North Middle School VisionNorth Middle School students will be prepared for academic success in high school and college, and will be ready to succeed in a globally competitive work force.
Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn has a laugh with student Wesley Tun-Medina, 12, during a math card game at North Middle School on June 17. (Photos by Andy Cross, The Denver Post)
AURORA — One of the first things Rico Munn did when he took over as superintendent of Aurora Public Schools a year ago was to ask every employee — from teachers to principals, janitors to bus drivers — to document how they "accelerate learning" for every student every day.
He encouraged employees to write what he called their "unified job descriptions" and post them where people could see them, whether on the bus or in the classroom or cafeteria. Some of the students decided to do the same thing.
Munn talks with student Felipe Flores, 12, about World Cup soccer as class is ending at North Middle School. During his first six months, Munn sought feedback from the community, including students.
"It was very powerful for rallying an organization of close to 6,000 employees," school board president Julie-Marie Shepherd said. "Everyone plays a vital role in accelerating student achievement."
On July 1, Munn will mark his one-year anniversary as superintendent of APS, a school district that saw gains after former Superintendent John Barry, a retired two-star Air Force general, took the helm of the district in 2006.
But those improvements — a decrease in the dropout rate and increase in the graduation rate — were met with some inconsistencies in the classroom. Students showed growth in academic achievement, but that tended to fluctuate. Scores on statewide tests were up and down.
Enter Munn, a 42-year-old lawyer and former member of the Colorado State Board of Education, who, like his predecessor, has no real background in education. He was not a teacher, principal or school administrator.
Rico Munn works with North Middle School students, from left to right, Jose Carrizales, 12, Wesley Tun-Medina, 12, and Felipe Flores, 12, during a math card game on June 17. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)
But Munn has been a breath of fresh air, those who work with him say, a leader who spent his first six months listening to the community. more..