Spokane Valley High School Principal Larry Bush was pleased to find out his school had been named one of the top 10 alterative high schools in Washington state, but he always knew he had something special going on at his school.
“All the kids are here by choice,” he said. “I think that’s one of the strengths of the program.”
The school was evaluated for the award it received by the Baker Evaluation Research Consulting Group, based in Redmond, Wash. The company looked at student transcripts, graduation rates, dropout rates and teacher credentials. It also came to the school and conducted focus groups with students.
The award was also a nice recognition for the teachers. “It’s a little bit of a reward for them,” Bush said. “A lot of time as teachers they don’t hear that.”
The school is in the West Valley district, but is also a Valley Co-op school that gets support from the Central Valley, East Valley and Freeman districts. Students from other districts in Spokane, Mead and Cheney also regularly enroll in the school as choice students.
Spokane Valley High School operates on a six-period day schedule and offers the traditional core classes, but that’s where the similarities between it and other high schools stop. Even the school’s cafeteria looks more like a retro café, with chrome and red leather stools and old 45 RPM records dangling from the ceiling.