A partnership between APS and the APS Foundation

A large kitchen inside the Gaylord Rockies Hotel & Convention Center may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a classroom. Yet that 's exactly what one of the Gaylord's kitchens became on Tuesday for Aurora high school students hoping to pursue a culinary career. 

Like Carlos Rodriguez, a senior at Gateway HS. He might not look like a professional chef now, but he plans to be one someday. Now, the teen is one step closer to chasing his dream as he got a hands-on lesson from a culinary pro.

That's the point of the wok-based learning program, a partnership between Aurora Public Schools and the APS Foundation. It gives students real-life training from industry experts in fields they want to pursue after they graduate.

For this event, nearly 40 juniors and seniors from APS's five comprehensive high schools got to explore potential careers in four different areas of interest: Culinary, hospitality, media, and health care. 

The program is also part of the APS Foundation's annual board retreat. It allows foundation board members to participate side-by-side with students during their workshops, and see up close how it provides opportunities for APS students to explore careers they're passionate about. 


Montview Elementary is supported by CDE's SEL K-5 SEL Pilot Grant

This grant supports two additional social workers and a variety of programming and resources to support student's social emotional learning. Montview's MSW Sara Bauman meets with every Montview student who has come to the US in the last year and she has a 30-45 minute weekly social and emotional group. There are four to six students in each group and they talk about the unique immigration experiences that each child has been through. There are a total of 35 kids in her groups (each child has to have a signed permission slip). Since November, she has run a total of 56 hours per group.

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APS supports students and staff wellness!Kaiser Permanent logo

Thanks to the Thriving Schools: Resilience in School Environments Initiative grant from Kaiser Permanenete, APS can move forward with our important work supporting student and staff wellness. Ove the next three years, Vista Peak Exploratory, Vista Peak Preparatory and East Middle School are participaing in a grant opportunity to create measurable improvements in well-being and job satisfaction, healthier staff, and healthier kids. Find out more about this awarded program visiting the Linkedln post

Attainment Network Grant and the Aurora Partnership

APS, Community College of Aurora, and Pickens Technical Collge, collectively knowns as "The Aurora Partnership," are currently in the third and final year of a  $597,000 grant from the Attainment Network. This grant is specifically dedicated to developing career-connected pathways, with a strong emphasis on the healthcare field. In the final year of the grant, the partnership is creating a district-wide employer engagement hub, broadening work-based learning opportunities, mapping comprehensive healthcare programs, and improving accessibility to concurrent enrollment by removing barriers. The grant will help equip students with the skills, knowledge, and practical experience needed for success in both their careers and further education.

Congratulations to Pickens Technical College!

The Colorado Community College System and the Office of Economic Development and International Trade awarded Pickens Technical College the Skills Advance Welding Mobile Learning Lab grant in the amount of $439,941.60. The grant will provide funds to build a mobile welding lab that will be stationed around the Aurora area to promote the Welding programs offered at Pickens Technical College. 

Metro Migrant Education Program goes to the Migrant Youth Leadership Institute in Greeley

Metro Migrant Education Progam logo

The Metro Migrant Education Program took over 20 students to the Migrant Youth Leadership Institute in Greeley, CO on September 15th. During the event, students learned about the importance of pursuing their post-secondary education goals, how they can prepare to be successful during college and some of the financial options they have to make attending an institution of higher learning a reality. The group also had the opportunity to tour the Aims Community College campus and hear from Keynote speaker Dr. Robert Garcia. 


Early Childhood Department gets awarded over $400,000 for their Universal Preschool ProgramColorado Department of Early Childhood Home


The Colorado Department of Early Childhood provided these funds through their Capacity Building grant, which will fund educational materials and supplies, healthcare materials and supplies, technology, furniture, and infrastructure at 29 APS preschool sites. Dr. Lisa Roy said "By supporting providers with these grants, we are helping them improve their programs, which results in a stronger foundation for all Colorado Children."

Burrell Arts 9th grade students Mural

Thanks to the support from Think 360 Arts for Learning and the Colorado Creative Industries, 22 ingaugural 9th grade Burrell Arts students explored the essence, philosophy, and purpose of "Abstract Imaginism," a style of art created by the muralist, David Ocelotl Garcia. The students worked with the artist to co-design and paint a mural.

Here is what the students had to say about their mural:

"Our mural is all about representing the things that personally mean a lot to us. We wanted to show our individuality and how we're all different, but we still come together as a team. That's shy we each picked a different subject for our section of the mural."

"It's not just about the individual parts of the mural. We also wanted to bring it all together by using patterns that run throughout the whole thing. We used a variety of colors, using bright and bold colors to make it pop. We spent a lot of time working on the mural. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it to see how well it all came together."

"Working on this mural was an amazing experience. We all brought our own skills to the table and collaborated to create something that we're all really proud of. We spend a lot of time together painting and listening to music, and it was a great bonding experience. It's amazing to see how we all came together to create something that's not just a mural, but a representation of who we are as a group. We hope that when people see our mural, they can see the individuality that we all bring, but also how we come together to create something really special."

Thank you Westerrra Credit Union

Thanks to Westerra's support of our CLDE Student Advisory Team (Aurora Public Schools), we hosted our second in-person workshop for students on Friday, February 17, 2023 at the Community College of Aurora. Your funding helped us pay for a delicious lunch as well as transportation costs. Students worked on a design thinking project, did a tour of the campus, explored leadership characteristics, and listened to a fabolous community guest speaker from Project Worthmore. We appreciate Westerra's commitment to our multilingual students and to expanding their college, career, and leadership experiences. - Maggie Guntren -

Exciting news at APS Avenues

APS Avenues was provided a $2,500 donation from the Guitar Center Foundation to purchase musical instruments and supplies. Jessica English, Teacher-Essential Life Skills & English, purchased ukuleles and supplemental supplies to support her students with their social emotional learning. Her students have been enjoying their new instruments in class and having fun Jam sessions. Way to go Jessica!


Congratulations to Jada Ruiz Castro, Community Health Resource Advocate for winning a Colorado Food Pantry Assistance Grant (FPAG) in the amount of $25,000! Awarded funds will be used to purchase food for APS food clinics, boosting food security for APS students, families and community. This year, the food clinics are implementing farmers markets at each of the schools in the Action Zone serving between 150-200 families at each market.

MMEP Summer Learning Events

The Metro Migrant Education Program hosted events this summer aimed at providing tools to parents to prevent summer learning loss. Families heard from different speakers on strategies and ideas on what educational activities their children can participate in this summer. Students also received materials for the summer such as books and summer workbooks.

More than forty Migrant families attended the North and South Event on which Migrant parents were able to sign up for summer field trips, meet other parents, gain knowledge and the importance of summer learning, and enjoyed lunch from Jimmy Johns and Qdoba. La Raza paid a visit with free COVID vaccines. Students were able to make new friends, learn how to draw, paint, sew and enjoy pizza, donated from Abo's and Cosmos Pizzeria.

MMEP Summer Learning Events1

MMEP Summer Learning Events2

MMEP Summer Learning Events3

MMEP Summer Learning Events4

MMEP Summer Learning Events5

Colorado Workforce Development Council

Pickens Technical College receive an award from the Colorado Workforce Development Council to expand the USDOL apprenticeship program by adding additional occupation in Future Teachers, Automotive Technician and Facilities Maintenance Technician.

Way to go Computer Science Team!!!

Congratulations to the Computer Science team on another successful year of growth and learning! During the 21-22 school year, 12 teachers from the STEM Advisory Committee participated in some in-depth professional development facilitated by MindSpark. This allowed them to create a scope and sequence towards the future of computer science in APS. Assitionally, 6 teachers participated in computer science classes this summer facilitate by the Colorado School of Mine. All of these opportunities were a result of a generous grant from the Colordado Department of Education.

Colorado Health Foundation Grant

Kudos to the staff across 13 APS schools that brought physical activity to students last school year through our Colorado Health Foundation Grant! Thanks to you, 1,100 students were physically active and engaged in a variety of activities including soccer, dancing, rock climbing, hiking, football, skateboarding, Plyoga, and cheer team including others. Interested in bringing a physical activity to your elementary or high school? Reach out to Wellness Coordinator Louis Morphew to learn more.

North MS Zen Den Room

The Zen Den Room is a great space for staff to connect with their coworkers, participate in wellness activities, and enjoy some peace and quiet outside of the classroom.

The majority of the items in the Zen Den room were purchased with a generous grant from 'be well", which is a health and wellness initiative of The Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communties.

Northrop Grumman grant awarded to Rangeview's CyberPatriot Team

Rangeview's CyberPatriot team was recently awarded a grant from Northrop Grumman. The purpose of this grant is to support the team with their registration for annual membership, support summer camps, and additional supplies and equipment the team needs to prepare for competition. A portion of the funds this year were used to pay for dual monitors so students can have more visibility when working on cybersecurity classes. APS is grateful for this long-term partnership with Northrop Grumman to support our students and their career goals.

CyberPatriot Team

CyberPatriot Team 2

Colorado Health Foundation Grant

Thanks to funding from the Colorado Health Foundation, APS was able to implement over 20 free afterschool physical activity programs at 13 different schools during the 21-22 school year. Activities consisted of taekwondo, boxing, sports camps, climbing clubs, dance, skateboarding, cheerleading, and more! This type of work has been such an important way for students to connect with their peers after school, stay healthy, and learn something new. We are thankful for this partnership and look forward to continuing to expand into more schools and offer even more programs during the 22-23 school year.

Health Foundation Grant

Health Foundation Members

COMPASS Enrichment Performances

COMPASS Enrichment Performances

The COMPASS program recently had the opportunity to partner with several local organizations to bring enrichment performances to students and families. During this last session, participants will get to experience Aztec dancing and music, hip hop and breakdancing performances, BMX shows and bicycle safety, as well as visits from the Aurora Police Department to showcase their new gaming trailer. Students are welcome to invite their families to be included in the experience.

COMPASS leadership uses these opportunities to help meet some of our grant performance measures, as well as shedding light on culture, safety, and career experiences for students.

COMPASS Performances

COMPASS Family LOVE Monster Project

COMPASS families recently participated in another take-home project. February was focused on LOVE. We love it when families get involved at COMPASS! Students were able to create very unique, yet not so scary, monsters with their families at home. They talked about people, places, and things that they love. We believe that families that participate in their child's school experience help their students become even more successful! Please enjoy this video of Vaughn students and families with their beloved monster projects.

Walmart Local Community Grant

Local Community Grant

Over the past two years, the CLDE team has hosted and facilitated a student advisory team. The team consists of multilingual and multicultural middle school and high school students from neighborhood schools throughout the district. Last year, the team facilitators (Molly Bachelor, Dr. Lyn Westergard and Alexis Lauffenburger) received a grant to expand the team's work. The goal of the student advisory team is to hear from middle and high school students regarding their ELD experiences and learn about what the CLDE department can do to enhance learning opportunities for them and their peers. The students on the team serve as representatives for their respective sites.

Here is a short (1:47 minute) video that showcases a portion of the retreat held earlier this month. The retreat was hosted at CCA and funded by the grant which included translation, interpretation and transportation. The team is hopeful to receive a larger grant in the future to expand the work and the impact to multilingual learners in support of their current and postsecondary goals.

MMEP students visit Front Range Community College

Front Range Community College

High school students from the Denver Metro Region, visited the Front Range Community College on Wednesday, November 3, where they meet with Representatives. The Representatives gave presentations on what to expect when attending college and the difference between high school and college. They talked about the many different programs the college offers and how they can be a part of them. Students learned that they could potentially qualify for Financial Aid.

The students were taken on a tour around the college to get more of a feel on how it will be if they decide to take the next steps into their future at Front Range Community College.

APS COMPASS Students Celebrate Lights On Afterschool

Students from across Aurora recently came together to celebrate the 22nd Annual Lights on Afterschool, which is a nationwide event recognizing the importance of afterschool programs.

The students who attended are enrolled in COMPASS at various schools in the district, including Aurora Hills Middle School, Fulton Academy of Excellence, Global Village Academy, Kenton Elementary, Peoria Elementary, Sable Elementary and Vaughn Elementary.

"COMPASS is really fun and I like the learning activities that we get to do," said Vaughn Elementary Student Myat Soe. "I also get to talk to other students who I probably wouldn't talk to because we are in different classrooms."

Beginning in 2000, the Afterschool Alliance organizes Lights on Afterschool to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs benefit students, families and communities.

COMPASS stands for Community of Many Providing After School Success and has been in partnership with the City of Aurora and Aurora Public Schools for over 20 years.

APS Schools Receive Funding for COMPASS After-School Program

Congratulations to Vaughn Elementary School and Global Village Academy for receiving a grant from the Colorado Department of Education that provides funding for an after-school program called the Community of Many Providing After School Success, or COMPASS.

COMPASS is a partnership between APS and the City of Aurora Office of Youth Development and has been offered for more than two decades. It ensures that every child is provided an opportunity to participate in out-of-school activities that support academic success and positive youth development.

This grant allows Vaughn to continue with their after-school program and enables Global Village to start the program this school year. Other COMPASS school sites include Fulton Academy of Excellence, Kenton Elementary, Peoria Elementary, Sable Elementary and Aurora Hills Middle School.

"Research shows that students enrolled in after-school programs improved their math or language arts grades, improved their homework completion and class participation, and overall improved their behavior in class," said Vaughn Elementary School Principal Jen Dichter.

As outlined in the updated APS 2026: Faces of the Future strategic plan, one of our goals is that every student will have a community of support to bring their academic plans to life. Thank you to the Colorado Department of Education and the City of Aurora for making this worthwhile opportunity possible. We are excited to see our students flourish in the program over the next several years.

Walmart Local Community awards grant to the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Student Advisory Team

The purpose of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Student Advisory Team is to provide a space for students to share their school experiences in order to impact meaningful change. The team is currently looking to expand and take on a more impactful role with schools and the district. They were recently awarded the Walmart Local Community Grant, which supports school groups who are making a difference in their communities.

Since the 2020-2021 school year, The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Student Advisory Team has been hard at work sharing their stories and giving input on important educational topics. The small committee is made up of grades 6 - 12 students from multiple schools. They come together several times a year to share their school experiences, give input on programs, courses, and upcoming decisions. Students who join this team want to make a difference in their school and community.

Please watch this three-minute video that highlights the work of the CLDE Student Advisory Team.

Brush, Book, Bed a collaboration between Children's Hospital and the ACTION Zone Community Schools

This fall marks the closing of a 3 year collaboration between Children's Hospital and the ACTION Zone Community Schools to deliver Brush, Book, Bed to the three ACTION Zone preschool students. The program is a family engagement program that promotes oral health in the community, starting with our youngest children. The program supported 78 students and offered linguistic and cultural adaptations for our Swahili, Burmese, Karen, Nepali and Spanish speaking students.

Action Zone Community

Action Zone Community 2

The 2019-2020 school year, there were a total of 9 events run that engaged families in the importance of Teeth Brushing, Family Literacy practices, and routine bedtimes for optimal health of our youngest students. Each family engaged with their child in an activity and had space to discuss questions regarding their child's Oral Health with a Children's Hospital hygienist. Additionally, families left with a developmentally appropriate book to promote literacy at home.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a large pivot to redesign the program to continue activities at home, despite the mandatory closures of schools. Our multilingual outreach team created "Brush, Book, Bed in a Bag" where families were provided oral health care supplies, a book, and activities in their home language to engage in while schools were fully remote. The ACTION Zone created a YouTube Channel to ensure our students had the books in a home language, have a look at a sample in Swahili!

Children's Hospital

The grant program will come to a close this fall, with the last Brush Book Bed in a Bag going home in early October. Children's Hospital and the ACTION Zone re-applied to continue the program with hopes to expand services by offering dental screenings to all of our ACTION Zone school sites, bringing even more oral health support to our multilingual community.

MMEP and A Precious Child partnership

The Metro Migrant Education Program (MMEP) is a federally funded program that provides supplemental services to migrant children.

Precious Child partnership

Through a partnership with A Precious Child (APC), the program is able to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to students that may have that need.

APC also donates 3 presents to each student every year during the holidays. MMEP staff also refer families to APC that are in need of clothing, supplies, baby formula, diapers , wipes, house hold goods, and hygiene items.

Child Partnership Program

You can visit their website by clicking here

Summer COMPASS After School Program

The COMPASS after school program (Community of Many Providing After School Success) had a very busy and exciting summer! Students from Fulton, Sable, Vaughn and Kenton Elementary Schools and students from Aurora Hills Middle School participated in fun activities online with APS teachers and City of Aurora enrichment providers.

The program was structured to allow for up to 3 hours per day of online learning. Thanks to generous grants from 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Tony Grampsas Youth Services, students were able to receive at-home learning kits to keep them entertained and educated over the summer months.

This program is typically done in person but the COMPASS leadership team quickly assembled an engaging and exciting online learning platform for students to still participate over the summer. Feedback from parents was very positive and many families were thankful to have a way for students to still engage with friends and familiar faces after school ended.

Summer COMPASS ProgramSummer COMPASS Program

This program has been a long-standing collaboration between Aurora Public Schools and the City of Aurora. The purpose of the COMPASS Program is to provide students and families with quality, structured, supervised after-school programs that make significant strides to engaging students academically, socially and physically. APS is grateful for the partnership in an effort to help every student shape a successful future.