Enough ‘Scores’ – Let’s Tell Our Schools’ Stories

Valerie Nosler Beck

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Wheat Ridge, like many of the communities in the metro area, has families moving into our neighborhoods in a competitive housing market. As these families select the best neighborhood for their unique needs many ask their Realtor, friends and new neighbors about the local schools. I have had neighbors, friends and friends of friends reach out asking about the neighborhood school I send my kids to. Many say that they have seen and are not impressed with the neighborhood schools’ “scores.” 

Our neighborhood schools have risen to the incredible challenge of the last few years throughout COVID-19 and financial constraints. Our schools support families and children in an unpredictable environment. My first reaction to the criticism of our schools because of scores is to get defensive and list all the reasons why our schools are so good. I realize that is not the most effective way to sway newcomers to our community. 

Along with some of my fellow city council members and partnering with the Neighborhood Gazette, we are going to work on highlighting and marketing Wheat Ridge neighborhood schools. Our hope is that this guide will provide more context and information about the story of each of our neighborhood schools. For example, things we can highlight that test scores won’t capture, my kid’s school focuses on building great citizens and community. They also set aside time in every classroom to focus on breathing and checking on themselves with a “mindful minute.” My second-grade daughter told me one afternoon when I was stressed about traffic, “Mom use your box breath, deep breath in, carry it over and down. We learned that in our mindful minute.”

Each school is as unique as the neighborhood it occupies, whether private or public. Parents and the educators inside the schools will provide a comprehensive look at the schools and why the school might be best for a prospective parent or caregiver. All of us working on this project are hopeful that these features of each school will open up a conversation about what the school considers successes and how they confront the challenges in the neighborhood. 

Our neighborhood schools need to continue doing their good work and we hope to provide some additional information to the new families and existing families with young children selecting their school. We have options that should work for most families in Wheat Ridge. We have set aside a small portion of the 2022 budget to help with marketing neighborhood schools, both public and private. Please keep an eye out for more information in the new year in both the Neighborhood Gazette and through the city council and the city. 

I look forward to continuing the conversation and uplifting our neighborhood schools in Wheat Ridge, with all of you.

If you are interested in sharing more about your neighborhood school and helping with this project, please contact me.

Contact Wheat Ridge District IV City Councilor Valerie Nosler Beck at vnosler@ci.wheatridge.co.us.

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