This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted March 09, 2015
- a community member
Prior to the current leadership, the school was full of kindness, wonderful respectful children, a caring staff and a challenging education. Under current leadership and a disinterested board, CA has devolved into a place where the elite of Denver park their troubled children and know that donations will extinguish any behavioral issues. The other side of the coin is that the school's reputation has become so damaged that graduates on the whole are heading to college much less prepared. To see for yourself, look for a current matriculation list. Most schools publish theirs on their website, but with CA you will need to call the school where they will first offer you the last 10 years or so in an effort to dilute the recent list with the stronger ones from years ago. Avoid this school at all costs if you value your child's safety and their education. Otherwise, offer a large donation and they will make sure you are not bothered with such annoyances as your child's malicious behavior. Be warned however, that this school's sticker on the back of your car does not offer the same status that is once did as the reputation continues to very publicly nosedive.
As the parent of an upper school student, I can say that our family's experience with Colorado Academy has been great. Excellent teachers and a demanding curriculum are combined with an emphasis on students being active participants in the arts as well as athletics. CA provides a well rounded liberal arts education for the motivated and academically oriented child.
As a student of CA, I have felt nurtured and respected whenever I walk through the school halls. All the teachers do an excellent job with their teaching strategies. When I take a look at our mission statement, i think that we have embraced it, and are doing a fine job. the summer programs also help to enrich us with fun activities, and i am encouraged to take risks, and do not receive an extrinsic reward, but an intrinsic reward. CA is willing to provide financial aid to anyone, and to address the comment below, CA is host to all cultural diversities. One thing that CA could enforce is that students aren't disciplined enough, and tend to goof off way too much. CA has been remembered as a school of prestige and academic ability, and with these little incidents going unnoticed, I feel that our record has been slightly tarnished.
My son just graduated from Colorado Academy's Lower School and rated his experience a "10 out of 10." As a parent, I revel in his confidence, his ability to problem solve, his incredible friendships, and his enthusiasm for school. Year after year, his teachers have put so much thought and preparation into the curriculum. My son was actively engaged in his learning. Instead of regurgitating facts and figures, he understands concepts and is able to apply what he has learned in arenas outside of school. He also knows how to sing, compose a song, paint, draw with perspective, and present in front of groups (in spite of his reserved nature). He has always loved sports, but at CA, he also learned the science behind athletics through his weekly kinesiology class taught by an expert in the field. He also has a passion for science nurtured by the two science teachers who taught him all the way through Lower School; he is not afraid to come up with a hypothesis and test it, test it, test it. Above all, I value the positive peer culture at CA and the strong character my child has developed, as teachers have held him and his friends accountable for how they treat each other. Kudos, CA!
I think it is terrific that the post below mentions a new guard station; however, many people in the community wish the administration would pay more attention to the character of the students as well as the behavior they allow in the school. I agree with the teacher's posting below where, "...the kids get away with whatever they want as the parents believe that they get what they want because they pay for it." CA's reputation for many years was one of high integrity, excellent academics, and an amazing assortment of talented students not just athletes. Unfortunately the discussion with many in the community now often focuses on the disappointment of the complete change in school culture. Many discuss the breakdown of trust with leadership along with the breakdown of quality academics. Surveying the community may serve as a helpful tool as most would like to be lead with transparency. CA from the outside has never looked better, but investigate its' current inside and many are sad to see the best of CA being dismantled.
I am a parent of 3 children who have all attended CA since Pre-K (the oldest is now in Middle School). During the decade that we have had our kids at CA, we have been continually impressed by the creative and engaging staff, the thoughtful curriculum, and the forward-thinking administrators. It is a school that puts the needs of the children first, including safety as evidenced by the new guard station and the recent parking lot addition which was done to improve safety by removing upper school (novice) drivers from the area where the youngest students are being dropped off. CA has a balanced view of learning, focused on strong college-preparatory academics (obviously), but also stressing the value of participating in athletics and the arts. The campus is stunning, classes are small, and CA has really embraced technology and new teaching approaches to adapt to the needs of 21st century students. I couldn't feel better about the school, and the quality of education that we are receiving for our 3 children!
After many years at CA, I am impressed how this school continues to meet the needs of children, no matter their ages, from Pre-K to seniors in high school. The small class sizes ensure that teachers know my children, and the continued focus on what students will need to be successful in the future help to drive a forward-thinking but well-grounded curriculum in both the liberal arts and 21st century skills. I am puzzled by the inaccuracies in the post below; CA does publish annual reports, as well as matriculation lists that just in the last two years have included Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Julliard, and numerous other fine schools. None of this happens by accident; quality teaching, solid leadership, strong guidance, and talented and engaged students and families make up this really great community. For those of my children who have already graduated from CA, they are so grateful for the quality education the school has provided. As a long-time parent and an employee, I realize there is no one school that suits everyone. In my experience, parents do best by their children to find them a school that is a good fit, and then model positive behavior for them in the world.
After many years at CA beginning in Pre-K, like many others we were finally forced to leave after last year. This was largely due to the increasing class sizes and the dramatic lack of focus on quality academics in recent years under new and inexperienced staff in leadership positions. In an effort to provide transparency, most private schools provide surveys and an annual report to it s constituents, and even posts the results of those surveys on their website. CA has failed to do this, not providing a school wide survey for several years and as of this posting, publishing no annual report for last year and not publishing where their graduates from last year are attending college (these are verifiable facts.) We personally know many other old CA families who are switching to Kent this year after their frustrations went unaddressed by leadership at CA as the school appears to be switching its focus towards growing the infrastructure and athletics, even paving over an athletic field to provide more parking for the growing student body. So sad to see what was once such a great school in such a tailspin right now.
I have been a parent at the school for 16 years and my experience, and more importantly that of my children, has been outstanding. The CA community has been a wonderful part of our lives and I have watched our children grow academically, artistically, athletically, and ethically during this time. The families who attend CA are committed to providing their children with the best education possible in the Denver area, in an environment which is nurturing, caring, watchful, and exciting. Children are encouraged to take risks that allow them to learn from both their successes and their failures, in an environment where they feel supported.
As a parent of two children who graduated in the prior decade and with one now enrolled at CA for high school, I have to say that while the school is somewhat different, it remains excellent -- in a new, fresh way. Most of the teaching crew remains unchanged, thank goodness, but a new energy has been added. It is wonderful to see deep thinking, high expectations and creative processes still valued. My older kids took a solid base of knowledge and critical thinking skills into top-notch colleges and successful careers. We feel comfortable that #3 will do precisely that. There continues to be an appreciation of the arts and outside achievement by students, and I do not see a family's financial status used to value individual students -- I would run the other way if I did. Reality is that money has always been part of any "prep school" culture, but fortunately at CA all kids are treated equally. In fact, there is more of an equalization in affordability across programs such as Interim than in the past. What matters at this school is the individual and their potential as a young adult. My three couldn't be more different, yet they have been equally valued and cherished at CA.