“A for Arizona is the first organization of its kind in Arizona intentionally going about spreading excellence through learning from schools and leaders who are already excellent. A for Arizona is putting the power back in the hands of top-of-the-line schools and educators who are making a difference. The contemporary solution to education is failing – it simply does not pay to put all attention on failure and ignore success. A for Arizona has instead opted for a more positive and practical approach: to put money into schools, leaders, and ideas with track records of increasing student achievement. Our leadership also agrees with A for Arizona that to elevate the teaching profession, both in skill and status, we must increase teacher pay. The potential, therefore, for A for Arizona is to not only increase the number of “A” schools in Arizona, but also to elevate the teaching profession and status of American education as a whole.
The team behind A for Arizona, lead by Lisa Graham Keegan, is simply phenomenal. Every event they have organized has been met with praise from the educators they have invited. In my experience, the A for Arizona leaders have exceptionally high standards. To receive praise from the leadership of the top performing schools, you really must be making a difference and creating value. A for Arizona has, in short time, unified many educators who have for years been working, oftentimes, in isolated silos. This includes our team, which is now working with several other school districts outside of A for Arizona’s scheduled events. A for Arizona has also enabled excellent educators to learn from, give feedback to, and create relationships with the business community and state and local government.
Kim Chayka is the Director of Program Development at the Academy of Math & Science and Math & Science Success Academy.