SWOS was created in 1986 by the Southwest Board of Cooperative Services, with an initial enrollment of 20 students. After reorganization in 1998, SWOS became a charter school with Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School District serving as its authorizing agent (LEA).
Over the last 30 years, the governing board, administration, and staff have focused on developing a caring community where positive relationships are built to ensure student success. SWOS offers a comprehensive educational program that combines academics, character education and expeditionary learning approaches, and other supplemental programs to nurture the success of the whole student.
The school serves 4 school districts (Montezuma Cortez RE-1, Dolores RE-4A, Dolores County RE-2J & and Mancos RE-6) and attracts a diverse student population. The ethnic breakdown is as follows: 30% Native American, 15% Hispanic, 53% Caucasian, and 2% Other ethnicity.
SWOS is a school of choice where students are able to earn a fully accredited high school diploma. Since more than 90% of SWOS students are considered “at-risk,” the school carries the designation “Alternative Education Campus.” At present, enrollment is at 134 students, with a student-to-teacher ratio of approximately 15:1.