As we continue to face many pandemic-related challenges, it is important for us to listen, respond and adapt as quickly as possible. Staffing shortages have impacted nearly every industry including public education. In fact, you may have seen media reports about schools and districts across the country that have needed to close schools for a day or two recently due to these staffing and substitute shortages. We recognize that these shortages have also put additional strain on teachers and school staff. Many teachers have expressed concerns about lack of planning time because they have been providing additional coverage for classrooms to address the substitute shortage. We need to be as proactive as possible in addressing these challenges, which is why we are implementing late-start Mondays after Winter Break for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.
By giving our teachers more planning and professional development time, this proactive step is intended to allow us to keep our learning environments intact and minimize disruption to our schools. Late-start Mondays mean that most APS students will report to school one hour later than normal on Mondays. Start times for all other days of the week will remain the same and dismissal times will remain the same. Please review our bell schedules here.
Please note that if your student rides an APS bus to school, APS transportation will pick up students from their bus stops one hour later than normal on Mondays.
Exceptions include Preschool, ACTION Zone Schools and Pickens Technical College
Please note that there will be exceptions to late-start Mondays. This includes all preschool students at our elementary schools and Child Development Centers. Preschool students will continue to follow their regular schedule on Mondays. ACTION Zone schools (Crawford, Paris, Boston P-8, AWCPA and Aurora Central) will also start at their regular times on Mondays. This is because ACTION Zone schools already have early release Fridays built into their schedules for planning and professional development. Lastly, Pickens Technical College will start at its normal time on Mondays.
Preschool students and ACTION Zone students who ride an APS bus to school will be picked up from their bus stops at their normal times on Monday mornings.
We chose Mondays in an effort to minimize the loss of instructional time because there are 15 Mondays during which APS is in session for the second semester.
We recognize that many families will need to make alternative childcare arrangements for Monday mornings, so we wanted to inform you of this change as quickly as possible.
Please know that we did not make this decision lightly and we thank you for your continued support.
- Superintendent Rico Munn
I hope you had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I know that many of you likely have safety concerns after the recent incidents involving gun violence near Aurora Central and Hinkley high schools. Please know that the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. We would like to inform you of what additional security measures and mental health supports we will have available for students and staff when they return to school tomorrow.
We are working closely with the Aurora Police Department (APD) to keep our students and staff safe as they lead the investigation into these two shootings. At this time, the Aurora Police Department says they believe the incidents were not related.
We have also received messages from Safe-2-Tell with tips and information. We take each message very seriously and we work with Safe-2-Tell and APD to follow up on them. We continue to encourage our students to report any safety concerns, including possible social media threats, to a trusted adult or anonymously through Safe-2-Tell at 1-877-542-7233.
ADDITIONAL SECURITY MEASURES
In addition to the strong safety plans we have in place every day, we are putting the following additional measures in place:
Exceptions to this will include: students leaving for classes at the Community College of Aurora and Pickens Technical College, students leaving the school with parent/guardian permission, students attending supervised athletics/activities, and students attending field trips with supervision. Students should check in with the main office prior to leaving campus.
Parking lots will be considered off-limits and students may not go to their vehicles during the day without permission from the office. We will maintain this protocol at all of our high schools until Winter Break. We will determine at that time if we will continue with this protocol through the second semester and share that information with you.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS
I recognize that our students and staff may have difficulty dealing with these violent acts within our community. We will have counseling support available at all of our schools. If your student would like to speak with a counselor, please contact your school’s front office.
As shared previously, this online resource from the National Association of School Psychologists may also be helpful as you talk to students at home about acts of violence.
Please remember that anyone can also call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 any time, day or night. They are available to help and support students and families.
As a reminder, all APS employees also have free, 24-hour, confidential access to counseling services offered through our Employee Assistance Program.
This is a difficult time in our community. Let us continue to work together to keep our community safe. Thank you for your continued support.