A recently released report assembled by a coalition of parents and local organizations takes a deeper look into the state of education in the city of Aurora, Colorado and concludes that schools in the area are failing.
The “If Not Now Coaltion” released the report titled “If Not Now: Transforming Aurora Public Schools from Failing to Great,” finding Aurora Public Schools to be one of the worst performing school districts in the state for the last four years, according to data released by the state’s Department of Education. The report says that the district is in danger of losing “accreditation and state intervention.”
According to the report, 70% of jobs in the state will require a degree or higher education certificate. However, they estimate that only 10% of students in Aurora will meet this requirement. They go on to suggest that this number will only continue to drop as proficiency rates in all subjects continue to go down.
The authors suggest change in the state is needed, arguing that attention needs to shift away from improving Denver Public Schools and instead focusing on schools in Aurora. The report continues to say that the district houses the largest number of failing schools in a single district in Colorado, as well as some of the lowest academic achievement in the area, with just over half of all students in the district graduating from high school. Fewer than half of high school students feel safe while on school grounds.
In order to promote change in the district, the report suggests a number of strategies that have proven successful elsewhere. The coalition states they are ready and willing to stand with the district, offering support and help in implementing these ideas.
The report suggests that first, a strategic plan must be developed that outlines specific goals for student achievement that includes milestones, timelines and suggestions for implementation.
The authors say community engagement efforts should be created to ensure that district plans on topics such as the districts’ strategic plan, turnaround plans, transportation, and before and after school programming are supported by the community. They also suggest making use of local experts and community voices to ensure that turnaround plans will be successful.
Families should be made aware of how their school is performing using an easy-to-understand system, as well as offered information concerning their child’s performance in their native language.
Exemplary schools should be built and created, which effectively educate the growing population of English Language Learners, immigrants, refugees and children with disabilities.