Diane Douglas


September 7th, 2017

Arizona’s ESSA State Plan Approved by the US Department of Education

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced the approval of Arizona’s consolidated state plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

“I am extremely proud of the hundreds of hours of work put into developing this plan by my staff here at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), and I am most thankful for the thousands of comments we have received from parents, teachers, administrators, stakeholder groups, community members and elected officials that truly helped make this a plan for all of Arizona,” Superintendent Douglas said. “This is a plan made by Arizona – for Arizona – that would be ideal with or without ESSA.”

The USDOE highlighted several aspects of Arizona’s state plan, including the ability of elementary and middle schools to earn additional points in its accountability system for accelerating student achievement. Arizona was also recognized for allowing high schools to earn additional points in its accountability system for preparing students to be college and career ready, including students performing well in Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, passing college-level courses, earning an industry credential and/or completing a work-based learning internship.

“After reviewing Arizona’s plan and ensuring it complies with the law, I am pleased to approve it,” said USDOE Secretary Betsy DeVos. “I commend Governor (Doug) Ducey, Superintendent Douglas and the many stakeholders in Arizona who helped craft a plan to improve education for the students of the Grand Canyon State.”

ESSA was passed into law by Congress in December 2015, replacing No Child Left Behind as the primary federal legislation addressing America’s public education system. Taking effect in the 2017-18 school year, $1 billion of federal aid to Arizona would be at risk without compliance.

To learn more about ADE’s state plan, please visit www.azed.gov/essa.

Posted in Latest Headlines, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , |
August 28th, 2017

Superintendent Douglas Announces Grant Awards for Homeless Students

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, is pleased to announce the approval grant contracts to help homeless students. The State Board of Education (SBE) approved grant funding for 32 school districts and/or schools for Homeless Education Services. The grants will assist around 30,000 homeless students. The awarded grants help both rural and urban schools.

The federal funds for the program come from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. The Arizona Department of Education administers the program and grant application process. The Arizona State Board of Education approves the grants. Key goals include outreach to ensure school enrollment, retention and attendance. Access to participation in regular education programs for all homeless students is required.

“We are fortunate to have received this additional federal allocation,” said State Coordinator for Homeless Education Alexis Clermont. “It has allowed us to increase our expanded reach to schools. These extra funds mean that more schools and more of Arizona’s underserved children have equal access to a high-quality education.”

“It is important to me that the needs of all of our students are met,” said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. “We know that these children are an especially vulnerable population. Not only have we been able to meet the needs of those currently on the program, we have also increased our aid to additional children.”

This is the first year of a three-year competitive grant. For more information about the Office of Homeless Education and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, please visit www.azed.gov/homeless.

The following school districts and schools will receive grant funds:

Alhambra Elementary School District

American Charter, West Phoenix High School

Amphitheater Unified School District

Bullhead City School District

Chandler Unified School District

Concho Elementary School District

Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary School District

Creighton Elementary School District

Deer Valley Unified School District

Flagstaff Unified School District

Flowing Wells Unified School District

Glendale Union High School

Higley Unified School District

Kaizen Education Foundation dba Vista Grove Preparatory Academy Elementary

Marana Unified School District

Maricopa Unified School District

Maricopa County Regional School District

Mayer Unified School District

Mesa Unified School District

Osborn Elementary School District

Paradise Valley Unified School District

PAS Charter, Intelli-School

Phoenix Elementary School District

Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District

SC Jensen Co Intelli-School

Scottsdale Unified School District

Sunnyside Unified School District

Tolleson Elementary School District

Tolleson Union High School District

Tucson Unified School District

Washington Elementary School District

Williams Unified School District

Posted in Press Releases | Tagged , , , , , |
June 23rd, 2017

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.

Posted in Featured, Latest Headlines, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , |
June 23rd, 2017

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/.

Posted in Featured, Latest Headlines, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , , , |
May 18th, 2017

ADE to Partner With Center for Student Achievement

Center for Student Achievement website

(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/.

Posted in Featured, Latest Headlines, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , |
April 3rd, 2017

Continued Budget Uncertainty Causes Another IT Staffer to Exit

(Phoenix, Ariz., March 31, 2017) – The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) announced Friday the departure of yet another experienced Information Technology employee. The employee is the latest in a series of exits from an award-winning IT team that have all cited “job uncertainty” as their reason for accepting positions elsewhere.

In the Arizona House of Representatives’ initial draft budget framework released this week, ADE was allocated a one-time funding of $7.3 million. That amount would provide resources desperately needed for the maintenance and basic operations of the Department’s data system, but it would still not allow ADE to finish developing its student data system; begin development on its payment system that was created in 1999; fund any new initiatives passed during this legislative session; pursue school-level funding initiatives; or provide reassurance of employment for ADE’s IT staff.

Additionally, the lack of any ongoing maintenance funding would continue to create instability for data system support in future years. ADE’s initial request for IT funding was $17.6 million for FY18, which included $10.1 million in maintenance and $7.6 million for development.

The most recent employee to leave the organization was the only staff member responsible for project-level financial reporting on AELAS, which is the overarching collection of systems that calculate school payments. After graduating from the Thunderbird School of Global Management with an MBA, this full-time employee worked on strategic financial management of IT systems for three years, focusing on reporting and forecasting for AELAS and the 150-plus IT systems that schools utilize daily.

“It is very telling that we lost an employee whose primary focus was to work on the IT budget,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “It is always disappointing to lose good people, but it is even more discouraging when all of this could have been prevented by having funds annually allocated to our IT maintenance budget, just like many other major state agencies do. I hope the Legislature can provide us as soon as possible with some clear assurances that we will be able to keep our staff and that schools will be paid without any issues both this year and in the future.”

Arizona has seen unprecedented job growth in IT over the past decade, rated second among all states in that category. In June of 2016, Forbes magazine even named the Phoenix metro area as the city “winning the battle for IT jobs.”

“Since Arizona has such a red-hot IT market, I’m afraid that we will lose more valuable employees to other external offers,” the Superintendent said. “If I had a family to support and no guarantee of a job on July 1, I would start looking too.”

Posted in Press Releases | Tagged , , , , |
March 27th, 2017

Superintendent Meets With Congress on Education

(Phoenix, Ariz., March 27, 2017) – Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas met with members of Arizona’s congressional delegation, as well as national education leaders in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, at the Council of Chief State School Officers legislative conference last week in Washington, D.C.

Superintendent Douglas first met with U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Va.), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, to talk about the federal government’s role in education and express her support for Foxx’s efforts to ensure that its influence is limited. The Superintendent then attended meetings in the offices of representatives and senators from her home state, including Reps. Andy Biggs, Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Tom O’Halleran, David Schweikert, as well as with Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake.

Rep. O’Halleran and his staff expressed interest in supporting rural schools and advocating for impact aid to schools on Indian reservations, while learning from the Superintendent that the Zip Code Project and Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative would both prove beneficial for his district. Representative Schweikert’s office was also eager to hear about the broadband initiative, joining Representative Franks’ office in its request for more support for Indian education.

Rep. Biggs shared his proposal to create additional flexibility for federal Title I funds and asked for additional details about the Common Core replacement that took place in December. His office was also interested in the submission of Arizona’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan and the ongoing need for support of Native American students.

Rep. Gosar was excited to hear about the impact that broadband connectivity could have on his district, while also discussing how to better support the Office of Indian Education, the Zip Code Project and pilot programs to promote college and career readiness.

“It is always an honor to meet with elected representatives and senators that are doing their part to ensure that Arizona is the best state in the nation,” Superintendent Douglas said. “After our meetings, I am confident that they will support our great state in addressing the needs of all of our students.”

Posted in Latest Headlines, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
March 24th, 2017

Superintendent Douglas Meets With Secretary DeVos in D.C.

Secretary DeVos and Superintendent Douglas

(Phoenix, Ariz., March 24, 2017) – Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas recently returned from the national Council of Chief Superintendents of Schools Organization (CCSSO) annual conference in Washington, D.C. During her trip, she met with fellow state superintendents from around the country, as well as with United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, conferring on a number of topics.

Since Arizona was the first and only state to submit its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan to the U.S. Department of Education, the CCSSO cited the leadership demonstrated to other states by the Superintendent and the Arizona Department of Education. Representatives from other states have already sought out the Superintendent to learn how they can replicate the initiatives Arizona has included in its ESSA plan.

Douglas was also provided the opportunity to briefly meet individually with Secretary DeVos, welcoming her to office and inviting the new Secretary of Education to visit Arizona. The Superintendent extended the invitation to Secretary DeVos in order to further demonstrate the work Arizona has already accomplished on developing standards, school choice and ESSA.

During her time with other state superintendents and school chiefs, the Superintendent was also praised for the state’s successes with providing a myriad of parental and school options. With her counterparts, she also discussed education policy and advocated an increase in funding for Native American education, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, increased funding and Arizona’s Zip Code Project.

“It was an honor to meet Secretary DeVos and I am looking forward to working with an administration that is better aligned with our education goals,” Douglas said. “Under our partnership with the administration, I am hopeful that Arizona will receive increased funding and flexibility. In addition, CCSSO was very complimentary of our state’s ability to lead the way for our country and submit our ESSA plan before anyone else.”

The Superintendent has already scheduled upcoming regular conversations with CCSSO, her fellow state superintendents and with Secretary DeVos.

Posted in Latest Headlines, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , , |
March 21st, 2017

Superintendent Welcomes New Director of Legal

(Phoenix, Ariz., March 21, 2017) – Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is pleased to announce that Daniel Schultz has been named the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) new Director of Legal/Hearings.

“I am excited to work with Daniel to ensure that the Department provides the highest levels of data privacy for Arizona’s 1.1 million students,” Superintendent Douglas said. “With almost 30 years of extensive legal experience, he has worked with government entities, as well as with Fortune 500 companies.”

Schultz attended the United States Military Academy in West Point as an undergraduate before receiving his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1988. Immediately after graduation, Schultz went into litigation, accepting the position of litigation principal at Troop, Steuber, Pasich, Reddick & Tobey, LLP in Los Angeles.

During his 11 years at the firm, he participated in complex insurance coverage litigation on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, developing case strategies and drafting pleadings, briefs and memoranda. Schultz also defended depositions and supervised all facets of discovery and trial preparation.

After a couple of years addressing telecommunications, internet service provider and franchisor-franchisee disputes as lead counsel for insurance litigators DLA Piper, Schultz began his private practice when DLA conflicted out of its largest case. In 14 years of private practice, his law office handled intricate environmental insurance litigation, recovering more than $170 million for the State of California.

In his new role, Schultz will focus on providing comprehensive legal guidance and interpretation of legislation for ADE, prepare ADE for judicial proceedings and administrative law hearings, as well as draft a variety of contracts, resolutions, regulations and legal documents on behalf of the Department.

Schultz spends his free time following college football, especially his beloved Wisconsin Badgers, having attended back-to-back Rose Bowls when he lived in L.A. Married to his wife, Belinda, they have four children: a daughter, Nicole (19 years old), as well as Alec, Adam and Ben (16), who are triplets. He is also a member of the International Technology Law Association, an avid deer hunter, a high school state baseball champion and the pet owner of a tortoise named Jib.

Posted in Latest Headlines, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , |