K – 12

Mesa County Valley School District 51 is the main school district serving K-12 students in the Grand Valley. It is the 12th largest of 178 districts in Colorado and it is committed to providing education that serves the unique needs of each of its more than 22,000 students. In recent years, School District 51 has undergone a reform to adapt a modern, performance-based curriculum that will better groom students to be competitive in today’s workforce.

School District 51 Vital Stats

  • 80.4% four-year graduation rate in 2016 (Colorado average is 78.9%)
  • 24 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, 1 middle/high, 4 high schools, 1 K-12 School
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-focused elementary school
  • Dual-language elementary and middle schools
  • Public charter schools, including Waldorf- and Montessori-based learning
  • K-12 online blended learning school
  • K-12 vision school
  • Two schools with vocational opportunities
  • Alternative high school
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) for high school students
  • Challenge Program for middle school students
  • 3.4% gifted and talented students
  • 42% high school athletes
  • 29.5% minority students
  • 11% participate in college courses through a unique partnership with Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College

In addition to the public schools, there are a number of non-district charter and private, faith-based schools, providing parents with numerous options to tailor education to the specific needs of their children.

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Higher Learning

Grand Junction is home to a number of secondary education institutions, including the fifth fastest-growing university in the U.S., Colorado Mesa University (CMU). Founded in 1925, CMU is a comprehensive regional public higher education institution offering liberal arts, professional, and technical programs at the master’s, bachelor’s, associate and certificate levels. CMU offers evening, online and distance education classes for non-traditional and working students.

Colorado Mesa University Vital Stats

  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
  • Located on 86 acres in downtown Grand Junction
  • $74 million awarded in financial aid for the 2014-15 academic year
  • A 22:1 student to faculty ratio with 295 full-time academic and technical faculty members
  • Over 11,000 students
  • 15% of the student body is from out of state
  • 77% are traditional students
  • 660 student athletes have earned 72 conference and regional titles as part of 24 NCAA Division II teams and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (Go Mavericks!)

The Western Colorado Community College is a division of CMU that offers more than 20 career-oriented associate-degree and certificate programs. Some of the more unique study options include a Peace Officers Academy, which entitles students to work in any law enforcement office in the State of Colorado, and Chez Lena, a state-of-the-art learning lab for culinary arts students, open to the public.

Alternative higher education options include IntelliTec technical trade college and a branch of the Colorado Christian University.

PHOTO CREDITS on this page:

Ken Redding/Colorado Mesa Univeristy