Aurora Public Schools moved up a step on the State Accreditation Ratings, and I, for one, am celebrating! Though some may argue that this is not a cause for celebration, I strongly disagree. Of course there is a long way to go. Of course there is much more to do. Of course this isn’t enough. But teaching and learning are complex. It takes a long time to see the results of change and even longer to feel confident that the results are indicative of a trend. But being one step higher on the accreditation ladder is an achievement that’s definitely worth celebrating.
Making this happen is no small task.
As a retired teacher and principal in the district, I understand the razor-sharp focus on achievement, the tireless attention to student monitoring and feedback, and the ongoing hours of collaboration that are required to move the needle in the right direction. It takes knowing what the students already know, understanding what they need to learn next, and believing in every student’s ability to achieve. It takes a highly qualified team of teachers and support staff with the right balance of skill and passion to get the job done right.
Yet, all the best practices in the world won’t matter if students aren’t in school. It also takes a dedicated team of parents who work hard to make sure their children are in school every day. The fact that graduation rates increased demonstrates that parents and schools are developing stronger partnerships to ensure that students are in class, ready to learn, and motivated to meet their goals.
And last but certainly not least, hats off to the students! They worked hard. They persevered. They took on the challenge of learning under many different circumstances, including being English Language Learners, working after-school jobs to help make ends meet, and participating in sports, music, and drama programs. They made learning a priority, and it paid off.
I have every confidence that Aurora Public Schools will take last year’s success and learn from it; they will analyze what worked and what didn’t; and they will apply what they have learned to all the teaching they do this year.
This celebration is only the first of many more celebrations to come!