Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette is the best high school in Colorado according to Newsweek's ranking system this year. No other Colorado high school made it in to the top 100 nationwide, but Peak to Peak came in at #29!
One might consider this old hat for the people from Peak to Peak who every year get ranked among the best in the nation by various measures. Believe me, they're very happy to get this recognition and accolades for their student's achievements! But the culture at Peak to Peak is different than the neighborhood high school.
At P2P the mantra is, "it's about getting a little bit smarter every day!" There is an intense focus on student academic achievement. Yes, the school offers extracurricular sports and clubs, but the real competition is in the classroom. In the classroom there is learning from bell to bell. The expectation is that teachers start their clas period with an activity that preps the students for the lesson that day. Students should be in their seats and ready to engage when the bell rings--or else they're late.
P2P has a culture of continuous improvement. This doesn't stop with the students' learning. This is also about the adults. P2P started a Center for Professional Development because their value for improving the adults in their school system is very high. Everyone should be improving!
The culture among the leaders at P2P is that new leaders are always in the making. In addition to growing up their own from within, the school raises up leaders to go to other schools and also works with other schools to raise up their own leaders. This is done through a combination of coaching and training. The clear message is: when you get better, your students will also get better.
P2P started in about 2000 with a handful of parents who wanted a better education for their own children. Even back then, state charter school leaders affectionately referred to the founding group at P2P as the "overachievers" because they were at every event, learning as much as they could and asking lots of good questions. P2P doesn't do things the easy way and they don't rest on their laurels. That's probably a key to their success! And well-deserved recognition for the hard work and dedication they put in to their student's academic achievement!