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June 7th, 2017

#BeHeardAZ – We Are Listening, Pima County!

The Arizona Department of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction want to hear directly from citizens. No, really.

In 2015, the new to the office Superintendent Diane Douglas said she wanted to hold an annual statewide series of town hall meetings to collect feedback from every day Arizonans about what they need for the education of our children. Not only to that end, she wanted to hold the meetings in all areas around the state from far-flung to next door because we all know that the needs of Page, Ariz. are often much different than the needs of Tucson, Ariz.

This year we rolled out the Third Annual We Are Listening Tour in May in Phoenix Union High School District at their district office. There was record attendance for the tour’s launch meeting, and the consecutive meetings in Deer Valley and South Phoenix that same week also boasted amazing attendance both online and in person.

A new month has dawned, and that means more We Are Listening Tour town hall meetings. Tucson, we’re headed your way!

#BeHeardAZ is the theme of the 2017 We Are Listening Tour, and that’s just what we want from residents in Pima County and the surrounding communities. We want you to Be Heard!

Two meetings are scheduled in Tucson for next week. They are:

6-8 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2017 Leading Change Conference JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, Tucson E Room 3800 W Starr Pass Resort Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85745

6-8 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2017 Vail Innovation Center Community Room 10775 W Mary Ann Cleveland Way Tucson, AZ 85747

Both meetings are free, are open to the public, and attendance is not restricted by district or student enrollment. We welcome all parents, teachers and educators, as well as students!

A full calendar of events can be found at www.azed.gov/beheardAZ. Citizens unable to attend the meetings can participate by watching the meeting at www.youtube.com/AZDeptofEducation, emailing [email protected], or on Twitter using #BeHeardAZ or @azedschools.

Posted in Latest News |
June 7th, 2017

Chandler Unified School District Kicks Off Summer Food Service Program

Summer shouldn’t equal hunger. Though for many Arizonan children and their families, not being in school often means the absence of one, if not two, meals a day. The Arizona Department of Education’s Summer Food Program seeks to put an end to that however.

Chandler Unified School District has a robust and active nutrition program, focusing on whole child wellbeing and education, and they’ve continued their school year-long mission to serving Arizona’s children right into the summer months with Summer Food Pizza Camp.

The event conspires to blend much-needed healthy meals for low income students and their families with fun in a family-friendly activity: makin’ da pizza pie!

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas and ADE staff, along with Chandler Unified staff, were excited to be immersed in the healthy chaos of the day’s lunch service and pizza-making activity. Children ran around cafeteria at Ken “Chief” Hill Learning Center. Baxter and Bobby Freeman from the Arizona Diamondbacks entertained us during the event, and there certainly were a lot of playful squeals (especially when Baxter made his rounds) from the children.

The day’s event hosted a lunch for students and their families, followed by a “pizza camp,” where children made their very own pizza from scratch. Children decorated the pizza boxes, helped stretch their own dough, and selected fresh toppings from all the traditional pizza yummies, such as pepperoni, onions, green and red peppers, and mushrooms. They even added their own sauce and cheese.

The Arizona Department of Education Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) served more than three million meals in 2016 at school districts throughout the state. The program is part of an effort to ensure Arizona’s children receive continuous access to healthy meals. The program serves children ranging from newborns to 18 years old. SFSP sites, which can be a school or a non-profit organization like a YMCA or a Boys & Girls Club, must be in eligible areas where the percentage of children approved for free or reduced-priced lunch is 50 percent or higher. Sponsors are allowed to serve two meals or a meal and a snack per day.

Chandler Unified is just one of the school districts that are participating in the SFSP. Those interested in locating SFSP sites in their area, as well as their operating dates and times, can log on to https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks and type in their address or zip code or text FOOD to 877-877.

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May 18th, 2017

#BeHeardAZ – We Are Listening Tour Has Successful Kick Off

A Z Kids Can't Wait

The third annual We Are Listening Tour kicked off Monday, May 15, 2017 at Phoenix Union High School District Office. With nearly a full capacity room, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas delivered a brief overview of the work the Arizona Department of Education has done, recent changes to education law from the recent Arizona Legislative season, and then opened the floor for public comment. Arizonans from every walk of life, including many who did not live in Phoenix or have children who attended Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD), attended and spoke. Senator Katie Hobbs (LD-24) and PUHSD Chief Academic Officer Dr. Althe Allen joined Superintendent Douglas on the panel to address any questions or to give additional insight from legislature and district.

To watch Monday’s meeting, visit https://youtu.be/Ld0VfCQ3i8E.

A second meeting was held at Deer Valley Unified School District Office on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) Superintendent James Veitenheimer attended, as well assorted board members from DVUSD and neighboring school districts. Once more, the room neared capacity as citizens discussed education policies one-on-one with Superintendent Douglas. Arizonans who were not able to attend the meeting in person participated via Twitter using #BeHeardAZ.

To watch Tuesday’s meeting, visit https://youtu.be/FAE0GxMPXbc.

The third and final scheduled meeting for May was held at the Verna McClain Wellness Center in the Roosevelt Elementary School District (RESD) on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. RESD Superintendent Jeanne Koba and School Board President Norma Munoz joined the meeting to represent the district and give feedback from the district level. Arizonans participated in the meeting both in person and via our live YouTube stream and Twitter.

To watch Wednesday’s meeting, visit https://youtu.be/KeWyP4Lv31U.

Many K-12 education topics were covered, including teacher salaries, charter schools, standards vs curriculum, and culturally inclusive education practices and instruction. All comments were recorded and will be used to direct education policy under the AZ Kids Can’t Wait! education plan releasing later this year. To read the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan, visit http://www.azed.gov/beheardaz/azkids/.

June meetings will be held in Tucson, AZ on June 13 and 14, 2017. Additional details to come.

Posted in Latest News, Tour Updates |
January 10th, 2017

Six Critical Education Areas AZ Kids Can’t Wait! 2017 Funding Proposal Addresses

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas completed the second year of her We Are Listening Tour, and she continues to hear Arizonans’ dissatisfaction with the lack of funding for education.

“I could not agree more with them,” stated Douglas. To address the issue, she posed the question: As a state, do we want the best education system in the United States or the cheapest system we can get by with?

In AZ Kids Can’t Wait! 2017, Superintendent Douglas presented additional new funding proposals to provide teachers, schools, students and families the support and resources they need to improve outcomes. For schools to excel an increase in education funding is essential. “While more money is not the only answer to improving our schools, I believe these proposals can make a real difference for Arizona school children,” pronounced Douglas at her press conference in November.

The six critical education areas the AZ Kids Can’t Wait! proposals address, indicated by Arizonans and confirmed by the department, were: 1) Increase Basic State Aid, 2) Increase Classroom Teacher Salaries, 3) Increase Rural School Transportation Funding, 4) Increase Funding for Rural Schools, 5) Fully Fund Capital for School Facilities, and 6) Fully Fund Building Renewal for School Facilities. Read the funding proposals in full or check out many other proposals on topics such as testing, standards, and student support, which can be viewed at www.azed.gov/beheardaz/azkids.

The superintendent and department entreat that educating our children is the most important function a state handles. That infers a necessary investment in their futures.

Superintendent Douglas is committed to working with the Governor, the legislature, alongside parents, teachers, students, school administrators, and business and community leaders to make Arizona’s education system the best in the nation. Join Superintendent Douglas in this mission to make Arizona the best! Contact your State Legislators to explain why we need more funding for education and why our Arizona Kids Can’t Wait!

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