#SuperSchoolShoutout: Open Doors Program!

#SuperSchoolShoutout: Open Doors Program!
Posted on 11/07/2023

This week, we’re showing our #CPSDPride with a #SuperSchoolShoutOut to Gravelly Lake K-12 Academy’s Open Doors Program!

You may not have heard of Gravelly Lake Academy before because it is a brand new CPSD school that combines multiple programs including the Open Doors Youth Reengagement Program, Alternative Learning Environment and the Transition Program.

Open Doors is a reengagement system that provides education and services to students ages 16-21, who have dropped out of school or are not on track to graduate from high school by the age of 21. The program reengages students through programs that encourage community partnerships, creates multiple pathways for them to realize success and provides support for opportunities after graduation.

Many Open Doors students enter the program because of life circumstances that do not work well within a traditional class structure such as being a parent or working fulltime. Open Doors has the flexibility to make adjustments that students need at any level so they can excel.

Last year, Open Doors hit a major milestone and received accreditation as an institution that meets the same level of academic standards as other high school education programs. Principal Venetia Willis-Holbrook has spent the past eight years leading her team and watching her program grow beyond expectations.

“Accreditation affirmed the work we do and recognized our commitment to continuous improvement,” Principal Willis-Holbrook said. “For a lot of these students, our program is about being seen and getting an education at a place that isn’t trying to change who they are. Then, we get to see them reach all their goals and that’s the magical part of our program.”

Gravelly Lake Academy Open Doors Program

To continue our Super School Shoutout to Open Doors, we'd like to honor Multilingual Language Learner (MLL) teacher Taylor Davila and senior Francisco Alvarado!

About half of the students at Open Doors speak another language. As the MLL teacher, Taylor supports these students in all content areas: math, science, English language arts and history. 

Taylor works closely with each student to select the correct classes and make connections between their class topic and future careers as they continue learning. “I love working with students at the high school level and helping them on their journey as they plan their next steps,” Taylor said. 

Taylor encouraged her students to take the test for the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy to earn credit for a skill they already possess that is not always recognized for its value. To earn this seal, students must show a high level of fluency in reading, writing, listening and speaking, equating to four high school world language credits. 

Francisco began the Open Doors program in fall of 2022 to catch up to his graduating class. “The teachers here help you understand your classes and work closely with each of us,” he said. “I would have been a year behind if I hadn’t started this program.” 

With the help of Ms. Davila, Francisco passed the state biliteracy test with flying colors. He earned a high enough score that Taylor submitted his results for the Global Seal of Biliteracy, where he was recognized at the proficiency level of functional fluency. “I’m super grateful for Ms. Davila, and it’s nice to feel recognized,” he said. 

Francisco can now confirm his fluency in Washington state and around the world. He loves science and math and plans on attending technical school to become a mechanic or construction worker.

Go Grizzlies!

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