We currently have 3 kids enrolled at Horizons and absolutely love the school! The teachers are great and really go out of their way to teach to the needs of each child. It is a very positive learning environment and everyone I have talked to that has had students move on to High School has commented on how well prepared they were. The school size is just right, with small enough classes (~40 students/year) to not be overwhelming, and still enough peers to find good friends.
We left this school because we moved out of state. Prior to our move, we debated pulling our child out if we were going to remain local. I agree with the negative reviews regarding how well my child learned here. Teacher communication is POOR which is not good if you have a struggling child. You are not aware there are issues. They spend a great deal of time on worldly projects, which are nice in small doses, but my child couldn't do math! There are small class sizes with paras; but it didn't do anything for my child. We now go to an excellent neighborhood school and my child has THRIVED in the traditional setting; he also has more friends and comes home happier. The school touts community but I didn't get that from the parents, only rude looks, condescending attitudes, and daily attempts to hit my car at drop off/pick up. The administration is well intentioned and the teachers are wonderfully sweet, but it just did not work well for us. Really examine the school and what you are getting into; especially if it will work for your child. Don't just rely on the NO. 1 status and reputation.
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.
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.