A charter school success story is about to start a new chapter with a brand new facility
Santa Fe South started with 120 students more than 15 years ago. It's grown to eight locations and 3,200 students. The new high school is inside the old Montgomery Ward at Plaza Mayor in south OKC.
“It’s a real powerful experience for us to be in a physical environment that emulates th work that as already gone on the classrooms,” says Santa Fe South Schools Superintendent Chris Brewster.
The 81,000 square feet will house nearly 1,000 students in the 5A school. Classrooms are put together like pods with windows, so teachers can look into classrooms next door.
Brewster hopes it creates a friendly competition among teachers. “If your neighbor is teaching the heck out of the class, I’m going to step up my game.”
While the new halls are now bear, the classrooms are starting to beam with pride.
Rachel Boyd is a first year art teacher at Santa Fe South High School. “I’m not nervous, but I know it will be okay,” says Boyd.
In her classroom, she has put up a picture of her in cap and gown when she graduated from the same charter school in 2012. One of the biggest displays inside the high school, whose student body will feature many first generation high school graduates, is a tall wire mesh wall. It’s the spot where students will hang their college acceptance letters.
“When they are here, they are known, they are cared for, there are supportive and they are loved,” Boyd said.
Classes at Santa Fe South H.S. begin Thursday. There are waiting lists for many Santa Fe Schools, but due to the larger location the high school still has space for more juniors and seniors.