Why the Skinner family chose a private school


When it came time to think about high school, Peter Skinner found himself with a difficult choice.

Denver’s East High School was his neighborhood school, he had a lot of friends there, and he liked the big, bustling feel of the school and its large classes.

When he visited Colorado Academy, he loved the small classes where there was an opportunity for students to engage in discussion and interact with other students and the teacher.

“He felt invigorated by the academic environment at CA, because there was no right or wrong answer in the class he visited—just the opportunity to exchange ideas,” his mother, Patricia Skinner, says. “He visited two schools with completely opposite experiences, but he enjoyed both, which made his decision harder.”

The family let Peter make the final decision, and he chose CA. “He said, ‘This is a school that is going to help me succeed and grow academically and socially,’” Patricia recalls. “He thought there were so many resources available to him at CA, and he liked that.”

A parent’s perspective

Patricia was drawn to CA’s wide-ranging variety of interesting classes and electives, the school’s emphasis on the arts, and what she sees as pedagogy that does not just “teach to the test.”  She liked a school that is “less anonymous” and “more nurturing.”

“CA’s emphasis on social and emotional health was really important to me,” she says. “We want our kids to be the adults of tomorrow who are accepting of others, inclusive, living with character and kindness. Who you are as a human being is the most important. That’s the message that we have emphasized at home, and I know that at CA that message will be reinforced.”

Patricia was also impressed with CA’s system of Advisories where a small group of students stay together with one Advisor for all four years of Upper School. “We felt like CA will not let students—including Peter—slip through the cracks,” she says.

She feels CA sets the tone for the school at the top levels of leadership, reinforces that tone through its lecture series SPEAK and with the hard work of the school’s teachers and counselors, and she believes students absorb those values.

Finally, she is delighted that students get to know their teachers and can turn to them for college recommendations. “CA’s College Counseling Office will make our lives easier,” she says. “CA has a national reputation among excellent colleges and when that time comes, I’m looking forward to handing the whole college application process over to CA’s College Counselors!”