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K-12: Private Schools 

The Independent contacted each private school listed below for basic information and a sense of what's new at each one. A few schools did not return our calls; in these situations we have simply included their contact information and basic details from their websites. If we've missed a private school, please let us know at newsroom@csindy.com.

The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind Up to age 21

33 N. Institute St., 578-2100, csdb.org

Student pop.: 220

Tuition: CSDB is state-funded and provides tuition-free education. If a local student has been recommended by his or her school district, the district is responsible for transportation.

"Success starts with a strong sense of self," says superintendent Carol Hilty. "We take kids wherever they are in their growth and development and help them see the potential in themselves." In the past year, school/community liaison Diane Covington and Hilty say, new literacy initiatives have resulted in students making great strides. Evidence of the students' progress can now be seen in waiting rooms across Colorado Springs, where their work is featured in the Poetry While You Wait publication produced by the Pikes Peak Poet Laureate project.

Colorado Springs Christian Schools K-12

4855 Mallow Road, 599-3553; 1003 Tamarac Pkwy., Woodland Park, 686-0706; cscslions.org

Student pop.: 800

Tuition: Varies based on grade level, ranging from $3,700 for half-day kindergarten to $8,200 for high school.

This year, CSCS is celebrating its middle school's receipt of the U.S. Department of Education's Blue Ribbon School Award, conferred on just 50 private schools nationwide. "You have to be in the top 10 percent academically to qualify," explains executive director of instruction Erin Wilcox. "They look for indicators of a well-rounded program and a high-quality teaching staff." Highlights of the CSCS program include foreign language classes beginning in the third grade, and a leadership program that encourages students to come up with their own ideas for community service projects.

The Colorado Springs School Pre-K-12

21 Broadmoor Ave., 475-9747, css.org

Student pop.: 309

Tuition: Ranges from $5,775 for three half-days of pre-K to $17,675 for high school

The Colorado Springs School's college-preparatory curriculum is grounded in community involvement and experiential learning, all of which is fostered by a small student-teacher ratio. In recent years, says director of communications Jessica James, learning opportunities have been enhanced by the school's partnership with Venetucci Farm. "Our Upper School was out there for service learning day, and they helped with harvesting and fall planting, and then our first-graders were out there for Pumpkinology," James says. "We have a really great relationship that helps expand meaningful community service as well as real lessons in sustainable farming and ecosystems."

Corpus Christi Catholic School Pre-K-8

2410 N. Cascade Ave., 632-5092, corpuschristicos.org

Student pop.: 204

Tuition: $4,412 for Catholic students; $5,412 for non-Catholic students; pre-K rates vary according to number of days attended per week

Divine Redeemer Catholic School Pre-K-8

901 Logan Ave., 471-7771, divineredeemer.net

Student pop.: 275

Tuition: $4,412 for Catholic students, $5,412 for non-Catholic students; pre-K rates vary according to number of days attended per week

This fall, says principal Marjie Weldele, students in the first through eighth grades at Divine Redeemer have been especially enthusiastic about a new approach to language classes. The switch to Rosetta Stone, an internationally recognized computer language learning program, "has been a very popular move this school year," she says. "It's wonderful because it's very individualized. Whether they receive instruction once a week or three times a week based on their grade, they just pick up right where they left off, and so they're making an immense amount of progress."

Evangelical Christian Academy Pre-K-12

2511 N. Logan Ave. (elementary), 634-7024; 4052 Nonchalant Circle South (secondary), 597-3675; ecaeagles.org

Student pop.: 346

Tuition: Ranges to a high of $6,500 for high school

According to secondary school principal Bob DeRuiter, ECA focuses on educating students by putting God first, and is accredited at the highest level through 2015 by the Association of Christian Schools International. One of the ways ECA unites faith with learning is through community service. As part of what they call Impact Week, "we'll take a day or two off of school, and students will sign up and go visit" organizations like Marian House Soup Kitchen. DeRuiter says "this is obviously one way where you can serve as a Christian and live out your faith in a very meaningful and tangible way to others around you and serve those who might not be able to serve themselves."

Fountain Valley School 9-12

6155 Fountain Valley School Road, 390-7035, fvs.edu

Student pop.: 260

Tuition: $22,800 for day students, $42,000 for residents

One of FVS' greatest assets, says director of financial aid and associate director of admission Kate Maiurro, is its diversity, in terms of both people and curriculum. "We absolutely have a global environment. Students are surrounded by peers as well as adults from all over the world," including 19 different countries and 26 different states, she notes. "Just by being present in this environment, they learn. Whether they're on the athletic field, in the classroom, in the dining room — really, there's learning that's taking place everywhere." It probably also helps that the school requires after-school participation in one of its 19 different interscholastic sports, its three dramatic productions, or its visual arts program that spans "everything from video game design and a robotics class to jewelry making and ceramics."

Hilltop Baptist School K-12

6915 Palmer Park Blvd., 597-1880, hilltopbaptistschool.org

Student pop.: 142

Tuition: Ranges from $4,800 for elementary to $5,600 for high school

HillSprings Learning Center K-8

2776 Janitell Road, 576-3840, hillsprings.org

Student pop.: 20

Tuition: $12,875

The HillSprings Center offers half-day programs for students with learning disabilities, whether the difficulty stems from a specific learning disability or attention-deficit disorder. It also features an after-school reading program and certified tutors. However, all of these programs offer the same benefit to their participants. "Because kids are in the safety of working with a knowledgeable teacher who 'gets' them, they no longer have to be so guarded as they are in the regular classroom," explains director Charlie Tye. "They really gain a lot of self-confidence. And so that's why we have the logo of the kid raising their hand. Usually these are the kids that are in the back row, trying to melt into the woodwork." During HillSprings' seven years of experience in the Springs, four local school districts have contracted with the nonprofit to train their teachers. In short, Tye says, it's "because our kids with learning disabilities make tremendous success."

Pauline Memorial Catholic School Pre-K-8

1601 Mesa Ave., 632-1846, ucsppr.org

Student pop.: 183

Tuition: $4,412 for Catholic students; $5,412 for non-Catholic students; pre-K rates vary according to number of days attended per week

The goal of a Pauline education, says principal Stephanie Burke, is to make students well-rounded both academically and spiritually. "We believe that they are the future of our church, and we are committed to preparing them in the leadership skills they need to be responsible, faith-filled young men and women," she says. To that end, the school boasts a well-qualified staff, many with master's degrees in education; facilities Burke describes as "state of the art"; and academic foundations in the enVision Math program and the Core Knowledge curriculum. After school, students may participate in a variety of enrichment programs including performance choirs and a technology club.

Pikes Peak Academy 9-12

5590 N. Nevada Ave., 473-5745, pikespeakacademy.net

Student pop.: 50

Tuition: Sliding scale based on family income

Founded in 1993, PPA specializes in working with high-schoolers at risk of dropping out. Principal and founder Mark Becker says the most important product of a PPA education is renewed confidence and hope. Students usually arrive via recommendation from current PPA families, "kind of frustrated with school and staff and principals and anything related," Becker says. "It takes a little while for them to get adjusted because of the way we teach. It's a lot more individualized instruction here. That's the thing they love and hate all at the same time, but in the end they like it because they don't want to fade away and be unnoticed. They want to be identified and made to feel like they belong and that they can function academically. They like the intimacy and the kinds of things we do as a school together, the field trips or the fun days that we have, the family mealtime that we have once a week on Friday. It's good stuff."

Pikes Peak Christian School Pre-K-12

5905 Flintridge Drive, 598-8610, pikespeakchristianschool.org

Student pop.: 380

Tuition: Ranges from $3,000 for five half-days of pre-K to $5,796 for high school

School director Ken Preslar says the best part of a PPCS education is the Bible-based curriculum. "Obviously we're a Christian school, so we're faith-based in terms of what we're all about: very high academics, moderate tuition prices, great staff. That primarily plays out in the classroom, but [in] the after-school activities — certainly there's an emphasis on Christian character." Beyond the classroom, the sports field and the stage, students have further opportunities for faith-based learning through community service. "We're starting a food drive next week for the holidays, and we end the year in a Serve-a-Thon where all grades participate," Preslar says. "It's done purely for service and to teach the kids the importance of it."

Springs Adventist Academy K-8

5410 E. Palmer Park Blvd., 597-0155, saaschool.org

Student pop.: 18

Tuition: Sliding scale based on family income; tops out at $350/month

Having started off the 2010-11 school year with a rejuvenated campus, new books and teaching materials and a new principal, office administrator Becky Regal says SAA is already seeing results in students' achievement in Christian-centered academics. Principal Clint Sutton has had "only four months to push this new curriculum," Regal says, but already "where it looked like [students] were behind, now they're up to par and pushing to go ahead." What hasn't changed, she says, is the small student-teacher ratio (12 to 1) and the positive effect it has on the school community. Students "get attention where they need it, and parents get attention where they need it ... We do a lot to communicate, and a lot of our parents are incredibly involved. We do require 20 hours community service a year from the parents, and most of them enjoy going above and beyond." Currently, parents are volunteer-teaching home economics classes for fifth- and sixth-graders as well as providing all-vegetarian lunches for students.

St. Mary's High School 9-12

2501 E. Yampa St., 635-7540, smhscs.org

Student pop.: 355

Tuition: $7,450

"We truly are a college preparatory education," says Deacon Dave Camous, SMHS president. And he has the numbers to prove it. "Last year, our class of 83 graduating seniors earned $8.4 million in scholarships. Ninety-five percent of our seniors attend a four-year college." Before the young men and women leave, Camous says, his staff members do their best to "develop the entire student in mind, body and spirit." The school boasts academics that consistently exceed state and national averages as well as 16 varsity sports, a theater program and a speech and debate team. Camous says that variety was "one of the reasons I chose to come here and take over as president — I really saw the diversity of opportunities we give our students to help them form themselves based on their own unique interests and character."

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