AZ Kids Can’t Wait!


July 27th, 2017

Teen Challenge of Arizona: Back to School Bash

Photo of Reverend Snow Peanbody, Superintendent Diane Douglas, and Pastor Jeff of Teen Challenge Arizona with a student holding his new backpack full of supplies.

The campus of Grand Avenue Teen Challenge of Arizona buzzed with milling families, playing children, and happy canines during the 8th Annual Back to School Bash on July 15, 2017. The free family event hosted a cookout, live band, and hip hop dance group. But the star attraction was the backpack full of free school supplies handed out to every child in attendance.

girl with backpack
Teen Challenge Arizona gave out dozens of backpacks full of school supplies at its 8th Annual Back to School Bash.

Hundreds of residents from around the Grand Avenue (Phoenix) location turned out to take advantage of the social event. The cookout consisted of hamburgers and hot dogs generously grilled by the Phoenix Fire Department. We suppose if anyone is accustomed to standing over intense heat on a July afternoon, it would be our hardworking firefighters who smiled and laughed like it wasn’t a million degrees outside! Also included were bags of snack chips, sliced watermelon, and ice cold water happily served by Teen Challenge Arizona volunteers beneath shade canopies covering more than half of the campus’s open area.

girl eating watermelon
Watermelon and water helped with the heat.

Reverend Snow Peabody, the Teen Challenge of Arizona’s Executive State Director, and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas helped Teen Challenge staff and volunteers greet the families and hand out backpacks. Superintendent Douglas thanked the attendees for their dedication to their children’s education and future success, before letting them get back to the day’s entertainment and meal. However, Arizona’s monsoon season is fickle and soon dark skies rearranged the day’s schedule. Families and volunteers alike enjoyed visiting and eating while they sheltered from the weather. Despite both the heat and the rain, Teen Challenge volunteers made sure every child in attendance received their much-needed school supplies.

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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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