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A photo illustration with a half red, half blue border with black-and-white photos of a teacher on the left and a student on the right

Episode 5: Better Together

Students help reunite two high schools to create opportunity for all.

Air Date: May 3, 2022

Staff and students from West High School in Denver, CO, talk about how they mobilized and partnered with their school district to successfully reunite and rebuild their high school years after it was split in two.


About the Show

Changing Course is a podcast from Teach For America’s One Day Studio that explores what’s possible when schools empower students in their own educational paths. Every episode, host Jonathan Santos Silva shares stories from students, teachers, and administrators about how they’ve reinvented traditional approaches to traditional education.

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Meet The Host
Jonathan Santos Silva

Jonathan Santos Silva (South Dakota '10)

Jonathan Santos Silva is the Founding Executive Director of The Liber Institute and creator and host of The Bored of Ed, a podcast that amplifies the voices of inspiring BIPOC educators who are changing the face of education. He has provided technical support to South Dakota’s Native American Achievement Schools and has served as a school founder and principal, instructional coach, and education consultant.

Featured In This Episode
Mia Martinez Lopez headshot

Mia Martinez Lopez, Principal, West High School

My name is Mia Martinez Lopez and I am a proud West Cowboy. I am a Denver native and I have worked in both the North and West Denver neighborhoods. I have lived in the Westside of Denver since 2006, with my husband and I have raised three children. I have worked in Denver Public Schools since 2001, as a guest teacher, middle school teacher, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal and Principal. In 2009, I came to West High School as a Student Advisor or “Dean”. I fell in love with West and decided early-on that I would be a Cowboy. I had the fortune of working for the traditional West High School as well as be a founding administrator for West Early College.

Daniel Walter

Daniel Walter, Social Studies Teacher, West High School

Mr. Walter has been an educator at West for 13 years where he is devoted to empowering students.

Andrea Valencia-Rodriguez headshot

Andrea Valencia-Rodriguez, West HS alumna '21

Andrea is a first-year college student at Community College of Denver studying Business.

Arely Cardenas headshot

Arely Cardenas, West HS alumna '21

Arely is a first-year college student at Community College of Denver studying Architecture.

Kikai Edwards headshot

Kikai Edwards, 12th grade student, West High School

Kikai is currently looking at both in-state and out-of-state college options.

Peyton Morrison headshot

Peyton Morrison, 11th grade student, West High School

Peyton plans to enlist in the Air National Guard and join ROTC at the college of her choosing.

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