3:13 pm - Friday December 17, 3047

Innovative program to prepare students for college success


Colorado Springs, Colo. – The Colorado Springs School (CSS) is launching an innovative program in order to prepare students to gain entry to and succeed in college. The three-week summer program is called REACH.  This program is designed for students entering 8th grade. REACH will enroll 33 students from Atlas Preparatory School (D2) and Pikes Peak Prep. “CSS is reaching out so that students may reach higher,” states Kevin Reel, CSS Head of School.

“CSS is very good at getting students into college. 100% of our students are accepted to college, and more than 70% of CSS students get into their first-choice college. We know that colleges look for students who communicate well, can collaborate and work together, demonstrate strong critical-thinking skills, and display a strong work ethic,” said Reel.  “CSS provides students unparalleled experiences, and we want to expand our impact.”

REACH will further a participant’s awareness and preparedness for college by emphasizing 5C’s including, character, creativity, collaboration, critical-thinking, and communication.

“I have a lot of goals and interests, but here are the big ones,” shared Kaelyn on her REACH essay.  “I want to go to Duke University. I plan to get a doctorate and play soccer.”

REACH will go beyond simply covering traditional classroom lessons with students. Instead, REACH draws upon interdisciplinary experiences to deepen a student’s skills directly, a style of teaching that CSS has used successfully for its 50-year history. Using a theme of exploration and discovery, students will study the traits of explorers who reached beyond their comfort zone, practice writing and public speaking, work together on robotics and geo-caching challenges to build teamwork and critical-thinking skills. Additionally, these students will visit mentors in the community who will inspire them to explore and discover what their future might be like if they obtain a college education. The students from the two charter schools were selected by the administrations at Atlas Prep and Pikes Peak Prep.

“As my parents say, ‘you have to look at the big picture.’ I think and learn best by seeing and doing, instead of just listening,” wrote Dominick on his application for REACH. “I look forward to doing activities that are hands-on.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with a renowned independent school like CSS. Many of our scholars who will be participating in the REACH program will be the first in their family to graduate from college. REACH is an amazing partnership and opportunity for them to continue on the college path they are currently on at Atlas,” states Zach McComsey, Founder, Executive Director and Principal of Atlas Preparatory School.

REACH is modeled after successful summer programs at other independent schools in other cities, but it is the first of its kind in Southern Colorado.  The Colorado Springs School believes REACH is a strong example of a motto embraced by several independent schools — “private schools with a public purpose.”   REACH director, Anne Taylor, a teacher at CSS, attended such a program at The Lakeside School in Seattle, and after graduating from Stanford University, she worked in a similar program at the Head Royce School in Oakland. Her deeply personal experience positions her to shape and lead REACH.

In addition to Ms. Taylor’s teaching and leadership, the program will be further staffed by three other teachers. There will also be 7 high school interns from CSS and an aspiring teacher who will provide added mentorship to the rising 8th graders.  The REACH program is funded by local donors who want to see such a program in the Colorado Springs region. CSS intends to expand the program and eventually have it be open for qualified students from all across the region.

“REACH is positioned for success with several key components in place — a director who has benefited from and worked in similar programs, partner schools with college-bound visions for their students, a host school that succeeds in preparing students for college,  a national network of mentor schools, and visionary donors.” states Reel.

REACH will take place on the CSS campus June 11-29, 2012.

“This is yet another way that CSS is exercising its mission in a manner that strengthens the entire region and exercises leadership that shows responsibility for others,” states Reel.

Atlas Preparatory School is a charter school in Harrison District 2 that provides students in grades 5-8 with the academic preparation, character development, and ongoing support necessary to attend and graduate from a four-year college. Atlas Prep accomplishes this goal in a structured, safe, small school environment that embodies the core values of respect, excellence, authenticity, curiosity, and hard work. For more information, visit www.atlasprep.org.

Pikes Peak Prep is a charter school serving grades K-12. They are committed to ensure that all students show growth in character, academics, life skills, the arts, and wellness.  Pikes Peak Prep uses a competency-based approach to master material and challenges students in a manner that is tailored to their needs. For more information, visit www.pikespeakprep.org.

CSS offers an experiential educational curriculum for age 3 – grade 12 students. Through superior academics and mentoring, The Colorado Springs School prepares students to think independently and to meet the needs of a dynamic world with leadership, ingenuity, problem-solving skills, and personal integrity. CSS is accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools and is a proud member of the National Association of Independent Schools. For more information, visit www.css.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheColoradoSpringsSchool



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