These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.

If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Community Engagement

By Liz Reetz Community engagement is a key component of effective school and district improvement. Without the support and investment of the community, change cannot take root. Aurora Public Schools has taken steps to engage the community in discussions about school improvement, particularly around the development of the innovation zone. The district, however, does need…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Strategic Plan

By Liz Reetz Aurora Public Schools’ strategic plan needs a thorough revision. APS 2020 is a simple plan: every student will have a plan for their future, the skills to implement their plan, and credentials that open doors. By zeroing in on workforce readiness, the plan’s measures do not adequately enumerate how improvement will happen.…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Introduction

By Liz Reetz Last October, the If Not Now Coalition released the first comprehensive report about the state of Aurora Public Schools. The report found that, while there were bright spots in individual schools, the district by-and-large was not providing the excellent education Aurora students deserve. A year after the release of the report, and…

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Healthy Bodies Make Healthy Brains

By Sarah Kurz, LiveWell Colorado Vice President of Policy and Communications While Coloradans have much to be proud of, the reality is that we’re not as healthy as we think we are, especially our kids. Colorado’s great quality of life has attracted healthy, educated adults yet we’ve struggled to provide that same healthy environment for…

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ACT Results Show: High School Graduation ≠ College Ready

By: Peter Huidekoper, Jr. When our final ACT results were released last month, there was good news.  Chalkbeat Colorado opened its story with a Well done! Colorado is ending its run with the ACT college entrance exam on a high note. The state’s overall average composite score last year was a 20.4, the highest it’s been…

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Colorado’s PARCC Hangover: One Step Forward or Many Back?

By Van Schoales A few weeks ago, education headlines all over Colorado read “PARCC Results In.” Summarized, the articles asserted that Colorado elementary schools had shown slight improvement from 2015 to 2016, but the results were vague to say the least. And it’s true, while the Colorado State Board of Education released the second year…

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4 Reasons Why the State Board Vote to Keep HOPE Set a Troubling Precedent

By Liz Reetz This post was updated 9/12/2016. The State Board unanimously voted to keep the Aurora campuses of HOPE Online charter school open despite the local school board’s decision to close the schools. Recently, A+ Colorado CEO Van Schoales compared HOPE Online campuses to the Ford Pinto. For all of you who lack enthusiasm for vintage…

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2016 Rambles Issue No. 3: Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How Boulder and CDE are Sweeping Students Under the Rug

By Lisa Berdie When I talk about the use of data in education (and specifically school accountability) I tend to get one of two reactions– it’s seen as either a pet project, at best peripheral to, and at worst a distraction from, school improvement strategies; or that I’m a cog in an (evil) technocratic takeover…

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2016 Rambles Issue No. 3: Steps in the Right Direction: Aurora Public Schools Set to Increase High-Quality Options

By Liz Reetz Aurora Public Schools will close out this school year with big decisions impacting district improvement and access to high-quality school choices for Aurora’s kids. At this week’s meeting, the APS Board will hear proposals for four charter schools looking to serve Aurora Public Schools students: Academy of Advanced Learning, Vega Collegiate Academy,…

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2016 Rambles Issues No. 3: What Will Tom Do (WWTD)?

By Van Schoales Tom Boasberg, the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, is about to return to his position after a six-month sabbatical with his family in South America. After seven years as superintendent, he has been one of the longest serving superintendents of an urban school district with an elected school board in our country’s…

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