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 has been teaching 21st-century skills like collaboration, communication, empathy, critical thinking, and creative expression. We offer a diverse and tightly-knit community where students have the opportunity to get to know themselves and each other as 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-grade classrooms, where grades K/1, 2/3, 4/5 and 6/7/8 share learning spaces. 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

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Aurora was founded in 1988 by Oakland educator Carol Smith together with a community of families and teachers dedicated to progressive education.
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Aurora School’s mission is to nurture children’s love of learning by cultivating academic excellence, emotional intelligence and social engagement.
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Aurora nurtures both leadership and empathy. In our multi-grade classrooms older students serve as mentors to younger peers, who become mentors themselves the next year. Our Middle Schoolers create and run clubs for lower graders.

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Multi-Grade Classrooms

Grades K/1, 2/3, 4/5 and 6-8 share learning spaces with rotating curricula. This two-year cycle allows for a greater learning span and enables deeper student/teacher relationships.

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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.
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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.
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Over the course of their K-8 experience students explore Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, Spanish, STEM, and Woodshop.

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School Day

K/1: 8:45 am–2:20 pm

2/8 8:30 am–3:15 pm

All students are dismissed at 2:00 pm on Wednesdays.

Extended care is available:

7:30–8:45 am and end of school day—6:00 pm

Racial Diversity

Student Racial Diversity Pie Chart

Diverse perspectives

Aurora strives to reflect the diversity of the Bay Area with its staff, student, and family population. At Aurora, we celebrate all types of diversity. Our families share the common goal of providing their children with a progressive and academically engaging education.

We believe that effective learning and independent thinking can only take place in an engaging, respectful environment that makes everyone feel safe and included. That’s why we strive to give students and adults alike many different opportunities to get know themselves and each other as learners, contributing community members, and empowered and authentic human beings.

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 at Aurora is
$33,010 for K-5 and
$36,520 for Middle School

Average tuition paid by Aurora families is $27,442  

30% of families receive
tuition assistance

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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.

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 8:00 am–8:45 am
  • After Care 2:20-6:00 pm
  • Drop in rate: $11/hour
  • Prepay: $420/month for unlimited hours
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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.

Rolling admissions are open for the 2023-24 school year!
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