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Aurora Public Schools considers creating remote learning centers

The school board will vote on whether to change three campus sites.
Credit: Tom Cole
Aurora Public Schools holds meetings with parents to discuss potential changes to three campuses, including the creation of remote learning centers.

AURORA, Colo. — When the population changes, Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn said the district must be ready to change, too.

"We've seen significant changes in where students live and what patterns of families are moving, and even birth rates are changing," Munn said.

Through a vision called Blueprint APS, Munn said the district has been taking input on how to build the school district of the future.

"I think we've done a three-year process of engaging in the community, asking the community, 'How should we serve you best?'" Munn said.

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At places like Century Elementary School, South Middle School and Lyn Knoll Elementary, Munn said the needs call for a transformation.

"In some of buildings where we've seen low enrollment, we're really looking at what does that mean to provide better supports for our students and families," Munn said.

The smaller Lyn Knoll elementary building would be replaced with a bigger school designed for up to eighth grade. 

At Century and South, the district is thinking about a new idea -- remote learning centers.

"The concept would be to have physical space where one, some of our teachers working remote can work out of one of our buildings to maintain strong Wi-Fi connections, IT support," Munn said.

The center would also serve remote students, acting as a place for them to come in for assessments or support.

"To where students who are fully remote, if their parents on a given day may need that support because they got called into work or some other circumstance," Munn said.

RELATED: Students falling behind in math during pandemic, study finds

If passed, Century would change to a full remote learning center next fall, while the process will be phased in at South Middle School with current students finishing out their remaining years, if they choose to.

The APS board will consider recommendations in January after a series of community meetings, including a virtual question-and-answer session on Wednesday night.

> The full virtual meeting schedule can be found here

Munn said these ideas may be borne out of the pandemic, but they are changes that should be considered for the future.

"We don't view COVID-19 as momentary," Munn said. "We view it as a pivotal moment in education of changing the nature of some of the work that we do and so we have to respond to that."