Like many school districts across the metro area, Aurora Public Schools has faced sharp enrollment declines, which have and will continue to negatively impact our budget. With input from the community, Blueprint APS was developed starting in 2018 as a way to respond to these and other enrollment shifts in our community. The goal is to ensure students have access to the resources they need to be successful while bringing intentionality and equity to how APS directs its resources to serve families.
Blueprint APS implementation started in 2019. It was designed with community input to create new, engaging learning opportunities for students while ensuring that our facilities are aligned to future enrollment projections. This long-term plan allows us to serve students equitably and with more opportunities throughout the district. Thus far, implementation work has included the following:
- Closing 6 Schools (Century, Lyn Knoll, South, Sixth Avenue, Peoria and Wheeling)
- Repurposing Two Buildings to Open Two New Magnet Programs (Charles Burrell Visual & Performing Arts Campus and Clara Brown Entrepreneurial Academy)
- Repurposing Two Schools for our Online Programs (One serving students in Grades 3-8 and APS Avenues serving students in Grades 9-12)
- Building Two New Schools (P-8 Schools at the Former Lyn Knoll Site and in the Aurora Highlands)
- Created a Specializations Taskforce to Support Real-World Learning Experiences for Students throughout all 7 Regions
With the Board’s approval of the latest recommendations for Region 1, implementation will include the following:
- Closing Sable and Paris elementary schools and repurposing the buildings for an alternate use that would benefit the APS community (Please be assured that there will be continued community engagement to identify how the buildings may be repurposed.)
- Opening a new One Health Innovation Center that includes space for P-TECH as well as space for One Health programming for students in grades K-12. This will be built on the North Middle School campus. North Middle School will continue to serve as a boundary middle school for students in grades 6-8.
This means Paris and Sable elementary schools will close in May 2023. After that, current students enrolled in grades K-3 at Paris and Sable will attend a different boundary school that is nearby. We will begin a boundary process to determine which schools students will be attending for the 2023-24 school year. We anticipate that the boundary processes will be completed by fall of 2022. Most Paris students would likely attend Montview or Crawford elementary schools and most Sable students would likely attend Park Lane or Altura elementary schools.
North Middle School will remain open as a boundary middle school serving students in grades 6-8. A portion of the campus will house the new One Health Innovation Center including space for an innovation P-TECH as well as space for One Health programming for students in Kindergarten through grade 12.
P-TECH is an innovative partnership between a school district, community college(s) and one or more local high growth industry employer(s). Students begin in ninth grade and continue for up to six years (i.e. high school and two equivalent years of college), and will graduate with both a high school diploma and an industry-recognized associate degree, in addition to gaining relevant workplace skills. Students receive intensive student support services, mentoring, job shadowing, internships, pre-apprenticeships and other workplace educational experiences. P-TECH is open to all students, with a special focus on encouraging enrollment of students who are socio-economically and racially diverse, first-generation college students, English language learners and students with disabilities.
The Board’s approval comes after months of community engagement and informational sessions with parents, guardians, staff members and other stakeholders. While it is never easy to close and repurpose schools, Blueprint APS will provide equitable support to our educational resources into the future. We are confident that these difficult decisions will have a strong impact on long-term student success.
As we continue Blueprint APS implementation, we will continue to share information and support our students, families and staff. Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to your partnership in continuing this important community process.
- Superintendent Rico Munn
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