Best High Schools

Where will your kid get the best education? We pitted public versus private to find out—with surprising results.

August 2007


Top 15 Overall High Schools


1. Peak to Peak Charter School (public, Lafayette)

Philosophy: Students should be able to pursue their passions • All graduates must learn a foreign language and serve 100 hours of community service • In 2007, 81 graduating seniors earned $4.2 million in scholarships and will attend schools including Duke, Baylor, Bard, Cornell, and Oberlin. total score: 64 (out of a possible 105 points)

2. Rock Canyon High School (public, Highlands Ranch)

 Philosophy: Classes are driven by the students, and the school finds teachers “for the classes kids want.” • 85 percent of graduates attend four-year colleges, the majority to CU and CSU. Have also had graduates attend Harvard and Vassar, among others. • Special requirements for graduation: 20 hours of community service total score: 61

3. Colorado Academy (private, Denver)

100 percent of graduates attend four-year colleges, including Yale, Harvard, Berkeley, and Hamilton College. • Tuition: $17,130 (2006–07), 14 percent of students receive financial aid • Endowment: $20 million. total score: 55

4. Kent Denver (private, Englewood)

 Philosophy: Caring com­munity stressing excellence in scholarship and character, college prep, and a community service requirement based on the creed of a “private school dedicated to serving the public good.” • 100 percent of graduates attend four-year colleges including Bucknell, Colgate, Stanford, Yale, and Colorado College • Tuition: $17,890, 17 percent of students receive tuition assistance • Endowment: $35.2 million. total score: 54

5. Cherry Creek High School (public, Denver)

Philosophy: Work hard, play hard. Exceptional student achievement is developed through academic rigor. Has the largest number of AP offerings and the highest AP scores in this region. Extremely high participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities is encouraged. • 94.6 percent of graduates attend college, including Amherst, Harvard, Northwestern, and Cornell. • Gifted & Talented program allows students to explore new areas of study. total score: 50

6. Monarch High School (public, Louisville)

Philosophy: Focuses on the technological aspects of education, allowing students to be trained for their place in the modern working world driven by adaptation to technology. total score: 47

7. St. Mary’s Academy High School (private, Englewood)

Philosophy: All girls. A Sisters of Loretto school. “In Loretto, we always talk about risk-taking.” The single-gender approach means girls “are more confident and successful, the leaders, the scientists, the artists.” • 100 percent of graduates attend college, including Stanford, Duke, Georgetown, and Amherst. • Tuition: $10,890, 37 percent of students receive financial aid • Endowment: $3.66 million. total score: 46

8. D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School (public, Denver)

Philosophy: Liberal arts curriculum with a structured school environment, including a “very strict” dress code • 90 percent of 2006 graduates were accepted to four-year programs, including CSU, CU, Colorado School of Mines, Baylor, Brown, Cornell, Creighton, Harvard, and Yale. • Programs: Narrower variety of extracurricular activities than some schools because D’Evelyn draws students from the whole county total score: 44