Rocky mountain prep News


Congratulations on completing week one of remote learning!

August 28, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Thank you, RMP families, for all you have done to make the first week of school so successful!

Be sure to watch the short video below from RMP Southwest Principal Sara Striegel and Assistant Principal Samatha Szabo for some pro tips on how you can continue to set your scholars up for success as we continue remote learning. 

We are here for you! As we all adjust to remote learning this fall, please be sure to connect with your scholar’s teacher with any technology problems or view our tech support videos here.




RMP at Home: How we’re bringing rigor & love to remote learning

August 06, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

With the announcement of a fully-remote first quarter of the school year, we know many families are reflecting on the past spring -- and what worked and what didn’t about having your child “in school” at home. We know from family feedback that students were really missing structured time with their peers and that they wanted more time learning directly with the teacher.

This summer, our team has been working tirelessly to plan for this next phase of remote learning, which we are calling “RMP at Home.” 

We’re proud of the work we’ve done to prepare for RMP at Home this fall and wanted to share with families some of what will be the same as this spring -- and also highlight what will be different.

RMP at Home: What’s staying the same

Exceptional educators

Families returning to RMP already know many of the incredible teachers on our team -- and all of our virtual classrooms will be led by RMP’s own team of exceptional educators who will deeply connect with scholars and support personalized growth.

Social-emotional development

Our scholars need extra love right now and we are prioritizing social-emotional learning alongside and through our academic program. For those familiar with our Compass Circles program from last year, we will continue to implement that program with students in grades 3-5. For younger scholars, they will build social-emotional skills through our morning meetings. 

Rigor and Love

We pride ourselves on balancing a rigorous academic program with an environment of love, inclusivity, and respect in order to create the transformational learning experience that sets RMP apart.

RMP at Home: What’s new

More real-time instruction

Students will have at least 3 hours of live learning each day -- meaning more time interacting with their teachers and fellow students. Students will be grouped into either a morning schedule or an afternoon schedule. (See those sample schedules here.)

A new English Language Arts curriculum

This school year we will be implementing a new comprehensive English Language Arts curriculum: EL Education K-5 Language Arts. We are incredibly excited about how this curriculum will support scholars’ learning through content-based literacy modules. Students will build content knowledge and vocabulary about a topic through a variety of engaging and culturally relevant texts, project-based learning, increased support for our scholars learning English, and more. 


A special project-based learning activity each week

Teachers will create a project-based learning opportunity rooted in the interests and passions of our students to work on independently throughout the week.


More comprehensive programming including specials such as art, music, and dance

In addition to their ABCs and 123s, students need an opportunity to participate in specials and learn a variety of subjects. RMP at Home will include time with our incredible group of specials teachers.


Fewer platforms

Our family-centered approach for the fall means that students will conduct all of their learning starting from one central website and use a limited number of learning platforms throughout the day. We believe that having stronger platforms that are accessible to all types of learners will streamline and strengthen student learning.  


Family feedback

We will be asking for biweekly feedback through possip!, a 3-minute text survey shared with families. We will respond to this feedback by sharing praise, sharing reflections on how we can improve, and following up with families with individual concerns.


Want to know more? Join us for an upcoming coffee hour or town hall! Check your school’s calendar for upcoming coffee hours with the principal, or join us for our next network-wide town hall on August 20 at 1:00pm.

Looking for tech support? Check out a variety of videos on our site here. 



RMP at Home: Important Next Steps for Families

August 04, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

You've completed the Rocky Mountain Prep registration process for the 2020-21 school year... What's next?

Check out the graphic below for some important upcoming dates!

Then be sure to read your school's weekly newsletter each Friday (distributed via text message and our mobile app!) and check back on our Facebook page for forthcoming details.



An Update from RMP Founder & CEO James Cryan

June 11, 2020   |   By James Cryan

June 11, 2020

Dear RMP Family and Supporters,

As we bring the school year to a close, I am writing to share with you that I have decided that the next school year (2020-2021) will be my last leading Rocky Mountain Prep.

This was an emotional decision for me and one that I did not make lightly. My wife Liz and I have decided we want to move back to the east coast where our family lives. As we approach a summer where we likely can’t visit loved ones and prepare to welcome our second child in October, the importance of being closer to family is clear to us.

I am making this announcement as early as possible to allow for a strong and smooth leadership transition for our organization. I am committed to leading RMP next year through these unchartered waters of the pandemic as we prepare for how school will operate differently next year. This September, our Board of Directors will launch a comprehensive search to identify the next leader for RMP that will include significant opportunities for community input. For more information please read a letter from our Board Chair here. In the meantime, I will continue to lead RMP until summer 2021. 

As I plan my transition, I have been reflecting on RMP’s first decade and the principles that have inspired our work during this time. Central to our values is the belief that every child, regardless of race and background, deserves a loving and rigorous public education that allows them to understand and reach their full potential. In a time when we are reflecting with both anguish and action on the systemic racism in our society, our values and vision are crucially important.  Looking toward the coming school year, I feel even more urgency to provide rigorous educational opportunities to our students while also turning my lens inward to ensure I as a leader - and we as an organization - are doing everything possible to fight for equity.   

I am very confident about the future of Rocky Mountain Prep. We have an incredibly capable and strong leadership team, support team and board of directors.  Each school is led by a dynamic and committed principal. Finally, we have an exceptionally talented and loving team of educators who are dedicated to nurturing young minds and growing as professionals.

If you have questions, please reach out to me directly. Thank you for everything you do for our students and our community. 

With love,



Some Questions and Answers that may be on our Families’ Minds


What does the CEO of a charter school network do again?

Much of the work of a CEO of a network of schools is to a) set a vision for the organization b) set annual priorities c) work with our board who directs us and holds us accountable d) create the conditions for our leaders to thrive e) ask for, pay attention to, and respond to feedback and data that tells us where to celebrate and where to improve f) be the face of the organization and lead through example and community relationships and g) help raise the philanthropic money we need to be successful.


What opportunities will exist to help select the new leader? 

There will be many opportunities for you to be involved in our selection process of the next CEO of RMP. These will start in July and we will launch a national search in September. We will want to hear your input on things including what’s most important to you in a new leader and what you hope we’ll most consider in the search process.


Should I be worried?

No! Although change is hard for all of us, the CEO is one member of a large team of amazing leaders in our organization and school. Your scholar and your family will continue to be cared for, known, and heard and we are excited about the opportunities this transition can bring!


How will my child’s education change as a result?

You shouldn’t expect to feel any shifts as a result of this change. With new leadership comes a new opportunity for us to make decisions that move us toward the education that we all want for all children- an education that allows each scholar to reach their full potential. Put another way, you shouldn’t anticipate any big changes, we will be thoughtful in any changes that occur, and we will continue to engage you as partners in these decisions.


Will this impact Fall reopening? 

No. My number one priority is a successful launch to hybrid school this fall. Our plan to offer a hybrid between classroom-based and remote learning is the same. More information is coming in July! Stay tuned!


RMP Closed Tuesday, June 2 in Solidarity, Rest, & Reflection

June 01, 2020   |   By James Cryan

RMP Family,

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2, Rocky Mountain Preparatory Schools will be closed for the sake of our team and community. 

Like many of you, I have spent the past week reading, watching horrific cell phone videos, grieving, and reflecting with loved ones. The events of the past few months and weeks have made it starkly apparent how systemic racism and inequities continue to impact and cut short the lives of Black and Brown people in our country. And all the great work in our schools and classrooms isn’t enough. 

To my Black and Brown colleagues, scholars, and families, I can’t know what it is like to be in your shoes right now. I can’t imagine the pain, fear, suffering, and exhaustion. I will stand with our community to denounce the murder of innocent black men at the hands of police and to condemn the systemic inequities that lead to black and brown people being treated as lesser than white people. I can interrogate my own privilege and continue to strive for communities built on belonging, safety, and love. I charge my white colleagues to do this as well. 

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor’s killings, coming in the wake of so many, are tragic moments but represent an eternity of injustice, suffering, fear, exploitation, and brutality of black and brown people in our country, since before its founding. 

In 2020 it should be obvious that Black Lives Matter. It should be obvious that police brutality and killing is wrong. It should be obvious that all children deserve to grow up in loving communities where their safety, dignity, value, and humanity is seen and welcomed.

I recognize that words can be powerful. But often, not enough. In that spirit, we wanted to take public action to stand with our community and also recognize the deep exhaustion, grief, anger, and fear. 

Tomorrow, our schools and workplace will be closed for a day of reflection, mental health, and rest for our community, especially for our Black and Brown community members. I want to listen and process with our community. Please take time for yourself and your family as we all try to process, and don’t hesitate to be in touch if there is anything RMP can do to support you.



4 Teacher Tricks To Make Remote Learning A Breeze

May 27, 2020   |   By Laura Haller

With two weeks left in the school year, we know many students and families are wanting to finish the year strong and are looking for ways to reinforce those last days of learning before summer break!

We turned to Laura Haller, a teacher at RMP Southwest, to get the tricks of the trade for helping your student’s success with remote learning as we wrap up this school year.

1. Set Clear Expectations

As teachers, one of the most important lessons you can learn is that if something’s not going well in the classroom, you’ve been unclear and you need to set better expectations. The quicker you learn that you’re responsible for every small part of your classroom environment, the stronger a teacher you become!

Setting clear expectations has a couple of important components:

  • Setting/Structure: How or where do you want students to complete their work? What materials do they need to complete the activity?
  • Participation: Do they need to be turning pages on their book, clicking the correct answer, or writing their response to reading? Is it independent or are they working with a sibling or parent to complete?

As parents, you already do this all the time! But here are a few examples of ways you can embody this as your student’s teacher at home:

Example Clear Expectations
It’s almost lunchtime and your scholar is losing steam. Their attention is scattered and they’re starting to whine about finishing their math pages.

Show Empathy & Praise: “I’m sorry you’re feeling tired and hungry. I am too! But you’ve already worked so hard and are halfway through the page! You’ve got this!” 

Set Expectations: “Focus your attention to finish the last three problems, then we can eat lunch together and take an hour recess outside.”

Why is it powerful?

  • You’re clearly telling your student exactly what work is expected. 
  • You’re clear that the work needs to be completed before lunch. 
  • You’re giving them something to look forward to!
After lunch, your scholar sits down to watch some Netflix. You’ve already warned them that they need to start their independent reading but they’re not listening... and you’ve got to clean up lunch and put a load of laundry in!  
Set a timer for 5 minutes. 
Set Expectations: “[Scholar Name], you have 5 minutes to finish watching your show. When the timer goes off, turn the TV off, find a book, and start reading by yourself. When I’m done putting the laundry in I’ll join you and we can read together.” 
Hold them to the Expectations:
If they follow your directions → “[Scholar Name], nice job! I’m so proud of how independent you are. Great job listening the first time!”
If they continue to watch TV → “[Scholar Name], the direction was to turn off the TV and begin independent reading. You did not follow the direction and now [consequence*].”
*Provide a natural consequence for not following instructions right away -- a student needs to read 5 more minutes independently before they can read with you, a student needs to complete a chore before they can take a break, etc. Give a consequence that fits for your family and your parenting style. 
Why is it powerful?
  • You’re giving your scholar time before a transition to another activity.

  • You’re clear what the student needs to do to be successful. 

  • You’re setting a routine and sticking to it.

Stacy G., a parent of four scholars at RMP Southwest, made a checklist for what her scholars need to complete each day.  She also added notes about what their teacher asked them to work on that week. Stacy’s advice is to keep trying routines until you find one that works for your family.



2. Create a Routine

Set a schedule and stick to it the best that you can. The schedule doesn’t have to be intense or minute by minute, but it does need to be predictable.

As teachers, we spend the first few weeks setting routines for everything - how to move from the carpet to your desk, how to get your materials out, how to ask for a drink of water, how to take a break, how to walk in the hallway. We get super clear about the details of each routine. 

It can be as simple as FIRST, THEN or WORK, then PLAY. First, we’re going to complete these 10 math problems, then we can play Connect 4. Now it’s time to read for 20 minutes, then we can go for a walk. Next, you’ll read the passage and answer the questions, then you can get on your tablet for 20 minutes. 

Or it can be chunked into parts of the day! In the morning we complete our reading tasks. After lunch and a long recess, we complete our math tasks. 

You can set an hourly schedule that works for your family to add additional structure. 

No matter what your schedule works best for your family make sure you’re always finding time to play, be creative, and spend time outside! This is vital to your scholar’s physical and mental well being. Plus, it will help break up the day and give them the break times that they need.

Olga O., a parent of two scholars at RMP Southwest, made a schedule for her scholars with each content area on construction paper.

Extra Tip: Use a timer! Timers are helpful for setting clear expectations but also help the scholar know what they’re working for (and that it won’t last forever). It’s also a great way to make a game out of a task “I bet you can’t finish these three problems in three minutes.”


3. Use Incentives

At school we weave incentives throughout the day. Students earn class parties, shoutouts, opportunities to share, class jobs, and naturalized breaks. Integrating incentives at home will be powerful as well. 

Incentives don’t always have to be tangible, but they can be. Here are some ways to incentive your student at home for completing their work:

Tangible Non-Tangible
  • Playtime with their favorite toy
  • Special Snack
  • Stickers
  • Sweet Treat
  • 20 extra minutes screen time
  • Drawing time
  • Choose your seat for the next activity (on the floor, on the couch, etc)
  • Do a science experiment
  • Popcorn Party (or any kind of party)
  • Drink of your choice
  • Time playing a game with a person of their choice
  • Verbal Praise
  • A walk
  • Pick a movie
  • Choose what’s for dinner
  • Extra 15 minutes before bedtime
  • Extra story at bedtime
  • No chore of your choice
  • Choose a song to listen to
  • Extra time outside
  • 10-minute break pass to use at their choosing
  • Send a text of great work to your teacher
  • Write with a special pen
  • Call a family member or friend to brag about your wonderful work


4. Give Grace

Most importantly, give yourself and your scholars grace during this process. 

It’s rare that a teacher goes home and says “that was an amazing day and everything went perfectly!” 

Teachers often go home with a list of things they’ll do to improve the next day. And if they crumbled after every tough day, they wouldn’t make it. 

Remote learning is no different! Everyone is learning and adjusting.

It’s okay if you get off schedule. It’s okay if you have to spend time working through your scholar’s emotional needs instead of finishing that page of math problems. It’s okay to let kids be independent and take a minute to take a quick adult break to catch your breath. Have high expectations for yourself and your scholars, but be present and do what’s best for you and your family. 


Welcome to RMP!

May 17, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Welcome, new families, to RMP for the 2020-21 school year!

We are excited to share the actions you can take as a family to prepare for a strong start to next school year!  These actions are due back to us by May 22 or two days after getting your welcome message.

Please take a few minutes to review this important information about next school year and complete a survey to let us know that you are accepting your spot. 


Step 1: Watch a video






Step 2: Complete the new family orientation survey

Take 3 minutes to complete the New Family Orientation Survey so we know that you are accepting your spot and how we can better help your family start the year strong


At-home lessons: Free Facebook Live Videos for PreK - 5th-grade students

April 17, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Looking for a free and fun online lesson to share with your student(s) during school closures? Click the videos below to view previously-recorded Facebook Live lessons from members of the Rocky Mountain Prep team!

Be sure to visit the remote learning section of our website which includes a variety of online learning resources, including sample schedules, links to online learning platforms, and tech support resources.












Like us on Facebook to tune into future Facebook events live and for more updates from the Rocky Mountain Prep team!



Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for RMP Families

March 10, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Last updated June 4, 2020

As of Friday, April 3, all DPS and APS schools have suspended in-person learning through the end of the school year.

This means that all Rocky Mountain Prep buildings will be closed until the start of the 2020-21 school year. While we will be unable to resume in-person classes, we will continue remote learning through the end of this academic year. 

Be sure to check out the remote learning section on our website with sample schedules, links to online learning platforms, and tech support resources.

If you can’t find the answer to a question on our website, please talk with your child(ren)’s teacher so they can help you find the best person to answer.


Through Revolution Foods, RMP will be offering free meals to ALL children in the community, ages 1-18, through the summer. Families can pick up three meals at a time (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) at RMP Berkeley, RMP Southwest, and RMP Fletcher.

We will have food available for pick up on weekdays from 11:00 am - 12:00 pmRMP Creekside families are encouraged to pick up food at nearby Place Bridge Academy. (See information below on Denver Public Schools pickup sites.)

Denver Public Schools will offer free meals on weekdays to all Denver students at locations throughout the city, using a grab-and-go style system. Details are available on the DPS website. 

Aurora Public Schools will also be distributing free breakfast and lunch to ALL children 18 and under. These meals will be provided on weekdays at 15 locations. Both meals, which include vegetarian options, will be available together for pickup through a grab-and-go system. More information on those meals is available here, and a map of sites is available here.

Chalkbeat Colorado has also created a Google Map of all the locations in the metro area that are giving out food while the schools are closed.


If you are looking for additional resources (internet access, childcare, etc.) during this extended break, please view our family resource document here.

Please note: RMP has not screened any of these resources or organizations fully. This list is intended as a starting point of potentially helpful resources depending on an individual’s needs. This is also a living document - we will be actively updating the document as we identify different resources for families.


The CDC and CDPHE will continue to be the best sources for the most up-to-date information on COIVD-19. DPS also has a number of frequently asked questions with answers available on their websiteWe strongly encourage everyone to continue to act on prevention steps that health officials strongly urge us all to take to prevent the spread of this virus:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

We recognize that this may be a stressful time for children and their families. Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties. A resource for parents and families is available here as you think about how to plan for your family and talk with your child(ren) about this disease.

Our diversity as a community and warm, loving environment are two of our greatest strengths. Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of race or ethnicity, so please do not allow this issue to give rise to discrimination based on fear, perception, and stereotypes. Thank you for everything you do to ensure the health of your child(ren), families, our staff, and our overall community. 


Building Connection: Our 2019 Annual Report

February 14, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

This year’s annual report focuses on a few of the many incredible connections happening in the RMP community -- connections we believe help make our schools the special places they are.

In addition to meeting students, teachers, and families from our schools, you’ll learn a bit about our new Compass Circle Program, created by Valor Collegiate Academies, which RMP is implementing this year to further support our culture of love and whole-child development.

We’re eager for you to “meet” these amazing members of our community - click through below or download our 2019 Annual Report here.



Student-Led Tours Help Families During DPS SchoolChoice

January 28, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

All Denver Public Schools follow the same choice process with applications closing February 18. As a result, families across Denver are currently touring schools and choosing which school is best for their scholar for next year.  

And at RMP Creekside, prospective families will hear about our school from those who know it best: our students!

“This is a great way for families to hear first-hand from our kiddos,” Daniella Gutierrez, Creekside’s Senior Manager of Operations & Family Liaison, shared. “The kids really lead the tours how they want to do it, share what they want to share, and then give each other feedback after the tours to share ideas for how they can all improve.”

We spoke with Akleema and Malyah, two fifth-grade students who lead tours for families.

Akleema and Malyah, RMP Creekside Fifth-Grade Students


“I’m excited to share how this school helps scholars grow with their minds and hearts,” Malyah told us. “They learn how to do all the things they are supposed to and at the same time, learn how to be kind with others.”

Akleema added, “The parents could know [by touring] that our school is a good fit for their scholar to teach them what they are supposed to know so they are on track. This is a good school because they give you so many opportunities and really help you with what you need.”

When it comes to preparing to lead the tours, they both were nervous at first. “In the beginning, it was scary because I was shy and didn’t know anybody and was scared to talk in front of people. Now I have a lot of information about the school and I feel more confident,” Akleema shared.

It’s clear they are the experts in all information about the campus and have answers to the variety of questions that come up on family tours. 

“I like leading tours because I like showing the parents how the school works - Pre-K all the way to fifth grade,” Maylah said. “Student safety is always important - we have cameras and alarms, and even if students have any allergies, we have things for that too. Their student is always safe here.”

What’s most important for families to know about Creekside? Akleema told us, “Your child will be safe and learn a lot here. You don’t need to worry about anything because teachers will be here to help them out - and scholars would have lots of friends here!”


Ready to learn more? Register for an upcoming tour here, or explore enrollment information here.


Five Celebrations in Honor of RMP Fletcher’s Five-year Renewal!

January 22, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

A great big high FIVE to the fabulous Rocky Mountain Prep Fletcher community, as they celebrate the Aurora Public Schools (APS) Board of Education’s decision to extend their charter for five more years! In honor of this incredible achievement, we wanted to share five things that make RMP Fletcher a wonderful school.


1. Incredible academics

RMP Fletcher’s first class of third graders took the CMAS exams in the 2018-19 school year, and we are extremely proud to share that RMP Fletcher students had the highest math proficiency of all charter schools and the third-highest of all schools in APS!

While we know there is still lots of work to be done, the growth we’ve seen is one of the clearest examples of the positive impact of our educational program.


2. Amazing teachers & top-notch professional development

How did we achieve such academic growth? By hiring top talent and providing abundant opportunities for professional development! Each one of our educators is an ingenious, unique, loving individual and through consistent and targeted learning opportunities, we seek to help them become master teachers. In fact, in the last two school years, six RMP Fletcher fellows have moved into lead teacher roles, continuing their impact in new ways while maintaining their relationships with students and families.


3. Community engagement

Consistent and meaningful community engagement has been at the forefront of RMP Fletcher’s growth strategy from the beginning. When RMP first took over the Fletcher campus, we served 48 prekindergarten students and there were approximately 360 students in the building. Since then, our full pre-k through fifth-grade program serves more than 550 students -  almost 200 more students and families excited about the rigorous and loving education available at RMP. This growth would not have been possible without the incredible RMP Fletcher and our broader community. 


4. APS district support

Since RMP Fletcher’s beginning, the Aurora Public Schools district has been a source of encouragement and support as we strive to be the best we can be for our students. We are grateful to have such a hard-working group of individuals on our team to help us give our students the high-quality, loving education they deserve. 

Read more about our partnership with the Fletcher community and APS via A+ Colorado. 


5. Our amazing students

Across our network, each one of our students makes up a special and irreplaceable part of RMP. We are humbled by the incredible hard work and modeling of PEAK Values every single one of our RMP Fletcher students does each day. 

As one third-grade student shared when their teacher asked her class to think about how they could improve how they live their PEAK values: “You know what… I think I’m crushing it.” 

We think all our Fletcher scholars and educators are crushing it, too!


RMP’s 2020 Staff Satisfaction Plan: Continuing to Grow Our Culture of Love

January 09, 2020   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

To celebrate the new decade, we have compiled a list of our top ten staff culture resolutions! As we grow and change each year, our excellent educators and admin staff are a constant source of strength and love - these are just a few ways we like to say thank you.

1. Culture of love is front and center

Every RMP staff member will feel safe and welcome in any Rocky Mountain Prep building.

2. Ample support for new teachers

No new teacher left un-supported!

3. Full rollout of Compass Circles for students and staff

Read more about our new social-emotional learning curriculum here!

4. Leadership pathways

Our new Principal-in-Residence program is helping Assistant Principals of Instruction develop leadership skills in-house to one day become exceptional principals! All four of our current principals started with RMP as teachers.

5. Abundant and targeted professional development

Half days every Friday, full learning days throughout the year - you could say we value professional development. And you would be right!

6. Hiring transparency

Come in for an interview, get some teaching tips, see a class (or two), leave knowing exactly what a day-in-the-life of an RMP teacher looks like!

7. Supporting our teaching fellows

… so they can become master teachers!

8. Staff get-togethers

Hey, just because we work together all day, doesn’t mean we don’t want to see each other after school too!

9. Focus on wellness

A healthy teacher is an exceptional teacher. On day one, our teachers get a $500 wellness benefit to use on the experience(s) of their choice.

10. Keep having an awesome team

With our top talent, this one shouldn’t be too difficult 😊


Happy 2020, RMP!

Share our Join Our Team page with an educator looking for a new community!


RMP Adopts The Compass Circles Curriculum To Further Whole-Child Development

December 20, 2019   |   By Sarah Lynch, Chief People Officer

“Everything we do is so important, but there are some moments when you know ‘this is the real work’; I experience that a lot in Circle.” - RMP Circle Facilitator, Fourth Grade Teacher

Imagine if you had time during your workday to check in with yourself. How might your day be different if you were able to tell the people you spend the most time with how you were actually feeling? What if when you made a mistake, you had space to repair things, and were then able to move on effectively? If you could ask for help on hard days and knew someone would check back in with you later, would you feel more successful in your day-to-day work?

We decided to put these questions to the test! With the support of the Valor Collegiate team, each Rocky Mountain Prep school adopted the Compass Circle model, a values-based, community development approach for self-understanding and organizational development and is a mechanism to catalyze a commitment to growth this school year. Created by Daren Dickson at Valor Collegiate Academies, the Compass Circles model provides a framework for schools to host regular, structured conversations about the many elements of a student’s life outside of the classroom.

With guidance, the RMP team is implementing the “RMP Compass”, or, set of values, to support growth and development towards well-being in all aspects of what it means to be human. “Working” our RMP compass as a community allows us to create a safe and loving space for both students and adults to bring their whole selves every day. In fact, in a recent survey, 96% of RMP staff agreed or strongly agreed that Student Circle, if done well, is an important experience for our students.

After completing an experiential task entitled Limelight, in which one student receives an appreciation from everyone in the class, a Fourth Grade Teacher opens the discussion for her students: “How do you feel after completing Limelight?”

“I have never liked coming to school. I have never really felt cared about. Today is different. I didn’t know that people even noticed me when I am in the room. I feel emotional. I feel good,” the fourth-grader shared with his peers.

Asked the same question, a fifth-grade student replied: “Awesome. Hype. I woke up excited. I even did my hair cool,” he said making eye contact with each person in Circle. “You all brought it. You didn’t disappoint. You made my day. I feel great and my mom will be proud.”

Another RMP student shared: “When I first came to this school no one really knew me. After we started Circles, everyone knew my name and what I was going through.”

Each week, Circle reminds us we are all human. We are multi-faceted and every part of our individual story matters. We believe students and adults benefit from being recognized as individuals and deserve to be seen as the complex people we are. We all make mistakes and need a safe place to take responsibility. These moments specifically can be opportunities for accelerated growth for the entire community. To be human means to experience success and struggle. Circle is one of the places where, as a community, we are able to practice taking care of each other during both high and low points in life.

“Working the Compass” means we commit to leading with love. We commit to keeping ourselves and each other safe. We commit to seeking a diversity of perspectives. We commit to leaving no team member behind. We commit to speaking to the person, not about the person. We commit to walking our talk. We commit to doing all of this together.


RMP Berkeley Excels on the 2019 SPF: Three Things We’ve Learned

December 13, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

In 2017, RMP leadership agreed to serve as a turnaround provider for Cesar Chavez Academy Denver (CCAD). CCAD had been struggling academically, receiving a red rating on the Denver Public Schools’ annual “report card”, known as the School Performance Framework (SPF) for a number of years. In a heroic feat of academic mastery from our students, RMP Berkeley moved from red (Accredited on Probation - the lowest measure) to green (Meets Expectations - the second-highest) on the SPF in just one year!

We are excited to reflect on and celebrate our top three learnings from RMP Berkeley’s first year:

1) Early and continued family and community engagement is essential

To achieve this exciting milestone, RMP Berkeley staff have taken an “all hands on deck” approach to building community around RMP’s unique rigorous and loving educational model. Prior to RMP Berkeley’s August 2018 launch, staff engaged in door-to-door conversations, coffee hours, community meetings, and collaboration with CCAD leadership, building strong and lasting relationships that built the foundation for RMP Berkeley to thrive.

2) A loving student and staff culture opens up a world of learning potential

Each day since opening, Berekely’s faculty and admin alike have poured their hearts into making every student feel welcomed and loved, while simultaneously challenging them to do their best. This important combination is what makes the RMP experience unique, and has led to RMP Berkeley’s tremendous progress over the past year. The foundation built in RMP Berkeley’s first year of operation also had an incredibly positive impact on adult culture, with an overall staff retention of 81%, including retaining 100% of RMP Berkeley’s front office and administrative teams.

3) Top educators drive success

RMP Berkeley’s amazing, innovative educators make waves every day by bringing love, compassion, and a deep belief that each of our students can and will succeed in the classroom. All RMP Berkeley teachers all have unique, yet equally effective ways of guiding their students toward academic growth and achievement. It is because of their powerful methods that RMP Berkeley is green on the SPF!

We are so proud of RMP Berkeley’s amazing growth thus far, and yet we know there is still work to be done on behalf of our students. This year, we are eager to refocus on our ELA curriculum and help our students continue to develop a deep love of reading.

With a continued emphasis on building community and pushing our students to hold themselves and their peers to high bars, we are confident we can continue to improve and build on our exciting successes from this past year!


Thankfulness in the Air

November 21, 2019   |   By Camilla Lopez

On any given day handfuls of things can go "wrong" and the story we tell ourselves is that all we've done is made mistakes.

How many more times, however, have we done something awesome, helpful, "right", effective, thoughtful, selfless?  

What would our day be like if we embraced both opportunities for improvement and also really stopped to notice all the positive things that are happening around us? What are we missing in our lives by not doing this regularly? How often do we recognize what a gift it is that we can see, that we have running water, that we made improvements in our work,  that we helped someone out when they most needed it, that we contributed to students learning? How often are we noticing that we work with people who do good work, who offer to help, who believe in kids? If your answers to these questions are mostly “no”s, you have a wonderful opportunity to turn that around! 

While gratitude can positively impact someone else, research shows it also improves mental, physical and relational well-being for the person giving the gratitude. This is what Robert Emmons found when he began researching gratitude in 2007. In the Huffington Post article, The Transformative Power of Gratitude, they captured his findings by noting, "Being grateful also impacts overall experience of happiness, and these effects tend to be long-lasting."

At Rocky Mountain Prep, I see daily the positive impact that expressing gratitude has on our community and our culture.

While in our classrooms, I see students thanking teachers for their support wrestling with a challenging text. I see our teachers thanking students for showing vulnerability during a Compass Circle, and students giving their teammates very meaningful appreciations in the middle of circle. In our hallways, I see our teachers thanking families for partnering to support our kiddos, and families thanking teachers for the evening phone call to make sure their child is getting the support they need. All of these - and so much more - contribute to the culture of love we believe so strongly in, for our students, our team, and our families. 

So yes, it is the season where thankfulness is in the air. My challenge to all of us is to ensure that expressing gratitude and thankfulness becomes what we do all of the time, both for others and for ourselves.  

If you don't have one yet, identify a daily habit to implement to have a positive impact on your brain and to give a teammate, student, parent, friend, or family member. Gratitude journals can be very helpful! If that feels like too much of a commitment try stating something you are grateful for as soon as you wake up OR at the end of the day, name one thing that went well.

I will leave you with a quote from Zig Ziglar that really captures the power of gratitude, "Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for."


With gratitude and for our kids, 

Camilla Lopez

Chief Academic Officer


Growing the RMP Community through our Family Recruiter Program

October 16, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

On a typical Rocky Mountain Prep day, scholars are learning, teachers are wowing, and RMP parents are everywhere: volunteering in classrooms, observing lessons, and helping RMP expand our community. As part of our mission, we strive to ensure every family (not just those in our network) has access to the information required to navigate their student’s educational experience. Rooted in this belief, we hire current RMP family members to support our recruitment and outreach efforts as part of our Family Recruiter program.

RMP family recruiters work directly with other families in Denver and Aurora, providing resources for and information about school choice and RMP. While part of this program, we help our family recruiters develop as leaders so they can bring about the change they seek at RMP and their broader community. This program engages 10-11 recruiters during peak enrollment season, with three parents/guardians staying on to support outreach throughout the spring and summer months.

We asked current Family Recruiter, Lorena Popoca, what this role has meant to her: “When you find something great, like Rocky Mountain Prep, you want to share it with others! My passion and love for the school have made this role feel more like a mission than a job. I love it and truly believe the best way for a family to learn about a school is to hear the experiences of a current parent.”

Lorena and her daughter, Sophia

This work is vital to our mission. Every day at RMP it’s all hands on deck to spread the word about our schools, as well as provide educational resources all over Denver and Aurora. Not only have we seen incredible success in this initiative, but four of our family recruiters have since joined RMP in full-time positions!

*RMP’s Family Recruiter Program recently received recognition from the Colorado Department of Education as a Promising Partnership Practice.


RMP 2019 CMAS results in review

September 27, 2019   |   By James Cryan

With the release of last school year’s Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) data, we are eager to celebrate areas of success and to dig in on areas where we know we need to grow. 

Proficiency data is included in the chart below; Four key headlines surface for me from these results:

1. We continue to have very strong math results. 

Our math results continue to be impressive at all campuses compared to other schools in Denver and we have the highest math proficiency out of all Denver CMOs (charter management organizations). 


2. We are particularly proud that our math Median Growth Percentile (MGP) data at all three of our DPS schools was in the top 20% statewide. (Growth data is not yet available for RMP Fletcher.)


  • 100% of exited ELL scholars at Creekside (and 94% in literacy) were proficient in math 

  • Our Hispanic students at Creekside and Southwest were in the top ten schools across the district for Math proficiency.


3. All schools are improving in ELA proficiency although all schools are significantly below our aspirations.

  • Southwest reduced by >17% the percentage of scholars in the lowest performance band, and increased by >10% the percentage of scholars who are at level 3 and above!

  • At Creekside, our Black students ranked in the top ten for both ELA and Math as compared to district peers, with Black students in 4th grade outperforming all other schools in the district. 


4. Our turnaround schools (RMP Fletcher and RMP Berkeley) are off to great starts with their first round of state-data.

  • Fletcher has the highest math proficiency of all charter schools in Aurora and the third-highest of all schools in the district (including magnet & gifted programs).

  • Berkeley increased the percentage of scholars who were proficient by 20% in one year in math.


These results help us understand where our program has strengths we can continue to build on, and where we will seek to make adjustments. I am grateful to everyone in our RMP community for their contributions to our rigorous and loving philosophy of education. 


2018-19 CMAS Proficiency rates for DPS and APS schools where >50% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch 

2018-19 CMAS Proficiency rates for DPS and APS schools where >50% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch


How Music Shapes Scholar Learning at RMP Fletcher

September 18, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

“Music is a human thing.” - Alec Powell, Music Teacher, Rocky Mountain Prep Fletcher


Walking through the halls of Rocky Mountain Prep Fletcher, it’s impossible to miss the joyous sounds of Mr. Alec Powell’s music class. As the only RMP school that offers music as part of its specials curriculum, RMP Fletcher has blazed a trail, opening new doors to scholar growth. To learn more about this unique program, we sat down with Mr. Powell, music teacher extraordinaire.

Since joining the team, Mr. Powell has been growing the RMP Fletcher music program and recently added string instruments to complete the ensemble.

On top of developing his scholars’ musical prowess, Mr. Powell has used the addition of musical instruments to teach important lessons about responsibility. Scholars are invited to bring their instruments home to practice independently and are expected to return the instruments in good condition. Mr. Powell has observed an increase in maturity, positive scholar behavior, and responsibility, since introducing instruments to the program.

The RMP Fletcher music classroom is structured to allow small group learning. Mr. Powell has found that more intimate groups help build relationships between scholars, which fosters growth, learning, and classroom engagement. Additionally, “Small groups equalize the relationship between the teacher and students, creating a powerful and inclusive environment of balance and respect.”

Based on a recent increase in parent and family volunteers, it is evident that enthusiasm for RMP Fletcher’s music program is growing. Mr. Powell said, “Parents not only provided extra help in the classroom while students were rehearsing for their performances, but they also supported school teams with set-up and ushering at those performances. We know that parent involvement will be a crucial component of sustaining this program in the long-term.”

Under Mr. Powell’s loving guidance, the RMP Fletcher community has experienced the incredible effects of a high-quality music program, “The music program provides a unique opportunity for students to see one another in a different setting from a traditional classroom where preconceived biases and misconceptions are minimized."

The Fletcher music program is sponsored in part by the Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities’ generous ongoing support. We are grateful to them for the support of a program that allows us to enhance our scholars’ learning with a focus on musical literacy and expression. 


How RMP gives love to its teachers

August 07, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

10. Mission-driven staff

Quote: When you work with a team of educators and leaders who are truly united by the common belief that every child is important, special, and capable of great things, it creates an environment of collaboration which I feel is crucial to student success and teacher happiness.  

Quote: My co-workers inspire me every day to be a better teacher - after a long week I feel supported and loved, and that is what makes me come to work excited every morning. The free swag and the treats are always a nice gesture, but it's the culture of RMP that makes people want to work here.

9. RMP fellowship: What's better than a free master's degree? A free master's degree with a $25,000 living stipend and working with exceptional mentor teachers! Our teaching fellowship prepares the next generation of teachers, from new graduates from college to folks looking to change careers.

8. RMP celebrations: At the end of each semester we gather as a network to celebrate together. 

7. Teacher appreciation week: Every year in May we dedicate a full week to our teachers to honor their awesomeness by showing them appreciation all week long. RMP families bring in homemade food, scholars write their teachers cards, and we celebrate with coffee and other treats. 

6. Teacher mentors: From Grade Level Chairs to Curricular Leads and Fellow Advisors, teachers serve in a variety of teacher leader capacities, meaning we all have the opportunity to learn and grow from one another.

Quote: The people around me make me able to do my job. I have learned everything from mentors I have had and my coworkers are the reason that I stay. Any chance we have to be together and to learn from each other in both structured and unstructured capacities is what makes this job worthwhile. I would not be a good teacher for kids without them. 

5. Yummy food on data days and other PD days: We know how important it is for teachers to stay fueled and nourished in order to do the hard work of data analysis and action planning!

4. Well-stocked supply closets and workrooms: Snacks, paper, pens, chart paper, and other materials are unlimited to all school teams. Our amazing operations teams make sure classrooms are always stocked with necessary materials and supplies and that copiers and printers are always up and running! 

4. Quote: I think it's important that RMP doesn't give us a limit with paper/printing/supplies so that we can make sure our kiddos have everything that they need! It takes away the stress of having a printing limit like some schools do, and shows how much we value rigor for our kids! 

3. RMP swag: Because “just any swag would not be the same.” 

Quote: I absolutely love [the RMP] swag! I feel like it automatically improves my mood and I love showing school spirit as much as I can. The scholars love our shirts and comment on when we wear them. All of these are so great that RMP does! It really makes us feel special.

Quote: I am very impressed with the RMP swag because you get high-quality items. Just any swag would not be the same. The fact that it is nice stuff shows that [RMP] cares enough about us to get the best items that we will love and use. 

2. Professional development opportunities: Every Friday is a half-day for teachers, staff, and administration teams to further growth and learning. There are other opportunities for teachers to attend additional conferences and trainings for Denver and Aurora Public Schools throughout the school year. 

Quote: PD and development makes me feel like I'm growing every day to be a better teacher!

Quote: Teacher appreciation week makes me feel valued, but I think what helps the most with being a better teacher is the work we do in professional development and team meetings.

1. Retention bonuses: The average teacher is leaving the field after less than 5 years. We offer bonuses of up to $5,000 to teachers who return for another school year. We honor teachers this way because we know that teacher retention is critical to both our student and staff culture.

Quote: I think retention bonuses show the value in keeping teachers and rewards teachers for staying and keeping a consistent staff for our students.

Quote: This is the first year for retention bonuses, and I feel valued for my long term commitment to RMP. 


Why Rocky Mountain Prep was right for my 3rd grader - the benefits of transferring mid-elementary school

July 30, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

We recently sat down with Toni Weed, mother of Sebastian and Amos, two RMP Berkeley scholars, to talk about her experience transferring her son Sebastian (aka Bash) to 3rd grade at Rocky Mountain Prep.

Toni shared that what drew her to RMP was making connections with the staff. “Initially I was unhappy in my neighborhood school and I wanted to come back to Cesar Chavez Academy because it was a better environment... As soon as we came in [to RMP] we saw Ms. Rosy and met Coach [our Assistant Principal of Operations] and we just loved it.” Ms. Rosy, our current Operations Manager at RMP Berkeley also worked at the front desk at CCA. Toni exclaimed, “We were so happy right away.”

Toni has seen tremendous growth from both Amos and Bash at RMP. “The progress I’ve seen my children make, not only emotionally, mentally, but the biggest of all is academically. I struggled with my little one (Amos) and teaching him at home and he made a lot of improvements,” Toni shared. “It totally motivated me to just try harder at home, and Sebastian, I always saw how amazing he was and others did not recognize that and it made me feel sad and RMP recognizing that, I know this is like our second family.” 

She described RMP as, “a loving, structured, high-quality place for my children to be.” All of our teachers go through extensive training during the professional development days that happen every Friday throughout the year at our schools. Additionally, Toni shared, “I feel so safe with them here. I love that I can talk to any of the teachers, even the ones that don’t have my kids as students. I love how much they care about all of the students because my kids go to school with these people, they’re important to me too and yeah there is just a family culture here and I really love how a lot of the teachers have volunteered and worked with non-profits. I think that shows how sincere they are about change and helping the community.” 

Toni is very satisfied with her decision to transfer her son Bash to RMP. “My goal as a mom is to see my son thrive academically because that eventually will lead to a successful future/career.” Transferring students to different schools can be a nerve-wracking process but RMP provides strong support from the teachers and administrative staff to ensure smooth and helpful transitions. 

If Toni were to share with other families why Rocky Mountain Prep is so special to her she would tell them, “I am going to let them know that we have four principals and our teachers really get their coaching and development time. They get observed, which in turn gets them feedback. No kid gets left behind.”

At Rocky Mountain Prep we believe all students deserve access to a great public education that helps them reach their full potential. We're so grateful Toni, Bash, and Amos are a part of the Rocky Mountain Prep family. If you want to learn more or be contacted by a member of our team visit


Langston Hughes’ ‘April Rain Song’ inspires student poetry

July 15, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Kara Barten’s 1st grade 2019 class at RMP Berkeley was full of brilliant poets! Last year, the class studied Langston Hughes’ poem April Rain Song during April’s National Poetry Month and then constructed their own beautiful versions. 

Ms. Barten shared, “My students and I love nature and being outside. This was a pretty great access point for them when reading poetry. We read a few works about the seasons and the environment. This poem by Langston Hughes, April Rain Song, uses conventions that they are familiar with such as repetition and the use of sensory words which help the reader understand the poem and visualize it. For this assignment, we read April Rain Song and discussed how these two conventions enhance the lines of the poem. The students were then asked to create a poem of their own about the sun, using sensory words and sentence stems. I love poetry and I think that my genuine excitement translates to them in the classroom. They are always very invested and eager to create when we practice our poetry skills. They were very proud of their work for this assignment and asked if I could laminate them so they could keep them forever. So sweet!”

April Rain Song by Langston Hughes

"Sunshine" by Jasmine

"The Sun is Great" by Eduardo

"April Sun" by Aberiella

"Sun" by Adrian

"Let the Sun Sine" by Jake

"Sun" by Josh


On teacher compensation: PreK should not be an exception

June 10, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

At Rocky Mountain Prep, we believe that investing in the best possible pre-kindergarten teachers pays dividends in the lives of our students.

Abundant research demonstrates that children who enroll in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs enter kindergarten prepared to have a successful and enjoyable experience, paving the way for future success in school.

Having taught middle school for many years before becoming a pre-K teacher, and seeing the challenges many middle school students face, I truly believe that high-quality pre-K for all has to be at the top of the list of strategies for closing the opportunity gap.

Despite this, in most places, early childhood and pre-K teachers are paid far less than elementary school teachers. A recent article in Chalkbeat painted a stark picture:

“Last year, lead preschool teachers in district-run schools made $30,500 on average, nearly $22,000 less than public elementary school teachers, according to a new report from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.”

That’s one key reason why, at Rocky Mountain Prep, we decided at the start of the 2018-19 school year to start paying our pre-K teachers on the same scale as our elementary school teachers. We have always paid our pre-K teachers significantly more than the area average, but until this year their pay was, on average, lower than that of K-5 teachers due to stipends and other metrics. We also wanted to acknowledge the amazing strengths of our staff, which has made our pre-K program highly successful.

It is essential to us that our pre-K staff know they are valued and that they are equal partners with our other teachers in the success of our scholars. We’ve always provided them with the same amount of professional development and coaching as our K-5 teachers. What better way to reinforce how highly they are valued than by paying them at the same level?

At Rocky Mountain Prep, the starting salary for a pre-K teacher is now $47,250. That’s 55 percent higher than the average pay for pre-K teachers in district-run programs in Colorado.

From our perspective, doing this is just plain common sense. For one, it helps us attract and retain the best teachers in the business. This school year, in fact, we retained 100 percent of the pre-K teachers to whom we made offers.

Another major impetus for increasing the pay of our pre-K teachers is that at RMP, we try to view everything we do through a diversity, equity, and inclusivity lens, and we wanted to acknowledge in a tangible way the value-add that all of our teachers bring to the organization. We also want all of our teachers to feel that they equally own the results at our schools.

Even before this change RMP stood out in comparison to many other charter schools, simply by virtue of offering pre-K to all our scholars. It’s an expensive proposition because pre-K does not receive full funding from the state. But, we believe so strongly in this investment because we have evidence that the students who go through our pre-K program achieve at a higher rate and are better prepared for kindergarten.

Creating parity in salaries did not come without trade-offs. We decided to pause any shifts to administrative or central network team salaries in order to invest in our preK-5 salaries, with pre-K teachers seeing some of the most significant increases across the board.

Paying our teachers a respectable wage also amounts to a down-payment on the future school success of our scholars.

Data on the success of RMP’s pre-K program bears this out. Students who attend pre-K at RMP score an average of 5 percentage points higher in both English Language Arts and Math than incoming kindergarten students who either didn't attend pre-K or attended elsewhere.

Also, students who attend the pre-K program at RMP start kindergarten an average of half a year ahead in reading compared to their peers who start here in kindergarten.

We are confident that our success will continue, and even accelerate, as we make this much-deserved investment in our pre-K teachers. We hope that the broader Denver community will continue to prioritize funding for early childhood education so that more schools can offer a more competitive wage to teachers.


10 Ways We Show Love to Our Teachers (Year Round!)

May 30, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

ICYMI, we were hard at work celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week. But our appreciation of our teachers doesn’t end at the end of Teacher Appreciation Week! We work hard to make sure teachers at RMP feel loved, valued, and appreciated all year long. We asked our teachers which “perks” are their favorite and why those things make them feel so appreciated. Here are the top 10 things teachers at Fletcher and Berkeley value the most and why:

10. Summer retreat: Every summer, RMP staff spends two days in the mountains to recharge and build connection and trust among the team.

9. Coffee & snacks: There are always a variety of delicious snacks, tea, and coffee available in teacher and staff kitchens/workrooms to keep our teachers caffeinated and nourished!

8. Monthly DEI workshops: We hold monthly DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) workshops to reflect on our identities, power, privilege, and building connections across lines of difference so that we can create inclusive and loving learning environments for our students.

7. PEAK awards: These awards are given out at the holiday and end of year parties to celebrate and recognize people who are living out our PEAK values: Perseverance, Excellence, Adventure, and Kindness.

Quote: I feel valued and loved when I am cared for personally! I am shown through these things that I am a valued member of the team.

6. Coaching & feedback: Teachers and staff have opportunities for weekly feedback with their teacher mentors, coaches and principals.      

5. Happy hours, staff parties & other celebrations of life: There are frequent happy hours, social gatherings, morning mindfulness, baby showers and birthday celebrations. Every staff member updates a “treats and deets” spreadsheet at the beginning of each year so that they can be celebrated and treated in ways that are the most special to them!

Quote: I love random, unexpected treats. I especially love the treats & deets doc- getting (& giving!) treats to colleagues makes my day every time!

4. Late start or early leave: Once per month, teachers have the option of arriving to school late or leaving early.

Quote: I love the Late Start/Leave Early because it helps to maintain a better work/life balance and take care of myself for the morning/afternoon. It also helps me to feel supported by my peers that cover my classroom.

Quote: As a teacher, time is the largest obstacle in work/life balance….late starts and leave early's help teachers take time for self care and meet wellness and health needs by providing time within the work week to schedule appointments without it impacting attendance. For me, it allows me time to pick up my daughter and show up for my family and my health which lets me come in as my best self for my students.

3. Wellness benefit: All RMP teachers are given a $500 wellness stipend for the year. They can use this for gym memberships, ski passes, concert tickets, and more!

Quote: Ensuring that we spend money on things that make us whole allow us to be fully present and live our mission everyday with our kids. Happy teachers = happy scholars 

Quote: The wellness benefit is my number 1. It helps the work/life balance and helps me spend time on things that fill me up so I am able to show up to work as my best self.

2. 250+ hours of professional development: RMP teachers receive more than double the amount of PD and coaching compared to the national average. There is scheduled professional development time every Friday as well as other workshops and trainings throughout the year.

1. Classroom spending allowance & unlimited book ordering: Each teacher receives an annual budget to create the best possible learning environment in their classroom, as well as an unlimited amount of book ordering.

Quote: Having such a large book and classroom budget allows me to support my kids without having to use my own money. I love being able to buy them new books when they pass a STEP level or ordering a series they are really excited about.

Quote: I've used so much of my own money in the past to purchase supplies, books, and more, for my students that it took me a while to realize most of that has been covered while working at RMP.


Scholar Poems

April 30, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Happy National Poetry Month, Rocky Mountain Prep! We are celebrating the month of April by sharing some awesome poems that were written by some of Sam Becker’s RMP Berkeley scholars. Mr. Becker and his scholars read a poem by Mary Oliver, which inspired his poetry assignment for his class. His class used poetry month as a creative opportunity to practice phonemic and phonological syllable awareness! Check out their poems and artwork below!

“Cheetah” by Ruben (3rd grade)

“The Deer” by Lucia (3rd grade)

“The Night Fox” by Alex H. (5th grade)

“The Llama” by Daniel (3rd grade)

“Wild Bunny” by Jeremy (3rd grade)


Scholar Spotlight

April 12, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Rocky Mountain Prep is such an extraordinary place and our scholars are the reason our schools are so special. We recently had the chance to meet with Estrella or “Ella,” for short, to chat with her about Rocky Mountain Prep. We asked her different questions about school, her classes, and her favorite part of the day. Here is what Ella, a 3rd grade scholar, in Ms. Beard’s class at RMP Fletcher shared with us!

Q: What is your favorite part about coming to RMP?

A: I love math because there are a lot of numbers and I love adding and subtracting.

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?

A: I want to be a dancer because I’ve done dance for a long time and know I would be great.

Q: How does RMP make you feel?

A: My classmates make me feel happy because I can tell them how I feel.

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: I am reading Just Breathe.

Q: What is your favorite part of the school day and why?

A: My favorite part is ‘morning meeting’ because we talk in a circle and everyone shares.

Q: What did you learn today or yesterday?

A: I learned how to tell time.

Q: What do you love about RMP?

A: I love learning new stuff. I’m excited to learn how to tell time.

Q: Who do you look up to at RMP?

A: My friend Nancy is my hero because I can tell her how I feel and she helps me when I’m sad.


RMP Teachers Share Their Favorite Dr. Seuss Books

February 26, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

This week, we are celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Week! In celebration, we asked five Rocky Mountain Prep teachers to share their favorite Dr. Seuss books with us.

Check out their responses below!

Bridget Joyce, fourth-grade teacher at RMP Southwest

Green Eggs and Ham

Ms. Joyce shared that, “As a child, I was a very picky eater. This book used to crack me up because everything I ate was the same color. Though, I only enjoyed beige foods, never anything green! (like broccoli...or green eggs & ham).”


Cary Meyers, third-grade teacher at RMP Creekside

The Lorax

Ms. Meyer’s favorite Dr. Seuss book is The Lorax. She shared with us, “It is such a fun book that helps us think about the environment and what is important to us.”


Tom Letourneau, kindergarten teacher at RMP Berkeley

Bartholomew and the Oobleck

Mr. Letourneau said, “My favorite Dr. Seuss book is Bartholomew and the Oobleck. It is kind of a hidden Seuss gem. I love the illustrations, where the vibrant green oobleck is the only color, and the lesson on humility and grace. I teach it every year and make slime with my students. They love the oobleck's ingredients and saying the magic words!”


Isabel Nevarez, pre-k teaching assistant at RMP Creekside

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Ms. Nevarez shared, “My favorite Dr. Seuss book is Oh, The Places You'll Go! I love the message Dr. Seuss tells his readers about persevering to see where life takes them, no matter what age they may be.”


Nora McNeil, pre-k teacher at RMP Fletcher

The Lorax

Ms. McNeil shared, “My favorite Dr. Seuss book is The Lorax because of its themes of equity, environmentalism and greed that are present in kid-friendly language and metaphors. As he writes in the book, ‘unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.’ The Lorax encourages students to think critically about their impact and choices, and how to face big problems with courage.”



Celebrating the 100th Day of School

February 22, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Our schools recently reached their 100th day of school for the year, and in celebration we collected 100 adjectives from our team to describe how they feel about working at RMP.

Check out the wordle below to see how our team feels about being part of the RMP family:

A big shout out to our scholars and team members for showing their PEAK values (perseverance, excellence, adventure, and kindness) for these first 100 days and through the end of the year. Be sure to also check out some of our amazing scholars and staff who dressed up in celebration:


Rocky Mountain Prep’s 2018 Annual Report

February 15, 2019   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

As we reflect on our impact over the last year, we thought it most important to hear from those who know us best — our scholars, family members, and staff.

View our annual report below to meet some of the members of the RMP family who make our schools the special places they are, helping us build a rigorous, loving culture where everyone can reach their full potential.



RMP 2018 DPS School Performance Framework Results

October 31, 2018   |   By James Cryan

Earlier this month, Denver Public Schools (DPS) shared the results for the 2018 School Performance Framework (SPF) ratings, a report card that tells us important information about how much our students have improved their scores on state tests from year to year, and how satisfied our students and families are with our school. We are then able to use this information to make any necessary changes in the classroom and to bring in additional supports where needed.

With the release of this year’s SPF, we’re eager to celebrate those areas where our scholars and schools excelled, and know there is work to do to improve how we support all of our scholars.

This year, RMP Creekside was rated “green” or meets expectations.

  • We are particularly proud that for the fourth year in a row, our scholars had the highest math proficiency rates among any DPS school with a majority of students eligible for free or reduced lunch.
  • Our scholars’ math proficiency level also put us above the proficiency rate achieved by Boulder Valley School District, an important milestone for our mission to close the opportunity gap for all students in Colorado.
  • When looking specifically at proficiency rates for ELLs, Creekside scholars’ math proficiency scores were in the top ten of all schools in the district.
  • Our overall proficiency scores were essentially flat from last year to this year, which is still high relative to many benchmarks, but not the growth we hope to see each year.
  • It is worth noting that although our results were flat, changes to the SPF ratings resulted in us having fewer blue and green categories across the board, which impacted our overall rating. (From last year to this year, more than a quarter of schools in DPS that were previously blue or green dropped categories.)
  • We know we have work to do to improve how we support our earliest learners and our students with disabilities, and close the gap between our students who qualify for free or reduced lunch (FRL) and those who don’t.

RMP Southwest has been rated “yellow” or accredited on watch. (This year’s rating was calculated using the more-limited early ed SPF. Once we receive PARCC growth data in 2019 we will qualify for the traditional framework.)

  • We are so proud that RMP Southwest was the #1 elementary school in DPS for parent/family satisfaction for the second year in a row!
  • RMP Southwest scholars’ math proficiency scores were 20 percentage points higher than those of other elementary schools in the district with a similar percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.
  • When looking specifically at proficiency scores for students learning English as a Second Language, Southwest scholars’ math proficiency scores were in the top ten of all schools in the district.
  • Our ELA scores weren't where we want them to be, and our academic gaps are too large between different student subgroups. It is worth noting that a school can only receive DPS’ highest ratings of Distinguished (blue) or Meets Expectations (green) if it earns a blue or green rating on Academic Gaps. In order to move up from yellow and into the green or blue category, we will be working on support strategies that will make a difference for all of our students right away. We know that closing those gaps will make the biggest difference for our kids and for our SPF rating next year.

Our Fletcher campus is a part of Aurora Public Schools, which evaluates schools using the State of Colorado SPF. We look forward to seeing Fletcher’s state ranking in January 2019.


In partnership,



RMP Parent: The Importance of School Choice in DPS Superintendent Search

October 01, 2018   |   By Berenice Quezada, DPS graduate and current DPS parent

When I graduated from Denver’s South High School in 2006, I didn’t know what kinds of options I had or how I could continue my education. Not having a college degree has made things harder for my small family. We have struggled with things like buying a car and buying a house. So when I started looking for a school for my kids, I knew that I wanted them to go to a place that would prepare them for college -- and not just that, but I wanted them to have an education that opened all opportunities for them.

Unfortunately, having the determination to get them to a great school was not enough to help me navigate the complicated process of school choice. When it came time to select a school for my daughters, I called on my sister-in-law to help me understand how schools were rated and where I could find the best elementary school.

That is what lead me to Rocky Mountain Prep (RMP). Although I was guided to send my daughters there because of their academic results, it is the warm and supportive community that has kept us there. At RMP, not only have my daughters grown and succeeded, but I have also found a place where I can grow as a leader.

Last year when my daughter, Alexa, was getting ready to transition to middle school, RMP provided every single fifth-grade family with information on what schools were available. They talked to us about finding a school that was a good fit for our students. And, most importantly, they helped us navigate a complicated school choice process. It was this kind of information and support that allowed me to feel like I had the power to actually make a choice for my kid’s education. When I was growing up accessing this information and resources was difficult for my parents, just like it continues to be difficult for families that don’t speak English and are not familiar with the education system in the U.S.

There has been a lot of progress made in Denver Public Schools (DPS) since I graduated and the growth and success of my daughters in school is proof of that. This type of progress can really shape our communities and better our future. But right now not all families have the option or the access to send their kids to a great school that will prepare them for the future. Our kids can no longer wait. That is why we must do more than just recognize the challenges our schools and district face and take real action.

The next DPS superintendent needs to understand that school choice is important for families and that all kids in every corner of the city need to have a GREAT school to choose from in their neighborhood.

In order to make this a reality we need to choose a leader that will work with families and schools and bring new ideas to solve the challenges we face.

Berenice Quezada is a DPS graduate and current DPS parent.


Want to share your opinion in the DPS Superintendent Search process? The DPS online community survey is live now until Oct. 12. Submit your survey response here.


RMP 2018 CMAS Results in Review

August 16, 2018   |   By James Cryan

With the release of school year 2017-18 Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) data, we are excited to celebrate our successes and reflect on the areas where we hope to grow. We’re committed to being transparent about our work, as we believe this is central to continuing to improve.

Below are a few early reflections on RMP’s CMAS results, with more to come as additional data is released by the state.

At RMP Creekside, we were glad to see status results similar to years past in Math and English Language Arts. (View our 2016 and 2017 results.)

In fact, for the fourth year in a row, our Creekside scholars had the highest math proficiency rates among any DPS school with a majority of students eligible for free or reduced lunch. In that same subgroup, RMP scholars’ scores were fifth for English Language Arts.

When looking specifically at proficiency rates for our students who are English Language Learners, both Creekside and Southwest scholars’ math proficiency scores were in the top ten of all schools in the district.

At RMP Southwest, we were eager for our scholars to take CMAS for the first time. Our two third grade classes at this campus embodied our PEAK Values, showing adventure and perseverance as they completed their first-ever round of CMAS testing.

In math specifically, RMP Southwest scholars’ math proficiency scores were 20% higher than those of other elementary schools in the district with a similar percentage of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

However, our ELA results at RMP Southwest were significantly short of our goals for RMP scholars with 15% proficient.

These results help us understand where our program has strengths we can continue to build on, and where we will seek to make adjustments.

When it comes to 2018 parent satisfaction survey results, we are thrilled that for the second year in a row, RMP Southwest was rated in the top five out of all schools in the district. RMP Southwest had the #1 highest overall positive parent satisfaction rating out of all DPS elementary schools.

Additionally, RMP Creekside’s parent survey results were in the top 15% of all schools in the district.

We have also just recently received growth data from the state. While we’re proud that our 4th- and 5th-grade scholars’ math growth at RMP Creekside outpaced the state results, we fell short of our goals for our scholars’ literacy growth. As we have more time to process this data, we will be sharing additional reflections on growth specifically. (We will not have growth data for our Southwest campus until next year.)

As we review this data and our performance on the school performance framework, we will be reflecting on a number of questions:

  • What is it that has worked well in math, and how can we be sure to build on and accelerate that improvement?
  • What worked well about our academic program and what shifts can we make to improve?
  • What are the right strategies to significantly improve ELA performance?
  • How do we best meet the needs of our scholars who are learning English in school?

We look forward to receiving additional data from the state to help us answer some of these questions.  And we are committed to ensuring that our ELA results improve significantly over the next few years.

I am very proud of our team here at RMP, and I can’t imagine a stronger group of educators to continue to work towards ensuring the best for all our scholars.





Celebrating Our Second Class of Continuing 5th Grade Scholars

June 21, 2018   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Earlier this month, we had the honor of celebrating our fifth-grade scholars--some of whom started at RMP as three-year-olds--as they walked across the stage in recognition of their continuation from RMP into middle school. 

RMP’s second continuation ceremony sent 82 fifth graders on to sixth grade, and we couldn’t be more proud!

Congratulations, and have a wonderful summer, scholars! We know you will all do incredible things next year in middle school and beyond.


Setting your child up for success in Pre-K

May 30, 2018   |   By Stephanie McGhee

As the preschool landscape changes in Denver, families are beginning to think about pre-k options earlier and earlier... Many families may even find themselves thinking about preschool options before their little one is even born!

As a pre-kindergarten teacher at Rocky Mountain Prep Fletcher, I have many conversations with families about what they can be doing to help ease their child into what for many may be their first formal school experience.

Whether you are planning for your student to start pre-k this fall or have several years to go, there are many simple ways you can help your child feel ready and excited for this transition into school:

1. Capitalize on your child’s natural curiosity.
It’s a cliche you’ve likely heard many times before: Kids are like sponges! The truth is that, particularly as children are in the 3- to 5-year-old age range, there are millions of neurons firing in your child’s brain as they grow and develop. This physical growth means that they are making so many natural connections in their lives. Support this by talking to them about what they see, hear, taste, touch… These conversations will allow their brains to continue to grow.

2. Bring literacy to life with text and visuals. 
I often hear from family and friends that their kids “know the ABCs,” when what they really mean is they know the alphabet song. That is wonderful and I can’t encourage families enough to sing with their children. The follow-up question I always ask if they know the symbols. At this age, kids are incredible at memorizing songs, particularly catchy ones, and you can help them along with their learning by incorporating text and/or visuals into any literacy practice.

The good news is there are a variety of easy ways to do this! When you sign something like the alphabet, point to letters on blocks or watch a fun alphabet video together. If you are singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” incorporate a puppet to help sing with the child and encourage them to do hand gestures, too.

3. Count everything. 
There are limitless numbers of opportunities to count objects with your child! Need six bananas at the grocery store? Count them as you load them into the cart. Out on a walk? Count the number of dogs you pass! Students feel so much pride when they come into my pre-k classroom and can already count to a certain number. This pride will help them feel comfortable trying new things in the classroom and help them foster their sense of adventure.

Find opportunities to do this in a way that does not feel forced - if you are insisting that you and your child sit down and count every day, they will tire of it and so will you. Children at this age are also very perceptive. They will know if you are forcing something!

4. Your child is only this age once - enjoy it!
Last, but absolutely not least, this is an incredible, magical time in your child’s life. Take advantage of this wonderful time with your kids by playing games, reading their favorite books, spending time at parks… Anything that allows you to spend quality time together means creating special memories for the both of you.

One of my most absolute favorite parts about teaching pre-k is building relationships with my students and families and helping them find the balance of rigor and love at this special age. I am a firm believer that you can both #letthemplay and show them endless amounts of love - and support them in learning content that encourages them to grow. Don’t be afraid of what may seem to be new, challenging content for them - they can handle it while keeping learning fun!


Stephanie McGhee is a prekindergarten teacher at Rocky Mountain Prep Fletcher, a free, APS public elementary school. She can be reached at Interested in learning more about Rocky Mountain Prep? Visit our enrollment page or give us a call at 720.863.8922.


Good Things Come in Threes

April 20, 2018   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

We’re delighted to share that for the THIRD year in a row, Rocky Mountain Prep has been named a Denver Post Top Workplace in Colorado!

This recognition is decided based on anonymous employee surveys, and we are so grateful to the RMP team who made it happen for the third time.

Just what makes RMP so special? We turned to our team for their thoughts on what makes our schools an exceptional place to work:


Want to join our team?

We're hiring! View our open positions for the 2018-19 school year and apply today. (It takes less than ten minutes to submit your application!)


RMP Creekside a Finalist for The Succeeds Prize

February 22, 2018   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

We’re excited to announce that Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside is a finalist for The Succeeds Prize award for Transformational Impact in an Elementary School! The Succeeds Prize is the state’s most prestigious awards and recognition event for Colorado's public schools and educators. It is presented by 9NEWS, Colorado Succeeds, and mindSpark Learning.

Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside is a finalist along with two other incredible schools that are making a meaningful difference for students. The winner will be announced at a live reveal celebration on September 18, 2018 in Denver. If selected, we would receive a $15,000 cash award to fund our ongoing success and enhance the positive impact we’re making on our students!

Our teachers and school leaders will also be eligible for professional learning opportunities thanks to mindSpark Learning, a non-profit dedicated to impacting and evolving education through educators. To learn more about The Succeeds Prize and the other award finalists, click here.

We’re proud to be recognized by this prestigious award and hope you’ll join us in celebrating and sharing this achievement. Make sure to use #TheSucceedsPrize and tag our school. Thank you to our amazing staff and students for all their hard work, and to our community for its support!


Complete your DPS SchoolChoice application in five easy steps!

February 16, 2018   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Round 1 of SchoolChoice is currently open in Denver Public Schools (DPS), which means families who are looking for a school for next year should complete the new online application before February 28th at 4:00 pm.

To make it easier for families to complete that form, we’ve outlined below the five steps you'll need to complete to submit your application.


1. Open the DPS application home by clicking here. Then select the “Get started” button.


2. Sign in or create an account.

Please note, you will need an email address to create an account.


3. Enter all your household information.

You will need the following information:

  • Parent/Guardian Information
  • Address
  • Student Information
  • Details about other student(s) in the household (if applicable)


4. Select up to 5 schools and rank your selections.

Please note, selecting only one school does not increase your chance of getting into that school. You should select your schools in order of preference. Each school should only be chosen once.


5. Complete your application and click “submit"!

You will need the following information available to complete your application:

  • Basic Information
    • Siblings
    • Free and Reduced Lunch (optional)
  • Additional Application Questions:
    • Student Language Information and Instruction Preference
  • Tuition Information
  • Document Uploads
    • Proof of Address - birth certificate, baptismal record, hospital record with official signature, passport, or I-94
    • Proof of Age - current utility bill with service address, valid rental/lease agreement; warranty deed; current mortgage statement; property tax notice; or signed contract stating your name, closing date, and property address
    • Proof of Income 30 consecutive days of paycheck stubs; 2017 W-2; or letter from employer on company letterhead that states hours worked and pay rate. If applicable, proof of non-work income (TANF, food stamps, child support, etc.)
  • School Choice Acknowledgement
    • Student’s Race/Ethnicity
    • General SchoolChoice Parent/Guardian Agreement



Questions about the DPS SchoolChoice process or about completing this application? Give us a call at 720-464-3530 or RSVP for one of our upcoming events!


Rocky Mountain Prep’s 2017 Annual Report

February 14, 2018   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

At Rocky Mountain Prep, we believe that love drives deep learning.

In this year’s annual report, we explore RMP’s foundation of rigor and love and showcase how it supports our students and staff.

Take a look and meet some of the amazing community members who live the RMP values and inspire others to do the same:


RMP Parent: Leadership, diversity are among RMP’s greatest strengths

February 02, 2018   |   By Sarah Bagley, Founding RMP Creekside Parent

My name is Sarah Bagley and I’m a founding parent at Rocky Mountain Prep’s first campus, located in southeast Denver. I would like to tell you a little about my experience with Rocky Mountain Prep, as well as with Sara Carlson, the educator who will be the principal of Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley, which opens in August.

My husband, two children and I live in the Cherry Creek School District, very close to one of the top-rated elementary schools in Colorado. We choose to drive our children 25 minutes twice each day so they can attend Rocky Mountain Prep instead. We’ve been making that daily drive for six years now.

Why have we made this choice? Because not only are the academics challenging and the atmosphere nurturing, but just as important, my two daughters come home every day having experienced things I wasn’t lucky enough to be exposed to as a child.

Recently, for example, my eight-year-old started asking me to buy her a beautiful piece of sequined fabric. She had a very specific idea in mind about how she wanted to use this fabric. We finally found just the right piece, and I asked her what she planned to do with it.

As it turns out, her best friend wears a hijab to school, and she wanted to look like her friend and be like her friend. I found myself explaining to an eight-year-old the cultural significance of the hijab, its history, and why women wear them. I didn’t know a lot of this information, so we went online and learned together.

This kind of interchange occurs frequently in the classrooms and halls of Rocky Mountain Prep. It’s one of the things we value most about the school. I love the diversity that RMP has and celebrates each and every day. It doesn't matter if they're celebrating my Irish kids or the Ethiopian families' holidays. Everyone is treated with equal respect and importance.

The Rocky Mountain Prep staff is wonderful. They help their students learn at a deep level, and they do so with a loving spirit. And Sara Carlson exemplifies that spirit.

If I had to sum Sara up with one word it would be intuitive. She understands and inherently knows what each student needs at any given moment in the day. My older daughter Cathryn had Sara as her second-grade teacher, and I was able to experience the powerful impact of Sara’s intuition frequently.

After Cathryn had been in her class for a short time, Sara could look at Cathryn and see she was on an emotional edge and knew just how to bring her off of it. Whether it was because she was having a growth spurt and needed an extra snack, or she just needed a quiet hug, Sara always seemed to know just what would work at that moment.

Sara is passionate. She believes fiercely in kids and their capabilities and believes in setting high expectations and providing the supporting structures they need to meet those expectations. She also believes in partnerships. She works hard to create a community in her classroom among the kids and a strong partnership with the parents. It's through this community and partnership that Sara is able to reach all kids and help them exceed expectations.

Sara will be a great school leader, and will be a real asset not only to her school but to the North Denver community.

If you’d like to learn more about Rocky Mountain Prep, join us at an upcoming event by RSVPing here.


RMP Creekside Receives Center For Excellence Award

January 31, 2018  

Just a month into the New Year, Rocky Mountain Prep is already having a great 2018!

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) recently announced its yearly list of Denver Public Schools (DPS) that qualify for state awards and we are honored to share that Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside was part of that list for the second year in a row!

Each year, the CDE rates DPS schools enrolling more than 75% of “at-risk” students based on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS), which are a portion of PARCC score totals. The CDE publicly recognizes schools with top academic performance using the Colorado Growth Model.

RMP Creekside received the Center for Excellence Award which recognized our scholars’ academic prowess!

RMP was one of 54 schools, out of almost 1,900 grade schools in Colorado, to receive an award. We are thrilled to receive this recognition!


To Our Neighbors in North Denver

January 17, 2018   |   By Sara Carlson

To our neighbors in North Denver:

My name is Sara Carlson and I am the principal of Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley (RMP Berkeley). RMP Berkeley is a Pre-K through 5th grade public charter school that will be opening in your neighborhood this August. I am honored by and excited about the work we will do together in our community and wanted to take this opportunity to share my vision for the school, invite you into conversations over the next few months, and introduce you to Rocky Mountain Prep, truly a unique and inclusive network of charter schools.

First, allow me to tell you a bit about myself. I was born in South America to a Peruvian mother and an American father. They met while collaborating on reforestation work in the Andes of Peru. We moved to rural western North Carolina when I was young, and we lived there until I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Being the only Latina in my rural community school, I was blessed with a collaborative education experience in which my parents and my teachers worked hand in hand to give me the education I needed to become a successful citizen. 

Upon graduating, I had the honor of working as a bilingual, second-grade literacy teacher in southwest Denver, where I fell in love with Denver and Denver’s kids. I joined Rocky Mountain Prep Creekside in its inaugural year, teaching first and second grade before becoming the school’s assistant principal. This will be my 8th year working in Denver schools as a teacher, administrator, and now principal. 

I’m excited to lead Rocky Mountain Prep Berkeley because I believe our schools continue to hone the craft of simultaneously challenging and nurturing our scholars. We deeply believe in the power of our scholars and know that it is our responsibility to love them and deeply challenge them to empower their voices as future leaders of our community. We therefore work hard to ensure we’re challenging all our students every day with high-quality curriculum so that they stretch and grow through engaging in hard work. At the same time, we place the highest value on ensuring that our students can rise to any challenge because they feel safe to take risks, they are loved, and they are welcomed regardless of background. 

Our teachers develop strong, trusting relationships with our scholars, and as a direct result, RMP students are among the highest performing in Denver. We believe that spending the time to build strong relationships with our students and families motivates students to try their hardest, and to overcome the frustrations that inevitably arise in any learning environment.

Love and challenge are two parts of the same whole at Rocky Mountain Prep and can’t exist independent of one another.

In short, we believe love drives deep learning.

When we think about our scholars’ futures, we see them as the next generation of entrepreneurs, inventors, cutting-edge thinkers. That’s who we strive to develop: tomorrow’s leaders.

We also believe deep learning occurs most readily in a diverse environment. That’s one of the many reasons I am so excited to be opening a Rocky Mountain Prep school in North Denver. We have a great opportunity here to create a truly diverse, inclusive school, where children of all cultures and backgrounds are valued, and where we believe that our differences are what make our community stronger.

Our great neighborhood school will feature affordable, all-day early childhood education for four-year-olds and free full-day kindergarten. All scholars in K- 5th grade will have science class every day, another special offering that a steering committee of parents will help determine, and consistent college-ready work with a common-core aligned curriculum.

I look forward to getting to know many of you and welcoming many new scholars to our school this summer.

There is so much more I’d like to discuss with you. I hope we can meet in person soon, and open a stimulating dialogue.

Yours in learning,

Sara Carlson
Principal, RMP Berkeley


Applying for a job at RMP? Five things to know!

December 22, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

We’re hiring! Rocky Mountain Prep is looking for enthusiastic and all-around awesome people to join our fun and hardworking team. Sound like the place for you? Get some tips on applying at RMP below, and visit our hiring page to view open positions and apply today!

1. Our application takes less than ten minutes to complete. (Really.) We know life is busy - and we’re eager to get to know you! On our application page, all you’ll need to do is answer a few basic questions and upload a current resume. Our hiring team will be in touch from there!



2. Watch for next steps from us. We pride ourselves on keeping in touch throughout the application process. You should expect to hear from us within 2 business days. Typically, we’ll ask for some type of work sample and a quick video, and may have follow-up questions - but we promise to make the entire process super clear.



3. Prepping for an interview? Nice!

Make sure to bring:

  • Your sample lesson A game.
  • A smile 😊 We’re nice, we promise!
  • Something to write with and on (other than the back of your hand).
  • Confidence! You already know how awesome you are, all you have to do is share your awesomeness with us.



4. Don’t forget you’re interviewing us, too. Be sure to bring any and all questions about working at RMP. On your interview day, you’ll have a chance to talk with current members of our team, and you should ask away to be sure RMP is the place for you.



5. Keep in touch! Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to have you join our team… Or maybe now is not the time for you to make a change. Either way, we still want to stay connected! Following us on Facebook or bookmarking our hiring page is an easy way to keep in touch.



RMP Schools Shine on the 2017 School Performance Framework

October 12, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Today, Denver Public Schools (DPS) shared the results for the 2017 School Performance Framework (SPF) ratings, a report card that tells us important information about how much our students have improved their scores on state tests from year to year, and how satisfied our students and families are with our school.

DPS uses a color-coded rating scale to show at-a-glance how schools are performing, ranging from the highest rating, Distinguished (blue) to the lowest rating, Accredited on Probation (red).

We are thrilled to share that RMP Creekside has received a Distinguished or “Blue” rating on this year’s SPF.

In fact, based on our SPF rating, RMP Creekside is the highest-performing elementary school in DPS out of schools where more than 50% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. (#1 out of 79 schools!)

Creekside is one of only 20 schools in DPS to receive the Distinguished rating.

We are also proud of our RMP Southwest campus, which received a Meets Expectations or “Green” rating on the more limited Early SPF, and are particularly proud that Southwest is in the top five of all elementary schools that educate more than 50 percent English Language Learners.

Our Fletcher campus is a part of Aurora Public Schools, which evaluates schools using the State of Colorado SPF. We look forward to seeing our first state ranking in January 2019.


Families Make RMP Schools #1!

October 03, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

At Rocky Mountain Prep, we know that meaningful parent and family engagement helps shape our school culture, holds RMP accountable to meaningful results for students, and drives positive change in our communities.

One of the ways in which families reflect and give feedback on their experience at RMP is through the DPS Parent Satisfaction Survey, sent to parents once each year through the school district. Read more about the distribution and data collection for this survey on the DPS website.

We are thrilled to share that on the 2017 survey, both RMP Southwest and RMP Creekside were rated in the top five out of all schools in the district.

In fact, RMP Southwest was the #1 overall highest-rated school out of all schools in the district:

As we break the data down even further, on 23 of 33 measures on the 2017 DPS Parent Satisfaction Survey - including the questions about academics and teachers caring about their child's success - RMP Southwest had the highest positive parent satisfaction score out of all DPS elementary schools.

Thank you to our RMP families for helping us reach this important achievement! We are honored and privileged to have such amazing families as a part of the RMP community.  


Games & Activities Help to Build RMP Culture

September 19, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

From day one of each year, scholars and teachers alike kick learning into high gear - and so much of it takes place away from a desk!

As a starting point for building our classroom communities, RMP teachers and scholars work together to learn and play games that help create our culture every new school year. Read on for a few of our favorites!

Teamwork: To encourage collaboration, we love “Balloon Bounce,” in which scholars work with their teammates to keep a balloon in the air and communicate with kindness to avoid colliding with another scholar!

Kindness: RMP teachers have modified the rules of “Freeze Tag” so scholars who are frozen need to request assistance to become unfrozen. This emphasizes that not only that is it okay to ask for help, but that it is kind to oblige.

Tracking: For new scholars, the term “track” (looking at the speaker as they talk) may be unfamiliar. To explain this concept, RMP teachers toss a beach ball around the classroom and ask scholars to track the person with the ball. The game is silent, so if they don’t track the right person they might miss the ball!

Fun! While academics are exceptionally important, sometimes you just need to have a little dance party to clear your head!

What community building games do you love? Tell us in the comments below!  


RMP Outperforms DPS on PARCC for the Third Year in a Row!

August 29, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

With the recent release of PARCC scores, we are excited to share results from our Creekside campus.

Of all DPS elementary schools educating a majority of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, RMP scholars’ scores ranked 1st for math and 4th for English Language Arts!

  One of the other data points we are most excited about is the performance of our scholars who are English Language Learners (ELL).

Our ELL scholars specifically were the highest-performing in math across all schools in the district.

  As compared to other ELL students in DPS, RMP scholars demonstrated the highest proficiency in Math with 49.6% of them scoring met or exceeds and achieving the 3rd highest proficiency in ELA with 38.5%. (The district averages for math and ELA are 11.7% and 13.9%, respectively.) Important to keep in mind is these are status scores - which means they represent how our scholars performed at a given time vs. how much they’ve grown year over year. We are eager to share our growth scores from PARCC, where our scholars also shined in 2016! Stay tuned!


In Celebration of our First Graduating Class!

June 20, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Five years ago, just over 100 students started at our first Rocky Mountain Prep school. And this month, with more than 800 students across three campuses, we’re celebrating the continuation of our first class of fifth graders on to middle school. To mark the milestone, we talked to some of our fifth-grade scholars about coming to RMP and what they’ll take with them to middle school and beyond:


Rocky Mountain Prep: A Denver Post Top Workplace Two Years in a Row!

April 09, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

We are thrilled to announce that for the second year in a row, Rocky Mountain Prep has been named one of The Denver Post Top Workplaces in the "Small Companies" category! Our team is made up of a group of wildly talented, dedicated, hardworking, intelligent educators - and we are so proud of the work they do every day to support our scholars. What makes RMP such a special place? Read on for some of our favorite staff quotes about RMP!


Want to join our team? Learn more about open positions for 2017-18 here!


10 Questions to Ask When Touring a Potential School

March 27, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

We believe in supporting every family in finding the best school for their child. And in Denver Public Schools, parents have the opportunity to visit and select a great school through the SchoolChoice process! As a part of the choice process, many schools offer regularly scheduled times during which you can see the facility and learn about their program. But once you’ve scheduled a tour, what key things should you be observing? While every parent should ask questions specific to their child, we’ve put together a list of ten questions to ask when touring a school:

  1. What distinguishes your school from others?
  2. What is your rating on the School Performance Framework?
  3. On average, how much homework do students have each night?
  4. How do you support students with different learning styles and needs?
  5. What after-school activities do you offer?
  6. Do you provide transportation for students?
  7. On average, how many students are in each classroom?
  8. What character development do you provide for students?
  9. What is your discipline structure?
  10. What expectations do you have for parent and family involvement?

Interested in touring Rocky Mountain Prep? Call us at 720.464.3530.


Understanding the School Performance Framework

January 17, 2017   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Denver Public Schools uses the School Performance Framework (SPF) to evaluate its schools and share how well each school in the district is doing. This report card helps all of us understand whether or not schools are meeting their goals and where they might need more support. The SPF considers things like growth on state tests, attendance rates, and parent satisfaction, and gives each school a color ranking that shows how well it is serving students and families. The short video below helps break down this rating. The SPF can be a great resource for families who are looking for an excellent school for their child. And while it is important for families to look at a school’s overall rating, there are a few key indicators that can help families make the right choice for their child.


The growth metric on the SPF shows how much a school is able to help individual students grow in their learning. If a student is behind academically, looking at the growth metric is going to show you how a school helps to catch that student up. Similarly, if a student is ahead of grade level, growth can help show that all students are being pushed to continue growing.

Rocky Mountain Prep’s growth in math last year ranked us 4th of all DPS elementary schools and 18th of all elementary schools in the state.



The equity measure highlights the ability of a school to serve a diverse student body. If a student is learning English as a second language or receives special services, the equity measure will show whether similar students in a given school are being served well. For example, if you were trying to find a school for a student who was currently learning English, you would want to review the equity measure for English Language Learners to be sure that school is supporting the growth of other students who are learning a second language.

Rocky Mountain Prep Southwest was the only school in DPS last year to receive 100% on the equity indicator.



Status shows the overall performance of students in a given school. This highlights whether students are performing at the grade level in which they are currently enrolled. One piece of the status that is of particular importance is the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) literacy measure, which is shown in the detail scorecard. The CMAS measure shares indicators for whether schools are supporting their students on the track to college.

Rocky Mountain Prep's Creekside campus is the highest-performing elementary school in Denver serving a majority of students eligible for free and reduced lunch.

  Have additional questions about the School Performance Framework or school choice? Call us at 720.863.8920!


PARCC Growth Scores Show Rocky Mountain Prep in Top 5 of DPS Elementaries

October 19, 2016   |   By Rocky Mountain Prep

Last month, we shared our 2016 PARCC scores. Today, we’re writing with more good news about PARCC, this time looking at our PARCC score growth results.

The status results we reported in September reflect achievement data, or how well our individual scholars are meeting Colorado’s academic expectations. The growth results provide information on how our scholars make progress over time toward meeting or exceeding those expectations and are an additional data point to reinforce our scholars’ performance as the highest performing elementary school in Denver serving a majority of students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL).

Growth scores are reported as median growth percentiles (MGP), meaning that scholars’ PARCC scores from 2016 are compared to their scores from 2015 and then their year-to-year progress is compared to others with similar scores. Based on that comparison, scholars are given a percentile score (1-99) and the median percentile score of all scholars in a grade or school determines the school’s MGP. We’re excited about what the results show.

  • Our growth in math is excellent (76 MGP), ranking RMP Creekside 4th of all DPS elementary schools on math growth and 18th of all elementary schools in the state.
  • Our combined math and English (ELA) growth score also ranks RMP Creekside 6th of all DPS elementary schools. Overall, our growth outpaces both the district and the state.
  • And while our English growth score isn’t quite as strong (61 MGP), it still shows that students are making more than a typical Colorado student’s year of growth in this area – and highlights an area where we will focus even more in this school year.
  • Our growth for English Language Learners (ELL) was also strong. The RMP Creekside ELL math MGP was 78 compared to 46 for DPS ELL math, and our English MGP was 73 compared to 49 for DPS.

Our current data is based on results from RMP Creekside, where our older students (grades 3-5) took PARCC tests in the spring of 2016. (For elementary schools, students in grades 3 – 5 take PARCC tests each spring)

The strong growth we are seeing in scholars’ scores shows us that the positive results we reported back in September are not an anomaly. Our scholars are doing very well comparatively both in absolute terms – the percentage who are meeting state standards compared to other students in Denver, and in growth terms – how quickly and how far our scholars are growing compared to other students across Colorado.

As we mentioned in September, we are focusing on strengthening our ELA instruction and closing the gap faced by our English Language Learners. And we also continue to work on our support system for scholars who are behind in either math or English. We are proud of what our students have already achieved as we work every day to give them an excellent education. 


Rocky Mountain Prep Excels in 2016 PARCC Results!

September 06, 2016   |   By James Cryan

We at Rocky Mountain Prep are excited to report on our 2016 PARCC results. While we are proud to say that our performance remains high and is improving in key areas, this data has also presented us with opportunities to improve.

As shown in the chart below, we continue to be the highest performing elementary school in Denver serving a majority of students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL).

Math and ELA performance for schools with greater than 50% FRL students

In addition, we’ve seen improvements in some of our major focus areas. In 2015, 43% of our 3rd graders met or exceeded expectations in ELA, compared to 49% this year.  This has outpaced improvement across DPS.  As we made ELA growth a top priority for the 2015-16 school year, it is rewarding to the benefits of the hard work and dedication of our scholars, families, teachers and staff.

Comparing percentage of third graders meeting grade level expectations
to the DPS average

We are also excited about the long-term impact of our educational model for our scholars. For every year a scholar remains at RMP, their performance increases significantly. 60% of scholars who have been at RMP for 4 years met or exceeded expectations in ELA, while only 37% of scholars in their first year did.

These gains also serve as inspiration to find new ways to strengthen our academic program. During the 2016-17 school year, we aim to:

  • Continue to build on our ELA growth, as too many students are still below expectations
  • Close the persistent gap in ELA mastery that our English Language Learners face
  • Build out our support systems for students behind in ELA and Math

There is a lot to celebrate in our performance this year, as well as additional areas for growth.  Our scholars deserve a school that continually adapts to their ever-changing needs, and we are working every day to ensure all our students receive an excellent education. 


James Cryan

CEO, Rocky Mountain Prep  

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