Best High Schools

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

August 2007

Tie-9. Regis High School (PRIVATE, Aurora)

Philosophy: Jesuit. Co-institutional model provides “the best of both worlds,” allowing students to study in a single-gender atmosphere while also providing the opportunity for socializing. • Graduates attend schools including the U.S. Naval Academy, Notre Dame, Stanford, Princeton, Duke, Yale, and Harvard. • Tuition: $8,900, with $10,211 average spending per pupil. total score: 42

Tie-9. Lakewood High School (public, Lakewood)

Philosophy: We are family. “If you walk through the halls, it’s not very clique-ish. We all get along.” • 78-80 percent of graduates go to college, including Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Duke, and Brown • Bonds: New “high-tech” high school opening this fall. total score: 42

11. Boulder High School (public, Boulder)

Philosophy: High standards, teachers work students very hard, students are asked to question the world around them and are encouraged to think outside the box. • LINKS, a freshman orientation program that pairs new students with upperclassmen, and study programs that target “middle-of-the-road” and “underperforming” kids. • Bonds: Recent bond initiative will bring multimillion-dollar improvements to the facilities. total score: 39

Tie-12. Fairview High School (public, Boulder)

85 percent of graduates go to four-year programs, including Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, and Harvard. Class of 2006 graduates received $7.4 million in scholarships. • Bonds: Receiving $11.8 million in new bond money. total score: 36

Tie-12. Arapahoe High School (public, Littleton)

Philosophy: Focuses on students becoming independent thinkers, self-disciplined, and looks to them to take ownership of learning. Students take a “variable schedule,” along with the opportunity to have unscheduled time. • 85 percent of graduates go to four-year colleges, including RPI, Stanford, Northwestern, Purdue, and the Colorado School of Mines. Graduates were awarded $9.7 million in scholarships in 2007. total score: 36

Tie-14. Alexander Dawson School (private, Lafayette)

Philosophy: “Co-educational learning community that challenges students to achieve excellence through a rigorous college prep program.” • 100 percent of graduates attend four-year colleges, including Princeton, Wellesley, Duke, and Dartmouth. In 2007, graduates earned nearly $2 million in scholarships. • Special Programs: performing and visual arts, Winterim (three-week experimental programs), Mandarin, journalism, web publishing, digital modeling, and animation. • Tuition: $16,950 (2007–08), 20 percent of students receive financial aid.• Community service requirements for all students. total score: 33

Tie-14. Bishop Machebeuf (private, Denver)

Philosophy: 75 percent Catholic: “Our faith is what we teach as the fundamental principle in all that we pursue in academics, life, and spiritual growth.” • 98 percent of graduates attend four-year colleges, including Air Force Academy, Loyola Marymount, University of Denver, and Catholic University of America • Tuition: $8,600, 49 percent of students receive financial aid. total score: 33