AURORA — While dozens of parents and school officials gathered in the media center down the hall to discuss the future of the academically struggling school, a handful of junior-class girls at Aurora Central High used their lunch to promote the upcoming prom.

They were putting the finishing touches on the school’s main spirit window, which tells students what time of year it is. St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun were out, prom was in.

This year’s theme: the roaring ’20s.

As they admired their window work, three students took time to share their thoughts on the school’s designation as a failing school. They explain why they think state officials may have it wrong about Aurora Central.

Numbers tell a grim story at Aurora Central. According to state exams, only three out of 10 ninth grade students can read at grade level. And only 13 percent of ninth graders there are proficient or advanced in math. The school’s on time graduation rate is 46 percent.

But the school is getting better, they said. They have options like attending Pickens Technical College, a trade program, or classes at the Community College of Aurora. Everyone is really nice at Central. It’s like a very large and diverse family. The state should visit the school and look beyond the test scores that determine its failing status, they said.

Listen to the student’s in their own words below:

Beatriz Avelar

Bry’Ona Johns

Angelica Ramirez

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong spelling of Pickens Technical College. We regret the error.