Poudre River School is an independent, private school for homeschooling families in Colorado, also known as an umbrella school. PRS is open to students in kindergarten through high school. PRS believes that parents/guardians are capable of educating their children according to their individual needs and should be trusted to provide a high-quality education for their children. PRS does not have a physical school building and no physical attendance is required.
PRS provides enrollment which satisfies Colorado compulsory attendance and reporting requirements with minimal oversight. All styles of instruction are honored and accepted, including unschooling. Testing and assessments are not required. If you choose to test, you may submit results to PRS for each student.
Required reporting consists of monthly attendance and end of semester grades (pass/fail is sufficient for K-8). All reporting is done online using simple forms, providing a convenient way to track attendance and grades, and produce report cards and transcripts for high school students. No testing or evaluation is required.
What is an Umbrella School?
PRS does not have a physical location and does not offer enrichment programs, group activities, testing, or curriculum, so you might be asking “How is this a school?”
There are two exceptions to compulsory attendance at a public school in Colorado: homeschool and private school. Each of those exceptions come with certain legal requirements, with the private school requirements being less restrictive than those for homeschool. When the wording of the private school exception changed from “attending” to “enrolled in” private school, it became possible to enroll but never physically attend a private school to avoid compulsory attendance. What that means is that if you choose to enroll your child in an umbrella school, the child is technically considered to be a private school student and you are no longer obligated to meet the requirements of the homeschool law.
Private schools are required to provide 172 days of required instruction. All other requirements for students and teachers are determined by the school itself rather than the state. Requirements vary from school to school.
The three main reasons that people like to enroll with an umbrella school are to avoid the testing/assessment requirement, eliminate the 4 hr/day instruction requirement, and eliminate the possibility of an audit. I choose to have my kids enrolled because I prefer not to have to report anything to the school district. I do test my kids, but that is for their own practice with test taking and for my own information. I’m just not a big fan of reporting to the system. Other people enroll because they prefer to submit immunization information only to an umbrella school and not the state due to privacy concerns. Some people also like to have all of their records kept in one place and have a high school transcript automatically generated.
Feel free to contact PRS if you still have questions. I’m happy to help!