Jan Rybczynski’s college path shifted at The Colorado Springs School when his passion for art deepened through hands-on learning and teacher mentorship.
“Art was an interest when I came here, not a way of life like it is now,” said Jan, who graduated in 2019 and had originally planned to pursue a college where he could play hockey. He is a freshman at the Rhode Island School of Design, trading in his ice time for studio art.
Jan explored various art forms and mediums at The Colorado Springs School, a college-preparatory, day, and international school serving students from prekindergarten through high school. One of his most memorable was in 11th grade during The Great Iron Pour, a seminar in which he and classmates immersed in the world of making and pouring molten metal to create art; they broke nearly 1,000 pounds of iron into shards for the pour.
Jan’s artistic side was fueled even more by the bond he formed with art teacher Hans Wolfe. “The thing I like about Mr. Wolfe quite a bit is he’s not just an artist. He’s a material scientist, and he’s willing to tell you how it works: what the melting point is, what its chemical structure is, how it works in relation to this other substance. It’s very interesting,” Jan said. “I’ve had many conversations with him about many different things that I have very much enjoyed.”
Small class sizes that nourish that kind of student-teacher mentorship is one of the reasons Jan’s family chose The Colorado Springs School (CSS). His mother is a CSS alumna from the Class of 1988.
CSS is the #1 private school in Colorado Springs, according to the Colorado Springs Business Journal, and Niche.com ranks CSS as a top private school in Colorado.
The school, founded in 1962, sits on 28 acres with eight buildings, including an innovation lab, a 300-seat performance theatre, art studios, a field house gym, and athletic fields. CSS enrolls students from 32 zip codes across the Pikes Peak region. The current international student body hails from China, Japan, Spain, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Germany.
Through superior academics and mentoring, The Colorado Springs School prepares students to think independently and to meet the challenges of a dynamic world with leadership, ingenuity, problem-solving skills, and personal integrity.
Beginning in elementary school, students have several co-curricular classes such as creative drama, computer science, band, art, and Spanish. They learn by doing through hands-on activities, both in the classroom and beyond through outdoor adventures and seminars.
By high school, students have a diverse range of course offerings, including Advanced Placement classes in comparative literature, computer science, United States history, and biology. Seminars tackle issues locally and worldwide. It could be learning about homeless challenges in Colorado Springs or traveling to Madagascar to study biodiversity. Clubs and athletics round out students’ experiences.
“The Colorado Springs School creates a community that focuses on the whole student,” said Anslee Wolfe, communications and marketing manager. “Small class sizes mean teachers connect one-on-one with students. We incorporate the Yale RULER Program, where students cultivate social and emotional skills that help them develop into healthy adults.”
CSS graduates go on to top colleges, including Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cornell University. The 23 graduates in the Class of 2019 received more than $3.1 million in merit scholarships and awards. They earned an average ACT score of 30; the national average is 21, and the Colorado average is 20.8.