Mission and Core Values

Aurora Mission

Aurora School’s mission is to nurture children’s love of learning by cultivating academic excellence, emotional intelligence and social engagement.

Aurora History

In 1988, Carol Smith, an Oakland educator, and a community of families, faculty and staff dedicated to progressive education founded Aurora School. Together they realized their vision of multi-graded classes, hands-on, developmentally appropriate learning, and a commitment to academic and social/emotional learning. Aurora began in Carol Smith’s living room with 20 students spanning grades K – 3.

Aurora’s Core Values

Progressive Education

We are progressive educators committed to the idea that learning is an active, social, integrated, and developmental process that requires all children to construct meaning and knowledge of the world around them in a setting that fosters risk-taking, individual challenge and cooperative exploration.

Academic Rigor

By definition, progressive education is academically rigorous. Teachers guide students to do their personal best in all areas. Our teachers create a learning environment that fosters active learning, curiosity, enthusiasm and collaboration. Perseverance, professionalism and high standards inform every aspect of our school experience.

Social-Emotional Learning

Thoughtful communication, self-awareness, and sensitivity to others are critical to our social-emotional curriculum and the development of culturally competent, successful human beings.


Aurora is a community that actively works to be inclusive. We celebrate diversity, appreciating and encouraging each person to contribute his or her unique values. We are strongly committed to all types of diversity.

Community Engagement

We reach beyond our doors to share our mission, energies, and passion. Students and adults at Aurora engage in both service learning and community service at all grade levels on a consistent basis.

Family Participation

Families are integral partners in their child’s education and family involvement is strongly encouraged in all aspects of the school, from the classroom to special events, continuing education, and school governance.