The Aurora Highlands and Aurora Public Schools Break Ground on New P-8 School

Aug 27, 2022

It will be the first of four APS schools constructed within The Aurora Highlands master-planned community east of E-470

AURORA, Colo. (August 27, 2022) –The Aurora Highlands will welcome Aurora Public Schools (APS) for a groundbreaking ceremony on September 8 at the site of what will soon be the residential community’s first of four new schools in their nearly 4,000-acre master-planned community.

The ceremony will begin at 4:30 p.m. on September 8 with remarks from the school’s Principal Josh Cooley, APS Superintendent Rico Munn, an APS School Board member, and The Aurora Highlands’ Director of On-Site Development and Principal Carla Ferreira. Attendees will also hear from a parent who lives within The Aurora Highlands about what this new school will mean to their family. Refreshments will be served afterward.

The school, which is expected to be complete in time for the 2023-2024 school year, will serve about 1,000 students in preschool through 8thgrade residing within The Aurora Highlands and along the E-470 corridor.

“This is such a unique opportunity for both students and staff,” Principal Cooley said. “There’s a special kind of inspiration that comes with learning in a brand-new building with top-of-the-line technology and educators. I look forward to growing this school alongside this new community, The Aurora Highlands, which will become a foundation of success for all residents in northeast Aurora.”

Principal Cooley has more than two decades of experience in Colorado education, 15 of those years within Aurora Public Schools.Most recently, he worked from 2017-2022 as the principal of Wheat Ridge High School. Prior to that, he worked with APS as an assistant principal at Rangeview High School and a social studies teacher at Aurora Hills Middle School, Gateway High School and the Vista PEAK campus.

The 2022-23 school year will serve as a planning year for Cooley and his new administrative team. They are still evaluating options for school specializations and, in the beginning of 2023, APS will reach out to The Aurora Highlandsand surrounding communities to ask for their input regarding a school name, mascot and color scheme. Hiring for teachers and other school staff will also begin in early 2023.

“When coming up with plans for The Aurora Highlands, we knew it would be important to not only provide top-quality schools for our residents, but also for Aurora as a whole,” Carla Ferreira, director of on-site development and principal at The Aurora Highlands, said.“We want to be a pillar in the greater community. Whether it’s through providing free public art exhibitsor exceptional public schools, we are focused on making northeast Aurora a wonderful place to live and grow a family.”

APS is working to determine the new attendance boundaries for the P-8 school and will be seeking feedback from The Aurora Highlands and surrounding communities over the next few months about where to draw the boundaries.

Three other APS schools will be added in The Aurora Highlands community in the coming years.

The Aurora Highlands is already home to hundreds of residents, and when completed, the community is designed to be home to 50,000 people and include eight distinct neighborhood villages, 21 miles of trails and 500 acres of parks and open spaces, along with amenities like an ice and recreation center and the public-art centric Hogan Park at Highlands Creek that will span 100 acres.

Construction of the new school is funded through APS’ bond program, a $300 million measure thatvoters approved in November 2016.


About the Aurora Highlands
Located between the mountains and the plains, The Aurora Highlands 4,000-acre master planned community expands the metro area to the east near DIA. The community features every category of housing from attached to multi-family and single-family residences, providing people with more than 12,500 housing units. The community also incorporates Colorado’s active lifestyle with recreation centers and over 21 miles of trials, 12 neighborhood parks and 20 pocket parks. Hogan Park at Highlands Creek in particular will feature public art instillations, performance plazas, climbing walls, a zip line, embankment slides and gardens in its nearly 100-acre space. Aurora Public Schools will also build four new schools in the community, the first of which will break ground in 2022 and open in 2023.For more information about TheAuroraHighlands, please visitwww.theaurorahighlands.comor call the Visitor Center at 720-356-0123.

About Aurora Public Schools
Aurora Public Schools is the fifth largest school district in Colorado. APS serves approximately 38,000 students and includes over 60 schools. It is one of the most diverse districts in the state with students from more than 130 countries who speak over 160 languages. Over the past several years, APS has made noteworthy improvements in graduation rates, dropout rates and overall student growth and achievement. In fact, since 2013, APS graduation rates have increased by almost 25%. During that same period of time, its dropout rate has sharply declined from 4.8% to 1.6%. APS 2026is the district’s strategic plan, which includes four strategic goals: 1) Every student will have a plan for their future, 2) Every student will have a set of skills to implement their plan, 3) Every student will have credentials that open doors and 4) Every student will identify and connect with a community of support.


Liz Kotalik
Prim + Co