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Ricks Center for Gifted Children

Private | PK-8 | 212 students

 

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Living in Denver

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $350,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $890.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

3 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 6 ratings
2013:
Based on 3 ratings
2012:
Based on 5 ratings
2011:
Based on 8 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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60 reviews of this school


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Posted January 9, 2011

I want to like this school but after 4 years of dealing with unqualified teachers (a majority with no education degree) and ongoing administrative drama, we decided to leave. The theory behind the school (integrated units and specialized learning) is fantastic. Unfortunately we found that the nuts and bolts (English, math and science) are non-existent. IEPs are not prepared for the children and there is no overall goal-setting to keep children on track. Our child went 3 weeks with no math lessons and no assigned reading books. The administration is difficult to deal with and ignores issues of bullying and inept teaching practices. Parents are strongly discouraged from spending time in the classroom and it seems that the only contact admin wants with parents is to request money. There is no computer lab, no library and limited gym facilities. Given the price of the school, I expected much more.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 3, 2011

I attended Ricks Center during my middle school years and absolutely LOVED IT!! I look back on that time, and remember how much the teahcers and staff cared about my development in all areas. The preparation that Ricks Center gave me for not only high school, but college as well was essential to my success and a young professional. Each holiday season, I look forward to returning to Colorado and visiting my family at the Ricks Center.


Posted December 23, 2010

If you are a parent of a gifted child or children, you will find no better place for them to attend school than Ricks Center for Gifted Children. The school provides a world class education for its students. The students have access to phenomenal opportunities. Ricks Center is an amazing place.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 2, 2010

"Bullies tend to weed themselves out." Not sure if I agree with this statement. However, what I can attest is that the school does work with student and teachers diligently on this issue. I can send my children to the Ricks knowing that they are in a safe, happy environment that gets them excited about learning.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 2, 2010

Ricks is an amazing school. All our children have attended since EEC and we couldn't be happier. My wife and I have extensive experience with private and public schools in Colorado and after significant research decided that Ricks was the best fit due to the strength of the administration, the talented teachers and the unique teaching philosophy. The leadership is solely focused on educating the gifted and talented and their passion filters to all aspects of the school. The teachers teach our children as individuals, not as a mass group. This customized approach has enabled them to flourish and gain confidence in their own ways... Something we find invaluable. Separately but equally importand is the fact that the school has garnered attention worldwide and has hosted teaching professionals from Canada, Australia and other countries who have interest in learning more about the Ricks approach. In our opinion the Ricks Center is the best PK-8 school in Colorado.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 2, 2010

You will not see a Ricks class drilling any child to be a machine that fills out worksheets all day long. Attending last year's middle school graduation ceremony solidified our decision to keep both of our girls through 8th grade. It was amazing to watch every one of them carries himself with such confidence and maturity. If a parent is making a decision with a short-term vision, such as year to year progress, s/he will not see the benefits of Ricks' integrated education can provide and thus, better off finding another place that will provide more traditional education that pacifies parents' needs rather than children's needs. Parents, who focus on well-rounded education with a long-term vision, tend to keep their children at Ricks and reap the benefits. On another note, people rarely talk about how kids are at schools. At the Ricks, the motto that has been drilled into our children's heads is " Care and Concern". My children have been at The Ricks for more than 5 years now. Teachers and Administrations take the issue very seriously. All in all, bullies tend to weed themselves out of the school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 1, 2010

Ricks has been quite a disappointment. With one exception (a specials teacher no longer with the school) I have not seen evidence of excellence in teaching. Although Ricks faculty believe they are very unique and creative I have seen most of the units studied at the elementary level taught with more depth, breadth and accountability at other schools. My sense is that 7-10 years ago this was a great school but now they are just going through the motions. I am still often impressed when walking down the hall or reading the newsletters but my partner jokingly reminds me not to be taken in by the advertising and public relations experts. The parents who are happiest with Ricks have children attending Pre-K/K or have little inside knowledge of other schools.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 15, 2010

We are parents of three thriving Ricks Center students. Our children possess three distinctly different learning styles and the Ricks Center's teachers and administration have accommodated and adapted their attention to each of our children individually. As parents we are always concerned about our children's successes and failures. Our school has helped develop their confidence, interests, and talents while addressing their weaknesses. This is our strongest point. We want our children to maintain their curiousity for all school subjects, even if they find one or two difficult or challenging. We are grateful to the teachers, especially the one negatively mentioned below. That teacher's expectations are strict and reasonable. My child knows what he/she needs to do regarding homework. The same review calls the school's director "aloof". We find the director to be passionate about gifted learning and very accessable when we need to talk.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 8, 2010

We have two sons who have attended Ricks since EEC. We have extremely high expectations of our children's education and are involved, demanding and vocal. Almost without exception, we have found Ricks teachers AND adminstrators to be helpful and responsive to our inquiries, worries and frustrations. We have not always agreed with their answers, but we have found that they know our children well and view our children's education from a wholistic perspective. So while we may be demanding more scholarly rigor, they may be recommending that our children learn better teamwork skills or how to lighten up on themselves or be more organized. And, in the end, it will be the well-rounded gifted child who is happy and sucessful. With that said, our sons have been tested inside and outside Ricks and are scoring well beyond grade level, even in those "nuts and bolts" areas.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 18, 2010

In response to the parent comments posted August 29, 2010: I am pleased with my children s all-star third/fourth grade Ricks teacher who commits her boundless energy, creativity and love for her students to provide what may be the most positive and supportive school experience that my children will ever have. She is the teacher who will be forever etched in their memories as the one who helped them become avid learners. She provides challenging work to each individual with clear goals and constructive feedback in a caring and nurturing manner. The homework load is manageable as long as the student is devoted and organized. The three strikes system reinforces student responsibility and accountability. Receiving three strikes does not result in some draconian disciplinary action-rather, the student does not get to participate in the homework reward party which is the appropriate recognition and incentive enjoyed by the vast majority.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 7, 2010

I have three current Ricks students with a cumulative 20 years of Ricks education between them. I credit Ricks with developing my children with their individual interests, personalities and learning styles into engaged, passionate learners. Ricks greatest strengths are in the classroom where the children are challenged in a nurturing, inclusive, safe environment where their gifts, differences and quirks are largely insulated from the social distractions and risks that are more common in a main stream school. While I would not describe the administration as warm and fuzzy , I absolutely credit them with developing the curricula and enabling the excellent classroom environment in which my children are thriving. Over the years, my children have encountered their own occasional but inevitable educational or social challenges but I have always found the administration to be accessible, informed, responsive and supportive in helping us explore and resolve every issue fairly.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 29, 2010

Ricks is difficult, as a parent. The head of the school is so aloof, she rarely acknowledges parents. The rest of the administration is spotty. In terms of teachers, it's a mixed bag-last year, my had a teacher who was nearly militant in homework, and would use a strict 'strike system' if anyone forgot the least bit. This year, it seems as though we have a decent teacher who is both jovial and engaging, while having decent control over these preteens. The curriculum is spotty. For between $15-17,000 there is no music past preschool. Their math is spotty, foreign languages seem to be a selling point rather than a learning time. The integrated curriculum is a great concept, but tough to execute. For as much money as the tuition is, there have to be better options out there which challenge brighter kids, without making them feel entitled.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 29, 2010

As a Ricks alumni I'm completely disgruntled by the reviews I see below. Giftedness doesn't just mean you're smart, it's a special need, you view the world differently and if you're not somewhere where people understand you, you FEEL hopelessly different. I'm not going to pretend that Ricks was perfect. But I'll gladly sacrifice some of the complaints I see below for the unbelievably unique experience I got at Ricks. I'd much rather take the occasional missing "nuts and bolts" than have facts crammed down my throat for six hours a day. Ricks taught us how to think and live and grow. If you're having a problem with that, you're in the wrong school. And for those of you considering Ricks, take if from an alum who is now third in a class of 425 . In closing, I took music classes at Ricks through 8th grade.


Posted April 22, 2010

I have read through the previous reviews and I find that most of them are rather abhorring. Ricks Center was a fantastic school for both me and my sister. To say anything less about the school is ignorant. The super critical parents that write their scathing reviews about Ricks seem to be lashing out at Ricks for the child's ineptitude. The learning environment was outstanding. The relationships developed with the staff and the administration allow for the student to feel safe. Parents are usually disconnected from their child's day-to-day school life due to the complexity of the school. Children are not taught facts or fed information. They are shown how much fun it is to learn, by the teachers who enjoy their profession. It truly is an amazing school. I went to a elite college preparatory boarding for high school, and after ricks, it was a breeze. A Simply Amazing School


Posted March 13, 2010

I want to like this school. I have spent a lot of money with the hopes that this is the right school for my child. What I have found, over four years of my child attending, is an inconsistent model of education that is wrapped in a package of fun and adventure. My child loves it. It is a bit like going to camp everyday. Unfortunately, the nuts and bolts of education is often missing and the administration seems unconcerned and generally offended when parents raise concerns as to whether children's needs are being met in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. Some teachers are great...but as a complete package, there are far too many holes. In addition, the continual drama that is prevalent in this school's environment is draining. This is our last year.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 2, 2010

Like most schools, it has its positives and negatives. In general, the kids are relatively nice and interested in learning. Everyone is bright, with some bellcurve intelligent. As was mentioned, the teachers are hit and miss. Some read the kids' papers over and over, while others return them weeks later. If your kid is in the top three percent of IQ testing (the general goal) and is a bit quirky for public schools, it's a good choice. If your kid is bright, but relatively normal (whatever that is, but hopefully you get the idea), save your considerable money for college. The school likes to boast about how well it's former students are doing, but it's hard to go wrong when you start with exceptionally bright kids.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 12, 2009

We have two children attending Rick s. I ve questioned whether Rick s was right for smart boys and their quirks. However, my oldest is flourishing. His experiential learning has been phenomenal. He would not do well only learning from a book. Rick s far exceeds this model through exceptional field trips and application of reading and math to interesting social and scientific topics in class. Also, the languages, technology, and music have been marvelous. My child is learning at a high school and college level! Our youngest s education has been outstanding, and we ve been pleased by the teachers. Regarding administration, they are responsible for the school s excellent curricula for gifted children. They ve struggled on the relational side with parents. It s clear they ve digested this feedback. They ve made changes, including being accepting of parental requests. They ve reached out to families and made meaningful connections. Kudos for being responsive to the need for change!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 7, 2009

Our daughter has attended Ricks Center for 5 years. We're extremely happy with the education she is receiving. Even though she's only in 2nd grade, she comes home talking about Greek architecture or the different social classes aboard the Titanic. She read the entire Harry Potter series this year. In a recent newsletter, I read how one Ricks class had just returned from a fieldtrip to Yellowstone. Another group of Ricks kids had made a presentation to Jane Goodall. And a third group had learned all about starting a business from scratch, including writing a business plan, securing a loan, marketing and advertising, producing a product and doing the accounting. You don't find this kind of education in public school. But the best part of Ricks is that gifted children get to hang out with other gifted children, so they just take their abilities for granted and feel normal.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 24, 2009

My daugther attends the Ricks Center and consistently flourishs. She stepped out of her shell and became a happy, excited and social student. She is challenged intellectually and was encouraged to meet the challenge that the teachers presented. Teachers are careful to balance the intellectual with the social/emotional needs that she has. We feel confident going to the classroom teachers and administration over any concerns. We were greated and known by name and always feel welcome in the school. The amount of information that the teachers and administrators know in terms of educaitonal best practice and gifted education is outstanding. We have had many teachers during our years at Ricks and although styles are very different, every teacher is amazing. The projects, culminations, and units that the children study are truly excellent. We are pleased and happy with every dollar and hour spent at Ricks and highly reccomend the school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 17, 2009

We left Ricks after two years and our second year nearly killed our child's love for school and learning. The quality of teachers ranges from wonderful to inept. The claim that the instruction is geared to gifted children is flat out wrong. Some teachers seem aware of current educational 'best practices' and others seem willing to just watch the children rather than teaching them. Parents worry that if they complain they will be told that their child isn't gifted enough for the school. The administration was never attentive to parent concerns. We didn't want perfection, we just wanted a place that put the needs of kids and their learning first. We found this wasn't the case at Ricks. It was a very strange place to send your child and a lot of your money.
—Submitted by a parent


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Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

Unfortunately, this school doesn't have sufficient data to generate an academic rating.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 92% 56%
Black 4% 5%
Hispanic 3% 32%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 1% 3%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Foreign languages spoken by school staff French
Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

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Special education / special needs

Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing and written arts
  • Drama

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Latin
  • Spanish
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • Spanish

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Gifted / high performing
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:30 a.m.
School end time
  • 3:30 p.m.
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Dr. Norma Lu Hafenstein
Gender
  • Coed
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • NAEYC
Fax number
  • (303) 871-3197

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Gifted / high performing
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Latin
  • Spanish

Resources

Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • Spanish
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.

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Sports

Boys sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing arts
  • Drama
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
School leaders can update this information here.

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2040 South York Street
Denver, CO 80210
Website: Click here
Phone: (303) 871-2982

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