Colorado is among the best states for parents to live and raise children. One of the biggest pulls is the state’s educational system. The state is home to numerous high-performing public, private, and charter schools that provide an education to over 880,597 K-12 students.
The state’s public education system is run by the Colorado Department of Education, with over 272 operating school districts. Colorado also has several large campuses that offer more academic programs, better athletic and extracurricular offerings, and solid networking opportunities to thousands of learners across the state.
This guide will dive into the thirteen biggest schools in the state, from elementary through college level. You’ll learn about the unique curriculum approaches, student enrollment, faculty size and experience, class size, and co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities. Keep reading to discover why these schools attract so many learners to their campuses.
Soaring Heights PK-8
3280 Co Rd 5, Erie, CO 80516
Soaring Heights PK-8 is a top-rated public elementary and middle school in the small town of Erie. The school falls under the St Vrain Valley Re 1j School District. It serves roughly 1,239 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
Soaring Heights is a STEM-focused school with an emphasis on Neuroscience. Learners undertake a blended curriculum that combines the traditional aspects of the district-approved core-based curriculum and project-based instruction to help kids understand how the brain functions.
Test scores for Soaring Heights are above the state average, with 42% attaining proficiency in English and 56% in math. The school also runs a robust gifted & talented program to identify and support gifted kids in maximizing their academic potential. Soaring Heights has roughly 63% full-time teachers, with an average student-teacher ratio of 19:1.
The school is relatively diverse, with 24% of the students coming from minorities. 6% of the students come from low-income backgrounds and qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Students at the school can participate in various extracurricular opportunities, including four clubs and organizations and performance art activities such as music, band, and art.
The Classical Academy North Elementary
975 Stout Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
The Classical Academy is a public, tuition-free charter school chartered through the Academy School District 20. The school’s North Elementary Campus is home to over 2,162 “Titans” in kindergarten through sixth grade.
The Colorado Department of Education awarded The Classical Academy Schools the John Irvin Award for Academic Excellence in 2020. The award is given to schools that have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement over time. 59% of the students attain math proficiency, while 67% gain proficiency in English.
The school has a 21.3% minority enrollment, with 8% of the student body coming from low-income backgrounds. The Classical Academy North Elementary campus has over 123 full-time instructors. This gives the school a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. 37% of the teachers are state certified, and 87.5% have over three years of teaching experience.
Colorado Preparatory Academy Elementary School
8601 Turnpike Dr #100, Westminster, CO 80031
Colorado Preparatory Academy is a public, tuition-free online school that serves kindergarten through twelfth-grade students. The elementary section of the school serves roughly 2,280 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The school offers college preparatory programs through the Stride K-12 curriculum. Students create their learning targets alongside their parents and a state-certified teacher. The school has over 51 full-time teachers that offer instruction through small group lessons identified as “Class Connects.”
The average K-5 student spends roughly 4-6 hours at school daily, with 10-15% of that time spent online. Parents play a critical role as “learning coaches,” supporting and monitoring the learners’ educational progress.
Students at the school have to sit for state assessment tests. According to the latest test scores, 17% of the students are proficient in math, while 23% are proficient in English. Gifted kids can also enroll in the accelerated program, receiving academic support and feedback that matches their potential.
American Academy K-8
6971 Mira Vista Lane, Castle Pines, CO 80108
American Academy is a top-rated public charter school that serves kindergarten through eighth-grade students across three campuses in Castle Pines, Motsenbocker, and Lincoln Meadows. It is home to over 2,700 students across the three campuses.
American Academy is a STEAM-focused school with numerous art enrichment programs. Students at the school undertake a rigorous and engaging curriculum, with students excelling in state assessment tests. Test scores are far above the state average, with 61% attaining proficiency in English and 54% in math.
Learners can participate in numerous extracurricular opportunities as they progress to the upper grades. The school has over 16 clubs and organizations, including a chess club, a rebel club, and a Minecraft club.
American Academy has over 152 full-time teachers, roughly one teacher for every 20 students. All teachers have over three years of teaching experience, and 59% of the full-time faculty members hold state certifications.
Campus Middle School
4785 S Dayton St, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Campus Middle is a top-performing public school in Cherry Creek School District 5. Founded in 1971, the school serves nearly 1,424 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders. GreatSchools.org gave the school an overall 8/10 rating.
Niche.com ranks the school as one of the best in the state, ranking it as position 13 of all public schools in Colorado. The school offers an enriched curriculum focusing on common core subjects. 70% of the students perform at or above their grade level in English and 61% in math.
Campus Middle offers enrichment programs in art, performance art, music, world language, physical education, and technology. Students can also undertake STEM programs in robotics; tech, design, and engineering; and STEAM courses. The gifted & talented program provides the necessary support to gifted kids to accelerate their learning.
The school has eight sports teams, and over 20 clubs your child can join. Campus Middle employs over 74 full-time teachers, with an average student-teacher ratio of 19. All full-time teachers have state certifications, while 74% of the faculty has over three years of teaching experience.
Prairie Middle School
12600 E Jewell Ave, Aurora, CO 80012
Prairie Middle is a highly-rated public school in the Cherry Creek 5 School District. It is home to over 1,559 “Hawks” in sixth through eighth grade. The school is one of the most diverse in the state, with students from over 70 countries and speaking over 40 languages. The minority enrollment at Prairie Middle is 81%, with 71% of the student body coming from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds.
The school offers numerous course offerings, including AVID, common core subjects, a gifted and talented program, special education services, and a host of art elective courses. Test scores at Prairie Middle are below the state average, with 17% of students attaining proficiency in math and 25% in English.
Students can select enrichment programs, such as music, fine arts, world languages, global technology, and pre-engineering. Learners can join one of the nine clubs and organizations at Prairie Middle. Additionally, they can participate in sports, such as volleyball.
McAuliffe International School
2540 Holly St, Denver, CO 80207
The largest middle school in Colorado is the McAuliffe International School in Denver. It serves roughly 1,615 learners in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. It is one of the best-performing middle schools in the state, with U.S. News ranking it as the 11th best in Colorado.
The school offers a comprehensive curriculum with an International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program. The program provides a rigorous learning environment for students to maximize their potential and discover their interests and talents. Learners at the school perform excellently in state assessments, with 66% proficient in math and 73% proficient in English.
The school also offers elective programs in art, music, performance art, technology, STEM, and world languages. It also has a gifted program for students who wish to accelerate their learning process and match their abilities.
The school has an average of 83 full-time teachers, with one teacher for every 19 kids. All teachers at McAuliffe International have taught for over three years. Additionally, 95% hold state certifications.
Eaglecrest High School
5100 S Picadilly St, Aurora, CO 80015
Eaglecrest High is a top-rated public high school in Cherry Creek School District 5. The school is home to roughly 3,110 ninth to twelfth-graders, making it one of the largest K-12 campuses in the state.
The school offers numerous college preparatory programs, including advanced placement courses, AVID, honors diploma, Sci-Tech, journalism, and global studies. 93% of the students graduate after four years, with 53% proceeding to college. 88% sit for SATs, with the school having an average composite score of 1006.
The school has 25 AP courses, with 37% of the student body enrolling. Eaglecrest High also offers dual credit classes where students can earn college credits while in high school. Only 2% of the students enroll.
Students have numerous extracurricular opportunities that they can use to grow their leadership and social skills. Eaglecrest has over 58 clubs, societies, and organizations. It is also a member of the 5A Centennial League and field varsity teams.
Cherry Creek High School
9300 E Union Ave, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Cherry Creek High School is a highly-rated public school within the Cherry Creek School District 5. Founded in 1955, it is one of the largest brick-and-mortar high schools in the state, serving 3,868 ninth through twelfth-grade students.
Cherry Creek High is located on an 80-acre campus with 170 classrooms, 80 tennis courts, two practice football fields, the Cherry stadium, two gyms, a swimming pool, a weight room, a large cafeteria, and a baseball diamond field. The school’s design evokes a “college-like” feel that helps prepare the learners for post-high school life.
The school offers a traditional curriculum with numerous enrichment and college preparatory programs. The school offers over 33 advanced placement courses with a 37% participation rate. The school also offers dual credit programs, with 6% of the student body taking advantage of the opportunity to earn college credits.
The school has one teacher for every twenty-two students. All 178 full-time teachers are certified, and 89% of the faculty have taught for over three years.
304 S. Victoria Ave, Pueblo, Colorado
GOAL Academy is the largest public high school in the state, catering to over 5,308 students in ninth through twelfth grade. The school is a tuition-free, public online school that offers a blended education for learners wishing to gain greater control over their education.
The school offers various college preparatory programs, including the traditional diploma program, GOAL 22, and Senior Recovery. Besides common core subjects, GOAL Academy provides numerous elective options through the CTE department, including lessons in Business, STEAM, IT, Health Sciences, Criminal Justice, Military Preparation, and construction.
GOAL offers online instruction through devices powered by Microsoft and Lenovo, with students having an option for face-to-face support in one of the school’s satellite offices. The school runs over thirty-six drop-in centers across the state where students can meet up with teachers and receive feedback on their academic progress.
The school has roughly 150 full-time instructors, with 98% having state certifications. Additionally, all teachers at the school have taught for over three years.
University of Colorado Denver
1201 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80204
The University of Colorado Denver is a mid-sized public four-year research university under the University of Colorado system. The school is home to roughly 24,267 students. It is classified under “R1: Doctoral Universities: Very High Research Activity” by the Carnegie Foundation.
The University of Colorado Denver maintains a 72% acceptance rate, ranking sixth for the lowest acceptance rates in the state. The admissions process is moderately competitive, with the school generally admitting students within the top 49% in standardized admissions tests and with an unweighted GPA of 3.46.
Colorado residents pay $8,160 in annual tuition fees. Out-of-state students spend over $25,152 for the same. 80% of the full-time undergraduates receive financial aid, with an average of $6,969 per student.
Notable University of Colorado Denver Alumni
Notable University of Colorado Denver alumni include:
- Rick Alden, owner and CEO of Skullcandy
- Aaron Kopp, filmmaker
- Deanne Criswell, first female administrator of FEMA
- John Morse, former Majority Leader of the Colorado State Senate
- Julie Anne Peters, author
- Don Southerton, author
- Jun Xia, architect who served as the lead designer of the Shanghai Tower
- Michael B. Hancock, 45th mayor of Denver
- Insook Bhushan, Olympic table tennis player
- Janet Bonnema, civil engineer and the first woman allowed to enter a Colorado tunnel project
Colorado State University Fort Collins
102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100
Colorado State University Fort Collins is a large public land-grant research university. It serves roughly 32,586 students, making it one of the largest learning institutions in the state. The university confers bachelor’s degrees in 65 fields, master’s in 55, and doctoral programs in 40 areas of study.
The school is designated under “R1: Doctoral Universities Very High Research Activity” by the Carnegie Classification. Colorado State University Fort Collins has an average acceptance rate of 89.6%, ranking 14th in the state for the lowest admission rates.
Colorado residents can expect to pay an annual tuition fee of $9,709. Yearly tuition fees for out-of-state residents are $28,991. Fortunately, 79% of full-time students benefit from various financial aid programs, with an average of $9,536 per student.
Notable Colorado State University Fort Collins Alumni
Notable Colorado State University Fort Collins alumni include:
- John Amos, actor
- Keith Carradine, actor
- Derek Theler, actor
- David Anderson, former wide receiver with the Houston Texans
- Shaquil Barrett, outside linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Erik Pears, former offensive tackle for the Denver Broncos
- Cory Gardner, former U.S. Senator
- John Ensign, former U.S. Senator
- Brian Schweitzer, 23rd Governor of Montana
- Walter Scott, Jr., former chairman of Berkshire Hathaway
- William M. Gray, atmospheric scientist
University of Colorado Boulder
Regent Drive at Broadway, Boulder, CO 80309-0017
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public four-year research university within the University of Colorado system. Founded in 1876, five months before Colorado became a state, the college is home to roughly 39,000 students.
The school is classified under “R1: Doctoral Universities Very High Research Activity” by the Carnegie Classification. The University of Colorado Boulder has an average acceptance rate of 79.6%. It’s an easy school to get into for students that meet the set requirements.
Colorado residents pay $10,728 in annual tuition fees, while out-of-state residents spend $36,546. 64% of the students received financial aid, with an average aid package of $9,992 per student.
Notable University of Colorado Boulder Alumni
Notable University of Colorado Boulder alumni include:
- Robert Redford, actor
- Jenny Simpson, Olympic bronze medalist
- Wiley Rutledge, former associate justice of the Supreme Court
- Kalpana Chawla, astronaut
- Lynne Cheney, former Second Lady of the United States
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple
- Trey Parker and Matt Stone, co-creators of South Park
- Jonah Hill, actor
- Jack Swigert, astronaut
- Chauncey Billups, head coach for the Portland Trail Blazers
Finding The Right School For Your Child
Colorado is an exciting state to live in and raise kids. Its robust public education system is undeniably one of its biggest attractions. The state is home to large educational campuses that offer unique academic offerings and numerous extracurricular opportunities.
From Soaring Heights to American Academy and Cherry Creek High School, the schools on this list are top-performing, earning numerous local and state accolades. They would be an excellent starting point in your search for a new school for your child.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com.