Apr 29, 2010 9:55 PM by Andy Koen
The goal is simple; every student that graduates from Wasson High School should be able to step into a job or go to college or both. The District 11 Board of Education voted Wednesday night to turn Wasson into a Colorado School of Innovation, the first high school south of Denver to make such a change.
Cheryl DeGeorge, Curriculum Facilitator for D11 says the change makes the school a "hybrid" that has the freedom to operate like a charter school but also has the resources of a traditional public school.
"We'll be able to bring in even college level things that kids have not previously been able to see," DeGeorge said.
Under the new structure the school will have greater flexibility when it comes to curriculum and scheduling, allowing them to expand the variety of classes offered.
That expansion includes the creation of three separate Academies. They include an Arts Academy which was carried over from the school's days as an arts magnet, a Math and Science Academy to create a high school level continuum for students enrolling from Galileo, and a Law and Leadership Academy to create a career track for students interested in the legal field.
"It's really a chance for students to get to explore things that they maybe never have before," DeGeorge said.
The changes will come incrementally. Classes from the three academies will be offered in the form of brief nine week seminars this fall. DeGeorge says the district plans to turn those seminars into full classes the following year.
"They'll be able to learn a little bit about law and government, they'll be able to learn a little about robotics, they'll be able to learn a little about physics or horticulture all of these different areas."
Wasson will still operate as a traditional neighborhood high school as well. However, even among traditional classes, DeGeorge says there will be a greater emphasis on making lessons relevant to everyday life.
The money to pay for the changes came from grants. Many of the changes in curriculum were developed elsewhere in the district.