Engaging students for success | GUEST OPINION
June 13, 2012 · 11:57 AM
As a district, we believe that every student can be successful so we work to provide as many different opportunities as possible to engage students and foster success.
Weston High School, founded in 1986 by Linda Weston, is one of those opportunities. At that time, Linda Weston was an Assistant Principal/Vocational Director at Arlington High School. She was concerned that students who dropped out of school had no other options within the district; they needed a place to go.
With this vision in mind, Linda created the Arlington Alternative School where she remained principal until 1992. Upon retirement in 1994, the student body voted to change the name of the school to Weston High School in Linda’s honor.
Since that time, Weston High School has evolved, as have graduation requirements and the needs of high school students in Arlington and the surrounding community. Currently, 172 students are enrolled for some portion of their educational program. Weston offers a traditional six-period day experience, houses the Online Academy and offers a combination of the two programs to provide flexibility and engage students.
Within the traditional six-period day, Weston includes a daily half hour intervention support period called Panther Period, and the district Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Robotics program. Panther Period provides half an hour of intervention support for all students. Students are assigned a specific intervention based on current performance data for three-week increments. At the end of each three-week cycle student placement is re-evaluated and placement changes are made as needed.
The STEM Robotics program has had many positive benefits. Students come from the other high schools in the district to participate in a year long Robotics class that meets the requirements for a third year math credit, Video Game Programming and/or 3D Animation. These three classes lay a foundation for students who wish to continue their study through the Sno-Isle Skill Center DigiPen program. However, the engaging nature of these classes make them extremely enticing to students who do not wish to continue in this specific field.
Weston is looking forward to expanding our STEM offerings next year with the addition of a Guitar Manufacturing course where students will apply significant science and math to actually build an electric guitar by the end of the school year. Another new offering will be Forensic Science, where students will participate in a year-long simulation-centered around forensic investigation of a crime scene. Both these options provide an engaging, hands-on experience for students to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and math.
For students who cannot attend the regular daytime program classes, the Online Academy is an alternative learning experience program where students develop an individualized learning plan for their progress via online curriculum. Students do most of their work independently and meet with an instructor a minimum of once per week, usually after regular school hours. What makes the Online Academy a step above other online programs is the fact that we have a district instructor on site in the evenings four days per week to meet with students, provide additional assistance, and work with parents as needed.
Weston’s mission doesn’t stop at the end of the school year. Summer School programs are also offered at Weston High School. This year students have three different format options to continue learning and earning credit through the summer. Students can retrieve credit in classes they had previously failed by attend a two-hour class each day between July 9 through Aug. 3. In this option, students are required to attend for the full two hours, every day and receive individualized help of a teacher during this time. The cost is $125 for each .5 class retrieved.
Another model through the Online Academy allows students to earn credit in any online course by working independently throughout July and August and meeting with a teacher once a week. This is a great option for students who have travel plans, who have challenges with daily transportation or who want to take extra classes to free up their schedule for next fall.
Finally, students who have an IEP can participate in an independent summer school program, for IEP Math, IEP English, as well as an accommodated curriculum for World Geography, Economics, Government, U.S. History and World History. The cost for this program is $150 per class, but costs for summer school classes for all students in the Arlington School District who qualify for free or reduced lunches, and to e11th and 12th graders who are behind in meeting their graduation requirements.
If you are interested in discussing any of these options for your student, please contact Amie Verellen-Grubbs at 360-618-6340. Weston High School has an incredible staff dedicated to the success of every student and we are so honored to serve the students and families in this community.
Amie Verellen-Grubbs is the Principal of Weston High School and can be reached at 360-618-6340 or via email at email@example.com.