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Ricks Center for Gifted Children

Private | PK-8 | 20 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 December 20, 2008

I agree with the former post that all schools have their issues. My child attended Ricks for three years. We then enrolled him in a public DPS school. We still have some issues but we don't have the price tag attached. We have had very caring and competent teaches in public schools without the much unneeded drama. The administration in my son's current school has been kind and supportive - neither of which I could say about Ricks. The families certainly do not feel Stepford style to me, and my son, who is very bright, very vocal and sometimes quirky has been readily embraced and nurtured by teachers and the rest of his community. His academic needs are being met. This was often the scare tactic that was used at Ricks...that he would not be understood or 'fit in.' Not true...my son also loves to go to school...without the price
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 18, 2008

I attended the Ricks Center for 10 amazing years. I recently made the transition from Ricks to high school and found myself highly prepared. The ten years I spent at Ricks fostered a love of learning and a comitment to self-excellence. By the end of my time at Ricks, I knew every student 4 to 5 grades below me, every single teacher, and the families of students as well. I was pushed individually to excel in math, athletics, music, and art. The concept of a well rounded student/person it the center of the 'Ricks philosophy.' I made friends who I will know for the rest of my life, and Ricks built a base for all future learning that is so unique and indivualized i can't imagine another education. Ricks allowed me to skip over some freshman classes when i entered high school and allowed my high school career to flourish.
—Submitted by a student


Posted November 21, 2008

We are the Raabe's and have 2 daughters at Ricks' and, hopefully another child in a year or so. We can sum up our children's life at Ricks with one sentence. They are thriving! We looked at several schools before settling on Ricks. Just venturing a fairly educated guess, I would suspect that EVERY school has issues. NO school is perfect and if it were, I would be very leery. Stepford comes to mind!!! Life is not perfect and we should not expect the environment we place our children in to be perfect. Maybe the parents who are so disappointed ought to consider the positive side of things. The plus side of Ricks' far outweighs the minus side. We could go on but the fact we have two smiling children who demand we leave the house 'On time Dada!!' so they can get to school says it all! Happily submitted
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 20, 2008

My name is Nick Gulotta. I have two daughters at the Ricks Center and we are now in our fifth year. I can t imagine my children at any other school. The most important thing about Ricks is it s all about the kids, as it should be. Everything else is secondary. Ricks has lived up to all our expectations and fulfilled every promise. Our family and friends can visually see the confidence and the foundation being built in our children and I couldn t be more proud. Success isn t measured only in ABC s and 123 s; it is measured in the happiness that the children can create for themselves. Thank you Ricks Center.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 31, 2008

Our neighborhood school is a DPS gifted school and I was highly disappointed to find that it was elitist and the parents cared more for the gifted label than whether or not the kids are truly gifted. We started thinking about new schools one month into our stay at that school, and found Ricks in our search for other schools. Understand that Ricks isn't a fit for everyone, but for our family, it provides challenging curricula and in depth exploration on each of the subjects that the teachers choose. More than anything I appreciate the fact that the method of learning is more about analyzing and synthesizing the information that is learned. The fact that critical thinking is taught is a huge plus for us. As a Black family I feel the school is as diverse as any in Denver, and as a parent I have always felt welcome.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 1, 2008

My child enjoys school but my husband and I are concerned that she is missing some consistency in instruction. it feels a bit like summer camp at times - lots of fun but I'm not sure about the reading, writing and arithmetic portion of things. There is also an underlying weirdness to the place...a subversive type of feeling. Lots of quiet frustrated talk among parents in the hall but there seems to be a generally unspoken understanding that no one says anything openly about issues or concerns. There is also a huge and constant worry about whether or not children are normal or not. Everybody seems to be in some sort of therapy or tutoring. Don't quite understand this one. We are staying one more year and trying to figure out if the tuition (pretty steep) is actually worth it.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 16, 2008

We are leaving this year. A pretty package with too much craziness and drama for us - particularly in the area of administration.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 26, 2008

My child is now in Upper School after having joined the Ricks Center as a three year old. She has flourished in the school with guidance and support from teachers, other students, families, administrators and the University. The curriculum is challenging and exciting to kid with varied interests, she has had opportunities that I could only have dreamed that she would get as a student. She loves to come to school each day and has formed warm, caring relationhips with many. Her teachers have been extraordinary people who have listened when we had concerns, celebrated her successes and helped us mourn in times of sadness. Administrators have always been available and while I many not always have gotten the results I would have hoped for, I understood the school's point of view and knew that they had the best interest of my child. I love the other famlies as well.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 15, 2008

I am very pleased with the school and surprised at the reviews. School policy is a 24 hour response to parents and my meetings with admin have been scheduled in a reasonable time frame. I may not have always heard what I wanted to hear, but in the end understood the school's position. There are parent meetings at the start of school where cirriculum is presented and any and all questions are discussed. There are also mid-year meetings if your child is transitioning levels (e.g. K to 1st/2nd grade). Principal holds 4 or 5 meetings per year consisting of an open question/answer type session. Teachers and ciriculum are exceptional, e.g. my 7th grader will graduate completing Algebra I, II & Geometry. Diversity is far and above our local school district. Definitely visit the school!! See what's going on in the classrooms and discuss your questions with the admin.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 10, 2008

Nice package but beware of the contents.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 25, 2007

Many of the teachers are exceptional, but the staff seems to experience a major amount of turn-over. This last year they lost the majority of their most revered teachers. The other reviewers are very accurate in their descriptions of the administration of the school. I have not ever been witness to so much unneeded drama and it stems from the incompetency of the administration. They discourage parent involvement and input- except, of course, when it comes to fund raising and field trip drivers. I would agree with other reviewers that, although my child really loves the school, I continue to be uncomfortable with its foundational pieces. Our family is strongly considering other options.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 13, 2007

I am a seventh grade student at Ricks, and my experience of six years has been amazing. I haven't had a teacher I didn't like except for one of my foreign language teachers, and at Ricks I feel more like I fit in. Everyone is right about the administration being lousy, but the curriculum, at least for me, is exceptional after you hit fifth grade. (In first through fourth grades, I wasn't challenged enough, but my fifth/sixth grade teacher and my seventh grade teachers are amazing.) I love the environment at Ricks--we are pushed to so our best but the teachers are open for us to talk to, provide fun classes and creative assignments, and try and help us whenever possible. I think this school isn't for everyone, but I love it. The assignments and the teachers are second-to-none.
—Submitted by a student


Posted July 15, 2007

I must agree with most of the other reviews. My child has spent six years at the school and his experience has been a hodge podge of good and bad. The school focuses on meeting the needs of the 'whole child' and this is done by 'integrated' units. What I have seen is a lot of emphasis on the social sciences with lots of engaging projects and in depth learning. But my child was never really taught to read or to do math. We have had to provide outside tutoring at a phenomenal expense to get him up to grade level in these. Once tutored, he was fine, so it wasn't like he had a huge issue. Just lack of teaching. And the rest of the reviews are right on about the administration. Very cold and uninvolved. I've heard stories fromt other parents that make me uncomfortable leaving my child there.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 12, 2007

The administration at this school is horrible. There is no communication between program directors and parents. The school principal seems very removed. Teachers are hit and miss - some of them are wonderful, some are absolute waste of your child's time and your money. There is music, art, sports and extracurricular activities available - but this can hardly make up for the poor science program. The parents are very involved but this involvement is mostly limited to various fund-raising activities.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 14, 2007

Our children found have a school home. They are understood, appreciated and inspired. The teachers and administration get the gifted child and all of their sensitivities and intensities. They teach children how to think, not what to think.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 1, 2007

Ricks has been a great school for my daughter. It has been a good fit for her. The school is not for everyone. I love the curriculum. The quality of education comes from the teacher. Some years you get a great teacher other years not so good. Not so different from other schools. As a parent you can participate a lot in the school or not so much. There is NO ethnic diversity. Majority of the kids come from rich, white families. School seems to have problems with boys with high energy. You meet and hang out with the families you like. There are some crazy parents who live through their kids. I just avoid them. I'd like to see ethnic diversity. I'd like to see more support for the middle class families. Extracurricular activities are outstanding. They lack in the area of social studies and science.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 21, 2006

I disagree with most of the other reviews. The education is great at Ricks. There is definitely some intellectual elitism (from parents as well as the staff), but generally the teachers and staff seem caring and interested in the overall well being of the children. Kids are definitely pushed academically, but there does seem to be a good balance between rote learning and experiential learning. The upside is that they do a very good job at the learning process, especially for very young kids. The down sides are that they do not encourage parent involvement (except when it comes to raising money), and they definitely believe that they have all the answers, no matter what you might think as a parent. Another down side for us was that this is about as far from a 'neighborhood school' as you can get - expect playdates all across the metro area.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 30, 2006

This school is only appropriate for children who are meek, quiet and completely conforming to the teachers expectations of perfect children. If you have a twice exceptional child or a child who needs emotional or social support, this school is not for you or your child. They do not practice what they preach. Academic program was exceptional in EEC, very remedial in EC. Teachers do not provide differentiated learning, nor do they work with children one on one. Extracurricular activities are wonderful. Level of parent involvement is exceptional. Communication from teachers and administrators is very poor - this is a closed door environment.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 17, 2005

The quality of the academic programs are hit and miss. If you have a great teacher, great. Not all teachers are that great. Music is fairly good, art and sports lacking. Foreign language very good. High level of parental involvement
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 12, 2005

This school has wonderful teachers that are enthusiastic and appreciative of the eccentricities of the gifted population. However, the communication between teachers and families, administration and teachers and administration and families is quite poor. Best of these three seems to be the communication between teachers and families but only when solicited. The organization within the administration and planning needs to be improved upon with more timely notice for events and more thorough information given to families. All in all a good placement for our child who thrived there, but very frustrating for parents due to the poor communication and organization.
—Submitted by a parent


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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

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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.

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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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