About Us

Why Boulder Prep?

In 1997 the founders of Boulder Preparatory High School saw an opportunity to create a charter high school that would use research-based, alternative strategies to create an innovative college preparatory program. The school would engage youth who were frustrated and disillusioned with the traditional high school environment. Over twenty years later, Boulder Prep still sees disenfranchised youth who have, for a variety of reasons, not made a meaningful connection with their school and/or their education. Here, we offer up the opportunity to find a way of learning that works for all. We put forward our best efforts to engage as many students as possible so that they can be successful, functioning adults in both higher education and the work force. We encourage and support students to value the pursuit of education as a way to improve their own lives.

Our Mission

Boulder Preparatory High School is a Free-No-Fee College Preparatory Community that encourages the pursuit of knowledge and education as an intervention for youth, particularly those who may be "off-track." We strive to graduate young people ready and eager to meet the challenges of college and adulthood with an appreciation of their responsibilities to themselves and to the global community. Upon leaving us, they will be as college (or workforce) ready as possible, with a variety of hands-on opportunities provided along their educational journey.

Our Vision

The vision of Boulder Preparatory High School is to have a diverse and varied educational community, full of students who celebrate their individualism while participating in the school community in a meaningful and impactful way. We teach in an environmentally efficient facility that provides resources for experiential learning. We will continue to serve between 100-150 students and provide a comprehensive college preparatory program on a Free-No-Fee basis. Our goal is to continue offering exemplary programs such as core classes, life skills, ACT, stories and service learning, and further develop our newer initiatives such as STEM education, academic intensives, after-school activities, and early college credit opportunities. Our faculty will receive competitive compensation and ongoing professional development in exchange for achieving excellence in fulfilling their classroom and community responsibilities. The administration will continue to promote the strengths of the staff using a collaborative decision-making process that holds all members accountable.

What Makes Us Unique

    An environment that fosters leadership and academic excellence
    An innovative college preparatory program
    A school that requires college acceptance for graduation
    A small community with an enrollment of less than 150 students
    A student-to-staff ratio of less than 10:1 and a 17:1 student-to-teacher ratio
    A year-round block schedule with four 8-week blocks and a 6-week summer block
    A daily schedule with three 90-minute classes provides stronger focus in greater depth
    An alternative daily schedule with intensive-style classes, where kids take only one class at a time for even stronger focus and greater depth
    An accelerated program allows some students the opportunity to graduate in 2-3 years
    A Life Skills Program that complements the academics
    An accredited program that uses ACT, NEED INFO?
    A curriculum based on Boulder Valley School District and State of Colorado standards
    An individualized curriculum and personalized interventions
    A program funded by Boulder Valley School District, grants, private and corporate donors

A Brief History

Boulder Prep was founded by five juvenile justice professionals as a way to help the large percentage of youth entering the juvenile justice system who did not have viable educational plans. Many students had been suspended, expelled, or had dropped out of school. In 1996 Boulder Prep started serving 12 students in the Probation conference room at the Boulder County Justice Center. The school was granted a charter by the Boulder Valley School District in 1997 and grew to 25 students. Enrollment increased by about 20% each year, and the school finally moved into a permanent facility in north Boulder. The school was created to primarily serve expelled, suspended, and adjudicated youth, but our target population has become broader to include any student looking for a smaller, more personalized college preparatory setting. We would like to thank and recognize Andre Adeli, Greg Brown, Tijani Cole, Roxanne Nice and Anne Williams for their contributions in creating Boulder Prep and being pioneers in alternative education.

Challenging the Misconceptions: A Second Chance School with a First Class Education

Boulder Prep is where all the 'bad' kids go.

Yes, Boulder Prep's inception is rooted in youth entering the juvenile justice system, and we still believe in giving every student as many chances as we can to have them succeed in their educational journey. We' ve had many super-seniors walk through our door, thinking they will never reach graduation, and every year we have inspiring success stories. However, we also have students who love school, love learning, and love being challenged in new and creative ways. These kids come to Boulder Prep and discover they have dedicated, passionate staff who are excited to give these kids the challenging hands-on experience they may not get in a regular academic setting from filming their own documentary to building warrior robots to compete against one another.

Boulder Prep is all about college prep, and I'm not planning on college.

Yes, Boulder Prep requires college-acceptance for our graduation. We believe that education is full of limitless possibilities, and it is our goal to show students the varied and different paths they can take to further enrich their lives and education. Each student must apply and be accepted to either a university, community college, two-year program, or trade school. Each student must also take financial aid steps so they are as prepared as possible for the economics of education beyond high school. Furthermore, students who never thought college was within reach find the confidence and capability when nurtured in the right environment. Every year, we have formerly non-college bound students seriously looking at their options for higher education and taking steps to make this plan a reality. We're aware of the changing environment and challenges when students have to decided to take on the responsibility of higher education as opposed to going into the workforce. It is our goal to set them up for all possibilities and help them navigate their future choices. So while they may not choose to go to college right away, the option is available. More importantly, we strive to give them opportunities that will help them discover whatever path they may want to take on upon leaving high school, academic or otherwise.


At the end of the day, Boulder Prep is about people. Every year, we nurture our diverse community and respond to each student's individual needs to the best of our ability. With a student body of about 100 kids, we know everyone by name and like it that way. With small class sizes and a reasonable student-to-teacher ratio, we can offer carefully-crafted courses that help students overcome previous struggles around their least favorite subjects, while also offering college-level courses through CU Succeed so they can get college credit for free! Whatever shape our community takes from year to year, we find that students from all walks of life, outliers and average kids alike, can find their path with us.