by John Rofer
When most people hear the words “school choice,” they think about charter schools. Jeffco is home to many public charter schools providing a variety of curriculum options for families. However, parents in Jeffco are free to choice into any district-run neighborhood school, as well as a charter school. Data tells us about one third of Jeffco families are choosing a public school that is not their neighborhood boundary school.
Families may choose a school other than their boundary school for a variety of reasons. They may be seeking a geographic location close to work or extended family or they might want a specific program which might better serve their student.
Jeffco offers dozens of center programs, similar to a school within a school. The programs range from providing differentiated education for gifted students to serving those with developmental disabilities.
In addition, there are over a dozen option schools in Jeffco. These include Brady and Long View High Schools which serve students who struggle in their larger neighborhood schools. Sobesky provides an individualized
“Over the last decade the number of students in charter schools has doubled.”
educational and therapeutic environment supporting students’ social-emotional awareness. Jeffco also provides education services to youth who are incarcerated with the Department of Youth Services.
Jeffco offers an online education academy for secondary students along with schools which provide highly academic options like Dennison, Manning and D’Evelyn. There is also the Jeffco Open School, a PreK–12 school, where students work closely with an advisor to design their own curriculum.
Included in the portfolio of charter schools, six offer a Montessori education, including Jeffco’s newest charter school, Great Work, which just opened this year. Great Work is the first charter school to serve elementary students in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Jefferson County. In addition to the Montessori curriculum, the school’s mission is to serve an economically diverse student population. Initial reports are they are on track to meet this integration goal as about 50 percent of their students’ families live in poverty and 50 percent do not.
There are eight Core Knowledge/Classical charter schools. These schools provide a traditional education often using Saxon or Singapore math, teaching traditional phonics, and using original texts. They are scattered across the district in geographically diverse areas from Littleton to Evergreen to Westminster.
“Mountain Phoenix offers the only public Waldorf curriculum in Jeffco.”
The district also has a handful of unique charter schools. Rocky Mountain Deaf School is located in the district; they offer instruction in both American Sign Language and English. New America School is a high school which primarily serves new immigrants by offering day and evening classes and flexible pacing to accommodate their students’ needs. Mountain Phoenix offers the only public Waldorf curriculum in Jeffco and Doral Academy focuses on arts integration with their staff receiving training through the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Two Roads serves K–12, full time and home school students. They offer concurrent enrollment and Ascent programs so students can earn college credit and possibly an Associate’s Degree while in high school.
Over the last decade the number of students in charter schools has doubled. And the number of families choosing a district school which is not their home boundary school continues to increase, while overall district enrollment declines. More families are taking advantage of the diverse curriculum offerings available across Jeffco.