Dear Aurora Public Schools Community,
As we continue implementation of our long-term facilities and educational plan, Blueprint APS, I want to provide you with updates on our progress.
Most recently, we opened two new magnet programs this year (Charles Burrell Visual & Performing Arts Campus and Clara Brown Entrepreneurial Academy). Yesterday, we celebrated the grand opening of the Clara Brown Entrepreneurial Academy with our community. It was a joy to talk with students, staff and families about our new school and the exciting learning that is happening there this year.
As a reminder, Blueprint APS is about providing our children with the necessary resources, schools and learning opportunities to meet the challenges of the future. This long-term plan focuses on strengthening Aurora’s educational programs and ensuring our community has the right buildings and resources to serve students into the future.
You may have read in recent news reports that several other school districts across the Denver metro area are embarking on similar work as they have also experienced sharp enrollment declines. Enrollment declines negatively impact school district budgets, so in order to address our significant enrollment shift, Aurora Public Schools proactively began planning for the future with community input starting in 2018. Additionally, our school district also needed to plan for a large number of new families who are moving into developments in the eastern part of our district.
As such, Blueprint APS implementation started in 2019. So far, implementation work has included the following:
- Closing 8 Schools (Century, Lyn Knoll, Peoria and Wheeling have closed; South, Sixth Avenue, Sable and Paris will close at the end of this school year)
- Repurposing Two Buildings to Open Two New Magnet Programs (Charles Burrell Visual & Performing Arts Campus and Clara Brown Entrepreneurial Academy)
- Rebuilding East Middle School and renovating Virginia Court Elementary School
- Building and Opening 2 New Schools for the 2023-24 school year (a P-8 school in Region 3 at the former Lyn Knoll site and a P-8 school in the Aurora Highlands)
- Planning to open a new One Health Innovation Center that includes space for P-TECH on the same campus as North Middle School
- Preparing to build a New School in Horizon Uptown
We are excited for the many new opportunities that are and will be available for students. We must also acknowledge the difficult and sensitive conversations that we have had about closing and repurposing schools. We know this work is challenging, but this is the critical planning that we must do together as a community in order to best serve our students into the future.
This year, our focus will be in these areas:
- School Building Repurposing: We will be identifying building needs and recommend best repurposing uses of buildings with community input. There will be information sessions and we will provide updates throughout this process regularly. We are planning to present an update to our Board of Education at their October 25 meeting.
- Regional Specialization Work: We will deepen our work to provide students at schools throughout the district with more real-world learning experiences throughout all 7 Regions in the following specializations:
- One Health
- Business Management & Hospitality
- Visual & Performing Arts
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM)
- Technology, Engineering and Design
- Entrepreneurship & Invention
- Project-Based Learning
- Boundary Processes: Sable, Paris and Sixth Avenue elementary schools will close at the end of this school year. As such, we will be conducting boundary processes for families that currently attend Sable, Paris and Sixth Avenue this fall. As is our practice, we will be providing multiple opportunities for staff and families to provide input. We will be sharing information about these opportunities in the coming months. We anticipate that most Sable students will attend either Park Lane or Altura elementary schools. Most Paris students will attend Crawford or Montview elementary schools. Most Sixth Avenue students will likely attend the new P-8 school that will be opening in Region 3 (at the former Lyn Knoll site) for the 2023-24 school year.
We ask for your continued partnership and voice in this critical work as we plan for the future. Change is always difficult and we want to provide as much communication and support throughout these transitions as possible. We will, of course, continue to keep a close eye on our enrollment numbers throughout the district. We anticipate that we may need to recommend additional school closure and repurposing recommendations to our Board of Education during the 2023-24 school year.
Once again, we will share additional information and updates with you regularly. Thank you again for your continued support.
- Superintendent Rico Munn
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