(Oct. 8) – Responding today to a recent report about declining achievement levels in the Aurora Public Schools, Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, called on the community to rally around the embattled district.

“If we fail to remain united in our support for the Aurora Public Schools, our students will suffer even more,” Rep. Fields said. “It is imperative that we continue to work together as a community to support the kids, parents, teachers and administrators in the district.”

A third of the 39,000 students in the Aurora Public Schools, the fifth largest district in the state, are English language learners, and more than 70 percent receive free or reduced-cost lunch. Only 60 percent of its students graduate from high school, and other academic achievement indicators put APS below the state average.

Rep. Fields, who holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s in psychology counseling and guidance, noted the improvements the district has already made. APS boasted a 3.2 percent uptick in graduation rates and a reduction in expulsions and suspensions in the 2014-15 school year. The district is currently working on its own reform initiatives.

“Every child, no matter what their ZIP code is, deserves a quality education,” said Rep. Fields, a member of the House Education Committee. “We need to look for opportunities to help all our kids succeed, regardless of their background.”

Rep. Fields said she will host a special town hall meeting focusing on the state of education in Aurora on Oct. 28 from 6:30pm to 8pm at the Dayton Street Opportunity Center.

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