If you are relocating to Colorado Springs, one of your biggest concerns might be where is your child going to attend school. Fortunately, Colorado Springs schools have many options focused on superior academics, a high graduation rate, academic excellence, online programs, academic support, and producing students with high personal integrity and skills to continue on into the real world. It takes time and effort to research your options, but part of your house hunting job is to find which schools are the best for your kid(s). The truth is, test scores and location can provide you with a lot of feedback, but school visits and “choice” meetings will help you best understand the school and if it is the best fit for your child. Our aim here is to give you a basic rundown of the Colorado Springs School District system and highlight some things to consider during your research into Colorado Springs schools.
If you already know where you will be living, the first place to start looking is at your neighborhood public schools. Every district in El Paso County has physical boundaries and many include maps or address lookups on their website to determine which is your native school. The obvious benefits to attending your neighborhood school are proximity to your home and your children will be going to school with other kids from your own neighborhood. This makes kids getting together socially easier as well as dropoffs and pickups from after-school activities like sports.
If you don’t have your heart set on a specific area of town yet, it is very reasonable to do your school research first, and then start your home search after determining which school best fits your family. Knowing which district or school you would like your children to attend is an easy way to narrow down your home search.
Charter schools were created as a tuition-free public school alternative that offers parents a choice. Like public schools, charter schools are required to adhere to all federal, state, and local education, health, and safety rules and regulations. The Colorado Department of Education administers the Colorado Charter School Startup and Implementation grant, which supports the operations of charter schools and authorizers, assists with waiver requests, collects data on charter schools, produces special topic studies and the state evaluation of charter schools, and responds to questions from the general public.
Getting into a charter school may require you to be on a wait-list or participate in a lottery to attend, whereas acceptance into a public school is guaranteed based on residency. Charter schools cover elementary schools, middle school or junior high school, and high school. Some charter schools have a K-12 model where students attend the same school throughout all grades. The school year for the charter schools is very similar to the public school schedule but may have different hours, holidays, or breaks. Charter schools receive public funding based on their enrollment numbers and they receive grants to help with some start-up costs. Many charter schools use fundraisers, sponsorships, and corporate donations to help with other expenses.
The choice window for many school districts opens in January for enrollment the following fall. Consult with the specific district website for details on how to choice into a school or district.
Colorado Springs and the greater surrounding Pikes Peak areas participate in school of choice options. You can obviously go to your neighborhood school, within which every house in Colorado Springs has boundaries and designated schools. You can opt or choice into a school that isn’t your neighborhood school or even into another district if it seems appropriate. Most school districts provide the opportunity with a choice window in January to register your child(ren) with the desired school and district. Many charter schools in the area provide a waitlist option, which many put their kids on shortly after birth, in case it ends up being the best choice for their child(ren)when the time comes. Keep in mind, in some situations, if you choice into a different school or district you may or may not be guaranteed attendance at that school or district the following years. Rules around this vary and can change year by year, so it is important to ask about future attendance guarantees if this is important to you.
Only you and your student can know which school is the right fit. There are many things to consider such as test scores, graduation rate, services for the disabled, accelerated programs, proximity to your home, degree programs, college preparation programs, sports, and the list goes on and on. Our best advice on how to start is the following: