Expanding Access to 'A'
Connecting School Finances with Academic Outcomes is a Must for Arizona
With a state investment as critical as the one we make in public education, we need to know where and how our monies are allocated—at both the macro- and the micro-levels. This means having a clear picture of the local, state, and federal dollars directed to individual school sites, not just the broader district level. The benefits of making this information accessible are fairly obvious— it’s how we measure if and how our money is working for us when it comes to educating our kids. It also enables those who manage resources to make strategic decisions that ultimately drive better student outcomes. Read More...
Believing in Ajo
In our close-knit community of Ajo, we take pride in dreaming big dreams for our children and giving them the tools to make those dreams reality. Because we believe in what our kids can do, students at Ajo Unified School District (AUSD) are rising to a level of excellence and proving the possible. In what was once a failing school, we now have a 93% percent graduation rate and, in recent years, over half of our students earning entrance to college. Ajo High School's grade moved from a "D" in 2011 to an "A" in 2014. Ajo Elementary School earned a "B" in 2014 and we strive for "A" status! These achievement gains have accelerated in the last five years due to a shared staff commitment to excellence and a sense of accountability—not just to standards—but to each individual student. As a result, our kids are flourishing under high expectations and the confidence we daily demonstrate in their abilities. We still face many challenges as we work to increase academic rigor and improve AzMERIT scores.
Giving rural students a high quality opportunity for learning, as we do in Ajo, prepares them for life and to make meaningful contributions to our community. Read More...
Existing Schools That Succeed With Students Are Driving Excellence
Some of you may have seen the Children Action Alliance’s response to the proposal for Results-Based Funding. Allow us to correct the record. Better yet, let some of Arizona’s finest school leaders say it best:
“Gov. Ducey’s budget not only emphasizes education, it focuses on schools like Nogales that are delivering great results to rural and low-income populations across our state. We strongly support this approach.” – Angel Canto, Assistant Superintendent of Nogales Unified School District and Baltazar Garcia, CEO of Mexicayotl Academy
This money will serve a very diverse set of schools whose commonality is excellence. These best schools often serve students outside their district and attendance boundaries and many have long wait lists. Read More...
Hot Off the Press
Did you know that 60% of Arizona public schools have unfilled teaching positions? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and A for Arizona propose a new approach to addressing the teacher shortage in Arizona. A case study titled, “Teacher Talent Pipelines: Streamlining the Path from Student to Educator in Arizona,” proposes using lessons learned in supply chain management to develop a sustainable amount of qualified teachers for the schools most in need. Learn more below!
Arizona public schools are subject to a school rating system intended to communicate how well Arizona classrooms meet their obligation to educate students, primarily in the areas of reading, writing, math, science and graduation. The process by which Arizona calculates school letter grades is now in the middle of an overhaul during which the A-F system has been put on hold. The law authorizing the moratorium requires the new system to be ready for publication by the 2017-18 school year based on 2016-2017 outcomes. This update to the rating system comes in response to the adoption of a more rigorous set of academic expectations in Arizona and how we test those expectations.
It is essential that the public’s reliance on A-F ratings be honored by strengthening the system to make these new grades a better indication of school quality. Learn more below!
More about A for Arizona
A for Arizona exists to support and expand the number of our best A-quality leaders, educators, and public school models, especially those who serve primarily low-income students. The program is a project of the Arizona Chamber Foundation, in partnership with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We believe all students in Arizona deserve to be educated in an A-grade school, and we know that such schools are possible everywhere. It is time to insist. Learn more about A for Arizona.