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School Summary: The mission of Southwest Open School is to create a community of learners who utilize expeditionary, experiential education in developing and nurturing high academic, character, and health standards while honoring diversity and fostering self-directed lifelong learning. Southwest Open School consists of a team of passionate educators that believe in a holistic approach to teaching and learning.   As an Alternative Education Campus, SWOS serves non-traditional high school students, at-risk of dropping out of school. The school was founded in 1986 to serve as a second chance program for area high schools in the southwest corner of Colorado, including youth from Cortez, Mancos, Dove Creek, Dolores and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.  SWOS enrolls approximately 130 students each year, which comprise 15% Native American, 50% Caucasian, and 31% Hispanic, 94% of whom are defined as “high-risk,” including living in a culture of poverty.   The school is located Southwest Colorado, between the mountains and deserts, on the ancestorial territory of the Ute, Dine, Hopi, Apache and Pueblo people.

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