Colorado is well known for it’s active lifestyle, pleasant homes and a bustling local scene. And one of the area’s best perks is just for growing families.
To put it simply, there are a lot of schooling options. But which to choose? We’ve drawn up a list so you can pick which style is right for you. There’s a fit for every family.
The first option we’ll explore is the obvious option – public school.
First, the boring stuff. In Colorado, we use taxes to fund public schools. Tuition costs, if your district has any, are low. Funds are spread across education, arts, performance and athletics. Plus, public school students aren’t limited in their course choices.
What does that mean for you when you’re deciding to go with public schools or another option. Basically, it means our public schools are a solid option.
There’s no evidence private schools are better developmentally for kids. What’s more, Colorado’s public schools consistently rank above national performance levels.
Public school provides a well-rounded education for kids of all backgrounds.
For another publicly funded option, consider a charter school.
Like public schools, charter schools receive their funding from the state. But the state gives them more operational freedom, provided they meet higher-than-average qualifications.
They’re essentially “independent public schools.” Each campus makes its own rules.
For example, Flagstaff Academy in Longmont sets aside special funding for younger students. Kindergartners to middle-schoolers can practice coding basics in all-ages tech labs. A parent-student group even received a grant for a greenhouse classroom.
This is a level of flexibility unique to charter schools.
Lisa Trank-Greene, Flagstaff’s communications coordinator, even sent her kids there. “They get this level of attention and community at a very young age,” she reflected. “It ignites a fire in these kids early on.”
True to their name, private schools don’t receive state funding. They enjoy total organizational freedom, generally without having to meet state standards. Many private schools are specialized for certain lifestyles, both secular and religious.
For instance, Boulder Country Day School (BCD, for short) focuses on education and the student body community. They create an environment with social and emotional support. They encourage parents to get involved as well.
There are also plenty of private schools associated with different forms of faith.
BCD receives funding through tuition fees and donations to the BCD Fundraising Initiative. While private tuition is costly, their exclusivity stands out.
Montessori Accredited Schools
Every school curriculum takes different approaches to different age groups. But Montessori academies take this idea to a new level. They base their curriculum on proven child-development theories.
The idea is to encourage children’s natural curiosity and willingness to learn.
Gavin Green, Director of Admissions at Jarrow Montessori School, provided more insight. She says Montessori schools are bound together by philosophy, not administration. The common element is a commitment to child-development models.
As a result, testing looks different than more traditional schooling. “In a public school model, the measure is testing,” Green said. She’s talking primarily about standardized testing, like the CSAP or the SAT.
But contrast, Montessori schools focus on individual assessment. For example, a student might be graded on their ability to teach another child lesson they’ve previously learned.
Like other private schools, Montessori schools have limited enrollment and tuition costs. But they offer a high level of personalization.
Sending children to school during a pandemic can be, well, nerve-wracking. At the time of this writing, many schools are back to in-person learning. It will stay that way pending future local ordinances.
If you’d prefer your child to learn from home, many schools offer online-only courses via webcam. Talk with your administrators to find a solution you’re comfortable with.
Keep in mind that some online programs have additional tuition costs.
No matter which school fits your child best, Boulder, Broomfield and Weld Counties are a great place to raise a family. Here, every child can find the education they need.
By Emily Baudot, Raised in the Rockies