NoCo’s first Catholic high school to open in fall

WINDSOR — The first Catholic high school in Northern Colorado is scheduled to open for fall classes this year.

The school, to be called Chesterton Academy of St. John Paul II, will be located in Windsor, at first in temporary quarters at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church. Broomfield’s Holy Family High School is the closest location to Northern Colorado of a Catholic high school.

The new school, which results from efforts that extend at least 20 years, will enroll ninth graders beginning this fall and add grades year by year until it teaches all four years of high school. The school said it may add a 10th grade class this fall if enough interest is shown. 

Margo Walsh Barnhart, the school’s interim executive director, said Chesterton will be an independent Catholic school operating alongside, but not within, the Archdiocese of Denver. The school is sanctioned by the archdiocese, Barnhart told BizWest, but it is independent — “almost like a Catholic version of a charter school.”  The school’s board of trustees has been installed with Robert Lanciotti of Fort Collins as the inaugural chairman.

“We expect to be at Our Lady of the Valley for at least two years,” Barnhart said. Property for a school owned by Catholic parishes is available in a couple of locations of Northern Colorado, but a specific location for a permanent high school has not yet been determined, she said.

“We want to be in or around Windsor, because that is central to the existing Catholic elementary schools in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley,” she said. 

In the meantime, Our Lady of the Valley has “beautiful space, brand new with the latest technology,” she said. The students also will have access to the daily Mass schedule at the church.

Barnhart, who operates a private company called Ala Carte Learning Solutions Inc. in addition to leading the effort to establish the high school, said initial tuition for the school has been set at $6,000 for the 2020-21 school year.  Families of first-year enrollees will receive a “founding family” benefit of having the initial tuition rate locked in for the student’s four years of high school. The incentive tuition rate also will apply to all subsequent siblings attending the school. First-year enrollment is expected to be between 25 and 60 students, Barnhart said.

The school will offer a classically oriented curriculum as part of the Chesterton Schools Network based in Minneapolis. A collaborative venture of the American Chesterton Society and Chesterton Academy, the network coordinates parent-led Catholic schools throughout the country.  The new school will join 27 other Chesterton schools when it opens.

The Chesterton curriculum places a great emphasis on the arts — drama, music and fine arts, Barnhart said. Latin is required for two years and recommended for three. English, literature, science and math are taught in a classical manner, along with a “robust spiritual and personal formation,” the school said. The school’s “Three Pillars Model” accentuates intellect, character, and spirituality. More information about the school can be found at its website www.chestertonjpii.org

The school has begun to recruit its first headmaster and faculty. Barnhart said three full-time staff members and seven or eight part-time teachers will be recruited.

An open house is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, 1250 Seventh St. in Windsor. Information sessions also are scheduled at the three Catholic elementary schools in the region. Students of all faiths may enroll in the school.

WINDSOR — The first Catholic high school in Northern Colorado is scheduled to open for fall classes this year.

The school, to be called Chesterton Academy of St. John Paul II, will be located in Windsor, at first in temporary quarters at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church. Broomfield’s Holy Family High School is the closest location to Northern Colorado of a Catholic high school.

The new school, which results from efforts that extend at least 20 years, will enroll ninth graders beginning this fall and add grades year by year until it teaches all four years of high school. The school said it may add a 10th grade class this fall if enough interest is shown. 

Margo Walsh Barnhart, the school’s interim executive director, said Chesterton will be an independent Catholic school operating alongside, but not within, the Archdiocese of Denver. The school is sanctioned by the archdiocese, Barnhart told BizWest, but it is independent — “almost like a Catholic version of a charter school.”  The school’s board of trustees has been installed with Robert Lanciotti of Fort Collins as the inaugural chairman.

“We expect to be at Our Lady of the Valley for at least two years,” Barnhart said. Property for a school owned by Catholic parishes is available in a couple of locations of Northern Colorado, but a specific location for a permanent high school has not yet been determined, she said.

“We want to be in or around Windsor, because that is central to the existing Catholic elementary schools…