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Thursday, April 25,2013

Best of Boulder 2013: Education and Schools

By Boulder Weekly Staff
Photo by Meghan Barrett
Colorado Mountain Ranch, winner of best summer camp

Advanced Education

1600 Pleasant St., 303-492-1411

Second Place: Naropa University Extended Studies
Third Place: CU Continuing Education
Fourth Place: Front Range Community College
Fifth Place: Boulder College of Massage

Well, we saw this one coming. The biggest kid on the playground wins again. The good old University of Colorado is not only alma mater for many of us, it’s at the heart of what makes Boulder such a special, distinctive place to live and work. Imagine if we didn’t have the plethora of entertainment and cultural opportunities that the university delivers. Imagine the business we’d lose if it weren’t for those tens of thousands of college kids. Imagine the traffic … OK, well, bad example. We love you, CU. There. We showed great restraint. Didn’t mention the football team once.

Private School

999 Violet Ave., 303-444-7697

Second Place: Alexander Dawson School
Third Place: Boulder Country Day School
Fourth Place: Sacred Heart of Jesus
Fifth Place: Friend’s School

Private schools might get a bad rap on TV and in movies for breeding preppy aristocrats. But here in Boulder, we know that places like Shining Mountain Waldorf School have a lot more to offer than Social Climbing 101. For 30 years, Shining Mountain Waldorf has been offering Boulder County’s children only the best in private education. The school uses the Waldorf method of teaching, which bases its lessons and progression on childhood development. But what really keeps students and parents coming home happy is the caring faculty and staff and their ability to foster a love of learning academic subjects as well as art and music.

Public School K-8

3995 East Aurora Ave., 720-561-6500

Second Place: Casey Middle School
Third Place: Peak to Peak Charter School
Fourth Place: Centennial Middle School
Fifth Place: Horizons K-8 School

We’d never say any Best of Boulder categories are unimportant. They aren’t. But some are kind of more important than others. If you want a latte or a sandwich, and you decide to hit up a business that didn’t win those categories, you’re a darn fool but you’ll be just fine.

This category, hey, it might matter a little more. It’s only your child’s education. Boulder Weekly readers say the Boulder County School of Integrated Studies, sprawled along Aurora Avenue just west of Foothills, wins the category with its arts-focused, multi-cultural curriculum. The K-5 school aims to integrate recent research on how kids learn into its methods, including some Waldorf and Steiner school theories. BCSIS also emphasizes a holistic approach to address the head, heart and hands of its students. That’s definitely a greater goal than boiling up the best hot dog.

Public School 9-12

1604 Arapahoe Ave., 720-561-2200

Second Place: Fairview High School
Third Place: New Vista High School
Fourth Place: Niwot High School
Fifth Place: Monarch High School

Boulder High School, this year’s Public School 9-12 winner, presents its students with an abundance of ways to succeed. The school employs exceptional teachers and offers ample academic opportunities for students, such as its Advanced Placement (AP) classes, which are a chance to rack up college credit early, and its array of foreign language classes, which include Japanese and Latin among others. The school is also known for high-caliber extracurricular activities, including its athletic department, Model United Nations and its distinguished music and theater programs. Our runner-up, Fairview High School, has also received accolades for its high test scores, International Baccalaureate (IB) and AP classes, and its stellar athletics and fine arts programs.

Summer Camp

10063 Gold Hill Road, 303-442-4557

Second Place: YMCA Summer Camps
Third Place: CU Science Discovery
Fourth Place: Avid4 Adventure
Fifth Place: Thorne Nature Experience

Are you ready for the summer? Are you ready for the good times? OK, maybe this isn’t a Bill Murray movie. But that doesn’t have to change your answer. Colorado Mountain Ranch is about as close as you’ll get to a Meatballs experience as Boulder has to offer. For more than six decades, kids have spent summers hiking, canoeing and horseback riding — all on the ranch’s 200acre property near Gold Hill. And there’s this kid named Rudy who is kind of an outcast, but he runs the big end-of-summer race and wins the camp its honor back. Oh wait …

STAFF PICK: Nobel Prize Winner


Not many award-winners in this publication have met a reigning monarch. In fact, it’s probably exactly the same number as could explain what Dave Wineland, a physicist who works for NIST and the University of Colorado, studies.

Wineland took home a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2012 for his work in the field of quantum physics, particularly quantum clocks and quantum computing. He was awarded the prize in Stockholm, Sweden, by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Wineland’s work involves isolating single particles like atoms or electrons, or small groups of them, according to his Nobel Lecture. Being able to monitor, predict and control those particles can lead to computers and clocks exponentially faster and more accurate than conventional versions.

Wineland’s Nobel Lecture slides repeatedly cite and credit dozens of other physicists, and he shared the prize with French colleague Serge Haroche. We say, enough with the humility. Congratulations.

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As of today, there are really many schools that require to be saved. When I say schools, I also include students as they actually form schools. However, to begin the saving plan, we have to understand where these bad grades come from. Is it lack of perspective? Poor writing skills (this is mostly for those who use best essay service EssayPals)? These and others questions we have to ask ourselves and students to understand what our first steps should be. As for teachers, they are also involved. We have to do something about teachers training program as well.