Education

Colorado's Best Public and Private High Schools for 2022-2023

Stargate Charter School in Thornton is ranked as the top public high school in Colorado by Niche for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Stargate Charter School in Thornton is ranked as the top public high school in Colorado by Niche for the 2022-2023 academic year. niche.com
The ninth annual list of Colorado's best high schools from ratings service Niche has a new number one in the public category. And while there's less movement among the top private high schools, there's still a significant change: Tuition has increased at four of the top five.

In the rundown for the 2021-2022 academic year, Niche based its conclusions on weighted scores in six subject areas: academics, diversity, teachers, college prep, clubs/activities, and health and safety. This round, the methodology in the public category includes a tweak, which reflects lessening concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic: The health and safety category has been replaced by one pertaining to administration. The final area for private high schools remains sports.

As part of their analysis, the number-crunchers at Niche looked at 92,743 public schools, 30,112 private schools, and 11,820 school districts nationwide. This year's leader among public high schools in Colorado is Stargate Charter School in Thornton, which swapped places with last year's winner, Cherry Creek High School. There's also a new entry, Peak to Peak Charter Academy in Lafayette, while Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs tumbled from fifth to twelfth.

This state's private high schools didn't make much of a splash on a national level. Kent Denver finished first, a repeat from the previous year, but it registered just 193rd out of 4,323 schools in the country — a full fifty slots lower than it scored in 2021-2022. Meanwhile, Kent Denver's tuition went up by nearly $2,000 year over year, as did the costs at Denver's Colorado Academy, the Colorado Springs School and Fountain Valley School, also in the Springs. St. Mary's Academy in Littleton proved the exception to the rule among Colorado's private high school top five: Its tuition is unchanged from last year.

Here are Niche's picks for the top five public and top five private high schools in Colorado for the 2022-2023 school year, complete with grades in major categories, tuition information and comparisons to their performance last year.

Best Public High Schools

1. Stargate Charter School
Thornton

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: A-
Teachers grade: A+
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: B-
Administration: B+
2021-2022 ranking: No. 2

2. Cherry Creek High School
Greenwood Village

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: B+
Teachers grade: A+
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: A
Administration: A
2021-2022 ranking: No. 1

3. Fairview High School
Boulder

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: B
Teachers grade: A
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: B+
Administration: C+
2021-2022 ranking: No. 3

4. Peak to Peak Charter School
Lafayette

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: B+
Teachers grade: A+
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: C+
Administration grade: B+
2021-2022 ranking: Outside top five

5. D'Evelyn Junior/Senior High School
Denver

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: B
Teachers grade: A
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: C+
Administration grade: B
2021-2022 ranking: No. 4

Best Private High Schools

1. Kent Denver School
Denver

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: B+
Teachers grade: A+
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: A+
Sports grade: A

Yearly Tuition: $34,648 (up from $32,841 in 2021-2022)
Received Financial Aid: 24 percent (unchanged from 2021-2022)
Average Financial Aid: $26,147 (up from $24,640 in 2021-2022)
2021-2022 ranking: No. 1

2. Colorado Academy
Denver

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: A-
Teachers grade: A+
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: A+
Sports grade: A

Yearly Tuition: $33,910 (up from $30,840 in 2021-2022)
Received Financial Aid: 19 percent (unchanged from 2021-2022)
Average Financial Aid: $20,000 (N/A in 2021-2022)
2021-2022 ranking: No. 2

3. Fountain Valley School
Colorado Springs

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: A
Teachers grade: A
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: A+
Sports grade: B

Yearly Tuition: $32,500 (up from $30,500 in 2021-2022)
Boarding (Tuition + Boarding): $65,500 (up from $61,500 in 2021-2022)
Received Financial Aid: 45 percent (up from 40 percent in 2021-2022)
Average Financial Aid: $28,000 (N/A in 2021-2022)
2021-2022 ranking: No. 3

4. St. Mary's Academy
Englewood

Academics grade: A+
Diversity grade: A-
Teachers grade: A
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: A+
Sports grade: B

Yearly Tuition: $22,810 (unchanged from 2021-2022)
Received Financial Aid: 24 percent (unchanged from 2021-2022)
Average Financial Aid: $12,000 (unchanged from 2021-2022)
2021-2022 ranking: No. 5

5. The Colorado Springs School
Colorado Springs

Academics grad: A+
Diversity grade: A
Teachers grade: A
College Prep grade: A+
Clubs & Activities grade: A+
Sports grade: B

Yearly Tuition: $25,000 (up from $24,300 in 2021-2022)
Received Financial Aid: 40 percent (unchanged from 2021-2022)
Average Financial Aid: $8,700 (down from $8,751 in 2021)
2021-2022 ranking: No. 4
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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