Welcome to U Prep
Elementary School

What is

University Prep

University Prep’s two elementary schools (kindergarten – 5th grade) in Northeast Denver are tuition free public charter schools with a simple and clear mission – prepare every child for a four-year college degree and a life of opportunity.

At University Prep (U Prep) we dream big with our children and families. We call our students scholars because we believe that’s what they are, and we want them to believe it too. At U Prep, we’re not just preparing our children for college, we’re preparing them to pursue whatever dreams they may have.

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The U Prep Experience

Our Approach

At U Prep, we’re doing things differently.


Girl in purple glasses smiles

Academic excellence for every child sits at the center of our Denver elementary schools’ work. U Prep offers all scholars challenging, college prep content, along with the support and encouragement necessary to master it. We believe every child will achieve greatness when they are equally challenged, supported, and loved.


Girl in class doing work with a pencil and notebook

A focus on growing good students and good people is at the heart of our mission. U Prep knows that to succeed in life, scholars must have a strong and confident character. Our schools go beyond a foundation of academic skills and knowledge with the development of our PREP values – Pride, Responsibility, Enthusiasm, and Perseverance.


Kids in class doing standing exercises

You can only dream as far as you can see – we make sure all of our students see what’s truly possible. All children deserve the opportunity to see the opportunities that live outside of their classrooms. Within our K – 5 experience our scholars get to see a range of colleges and careers that will become their reality.

Achieving big dreams takes hard work and a team effort. Our approach to education and the genuine partnership we build with our families means the possibilities for U Prep scholars are unlimited.
Our Values

Drive Us

Kinds in uniform and lined up smile for the camera

Scholar Core Values:


“We take pride in everything we do.”

  • We do excellent work because our work represents us.
  • We speak in a loud and proud voice – what we have to say matters.
  • We strive to be our best selves.


“We own our words and actions.”

  • We admit our mistakes and learn from them.
  • We think about how our choices affect others.
  • We try to solve our own problems.


“We celebrate ourselves and each other.”

  • We are eager to participate.
  • We cheer on ourselves and our teammates.
  • We are excited to take on challenges.


“We believe the struggle makes us stronger.”

  • We take feedback and work to improve.
  • We keep trying even when it’s hard.
  • We help our teammates in times of need.

U Prep believes deeply that our values are at the core of who we are and what we do. Having our values firmly planted in our hearts and minds allows our words, actions, and decisions to always be in the best interest of our children, families, and mission.

Adult Core Values:

Educate our Scholars:

Scholar achievement comes first.

Serve Our Families:

We make a promise to every family we serve. We do everything we can to uphold our promise.

Serve Our Team:

Our mission cannot be achieved alone. We are always team players.

Walk the Walk:

We hold our scholars to the highest expectations and accept nothing less from ourselves.

My Child:

Our schools are places where we would be proud and honored to send our own child.



View of the University Prep Arapahoe Street Campus

2409 Arapahoe St.
Denver, CO 80205

U Prep – Arapahoe St. was founded in 2011 as a fresh start Denver public charter school. After two years of planning and preparation with our founding board, nearly 3,000 conversations across our community, and tireless efforts by the team to prepare every element of the school, our doors opened with 110 kindergarten and 1st grade scholars. Today the school serves 330 children in kindergarten through – 5th grade on the path to a four-year college degree and a life of opportunity.

2409 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO 80205

Outside of the University Prep Steele Street Campus

3230 East 38th Ave.
Denver, CO 80205

U Prep – Steele St. was founded in 2016 as a turnaround Denver public charter school. The previous school, Pioneer Charter School, had been struggling for many years and was in need of a restart. Working directly with families and community members, U Prep spent the 2015-16 school year getting ready to launch our Steele St. campus and opened the doors with 226 scholars. Today the school serves 330 children in kindergarten through – 5th grade on the path to a four-year college degree and a life of opportunity.

3230 East 38th Ave. Denver, CO 80205

U Prep

In the News

Don’t take our word for it. These news articles, both local and national, highlight the incredible work our children and team are doing with our families and community.

See more news stories

Boy with a pencil in class smiles
U Prep


At U Prep results matter. Our children have dreams worth chasing and those dreams require an academic foundation.We’re proud of these numbers because they represent not only the hard work that goes into achievement, but bring our children closer to their dreams.

The graph to the side demonstrates the amazing growth our scholars are making from one year to the next.

Our Team

Home Office Staff & Board of Trustees

Cuneyt Akay
Cuneyt Akay Partner, Greenberg Traurig
Thelma Behnke
Thelma Behnke Director of Scholar Recruitment & Enrollment 303.329.8412 tbehnke@uprepschool.org
Briea Berry
Briea Berry Manager of Fund Development & Corporate Partnerships 303.329.8412 bberry@uprepschool.org
Recardo Brooks
Recardo Brooks Direct Service Manager, Chevrolet Denver/Wyoming/Montana
Brenna Copeland
Brenna Copeland CFO, Jeffco Public Schools
Alastair Dawe
Alastair Dawe Chief Operating Officer 303.329.8412 adawe@uprepschool.org
Emily Eikelberner
Emily Eikelberner Director of Education, Tuchman Family Foundation
Desire Hodge
Desire Hodge Assistant Director of Enrollment 303.249.0463 dhodge@uprepschool.org
Veronica Luckett
Veronica Luckett Director, King Baptist Childcare and Preschool
Nicholas Martinez
Nicholas Martinez Co-Founder, Executive Director, Transform Education Now
Jean De La Mata
Jean De La Mata Vice President, Project Management Team, Charter School Growth Fund
Juan Pena
Juan Pena Executive Director, CrossPurpose
Sofia Peralta-Amador
Sofia Peralta-Amador Director of Talent Acquisition 303.329.8412 speraltaamador@uprepschool.org
David Singer
David Singer Founder & Executive Director 303.329.8412 dsinger@uprepschool.org
Bev Sloan
Bev Sloan Retired Non-Profit Executive
Liz Suarez
Liz Suarez Chief Academic Officer 303.329.8412 lsuarez@uprepschool.org
Sarah “TL” Waugh
Sarah “TL” Waugh Manager of Multilingual Education 3033298412 swaugh@uprepschool.org