Published: March 14th, 2018

ADE Launches AzEDCert Educator Portal for Online Certification

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly announced the launch of the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) AzEDCert Educator Portal. The new online tool will allow teachers six months away from having their certifications expire, as well as those whose certifications have lapsed within the last year, to apply for renewal from the comfort of their homes.

“I am delighted that our hardworking certified teachers and administrators will no longer have to make the inconvenient trek to Phoenix to renew their certifications,” Superintendent Douglas said. “We should do whatever we can to simplify the administrative processes of becoming an educator, while keeping our standards for educators as high as possible. I am extremely proud of our Certification Unit and our IT (Information Technology) Division for making this portal a reality for our educators.”

There are currently over 15,000 educators with active certificates who would be eligible to apply for renewal utilizing this new system. Not only would teachers and administrators no longer need to apply in person or via mail for this service, Arizona certified educators can now view their certification information on-line via the portal.

The AzEDCert Educator Portal also boasts many other features. The system will send e-mail reminders to educators who are eligible to renew prior to their certificates expiring, as well as provide e-mail alerts that update them on the status of their application throughout the process.

The cost for renewals will remain at $20 per certificate, but a $2 online convenience fee will be added per application submitted via the portal. In addition, ADE’s Certification Unit will continue to accept applications in-person and by mail. The on-line system will not only add convenience for educators applying for renewal, but also increase the Department’s efficiency in processing applications. Additional services and features that provide further convenience with applications and other services to educators are also forthcoming.

More information about the AzEDCert Educator portal can be found on the Certification Unit’s webpage at

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Published: March 7th, 2018

Supt. Douglas Encourages Potential Teachers to Attend Teach-In Job Fair

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is encouraging potential teachers to attend the 2018 Great Arizona Teach-In Job Fair on Saturday, March 10. The job fair will be hosted by the Exceptional Student Services Division of the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) at the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel and Spa from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

“As I have traveled around the state to almost 60 locations on my ‘We Are Listening Tours,’” Superintendent Douglas said, “I have heard unanimously from Arizonans of all walks of life that we need to pay our teachers more and find a solution to our teacher shortage crisis. Events such as the 2018 Great Arizona Teach-In Job Fair are incredible opportunities to help effectively address some of those concerns.”

116 traditional district, charter and private schools will attend Saturday’s job fair, as well as several other educational entities. At last year’s event, 59 educators were hired right on the spot, while 88 in total were hired directly from the job fair.

A fingerprinting service, resume reviewers, as well as representatives from ADE will be on hand to counsel attendees on becoming a certified teacher in Arizona. The attending schools will be able to issue letters of intent and job offers to prospective teachers pending background checks.

“If you are a teacher in need of work or a school in need of teachers,” the Superintendent continued, “there is no better place to be this weekend than the job fair. It is free for prospective teachers to attend and you can literally walk away from the event having changed your life and the lives of your potential students for the better in one day.”

To register or learn more information about the 2018 Great Arizona Teach-In Job Fair, please visit Media interested in attending should email or call the press contact listed above.

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Published: February 16th, 2018

Supt. Douglas Extends Condolences to Florida School

Superintendent Diane Douglas

In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on February 15, 2018, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas discussed school safety on the Conservative Circus with James T. Harris. Douglas extended her condolences to all those affected by the tragedy: “My heart just goes out, not only to the families who have lost loved ones, but also to the whole community.”

Douglas went on to discuss the importance of a safe learning environment: “If kids aren’t safe at their schools, no learning is going to happen.” After detailing ways she is trying to address school safety in Arizona, Douglas again expressed her sympathy for the Parkland community: “My heart and my prayers are with all of those folks in Florida. We just pray that God watches over them.”

Read more about the interview in the Arizona Daily Independent or listen to it using the audio player embedded below.

Superintendent Douglas’ interview begins at minute 31 of the podcast (approximately 80% of the way through the episode).

Posted in News |
Published: February 2nd, 2018

Schools located near Bradley Creemos Academy

Schools near Bradley Creemos

For parents whose children attended the now closed Bradley Creemos Academy, here are some options for your children:

  • Avondale Elementary District
    295 W Western Ave, Avondale, AZ 85323
    Phone: 623-772-5000
  • BASIS Goodyear
    15800 W Sherman St, Goodyear, AZ 85338
    Phone: 480-276-8592
  • Harvest Preparatory Academy
    14900 W. Van Buren St. Building E, Goodyear, AZ 85338
    Phone: 602-708-2334
  • Imagine Schools Avondale
    950 N. Eliseo C. Felix, Jr. Way, Avondale, AZ 85323
    Phone: 623-344-1730
  • Littleton Elementary District
    1600 South 107th Ave, Avondale, AZ 85323
    Phone: 623-478-5600
Posted in News |
Published: January 23rd, 2018

Superintendent Douglas Delivers 2018 State of Education

Superintendent Douglas delivering 2018 State of Education address


Remarks by Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane M. Douglas
Delivered January 22, 2018, before the Arizona House Education Committee

Mr. Chairman and members of the House Education Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.

For the record, I am Diane Douglas, and I have the honor and privilege of serving you as Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. It is always a pleasure to address so many elected officials who care as deeply about education and the future of our students as I do.

In my opinion, the most important thing we do as a state is educate our children. The goal is to not make them worker bees or college applicants. The goal is to create successful citizens who will protect and perpetuate our great republic.

While I would say that the State of Education in Arizona is improving, there is much more work to do. On a positive note, since taking office, we are seeing modest increases in test scores.

While I am not a fan of the AzMERIT test, it is encouraging to see our students English Language Learning and Math scores going up. I attribute this to the daily hard work of our parents and our teachers.

We have replaced the Common Core standards with our own new Arizona Standards for Math and English. It is good to have Arizonans back in charge of the standards for Arizona students.

We are seeing schools and districts sign up for the Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative. This is $100 million-dollar-plus opportunity to upgrade rural and underserved schools’ internet capability in our state.

As of today, more than 100 schools have signed up which has already impacted more than 70,000 students. The grant is closing within the next few months, so please urge schools or districts to apply.

In addition, we have made the successful transition from our old, unstable, student data system to the new award-winning AzEDS system. In fact, we executed the most efficient annual rollover in the state’s history.

LEAs now know their estimated state aid payments on a daily basis, as opposed to months later, allowing the state to meet legislatively mandated reporting deadlines and offer end-of-year calculations for the first time.

District and charter schools now also follow the same month-to-month payment schedule, which allows schools to budget with more accuracy, saving the state millions of dollars annually.

AzEDS allowed districts and schools to close out their student data for the previous year in July and open the new year that same month. This was the first time that has occurred. AzEDS allows schools to plan budgets and personnel and resources sooner and with greater accuracy.

These are just some of the good things happening in Arizona education. But there are still many challenges to address. We have a teacher shortage. According to a survey by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, more than 20 percent of teacher positions remained vacant after four months into the school year.

While teacher pay is not the only factor leading to a shortage; it is a big factor. Arizona teacher pay is among the lowest in the country. Arizona high school teachers are ranked 48th in the country for teacher pay, while elementary school teachers rank dead last.

We have held more than fifty We Are Listening Tour events over the past three years – town halls where I have met with parents, teachers, administrators and other members of the public about education issues.

No matter where I go; east, west, north, south or central. Whether the community is rural or urban, and of all political stripes, Arizonans have told me the same thing: we want our teachers to be better paid.

We all know that Prop 301 funding expires in a short few years. As a state, we must address this potential education funding cliff, which would exacerbate our current education funding woes.

I have proposed a plan to renew Prop 301 on a permanent basis and provide an immediate 11% increase in teacher salaries along with much needed funding for school capital expenditures.

There are other plans out there as well. I am willing to listen and work with anyone, and with all of you and the Governor, to make sure we don’t fall off that fiscal cliff and to insure a stable funding for our education system.

My advice is, the plan agreed upon, needs to focus on teacher salaries and be acceptable to the voters. It also needs to be permanent: no more fiscal cliffs.

There is too much at stake to fail. I also worry about waiting to the last minute to act, giving ourselves no time to address the fiscal cliff, if a solution is not passed.

I was pleased to stand with the Governor, the Senate President and the Speaker of House, along with representatives of School Districts across our state, in favor of the Governor’s proposal increasing funding for additional assistance.

It is a path forward, with currently available resources, to ending the recession-era cuts to school facility funding. The flexibility it provides to districts and schools to use funds towards teacher salaries, as well as bricks and mortar, is most welcome.

I was encouraged to see some plaintiffs in the school facility lawsuit, dropping from the suit, in response to this proposal.

I have always preferred paying teachers, rather than lawyers. Another way we will try to address the teacher shortage is by partnering with Troops to Teachers.

This program assists transitioning military service members and veterans in beginning new careers as K-12 school teachers. This is a win-win: it honors our service members with a profession; while our students benefit from the example of teachers that have shown a special devotion to our nation.

While I appreciate the efforts and intent to minimize our teacher shortage, we must not lower the standards of the profession. Our children deserve teachers that are not only fully prepared to manage a classroom, but are also experts in their respective content areas.

Earlier I mentioned that we have replaced Common Core with new Arizona Standards for English and Math. This spring I plan to propose new Science, History and Social Science Standards to the State Board of Education for approval.

It is my intent, that the new Social Science Standards ensure that our students reach adulthood understanding the principles of America’s Founders. We must insure that they will be ready to be good citizens and pass along the benefits of liberty and a Constitutional Republic to future generations.

Maintaining the new standards does require on-going resources. The sources of funding for standards development has gone away and without legislative action we may find ourselves once again without the ability to direct our own future and that of our children. I was extremely happy to see funding for standards development in the Governor’s proposed budget.

Another need is for steady maintenance of our existing IT system. I was pleased to see this addressed in the Governor’s proposed budget and hope the legislature agrees.

If you have listened to my statements to the media and stakeholders over the past year, I spoken very sympathetically about the unenviable position the legislature finds itself in. We all realize how little funding exists for new projects once annual allocations are dispersed.

While I would not want to be in your shoes, I would not be doing my duty as Superintendent if I didn’t raise the issue of our greatest need, which is replacing APOR/CHAR, the IT system used to calculate payments for the $6.5 billion of student funding statewide.

While our new student information system AzEDS is up and running – it is paired with an antiquated school finance system backed by outdated hardware and software that is no longer under warranty or being supported.

If the Windows 2000 technology operating APOR/CHAR were to break down, it would cost us $10 million for Microsoft to even take a look at it.

If it would take Microsoft $10 million just to look at it, we desperately need to spend the roughly $9 million for a new system to pay schools and protect student data from getting into the wrong person’s hands.

Since the system is so archaic, we were ranked in the Bottom 5 of all state agencies by ADOA in regards to IT security.

The report unfortunately didn’t explain that 90 percent of those findings were the result of our systems still operating on Atari and Napster-era technology.

If we really care about protecting the student data of 1.1 million children we can no longer allow this to occur. Our situation today, with AzEDS matched to a legacy school finance system, is like having Amazon’s website and warehouse, but a delivery system that uses a horse and buggy.

While I love, and appreciate, the history and romance of the Pony Express as much as anyone; it is not a twenty-first century delivery system. So I’m hoping to work with you over the next session to help provide our schools with the finance system they deserve.

I empathize with you and the position of having to fund so many vital programs. And while bringing up the need for a new IT system is probably as old as APOR/CHAR itself, I’m sure you can empathize with the situation the state will find itself in if it isn’t replaced in the near future.

I would also like to share my Read 20 Arizona initiative to encourage early literacy. It emphasizes the importance of an adult reading to a child for 20 minutes a day or having a child read to them for 20 minutes.

Reading aloud can be a powerful tool, and early childhood increases in vocabulary are a predictor of future school success. The Read 20 Arizona message is simple: read early, read often and read together.

I was fortunate enough to participate in a Dr. Suess themed literacy event at Christown Mall. A word of advice, if you can choose which Dr. Suess book to read aloud, don’t pick The Fox in Sox. It’s a tongue twister!

These are just some of the accomplishments and initiatives we are working towards now. My 2018 AZ Kid’s Can’t Wait plan lists and explains many others.

The parents, children and people of Arizona deserve our attention to all these areas of need. I look forward to working with all of you, the Governor and our teachers and educators on making Arizona’s education system better every day.

Thank you for your time, your commitment to the future of our children, and the leadership I know you will show during this legislative session.

God bless you all, and God bless Arizona!

Posted in News |
Published: December 21st, 2017

Bringing After-School Programs into the 21st Century

21st Century Community Learning Centers

Long ago, in the last quarter of the 20th century, after-school programs often consisted of a snack, supervised playtime, and a table in the cafeteria for doing homework. In this, the 21st century, many lucky Arizona students get to participate in a new generation of out-of-school-time programs at truly impressive 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC).

The 21st CCLC Movie Making and Drama Club at Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School in Tucson is a prime example of just such a program. As reported by Erika Hannemann of Sunnyside Unified School District (parent district to Lauffer Middle), the club “brings together the perfect combination of both academic youth development and the magic of filmmaking. The students, working as a team, find popular stories, adapt them, create a script, and produce a video complete with props and a green screen. This project-based after-school activity not only promotes highly engaging academic learning, it also teaches students teamwork, creativity, social bonding and intricate communication skills. Not to mention, it’s really fun!”

These federal grant-funded centers offer a rich variety of classes and activities programs focused on helping students not only meet Arizona academic standards, but develop new interests, talents, and skills. Each 21st CCLC program is the product of close collaboration with the sponsoring school, community members, and family members of participating students.

Visit the ADE website to learn more about the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, read about some fantastic achievements, and see what it takes for your school to take part.

The 21st CCLC Movie Making and Drama Club at Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School has turned into a full-fledged movie production company! Students applied their newly-developed skills in writing, acting, directing, video editing, and digital special effects to produce a truly unique dramatization of the classic story of Rapunzel.

Posted in News |
Published: December 19th, 2017

Top 5 Ways Arizona’s K-12 Standards Are Different than Common Core

Top Five List Arizona Standards vs. Common Core

Common Core

  1. Common Core Standards are owned and copyrighted by an organization in Washington, DC and cannot be changed without their permission.
  2. Common Core had lists of recommended reading materials, some of which were questionable in their age appropriateness.
  3. Common Core did not emphasize students learning about time and money in the early grades.
  4. Common Core did not have our students learn to read and write cursive.
  5. Common Core not only asked math students to get a certain answer, but said they had to show that they got the answer in the Common Core way.

Arizona Standards

  1. Arizona Standards are owned by Arizona and can only be changed by Arizona. They were created with input from more than 200 Arizona educators and thousands of comments from the parents and people of Arizona.
  2. Arizona Standards allow school districts and charters to select their own curriculum and resources.
  3. Arizona Mathematics Standards have students learning about time and money in 1st through 4th grades.
  4. Arizona now requires students to learn cursive by 5th grade. Arizona is the only state with standards that lead to writing cursive.
  5. Arizona students and teachers can now use different methods to get the correct math answer.
Posted in News, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , |
Published: November 29th, 2017

Read 20 AZ: Read Early, Read Often, Read Together

5 Pillars of Early Literacy

Read 20 AZ is an Arizona Department of Education initiative to encourage early literacy. Throughout the nation, educators and child development advocates use the slogan “Read 20” to emphasize the importance of reading at least twenty minutes a day, either independently or with another person. The Read 20 AZ message is simple: read early, read often, and read together.

Read Aloud

Reading aloud is another powerful tool for promoting early literacy. When infants are read to, their brains begin preparing to learn words. By the time a baby is grabbing for the book, they are able to tell words apart. Toddlers who have been read to regularly can not only demand their favorite books at bedtime, but start matching sounds to letters. With the alphabet and years of stories under their belts, young children have the building blocks to start sounding out words. Reading aloud then becomes a technique young readers use to get better and faster. Fluent readers can complete the circle by reading to newer readers, even as they enhance their own vocabulary and comprehension. Reading aloud supports each of the “5 Pillars of Early Literacy.”

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Published: November 20th, 2017

ADE Staff Gives 150 Turkeys to Fowler Elementary District Families

frozen turkey delivery

To kick off the 2017 Thanksgiving season, ADE’s senior executive leadership, following Superintendent Diane Douglas’s lead, decided to use a friendly intraagency competition to give back to the community. The First Inaugural ADE Turkey Drive was an astounding success.

In just ten days, the agency’s employees donated enough money to purchase and deliver 150 frozen fowls to Fowler Elementary District in southwest Phoenix. That is approximately one turkey for every four staff members or almost 3 pounds of turkey per ADE employee!

Shown: ADE Associate Superintendent Mike Mannelly delivering frozen fowls to Dr. Marvene Lobato, superintendent of Fowler Elementary District.

The last of the turkeys were delivered to the district on Friday, November 17, and immediately distributed to excited families just in time to set the frozen birds to thaw for Thanksgiving. After all, we did not want hungry kids crying foul about frozen fowls come Thursday or folks frying a frozen bird, which would definitely draw a foul from the fire department.

turkeys in car
How many turkeys fit in the back of a DAS’s jeep?

While the purpose of the Turkey Drive was to give back to the community, a little friendly competition between departments never hurt anyone. The (admittedly large) Information Technology division proudly led the flock-we-mean-pack by donating fully half of the turkeys, but the rest of the teams were close behind. After all, birds of a feather… (do we really need to finish that?)

Posted in News |