Westlake Academy Offers World-Class Education
Posted October 15th, 2012 | by The Update
As seen in this month’s issue of Paper City:
For the 670 kids enrolled in Westlake Academy’s K-12 program, any day can include a world-view discussion about conflicts in the Middle East, a trip to NASA or an art project based on Mesopotamian discoveries.
Completely surrounded by the rolling hills of Circle T Ranch and wholly owned and operated by the town of Westlake, this International Baccalaureate (IB) charter school recently was named #37 in the nation by U.S. News & World Reports.
“A lot of people come to the school because of the high ratings,” said Westlake Mayor Laura Wheat, who also serves as the Head of the Board of Trustees for the school. “But the ratings are not what are special to me. What’s special is the commitment to create knowledge in young people and create a better world though education.”
In the U.S., IB programs are gaining in popularity, but not all are entirely successful. It takes enormous parental, community and financial support to make any charter school viable. At Westlake Academy, the school has the backing of the entire city.
“We have a very unique situation here because the school is municipally owned and operated. Where other cities put their money into parks and pools, we put our money into our school,” said Mayor Wheat. “The city has an enormous stake in the success of the students here. We don’t believe that families move to communities with great shopping or fine dining as their priority. School is the number one priority for families looking to relocate. Parents will make the commute to work in order to have their kids in the best schools possible.”
The school’s stellar reputation has people packing up their belongings and heading out to this town of a little more than 1,000 people tucked away in northeast Tarrant County. “We know that great schools create great communities,” said Robbie Briggs, CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, which recently opened an office in Southlake’s Town Square. “Our agents are seeing tremendous interest in these neighborhoods. People are moving to Westlake from all corners of the Metroplex.”
Despite a class size of approximately 21, the school is relatively easy to get into. Admission criteria is based solely on where a child resides. All students who live within the primary boundary are admitted. Students in the secondary boundary are admitted on a lottery basis.
“For us, city and school are completely connected,” said Mayor Wheat. “The community is the school and the school is the community.”