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Counselor’s Corner

Contact Information

The Peak Academy counselor, Brigette Archuleta, has one main focus: helping students to succeed. She gives your student any information they may need to meet graduation requirements.

Mrs. Archuleta can assist in class registration and makes sure Peak students have all the credits they need for graduation. For high school students, she has extensive knowledge on post secondary options. This also includes college information on topics such as FAFSA, and scholarships.

Click here to email Peak Academy counselor, Brigette Archuleta

Graduation Requirements

The Peak Academy counselor ensures students are enrolled in proper courses to earn a CDE approved high school diploma.  Students are in charge of making sure they pass the courses.  Following graduation, students can go on to 4-year colleges, community colleges, enter the military, attend career or technical schools, and enter the workforce. Peak strives to prepare students for the path of their choice.

Each May, graduating seniors participate in a full graduation ceremony at the Montrose Pavilion.  Peak staff, school board members, and families are invited to celebrate seniors’ achievements.

Peak Academy, as part of the Montrose County School District, follows both district and Colorado Department of Education graduation requirements.

Peak Graduation Requirements (for students in classes of 2021 and below)

Credit Area

Number of Credits Required







Social Studies


Physical Education and Health




Fine Arts




Math Competency

Pass or Fail

ELA Competency

Pass or Fail



*College & Career-ready Demonstrations for English & Math – To receive .5 credit for ELA ICAP and .5 credit for Math ICAP, students must meet or exceed the minimum scores for at least one English and at least one Math College and Career-ready Demonstration option.

ALL(credits, community service, and fees) of the above requirements must be met for a student to graduate.

Students are required to complete 15 hours of community service to graduate.  All service must be completed between 9th and 12th grades.  Please fill out the form and turn it in to the counselor: Community Service Hours

For information about registering for courses for the 2020/21 school year, click here: Peak Academy Hybrid 2023-2024 Course Catalog

Students in grades 9 and 10 take the PSAT and students in grade 11 take the SAT.  The SAT is used for college entrance AND for scholarships (even if you are going to a technical college, the SAT will be used to help you get scholarships). The SAT covers math and English, as well as topics in science and social studies.  It is used as a state test in Colorado, so students take it in April. Additionally, students can pay to take it at other times. For more information about the test, click on: or

Post Secondary Options

What are you going to do after high school graduation? There are many options! Talk to our Peak Academy Counselor, Amber Bray, to learn more about options.

4-Year College – After completing coursework at a 4-year college, students earn a Bachelor’s Degree.  Entrance into most 4-year colleges requires the following at minimum:

Specific High School Coursework including:
4 credits in English
4 credits in Math (Integrated I/Algebra I or higher)
3 credits in Science (2 lab-based)
3 credits in Social Studies
1 credit in Foreign Language
2 academic elective credits
Certain cut-point ACT or SAT scores (varies by college)
Completed application with essay, letters of recommendation, and application fee

Community College – Community colleges generally offer a variety of 1-3 year programs in which a student can earn a professional certificate (such as Medical Assistant or Veterinary Technologist) or Associate’s Degree.  Most community colleges are less expensive than 4-year colleges, provide specific job training, and have fewer entrance requirements. For entrance to most, students must have earned a high school diploma or GED, complete the application, and pay the application fee.

Military – Students who want to gain job skills, serve our country, be part of a team, and work right out of high school may want to look at military options.  With 5 branches and various ways to join (active duty, reserve, guard, academies), there are many options within the military. Each branch and section has different entrance requirements.  More information about the various branches, jobs, and entrance requirements can be found at:

Career and Technical Schools – These types of schools provide job-specific training to students.  Programs will range in length from a few weeks to 2 or more years. Students come out with the skills and certifications for jobs such as certified nurse assistant, automotive technician, cosmetologist, or computer technician.

Apprenticeships – Some students want to gain professional job skills, but do not want to attend formal college. Apprenticeships may be a good fit for this type of student. Students can gain the skills, education, and certification to become Electricians, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Carpenters through job specific apprenticeships.  Generally, apprenticeships last several years with workers getting paid while they train.

Volunteer Programs – Volunteer programs are for students ready to explore their interests but not ready to commit to college, the military, or a particular career.  For these students, volunteer programs such as AmeriCorps may be a strong option. AmeriCorps provides learning opportunities to young people throughout the country.  Students are provided with housing, food, training, and unique learning/working experiences. Successful completion of an AmeriCorps program helps students build their resume, gain skills, and provides them with an education stipend (money for future educational endeavors).  More information can be found at:

Employment – Students who are ready to join the workforce following high school graduation will want to explore their employment options.  While it is often challenging to find a well-paying job without training or college, students ready to work right out of high school do have options.  Some companies offer paid training and advancement opportunities. Having a strong resume, cover letter, and letters of recommendation will help students as they enter the workforce.

College Information

Community Colleges
  • 2-years or less
  • Students graduate with a certificate or Associate’s Degree
  • Often less expensive than 4-year colleges
  • Students able to transfer credit to a 4-year college
  • Some have traditional campuses where students live in dorms, can participate in sports or clubs, etc
  • Others have commuter campuses where students live at home or on own
Public/state Colleges
  • These are state schools (such as Colorado Mesa University or University of Colorado)
  • Students earn Bachelor’s or higher degrees
  • Usually have a wide range of majors
  • Less expensive tuition than private colleges, though often also have less scholarships
Private Colleges
  • Students earn Bachelor’s or higher degrees
  • Usually have a wide range of majors
  • While more expensive than public colleges, private colleges often have more scholarship money available

Financial Aid

Scholarships are types of financial aid that do not have to be repaid. Click here for a list of scholarship: MCSD Scholarships

Grants are financial aid from the government or other organizations that does not have to be repaid. Grant eligibility is generally determined through filling out the FAFSA.

Loans are money that is borrowed that must be repaid with interest.  There are many different types of loans available, each with different repayment requirements.  It is essential when getting an educational loan to look at the repayment requirements. Also, when looking at paying for college, it is important to look at the projected earnings of a career in relation to how much loans a student may owe.  Regardless of whether a student completes or drops out of college, loans must be repaid.

Work/study – The work/study program allows students to work on a college campus and earn money to help pay for school.  These programs allow students to find jobs that are in line with the college schedule and are usually located on campus.

FAFSA – Federal Application for Student Aid –  The FAFSA is a application that provides financial aid from the government. All parents with kids going to college will want to fill this out in the fall of their senior year (link to  )

HEAR – Higher Education Academic Requirements – (link to )

For a list of scholarships and their deadlines CLICK HERE
For a list of local scholarships, follow THIS LINK
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