I attended the Ricks Center for Gifted Children for 11 years. Before that both of my brothers attended the school one for all 11 years and the other for 10. I have great memories, friendships, and lessons from this school and do not regret a single day of my education there. It is true that the education provided there is a little uneven in some of the subjects. Math and sciences are not the strength of this school and thus the transition into high school will be hard. However, Ricks gave me the tools to work with my teachers and work with the way I learn enough that I will be able to overcome the challenges I face in high school. I could not have asked for a better Language Arts program. I flourished in writing at Ricks and so did almost every single one of my classmates because of our teachers and their teaching methods. Languages at Ricks are not a particular strength either but I do feel prepared enough in my languages to progress into high school. On top of these positive things great things that Ricks provided me with included: Great Speech and Debate programs and skills, Self Advocacy, a wonderful Latin education, a broad knowledge of mythology, and priceless teacher bonds.
Having had two children graduate from Ricks, and gone through the admission process again this year for a third, I am confident of the continuing quality of the program, the staff and faculty. My alumni children developed not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. They were nurtured and supported, but also encouraged to be attentive to their responsibilities and obligations, and to advocate for themselves in the school setting. Their high school and other experiences have been smoother due to the academics and skills they acquired at Ricks.
Although pleased at first with two kids at Ricks we are leaving due to lack of accountability on all fronts: administration, teachers, and perhaps most importantly, our own kids. While proud of our children being categorized as G&T, it became apparent that programming and grading was not nearly as rigorous as we had expected. Instead, the school is free-form, in terms of curriculum, expectations, and results reporting. The school relies upon its own self-appointed title of G&T, rather than earn it with a more vigorous education. Families need to be aware that Rick s doesn't use typical objective grading of students results, instead provides a written synopsis that uses boilerplates and incorrect cut & paste techniques used on multiple student reports. Ultimately, our middle school child was ill prepared for the next step in education despite obtaining "glowing marks" from Ricks. In addition, strong arm contract tactics to commit two months earlier then other schools admission process is just plain bullying on the administration part for families looking to make a possible change that's best for their children. Rather than earn our loyalty, Ricks forces it.
My highly gifted son had an amazing all encompassing school that we called home for 8 years. His continued success, now in his second year at public high school, is owed almost entirely to Ricks. The creator, founder and leader of the school understands and has effectively implemented a unique curriculum that educates the "whole" child. Namely, my son developed not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well. Unless you've experienced the many distinct, endearing, frustrating and often quirky personality traits of an HGT child, the magnitude of the opportunity provided by Ricks may not be fully understood by every parent. Not only was my son educated to understand his gifts, but the teachers, administration and the closely knit community helped me to understand them as well. It is a non-traditional and well-reserached curriculum available to the appropriate child that teaches the love of learning (not just how to take a test), the gathering of like minded and behaving children (not just a pull-out program for driven students) and a safe community influenced environment (not just the neighborhood school) that fosters self-expression and individual growth.
I had one child attend the Ricks Center and as my child graduated and went on into highschool, we realized that our student was not as qualified as Ricks had promised. Our Child went into honors math and science based on the recomendations of the school and this resulted in our student getting D's in both semesters. To me the Ricks Center seemed like a great place and promised great things but they never really followed through with any of those things. The administration was definitely the most frustrating part of our childs rick career. They always seemed to want to get money from us and amounts of money they were asking were mind blowing. If I had the option to go back and do k-8 over again, I would not send my child to Ricks.
Ricks is not a school for everyone, but many of the negative comments posted are patently untrue. Ricks Center is the national model for education of the gifted with highly-qualified, highly-educated, passionate, caring and knowledgable teachers and administrators. The integrated curriculum suits the needs of gifted learners, challenging even the most advanced while instilling in all the desire to achieve their personal best in everything they undertake. These are valuable life lessons simply not measured by any standardized test. Ricks understands the asynchronous development of gifted children and makes accommodations so that each individual student has his or her needs met. Kids are among intellectual peers and are free to express themselves in a safe and nurturing environment, devoid of criticism or judgment. Many Ricks graduates could academically test and assimilate directly into college. They all leave Ricks with not only a sound academic profile, but poised with the confidence to approach a situation from a number of perspectives, come up with innovative solutions, unify a group, effectively communicate, and succeed in any endeavor they choose. What more could you ask for?
I have a child at Ricks. There is no newspaper, no debate team, no band, no orchestra. These are offered sporadically FOR ADDITIONAL $$$ as after school activities: gymnastics, martial arts, track, yoga, rock climbing, dance, photography. The school does not have a library & you WILL end up buying books for your child in addition to tuition as your student gets older. There is an environment of bullying and exclusivity. Parents are NOT welcome in the classroom & the administration is very difficult to work with & has been for a very long time. Parents are there to give $$; Period. There is VERY little community service & what there is, is fairly empty of meaning. There are a FEW very good teachers here; most are mediocre at best. Science and math are both sorely lacking at all levels. We have a private tutor/mentor working with our child who is very gifted in math. You can NOT leave. The other private schools work together on registration dates. Ricks contract date is VERY early and it makes it impossible to leave with a back up ready for your child. Over the last few years this site has been seeded with comments. READ the older comments, really...
After 3 frustrating years, we transferred to the local public school only to find that our children were behind in every subject. What's more, the administration at our new school anticipated this because it is common for students transferring from RIcks to be behind in at least one grade level in math, science and writing development. Such a shame because the underlying concept is fantastic, I just wish it was actually applied in the classrooms.
I am a DU alumna and have two gifted children (confirmed with testing and academic performance). I have tried multiple times to contact the Admissions staff just to get more information about this program and to start the application process and have received zero follow-up. While we have no experience as enrolled parents/students of this school, it is my experience that such external communication are red flags for internal communication/operational breakdowns, as well. A school that does not communicate is not a school for us.
The Ricks Center for Gifted Children at the University of Denver is an extraordinary educational experience for both child and parent. As a parent of two girls attending the school for six years; I have been witness to many remarkable achievements at every class level. I myself have learned and experienced things I never realized I would through my children or the school they attend. I sometimes feel as if I were attending school for the first time. The teachers share a passion for teaching and love of learning. They teach in a style thats fun and challenging, producing young human beings that can truly change the world they live in. The fulfillment of being a part of this community will be with us for our lifetimes.
My experience with Ricks Center spans over 10 years, and I have never been anything other than pleased with the faculty and administration of the school. Any challenges that my child has experienced at school have been handled with empathy and professionalism. The school does have an administrative structure that is designed to address parent concerns in a timely manner, while at the same time leaving higher administrative levels for further appeal or consultation. As a parent, this means that I can address my concerns to my child s classroom teacher, but still know that there is somewhere to go if that answer does not match with my view of what is best for my child. That scenario has rarely occurred. And my interactions with the administration have been warm and friendly, demonstrating a sincere concern for my child and a familiarity with her that I and she appreciate. The environment is comfortable and easy, and I will greatly miss it when I am no longer a Ricks Center parent.
I feel neutral about Ricks. It s a good school but not a great one. My children attended for 2 years and were happy but when we transferred to DPS s GT school they blossomed, learned much more, and we realized all that had been missing at Ricks. I believe the very small multi-aged classrooms limited the children s social and academic options and despite the window-dressing there was never any meaningful individualization even after multiple requests. We were disappointed in the behavior of teaching staff on a number of occasions. In my opinion the negative reviews of this school do offer accurate and valid criticisms, especially the comments about an uninvolved head of school and teacher quality being hit or miss. However, depending on your circumstances, values and available options this school may be a good choice for your child.
Our 3 unique children at Ricks have vastly different learning styles and abilities. The choice to attend Ricks was easy after visiting other schools. Ricks was where our children were going to thrive. The teachers and staff provide a nurturing, expressive, safe fun environment. They immediately recognized our child's individual needs and addressed them thoughtfully. I have seen firsthand the administration s experience, compassion and just dealing shown towards our child s educational future. Each response has been equitable and reasonable, from teacher/class placement to homework. Not always the answer we wished to hear but not sugar coated. We are grateful Ricks teachers are educating our children. Our kids needed outside help beyond the Ricks Center's abilities. These concerns are our obligation not just the schools. As parents we cannot relieve ourselves of the responsibility and stewardship for our child's education. Ricks Center understands this partnership. The parent who recognizes these two roles and who shares responsibility for educating our amazing children will be rewarded with a most precious gift: a joyful, curious, spirited, respectful, thoughtful child.
I really don't understand some of the comments made. We've been at Ricks for 5 years and are thrilled with our children's progress. Our children come bounding home everyday excited about school and eager to learn. They are filled with ideas, thoughts, and observations which are encouraged and nurtured by their teachers. Teachers, administration, and staff are always warm and friendly and whenever there is a concern it has always been addressed. This year we saw some changes in one of our children. Reading was getting slower and there was a problem with comprehension. The teachers were the ones who saw this very early on and after helping with ideas and resources we found out our child has some eye teaming problems and is now going through vision therapy. At any other school we would have been told how bright and creative our child is but is not working to capacity. We can only imagine what that potentially could have done to an academic career left untreated. We are pleased to say that vision therapy is on track and our child is soaring! We are truly thankful for Ricks and for two diligent and keenly observant teachers.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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