A pristine education setting

Olathe West will portray a modern system for learning

Savannah Cox, Staff Writer

The Olathe school district is opening a new high school next fall. The high school will be named Olathe West to add to the directions of the other schools. West will be home to the 21st century programs public safety and green technologies, and will hold up to 2,000 students.
Each Olathe high school has specific programs associated with it known as 21st century programs. Olathe East has the design and leadership programs. Olathe Northwest has aerospace engineering and e-communication programs. Olathe North has animal health, geosciences, medical professions, sports medicine, exercise sciences and distinguished scholar programs. Olathe South has computer science, bioengineering and business finance programs.
According to the Olathe Public Schools website “the 21st century programs are four-year programs that allow students to build upon their interests and learn specific skills they can apply toward their post-secondary experiences and work fields.”
The public safety program at West is for students who have an interest in the legal field. The green tech academy is for students with an interest in the energy and sustainability fields.
For the first year, only freshman through juniors will be at West. This will give the seniors the opportunity to finish at the school they started.
West will be home to the Owls and their colors will be blue and silver. The Olathe school district has been working on this school for almost three years.
The school will include a centrally-located learning commons and collaboration spaces that connect to the entire building. The classrooms will be in four separate wings, also known as communities. The main part of the building will be open study spaces for students to collaborate.
“I think it is a neat concept, but I don’t think it will work out very well for underclassmen. I think I would prefer the way GEHS is set up,” senior Logan Turner said.
GEHS is set up with the different wings of classrooms, but does not have the open collaboration spaces that West will have. The main focus of West is the use of technology, open, modular learning spaces, efficiency and collaboration among students.
The Olathe board of education named Jay Novacek principal at West. Novacek is currently the assistant principal and athletic director at ONW.
According to the Olathe Schools website, this coming fall will be his 18th year in the district. Prior to his administrative position, Novacek taught English and coached baseball at ONW.
West will play all sports at the varsity level except for football this coming school year. They will compete at the junior varsity level this year and start competing at the varsity level the following year.
The school will be complete in March and open its doors in August.