There is no more important investment that we can make as a society than in education. The scholars of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and ensuring that they are prepared for that experience is crucial if Colorado and our nation are to continue to thrive. It is in that spirit that we’d like to recognize the finalists for The Succeeds Prize Transformational Impact in a High School. The Succeeds Prize is the most prestigious awards and recognition event for Colorado’s public schools and educators. It honors Colorado’s public schools and educators that are making a meaningful difference in the lives of their students. It also serves as a year-long campaign to implement and scale successful innovations and practices statewide, so every student in Colorado can benefit.
Denver School of Science and Technology: Green Valley Ranch – Denver
Denver School of Science and Technology: Green Valley Ranch says that it is the school’s sense of community that helps its students achieve outsized results. The school has built a strong, values-driven school environment where every single person feels safe, valued for who they are, and a part of a larger community.
Every day, students spend 20 minutes in a morning meeting that is led by a staff member, a student, or a community member where they focus on core values, build a college-going culture, celebrate the diversity within the school’s community, and discuss tough topics in the community and country.
Additionally, rigorous instruction paired with high expectations has helped ensure a 100 percent college acceptance rate. The faculty embody a growth mindset, using data to inform and adapt their approach to meet student needs.
Holly High School – Holly
Holly High School has a track record of success in part because its teachers strive to establish a safe learning environment where students can take risks without the fear of failure. Faculty members encourage students to challenge themselves and develop a love of learning in a climate of trust and respect.
The school also wants students to connect book-learning to the skills necessary to be successful in life. Students develop the work habits, character, and sense of personal responsibility needed to succeed in school, at work, and in society.
In fact, one of the most impressive aspects of Holly High School’s strategy is that it helps students connect classroom learning to the real-world through independent projects, open-ended problem solving, and career planning. From athletics to custom courses developed for a single student, to extracurricular activities that would rival a larger school’s offerings, Holly’s small, tight-knit community supports students in pursuing their individual interests.
Thomas MacLaren Charter School in Colorado Springs
Thomas MacLaren Charter School emphasizes three key pillars in its curriculum: Humanities, sciences, and the arts. Students use original texts and demonstrate learning through performance, with all students taking music classes.
Additionally, students practice building thoughtful and respectful conversations during two-hour daily seminars. Faculty serve as masters in their own fields and provide informative, narrative feedback in lieu of letter grades.