What To Look For In A Great School

the outside of a school building with roses in the foreground

The characteristics that embody a great school are the institutes that best prepare a student for life outside the classroom.  Educators of all genres can agree that a rigorous and well-rounded study is at the heart of any prestigious and academically successful school.  It is a challenge, however, to determine which institute is the best school for your child.  Parents must weigh the strength of a school’s academics, student graduation rate, extracurricular, and cultural opportunities.  To help with your search, here are ten characteristics to look for in a great school.

1.   Student Success

The only true definition of student success is how well a child is prepared to accomplish their academic and professional goals.  The Vanguard School consistently ranks among the top schools in Colorado and the nation, having earned recognition from both Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report.  From 2010 to 2018, the National Merit Scholarship Program has honored 52 students, and 14% of the Class of 2019 received recognition.  Students who leave The Vanguard School are among the nation’s most prepared to tackle their future studies and careers.

2.   Academics

Every year, graduates of The Vanguard School are accepted in the nation’s most prestigious Ivy League colleges as well as top four-year universities throughout the country.  Educators at The Vanguard School pride themselves on upholding classical education standards.  Classical education focuses students on acquiring vast amounts of knowledge to think critically and make informed decisions.  The Class of 2019 earned more than $8 million in scholarships, and over the past nine years, students have been awarded more than $39 million in college scholarships.

3.   Enrichment Classes: Fine Arts

From classical to modern eras, the fine arts are a source of student enlightenment and success.  The Vanguard School provides students with unique opportunities for immersion into their passions that will help find their creative sparks.  At the most recent Colorado Scholastic Competition, students from The Vanguard School competed against 6,500 high school and junior high student artists.  They left the competition with ten Gold Key Awards and one Honorable Mention.  In the past ten years, 29 students have been chosen for the All-State Choir.  The Vanguard Chamber Singers have performed at the Colorado Music Educators Association Conference, an enormous honor for the program.  Opportunities to challenge their minds and creative boundaries are plentiful for students involved in the fine arts at The Vanguard School.

4.   Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities help define well-rounded students, and The Vanguard School has no shortage of opportunities to get involved.  Students interested in furthering their leadership skills can explore Student Government, the National Honor Society, or several additional different service clubs.  Those with a desire to give back to their community can partake in service projects such as neighborhood clean-ups and food drives.  Latin Club, rocketry (TARC), Biology Club, Chess Club, robotics, coding, and countless others provide students with spaces where their hobbies can flourish.  Choir, band, visual arts, and dramatic arts invite students to flex their creative minds.

5.   Athletics

Volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, and more are available to students at The Vanguard School.  Between boys and girls sports, there are over ten athletic opportunities for students to participate in each season.  In 2018, the boys basketball team finished the season 21 to three, and the girls basketball team finished 14 to nine, both advanced to the 3A State Tournament.  In 2019, the boys club volleyball team won their fourth consecutive State Championship, boys basketball was 2nd in the state, and girls JH basketball had an undefeated season.

6.   Cultural Engagement Opportunities

Cultural engagement begins with lessons inside the classroom, but with the students far into their careers.  Through in-depth foreign language courses, like Latin and Spanish, to study abroad opportunities in countries such as Costa Rica, Peru, Italy, or Ireland, students are provided with a wealth of sources to enrich their sense of the world.

7.   Diversity

The Vanguard School is committed to fair and equal representation throughout the student and faculty bodies.  Students are encouraged to be involved in diversity-rich clubs and programs and to take a foreign language or study abroad.

8.   Accelerated Learning

Most schools do not have the bandwidth to offer an accelerated learning program; however, a great school recognizes there are countless kinds of students.  To ensure the success of each of these students, some may require a more rigorous course study than others.  The Vanguard School offers a variety of AP classes where students have the opportunity to earn college credit.

9.   Test Scores

In math and reading proficiency, over half of the students at The Vanguard School scored above average.  Additionally, students were rated 97.8% for overall college readiness.  Of the students who took advanced placement exams, 73% scored a three or higher, and the twelfth-grade class excelled with a 93% pass rate.  The Vanguard School routinely scores higher than the state average on all academic placement and progress exams.

10.   College Prep

Throughout their high school careers, students, their parents, and their teachers are thinking about students paths post-graduation.  The Vanguard School sees 99% of its senior class attend college.  The school’s college prep resources help students schedule placement tests, plan college campus tours, polish their college applications, and navigate the path toward making a college decision.

Our Recommendations:

Visit the School

Before applying to The Vanguard School, students and parents are invited to be fully informed about the school’s offerings and accreditations.  Parents can attend Information Nights, schedule a group tour, or meet with educators one-on-one.  Students have the unique opportunity to shadow current students at The Vanguard School for a day-in-the-life experience.

  • In-Person Interview

Parents and students can arrange to meet with educators to conceptualize what the student’s individual experience might look like and learn how the school’s academics and extracurricular studies can be used to best suit the individual.

  • Informational Parents Night

In January and February, parents are invited to attend a High School and/or Junior High Information Night where all their questions about their student’s enrollment in The Vanguard School will be answered.  For more information, see here.

  • Student Shadow Day

Student Shadow Day gives students the chance to see what a day at The Vanguard School looks like and imagine how their academic career might begin or continue within the school’s halls.

The Vanguard School: Our Mission

The mission of The Vanguard School is to help guide students in the development of their character and academic potential through academically rigorous, content-rich educational programs.

The Vanguard School: Our Vision

Vanguard students develop lifelong habits of excellence in virtue and intellect, allowing them to prosper as classically-educated individuals advancing a free society.  Our enduring nationally acclaimed program prepares graduates for advanced education, meaningful contributions to society, and a life of purpose.

Why Parents Choose The Vanguard School

With an emphasis on classical education, students begin acquiring knowledge from their elementary years that will be built upon in the logic and rhetoric stages of their classical education.

By graduation, students have developed habits and skills that will help them prosper in their future educational and professional careers.  An emphasis is placed on virtue, academics, leadership, and civics that will help students pursue their life’s purpose.  Here students unleash and bolster their potential, becoming the best versions of themselves.

Learn More About The Vanguard School

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