools and the College Board.
After the West Denver Equitable Education Collaborative selected Generation Schools as one of their two desired options (which would co-exist) on the campus, the Denver Public Schools Office of School Reform & Innovation approved the plan. Dr. Robert Villarreal—who demonstrates a long track record of success, including being named by President Clinton as one of the Six Outstanding Principals in America— was chosen as West’s principal. On June 30, 2011, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education approved West Generation Academy with a 6-0 vote as one of the two new options to be placed at West High School for fall 2012.
West Generation Academy will begin with grades 6, 8 and 9, (accepting all students with the equivalent of 9th grade credits) in Fall 2012 and add two grades per year until the school reaches just over 1,000 students in grades 6-12 in 2015. The current West High School will phase out during that same period with the last class of 9th graders being accepted in 2012.
To learn more about Office of School Reform and Innovation, and the announcement by The Board of Education approving six new charter schools and two new performance schools, click here.
To learn more about West Generation Academy and how to enroll please visit the school’s website.