I was searching for my school choice blog post the other day and with website re-vamping, it's disappeared, so this important topic deserves my attention again... And yours!
So the title is a bit of a set-up, because well, we can't tell you which schools are "the best". It's against NAR ethics regarding steering and it's just not in your best interest for us to choose what your child needs. It takes time and effort, but part of your house hunting job if it's an important factor for you, is to find which schools are the best for your kid(s). The truth is, test scores and location can provide you with a lot of feedback, but school visits and "choice" meetings will help you best understand the school and if it will fit your child.
First, What is Choice?: Colorado Springs and the greater surrounding Pikes Peak areas participate in school of choice options. You can obviously go to your neighborhood school, within which every house in Colorado Springs has boundaries and designated schools. You can opt or choice into a school that isn't your neighborhood school... Or even into another district if it seems appropriate.
How do I "choice" into another school or district?: Every district is a little bit different. I will try to provide a list of the individual school districts in the Pikes Peak region which we service below. Most provide the opportunity with a choice window in January to register your child(ren) with the desired school and district. Many charter schools in the area provide a "wait list" option, which many put their kids on shortly after birth, in case it ends up being the best choice for their child(ren)when the time comes.
A couple Stories:
1) When I was in high school (yes, many, many moons ago), my older sister and I had great success in our high school. Our younger sister, however, was not seeing the same success. I think the same teachers we had even gave her the benefit of the doubt, but a combination of family and friend choices weren't giving her a successful result. So our mom's moved to Denver and a school adjustment was just what was needed.
2) I've heard of parents opting students out of "the best" school district for special needs or accelerated programs and "less desirable" districts, because it was what their student needed. Sometimes sports even play a factor.
3) Our personal story includes putting our boys on the wait list for a charter school shortly after birth. They were hundreds down the list, but we left them on anyway. We then visited a couple other schools as our oldest approached kindergarten and felt led to his school. We went to choice meetings / open house house nights at several and some things didn't' make sense for our family at the charter option. Many of our friends go to that school and it did feel like the right choice for all of them.
All of this said, we feel strongly that the parents and kids need to make school decisions based on their needs, plans, goals, etc. There are way too many factors for us to decide for you! Here are a list of school districts in the area and their websites to hopefully help you on your path:
Lewis Palmer District 38 (Monument/Palmer Lake area) http://www.lewispalmer.org
Academy School District 20 (north Colorado Springs) asd20.org
Falcon School District 49 (east, northeast Colorado Springs) http://d49.org
Colorado Springs District 11 (Colorado Springs city and surrounding area) d11.org
Manitou District 14 (west of Colorado Springs, Manitou)
Harrison District 2 (south Colorado Springs) http://www.hsd2.org/pages/HSD2
Widefield District 3 (south of Colorado Springs) http://www.wsd3.org
Fountain-Fort Carson District 8 (south of Colorado Springs & on Ft. Carson) ffc8.org
Woodland Park District RE-2 (west, up Ute Pass) http://www.wpsdk12.org
Peyton School District (east of Colorado Springs/Falcon) http://www.peyton.k12.co.us
Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 http://www.cmsd.k12.co.us/