Happy 10th Birthday STRIVE Prep

by Alex Hernandez

Chris [Gibbons and STRIVE Prep] gave our community hope… We deserve a good education in our neighborhood.
— STRIVE Prep parent

STRIVE Prep is celebrating its 10th anniversary today. The organization started with 100 sixth graders and today it serves over 3,200 students in 9 schools across the city of Denver.


I often think about how a handful of leaders can change the trajectory of an entire city. Chris Gibbons, STRIVE’s founder, is one of those special leaders and I’m personally grateful he’s invested a decade of his life (and still going strong!) to create opportunities for thousands of children and families seeking a better public education. Chris often says he will have succeeded when a STRIVE Prep alum holds his job.

Here are three things I most admire about Chris and his team:

  • STRIVE Prep has become a national leader among public charter schools in serving student with disabilities. Today, STRIVE operates four center programs serving students with uncommon or severe needs. STRIVE means it when they say they are committed to all kids.
  • STRIVE builds schools that families want. Every year since its founding, one or more STRIVE Prep schools ranked among the top ten secondary schools in Denver. With 90% of their first graduating class of seniors being accepted to college, they are making college an opportunity that is the norm, not the exception, in some of Denver’s most underserved regions.
  • STRIVE has the humility to look its biggest challenges in the eye and tackle them head-on. I’m excited about the investments they are making in their academic programs to meet Colorado’s new state standards. STRIVE Ruby Hill, their first elementary school, is off to a great start and the organization wants to offer an elementary option in each of the neighborhoods it serves.

Public education can be a thankless endeavor, especially when you are trying to build something new and not everyone can see what is possible. But Chris and his team bring heart, love and authenticity to this work… for every kid, for every family. And that’s why I’m so excited for the decade ahead. Thank you and happy birthday STRIVE Prep.