West End Academy offers online courses to 11th and 12th graders in a non-traditional setting where students drive the pace of their own learning. West End has seen tremendous success. Every student has an individual education plan that is tailored to meet their academic and social needs.
At West End Academy I was able to meet the leadership of Community in Schools who are key components to the success of this school because of the wrap-around services they provide. Principal Evelyn Mobley was able to quickly summarize the core design of the Academy, especially the elements of credit recovery and acceleration. To me this is what makes the school unique and a valuable support system to other high schools across the district. Students were able to participate in blended learning which has proven to be highly successful in environments where students need to make up their work and get back on track for graduation.
I was able to see a mix of classrooms from English language arts to math and science. In math class, I was able to engage in a refresher on synthetic division. It became very clear to me again that I’m glad to no longer be in high school! The best part was that the students were able to talk me through the course work as well as using the technology to reinforce areas where I had become rusty – and I mean really rusty. After one practice problem and some extra support from my 11th grade classmate, synthetic division was easy again.
In science I asked about labs and was told that all of the lab work actually takes place as part of the technology programming. I would love to see hands on labs integrated back into the school. There is no replacement for good,old-fashioned hands on learning and many students will benefit from the tactile experience of dissecting, measuring and analyzing in a lab environment.
The school believes that every student deserves five basics: a personal, one-on-one relationship with a caring adult; a safe place to grow and learn a healthy start and a healthy future; and a chance to give back to peers and the community. To me that sounds like a recipe for success.
Students come to West End from all over APS’ high schools and must have completed the 10th grade with at least 12 credit hours. Students return to their home schools to receive their high school diplomas after earning enough credit hours. West End currently serves 150 students and has a waiting list – I want to see the number of students grow. There is so much good taking place here and all of our students who could benefit from the services should be allowed to attend. I’ve already reached out to senior leaders to figure out how we can make this happen immediately.
Thank you Princpal Mobley for a great tour. West End Academy definitely lived up to everything I’ve been hearing from the community and Board of Education members.