We moved to Denver the summer before our daughter started 8th grade. On her own, she chose GALS for middle school. Not long into her first semester as a GALS 8th grader, we began to see the positive impact of GALS. She was engaged in her education and was excited to go to school. She had a “presence” that had not been there before.
When the time came to think about high school, we were open to considering GALS, but also liked the idea of our neighborhood high school. We went to the GALS High School open house in late fall, and were super impressed by the student panelists who candidly shared their experiences with GALS and the impact it had on their personal and academic growth. As we were leaving the school, I ran into one of the parent panelists and thanked them for their participation and perspective. The parent replied without hesitation, “GALS is the best-kept secret in Denver. It is a private-school experience with no tuition.”
We decided to stay with GALS for high school based on our child’s excellent middle school experience, and also the overall size of the high school and its classes. With an overall student-to-teacher ratio of 1:10, the teachers really get to know and engage with the students and the students get to know the teachers. The practical impact of this relationship is the teachers understand each student’s potential and encourage them to expand. For our daughter, this also meant she feels accountable to her teachers to reach her personal potential.
After almost three years at GALS High School, I can reflect on what that parent at the open house really meant. The engagement and caliber of the staff at GALS is top-notch. GALS administration and teachers know my daughter and her unique strengths. She has had opportunities to explore interests that, frankly, I didn’t know she had, like designing costumes for the school plays. In addition, she has actively participated in high school sports.
GALS’ mission statement is to “empower all students to succeed academically, lead confidently, live boldly and thrive physically.” GALS high school delivers on this promise and more. I look at my daughter with deep admiration as she is transitioning from a teenager to an amazing young woman who knows her values and is not afraid to speak and live them. Through her experiences in the classroom, but most importantly through interactions with her classmates and GALS staff, she has developed an approach to the world that marries critical thinking with a strong sense of empathy.
GALS Denver High School makes a real impact on students with its innovative model, which balances physical movement, mental health and social-emotional development, and academics, all in an inclusive and dynamic community. My daughter is prepared to face the world with confidence and a strong sense of herself, thanks to her unique experience at GALS High School.
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