For Grand Valley High, a golden opportunity

Ryan Hoffman
Grand Valley High School in Parachute was named a 2015 Gold School of Opportunity by the Schools of Opportunity project Thursday.
Courtesy of Lynn Shore |


• Grand Valley, Parachute

• Centaurus High School, Lafayette

• Jefferson County Open High School, Lakewood

• Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School, Bronx

• Malverne High School, Malverne, New York

PARACHUTE — From its mandatory Advanced Placement courses to its individualized response program for struggling students, Grand Valley High School in Parachute does everything it can to give its students the best opportunity possible.

For those reasons and others, the school on Thursday was designated a 2015 Gold School of Opportunity, making it one of five schools nationally to receive the designation. The Schools of Opportunity project, which was piloted this year in Colorado and New York, brings attention to schools that “actively and equitably promote the success of all students,” according to a press release that was published on the Washington Post Answer Sheet blog. Three schools in Colorado were designated gold.

“To have an organization focused on education at the national level recognize you … that’s huge,” Grand Valley High School Principal Ryan Frink said Thursday after a school assembly announcing the designation.

The Schools of Opportunity project took note of Grand Valley High’s “AP for all” program. Introduced in 2012, the program requires students to take a minimum amount of AP courses, which go toward college credits, each year.

Megan Smith, a senior at Grand Valley High, said it is hard not to notice the change in the students and the teachers’ attitude since the implementation of AP for all. “It’s awesome to be a part of the change, and it’s just going to keep getting better,” she said.

Junior Allie Dovey said some of the college students she knows told her that the curriculum at Grand Valley High is comparable to college courses.

In addition to the AP for all program, the project also cited Grand Valley High’s response-to-intervention program, which brings teachers together when a student is struggling. The team then sits down with the student and creates a tailored roadmap for success. All those programs along with the dedication from teachers, staff and students are vital for the school’s success, Frink said.

“What did I tell you four years ago?” Frink asked the students gathered in the auditorium Thursday. “I don’t expect perfection, I just expect that you do the best you can.”

That line hit home, said Parachute Mayor Roy McClung, who was in attendance Thursday.

“He doesn’t want perfection, he wants excellence,” said McClung, a Parachute native. “I am extremely proud of everything they’re putting together, and in my mind it’s another step towards building a strong community in general.”

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