Mark Walta and Danielle DiMauro have two children entering Colorado Academy in 2018—Skylar, who will be in Grade 9, and Brooks, who will enter Middle School in Grade 6. And yet, this is not the direction Mark and Danielle thought they would take with their children’s education.
“Both Danielle and I are products of public schools, and we strongly believe in the public school mission, so we wanted to encourage our children in that direction,” Mark Walta says. “But ultimately, your kids let you know if that’s the best fit for them.”
Skylar was admitted to the International Baccalaureate Program at Lakewood High School and also visited Denver’s East High School.
“Her immediate reaction to both schools was that they were really big, especially compared to her elementary school,” Mark says. “Even the layout of the buildings felt a bit overwhelming to her.”
When Skylar visited CA for the first time, she had a very different reaction.
“She really enjoyed the day she shadowed at CA,” says Danielle. “She immediately liked the classroom teachers, and she loved her interview with teachers in the theater department.”
“More than any other school she visited, she could picture herself learning at CA,” Mark says. “In the Upper School, she saw spaces where she could imagine herself hanging out with friends and studying. The campus felt welcoming to her.”
The parents’ perspective
Skylar’s parents made the same observation when they visited CA during Parent Preview.
“Both the Middle School and Upper School are great, well-lit learning spaces,” Mark says. “Environmental factors matter because they are conducive to a strong learning environment.”
Brooks Walta also enjoyed his shadow day, when he was matched with a CA student with similar interests in playing competitive hockey. His parents were particularly delighted that at CA he would be able to take music lessons during the school day. He has a passion for music that, because of the rigors of his hockey schedule, he has not been able to pursue before now.
Danielle liked CA’s emphasis on turning out top-notch writers. “In our work, we write all the time,” she says. “It’s an important skill that I believe, at CA, will be well developed in small classes.”
For Mark and Danielle, the decision to enroll both their children at CA means that they, too, are joining the school community. “At CA, we were included immediately in school events,” Danielle says. “We enjoyed the people we met.”
“Throughout the process, we felt a real sense of community at CA,” says Mark. “When your kids are coming to CA, people want to welcome them, and that’s a nice feeling for parents and children.”