In Metro Denver, the focus of K-12 education is choice. Both public and private schools offer an array of educational options for primary and secondary students.
The region's K-12 education system includes 19 public school districts, as well as a number of private and parochial school systems. Charter schools, magnet schools, international baccalaureate programs, numerous parochial, Montessori, English Primary, and other options typify Metro Denver's commitment to education.
Although excellent private schools are available in Metro Denver, they are not utilized as highly as in other cities due to the quality of our public school system. About 6.6 percent of the total student population attended private schools in Metro Denver in 2011.
- Metro Denver schools all offer open enrollment, meaning that students living in one school district can attend a school in any other district. This allows parents to select schools that match each student's individual needs.
- In response to Colorado's strong commitment to educational excellence, the State Board of Education has designed the education system to challenge academic standards. Criteria are in place for suggested grade level expectations and standards by subject areas. Accountability reports are also available by Metro Denver school districts.
- Individuals and organizations in Colorado can establish their own schools and curricula to meet special needs within established Metro Denver school districts. These charter schools are approved by local school districts, assure local control, and receive funding from the local district and the state of Colorado.
- Colorado requires annual student testing to determine whether students meet established knowledge levels expected for their grade level. The Transitional Colorado Assessment Program (TCAP) is Colorado's standards-based assessment designed to provide a picture of student performance to schools, districts, educators, parents, and the community.
- The Colorado Growth Model developed by the Colorado Department of Education allows users to understand the progress of students based on where each indiviual student begins. It offers information on how students are progressing from year to year and provides a common measure to show how much growth is needed for each student to reach state standards.