In Colorado, you have more options than you may think…
Brick & Mortar Public Schools
Your child’s age is your first indicator of his or her eligibility for beginning school. Students may start kindergarten if they turn five but does not have to enroll. The child must enroll if he or she is six on or before August 1. See more by clicking here!
Colorado school districts set the requirements for what documentation is required prior to enrolling a student in their district. To get that information, contact the district directly.
Some legal documents are required for Colorado students to attend school:
- Certified Birth Certificate / proof of identity
- Official copy of records/transcripts from the previous school the child most recently attended.
- A shot immunization record (or proof that immunization is not required for the child).
- Click here to view the immunization requirements.
- Proof of home address (for example, a rental agreement or tax statement)
Paying some fees is a part of public education, though it is primarily a free education. Students are expected to supply their own basic school supplies such as paper, pencils, and notebooks. Each district has a list of approved expenditures for students. Fee waiver forms can be requested from the school if there is a situation that prevents a family from being able to pay for required materials or events.
Some typical items on that list include:
- Summer school
- Student parking passes (high school)
- Lost textbooks
- Late or lost library books
- Field trips
- Special class-required fees (e.g., science lab fees)
Public Charter Schools
What are Charter Schools?
Charter Schools are tuition-free public schools operated by independent, non-profit governing bodies.
Parents, teachers, and community leaders sign a “charter” or contract with a school district or state agency to create a charter school and give students more educational options than their assigned school. Charter schools have flexibility over classroom hours, curriculum, and employment policies, but are subject to periodic reviews based on student performance. In Colorado, public charter school students are measured against the same academic standards as students in other public schools. Local boards of education monitor the academic and financial performance of charter schools, and, can revoke or refuse to renew a school’s charter.
Colorado Charter Schools
A list of the active charter schools can be found at Colorado Department of Education’s List of Charter Schools!
Frequently Asked Questions about charters can be found at Colorado Department of Education’s website!
Most charter schools do not have attendance zones. If you are interested in applying for your child, you must apply directly to the school. The application and selection process can be quite complicated. Make sure to contact the school early to determine the correct next steps to applying.
Virtual Public Schools
In Colorado, children attend school online in virtual classrooms with state certified teachers. Some virtual programs are open to in-district students only, while others have enrollment open to students across the state.
The multi-district online schools, single-district online schools, and single-district programs listed here offer full-time online education programs and are authorized by a Colorado school district, BOCES, or the Charter School Institute, all of which are accredited by the State of Colorado. Multi-district online schools may accept students from across the state of Colorado, regardless of their home school district. Single-district online schools and programs serve students only from the authorizing district.
What makes a school “private”?
Private schools charge tuition, and many have a religious mission. Some private schools offer families assistance to make tuition payments. Click below for the complete list of over 330 private schools across the state:
Private School Review offers free, detailed information on U.S. private schools combined with useful community data (e.g., housing costs) and maps of the surrounding areas.
*Information on non-public school admission requirements should be obtained from the school directly.
The Douglas County Choice Scholarship program is America’s first district-created, nearly universal school voucher program. This program, authorized by the public school district, was enacted and launched in 2011. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled the program unconstitutional in June 2015. The ruling has been submitted for review by the Supreme Court of the United States, where a petition for certiorari has been pending since October, 2015. In response to delay at the high court resulting from the untimely death of Justice Scalia, the Douglas County school board created a revised voucher program that excludes religious schools. That program is set to begin in the fall of 2016. Learn more about the program’s details including eligibility, funding, regulations, legal history and more here.
Private Virtual Schools
George Washington University Online High School is an online college preparatory academy for motivated students who are willing to be challenged to become the best students and persons they can be. Combining award-winning curriculum with small class sizes and intensive college counseling, students receive a flexible, individualized education attuned to their own needs and goals.
International Academy is a K12, Inc accredited, online private school for grades K–12. Students earn a U.S. high school diploma while using award-winning K¹² curriculum
They offer extensive, individualized academic and counseling support keep students on track. The flexibility allows students to explore their passions. Full-time and part-time options are available.
International Connections Academy is a fully-accredited, online, college preparatory private school serving K–12 students worldwide. The program combines a top-rated curriculum with talented teachers, cutting-edge technology, the flexibility to learn at home, and direct family involvement to ensure each student realizes his or her full potential.
The Keystone School offers flexible education programs for high school and middle school students. Whether your student wants to study full-time or just needs individual classes, they offer more than 170 courses from credit recovery to world languages and AP. Students can enroll at any time.
In Colorado, parents have the option to educate their children at home, an option known as homeschooling or home education. Parents in Colorado may choose to homeschool their own children in grades K – 12. Parents desiring to homeschool their own children may do so by choosing one of the following three options – Under the Colorado homeschooling statute, with an independent school or with a certified teacher. All three options are discussed below.
The links below include a copy of Colorado Home School Law, how to get started home schooling your child, and a resources link to home school organizations that provide information on networking, support groups, curricula, and testing.
Home school inquires:
Under Colorado’s homeschool statute:
These requirements are defined by the Colorado law (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.5)
- Decide who will be homeschooling your child (parent, legal guardian or adult relative chosen by parent).
- Notify a school district you are homeschooling 14 days before starting and then annually thereafter. You may file this written notice of intent with any school district in the state. The notice must include the names, ages, residence, and hours of attendance of the children to be taught.
- Teach the required subjects: the United States Constitution, reading, writing, speaking, math, history, civics, literature, and science.
- Keep good records. The law requires Colorado homeschooling parents to keep attendance records (172 days of instruction for an average of four hours per day), test and evaluation results, and immunization records.
- Test or evaluate your student. Your child must be tested in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. The test must be a nationally standardized achievement test. The results must be submitted to the school district to which you sent your notice of intent.
Homeschooling with an independent school:
Colorado law allows for children to be enrolled in established Colorado “independent schools,” through which parents teach their children at home under the independent schools’ supervision.
Homeschooling with a certified teacher:
If your child’s instructor (either you as the parent, or someone else whom you designate) holds a valid Colorado teaching certificate, there are no notification, assessment, or other requirements.
Dual enrollment courses are college credit courses. High school students enroll in college courses and earn postsecondary credit upon successful completion of the course. High school credit can also be awarded based on local school policy. Dual enrollment courses can be taught on the college campus, at the student’s high school, or online. The location of the course does not affect its status as a dual enrollment course. Home school students are also eligible for dual enrollment.
Colorado has two programs:
Concurrent Enrollment (or Dual Enrollment) allows students in grades 9-12 to enroll in postsecondary coursework, including coursework related to apprenticeship programs or internship programs.
The ASCENT (accelerating students through concurrent enrollment) or “5th year” program allows students who do not need postsecondary remediation and who have completed or are on schedule to complete at least 12 hours of postsecondary coursework prior to the end of 12th grade to concurrently enroll in postsecondary courses in the year after the student was enrolled in 12th grade. An ASCENT participant is not considered a high school graduate until completing participation in the ASCENT program and any remaining graduation requirements.
Local education provider (i.e., school district, charter school, or board of cooperative services (BOCES). However, nothing prohibits an institution of higher education from charging tuition or associated fees to a student or his/her parent or in addition to the tuition paid by the student’s local education provider. If the student does not complete the course without the consent of the student’s principal, the student and parent must reimburse the local education provider for tuition paid.
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