Bryan Terrell Clark talks to Middle School students on the stage of the Leach Center.

Our continued push toward excellence

It’s been so wonderful to have our students back!

Our first week of school at Colorado Academy saw the opening of the new Leach Center for the Performing Arts—a goal CA has been pursuing for many years. We also have new Lower School playgrounds constructed in honor of former Kindergarten teacher Leslie Webster. Seniors welcomed the Freshmen in pirate style, and Middle Schoolers brought the house down with our first “show” with Broadway actor Bryan Terrell Clark in the Leach Center. Sports teams are back competing. Parents are visiting and volunteering on behalf of the school.

Most importantly, we have been all in person and not on Zoom. This, in itself, has raised the positivity on campus. With the pandemic still circling all around us, we recognize that we have a long way to go, but it’s great to hear laughter emanating from all parts of campus.

An opportunity for change

For me, every new school year offers us a chance to grow and redefine ourselves. It’s the beauty of the unique life cycle in schools. Every year is different. This offers all of us—students, teachers, and parents—an opportunity for change.

A personal goal I have set for the year is to take advantage of the teachings of Adam Grant in his book, Think Again. (I wrote about his book last year and asked our faculty and staff to read it this summer.) Grant argues that we need to acknowledge what we don’t know and be more willing to question the assumptions that guide our understanding of the world. He notes that our brains can have a fixed mindset in which we make assumptions about things that data have proven false.

Grant challenges us to approach the complexity of the world with an openness to new ideas and concepts. Certainly, trying to navigate COVID-19 last year with such fast-changing conditions and new understandings forced me to look freshly at evidence and data.

What’s next for CA?

Another area that I really want to focus upon this year is exploring what comes next for Colorado Academy. With the See it Through Campaign, we have revitalized key campus buildings. We now need to prioritize fundraising for our Endowment, which can help us absorb ever-increasing costs and allow us to strengthen important financial aid.

The CA Board of Trustees and I also are thinking through revenue-generating programs, such as a robust Upper School academic summer school program aimed at serving more students in the Denver area. Related to that, I also am thinking about how our school develops a more public purpose. Our Horizons program already provides critical academic support to local public school students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Where can we do more?

I’m also asking myself a lot of questions about where can we do more. Can CA play a role in helping more students in the Denver area get back on track academically? Could more of our students offer tutoring, like those helping Horizons? As we emerge from the pandemic, what did we learn from this experience? Can we make fundamental changes in terms of how we structure our school day and year to enhance experiential learning?

Are there are technologies that we should be exploring that could help give students better feedback and help track their long-term growth? How do we build our efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that promote critical thinking? What changes do we need to make to ensure our curriculum is truly preparing our students for an ever-changing world?

Finding answers will include suggestions from all of us, and I invite you to share your thoughts.

All of this is to say that I am excited to get this year going and even more excited for the future of CA. I am so grateful for our amazing faculty, our engaged students, our supportive parents, and our committed alumni. It’s my 14th year at the helm, but serving this community has never gotten routine. We have a mission that inspires and motivates me to continue to push our school toward excellence.