Douglas Announces New Director of Communications

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is pleased to announce Dan Godzich as the new Director of Communications for the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). Godzich has more than two decades of professional communications experience. Dan joins ADE after serving as the Majority Leader & Education Policy Advisor at the Arizona House of Representatives.

“I am excited to welcome Dan to my team and work with him on communications for all of the exciting initiatives we have at ADE,” said Superintendent Douglas. “In addition to his time in Arizona, his experience in Washington D.C. with media and policy will no doubt serve ADE well.”

Godzich will replace Sally Stewart, who began her tenure as ADE’s Public Information Officer in 2014 before being promoted to Director of Communications. The Superintendent wishes Ms. Stewart, who has decided to pursue other professional opportunities, the best of luck in her future endeavors.

At the Arizona House of Representatives, Godzich helped formulate and implement the majority agenda, create a $3.5 billion education finance reform package and negotiate $ 9.6 billion state budget. Prior to working at the House, Godzich worked on campaigns on behalf of the Republican National Committee, served as an Executive Vice President for an international boarding school and created online and social media content for various political and humanitarian organizations. Godzich also served on the White House staff of George H.W. Bush.

A graduate of Hunter College in New York, Godzich is a travel adventurer and space enthusiast, as well as a proud New York Giants fan. His family includes his wife, Lisa, and his two children, Jacob and Jessica.

ADE Wins IT World Award

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) announced today that the Network Products Guide, Information Technology’s (IT’s) leading research and advisory guide, has named the Arizona Education Data Standards (AzEDS) the Gold Award Winner in the 12th Annual 2017 IT World Awards® in the category of Best IT Products and Services for Education. The awards from the Network Products Guide, which is comprised of industry and peer recognition, host the world’s premier IT awards ceremony for honoring achievement in all facets of the IT industry. Award recipients from throughout the world will be honored during the 2017 SV US Red Carpet Awards Ceremony and Dinner in San Francisco on Monday, June 26, 2017.

“It’s an honor to be named a Gold Award Winner by the esteemed IT World Awards®,” said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. “This recognition further illustrates how resourceful our ADE IT department has been in developing the state’s student data system. Our IT staff deserves the utmost support as they continue to develop and maintain award-winning products and services designed to support the schools and children of Arizona.”

The main objective in creating the AzEDS system was for data to drive instructional decisions by providing real-time feedback to educators. The development of AzEDS not only included the implementation of innovative technology, but it incorporated a complete business process reengineering that no other state has been able to duplicate.

“This project’s success is proof that ADE has created a new business model for education,” stated ADE Chief Information Officer Satish Pattisapu. “We have also delivered on our promises to produce near real-time data, simplify reporting and improve data accuracy. This will not only allow Arizona to save money, but it will allow teachers and administrators to focus on how data can help improve student achievement, instead of worrying about whether or not it is accurate.”

The AzEDS system has standardized the collecting, storing and managing of data, allowing schools to know their state aid payments almost instantaneously, as opposed to months later. It is estimated that AzEDS will save the state nearly $40 million annually in more accurate student counts.

To learn more about AzEDS and its benefits to Arizona, please visit www.azed.gov/aelas/azeds/.

ADE to Partner With Center for Student Achievement

(Phoenix, Ariz., May 18, 2017) – Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced today a partnership with the Center for Student Achievement in an effort to help support teachers and leaders in rural schools. As an approved School Improvement Supporting Partner and Professional Development Contractor through the State Procurement Office, the Center for Student Achievement provides customized support for both districts and charter schools through its school improvement research, data analysis and professional development.

The Center for Student Achievement’s professional trainers travel over 50,000 miles annually to provide customized, on-site coaching and professional development to teachers and leaders across Arizona. Grounded in research from nationally-respected studies, the Center for Student Achievement developed a suite of data-driven programs currently in use by over 90 district and charter schools, as well as at schools on Native American reservations.

“Providing customized support for teachers and leaders in rural schools was featured prominently in my AZ Kids Can’t Wait! Plan,” Superintendent Douglas said. “By teaming up with the Center for Student Achievement, we will provide invaluable training to help level the playing field for small, rural schools throughout this great state.”

In 2016, schools new to the Center for Student Achievement’s three-year school support program doubled their rate of improvement in math, with an average AzMERIT math pass rate of six percentage points higher than in the previous year. Of the hundreds of teachers who attend the Center for Student Achievement’s trainings, 98.9% of them would recommend the sessions to a peer or colleague.

Those interested in learning more about the Center for Student Achievement can log on to http://centerforstudentachievement.org/.

ADE to Kick Off Summer Food Program

(Phoenix, Ariz., May 17, 2017) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced the launch of the Arizona Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a summer meal reimbursement program for children ranging from newborns to 18 years old. The SFSP provides children in low- income areas the opportunity to receive a nutritious meal while school is not in session during the summer.

“Our job in education is to give children every opportunity to pursue their hopes and dreams,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Studies have shown that hunger has a negative effect on the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of children. If they are not properly nourished and healthy, their road to success becomes an uphill battle.”

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.

Glendale, Chandler and Flagstaff Unified are just some of the school districts that are participating in the SFSP. On June 5, the Blue Ridge School District will be the first to launch the program by hosting a kick-off event that will include the community’s mayor and actor Danny Diaz from the movie McFarland USA.

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.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Names New Chief Information Officer

(Phoenix, Ariz., May, 2017) – Dramatic cuts to the FY2018 budget for the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) information technology system have resulted in the departure of the department’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Diane Douglas, the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction announced today.

Mark Masterson, ADE CIO, will leave the department to pursue other opportunities. Masterson spearheaded ADE’s transition to the state’s new student data system. During his tenure, the ADE technology team was named one of CIO magazine’s “Top 100 Most Innovative IT Organizations in 2015.”

“I’m not the type of person to just maintain the current system in its unfinished state,” Masterson said. “It looks like the state does not plan to finish AzEDS or begin the replacement of APOR and CHAR, so there is little to keep me here.”

Mark Masterson has given notice he will be departing August 1, 2017 to insure a smooth transition. ADE Chief Technology Officer Satish Pattisapu, one of the leaders of this renowned team, has been named CIO.

Pattisapu has supervised ADE IT activities including software development and quality assurance since 2011.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a leader like Satish who can immediately step in to oversee all of our continuing IT efforts,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Under his leadership, I am confident that our IT team will continue to perform despite the limited resources that are available.”

Douglas has been a strong supporter of technology development and data security in Arizona education since taking office.

“Mark Masterson has done an incredible job at replacing SAIS with AzEDS and it is extremely unfortunate that we are losing him,” stated the Superintendent.

The ADE IT system distributes more than $5 billion of state aid to Arizona schools. In FY2017 ADE received a one-time budget allocation of $7.3 million in dedicated IT funding. In the FY2018 budget, ADE will receive the same amount which will hamper efforts to update antiquated school payment systems. The Department requested $17.6 million to maintain and complete its IT projects.

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Superintendent Douglas Kicks Off Annual We Are Listening Tour Town Hall Meetings in Phoenix

(Phoenix, Ariz., May 12, 2017 – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas will kick off her third annual We Are Listening Tour next week with three Town Hall meetings in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The first meeting is from 6-8 p.m. Monday, May 15, 2017 at Phoenix Union High School District Office, Governing Board Room (4502 N. Central Ave, Phoenix AZ 85012).

Additional meetings will be from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at Deer Valley Unified School District Office in the Governing Board Room (20402 N. 15th Ave, Phoenix AZ 85027) and from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at the Verna McClain Wellness Center (1030 E. Baseline Rd, Phoenix AZ 85042).

The We Are Listening Tour is designed to solicit and collect input from Arizona citizens about K-12 education policy. As part of her continual improvement process, Superintendent Douglas will listen to comments and concerns from Arizonans and use the feedback to develop education initiatives and policy in the AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).

Additional We Are Listening Tour meetings are planned throughout 2017 around much of the state. A full calendar of events and the current AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan can be found at www.azed.gov/beheardAZ. Citizens are encouraged to participate by a variety of means, including attending meetings or watching them broadcast live at www.youtube.com/AZDeptofEducation, emailing [email protected], or via Twitter using #BeHeardAZ or @azedschools.
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Accepting Recommendations for the Educator Talent Pool

The State of Arizona maintains a talent pool that consists of a cadre of distinguished teachers and principals. These educators may be considered for membership on advisory boards and task forces, as well as candidates for recognition programs. Your recommendations will identify educators who will be of great value to your community and state and who may also ultimately receive prestigious recognition.

We are fortunate to have a rich base of veteran educators represented in our current talent pool, and they are a valuable resource in our state efforts. What is lacking at this time is representation from secondary educators (grades 6-12), relatively new to the profession, who demonstrate unusual instructional ability and strong potential for professional leadership and an inspiring presence that impacts their students, colleagues and community.

To recommend an outstanding educator, click HERE for more information. Recommendations are due May 12th, 2017.

Questions? Please contact:
Alexis Susdorf, Program Coordinator
Arizona Department of Education
1535 West Jefferson Street Bin #2
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Tel: (602) 542-3309
Email: [email protected]

Educator Talent Pool

Empowerment Scholarship Account Statement Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas

Phoenix, Ariz. April 7, 2017 – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said today she supports the measured expansion of the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) as outlined in legislation signed yesterday by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Superintendent Douglas said, “The legislation signed yesterday will allow more parents to choose schools that best meet their children’s needs. As a supporter of educational choice in all its forms, I am pleased to see the ESA program expanded in a measured way that keeps oversight of how taxpayer dollars are spent with the Department. I applaud the work of the Legislature and Governor Ducey in expanding options for parents in Arizona.

“To ensure the program has the resources it needs to serve parents and fully account for allowable expenditures, I am calling on the Legislature to fund the administration of the program at the full four percent of ESA allocations as provided by law. Those additional monies will allow our staff to address the additional requirements set forth in the new law and properly manage the program as it grows.”

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Zip Code Project to Launch Two Key Phoenix Communities

(Phoenix, Ariz., April 29, 2017) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas kicked off the Phoenix launch of the Zip Code Project, a program at the Arizona Department of Education that assists disconnected youth. At the press conference on Thursday, integral members of the education community spoke to the continued development of the Zip Code Project in Phoenix neighborhoods, in addition to the work already accomplished in other parts of the state.

“It is impossible for our education system to prepare students to be successful citizens if they are not attending school,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Our mission with the Zip Code Project is to help these young adults get back on track to a fulfilling, happy and productive life. Our job is to give them every opportunity to get a first-class education, as well as a chance to pursue their hopes and dreams.”

The event was hosted in the South Phoenix at South Mountain High School, which along with Maryvale, are the two communities that were launched in the Phoenix area. Chinle and Ajo are the other two zip codes that have integrated the program into their communities.

Starting from the ground floor in 2015 with limited funding, Zip Code Manager Christopher Dickinson has collaborated and partnered with local clergy, community organizations, cities, neighborhoods, parole and probation officers, alternative high schools, as well as education and business leaders to assist these youth.
“The Zip Code Project leverages public-private partnerships to identify and implement solutions and resources to prevent to assist with dropout prevention and support alternative paths to success,” Dickinson said. “This is not an easy issue to combat, but I am grateful to all of the communities for their continuous support and dedication. I look forward to even further expansion of this program to more zip codes throughout the state in the near future.”

For more information on the program or to get involved, visit www.azed.gov/zipcode/.

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Superintendent Diane Douglas: “If We Pay Them, They Will Teach”

(Phoenix, Ariz., April 27, 2017) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today unveiled a proposal to permanently extend and expand Proposition 301 monies to a full 1 percent, which if supported by voters would result in an immediate 11 percent raise for teachers and $100 million for school facilities.

“My proposal would generate $400 million annually for teacher salaries and school buildings,” Douglas stated. “By setting aside the majority of this funding for teacher salaries, we will provide close to an 11 percent raise for teachers in the first year, which means nearly $5,000 more in take-home pay. Using the remaining funding for school facilities can help address another looming crisis, which is the depreciation of our school buildings and infrastructure.”

Thursday’s announcement was shared in Douglas’ presentation to the Arizona Business Education Coalition (ABEC), a group of Arizona business and education leaders committed to helping develop effective public education policy. Her announcement comes on the cusp of the Superintendent’s next annual statewide We Are Listening Tour, which is where these two critical issues were repeatedly brought to her attention. Click HERE for the entire ABEC presentation.

“Only an overarching vision and decisive action will allow us to solve our current education crises, the first of which is that teachers need to be paid more,” Douglas shared with the ABEC audience. “I thank the Governor and Legislature for making teacher pay an important part of their budget discussions this session, and I look forward to working with them to take this next step once a budget is finalized.”

Douglas’ proposal would dedicate $300 million per year to teacher salaries and $100 million per year to school capital repairs in the first two years. In years three and beyond, the plan calls for $350 million per year dedicated to teacher salaries and sets aside $50 million per year for school capital. Click HERE for the chart outlining the proposal.

Douglas also expressed support for the restructuring of current Proposition 301 funding to allocate even more money for teacher salaries.

For more information and updates about the proposal, visit www.azed.gov.