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Students work to save arts school from closing

Posted at 4:54 PM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 21:03:11-05

Students at the Noel Community Arts School in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood had reason to celebrate Friday, after successfully convincing the school board to save their middle school. 

The board decided to phase out the current middle school, leaving only the high school, after receiving low test scores and fewer interest from parents in the area to send their kids there.

The school is the only arts-focused public school in the neighborhood. 

However, before the decision was made final, students got together to write several letters to the board to convince them otherwise.

“We wanted to show them what NCS was capable of, or what they couldn’t see through the data,” said Peter Lubembela, a junior at the school.

Teachers also helped students with their efforts.

“We didn’t want to blame the arts because we think the arts are such a paramount part of our student’s education,” said Ambria Reed, who teaches Language Arts at the school.

Board members visited the school to hear from students at a meeting on Thursday night. That’s when they decided to give the students and the school a chance, allowing it to remain open and giving faculty an opportunity to develop their own improvement plan.

"I want them to win some battles,” said Reed, “and this win feels so good.”

The school’s principal tells Denver7 they’ve already made an action plan.

Reed has also made her own plan, asking her students to write about their own ways they think they can improve as a school.

Faculty at the school said their student’s test scores have already gone up since last year, beating out other schools around the area.

“As kids we're told that if we work hard enough anything’s possible,” said Lubembela, “and now, that’s true.” 

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