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

If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Increase Funding

Investing in Aurora’s public education system can generate enormous returns, particularly when funds are used strategically on known solutions. This year, APS took the first steps to leverage funding for increased student achievement. At the August 2 Aurora School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved a bond question for the November ballot. Aurora voters will…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Early Childhood Programming

Research shows that early childhood education prepares children to enter and succeed in the classroom, decreases their risk of social-emotional mental health problems, and increases their self-sufficiency as adults. Education during these formative years can also begin closing the educational achievement gap between low and high-income students before formal schooling begins. Effective early childhood education…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Turnaround Schools

As the end of the accountability clock draws near for Aurora Public Schools, the district has to create systems that support school-level improvements in its lowest performing schools. Though the district has begun to take steps to improve its lowest performing schools–creating the International Leadership Innovation Zone and replacing Fletcher Community School with a high-performing…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Serving High-Need Students

Aurora has seen an increase in high need student populations. To serve its population of English Language Learners, immigrant and refugee students, and students with disabilities, APS can and should be using the funds of knowledge available throughout the Aurora community. APS can also look for examples locally and nationally of schools that are serving…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Exemplar New Schools

Of the eight If Not Now recommendations, this is the one that has seen the most movement. While APS did not open any new schools this year, it did lay a foundation for developing exemplar new schools. Some of the most important developments include: a district reorganization, approving new APS schools, and strategic school replacements.…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Rating System

The purpose of publicly available data is twofold: to inform people about the current state of affairs and to inspire improvements based on that knowledge. Families and communities should be able to access data about school quality, their student’s performance relative to other students in the district and the state, and an understanding of the…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Community Engagement

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 to find ways…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Strategic Plan

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. Having a plan…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Introduction

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 with the release…

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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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