EST 2022 – Vanguard Academy is an innovative new high school in Moses Lake, WA. Students at Vanguard learn through a project-based curriculum focused on active participation. Project-based learning fosters innovation, coupled with technology, hands-on learning, collaboration, and professional development. This new model focuses on teaching students essential skills they can carry into their lives beyond the classroom while mastering core subject matter.
Preparing our students for the real world is a priority. Students focus on solving a societal problem or choose a big-picture project that interests them, like what it takes to start a business. Core subject material is incorporated into the student's project (like financial planning and budgeting or marketing proposals and presentations for a business). Students gain an understanding of how their education applies to any number of real-life situations outside the classroom.
We know conventional learning methods do not serve all students.
Find out if Vanguard is a good fit for your child!
Where did Vanguard Academy begin?
Since the passage of the 2017 construction bond, work has been underway to provide a plan for a second high school in our district. The initial vision was for a 1,600-person high school designed to offer a nearly identical education model and class offerings as our existing high school, built in a location across town. The need for this size high school was based on a combination of enrollment data and birth rate trends.
With resources from the 2017 bond, we brought in external resources to analyze our district’s facility needs and begin initial planning for the implementation of this bond. These experts work exclusively with school districts using comprehensive research, data collection and best practices to inform long-range planning.
This additional data showed our capacity needs were different than what our enrollment numbers alone were telling us. Given the diversity of high school program options, such as the Digital Learning Center and Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center, a significant number of enrolled students (nearly 400) are off-campus for their education--meaning they are not physically present at Moses Lake High School.
So while our enrollment numbers showed a capacity concern, actual physical capacity concerns are not as significant as previously understood. If the district were to build another 1600-person high school, our capacity would be greater than our actual need, and we would subsequently be ineligible for a significant portion of future state construction match funds to update the current Moses Lake High School.
After evaluating the district's facility needs and with the new information they uncovered, the board accepted a resolution to the initial bond in August 2018. This resolution secured an additional $34,135,953 in state matching funds and allowed the creation of two new elementary schools in the district. It would also allow for renovations to be made to benefit the existing Moses Lake High School.
With the new plan of an efficiently-sized high school, MLSD will receive an additional $34,135,953 in state match dollars over what we would have been eligible for with the initial vision. The state match funds, totaling $63.5M, allow us to build two new elementary schools immediately and have $51M available in 2028 as modernization money for MLHS.
Once the resolutions were approved by the board, a committee was formed to create a vision for this new high school in Moses Lake.
The committee was tasked,
To create a vision of High Schools for Moses Lake that is forward-looking, future-oriented and which can serve as a model for defining and designing the new secondary-level school building as well as redesigning Moses Lake High School to best serve and prepare all students.
In the spring of 2019, the planning committee decided that Vanguard would feature a project-based curriculum after the success seen in other schools across the state featuring this new style of education.
Throughout the year, the committee worked closely with the school board to define what this new school would look like. Once the board finalized the location, near the existing MLHS, rigorous planning went into how this school will be able to best serve the needs of our students.
Everything from the ground up has been designed to inspire and foster students' innovative thinking in a positive and collaborative learning environment.
Like many things in our world, the progress on a new academy experienced delays. Until there was more information available, there was some uncertainty as to what the future of education would look like.
2021 Back On Track
As things started to return to normal, the work to bring students a new school was back on track.
A whole new understanding of what students needed to thrive and succeed in their education brought with it a critical look at what students need to learn, and the final plans for Vanguard Academy were established. We broke ground on the new building in the spring of 2021.
By September 2021 the school board had narrowed the name choices down to a few and a community vote was conducted. The board then affirmed the popular vote and officially named the new school, Vanguard Academy.
2022 Grand Opening
With the completion of the new building, Vanguard Academy enrolled our inaugural class students in the fall of 2022.