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

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…

Continue Reading …


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.…

Continue Reading …


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…

Continue Reading …


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…

Continue Reading …


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…

Continue Reading …


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…

Continue Reading …


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…

Continue Reading …


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…

Continue Reading …


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

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 of PARCC state…

Continue Reading …


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

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 cars, or were…

Continue Reading …