It’s been years since our kids attended school, and yet we are so happy when we run into parents we met at pick up and drop off, PTA activities and more, all those years ago. Recently Brenda Reitz had organized a meet up for parents whose children attended Prospect Valley. It was great to reunite at Colorado Plus and Clancy’s. The stories and memories flowed back and forth…..and then someone said “I’m just glad I don’t have kids in school these days,” a sentiment shared by most at these reunions.
The closing of three schools in our articulation was the final indication that Jeffco had Wheat Ridge on its lowest position on their totem pole. In budgets, renovations and district community meetings. Wheat Ridge always drew the short straw. The politics and drama seemed much more intense 10 and 15 years ago, perhaps because of face to face interaction being replaced with social media.
Our era ended with the passing of a historical high $857 million bond that was meant for teacher raises (check), the building of new schools (check) but was supposed to include a huge remodel of the Farmer’s home. The high school was set for a significant facelift with a replacement of mechanicals, auditorium etc… But the county ran out of money. There is an on-going campaign (see separate article in this issue) to fund those promised improvements. With the closing of schools came the forceful moving of hundreds of kids to new schools, which did not go as smoothly as hoped.
While we could go to board meetings and wave our jazz hands, today’s parents’ usage of social media and campaigns that have successfully been launched through various platforms to gather, inform and generate momentum of voices, all fighting for a common cause.
Perhaps we did feel the same stress and intensity. We were convinced that a more rigorous GT would be the ultimate solution for our students. The recalls during board elections. Dropping proficiency rates and shrinking enrollment. Sounds familiar?
I’m not sure if things have really changed. The challenge of getting parents to participate and help inside the schools remains high. The tug-of-war between principals and unions, the lack of quality food in cafeterias and the focus on sports vs academics remain issues that will continue for a long time.
But it’s clear to see that one thing will never change, the passion parents all share. To make sure their kids are happy, safe and healthy. And in spite of politics and economics, the bond between families and friendships between students will remain constant for generations to come.
Dear Board Member,
It has come to my attention as a member of the Wheat Ridge High School (WRHS) community that the scope of the WRHS bond project will not be completed as promised due to rising construction costs, overspending at other locations and time constraints. While I understand you have no control over construction costs, WRHS should not be penalized for changes in scope on other projects, nor should we routinely be a low-priority school.
I am, of course, excited to see some of the initial improvements such as a new turf field and new flooring in the large gym, but substantial work is still needed to bring WRHS up to par with neighboring schools. A quality facility directly impacts school choice and as neighboring schools receive upgrades, more and more Applewood and Wheat Ridge families are choosing to send their children to Lakewood or Golden over their home school, Wheat Ridge High School.
The lack of focus on equity for the WRHS community, as compared to other Jefferson County schools, is evident. WRHS has historically been prioritized last, with other local schools receiving state-of-the-art updates. With a long history and proud tradition in Jefferson County, it’s time Wheat Ridge High School receives the funding and support it deserves from the Jeffco School District. It’s time the district demonstrates its support of the Wheat Ridge community and brings WRHS up to standard.
Items that require immediate attention include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Full remodel of the annex bathroom
- Replacement of single pane windows in math and science wing
- Replacement of lighting in main gym, small gym, weight room and wrestling room
- New carpet, tile and paint that is cohesive throughout the building
- Addition of LED lighting in math and science wing
- Auditorium updates (new speakers, stage floor, curtains, fixtures, lighting, etc)
Jeffco Thrives 2025 Priority 3 states that “physical environments and operational services in Jeffco contribute to instructional excellence and extraordinary student experiences.” How can our students thrive and excel in substandard conditions?
Sadly, whether intended or not, the message you are sending to the Wheat Ridge community and its students is that they don’t matter. Continued oversight and neglect of the WRHS facility lets our students and community members know that you are favoring and prioritizing other communities and children over ours.
We are truly “one city, one school” and need your support to ensure that Wheat Ridge High School is a safe and equitable space where students and the community can learn and grow together for years to come!