Aurora Public Schools gets poor state rating; Cherry Creek dinged for testing participation


AURORA | Aurora Public Schools was dinged by a statewide school-district rating system  and will be in its fifth year of the “accountability clock,” according to data released Thursday by the Colorado State Board of Education.

Cherry Creek school district fared better but was scolded for low-participation in statewide standardized tests.

The state’s accountability system, created under the Education Accountability Act of 2009, assigns school districts a status based on academic achievement, growth and post-secondary and workforce readiness. APS was given the the second-lowest rating a school district can receive, the Accredited with Priority Improvement Plan. According to the official District Performance Framework report, APS is struggling most with academic achievement. 

“Over the past few years, we have implemented an aggressive reform strategy to improve our lowest-performing schools,” said APS Superintendent Rico Munn. “We are seeing these reforms take shape with many areas of growth and improvement, but we know that this growth is not happening fast enough. We will work to build on our momentum and continue to focus on our strategic plan to help every APS student shape a successful future.”

In November 2016, APS submitted a request to CDE to reconsider its rating and change it to Accredited with Improvement Plan, asking for Alternative Education Campuses, the New American School, Fletcher Elementary School and Aurora Central High School to be excluded from the data used to determine district performance. The request was denied.

Nearby Cherry Creek School District fared better than APS, earning the status of Accredited with Low Participation. Low participation was added to CCSD’s rating due to test participation rates below 95 percent in two or more content areas, most likely the result of students opting out of PARCC tests last year.

“We are pleased that we continue to make progress toward our goal of Accredited with Distinction. This is validation that our hard work and focus on inclusive excellence and student success is taking us where we want to go,” said CCSD Superintendent Harry Bull said. “Even so, we still have more work to do and the information we receive helps us know where we need to place more focus.”