How This School Put My Son Back on a Path to College


Over the past three years Myriam Aguirre’s son Eros, has developed a strong work ethic, gained confidence, and found success in subjects he once found difficult. Aguirre attributes her son’s growth to Ánimo Westside Charter Middle School‘s (WMS) commitment to meeting students where they are. Before attending WMS, Eros lacked the mathematical knowledge to successfully engage with grade level concepts. As a result, in fifth grade, he scored a level one on the state’s exam, failing to meet third grade proficiency. But in just two years at WMS, Eros grew four grade levels in math, successfully meeting seventh grade proficiency.

This growth didn’t happen overnight, WMS teachers worked with Aguirre to better understand her son’s needs and learning style, which enabled them to provide Eros with academic supports tailored to his strengths and areas of growth. “I remember one day he came home and told me ‘Mom when I don’t understand something my teachers explain it to me in another way and it’s easier for me to get it,’” recalled Aguirre. At Green Dot, our teachers differentiate learning to address learning gaps for individual students and remove barriers that would otherwise inhibit a student’s ability to learn.

Planning For the Road Ahead

Green Dot’s focus on college-readiness is one of the reasons Aguirre entrusted the school with the education of her son. “I want my son to go to college because I know it will change his quality of life,” said Aguirre.


To prepare students for the rigor of college, WMS has built a classroom culture where students initiate activities and drive learning experiences that support the mastery of skills. To enrich students’ middle school experience, the school has invested in opportunities for students to feel successful both in and outside of the classroom.

After school you’ll find students practicing coding, tending to the community garden, or participating in the school’s athletic programs. Through these experiences, students are exploring interests, building confidence, and learning essential life skills. This combination of academic rigor and meaningful extended learning opportunities supports the long-term development and success of students.

Committed to Excellence

Aguirre is still amazed by how much Eros has accomplished at WMS. Despite starting middle school several years below grade level, he was able to build confidence in his abilities and overcome academic challenges. Witnessing her son’s growth at WMS is one of the reasons why Aguirre is a proud proponent of charter schools. “When I talk to other parents about this school I tell them that it is a very good option because the school is focused on preparing children to enter high school and go to college,” said Aguirre.

In the spring Eros will culminate from WMS, his mother is sure that the confidence and skills he has developed will allow him to seamlessly transition to high school. Though students’ middle school grades and achievements won’t likely be featured on their college applications, Green Dot knows that a high quality middle school education sets students up for future success.