Mapping school info is key in APS

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AURORA | Schools are places to click and seek in Aurora. Aurora Public Schools has rolled out a new feature on its website in an effort to create more awareness about its individual school communities across the city of Aurora.

The new interactive map feature gives people a chance to look at snapshots of each school in the district. Information on the student body, how the school has performed in statewide testing, mission statement from school leadership and programs at the school are all available with a click of a button.

“This is a great place for parents to come because there’s so much info on the district all in one place. It’s available for all parents and community members so they can learn about the district and to learn about all the programs we offer,” said Corey Christiansen, spokesman for APS. “We are excited to be able to show parents what our schools are doing. When they go to this site, they can get the info they need to know what to expect when they enroll their children at that school.”

The new tool allows users to pick any of the district’s 55 schools off of a map of the city. Each point on the map provides information on the demographics of that school, the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch, the percentage of students who are English language learners and percentage of gifted and talented.

Along with student information, the map provides information about the number of teachers, the years of experience and how many hold advanced degrees.

“We want to provide as much info as possible for our families so they have that information available to make decisions on their children’s future,” Christiansen said. “We also want to tell our story to those parents and let them know what we’re doing to help their kids succeed in school.”

Christiansen said the district is working with every school to create short videos to be included with the information available on the map as another way for each school’s staff to introduce themselves to the community. So far only a handful of the schools have videos produced, but Christiansen said the district is working slowly but surely to get them made.

“There was a significant amount of work to be able to put the interactive map together,” Christiansen said. “We had a lot of information gathering we needed to do from all schools to get the demographic information as well as give a good description of programs and values.”

The interactive map isn’t the first foray into interactive tools for parents and the community APS has put in place in recent months. The district put out a new budget balancing tool at the end of June. That tool gives users a deep dive into the district’s 2017-2018 budget and allows users to adjust spending in different areas of the school’s current budget. At the time, APS Superintendent Rico Munn said the tool was a way for the district to try and go beyond the required level of transparency for its budget and start a conversation with its residents about the choices APS made in spending its money.

To check out the interactive map, visit APS’s website at aurorak12.org/schools/interactive-map/.