Watch CBS News

Aurora Public Schools kicks off the new school year

Aurora Public Schools kicks of the new school year
Aurora Public Schools kicks of the new school year 03:19

Aurora Public Schools began the 2022-23 school year on Tuesday, and the school district is working hard to help students overcome barriers right out the gate.

APS boasts a graduation rate that's jumped more than 30 percentage points in the last decade to 76%. The school district is in the midst of a rebrand.


Thousands of families gathered last weekend at the Town Center Aurora for the 14th annual "Back to School Kickoff." Some 6,000 backpacks full of schools supplies were given away for free — of the ways APS is showcasing how working together with community will help kids succeed.

"Recognizing that there are a number of barriers to students having a successful future and how we partner with families, how we partner with the greater community to step in the gap, as we've talked about, and really break down some of those," Munn told CBS4.

Happy First Day of High School freshmen!! We are so excited to have you this school year! #achspride #backtoschool #aurorapublicschools #trojans

Posted by Aurora Central Trojans on Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The City of Aurora saw an increase last year in gun violence involving youth. Superintendent Rico Munn is part of a metro-wide coalition working to address this by providing kids with safe spaces and healthy environments. 

APS is the fifth largest school district in Colorado with 38,000 students served last school year. The school district has 63 schools, including its 11 charter schools.

With enrollment trending downward for several years due to declining birth rates and high housing costs, new magnet schools such as the Burrell Arts campus is one way APS is working to attract families and offer them more choices. Peoria Elementary closed in May to make way for the Burrell Arts campus.

The other new magnet opening this year is the Clara Brown Entrepreneurial Academy. Located at the former Wheeling Elementary, which has been repurposed, the new k-8 Brown Academy will focus on preparing students for entrepreneurship and invention pathways.

High cost of housing is also a contributing factor to lower enrollment. In May, APS Board of Education voted to close Sable and Paris elementary schools. This was part of the district's effort to "right size" and restructure the district.

APS says its seeing its fastest growth in the eastern part of the district.   

"How do we reimagine how we deliver education and how we have our resources in the right place," Munn said. "That's led to repurposing some buildings ... that's led to some closures. That's also led to new construction in some parts of the district."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.