Who We Are

At Colorado Academy, discovery and wonder permeate our culture and our classrooms. 
Academic excellence is not defined by multiple-choice tests or by the weight of a textbook, but rather by the depth with which students are able to explore, ignite, and transform new knowledge. 

Walk our hallways, cross our courtyards, peek into our labs and lounges: you’ll find CA students catching up with their teachers, conversations that flow from one space to the next, and a supportive environment where kindness and curiosity intersect. 

Here we believe that academics should be challenging, yet also meaningful. 

Here we celebrate excellence through innovation, mastery, connection, and joy. 

Here we know that learning must endure.

ASR at Colorado Academy

“Profound and rigorous learning resonates long after the trimester ends, long after the gradebook is closed; it allows a student to develop their unique voice and carve out a space for their ideas in the world. It gives them a sense of self-worth and agency. It reminds them that they are forever part of a larger whole.”
Max Delgado
Upper School Principal

Our Approach: The Future in Focus

Our academic program is evolving to create new opportunities. 
Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, our English and Social Studies Departments will replace four Advanced Placement (AP) classes with Colorado Academy’s own Advanced Studies and Research (ASR) program, courses that allow students to have more agency, go deeper, engage in knowledge production, and pursue multidisciplinary questions. 

The AP courses that will no longer be offered after 2022-2023 are:
  • AP English Literature
  • AP Economics
  • AP European History
  • AP Human Geography is no longer offered.
CA’s Science, Math, Computer Science, and World Language departments will spend the next two years engaged in a structured and intentional process to evaluate the progression of student learning and the role of Advanced Placement in those disciplines. We remain committed to the fundamental question of how we maintain and grow a strong academic program. 

We know that the process of growing our ASR program will take time. We are committed to a thoughtful approach, one guided by CA’s Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) that includes faculty and Department Chairs as well as our Head of School, Upper School Principal, Director of College Counseling and Strategic Initiatives, and Director of Inclusivity. 
Colorado Academy continues to be one of the most reputable independent schools in the country. We look to the future with a sense of optimism about the possibilities for our students and our program.

Mike Davis, PhD
Head of School
Max Delgado
Upper School Principal
Sonia Arora '01
Director of College Counseling and Upper School Strategic Initiatives
“This kind of programmatic evolution is at the heart of CA’s mission and centers learning. CA students are curious, and classes that are geared towards preparing students for cumulative AP exams rarely leave breathing room for deep exploration.”
Mike Davis, PhD
Head of School

The Anatomy of ASR

Upper School Curriculum: Intentional Design, Future Focus

Here in the Upper School, we offer a diverse range of courses oriented around our Six Cs, a curriculum designed to help students put purpose at the center.

Four Stages: From Foundations to Depth

List of 4 items.

  • Leo Procise teaching Science at Colorado Academy

    1. Foundational Courses

    Our foundational courses help students acquire the discipline-specific skills, habits, and practices that any serious scholar must adopt to succeed in their field—while engaging students and exposing them to the vital content of that subject area.
  • Dr Hutchinson teaching at Colorado Academy

    2. Electives

    Our electives allow our students to apply knowledge from previous coursework to a distinct or focused area of study that stems from roots in our foundational courses. Seeking connections with foundational learning is emphasized. Elective courses make use of our teachers’ specialized training and academic expertise.
  • Girls in Science class

    3. AP

    Our AP courses are college-level classes that also prepare students for various Advanced Placement exams. In most AP courses, students are required to take the AP test. Students sometimes receive credit at the college they attend, depending on the score they receive.
  • 4. ASR

    Our Advanced Studies and Research (ASR) classes are the most ambitious extension of the CA approach, emphasizing self-direction, developing mastery, more profound depth of study, and a learning posture that connects to the broader world. 

    ASR courses cultivate curiosity. They encourage students to explore the current state of knowledge, pursue big ideas, and develop a lifelong passion for meaningful, rigorous engagement.

Four Pillars of CA's Upper School Program

Impact on College Admissions

“CA students stand out in the college application process because of their strong academic preparation, self-awareness, and authenticity. Advanced Studies and Research (ASR) will give current and future CA students the chance to investigate our world from new angles as they discover their passions.”

Sonia Arora '01
Director of College Counseling and Upper School Strategic Initiatives

Applicants that Stand Out

For the last two years, we have examined our curriculum from the perspective of college admissions. When we talk to Deans of Admission at schools across the nation, we have been assured that this shift will not negatively impact our students. 
In fact, our new offerings will help our students differentiate themselves in ways that AP currently limits. We believe firmly that moving away from AP will make our program more distinctive to colleges and our students’ modes of engagement more noteworthy.
College admission offices have extensive experience evaluating students with and without AP classes.

CA is well known and respected for our strong academic program. On average, CA’s 100 Seniors head to 65 different colleges and universities across the country and around the world. They are prepared to think and engage with new perspectives and ideas. 

Read our FAQ about AP changes and the college process.

In Good Company

CA is not alone in considering the role of AP in our curriculum. 
We know that more than 80 other leading independent schools across the country have made the choice to develop their own college-level advanced courses in the last 15 years, eliminating AP. Some have never offered AP. Currently, there is a surge in this movement to go “Beyond AP.” 

Some examples:
  • The Athenian School
  • Berwick Academy
  • Catlin Gabel School
  • Choate Rosemary Hall
  • Concord Academy
  • The Dalton School
  • Georgetown Day School
  • Lakeside School
  • The Lawrenceville School
  • Marin Academy
  • Phillips Exeter School
  • Pingree School
  • Poly Prep CDS
  • Riverdale Country School
  • Sidwell Friends School
  • St. Paul Academy and Summit School

Response from College Deans

An Inspiring Faculty

Innovative, Passionate Teaching

For generations, CA students have thrived in an intellectually inspiring culture shaped by educators who understand that authentic engagement happens when students feel genuinely connected to their learning, to each other, and to the adults guiding them along the way. 
We attract educators from around the country who value this critical time to shape students' curiosity as well as character.
Scholars, scientists, artists, poets, and more, CA faculty are excited by the opportunity to bring their passions into the classroom, and bring their classrooms into the world. Read more about CA’s Faculty and Staff and CA's commitment to faculty professional development.

Faculty Fast Facts:
  • Student:Faculty Ratio: 9:1 
  • Average Class Size: 15
  • Maximum Class Size: 20
  • Upper School faculty with advanced degrees: 87%
  • Faculty from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds: 19%
  • Average classroom experience: 16 years
  • Average time at CA: 11 years

Timeline of ASR Implementation

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