My daughter attended New Vista for 11th and 12th grades. My son is a freshman there. I have nothing but high praise for New Vista, its teachers and curriculum. Contrary to popular (uninformed) beliefs about New Vista, students ARE well prepared for college. Students ARE encouraged to take classes and engage in activities at other schools when they are not offered by New Vista, and the school helps that happen. New Vista is NOT any more drug/alcohol prone than any other high school. New Vista has a strong Equity program that encourages thought provoking engagement and RESPECT among students and teachers. Additional benefits of New Vista are the inclusion of all grade levels in each class, an advisory program where the student is closely mentored by one teacher for four years, motivated teachers allowed to teach their passion which makes for more interesting course electives. New Vista isn't for every student, but when it is the right fit, amazing results ensue.
Teachers are here because they love what New Vista represents and the relationships they can have with the students in that environment. In addition to core requirements, they get to teach topics they are passionate about in the electives.
Some parents report that this is an improvised school, missing subjects etc. 1,Adults here do model AND encourage respect, cell phones and profanity are NOT free in the classroom, the toilets are not disgusting, and work fine (I honestly don't think toilets need to be replaced unless damaged in a way that gets in the way of the use), since when are "smartboards" required for good learning. Personally, a whiteboard and projector are PERFECTLY fine for learning (we also don't have to deal with the constant freezing of the screen, and CONSTANT restarts and shutdowns of the smartboards), there is a great art program, there is more than just Spanish for a language. I am taking American Sign Language, they offer you to study abroad for a foreign language, and I will be going to CU to take Japanese. There is the grade standard math classes, I am taking a physics course, there have been absolutely NO leaks so far when it rains, the heaters work fine (we had to turn it down last week due to the building getting too warm),
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.