In June of 2000, a family in Denver gave birth to a son with Down syndrome. A few days later, they received a phone call from a friend in Dallas, congratulating them on the birth of their son. The friend also told them about the Rise School of Dallas, which had been started in 1995 by a family who also had a child with Down syndrome.
In 2003, a group of six Denver families began meeting regularly to discuss the educational options available to their children with special needs. The first step the group undertook was to understand the existing options available in the Denver metro area. These parents investigated and visited a number of public and private schools offering preschool programs for children with special needs and found that none of the existing programs provided all of the elements offered by the Rise School. Several of the families made trips to Dallas and/or Houston to visit the Rise Schools and observe the program in action. These families came back convinced that a Rise School was needed for children with special needs in Denver.
For more about the national Rise School model, see our Mission and Goals.
After much deliberation, these families made the commitment to start a Rise School in Denver. A nonprofit corporation was formed, and 501(c)(3) status was obtained. Fundraising efforts began in November of 2002, and in April of 2003 the Rise School of Denver opened in a space donated by the Church of the Risen Christ with one class of eight children. Today, The Rise School of Denver operates four classrooms serving approximately 50 children, ranging from 12 months to six years in age.