Our Story

Abigayil Koss, Head of School
Abigayil Koss, Head of School

It is a pleasure to welcome you to Aurora School, a home to heart-smart and head-smart students, nestled in the quiet residential neighborhood of Upper Rockridge in Oakland. Since 1988, Aurora School has intentionally been teaching 21st-century skills such as collaboration, communication, empathy, critical thinking, and creative expression. The power of being a small school allows us to get to get to know our community intimately, forming strong working partnerships with parents and students alike. Being a smaller school, our students have the opportunity to get know themselves and each other as learners, contributing community members, and empowered and authentic human beings. We know that rich learning happens when a variety of ideas, opinions, strengths and challenges come together. We’re proud of our reputation as a school where students and families feel comfortable, supported, and included for who they are.

Our students learn in multi-aged classrooms- K/1, 2/3 and 4/5 grade groupings by design. This mentor exchange leads to greater academic challenge and support, positive self-conception and encourages the inner leader in our students. The world needs leaders who are as heart smart as they are head smart, and that’s precisely how Aurora graduates are described when they go on to the schools of their choice.

We invite you to come see Aurora in action where parents and guardians work in partnership to provide a challenging and supportive academic environment for our students. Our website is an excellent introduction to all that Aurora School has to offer, but nothing compares to feeling the energy of our student leaders and their talented teachers for yourself.

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

Snapshot of Aurora

1988 icon


Aurora was founded in 1988 by Oakland educator Carol Smith together with a community of families and teachers dedicated to progressive education.
Target icon


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


Aurora nurtures young leaders, but not only in the way you might think: at Aurora, “leader” means stepping up—in both dramatic and subtle ways—and the responsibility to lead falls on everyone.
Multi-Graded Classrooms icon

Multi-Graded Classrooms

Students at Aurora are in mixed-aged classrooms. There are two classrooms each for grades K/1, 2/3 and 4/5. Students spend two years in the same classroom.
Service Learning & Community Service icon

Service Learning & Community Service

By getting outside the classroom and engaging with the world beyond our walls, Aurora students learn to see themselves as empowered actors and citizens.
Diversity & Inclusion icon

Diversity & Inclusion

As part of our shared commitment to diversity and inclusion, Aurora faculty exposes students to diverse perspectives, intentionally incorporating those who are ignored by the dominant culture.
Specialists icon


Over the course of their K-5 experience students explore Art, Library, Yoga, Music, Physical Education, Spanish, STEM, and Woodshop.
School Day icon

School Day

K/1: 8:45 am–2:20 pm
2/5 8:30 am–3:15 pm
All students are dismissed at 2:00 pm on Wednesdays.
Extended care available:
7:30–8:45 am and end of school day—6:00 pm

Student Racial Diversity

Student Racial Diversity Pie Chart

Students at Aurora live in: Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Fremont, Lafayette, Oakland, Orinda, Piedmont, Richmond, and San Leandro.

Tuition is $29,379

for 2020-2021

Average tuition paid at Aurora for 2019-20 was $21,540

40% of families are on financial aid

2 girls looking into lunchbox

School Lunch

Lunch is available five days a week through Food for Thought Catering. Lunches are delivered directly to Aurora each morning.

They provide easy web-based lunch ordering and updated monthly menus that allow you to personalize your child’s lunch based on their taste or dietary needs.

Elementary school age children

Extended Care Program

Families are invited to use Care before and after school where time and space are made for playing, reading and homework.

  • Before Care 7:30–8:45 am
  • After Care 2:20-6:00 pm
  • Drop in rate: $11/hour
  • Prepay: $390/month for unlimited hours
Child's painting of dog

Enrichment Classes

Enrichment Classes at Aurora offer students a chance to explore a topic in depth after school right here on the Aurora campus.

Classes are offered in the Fall, Winter and Spring. Each class meets weekly after school for 7-8 weeks. Students may sign up for Enrichment Classes at additional cost.

Girl peeking through frame she made in wood shop summer camp

Summer & Break Camps

Aurora School offers fun and creative camps during school breaks. Our camps are open to the public.

Spend the summer learning, creating and exploring in a supportive loving environment. Our experienced staff and small groups give campers lots of individual attention for an extra fun summer.