WHAT IS A SMALL LEARNING COMMUNITY?
Drawing on the history of small alternative schools and schools within schools that have succeeded in creating more nurturing environments for students and their teachers, the notion of breaking large high schools into smaller units has found favor as a way to increase personalization, relevance and rigor of coursework, and teacher collaboration.
Smaller learning communities benefit students, teachers, and parents by making effective communication easier, offering opportunities for collaboration, and encouraging meaningful relationships between students and adults. Research confirms that smaller schools are more productive and safer because they can address students’ needs more personally, reducing feelings of alienation, and connecting students with caring adults. All of these conditions create an environment that contributes to positive student outcomes: higher student achievement, improved attendance and graduation rates, and reduced violence and disruptive behavior.
West High School is made up of 3 SLCs: The Freshman Academy, The WISE (sophomore academy) and The Upper House (11th and 12th grades).