Chester I. Lewis Academic Learning Center is home to three alternative school options for students in the Wichita Public School system: Wichita Alternative High School, Wichita Adult Learning Center, and Wichita Transitions Learning Center.
These schools serve students whose situations, goals, and pursuits were such that a traditional school setting could not effectively meet their needs. Many would became part of the district’s drop-out rate if these options were not available, so providing education in a form that allows access while students take on challenges is a win for all.
The schools under the Chester Lewis umbrella are the result of a progressive approach that begin in 1970. In the aftermath of a race riot at Heights High School, efforts were made to keep the seniors involved on track to graduate. The alternative school seed was planted with a small number of students, two teachers, an administrator, and a downtown building space.
At the same time, the Wichita School Board was researching alternative school options, and the following year, Metro Boulevard Alternative High School became the first true alternative school in Wichita. The name “Metro” came from the desire to welcome students from anywhere in the city. Metro Meridian followed in 1979. In 2011, Metro Boulevard moved to what became the Chester Lewis building, and in 2014, Metro Meridian was closed and staff and students merged to become Wichita Alternative School.
The vision of Chester Lewis Academic Learning Center is to create a learning environment that is safe, nurturing and challenging for each individual based upon their distinct abilities and need in an ALTERNATIVE environment. As a result of planning we developed our why…
We are THEIR why!
Chester I Lewis Jr was born in 1929 in Hutchinson, KS and has been considered a “freedom fighter” early in life.
Lewis went to the University of Kansas and would earn a law degree. He settled in Wichita and worked for integration. According to the Kansas Historical Society, Lewis “helped desegregate restaurants, swimming pools, aircraft companies” and “local government agencies.” He lobbied for a fair housing ordinance and mentored black students.
*Adapted from the Hutchinson News (Hutchinson native Chester I. Lewis honored in newest plaza - News - The Hutchinson News - Hutchinson, KS (hutchnews.com))
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