Others have said on here that "parent involvement is extremely high". It's true: Horizons is run by the parents who are pretty much calling the shots. The trouble is that these parents aren't educators. They don't know about how to educate kids and this results in skewed priorities. Even the 1-4th graders have "projects" on things like Egypt and Nelson Mandela. Which is nice except that Horizons doesn't care much about things like reading, writing, spelling and math skills. My kid has really failed to learn much of anything practical - and this is a common problem as I understand it. Lesson learned: high-strung Boulder parents are not qualified to operate a school. If you care about your child's future, get him/her into a real school and leave Horizons for the freakish helicopter parents and their children, you'll be so glad you did.
Horizons is "just fine". Principal is "fine". Teachers are "fine". So if you're looking for a "fine school" to drop your kids off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon, Horizons is a school that will work for you. And while the teachers may think otherwise, outside of smaller classroom size, Horizons is really not that much different than other other local school options (teachers are in charge, parents are asked to bring food, support field trips etc). So, if you don't happen to be selected by the open enrollment process, don't sweat it.
We have one child currently enrolled and another who graduated last year. Our children have had very positive experiences at Horizons. The are both very different kids, so it's been great to see them grow academically and socially each in their own unique way at Horizons. The teachers really bring out the best in their students and the Principal genuinely cares about the pupils. Our child who currently attends the school often comes home telling us about all of the interesting things learned in science and social studies. As parents, we too are learning new things! Small class sizes, opportunity to be taught at the right level (i.e. not holding kids back if they're advanced in a subject), creative projects and unique exploration classes (junk-to-jewelry, CO2 model car building, creating a renaissance ship, tennis, skateboarding, knitting, volunteering and more). I feel like my kids are more well-rounded because of Horizons.
The two negative reviews look like they were written by the same person who was bitter about their child's experience at the school. I have been involved with the school for a decade and my two children spent the last five-six years at this wonderful learning environment. There is so many positives to say about the school--engaged and dedicated teachers who put students first, supportive parent community, the small class sizes, the emphasis on self-directed learning and community contribution. Rather than rely on reviews on this website, visit the school, speak with the parents and see for yourself.
This school was suppose to be our dream school. We felt so lucky to get a seat through the lottery system. It turned out to be a disaster. Good luck finding a school that truly teaches to multiple intelligences. This one doesn't.
This school has changed my daughter in so many ways. I am grateful to be part of such an amazing community
Horizons proved disastrous for our child, who attended all through elementary (K-5th). Lack of organization, no teacher accountability -always blaming students for lack of preparation and follow-up. Homework was not properly assigned, and when it was, it was poorly explained to the children. They were lost and did not know what they were supposed to be doing. It is filthy and disorganized. Do not send your child to this school unless you are willing to hire private tutors to do the work the teachers don't do.
Do not recommend this school. It came highly recommended, and I also liked the test scores. My son struggled in this school, he was bored and not at all challenged. Mixing grades also seemed to exacerbate the disorganization in the classroom and with parent-teacher communications. There were definitely more bumps in the road than anything else. We changed schools.
There is no way to express our love and appreciation for this school! My son has high-functioning autism and is in his fourth year of attendance (he attended one year at a district elementary school and that was a terrible experience). Teachers and staff have gone out of their way to not only modify content and teaching style to accommodate his needs, but to truly understand and embrace him as an individual. Teaching to a child's strengths is common place here, as is the celebration of each person's uniqueness. The low teacher to student ration and multi-age classes allow for teachers to really get to know their students and tailor learning that is just not possible at other schools. There have been some bumps in the road, but even those have been positive experiences. Staff has been more than willing to meet in a very timely manner to discuss what is in the best interest of my child, and then follow through with those changes immediately. At Horizons the parents are seen as a valuable part of the team. My child feels valued and respected here, as do I.
I wish that all children had the chance to attend a school like Horizons. Two of my three kids have attended, one who is twice exceptional (and not well served at his previous school), and one who started kindergarten here and has no particular learning challenges. Both thrived in this environment. The small class sizes, dedicated, creative staff, and involved parents make this a very unique place. The academics here are top notch, but more important are the lessons on communication, compassion, service, and exploration. Highlights include "dream homework" projects, outdoor education, service work at Community Table, the plays/musicals, and student-led conferences. This type of education on a BVSD budget requires some creativity on the part of the school, and some sweat equity from the families. How do we get small class sizes with the same (or lower) per pupil funding? Parents are expected to clean classrooms and volunteer in a variety of ways. This ranges from being on committees or in the classroom, to writing grants and making costumes. We do a lot of fundraising. The extra effort is well worth the rewards.
Be careful sending your child here if they might be gifted or 2 E. Our child we feel was damaged at this school due to lack of understanding of this population of learners and a dysfunctional special ed. team. We had a horrible experience. Not at all recommended.
small class size, strong parent involvement, caring teachers, wonderful programs
Horizons is so amazing! I've gone to this school for eight years. Its not just a school but its a community and excellent teachers who really care about how you do as a student and help you strive to be the best that you can be. There are so many fun activities that you can do, and you don't only learn a ton but you have fun while learning! I would have never gone to another school, horizons is the best! The teachers really care about how you do, and push you to go places you didn't think you could go. There is a strong sense of community and the school is in great hands with an amazing principal. It forms your childhood, and I don't know where I would be without horizons.
I have triplets who attended Horizons from kindergarten through 2nd grade and loved every moment of it. Their experience gave them a foundation that I'm confident will serve them well throughout their lives. It taught them to be responsible for their role in individual relationships as well as the bigger community around them. The program at Horizons includes community service, experiential learning, portfolio review, and parent volunteerism. The classes are kept small to serve every student's individual needs. You will find that the teachers are truly dedicated. The gifts I cherish most from Horizons are that my kiddos retain a love and appreciation of learning and an awareness that they are the directors of their own learning experience. We live two towns away from Boulder and the drive got to being too much for me, otherwise they would still be attending. The Horizons community still welcomes us back to visit.
This is the most awesome school! I the first review it said that classrooms are cramped, but they are not. They are a little bit small but there are only about 10-20 kids in a class. They offer a great spanish program w/ a native speaker too! There is a great Outdoor education where the students get to go to places like Moab and Mesa Verde
Horizons is a charter school for k-8 in the Boulder Valley School District. We have visited Horizons twice during the past month for open enrollment tours and information. I was very impressed with the openness of the staff. Teachers were ready and willing to answer any questions. They were more than happy to spend as much time with parents of prospective students as needed. Looks like some great teaching and learning is going on at this school. I especially like the emphasis on Service Learning and Outdoor Education. I wish there were more schools like this in BVSD. The only negatives I could see were no reduced/free lunches, no transportation provided, and cramped classrooms (classrooms not big enough for all the materials). Classroom sizes are 17-19 students.
The parent involvement at this unique charter school is incredibly high. The teachers and a core group of parents designed the structure of the school and that is reflected in how much everyone cares about the success of the students. Excellent experiential opportunies for active learners. Outdoor education, service learning and integrated curriculum are highlights of this excellent program. A visit is must to see if the philosophy of this popular school matches your own. There is a big waitlist so make sure to get your name in the lottery in January.
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