Though this is a safe school for kids needing a smaller more nurturing environment, New Vista is neglected, unsupported, and maligned by BVSD. The principal is too young and inexperienced to lead. He seeks approval and popularity from the students. Adults here do not model, expect, or encourage respect. Everyone is addressed by 1st names. Profanity and cell phones are used freely in the classrooms. The building is run down physically to a surprising degree. There are no locker rooms (used for storage, contain filthy broken toilets that don't work), no athletics (just ultimate frisbee), no smart boards, a feeble arts program, only Spanish for language, marginal math and science courses (no calculus; no physics one year when BVSD cut funding for it), and no music program. Roof leaks and mildew abound. The heating system is antiquated - our student reports classrooms in the 40s on frigid days. This is an impoverished school with anemic parent presence. New Vista's supposed crown jewel - the science program linking to CU Boulder labs - lacks leadership and is disorganized. Good points: Diverse language arts courses; room for independent exploration, for the self-directed.
New Vista has been the most positive experience in my son's academic life over the past decade. He was forced by family circumstances to move several times and change schools frequently. New Vista is his all time favorite in so many ways. The school is a vibrant, creative and caring community. The curriculum is meaningful and he is self motivated to study and learn. Both students and teachers treat everyone with respect. In this age of bullyism accepting others for who they are is a genuinely significant positive. It feels so wonderful to ask Kevin "How was school today?" when he walks in the door and each day hear some version of this response: "Great!" with a happy grin. Hooray for New Vista!
New Vista HS is a great place for independent thinkers. If you want the standard package, look elsewhere. It was our first choice school, not last resort, due to the block schedule (bigger chunks of time to get into a subject); a variety of teaching methods (not all read this book/write this paper/take this test -- altho there is some of that); allowances & accommodations for independent study; and more accountability/responsibility thrust upon the students. If you want 8 subjects a day, plus full athletics/extracurriculars, there are other options in town. My student is "2e" -- twice exceptional -- with some gifted bits and some learning difficulties at the same time. The administration does not support talking about gifted kids (I don't know if the elitist association is too much of a turn off), but my student has been extremely well served by this school. He'll also likely be taking classes at CU across the street as a high school junior next year. We'd choose it again in a heart beat, as it is preparing him very well for college & for life.
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.