Colorado's first tuition-free charter school for kids with learning differences to open in 2022

Groundbreaking for Prospect Academy this weekend
Prospect Academy is opening for grades 5-8 in the fall of 2022. The school will focus on students with learning differences.
Posted at 7:30 AM, Sep 24, 2021

ARVADA, Colo. — On Saturday, education leaders and families will break ground on Colorado’s first tuition-free charter school specifically for students with learning differences.

Prospect Academy will open in Arvada in the fall of 2022.

The school will focus on students with diagnosed learning differences including autism, ADHD, or dyslexia. But founding principal Mia Coffing said even students without learning differences may benefit from this non-traditional environment.

“You don’t have to have a learning difference to come to Prospect (Academy). If you’re looking for smaller class sizes, more support in executive function, and social emotional skills, we are definitely the place that will do that,” Coffing said.

Coffing, a former special education teacher, founded Prospect Academy along with parents in the community and the nonprofit Charter School Development Corporation. The school will be located at 5592 Independence St. in Arvada, currently the site of the Arvada Presbyterian Church. Over the next year, the building will be renovated, and the school will hire teachers and staff, as well as recruit students. The school will open for students in grades 5-8, but hopes to eventually expand to serve grades 9-12 as well.

Parent Jill Trammell said she plans to send her 10-year-old son to Prospect Academy next year. She said it’s a huge relief for families to have this option for the middle school years.

“Moving into middle school — what you typically see is a lot of the supports and interventions dropping, and a lot of families of kids with learning differences really struggle knowing our kids are moving into this type of atmosphere,” Trammell said.

She added that families of kids with learning difference often have to pay for private school or other programs to meet their kids needs.

“We’re really focusing on this equity piece and bringing it at no cost to families,” Coffing said.

Families who are interested in learning more are invited to the groundbreaking on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m., at 5592 Independence St. in Arvada.