Westside schools to reopen Aug. 18
Second year since District 11 consolidation

       Close to 4,000 Westside public-school students will head back to school with the rest of District 11 Wednesday, Aug 18.
       It will be the second year of the district's consolidation plan for the Westside, in which the number of elementaries was reduced from eight to six and boundary changes affected elementaries as well as middle schools.
       The consolidation effort is not over yet, with West Elementary and West Middle having synchronized their schedules this year to move closer to the district goal of eventually combining them into a true K-8 school. (See story below.)
       Otherwise, no major changes are anticipated in academic strategies or facilities at any of the Westside schools this year other than (again) West Elementary, which has a new before/after-school traffic alignment (See same story below).
       Three Westside schools have new principals. They are David Engstrom, Coronado High; Kathryn Presnal, Bijou School (alternative high school) and Jeremy Cramer, Midland Elementary.
       Here are information capsules on each Westside school (principals in parentheses):
  • Bristol Elementary, 890 N. Walnut St. (Manuel Ramsey) - open house for kindergarten only, Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 8 a.m.; open house for other grades, Thursday, Aug. 19 at 6 p.m.
           Over the summer, the school got a playground overlay, funded from savings in the District 11 buildings bond program that voters approved in 2005.
           Count day enrollment last October: 236.
           The phone is 328-4000.
  • Buena Vista Elementary, 924 W. Pikes Peak Ave. (David Brilliant) - meet-and-greet, Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 3:30 to 5 p.m.; open house, Sept. 21 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
           An all-choice Montessori school, Buena Vista is still “taking calls from interested families for all grade levels,” according to Brilliant. These include children as young as 3 years old for BV's Montessori Primary/Early Years classes.
           Count day enrollment last October: 151.
           The phone is 328-4100.
  • Howbert Elementary, 1023 N. 31st St. (Gail Smartt) - ice cream social and open house, Monday, Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m. New this year is a YMCA before/after-school daycare program, run from a portable classroom, with access to school facilities (including the gym and media center) when regular school activities aren't occurring, Smartt said. The hours will be 6:30 to 8 a.m. and 2:30 to 6 p.m. There is a fee.
           The school also added playground equipment over the summer. Both the playground and the daycare had been the chief requests in a parent survey last year, the principal said.
           Count day enrollment last October: 296.
           The phone is 328-4200.
  • Jackson Elementary, 4340 Edwinstowe Ave. (Anne Dancy) - meet the teacher and bring in school supplies, Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 3 to 4 p.m.; open house, Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 6:15 p.m.
           Count day enrollment last October: 297.
           The phone is 328-5800.
  • Midland Elementary, 2110 W. Broadway St. (Jeremy Cramer) - meet the teacher and bring in school supplies, Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
           Count day enrollment last October: 184.
           The phone is 328-4500.
  • West Elementary, 25 N. 20th St. (Terry Martinez) - meet the teacher, Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m.; open house, Tuesday, Aug. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m.
           The school has experienced a large hike in enrollment going into the school year, Martinez said. The district had estimated about 300 for this year, but right now the starting number looks like 350. He said that the school will keep accepting students from its attendance area, but will have to put prospective “choice” students on a waiting list.
           Count day enrollment last October: 311.
           The phone is 328-4900.
  • Holmes Middle School, 2455 Mesa Rd. (Rob Utter) - open house, Tuesday, Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
           According to Utter, the school and parent supporters are looking at ways to improve its “curb appeal,” through upgraded landscaping and signage. However, the goal is to keep costs down because of limited funds this year.
           Count day enrollment last October: 723.
           The phone is 328-3800.
  • West Middle School, 1920 W. Pikes Peak Ave. (Clay Gomez) - Monday, Aug. 16, SAIL ice cream social and info meeting, 4:30-5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 17, sixth grade orientation, 4:30-6 p.m.; open house, Tuesday, Aug. 31, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
           One change in the school will be greater reliance on Computers on Wheels (COWS), a mobile, on-demand set of computers that can be brought to classrooms. This is a result of losing a computer lab to make room for a second West Elementary EAGLES classroom (for gifted students) in the building, Gomez said. Another change, from work this summer, is a handicapped ramp from the parking lot off 19th Streetinto the building via the band hallway. Wheelchair access previously was only through the West Elementary access, he said.
           Count day enrollment last October: 286.
           The phone is 328-3900.
  • Coronado High, 1590 W. Fillmore St. (David Engstrom) - freshman orientation, Monday, Aug. 16 from 7:50 to 11 a.m.; open house, Thursday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.
           A summer facilities upgrade added air conditioning to four classrooms in the technical building. A new position of school dean has been created - the chief duties for Sergio de Lourenco, a former teacher in District 11 and 20, will be working with students on disciplinary issues.
           A 73-inch TV has been installed in the cafeteria, which will be used to present a continuous loop of itemized school information; the info will also be accessible in classrooms (and eventually online for parents to see). Engstrom believes this will prove to be a more effective way of communicating information to students than the public address system that's been used in the past in classrooms. “It felt intrusive, and people were tuning it out,” he said.
           Count day enrollment last October: 1,364.
           The phone is 328-3600.
  • Bijou School (alternative high school), 2904 W. Kiowa St. (Kathryn Presnal). No open house scheduled, which is in keeping with school tradition. The first-year principal hopes to schedule a “parent night” sometime during the first quarter, however.
           She also hopes to expand the use of a “distance learning” lab that was created at the school last year (in use during second semester). The lab allows students to learn with the aid of videoconferencing, an electronic white board and audio/video capabilities, she said.
           The all-choice school is open to students who prefer a self-paced alternative to traditional high schools. Past enrollment has been limited to about 130, but Presnal said she would be willing to accept up to 150.
           Count day enrollment last October: 119.
           The phone is 328-7900.

    Westside Pioneer article