organizations do accredit private schools.
The Association of Colorado Independent
Schools ( www.acischools.com) accredits,
supports and promotes independent schools
Denver’s excellent private schools have
an overall low enrollment due to the high
quality of public schools throughout the
region. In the 2013 school year, about 7
percent of metro Denver’s total student
population attended private schools. See the
Private Schools listings for more information and resources.
DENVER CHARTER SCHOOLS
Denver has a range of innovative charter
schools that pursue unique strategies for
teaching and learning. Charter schools are
free, public schools that anyone can attend.
The state has about 180 charter schools
that serve approximately 83,400 students
in Colorado, including metro, suburban
and rural areas. The portion of students
attending charter schools has steadily risen
over the last decade. Total new enrollment
represents about 10 percent of total public
Charter schools do not require entrance
tests or have admission criteria. They pride
themselves on being nonsectarian and
nonreligious. Like all metro Denver public
schools, charters have open enrollment,
meaning students living in one district can
attend school in another district, as long as
there is space.
Creative educators and parents are given
more freedom to innovate in charter
schools than they would have in traditional
public schools. This allows educators to
reach students whose needs are not met in
the traditional public school system. It is
important to note that charter schools are
held up to the same standards as all other
public schools. They must meet state and
federal testing standards identical to those of
other public schools. Local school districts
approve charter schools, and funding is
obtained from the local district and the state
of Colorado. See the Charter Schools listing
for more information and resources.
COLORADO K- 12 STANDARDS
Colorado has high standards for K- 12
education in the state. The Colorado
Department of Education has developed
tools to help identify and close achievement gaps.
A good resource for parents is the department’s SchoolView portal ( www.schoolview.
org). Designed for parents, policymakers,
and the general public, the site provides
visibility into how well school districts and
individual schools are meeting statewide
academic standards. This allows parents to
make informed choices about where to send
their children in order to best meet their
Annual student testing is required of all
Colorado students, in order to ensure
students are meeting established knowledge levels expected for their grade level.
This statewide testing is administered by
the Colorado Student Assessment Program
(CSAP) with the goal of ensuring students
are meeting grade-level standards in mathematics, science, reading and writing. The
test results provide an indication of student
achievement in reading, writing, math and
science as the students move from the third
through the 10th grades.
The Colorado Department of Education
(CDE) is required to report CSAP results for
the state and for each local school district.
In order to maintain accreditation, schools
must meet minimum CSAP standards.
Refer to the SchoolView Portal or to the
CDE website at www.cde.state.co.us for
more information on testing. See the Public
Schools for a listing of Denver area public
COLLEGE PLACEMENT TESTS
Colorado students excel in standard
college entrance exams such as the
American College Test (ACT) and the
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). Colorado colleges and universities use the
ACT for the primary college entrance
exam and it is required for all 11th