New names for the programs offered by St. Vrain Valley School District at 1200 S. Sunset St. will launch at the start of next school year to better represent their mission and role, as well as the community they serve, according to a memo from Superintendent Don Haddad to the school board.
The board last week unanimously approved new names for the Career Development Center, Olde Columbine High School and St. Vrain Online Global Academy. The board also approved branding for the campus housing the programs as the Global Acceleration Campus to support promoting the programs, said Area Assistant Superintendent Dina Perfetti-Deany.
“A bit over a year ago we began talking about the tremendous progress and expanded opportunities that students have at this campus,” she said. “The proposed new names will help us build a stronger brand and tell a more complete story about the programming available to our students.”
The Career Development Center, the career and technical education center for the district, will become the Career Elevation and Technology Center to place a greater emphasis on the technology aspects of its programs and the career advancement opportunities it provides, according to Kerri McDermid SVVSD’s chief communications and global impact officer.
The center is one of only seven career and technical education centers in Colorado and this year about 1,000 students are enrolled, a significant increase from 250 only a few years ago, Perfetti-Deany said.
There are 44 career and technical programs in SVVSD and over the past decade enrollment for related courses has increased from 2,800 to more than 5,200 students, she said.
“In looking to the future at the Career Elevation and Technology Center, we are constantly assessing industry needs and looking for ways to expand opportunities for our students in the district,” Charles Webber, assistant principal at Olde Columbine High School and the Career Development Center, said. “At the CETC, certification can be a bridge between high school and high-wage, high-growth and high-demand work environments.”
The district is exploring adding a pre-law career pathway option at the center in response to growing student interest in areas related to social justice, social work and criminal justice, he said, adding the new pathway would provide students the opportunity to earn college credits for a related degree or certification and possibly summer options for those with difficulties accessing such programs during the school year.
St. Vrain Virtual High School will replace St. Vrain Online Global Academy as the name for the free online high school for which instruction is provided via the Florida Virtual School platform.
Administrators hope the new name will reduce confusion regarding the online component and clarify that students who attend the high school participate on site and in person with staff who provide academic, planning and social-emotional support, Stacey Struessel, St. Vrain Online Global Academy principal, said.
“People believe this is a fully online remote program, but most of its success is attributed to the support of on-site teachers and counselors and most students attend in person daily on a flexible schedule,” Struessel said. “The important piece is to market it as a high school and not as a program.”
At the start of the next school year, Olde Columbine High School, a small, community-oriented high school originally created to meet the needs of alternative students, will be renamed New Meridian High School.
The term meridian, which refers to the longitudinal lines that circle the earth passing through its poles, evoke a sense of finding direction, globalized thinking, connectedness and finding pathways to the future, McDermid said.
ToniJo Niccoli, assistant principal at Olde Columbine High School, who will become its principal next school year, said, “Just like there are many meridians that circle the globe, we want to carry that theme forward and we want to offer a variety of pathways that connect or bridge our students from their high school experience to college, career, (and) post secondary outcomes.”
Among new potential programs at New Meridian are options to help students pick a college or career pathway, as well as a partnership with Metropolitan State University through which students can concurrently earn up to 10 college credits that can be applied toward a four-year degree, Niccoli said. Summer programming specific to New Meridian students to help them enter the fields of advanced manufacturing, health and other areas also is being considered.
“Rebranding our campus as another great high school option where students graduate with a high school diploma and are college- and career-ready, and most importantly, future-ready, is an important part of the story we hope to tell as we become New Meridian High School,” Niccoli said.
Haddad said the district will no longer refer to New Meridian as an alternative high school nor will it differentiate between traditional and alternative options, but instead refer to all 10 SVVSD high schools as “outstanding.”
“Every single one of them has an amazing viable opportunity waiting for our children,” he said.
The rebranding process started in 2019 and involved gathering input from a variety of stakeholders, including students, families, teachers, staff and district leadership over a series of collaborative conversations, McDermid said.
The next steps include designing new logos for the campus and facilities, improvement to the entryway at the main building, and new visuals in the main corridors to incorporate the rebranding, Perfetti-Deany said.
“Our goal is to ... build pride among the student body and among staff but also within our community, and also to reflect the strong future-ready focus of our program,” she said.