for pre-kindergarten (pre-K) through the 12th
grade are numerous in the metro Denver
area. In these schools students will find traditional classroom settings, innovative learning
centers, accelerated programs and special
college preparatory classes. Financial aid is
offered at most private schools.
The Colorado Department of Education
(CDE) lists these schools and provides some
statistical information at www.cde.state.co.us.
Accreditation by CDE does not include
private schools; however, other organizations
do accredit private schools. The Association
of Colorado Independent Schools ( www.acischools.com) accredits, supports and promotes
independent schools in Colorado.
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 school enrollment.
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
COLORADO K- 12 STANDARDS
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 stan-
dards as all other public schools. They must
meet state and federal testing standards iden-
tical 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 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 individual needs.
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