Our daughter will be entering her senior year at New Vista in the Fall and has been at the school since 10th grade. The school's block system that allows students to dive deep into a smaller number of subjects each quarter is a perfect fit for her learning style. Classes are small enough to allow all students to participate and form solid relationships with each other and with the teachers. We are so glad that we chose New Vista when we were considering other public high school options in the Boulder area.
I disagree with the parent who said that New Vista students are not prepared properly for college. My child works every night and weekend on homework assignments and enjoys the time spent because the assignments are mostly challenging. There were also exams in most classes though not all. However, it is true that the focus is not on testing but on critical thinking and student-driven projects. These projects do an excellent job of preparing students for college and beyond because they require them to do independent research, manage their own schedules, choose how they want to communicate their ideas, and work in teams. At the end of each quarter, students are invited to present their work to an audience. Students are responsible for planning their own academic schedules with the support of an advisor who's with them all four years. New Vista is not for everyone because of the level of responsibility placed on the students, but for motivated students who enjoy or need an alternative, small school setting, it's a great option,
As a parent of a 4 year New Vista student, I cannot in good conscious recommend this school. Despite what a student review said below, this school does NOT prepare your kid for college or the real world. There is minimal testing and even less homework. Time management is not a skill learned at this school, nor is accountability - you don't get your homework done on time, that's ok, you can have an extension. The only reason that my daughter is prepared to go off to college is because we made her take classes at CU concurrently, so she would learn good study habits and get a sense of what kind of homework she can expect next year. With less than 80% of the senior class making it to graduation this year, I think that NVHS has to make some tough choices about their curriculum and the way that they teach.
New Vista was the perfect place for me. Community engagement, real-life applications, mutual trust, and social justice are just a few of the pros of going to NVHS. It is NOT A LAST RESORT SCHOOL. It is a place where students of all backgrounds, orientations, and beliefs are welcome. It is a place where all students can be challenged, regardless of academic achievement. It is a place where all students are respected--and expected to give respect in return. There is a very real community of engagement at New Vista. Apathy is present, to an extent; all schools have burnouts. But New Vista students strive for excellence in so many areas. What's unique is that New Vista actually SUPPORTS them in those endeavors. Every student is cared for, challenged, supported, and educated. I firmly believe there is no better high school in the BVSD school district.
The school helps prepare you for college despite some peoples opinions. I went to New Vista for all four years of my high school education and now I am a successful college student and so are many of my friends. The school prepares a student for the creative thinking needed in college and most of all it shows a student how to be in charge of their education. The student receives help and guidance, from a great group of teachers, on what classes to take, which colleges and scholarships to apply to, along with problems that many teenagers encounter in this time of their life. The classes create a creative and intellectual learning environment, which especially helps out now in college. Check it out. Call them up or checkout their website. It is a great friendly atmosphere so don't be shy!
I attended another high school for my freshman year and found that transferring to New Vista kept me out of drugs and behaviors like smoking and partying, where at my old school I was harassed for not taking part in such activities. If you want more information about this school I suggest visiting the website and/or contacting the school yourself, so that you may form your own opinion of the school. http://bvsd.org/high/newVista/Pages/newvista.aspx
This school should be seen as a "last resort" school if your child has been unable to succeed at another high school. Yes, the learning here is more "hand-on" but the overall education is a joke. If your child is planning on attending college, this school will leave him or her VERY underprepared.
They actually engage students in learning. It is set up for students to be successful by making students partners with adults, responsible for their own learning, lots of choices for learning about subjects that students are interested in.
My twin daughters have thrived at this school with the loving and genuine concern of their advisors and many of their teachers. My only concern is that the school still strongly enforces the need for kids to be involved in the CSAP high stakes testing process which as many of the great educators know is damaging to students. Aside from that, I would highly recommend this school to parents with kids who are outside of the mainstream cheerleader/athlete 'popular' kid, designer clothes range. Kids who are thinkers, who have been raised to have a social conscience, or who are artisic are welcomed and nourished at this school. I highly recommend it. S.
My son has thrived at New Vista and I strongly recommend it. The student has to take more responsibility for their learning but the teachers are excellent and strive to make it not only interesting, but inspiring. One of the best aspects is that the staff and teachers know each student as an individual. They watch out for them and guide them toward good academic choices. The faculty and staff are very engaged with learning. The social atmosphere is much more accepting than most high schools I have seen. The students make a genuine effort to reach out to those who would be outcasts at a larger school. There is a strong commitment to diversity and justice. It has been a great school for my son.
New Vista offers a much-needed choice for Boulder County students: instead of insisting that all students follow generic, core classes, New Vista students are encouraged and required to branch out, discovering and cultivating their own unique interests and strengths. Each class allows students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through teaching back to the community, creating artistic displays and performances, reading papers, even teaching a class session. Parents are invited to see these student teachbacks and performances once per quarter on an all-school Exhibition Day. Once a year, the entire school breaks session to join week-long Mini-Courses, offering everything from hiking trips to pottery making. Students are also required to devote at least one afternoon a week to community experience, interning and volunteering at local organizations. Finally, the senior project provides an avenue for students to really pursue a personal interest and create their own capstone to their high school career.
New Vista High School is wonderful! It's very different from traditional high schools though. It's size is a major plus with less than 350 students; this means just about everyone gets to know everyone else. Respect of others & self are very important principals here. Teacher, student, parent, and community involvement are very high here. These students are really involved in life & learning in and out of their school. Being in this very supportive environment can make all the difference when it comes to thriving, not just surviving high school. These kids are more prepared than the average student to enter adulthood succesfully, especially in today's world. This statement from New Vista's website sums them up: 'The school is designed to cultivate the unique talents, gifts, and interests of students who are ready to be more responsible for their own learning.'
New Vista is an interesting school. In it's own words, it was created to 'break the mold' of the traditional US highschool. It does that, in a sense, and exceeds its mission, but it is not a school for all kids. The breaking the mold refers to the non-traditional curriculum offered. Classes are mixed between grades 9-12, and your freshman could have a senior sitting next to him. The classes also are creative in their subject matter and approach, such as Gothic Literature, or the Brain Self. They are multidisciplinary in approach and very original in content, a lot like a college liberal arts offering. But somehow this stimulating melange attracts kids with little drive, and the seniors in the class my daughter attended (9th grade) seemed to have less enthusiasm and preparation than some of the newly arrived ex middle schoolers from other schools.
Interesting school in Boulder where students follow a more self directed approach to education. Kids should be motivated to go to this school. Lots of great courses, and close to the univ. of colorado in case there is something missing from the curriculum.
New Vista High School has been a life-saver for our son. The combination of a supportive environment and an emphsis on independence was just what he needed. He has excelled in a way that he never could have in the large 'factory' schools. As a special-needs student, with only minor disabilities, the full inclusion model is also perfect for him. The principal (Rona Walenski) and the entire faculty and staff are dedicated, intelligent, and are all there because they want to be. NVHS is not for every kid (our daughter preferred the large factory school!) but for an intelligent but sensitive child who would benefit from a more nurturing environment to lead them into the world, New Vista is incomparable.
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