Q: Where will the school be located? 

Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Denver is located in Northern Hills Church at 5061 E 160th Avenue, Brighton, CO 80602 for the 2023-2024 school year. The Ascent Classical team is also negotiating with the 27J school district to purchase land on the west side of the district near Todd Creek for a future campus.

Q: What hours and days will school be in session?

Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Denver will operate a standard Monday-Friday week with school in session from 7:40 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Q: When is the annual calendar published?

Click here to view 2023-2024 academic calendar.

Q: What grades will the school serve?

Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Denver will offer grades K-7 in the first year, adding grades 8-12 in the following years until reaching K-12 matriculation.

Q: What is a public charter school?

A charter school is a nonprofit, tuition-free, independently operated public school. Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Denver is authorized by the Charter School Institute.

  • Charter schools receive state “per-pupil revenue” (PPR) and some local mill levy dollars but do not typically receive funding for capital expenses, which must be paid for from operational funding;
  • Charter schools offer seats to children based on a random lottery and are not selective.
  • Due to the greater flexibility offered in the curriculum, staffing, and operations granted to charter schools, they may offer a variety of curricula and instructional styles, and sometimes differ in their philosophy toward education.
  • Charter schools serve students with special needs. Please see below for more information.

Charter schools provide parents the opportunity to choose an approach best suited for their child. This choice does not indicate a weakness in district-run schools and charter schools are not right for everyone.

For more information on charter schools in Colorado, visit the Colorado League of Charter Schools or the Charter School Institute website.

Q: Does Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Denver serve students with special needs?

Yes, our schools serve students with special needs. Direct instruction, the structure, and coherence of the Core Knowledge curriculum along with the explicit phonics program are very effective and the school is likely to be able to support a broader spectrum of special needs. The focus of the school and its Student Services is to provide support and tools to enable all students to be successful in school and life.

Ascent Classical Academy will ask applicants if their children have special needs only after they have an accepted seat in the school​. At that time, the school will review any Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 plans to determine the school’s ability to serve an individual student and ensure they will thrive and be successful. Working within all applicable laws, regulations, and the guidance of its authorizer, ACA’s IEP team will determine students’ needs including the setting in which the school will provide the required services and will communicate this determination to parents as required by law and regulation.

Q: What is classical education?

The underlying philosophy of a good classical school differs from how most other schools are educating today. Read our page on classical education and our content-rich curriculum.

Q: What are the core elements of the academic program?

Ascent Classical Academy takes a classical, liberal arts approach to educating young people, as described above. Other key elements of the academic program include:

  • Core Knowledge sequence in grades K-8;
  • Explicit phonics approach to literacy;
  • A mastery of spelling and proper grammar as well as good handwriting and cursive;
  • Singapore Math;
  • Highly engaging, direct, teacher-led instruction with increased use of Socratic techniques as students progress through the school; and
  • Primary source documents are used to the maximum extent possible.

Q: Will Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Denver require teachers to be licensed?

All Ascent Classical Academy teachers will be highly qualified.

Ascent Classical Academy will hire the most highly qualified teachers for our classrooms and seek out content experts.

Second only to involved parents, it’s known that highly effective teachers – using an excellent, proven curriculum in the classroom – have the greatest impact on student success. Ascent Classical Academy seeks staff with expertise in their content area and the best teachers for each position may or may not be licensed teachers.

One of the automatic waivers granted to charter schools by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is a waiver from teacher licensure requirements (Colorado Revised Statutes 22-63-201); which most, if not all, charter schools in Colorado have. View a complete report of all waivers granted to charter schools throughout Colorado.

Rather than having licensed teachers, the state of Colorado allows charter schools to hire “highly-qualified” teachers. To earn this designation, a teacher must have a college degree or other demonstrated expertise in a content area that person will be teaching. At or below the sixth-grade level, a teacher may take a placement test. Details on the “highly-qualified” qualification may be found on the CDE website.

This waiver allows Ascent Classical to hire a teacher with a master’s degree in Chemistry to teach science, or a retired college English literature professor to teach high school English.

Q: What is the role of the Hillsdale College Barney Charter School Initiative?

Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Denver will be a licensed curriculum school as part of the Barney Charter School Initiative, an initiative of Hillsdale College’s K-12 program to expand access to classical education across the nation.