Academic Lab – A scheduled time for 5th-8th grade students to learn and practice skills, not a study hall

Adventure Days – When Horizons is closed (i.e. Conference Days) and BVSD is open, we offer fee-based Adventure Days for students whose parents need/want childcare.  This includes at-school activities and field trips.

After Care – Fee-based after school activities offered daily until 6:00.

Aperture – Year-long self-directed, choice-based, passion-driven projects completed by each 8th-grade student. Aperture projects and learning are demonstrated by each student on Aperture Night, in May.

ARTastic Fair – Pre-holiday craft bazaar with local artisans serving as a fundraiser.

Art, Music, and Physical Education– Grade level classes with expert instructors, providing skills-based immersive educational experiences, often incorporating performances.

Auction- Horizons’ biggest fundraiser of the year, including food, drinks, silent & live auctions items for bid, and camaraderie.


BEST Grant –  A $5.5 million grant completed in 2014 to increase health and safety features at the school, to provide new and updated educational spaces.

Bike or Walk to School Days – We support alternative transportation every day! Join the movement on these special days and help take care of our environment.

Horizons Board – Our public charter school Board is a part of our governance structure and is comprised of six elected parent members, two administrators, and five elected teachers. Read more.

Buddies– A time-honored tradition at Horizons is promoting relationships across academic and social arenas with the added benefit of fostering leadership and mentoring between younger and older students.


Chili Cookoff- Parents and staff present their best chili recipes, competing for the award of Best Chili. This fun and tasty event precedes the first Council meeting of the year,

Classroom Cleaning– Parents and students work together twice a year to contribute to clean classrooms. This contribution not only promotes pride in our shared spaces and a healthy environment but allows us to allocate our funds in innovative ways.

Coffee Connections– Come join our interesting speakers and the Horizons’ Community Liaisons once a month on Friday mornings for conversation on meaningful educational topics.

Communication Agreements – A guide to interpersonal communication at our school for adults and students. Read more.

Community Contributor

  • Explore possibilities and respond flexibly to change
  • Utilize inner resources to maximize physical, intellectual, and interpersonal skills
  • Recognize, sense, and appreciate differences
  • Care for other people
  • Take responsibility for their actions
  • Cooperate with others
  • Participate effectively in decision-making and group activities
  • Take responsibility for the environment.

Community, Homeroom, and Advisory – Mixed-age classrooms provide structure and opportunity for social and emotional learning (SEL) and community building. Structures include homeroom in grades K-5/6 and advisory in 7/8.

Community Table – 5th and 6th-grade students partner monthly with the Boulder Bridge House to prepare and serve meals to those in need.

Council – Our Council provides a forum for the active participation of parents, teachers, staff, students, and community members in support of our mission and vision. Meetings are held monthly, with the exception of December, June, and July & August.


Dream Homework  – Independent and self-selected project-based learning for 3rd-4th grade students.


Eighth Grade Graduation– An evening set aside to honor our 8th-grade graduates as they complete their Horizons education.

Eighth Grade Travel– 8th graders leave for a week in May to perform service activities, bonding and connection exercises and to ready themselves for the experience of graduation

Electives– Choice-based classes on Friday mornings for 7th and 8th-grade students focusing on Arts, Sciences, and Movement.

End-of-Year Picnic – A community celebration and picnic on the last day of school.


Fall Dance – A community building fundraising event held each fall in the gym.  Wear a family-friendly costume.


Giraffe talk – a term to describe the teaching and supportive use of Non-Violent/Positive Communication with young children (giraffes have the biggest heart of any mammal )

GOCO/Burke Park – Horizons was awarded a 100K grant to improve our playground and integrate our place spaces with Burke Park.  This resulted in a school and city park!

Google Apps for Education – using Google drive, docs, drive and calendar to all be on the same page in an organized and efficient manner


Homework Policy – The work that students are expected to complete at home is designed to be developmentally appropriate and to extend current classroom curriculum. Homework is given to develop study habits, personal responsibility, and organization, and to foster the home-school connection.  Each team has specific expectations.

Horizons Community Group (HCG) – plans parent-bonding and parent-education events.  The HCG meets twice a month; once with an informative speaker and once to share in projects that support events in the school.


Intensives – “Content area” classes (Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Spanish, and Academic Lab)

Instrumental Music – Fee-based Band, Choir, and Orchestra lessons after school on Fridays.

iReady – K-5 developmental reading assessment given 3 times per year.



Learning Challenge or Learning without Walls – an opportunity for 5th-7th grade students to choose, plan, and execute a project in order to challenge themselves in new areas of their lives and continue to build on self-directed learning skills.

Liaisons – volunteer parents who assist teachers with communication and organization duties.


Moo-lah Drive – The annual school fundraiser that supports music, art and other curriculum and operations at Horizons.  This is our most comprehensive fundraising campaign where we strive for 100% participation.


Open Enrollment– All students attending Horizons K-8 go through the BVSD open enrollment process. Prospective parents attend open enrollment presentations at Horizons. Applications are found on the BVSD website. Students are offered a place in Horizons via a random computerized lottery drawing. Questions about Open Enrollment may be addressed to the school registrar.

Outdoor Ed – Annual grade-appropriate excursions (including overnights) where students and teachers have an opportunity to bond through outdoor-education teamwork and risk-taking in settings that also provide learning opportunities in ecology, geology, biology, physical fitness, and native cultures and traditions.


Pancake Breakfast – a community-building event including shopping, preparing,  and serving breakfast to all who attend.  Students and parents cook, serve and eat together.

Pre-Labor Day (Labor Day) All School Work Day– An all-community work day designed to have fun, meet new families, and beautify the school and school grounds.

Physical Education– A comprehensive program for the overall development of our students’ physical and mental health including fundamental and advanced motor skills, self-confidence, goal-setting, self-discipline, leadership and cooperation, stress reduction, enhanced self-efficacy, and strengthened peer relationships.

Public Charter school – Publicly funded schools granted the freedom to operate independently via local school authority. Horizons operates under a charter contract with Boulder Valley School District.


See-Saw – Digital portfolios for students and their families to input and monitor progress. Portfolios make it easy to give students choices. They empower reflection on learning over time and help students create something they’re proud to share with others. Families see their child’s work and leave comments and encouragement

Self-Directed Learning

  • Take responsibility for their learning
  • Set goals, reflect, and evaluate their own progress
  • Plan, initiate, develop, and follow through on activities
  • Gather information through listening, observing, inquiring, and collecting data
  • Read and write for a variety of purposes
  • Utilize a variety of multi-disciplinary skills as tools for thinking and learning
  • Employ logical reasoning, imagination, and creativity to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information
  • Devise a variety of strategies for problem solving
  • Communicate ideas, opinions, feelings, and information through inquiry, discussions, presentation, writing, models, charts, maps, graphs, art forms, and performance.

Service Learning/Community Contributors –  A founding principle of the school.  Students build skills beginning in kindergarten to help them be active community contributors. Skills and experiences build through the middle level where students have a greater presence in the larger community.  Specific service requirements are a part of the middle-level curriculum and experience.

Seventh Grade Service Trip– at the end of each school year, our 7th graders head to La Puente in Alamosa to assist, support and learn from students, teachers, and the homeless community.

Spirit Wear –  Clothing and hats with the Horizons logo.

Skylines – Stay up to date with all of the latest news happening at Horizons via our website or electronically with the Skylines email digest.

Specials – all Horizons students are taught “specials” which include, Art, Music, PE, Steam & Spanish

Student Family Handbook – Your guide to all things Horizons, including communication agreements.

Student-led Conferences–  Students present their learning, in two hour-long conferences each year, including self-reflections, teacher reflections, goal setting, and portfolio presentations. Our environment is primarily non-graded based upon research which recognizes the importance of regular and effective feedback and reflection.


Way of Council (the classroom practice) – The basic practice of Council is simple: a group of people sit in a circle. All students participate in community meetings each day. Many classrooms hold regular councils discussing topics of relevance and meaning and asking participants to speak from the heart, listen from the heart, be spontaneous, and be brief. Council participation is a regular part of our social and emotional learning, builds great speaking and listening skills, and helps our students know themselves and others as learners and community members.

Website– Our website address is www.horizonsk8school.org.  This is the go-to place for All Things Horizons.

Winter Sports –  Students in every grade participate once a week for 3-4 weeks of winter sports including ice skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing, alpine and nordic skiing.  In addition to being a vital part of our PE program, Winter Sports support community building, expeditionary learning, and appropriate risk-taking.