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Story of Horizons

In the Fall of ’91…

Horizons K-8 School opened the doors of two portable facilities as a two-year BVSD pilot program on the Paddock campus and served as home to 92 K-6th grade students in the fall of 1991. The school was founded upon careful study and community discussion and reflected the efforts of numerous teachers, parents, and community members. The new program was a thoughtful response to the conclusions and recommendations of district and state professionals, educational researchers, experienced alternative school participants, and schools engaged in current restructuring efforts. It addressed the challenge of meeting the educational needs of all children while preparing them to become caring, confident, and competent participants in the 21st century. Horizons was established by the school district to amplify the strengths of teachers and the participation of the community, and to provide an innovative new model of teaching and learning in Boulder Valley. The founders envisioned a school program in which parents, staff, and students chose to participate, which valued diverse populations of students, and was committed to ensuring educational success. The student body has grown from 92 to 363 students since the founding of the school.


In the fall of 1994, Horizons expanded to include middle ­school students through grade 8.


The school relocated to the Burke Campus in the fall of 1995.


In May 1996, the Horizons community was asked by the Boulder Valley School Board to put forth a proposal to become a charter school within the Boulder Valley School District. Specifically, Horizons’ reasons for seeking charter status were:

  1. To ensure that small homeroom class sizes of 18-­21 students in grades K-8 could be maintained, thus protecting class sizes from fluctuations in the district’s staffing allocation ratios.
  2. To maintain a stable and qualified teaching staff.
  3. To continue to design curriculum and assessments which support the highest level of student achievement, while maintaining focus on the priorities and needs of our students, parents, and teachers.
  4. To create a weekly and yearly calendar that allowed for substantive K-8 faculty meetings and hour-long goal-setting conferences twice a year.


Horizons was granted approval of its charter school proposal and began operation under a Boulder Valley School District charter school contract on July 1, 1997.


The charter was renewed in December 2009 for ten years.


In 2012, Horizons K-­8 underwent a significant remodeling and addition due to being awarded a BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) Grant from the State of Colorado.


In 2013, Horizons K­-8 was established as a 501(c)(3) and initiated the Horizons Council Board to support the overall financial and governance operations of the school. Throughout its story, at its core, Horizons has been and remains a faculty-led school where professional educators have the autonomy to take the lead in making key decisions regarding curriculum and instruction. In addition to this through line, Horizons K­-8 has maintained and values and ensures true and lasting parent involvement.