College, University & Trade School
UCCS has its finger on the pulse of Colorado Springs’ workforce and business needs, consistently creating new degree programs to prepare students for local employment.
In the last year alone, UCCS approved a new bachelor of science program in aerospace, graduated its first classes of bachelor and master of social work students and launched an executive doctorate of business administration program — the first of its kind in the University of Colorado system — all in the name of meeting community demand for people educated in these fields, said Interim Provost Dr. Kelli Klebe.
According to the university’s website, 65 percent of graduates remain in Colorado after finishing their college education. The goal is for many of them to start their careers in El Paso County, where there’s a significant shortage of social workers, for example, and an active and growing defense and aerospace industry seeking workers with cybersecurity training.
“Our history — that we’re started by Hewlett-Packard to meet those needs of the community — has continued,” Klebe said, referencing UCCS’ founding, which was sparked by the multinational corporation’s educational needs for employees.
“It’s always been that way,” she said.
uccs.edu | 719-255-8227
Silver: Pikes Peak COMMUNITY College
ppcc.edu | 719-502-2000
Bronze: Colorado College
coloradocollege.edu | 719-389-6000
The Colorado Springs School
At The Colorado Springs School, students of all ages get a unique experiential education that exposes them to real-world challenges and promotes personal growth.
Earlier this year, the school’s third to fifth graders went on an overnight trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park, and middle-schoolers camp and participate in on-campus community service, said Tambi Tyler, head of school.
Experiential learning gives students “intangible” skills that complement the school’s rigorous academics for all levels; CSS enrolls about 300 students in grades pre-K through 12, Tyler said.
“Our kids are learning about grit and perseverance and how to pivot when your campsite’s not accessible; how to work together and have teamwork and responsibility,” she said.
The school has also proudly bucked some major hurdles created the COVID pandemic.
In 2020, CSS was able to keep 85 percent of its school year in-person, because its large campus allowed social distancing, Tyler said. And it has maintained a 96 percent teacher retention rate, while others are struggling to retain educators. Tyler credits the school’s culture for
css.org | 719-475-9747
Silver: Colorado Springs Christian Schools
cscslions.org | 719-599-3553
Bronze: St. Mary’s High School
smhscs.org | 719-635-7540
Harrison School District 2
Harrison School District 2 in Southeast Colorado Springs prides itself on going beyond quality academics.
The district focuses on the “whole child experience,” connecting families to support services they need for their children to thrive in and outside of school — whether that’s rent assistance or food resources, said Superintendent Dr. Wendy Birhanzel.
This past school year, the district implemented free child care before and after school for students in kindergarten to fifth grade, recognizing during the COVID pandemic that working parents needed the extended hours, Birhanzel said. About 1,500 students received the additional care, which keeps them active and under the district’s watch from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., she said.
“Coming out of the pandemic, our families needed to have income potential, and your shifts aren’t usually around school time,” Birhanzel told the Business Journal. “We wanted to make sure our kids could stay safe and engaged, and it gives us more time to help put them in tutoring and then they get involved in clubs — that’s been huge.”
hsd2.org | 719-579-2000
Silver: Academy School District 20
asd20.org | 719-234-1200
Bronze: School District 49
d49.org | 719-495-1100