News


Published: February 14th, 2019

Superintendent Hoffman Applauds Passing of English Learner Bill

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today praised the signing of SB 1014 into law, which eliminated the stringent 4-hour state-mandated block of English-language instruction. The law also provides schools and teachers of English Learner (EL) students more flexibility to develop instructional models that best fit their individual needs.

“For the past two decades, Arizona’s multilingual students have suffered from a misguided policy that has left them isolated, undereducated and unprepared to enter the workforce,” Superintendent Hoffman said. “The passage of this legislation will give tens of thousands of EL students a greater chance at success in school and in life, and their success will benefit all Arizonans. I applaud the governor and legislature for supporting this bill, as well as the advocates who fought so hard to make this happen.”

During Superintendent Hoffman’s campaign for office, eliminating the 4-hour block was one of her foundational issues. The Superintendent’s research into bilingualism, as well as the unlimited feedback she has received from educators and students, consistently cited the 4-hour EL block as the biggest hindrance of academic success.

SB 1014, which was sponsored by Senator Paul Boyer and Representative Michelle Udall, was passed with unanimous support by the legislature. The increased flexibility of the law will allow public schools and teachers to develop their own research-based models, which will be determined by the individual needs of their students.

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is currently working with EL stakeholders throughout the state to develop guidance that will enable a seamless transition to this less-restrictive approach. In addition, ADE will be charged with collecting data and analyzing the effectiveness of how schools implement their language instruction programming so best practices can be shared among educators throughout the state.

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Published: February 12th, 2019

Superintendent Hoffman Announces New ESA Director

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today announced the hiring of Karla Escobar as the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) new Director of the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. Escobar has worked at ADE for the last seven years, having previously served in the role as ESA Director from February 2015 until April 2016, and most recently as a Dispute Resolution Compliant Investigator.

“I am excited to work with Karla to ensure that the department manages this program with full transparency and accountability,” said Superintendent Hoffman. “This has been a very visible program over the past few years, which is why we have been particularly deliberate and especially thorough with our approach towards the program and the hiring process. We interviewed several external and internal candidates before deciding on Karla, who will not only provide both historical knowledge, but also seize upon this opportunity to restore confidence in the delivery of this program.”

Escobar brings with her a detailed understanding of how the agency needs to adhere to all relevant state and federal regulations, as well as an ability to coordinate payments with the treasurer’s office and accurately process applications in a timely manner. She will work closely with ADE leadership to recommend policy and legislative changes to better improve program outcomes.

In addition to her duties as ESA Director, Escobar will assist Superintendent Hoffman in leading a new ESA Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to engage stakeholders and examine all methods for improving program management.

The education stakeholders involved in this task force include the governor’s office, the treasurer’s office, American Federation for Children, Save Our Schools and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. The task force’s aim is to seek bipartisan cooperation, an array of perspectives and a variety of solutions in order to determine the best course of action for the ESA program.

Escobar will lead a staff of 11 other full-time employees, managing a program that dispersed roughly $58.7 million to approximately 5,000 students this past school year. The new ESA Director, who is fluent in Spanish and has a master’s degree in education, will bring a breadth of expertise to the position.

More information on the ESA program is available at www.azed.gov/esa.

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Published: February 4th, 2019

Supt. Hoffman Delivers State of Education Speech to House Representatives

Please find the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman’s State of Education Speech to the House Representatives on February 4, 2019 below:

Chairwoman Udall, members of the committee, thank you for having me here today.

Let’s start with something we can all agree on: every day, Arizona’s amazing, dedicated teachers guide their students toward incredible achievements.

As an educator and speech therapist, I know firsthand that our schools are tasked with more than teaching our children to read, write, and take tests. We are preparing them for success in school, at home, in their communities, and in their future careers.

As I have traveled the state, I’ve seen that our teachers and support staff are eager to go above and beyond for their students because they know, like I do, that Arizona’s future starts in our schools. Across the state — in urban and rural districts alike — I have met so many teachers dedicated to serving their students despite the obstacles they face.

One of my favorite school visits was to Mayer High School, just outside of Prescott, where I first learned about Future Farmers of America, or FFA. For those who are unfamiliar, FFA is a student organization that builds leadership skills as students learn about agriculture and animal life, all the way from birth to BBQ — their words, not mine. Many of the FFA students help their families make ends meet by working part-time jobs and raising animals to auction at fairs.

Mayer’s FFA chapter utilizes the school’s 85-acre Land Laboratory, which includes a greenhouse, aquaculture center, metal shop, and a barn with cattle, goats, and pigs. Last year, thirteen of the chapter’s students received Industry Welding Certificates, and their chapter president received a scholarship to participate in a leadership conference in Washington, D.C. This past January, the students were awarded a $1,200 grant to clean up Big Bug Creek following the fires and floods that devastated their community in 2017.

Mayer High School boasts exceptional programs like these — but it faces its own set of unique challenges. The FFA teacher advisor, Mr. Dinges, is the school’s lone agriculture teacher and, now in his fourth year, is one of the longest-tenured teachers at the school. After burning through five science teachers in four years, Mayer has NO science teacher, leaving students to take all of their science coursework through Computer Based Instruction.

The school’s high teacher turnover rate is in part due to a lack of affordable housing in the surrounding area. Mr. Dinges told me that he and his family work around this issue by living in an RV near school property.

Mr. Dinges is just one example of countless committed teachers across the state who are forced to find ways to overcome obstacles in their jobs. That list of obstacles is not short, and it should not fall on our educators to find solutions alone. I look forward to leading the Department of Education, and partnering with you — my colleagues in the Legislature — to work collaboratively to find solutions. But we must begin with a common language and acknowledgment of the challenges that our students and educators face.

For one, addressing the social-emotional well-being of our students is now a critical job function for many folks working in our schools. The number of children dealing with trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences — including parental substance abuse associated with the opioid epidemic — has risen dramatically over the last few decades. At the same time, educators have seen an increase in behavioral challenges.

What’s more, in an era of ballooning classroom sizes, teachers feel unequipped to manage a class of 30 children while also finding the time to provide individualized attention to their students, especially those that are facing depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. That’s why I am fully supportive of any plan to increase the presence of counselors, social workers, and school psychologists in our schools.

Supporting students’ emotional wellbeing also means creating an inclusive environment that supports children from all backgrounds. After putting tens of thousands of miles on my car, and having to buy a second car, I know Arizona is diverse not just in terms of landscape, but also in its culture, language, heritage, and families.

Our students come from families of all sorts, be it two parents, a single parent, grandparents, two moms or two dads. We also have students who are a part of the foster system and nontraditional homes. We should seek to understand and value these experiences, and build policies that reflect them.

We must also consider students who are more likely to experience bullying and harassment — including students in the LGBTQ community. A simple step we can take to help reduce discrimination and bullying for these students is to repeal the “no promo homo” law — legislation that only contributes to an unsafe school environment. This policy is not just outdated, it has always been harmful and wrong.

Building a true inclusive environment in our schools also means valuing multilingualism and celebrating diversity.

Many businesses across the state are desperate for bilingual employees — but Arizona suffers from high drop-out rates of English-learning students. With only 18 percent of these students graduating high school, Arizona has the worst ELL graduation rate in the country.

That’s why I am thrilled to support Representative Udall and Senator Boyer’s bills to reduce the restrictions of the 4-hour ELL block. This will allow students to spend more time immersed in general education coursework with their native English-speaking peers — something research shows actually improves ELL students’ success.

But it is the success of all students that is the driving force behind my work as Superintendent of Public Instruction. I take it seriously because I know the stakes are high. So, when I’m asked about my thoughts on issues like charter school reform, my response is that I hold myself accountable for every Arizona child’s success — whether they attend a district or a charter school.

That is why I am strongly committed to holding ALL schools to the same level of accountability – in transparency, in governance, and in procurement. The main purpose of charter schools should be to educate our children — not to profit at the expense of our communities. Any charter expenditure must be in the best interest of schools and the students they serve.

I appreciate the Governor’s recommendation to increase staff at the Charter School Board. I think we can all agree there is an intense need for greater transparency and communication, which makes this one of the clearest places to get to work. I look forward to a spirited debate on charter school reform, and I hope bills proposed from both sides of the aisle get hearings, so we can forge bipartisan solutions that deliver fairness and equity for our students.

It is impossible to discuss student success, however, without noting that the key to this success means ensuring every classroom is led by a highly qualified teacher. Right now, Arizona’s teacher shortage is nothing short of a crisis.

Schools only function with the hard work of our teachers. But year after year, we have seen a devastating number of teachers leave the profession or move out of state. What’s more, in the next two years, twenty five percent of Arizona’s educators will be eligible to retire.

This teacher shortage has a real impact on our students’ and our state’s future. Let’s consider, for example, that the national average of students enrolled in high school physics is 40 percent. In Arizona, that average is 20 percent. This is due in part to the fact that we have only 150 physics teachers across our entire state. How can we expect our students to become engineers, scientists, or doctors when we are not providing them access to physics, calculus, or other high-level STEM coursework?

Let’s be clear: student success is not possible without highly-qualified teachers in the classroom. We absolutely must advance teacher recruitment and retention which means competitive pay and benefits across the board.

In my conversations with teachers, a common concern is that their pay has been stagnant or even reduced by the rising cost of healthcare. One teacher recently shared that his pay has decreased every year for the past several years due to the increasing cost of healthcare and retirement benefits. The only way for him to find a pay raise would be to switch districts, which would not be in our students’ best interest. Just like any career, teachers deserve to know that their commitment to the field will result in fair pay increases that correlate with their years of experience.

To support the upcoming generation of young teachers and be competitive with the private sector, we must also look at improving benefits – like paid maternity and paternity leave, or housing subsidies – that will draw more young people to the profession and retain our veteran teachers as they build their careers and their families in our state.

And we cannot limit these improvements to just some teachers. In every classroom, it takes a wide range of professionals to make the school day run smoothly. Governor Ducey’s 20by2020 plan was a good start towards giving our teachers raises — but the plan limits the definition of “teacher” to only those that have homeroom classes. It excludes our art, music, and special education teachers, as well as support and classified staff, like counselors, speech therapists, paraprofessionals, and more. Raises for all of the talented, passionate employees who teach our kids can only be done with a dedicated, sustainable funding source — something that does not need to be referred to the ballot. You, as legislators, can do this. I’m encouraged that the conversation so far this session has focused on HOW we will fund education, and not IF we will.

We must provide these necessary supports to allow educators to focus on their primary purpose: teaching future generations. It is a matter of respect.

I’m proud to say that the we have already started to address many of these pressing issues in just my first few weeks in office. But we must do it right and collaboratively, which is why my first priority is improving communication and transparency between the Department of Education, the public, and this legislative body.

To increase our transparency, we have begun the process of conducting a top-to-bottom audit of the Department to discover what works and what doesn’t work. This audit is not meant to be punitive — it is a tool for holding me accountable to my constituents. The results of this audit will provide us a full picture of departmental operations and finances, and serve as the basis for future decisions regarding the funds we have been entrusted. As we make those decisions, we ask for your support and confidence in our ability to steward these funds effectively and for their intended purpose.

We will also be working with expert partners to conduct an internal capacity review, so that we can organize ourselves to ensure that our department is once again an agency of service.

And we also will be working with you. Those of you on this committee are important advocates for education in Arizona, and I look forward to partnering with you — and offering the help of my team at the Department of Education — as we work to build success and solutions in the coming months.

Already, many of you have extended to me a great courtesy: finding the time to talk. Together, we’ve begun to exchange ideas and explore how we can meet the standard of educational excellence we know we can achieve. We are so much more powerful when we collaborate.

To those of you who have already joined me for a conversation, I say, “thank you.” To those of you I’ve not yet met with, I say: “Let’s make it happen!”

This is important, because ‘collaboration’ and ‘partnership’ have not always been the first words to characterize the relationship between the Department of Education and the Legislature. We can change that. I intend to be an active partner with you, your colleagues in the Senate, and the Governor to meet our shared goals together.

Let’s elevate the voices of educators and students by celebrating their incredible achievements. Let’s make our schools attractive places to work by providing teachers the supports they need to creatively and proactively meet the needs of their students.

Time and time again, we see that when educators are given the opportunity to lead, they can transform their classrooms and their communities.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the rural principal I met from Pinal County. He shared with me the “Cowboy Code of Conduct” his school instituted as a guiding set of principles to motivate students and improve their work ethic. In Pinal County, cowboys are role models, and his students were excited to learn the principles of cowboy ethics.

The rules of the code were simple: always finish what you start, take pride in your work, and know where to draw the line. But these lessons resonated more deeply with students because their educators were empowered to connect student-learning with everyday examples in their community.

This is what happens when we let educators lead because they are the true experts of education. Our policies will be most effective when we value and listen to educators, and when we work together to build solutions for our students, our teachers, and our schools.

There is a lot of work to do, and together, we will get this right.

Thank you.

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Published: January 28th, 2019

Arizona Students Selected for US Senate Youth Program

The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) announces that high school students Mr. Joshua Daniel Garay and Mr. Abhinav Sai Kolli will join Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Martha McSally in representing Arizona in the nation’s capital during the 57th annual USSYP Washington Week, to be held March 2 — 9, 2019. Joshua Garay of Yuma and Abhinav Kolli of Chandler were selected from among the state’s top student leaders to be part of the 104 national student delegation who will also each receive a $10,000 college scholarship for undergraduate study.

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. Originally proposed by Senators Kuchel, Mansfield, Dirksen and Humphrey, the impetus for the program as stated in Senate testimony is “to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world.”

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings the most outstanding high school students – two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity – to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history and public affairs. Transportation and all expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations; as stipulated in S.Res.324, no government funds are utilized.

Joshua Garay, a senior at Kofa High School, serves as governor of Arizona’s Junior State of America. In Joshua’s words, “I plan to devote my entire life to the idea that no matter what the color of your skin is, no matter what background you come from, no matter where you were born, everyone deserves the same level of representation.” He has volunteered in many capacities to better the lives of many, organizing a March for Our Lives in rural Arizona and attending various political party meetings and voter registration drives. Joshua is also the president of Kofa High School’s Academic Decathlon class and chess team.

Abhinav Kolli, a junior at Basis Chandler High School, serves as the president of the Student Board, founded and manages the Business and Investment Club, and has worked as an intern for Senator Jeff Flake. Abhi stood out as a hard worker and demonstrated the ability to understand the needs of the office and showed initiative to fulfill those needs. His skill at interaction with constituents and staff was effective and professional. After majoring in political science in college, Abhi aspires to a career as an economic policy advisor, either to an elected representative, or at the Federal Reserve.

Chosen as alternates to the 2019 program were Ms. Leila Hamilton, a resident of Chandler, who attends Seton Catholic Preparatory High School and Ms. Anusha Natarajan, also a resident of Chandler, who attends Hamilton High School.

Delegates and alternates are selected by the state departments of education nationwide and the District of Columbia and Department of Defense Education Activity, after nomination by teachers and principals. The chief state school officer for each jurisdiction confirms the final selection. This year’s Arizona delegates and alternates were designated by Ms. Diane M. Douglas, Superintendent of Public Instruction.

While in Washington the student delegates attend meetings and briefings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president, a justice of the Supreme Court, leaders of cabinet agencies, an ambassador to the United States and senior members of the national media. The students will also tour many of the national monuments and several museums and they will stay at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors. Now more than 5,700 strong, alumni of the program continue to excel and develop impressive qualities that are often directed toward public service. Among the many distinguished alumni are: Senator Susan Collins, the first alumnus to be elected U.S. senator; Senator Cory Gardner, the second alumnus to be elected U.S. senator and the first to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first alumnus to be elected governor; former Chief Judge Robert Henry, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; former Ambassador to West Germany Richard Burt, and former presidential advisors Thomas “Mack” McLarty and Karl Rove. Additional notables include former Lt. Governor of Idaho David Leroy, Provost of Wake Forest University Rogan Kersh, military officers, members of state legislatures, Foreign Service officers, top congressional staff, healthcare providers and other university educators.

Members of the bipartisan U. S. Senate Youth Program 2019 Senate Advisory Committee: Senator Joni K. Ernst of Iowa, Republican Co-Chair; Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Democratic Co-Chair; Advisory Members: Susan M. Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Each year, the Honorary Co-Chairs of the program are the vice president of the United States and the Senate majority and minority leaders.

For more information please visit: www.ussenateyouth.org

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Published: January 24th, 2019

Superintendent Hoffman Announces Formation of Audit Committee

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced the creation of an audit committee at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) today. This committee will be charged with identifying priority areas within the agency where an audit of financial and data processes could lead to improved efficiency and accuracy. The committee will hold its first meeting on February 4 and will be chaired by Dr. Chuck Essigs of the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO).

“I am creating an audit committee to fulfill the pledge I made to Arizonans across the state to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” Hoffman said. “It is vital to have a comprehensive understanding of ADE’s finances in order to be accountable to the public and make sound fiscal decisions. I appreciate everyone on the committee’s time and dedication in assisting Arizona education in this manner.”

The members of the ADE Audit Committee include:

  • Chuck Essigs (Chair) Director of Government Relations, AASBO
  • Ken Hicks (Vice Chair) Chief Financial Officer, Dysart Unified School District
  • Ricky Hernandez Chief Operating Officer, University of Arizona Alumni Association
  • Dale Ponder Chief of Finance and Operations, Crane Elementary School District
  • Renee Raskin Chief Deputy, Yavapai County School Office
  • Dr. Paul Tighe Superintendent, Saddle Mountain Unified School District
  • Chris Kotterman Director of Government Relations, Arizona School Boards Association
  • Lizette Huie Business Services Coordinator, Sahuarita Unified School District
  • Scott Thompson Assistant Superintendent, Mesa Public Schools
  • Tina Norton Pima County Joint Technological Education District
  • Norman Purdy Vail Unified School District
  • Tina Wells Chief Deputy, Coconino County School Office
  • Brenda Thomas-Martinez Director of Business and Operations, Blue Ridge Unified School District
  • Anabel Aportela Director of Research and Student Achievement Analysis, AASBO/ASBA
  • Dan Bigler Charter School Business Official
  • Jeremy Calles Tolleson Union High School District Chief Financial Officer
  • The committee will work in concert with ADE’s third-party independent auditors, Afton Partners, Inc., throughout the process.

    Posted in News, Press Releases |
    Published: January 18th, 2019

    Superintendent Hoffman Issues Statement on Governor Ducey’s Proposed Budget

    Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman’s statement:

    “Last year, voters sent a clear message for us to fix education in Arizona. We face an unprecedented teacher shortage, spending per student remains among the lowest in the nation, and many of our schools need vital repairs. With the 20×2020 plan, we have made steps in the right direction and I’m committed to finding innovative ways to recruit and retain our educators across all fields. We must guarantee competitive pay for all educators, including our art, music and special education teachers, as well as support and classified staff.

    “The governor’s proposed budget also invests in more school counselors and I applaud that decision. Well-trained and knowledgeable mental health experts are indispensable to a healthy and safe school environment. If we work together, we can find solutions to the challenges we face. We can explore creative ideas to address the teacher shortage, in addition to the Teachers Academy, like housing subsidies and paid paternity/maternity leave. We can find sustainable and dedicated revenue streams to fund our schools, and we can build a fair and equitable public education system that provides a high-quality education for students of all backgrounds. Voters expect us to do these things and our students deserve nothing less.”

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    Published: December 19th, 2018

    Arizona Department of Education Launches School Report Cards

    The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) today launched the state’s School Report Cards website, an education resource created to assist the public learn more about schools throughout the state. The website serves as an accountability platform, lists the A-F letter grades for schools, provides all federal and state reports and catalogs other individualized school details in one convenient location.

    “I am very proud of both our Accountability and IT departments for developing another wonderful tool that helps parents find the best education for their children,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “I am thrilled that parents will have all of this information at their fingertips, allowing them to make the most informed decision about schools for their children. As a vocal proponent of school choice, as well as someone who does not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to education, this gives parents the ability to see what opportunities are available for their child’s specific needs.”

    Stakeholder groups from around the state all weighed in on how to best develop the new website. Parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers throughout Arizona participated in ADE focus groups over the past year.

    Since this is just the first version of the new website, a section for Early Childhood and preschool will be forthcoming, as will a school “highlights” section. The much-awaited “highlights” section will provide schools with the opportunity to distinguish themselves from one another by promoting exceptional features and attributes unique to their specific school or district.

    In addition, the School Report Cards website also fulfills the federal requirement of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to “include a clear and concise description of the State accountability system.” Sixteen basic requirements for the report card have now been met before the January 1, 2019 deadline for ESSA compliance.

    To learn more about Arizona schools or to check out the new website, log on to https://azreportcards.azed.gov/.

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    Published: December 3rd, 2018

    EL Teacher of the Year Announced

    Miriam Romero

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced that the 2018 Arizona English Language Learner (EL) Teacher of the Year is Miriam Romero of Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in the Tucson Unified School District.

    “It is an honor to recognize Miriam Romero as an outstanding teacher,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Her passion and commitment to educating Arizona’s EL students were evident by the way her school and students reacted to the news that she was selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.”

    Romero will be honored at a banquet on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson. This event is being held in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition Services (OELAS) 2018 Conference, “The Art of Language.”

    The process for choosing the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year began with the call for applications in May of 2018. In October, judging by a panel of peers was facilitated by OELAS, and the honoree was chosen.

    On November 13, 2018, Superintendent Douglas and officials from OELAS made a surprise visit to Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in Tucson to inform Mrs. Romero that she had been selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.

    When asked about her educational philosophy, Mrs. Romero stated, “I feel privileged to teach and learn with the children in my ELD [English Language Development] Resource classes. As a teacher, I help my students bridge this divide between home and school, two worlds which traditionally have been at odds with each other for many generations of EL students in the United States. Throughout the year I use my SEI [Structured English Immersion] lessons to instill a sense of purpose and pride behind all the English learning we do at school. I want my students to see themselves as academics who hold an integral part in the school and their communities at large. It is my job to teach my students the skills they need to continue their growth as scholars, learning, evolving and thinking critically about their role in society, long after they leave my classroom.”

    Mrs. Romero continued, “It is essential that instructors make school a safe and accepting place for their students. An instructor must take their varied students’ life experiences, cultures, histories and languages as source of inspiration for student learning. Achieving this high level of participation can be challenging. For EL teachers, involving students who may have very limited English or are unsure of their academic voice can be a constant struggle. It is essential you learn about and recognize who your students are beyond their traditional classroom identity, which is usually based on test scores and very antiquated notions of what makes a good scholar.”

    Miriam Romero was born in Tucson, Arizona and began her teaching career in the Tucson Unified School District, where she has taught for 12 years. For the last 11 years, she has been teaching at Carrillo K-5 Magnet School, the school she attended as a student. Over the course of her teaching career, Mrs. Romero has taught first through fifth grade English learners. Miriam received dual degrees from the University of Arizona in 2007. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Education concentrated in Bilingual Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts concentrated in Spanish and Portuguese Literature. Her endorsements include English as a Second Language and Library/Educational Media. Miriam is married and has four amazing children.

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    Published: October 11th, 2018

    Five Arizona Schools Being Honored Amongst the Nation’s Best

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was proud to announce today which Arizona schools will be honored as 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

    “The best part of my job is being able to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of our Arizona schools and students,” Superintendent Douglas said. “These schools are an example for all others to follow. By putting the children first, these schools are now able to receive national recognition and take a well-deserved bow for their commitment to excellence.”

    In Arizona, five schools made the grade by meeting the U.S. Department of Education’s accountability requirements:

    Name

    Franklin Junior High School, Mesa

    Gilbert Classical Academy High School, Gilbert

    Knox Gifted Academy, Chandler

    Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies, Mesa

    Vista College Preparatory, Phoenix

    The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award recognizes the efforts of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

    Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools. On November 7 and 8, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her agency will celebrate with all honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

    All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest-performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years.

    At least 420 schools are nominated on a yearly basis. The U.S. Department of Education accepts National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

    NOTE TO EDITORS: Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.

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    Published: October 4th, 2018

    ADE’s Arizona Charter Schools Program Receives $55 Million Grant

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas proudly announced that the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) Arizona Charter Schools Program (AZCSP) was the recipient of a $55 million Title IV grant from the US Department of Education. The purpose of the grant is to hold competitive applications for school leaders interested in opening charter schools that serve disadvantaged Arizona students.

    “I am very proud of our Arizona Charter Schools Program for receiving a grant that will benefit disadvantaged students,” Superintendent Douglas said. “It is our duty in education – and as a state – to protect and foster the growth of our most vulnerable students. These types of schools will offer yet another educational choice for Arizona students and parents.”

    Training for the grant will take place on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, from 1-4 pm at the ADE offices located at 1535 West Jefferson, Phoenix, AZ 85007. If five or more school entities in southern Arizona or five or more in northern Arizona express interest in the AZCSP application training by October 15, 2018, AZCSP staff will present an in-person training in Tucson and/or Flagstaff. AZCSP will also present a follow-up webinar. The webinar date and time will be posted at AZCSP’s website: http://www.azed.gov/charter-school-program/alert/.

    Anyone interested in applying for the subgrant is welcome to attend the training. However, the only applicants allowed to apply in 2018 1) must have already submitted their charter application to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (ASBCS) in May 2018 or 2) must have already submitted a replication application to ASBCS. Either application must be approved by ASBCS at its December 2018 public meeting. New Arizona State University (ASU) sponsored charter schools must also be approved by December 2018.

    Subrecipients will be supported by a $250,000 annual award over a period of five years for a total of $1.25 million. Five award competitions will be held annually in November 2018 through 2022. Subrecipients must agree to participate in AZCSP staff and contractor instructional and finance/operational/grants management technical assistance all five years. For interested entities seeking further information or assistance, please contact Mark Francis at 602-542-4020 or [email protected].

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