K-12: Area School Districts
Colorado Springs School District 11
1115 N. El Paso St., 520-2000, d11.org
Student pop.: 29,545
District 11 is the city's largest and most central school district, and aims to help students grow and develop in a global society. New this year, middle school Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy opened a Cyber Café for students, parents and the community. A multi-purpose and technologically driven space, the Café is open late in the evening so that families can share a learning space and communicate with faraway family members. Devra Ashby, public information officer, also tells us via e-mail that "Galileo School of Math and Science is working to transform their old tennis courts into a one-of-a-kind urban garden with the help of Pikes Peak Urban Gardens. A geodesic dome greenhouse has been constructed and harvesting has already taken place with the produce being put right back into our school cafeterias."
Academy School District 20
1110 Chapel Hills Drive, 234-1200, asd20.org
Student pop.: 23,600
Forward-thinking and motivated, District 20 is known for high student achievement. This year it's implemented a new program called TRACKS for homeschooled kids, wherein they can engage in outdoor environmental education once a week at the School in the Woods property in Black Forest. This program, teaching respect, appreciation and conservation through science and social studies, is for fourth- and fifth-graders, and out-of-district students are free to apply as well. Nanette Anderson, public information officer, adds that D-20 does very well with its Colorado Student Assessment Program scores, continues to receive accreditation with distinction (the highest level possible within the Colorado Department of Education's annual statewide accountability ratings), and features the International Baccalaureate program and very competitive athletic programs.
Falcon School District 49
10850 E. Woodmen Road, Falcon, 495-1100, d49.org
Student pop.: 15,000
This year, one of the biggest changes for Falcon School District 49 was the implementation of what administrators call the Innovation Initiative, a program that bases learning and education on the students' needs, and allows individual schools a lot of leniency to make decisions based on those needs. This focus aims to bring the community, parents, students, teachers and businesses into the learning process, and looks to tap into all these resources. Communications specialist Stephanie Meredith says D-49 not only values community, but realizes the skills needed to create it in this ever-changing world are developing and changing — meaning the district must be flexible.
Harrison School District 2
1060 Harrison Road, 579-2000, hsd2.org
Student pop.: approx. 11,147
Located in the southeastern part of the city, Harrison is more than half a decade into a huge series of changes at the hands of superintendent (and former U.S. Senate candidate) Mike Miles. Today, Harrison is the only district in Colorado Springs to have a pay-for-performance plan for paying teachers and administrators — with the goal of increasing graduation rates, the district pays staff based on student assessments. This year, D-2's Wildflower Elementary School was the only Colorado Springs school to win a National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education; one of 304 schools chosen in the nation, Wildflower was selected for its "innovative efforts toward increasing student achievement."
Widefield School District 3
1820 Main St., Colorado Springs, 391-3000, wsd3.org
Student pop.: approx. 9,246
Located in southern El Paso County, District 3 is home to some innovative educational approaches, especially with its online program, D3 My Way. This program allows teachers, students and parents to customize their school day, mixing online core academics with on-site electives and off-hour tutors. It is just another way to reach students who may not want to attend class, says director of communications James Drew.
Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8
10665 Jimmy Camp Road, Fountain, 382-1300, ffc8.org
Student pop.: 7,702
With nearly 70 percent of students coming from military homes, the Fountain-Fort Carson district looks to support a very mobile population. The district staffs integrationists who assist students with acclimating to the environment, and interventionists who work with students academically — one of the few local districts with this type of help. According to John Fogerty, director of human resources, D-8 also creates an environment where all students can learn to thrive and succeed, primarily through small classes and a strong teaching staff and curriculum.
Lewis-Palmer School District 38
146 N. Jefferson St., Monument, 488-4700, lewispalmer.org
Student pop.: 6,600
Monument-based Lewis-Palmer District 38 prides itself on meeting its students' needs, whether those include special education, gifted and talented service, or speaking different languages. The high school graduation rate here tops 95 percent, and about 85 percent of graduates continue to college. Community relations manager Robin Adair says two things stand out about this district. One: In most cases, student achievement is higher in this district than in others locally. And two: Since it's a small district with small learning communities, D-38 can better customize and gear its education toward student needs.
Cheyenne Mountain School District 12
1775 LaClede St., 475-6100, cmsd12.org
Student pop.: 4,529
Located in southwestern Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain is one of the top districts in Colorado in academic achievement. Superintendent Walt Cooper says this is thanks to the great learning environment that faculty and staff have created. They look toward everyone to achieve, and approximately 90 percent of graduates go to college. Cooper is proud of his district: "We continue to be one of the few districts in Colorado that is accredited with distinction by the Colorado Department of Education."
Manitou Springs School District 14
405 El Monte Place, Manitou Springs, 685-2024, mssd14.org
Student pop.: 1,507
Smart is what District 14 strives for, and the new S.M.A.R.T.E. design class it's added should help. This elective is offered to middle and high school students to help them learn about science, mathematics, art, research, technology and engineering. "We are trying to engage students in real-life situations," says Tim Miller, assistant superintendent. The district tries to avoid static learning — iPads have been given to all middle school students — and to promote real-world skills. Also, Manitou is renowned for working with the emotional, social, academic and creative sides of each student, and its small size helps develop strong connections among individuals.
The Independent contacted each private school listed below for basic information and a sense of what's new this year. A few schools did not respond to our calls; in these situations, we have simply included their contact information and basic details culled from their websites. If we've missed a private school, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost every local private school offers some type of financial assistance, and many either provide transportation or help coordinate carpooling options. When researching private schools, we recommend you ask about these options.
K-12: Private Schools
The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind Up to age 21
33 N. Institute St., 578-2100, csdb.org
Student pop.: approx. 200
Tuition: CSDB is state-funded and provides tuition-free education. If a local student has been recommended by his or her school district, the district is responsible for transportation.
This state-funded school was created to provide education through innovative strategies and methods to students who are blind or have limited vision, or are deaf or struggle with hearing. Recently, the Gottlieb school building was renovated thanks to a grant from the Colorado Department of Education's Building Excellent Schools Today program. Spokesperson Diane Covington says, "The goals of the project were to provide a school building that is safer and more comfortable for students as well as more energy-efficient, and one that better meets the educational and technology needs of today's students."
Colorado Springs Christian Schools K-12
4855 Mallow Road, 599-3553; 1003 Tamarac Pkwy., Woodland Park, 686-0706; cscslions.org
Student pop.: 850
Tuition: Varies based on grade level, ranging from $3,200 for half-day kindergarten to $8,200 for high school
Founded in 1971, Colorado Springs Christian Schools teach from a biblical perspective to push students along in their education in preparation for college. According to Erin Wilcox, associate superintendent of instruction, this year the schools are full of changes and improvements. This fall, they added a wireless network to the main campus, and purchased six new interactive whiteboards, 25 Netbooks and several class sets of iPod Touches. They also have about 40 international students this year. The schools offer a new hybrid program that is taught half online and half on-site — at half the price of regular tuition, it can really help.
The Colorado Springs School Pre-K-12
21 Broadmoor Ave., 475-9747, css.org
Student pop.: 300
Director of admission Nori Madrigal explains what's unique about The Colorado Springs School. "We are an independent, experientially based school. We focus on individual attention, character-building and engaging students." CSS also has very high-level college counseling, which results in 100 percent of graduates going on to college.
Corpus Christi Catholic School Pre-K-8
2410 N. Cascade Ave., 632-5092, corpuschristicos.org
Student pop.: approx. 200
Tuition: $4,544 for Catholic students; $5,574 for non-Catholic students; pre-K rates charged by the month
Divine Redeemer Catholic School Pre-K-8
901 Logan Ave., 471-7771,divineredeemer.net
Student pop.: 234
Tuition: $4,544 for Catholic students, $5,574 for non-Catholic students; pre-K rates vary according to number of days attended per week
Catholicism is definitely integral at Divine Redeemer, but principal Marjie Weldele says that there are also exciting technological learning opportunities for students here. Last year, the school took a new approach to language classes through a switch to Rosetta Stone software, and this year the school added a mobile computer lab to give students additional access.
Evangelical Christian Academy Pre-K-12
2511 N. Logan Ave. (elementary), 634-7024; 4052 Nonchalant Circle South (secondary), 597-3675; ecaeagles.org
Student pop.: approx. 320
Tuition: Ranges to a high of $6,500 for high school
Focused on a biblically based education, Evangelical Christian Academy is the only accredited classical and Christian school for pre-K through 12th grade in Colorado. At this school that has been around for 40 years, God comes first. ECA also looks to community service as a way to bring together faith and learning. Sandra LaCerte, media specialist, says that this year they are integrating service into the school year, instead of just having a service week.
Fountain Valley School 9-12
6155 Fountain Valley School Road, 390-7035, fvs.edu
Student pop.: 244
Tuition: With boarding, $44,100; day-only, $23,900
Founded in 1930, FVS is a college prep day and boarding school where motivated students can be challenged in a close, diverse community. Last May, the first class of Global Scholars graduated from FVS. Jeanne Olive, co-director of communications, says these students worked beyond their typical schoolwork to earn the Global Scholar Diploma. "These students developed an international perspective through a rigorous course of study and a set of experiences focused on global understanding and culminating in a capstone project, a final semester of independent, scholarly work."
HillSprings Learning Center K-8
2776 Janitell Road, 576-3840, hillsprings.org
Student pop.: 24
The HillSprings Learning Center specializes in programs for students with learning disabilities or attention deficit disorder, and offers an after-school reading program and certified tutors. Director Charlie Tye says there are available scholarships, received by about 40 percent of their students. Tye adds that beyond teaching kids, HillSprings also focuses on training teachers all over the Pikes Peak region. "We are committed to helping more children than just those in our school and if we train the teachers to use our methodology, we will help so many more kids."
Pauline Memorial Catholic School Pre-K-8
1601 Mesa Ave., 632-1846,ucsppr.org
Student pop.: 168
Tuition: $4,544 for Catholic students; $5,574 for non-Catholic students; pre-K rates vary according to number of days attended per week
New principal Sandy Rivera has just come to Pauline Memorial Catholic, bringing with her 30 years of experience in education. Rivera says the school is nationally accredited, has a beautiful location, and offers very strong programs, a positive behavior intervention system, and professional learning committees. "This is a wonderful place to be," she says, "and there is a wonderful community feeling."
Pikes Peak Academy 9-12
5590 N. Nevada Ave., 473-5745, pikespeakacademy.net
Student pop.: approx. 50
Tuition: Sliding scale based on family income and family size
Running from August through June, the Christian Pikes Peak Academy will enroll any student at any time during the year. PPA focuses on helping high school students that are at risk of dropping out of school, relying on individualized instruction, renewed confidence and hope. Students tend to come when recommended from a current PPA family. Staff members say students never go unnoticed, and they have time to do fun things as well. This year the biggest program change is adding a Work Track, where students learn work skills for future employment.
Pikes Peak Christian School Pre-K-12
5905 Flintridge Drive, 598-8610, pikespeakchristianschool.org
Student pop.: 372
Tuition: Ranges from $3,186 for five days of pre-K to $6,156 for high school
Springs Adventist Academy K-8
5410 Palmer Park Blvd., 597-0155, saaschool.org
Student pop.: 25
Tuition: Sliding scale based on family income; tops out at $350 per month
The 2010-11 school year started at Springs Adventist Academy with a renewed campus, new books and teaching materials, and a new principal. The Christian-centered academic program has added foreign language and music. With these changes, though, there is still a very small student-to-teacher ratio, which helps create community and give students attention. Parents are required to do 20 hours of community service a year, and, according to staff, most of them enjoy this and do more.
St. Mary's High School 9-12
2501 E. Yampa St., 635-7540, smhscs.org
Student pop.: 335
Established in 1885, St. Mary's strives to develop the whole student, and its academics consistently exceed state and national averages. Robyn Cross, director of admissions, says the school is offering new academic support through a course students can take for added assistance in classes — just one component that helps create the school's college prep environment.