Arizona District Honored With National Award by College Board

Published: March 21st, 2018
Rio Rico Award Assembly

(Phoenix, Ariz., March 21, 2018)

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly helped recognize Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35 (SCVUSD35) as the winner of the College Board’s AP® District of the Year Award. The district was honored as the nation’s leader among small school districts in promoting college readiness and achievement, particularly among traditionally underrepresented student populations.

SCVUSD35 simultaneously expanded access to Advanced Placement Program® (AP) courses, while also improving students’ performance on AP Exams. The district’s students, teachers and administrators, as well as College Board leadership and education leaders from throughout the state attended an award ceremony for these achievements at Rio Rico High School in Rio Rico, AZ.

“I could not be prouder than I am of the students of Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District No. 35,” Superintendent Douglas said. “The statistics will tell you that a district with its demographics, which include a high minority and national free and reduced lunch population, should not be able to excel at such a high level. However, by disproving those statistics, this district not only serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished with exceptional leadership and hard work in Arizona, but it also provides a phenomenal blueprint for all of the other small schools in the country.”

SCVUSD35 is a growing school district that covers approximately 267 square miles, operates five schools and instructs approximately 3,500 students. The students’ average test scores improved more dramatically between third and eighth grade than those of the average student in the country, placing SCVUSD35 in the top 99th percentile in national growth rates.

In addition, when compared to the 45 million public school students in more than 11,000 school districts across the United States, the district’s standardized test scores from 2009-15 improved much more dramatically between third and eighth grade than the average student’s. The average SCVUSD35 student’s test scores increased by roughly 6.125 grade-length equivalents in the five years between third to eighth grade.