APS Chalk Talks

Dear APS Parents and Families,

We invite you to join us for virtual informal discussions called Chalk Talks. During the Chalk Talks, you will have the opportunity to build connections with district leaders while also sharing valuable feedback about your student’s learning experience so far this school year. The discussions will be held virtually using Zoom. Visit the Chalk Talk calendar on the Parent Playbook for more details! We will update each calendar entry with its own YouTube view-only access link.

To access all the Chalk Talks, click on the link below:


Meeting ID - 920 1462 9564

For view-only access to the Oct. 1 Chalk Talk, click on the link below:


Spanish interpretation will be provided. If you require another language, please call the APS Central Languages Services office at 303-365-7805 to make the request. We ask that you call to request interpretation no later than 48 hours prior to the Chalk Talk you plan to attend.

Our first Chalk Talk will be for all parents and will be held on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m. We will also be hosting a Chalk Talk that specifically targets schools in your area. Please see the following schedule:

  • Oct. 1 @ 2:30 p.m. - All Parents

Chalk Talk Parking Lot - Paraphrased Highlights of Questions & Comments

      • Q: How can teachers address in-person and remote students’ needs at the same time during the hybrid model?

      • A: We will be using an A-B schedule, which will still provide connections for the remote students with teacher. We’ve developed strategies, e.g. Synchronous learning, where teachers are teaching online students and teaching other students in person, all in one classroom; In-person students will have time to work independently, and during that time, teachers can connect more with remote students. Of course this situation is not ideal. We are being guided by medical science and health guidelines. This is the safest way to have kids together: in smaller groups, hence a hybrid model. Some families have opted to learn entirely remotely, and we are ready to serve those students as well.

      • Comment: Kids are finally ‘getting it’ working remotely. And now my kids are going to have to change their routine by trying to adjust to a hybrid model. But if they are fully online, it puts a significant burden on my family.

      • Q: I am a parent of a Kindergarten student. We see the work that’s been done at his school, which has been responsive and helpful. Remote Learning has improved too. We are at a loss for when we have questions; we don’t want to burden teachers. So, who should I ask if I have a question about how my child is doing? What if he needs an IEP?

      • A: Principals and APS and Deans and Teachers are at the ready. You can reach out to those individuals. Teachers, despite their workload, are eager to help and want to hear from parents. We can assure you that it would not be a burden. Also, any parent can request an IEP, Section 504, ALP, or English Learner plan by reaching out to the school counselor, teacher, school psychologist, or school principal, and we can get those processes started.

      • Q: With children being inside, how can we know that the HVAC situation is adequate?

      • A: We will make sure the Chief of Operations will get information out to the community regarding all the improvements that have been made so families are aware.

      • Q: Why was no information provided about what the day will look like before we had to make the decision on in-person or remote learning?

      • A: Our process was to bring it to the Board of Education first to get a sign-off for which approach(es) to go with. We then shared what the days would look like. It would not be appropriate to share out our ideas before having Board approval.

      • Q: How are tech (connectivity/network) issues for students being addressed?

      • A: This topic was part of the feedback we received from teachers during the recent teacher listening sessions. We took it to IT department to look into it. In turn, IT is talking it to our tech folks at the building level. Specifically, a conversation between families and teachers is the best first step. We are applying usage pressure on bandwidth, etc. as well, but we are problem solving and hope to eliminate some of those problems.

      • Q: What kind of assessment or measure of academic achievement will be taken this spring?

      • A: The main diagnostic tool for most grades is i-Ready, which gives an indication of where students are with math and reading. In addition, teachers assess in many ways on an ongoing basis. The CO Department of Education (CDE) cancelled CMAS last spring, but we’ll have other data through the means mentioned above. This spring, we will continue with CMAS according to CDE.

  • Oct. 5 @ 4 p.m. - Central Learning Community parents

    • Pickens Technical College

    • Gateway HS

    • Aurora Hills MS

    • Mosley P8

    • Iowa ES

    • Century ES

    • Jewell ES

    • Virginia Court ES

    • Wheeling ES

    • Lansing ES

    • Yale ES

Oct. 6 @ 4 p.m. - Northwest Learning Community parents

Chalk Talk Parking Lot - Paraphrased Highlights of Questions & Comments

      • Q: My concern is the wearing of masks for students. They are 13 and 15 and it’s hard for them to keep their masks on even with their parents. I’m afraid they won’t take the pandemic seriously. How are we going to be able to reasonably guarantee their safety?

      • A: The importance of mask-wearing has been consistent. I’ve talked to my kids about it this way (I can relate to having kids with the challenge of wearing masks): ‘This is your shared responsibility to keep kids safe in school. If we can be safe together, we can be at school longer in a safe way.' We have a unified policy across APS regarding mask wearing. We have a graceful warning/reminder process. Once a warning has been given but the choice is still made not to wear it, we reach out to the family, but if students continue, it could compromise the safety of the rest of people in the school, so we may have to decide to move them to remote learning. We don’t want this to happen, so parents, please talk about the importance of mask wearing and refer to our website and CDC. We will take this seriously.

      • Q: I have a first year freshman and a junior. When my kids get back into the building, how is the school going to address social/emotional issues in light of the pandemic, in light of the racial climate nationwide? How will the school support kids around Social Emotional health?

      • A: One of my main recent goals around Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is to get concrete about what SEL means. It has to start with us. I’ve been working with leaders on listening to ourselves, monitoring our own stress – people need to feel safe emotionally just as much as physically. Schools have a way to have conversations and check-ins with students. There are lots of signals that students show us; we’ve trained our teachers on this. Where is stress coming from? Deep breathing has a dramatic impact on stress. It’s biological and resets and stabilizes our system. We want to normalize this. Self-care plans for staff and students: If leaders are not modeling it, teachers and students may not follow suit. We have a rich investment in mental health staff. We need to recognize that not everyone is in the same place – some students have been experiencing stress for years. This is a unique opportunity to create safe spaces/affinity groups; critical understanding comes from multiple perspectives. Making sure there are safe spaces is another main goal. It’s my job to call out systems that create inequity. Also, counselors are on a natural rotation to reach out to students for check-ins and ensure them that it is okay to not be okay.

      • Q: Who will monitor students’ temperature at school?

      • Our Superintendent has made clear that health checks should start with families, e.g. asking children in the morning if they have any symptoms. At school, we have invested in thermometers for temperature checks. Teachers also asks students if they feel okay periodically. If not, students are moved to be isolated with assistance from the nurse staff, ad then we partner with parents on next steps. Also, we are trying to keep adult contact with students reasonably limited, and with a smaller amount of movement throughout buildings.

      • Comment: I appreciate the hard work and dedication all of you have put into remote and hybrid learning.

      • Response: 'Your kids are my kids' and I take this pandemic seriously. You would be amazed what one positive comment can do for a teacher or principal, and this is very appreciated. We will get through this but need to do it together.

      • Q: Is it mandatory for the students to go to in-school learning?

      • A: No. We sent a survey where you had to the opportunity to remain remote. These are all medically driven decisions that might not always seem to make sense academically. If you are in person, you have an option to move to remote. But the reverse is not true in the middle of a session or quarter due to the structure set up. You can change at quarter but not in the middle of a session or quarter.

  • William Smith HS

  • North MS

  • South MS

  • Quest K8

  • Fulton ES

  • Kenton ES

  • Lyn Knoll ES

  • Montview ES

  • Park Lane ES

  • Tollgate ES

  • Peoria ES

  • APS Early Beginnings

  • Jamaica CDC

  • Options Program

  • APS Avenues

Oct. 7 @ 4 p.m. - South Learning Community parents

Chalk Talk Parking Lot - Paraphrased Highlights of Questions & Comments

      • Q: [With one of your childcare providers], my kids will be combined with kids from 14 other schools. If first priority is safety, aren’t we concerned with all of that potential cross contamination?

      • A: Safety is of No. 1 importance across our schools and communities. We are employing health guidance from Tri-County. We are ensuring students are being separated properly. We share the same concern, but some families have a strong need for childcare.

      • Q: Are these daycares keeping cohort groups?

      • A: Yes, there is increased spacing and cohorts in classrooms. We hear your concern and will take it back to our leadership team. The ultimate goal is in-person learning. With Tri-County guidance, we feel we can do this safely. We’ve received feedback from Tri-County at a recent visit that we are doing a great job.

      • Q: What kind of PPE will you be providing for teachers?

      • A: The Governor is providing masks for teachers; APS HR team is trying to meet the needs of teachers around PPE. PPE are on our metrics – making sure we have enough for our schools.

      • Q: Do we have access to that decision matrix?

      • A: Yes, it’s on the APS website – there is a banner for COVID-19, and the link is on that page.

      • Q: How can APS will guarantee that there will not be a follow-up and ensure that kids don’t come to school and make other kids sick?

      • A: All schools will be engaging with parents. All families need to do a symptom check before coming to school. Families will be required to pick up children if they are sick. We want to empower our schools to communicate with families in the best way for that particular region via mechanisms such as emails, newsletters, parent coffees, etc. (these vary), but messaging around health protocols will be the same across the district regardless of school.

      • Q: Kids will eat in the cafeteria at some schools, but in the classrooms at others. How will the cafeteria situation work?

      • A: The end goal is small numbers and no mixing. All students in an entire grade would not be in the cafeteria at one time. Only when social distancing is possible can the cafeteria option work. And they won’t be able to roam around freely.

YouTube live viewing link: https://youtu.be/Ze-WrxGiiQs

  • Rangeview HS

  • Columbia MS

  • Mracheck MS

  • Harmony P8

  • Aurora Frontier P8

  • Murphy Creek P8

  • Arkansas ES

  • Dalton ES

  • Dartmouth ES

  • Side Creek ES

  • Vassar ES

  • Meadowood CDC

Oct. 8 @ 4 p.m. - Northeast Learning Community parents

Chalk Talk Parking Lot - Paraphrased Highlights of Questions & Comments

      • Q: I’m very thankful for the openness that the district has provided – lending an ear and support such as food and mental health. When will the next chalk talk be besides the upcoming ones this month?

      • A: The FARE team has been great with supporting this. This is a new structure/approach. We will be publishing dates in the future. On the parent playbook, there is an opportunity for parents to give us feedback via our email address or through the survey on the front page if there is something you need in the meantime.

      • Q: Will my child have the same teacher for her in-person week vs. her remote week?

      • A: She might not; it depends on the school. If you call the school and give them your child’s name and grade, they will tell you exactly how that will work. Also, for some schools, teachers are teaching A and B students simultaneously; some are separating it out.

      • Q: Will parents be given the option, maybe quarterly, to change learning model (in-person vs. remote)?

      • A: APS sent out information in the summer. Families can make a different choice at quarter for elementary school and middle school, and every session for high school. But you have to make that choice and inform the school two weeks before the start of the quarter.

      • Q: How fast would transition be if the learning model is changed again.

      • A: It should be at least a two-week turnaround since it has implications for scheduling/planning.

      • Comment: I want to give props to teachers for being able to deliver such meaningful instruction virtually during this time.

YouTube live viewing link: https://youtu.be/9RhNbN3IIYw

  • Hinkley HS

  • Vista PEAK Preparatory

  • East MS

  • Clyde Miller P8

  • Altura ES

  • Elkhart ES

  • Laredo ES

  • Sable ES

  • Sixth Avenue ES

  • Vaughn ES

  • Vista PEAK Exploratory

  • Laredo CDC

Oct. 10 @ 4 p.m. - All parents (Family and Community Engagement)

Chalk Talk Parking Lot - Paraphrased Highlights of Questions & Comments

      • Q: Will students be able to keep the same levels of learning in the remote setting?

      • A: That is the goal! We are all working really hard to ensure your children are getting what they need. They are going to learn skills that they would not have had otherwise - working through frustrations, how to communicate, technology skills.

      • Q: What will graduation look like this year?

      • A: We are hopeful that events will return to normal, but everything we do keeps student, staff, and family safety in mind. We will communicate as we get guidance from Tri-County. Last spring, each family could have two guests, students were socially distanced, and it was a 90-min. ceremony.

      • Comment: I have been a volunteer for APS for over 20 years. I think it is very important, and I think the students appreciate it.

YouTube live viewing link: https://youtu.be/48CqS86iBr8

Oct. 12 @ 4 p.m. - Action Zone Community parents

Chalk Talk Parking Lot - Paraphrased Highlights of Questions & Comments

  • Q: I have three kids learning from home. It’s difficult to have them go to three different schools, so I opted for remote learning. I do volunteering. Even with kids at home, can we still do volunteer work?

  • A: We want to be sure that parents have an opportunity to engage. We’re keeping Parents in Action in an online space for safety, and we’re going to need to be innovative to support each other virtually. So please continue to participate, but it might look different for now.

  • Comment: I have a 12th grader. I feel bad for parents who have younger students – they need a lot of patience.

  • Reply: Indeed it can be a challenging space with multiple kids. We hope to reduce some of that with hybrid learning.

  • Comment: Today I went to Boston P-8, and the protocols were in place and that gave me a feeling of security.

  • Reply: Thank you, it's nice to hear that. We were deliberate and methodical to be able to keep kids safe. Glad you noticed that. Health Services has played a large role in this. From Health Services: Yes, our schools, board, superintendent, teachers, and administrators have worked very hard to put multiple levels of mitigation in place to help support keeping illnesses out of our schools. Tri-County Health Dept. has been working very close with us on this.

  • Q: What is the difference between learning in-person and remotely?

  • A: Ultimately, there’s no difference in the standards and content. Same high expectations for students. In person, there are more opportunities to do more collaborative learning, but we’re committed to giving remote students education at the same level.

  • Q: How will parents will be notified if children are in contact with someone with the virus?

  • A: We have an incident response team that regularly meets. We’ll communicate with families that have potentially been exposed, and those classes will be put into a 14-day remote learning situation. If there is a positive case at a school, we will notify families of the entire school with details of what has happened and the outcome. We feel very supported by HR and Health Services. We’re always working together to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

  • Comment: The only challenge is internet – when it goes down, but other than that everything is going well.

  • Reply: Yes, the key is to keep in touch with the teacher and let them know when there are internet difficulties and we will work on these issues to the best of our ability.

  • Comment: After-school and day-time care for children: Cost of these is a concern.

  • Reply: During the day school care (for remote students) will be offered at non-APS facilities for the most part, and will be around $5/day based on availability. After school: We will restore what was in place last year at Zone schools. Boston, Crawford and Paris will have Boys and Girls Club after school ($2 registration fee per year). Will start after first two full weeks of hybrid learning at our elementary schools. It will take place on the weeks that your child is at school for in-person learning. No program on Fridays. School-time care: APS is working to build out a school-time care program. Three sites are secured currently. We will expand to several recreation centers once staff are hired.

  • Aurora Central HS

  • Aurora West College Preparatory Academy

  • Boston P8

  • Crawford ES

  • Paris ES

YouTube live viewing link: https://youtu.be/N_5cmGAaXWk