SWOS' primary program is our high school education curriculum. However, SWOS has additional programs to support student success.

These include a character education program, a School Based Health Clinic, family engagement activities and programs, as well as a developing postsecondary workforce readiness program.

While our course offerings are similar to those offered within a traditional high school model, the delivery of these subjects using several evidence-based best practices and instructional strategies is what sets SWOS apart from other institutions. The academic program at SWOS includes several unique components: character education, expeditionary learning, and common core practices (i.e. student-centered learning, differentiation, authentic learning and assessment, service learning/community service, outdoor education, academic probation, Two House System, portfolios, and postsecondary workforce readiness programming).

Central to our success with the both the non-traditional learner and the at-risk learner is our expeditionary learning approach. This is a learning model designed to promote critical thinking skills, academic achievement, and personal development through the use of in-depth investigations that engage students in community, travel, projects, and service by bringing experts into the classroom, taking students into the field, and engaging students in real world learning experiences.

SWOS has seen a steady growth in academic achievement as measured by standardized test data. While this data is by no means the only measure of our success, it does provide quantitative evidence that supports the efficacy of our academic program. Additional evidence of our success stems from annual data reflecting a decrease in attendance and behavioral issues, as well as an increase in average amount of credit earned per student per academic term. We are also seeing a marked increase in the number of students seeking post-secondary options.

A fundamental component of SWOS’s educational program is a character education class, SWOSology, which every student entering SWOS is required to pass. SWOSology, which was modeled after the Discovery Curriculum, was adopted in 1999 in an effort to create consistency in character expectations that would ensure a positive school climate. This class prepares students to be productive in the academic setting by honing skills such as cooperative work, effective communication, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Acquiring these skills allows them to be more successful in school. Our academic classes emphasize the practice of these skills and offer other unique opportunities for students to develop their character skills while simultaneously gaining core content academic knowledge and skills.

SWOS requires all students to earn ½ a credit of service learning in order to graduate. Beyond this requirement, service learning is another core aspect of our educational programming. Many of our academic classes incorporate service learning in the curriculum. Additionally, SWOS has established an after-school program called Generation Impact that fosters leadership skills, teaches students about the non-profit sector, and allows students to become philanthropists through community service projects and grant-making.

This program has received several awards for their work in the community. This program and other service learning efforts through the school could be enhanced and expanded with the cooperation of other community agencies. For example, SWOS students could serve on non-profit boards, provide mentor services to younger students, and participate in more community services projects if there were more awareness of our programs among members and agencies in the community.

Family engagement programs are offered throughout the school year at SWOS. For example, all family members/guardians of newly entering students enrolled in SWOSology, our mandatory character education class, are strongly encouraged to attended Parent Night, wherein the students teach their family members/guardians the skills that they learn in the class.

In addition to Parent Night, SWOS hosts Gallery Days/Nights at the end of every term, which is a celebration and showcasing of student work. Galleries are well attended by the families and friends, as well as other community members.

SWOS students are encouraged to plan for their future throughout their educational journey at SWOS. The School Counselor, Teacher/Advisors, and Staff support each student in making the right decisions so they are prepared for the path they choose. Postsecondary planning culminates in Senior Seminar class where students develop their Senior Portfolio (SWOSfolio) which documents their plans to fulfill their post high school goals.

SWOS offers opportunities for concurrent enrollment through Pueblo Community College Southwest, San Juan College, and Fort Lewis College. Concurrent enrollment allows students to experience college level classes that can help them in their postsecondary planning and goals as well as earn both college and high school credit.

SWOS also has opportunities for postsecondary exploration through the Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) program. ACE is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) state-approved and sponsored program.

The ACE program’s ultimate goals are to develop self-knowledge, human relation skills, employability skills, career awareness, independent living skills, transition planning, and leadership skills. ACE provides experiences which will enable students to achieve success in school as well as preparing them for the world of work.

At SWOS, the ACE program is integrated into some core classes and is developed through career development elective options. Courses in the ACE program are grouped into 6 categories: Postsecondary Workforce Readiness, Career Development, Computer Literacy, Work Experience, Financial Literacy, and Capstone (Senior Seminar/SWOSfolio).

Students benefit from ACE because it allows them to explore and experience careers (e.g., through job shadows and internships) before leaving high school, making their transition to post-high school life more clear.