Top Private Elementary Schools
St. Anne’s Episcopal Denver pre-K–8
St. Anne’s curriculum centers on helping students develop curiosity, self-esteem, and sensitivity to others. Despite its church-based roots, the school’s teachers are known for their progressive teaching methods and adoption of emerging educational trends. Students also get two “specials” per day in subjects including the arts, PE, and science, and students at all levels are given exercises designed to improve their public-speaking abilities. st-annes.org
St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Denver K–2
This unique school in Denver’s Skyland neighborhood employs an innovative tuition reform model that makes it more affordable to more families, resulting in a level of diversity not commonly seen at private schools. Curriculum is faith-based but includes instruction about multiple religions, and the school stresses a devotion to community service. stelizabethsdenver.org
Stanley British Primary Denver K–8
The curriculum here is derived from the philosophies of Friedrich Froebel, creator of the kindergarten concept. Students are grouped in small, multiage arrangements, and special attention is paid to social and emotional development in K-2 before kids move on to the more traditional subjects and the arts in subsequent grades. Children learn to think independently and in collaboration with each other, and project-oriented creativity is stressed as a valuable means of absorbing knowledge. stanleybps.org
Getting the Scoop
How two Denver mothers are helping local families make sense of school choice.
if you’re lucky enough to live in an area with a solid public school, your children’s educational options probably are fairly clear. But in Denver, like virtually every other American city, there are complications. The closest public school may not be to your liking, or your child may be gifted and talented or have special needs. Parents these days are savvier about starting their school planning early, often in pre-kindergarten, but the information they need, while more available than you might think, also can be confusing and hard to locate.
Enter ScoopToo, a blog started by Denver moms Jenn Massie, an executive recruiter, and Kerri Barclay, a former elementary-level teacher. When their own children approached preschool age—Massie has two kids under six and Barclay has three under eight—they realized that useful information about local schools, if available at all, is often buried on various websites. “Everyone’s buzzing about where to send their kids, but if you don’t have a decent DPS school in your neighborhood, it takes a lot of research to figure out where to go,” Massie says.
The two moms teamed up to tour schools and talk to local educators, administrators, and assorted experts about the scholastic issues Denver parents face, and ScoopToo.com is the result. The regularly updated site features individual school profiles (16 as of this writing), interviews with the experts and other parents, event listings, and articles and discussions about buzzy trends such as teacher reform and school choice.
The profiles go deeper than mere demographic and logistical information to include the moms’ personal take on a school’s look and feel. “GreatSchools.org and sites like that give you very basic data, but they just don’t give you the heart and soul of a school,” Massie says. “We think it’s important that our information comes from parents and gives people an emotional sense about a school.”
By approaching school evaluation with the engaged and invested parental mind, the ScoopToo tandem hopes to add a meaningful layer to the data-driven analysis found elsewhere. “School choice has been an option in Denver for almost 10 years, but it’s always changing, so it confuses parents,” Barclay says. “It’s about looking for what’s important, such as test scores and leadership, but you also need to get the vibe from a school, because even if you really like a school, it may not be such a good fit for your child’s needs.”