The West Career and Technical Academy in Summerlin has multiple computer labs. Students are also encouraged to bring their own laptops to campus, and can connect to a wireless network hosted by Google.
Monday, Aug. 30, 2010 | 2:12 p.m.
Map of West Career and Technical Academy
11945 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas
Students at West Career and Technical Academy weren’t the only ones with first-school-day jitters and excitement Monday.
The Summerlin magnet high school was abounding with plenty of enthusiasm as teachers and staff welcomed 750 students in the academy’s inaugural freshmen and sophomore classes.
“It’s an amazing facility with amazing staff,” said sophomore biology teacher Veronica Cummins. “I’m excited to work here. I’m excited to be here.”
West Tech Academy is the last high school built under a 1998 voter-approved bond program to revitalize Clark County schools. Under the initiative, the county has spent a total of $4.1 billion to date for the construction of 101 new schools and the replacement of 11.
The remaining $200 million in the program’s budget will go toward rehabilitating existing schools, said Paul Gerner, associate superintendent of facilities.
“This school is state of the art,” said Principal Monte Bay. “We want to take it to a higher level."
West Tech is split into two academies: Medical Science, and the Environmental, Engineering and Technical. There are a total of nine programs within these academies of a variety of disciplines ranging from computer animation to veterinary and medical sciences.
“This is a great school,” said Zack Surmacz, a 14-year-old freshman who said he was “really excited, but a little nervous” about his first day. “[The programs] will help me in my working life.”
“The students want to be here,” said Superintendent Walt Rulffes. “We have found that students at school that are career-oriented do better in college … This is the way to improve graduation rates.”
West Tech – which cost $83.5 million and took 1 1/2 years to build – boasts four automated greenhouses, a wireless network set up by Google and a rotating solar panel for students to learn about photovoltaic cells. Built on 40 acres of land at the base of Red Rock Canyon, the facilities are also one of the most energy efficient in the district, using solar and geothermal energy to reduce its carbon footprint, officials said.
Despite the new facilities, officials said the major difference with the new school was in how they viewed students.
“Our philosophy at West Tech is to have a college environment that will treat students as if they are college students,” Bay said, adding that if staff members interact with students with mutual respect and professionalism, they will “rise to the occasion.”
“This is a model for what schools can be like everywhere.”
West Career and Technical Academy The West Career and Technical Academy (WCTA) will open in August of 2010 with approximately 675 9th and 10th grade students. At full capacity during the 2012-2013 school year, the WCTA will have approximately 1350 students in grades 9th through 12th. The school will have two academies: the Medical Science Academy and the Environmental, Engineering and Technical Academy. There are a total of nine programs at the WCTA. The Medical Science Academy contains Veterinary and Medical Sciences, Biotechnology, Nursing, and Sports Medicine. The Environmental, Engineering and Technical Academy contains five programs including Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Business Management & Health Care Administration, Computer Animation, and Management Information Systems (MIS).
Qualified students are selected during a district lottery process. These students attend the WCTA with or without transportation (see transportation zone on main page in documents). While the school does not have NIAA sports teams, there are extensive intramurals, clubs, and activities for WCTA students. School dances, assemblies, yearbooks, and other traditions will thrive at the school. Students can try out for NIAA sports teams at their home school (regular attendance zone).
The WCTA has the latest wireless technology and students will be encouraged to bring their laptops and netbooks to school. Teachers and students will employ project-based and scenario-based learning at the WCTA. This hands-on approach toward real-world learning will make learning enjoyable and relevant for today’s students.
The WCTA mission statement and learning outcomes are located in the documents section on this page. The WCTA mascot is the Wrangler (WCTA Wranglers). The school's colors are red, gold, and black. Green is occasionally used as an accent color. The informal name for the school is West Tech Academy.
Other important highlights of the new WCTA include:
-Four by four block schedule with four 85 minute periods per day
-Electronic portfolio development
-An emphasis on oral and written communication
-Extensive Advanced Placement (AP) Program
-Internships and senior projects
-Digital collaboration environment
-Field laboratory and outdoor educational experiences
-Small learning communities
-Extensive clubs and activities
(From school website)
11945 W. Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas,
NV 89135 702-799-4340