To spark adventure and wonder, foster inquiry and community, and build the character and ability of students to take on the world's greatest challenges.


Founders Jason Berv and Sumaya Abu-Haidar, two freshly minted Ph.Ds from the CU Boulder School of Education, had a realization: most of the research we have about learning isn't reflected in the way most schools work. They launched a new, innovative school founded on current research about how kids really learn, and called the school Watershed because the school would create "watershed moments" in the lives of its students.

Watershed School opened in 2004 with 16 high school students. Jason Berv became the school's Founding Head and led the school during its first seven years of operation. As word got out, we grew and added a middle school.

In 2011, we moved to a larger, transit-accessible school building within walking distance of Pearl Street. Over time, we've remodeled it to serve our hands-on program, creating five traditional classrooms plus a gym, art studio, black box theatre/dance studio, outdoor classroom, and design/maker lab.

In 2017, Watershed became the fifth school in Boulder County to earn ACIS (Association of Colorado Independent Schools) accreditation. Intentionally small, we only enroll 100 students in grades 6-12 each year.

100% of our students continue to be accepted to college. More importantly, our students are happy, adventurous, and ready to tackle real-world challenges.

“‘They are getting great results,’ Mr. Bassett [former President of the National Association of Independent Schools] said, noting that at the Watershed School, scores on a test of critical thinking were exceptionally high. ‘It’s what colleges are looking for.’”
— New York Times, 2012

What We've Achieved

  • 100% of our graduates have earned admission to college or university.
  • We significantly outperform the mean for both private and public schools, both at the middle and high school level, when it comes to intellectual and emotional engagement (High School Survey of Student Engagement, Middle School Survey of Student Engagement).
  • Our students have studied real-world problems and logged thousands of service hours in locations that include the Silicon Valley, the Mexican-American border, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Guatemala, and right here in the Front Range.
  • We've earned full ACIS (Association of Colorado Independent Schools) accreditation, one of five Boulder County schools to do so.
  • Our innovative program attracts hundreds of educators who visit Watershed each year to learn about new ideas in education, participate in our annual Traverse conference, and see our school in action.