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


A+ Answers: How are kids doing in Aurora doing and what should be on our radar going into the elections?

Aurora Public Schools (APS) has school board elections on November 5. Here is a quick overview view of who the students in APS are, and how they’re being served so that voters can better understand the challenges facing Aurora Public Schools.

Who is running?

There are 5 candidates running for 3 seats.

Who are the students in APS?


Aurora is a school district where the majority of students are students of color.

Who are the teachers in APS?

Despite boasting a diverse student population, a stark majority of APS teachers are white.

How are students in APS being served?

Aurora Schools by State SPF 

State Ratings explained:
“Priority Improvement” and “Turnaround” are amongst the lowest performing schools in the state. If schools stay in these categories for more than 5 years, the state must intervene. The “Improvement” category is a rating that indicates that while the school is not struggling to support students to the same extent that schools on the accountability clock, not enough students in the schools are meeting grade level expectations or making enough growth. “Performance” is the state’s highest rating which signals that these schools are meeting expectations for students. However, A+ believes that “Performance” captures several schools with variable outcomes for students and does not reflect the reality of school performance.

Importantly, Aurora Central High School has been on the State Accountability clock for 9 years. Gateway High School has been on the State Accountability clock for 5 years. 33% of Aurora high school students attend one of these two schools.

Graduation

77% of APS High School students graduate in 4 years. However, their SAT performance and SPF ratings for two major high schools beg the question of whether graduation is a  meaningful marker of post-secondary readiness. (2018)

Discipline

American Indian or Alaskan Native and Black or African-American students face the highest discipline rates in APS. (2019)

Growth for Students Receiving Special Education Services

Compared to their academic peers, students on IEPs are making less academic progress. (CMAS 2019)

Progress of Emerging Multilingual Students

57% of Aurora Public School’s Emerging Multilingual Students are on-track to meet English language proficiency standards. (ACCESS 2019)