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.
Still intentionally small, Watershed serves 88 students in the heart of Boulder. Now in a school building just a few blocks from Ideal Market, our campus has a gym, art studio, outdoor classroom, and design lab. But some of the most important parts of our program aren't reflected on a campus: our students learn at CU-Boulder, at Rocky Mountain National Park, in Silicon Valley, and across the globe.
100% of our students are accepted to college, and as a school we outpace 95% of peer schools in the improvement our students show in tests of complex problem-solving. More importantly, our students are happy, adventurous, and ready to tackle real-world challenges.
What We've Achieved
- Over 10 years, 100% of our graduates have earned admission to one of their top three college choices.
- We were one of the first five schools in the country to administer the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA+). Today, over 400 innovative high schools use this test of real-world problem-solving - and Watershed consistently outpaces 95% of them in student growth over time.
- 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.
- Our innovative program attracts hundreds of educators who visit Watershed each year to learn about new ideas in education, participate in our conferences, and see our school in action.