News


Published: September 12th, 2018

ADE Finalizes Favorable Resolutions for Audit Findings

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has reached final agreements with the United States Department of Education (ED) to correct audit findings related to its federal Title I and special education (IDEA) allocations.

The finalized resolutions mark the end of a thorough review and recalculation process conducted by ADE staff and third-party, independent consultants since the findings and their underlying causes were initially identified in State Auditor General and ED audits. In addition to recalculating allocations, ADE has also implemented internal policy and staff changes to ensure that future funding awards are accurate and reliable.

Under the finalized resolution agreements, any underfunded schools will be made whole over a period of one or more fiscal years and no overfunded schools will be required to repay any monies. Final revised allocations for fiscal year 2019 will be available to schools before the end of September.

“I am pleased that we have at long last completed this process with the U.S. Department of Education, bringing needed closure to our schools and districts and building a solid foundation for our allocations process in the future,” Superintendent Douglas said. “It is a testament to the hard work of my staff that we were able to resolve these issues without any additional adverse impact to Arizona students. We look forward to working with impacted schools to ensure they have the support they need.”

Specific information related to the two resolutions is available below.

Title I

The resolution of this finding required a full recalculation of all Title I allocations for fiscal years 2014–2017, and the creation of an updated, vetted and validated allocation process for fiscal year 2018 and future years.

LEAs that were overfunded during the impacted fiscal years will not be required to repay any previously awarded funds as a result of the findings. All underfunded LEAs will be made whole over a period of one to four years beginning in fiscal year 2019. 90 percent of all underfunded LEAs will be made whole in one year. LEAs that were cumulatively underfunded between $100,000-$150,000 will be made whole over three years, while LEAs that were cumulatively underfunded over $150,000 will be made whole over four years.

Special Education (IDEA)

This resolution requires ADE to make entities whole for the affected fiscal years of 2015, 2016, and 2017. The repayments will begin in fiscal year 2019 and will be completed in fiscal year 2023, spread evenly over five years. School districts and charter schools that were overfunded will not be required to return funds previously awarded.

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Published: August 16th, 2018

Arizona Department of Education Releases Final 2017-18 AzMERIT Results

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) recently released final combined performance results from the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 administrations of the AzMERIT statewide assessment. An Excel file containing the results and additional details about the assessments has been posted at www.azed.gov/accountability-research/data/.

“I am very proud of the hard work my Assessment and Accountability teams have done to release these scores earlier than ever,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “Although most know that I think the AzMERIT test has a long way to go to become the most effective tool of student assessment in our state, I am pleased to announce that our students have improved in 26 of the 30 grade-level and test categories. While we still have much work to do, I congratulate all of our educators and students for widespread gains across the board.”

The results include the total percentage of Arizona public school students who passed the assessments and the percentage at each performance level. In addition to the statewide results, proficiency rates are available for schools, districts/charter holders and counties. Breakdowns by grade level, subgroup (e.g., students with disabilities, English language learners, economically disadvantaged students) and ethnicity are also provided.

Arizona public school students in third grade through high school take AzMERIT. Students in grades 3 through 8 take an assessment in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics at their grade level. Students taking high school level English and math take End-of-Course assessments that test their proficiency in those subjects. Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) results were not included in the most recent release of data because this assessment needed to conduct a standards validation, which is why ADE has communicated with schools and the Arizona State Board of Education that there would be a delay in reporting those results this year. Once that process is complete, those results will be posted on ADE’s website.

For more information on AzMERIT, please visit https://www.azed.gov/assessment//azmerit/.

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Published: August 15th, 2018

Zip Code Project to Hold First Combined Summit

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will hold its first-ever summit between two different regions of the Zip Code Project on Friday, August 17, bringing together the South Phoenix and West Phoenix-Maryvale regions in an effort to assist disconnected youth.

“The Zip Code Project identifies areas with high concentrations of disconnected youth and focuses on bringing community resources together to assist them,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “Left unaided, these young people will often end up pursuing futures that include crime, welfare or other unacceptable outcomes. Our mission with the Zip Code Project is to help these young adults get back on the path to a successful, happy and productive life.”

The Zip Code Project is an ADE initiative dedicated to assisting disconnected youth ages 16-24 that are neither employed nor attending school. The initiative was designed to bring government, community and non-profit organizations together to develop Community Boards of Action in an effort to end youth disconnection.

The purpose of the summit is to pool community resources together to develop a plan of action to complete over the next 10-12 months. A few topics to be discussed will include the following:

  • development and recruitment of a Zip Code Project Youth Advisory Council to assist with the direction of the project.
  • creation of a volunteer mentorship program to allow professionals to mentor youth in areas such as FAFSA paperwork, resume building, career advising and skill realization.
  • discuss a potential partnership with Arizona State University for developing an iPhone and Android App that helps provide resources for disconnected youth.
  • receive feedback from community partners on their new plans and goals for the school year.
  • ADE also intends to facilitate 2018-19 Zip Code Project Launch events in both Chinle and Ajo. More information on those events will be coming soon. For those interested in attending the 2018 South Phoenix/West Phoenix-Maryvale Zip Code Project Summit, please find the info below:

  • Date: 2-4 p.m., Friday, August 17
  • Location: Arizona Department of Education, 1535 West Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
  • RSVP to Ensure Space: [email protected]
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    Published: August 8th, 2018

    Superintendent Douglas Praises Streamlining of Certification Processes

    Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly announced that one quarter of educator certification renewals granted so far this year have been submitted online.

    “I am very proud of both our Certification and IT departments for creating the AzEDCert Educator Portal,” Superintendent Douglas said. “This technology means that hardworking certified teachers and administrators no longer need to make the inconvenient trek to our office in Phoenix to renew their certifications. We need to do everything we can to ease the administrative burden we put on our educators, which is why I am so very proud of both the portal and how we have streamlined other certification processes.”

    Educator certification processing times for renewals have been cut in half this year due to new technology and improved administrative processes. Teachers who have a signed letter of intent from a traditional district or charter school authenticating their employment typically have their files evaluated within 72 hours, barring any background verification issues.

    In addition, if a teacher is applying for a reciprocal certification, an emergency teacher certification or an emergency substitute teacher certification, the teacher will receive immediate certification. The only conditions for immediate approval are that the teacher must apply in person at a certification window in Phoenix, as well as have the appropriate paperwork correctly completed.

    While there has been an increase in certification processing efficiency, there has also been a 28 percent increase in certification applications submitted over the previous fiscal year. The greatest increases in certifications have been in secondary education (59 percent), physical education (31 percent), elementary education (21 percent) and arts education (20 percent). More information about the AzEDCert Educator portal can be found on the Certification Unit’s webpage at http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/.

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    Published: August 2nd, 2018

    The Great Pencil and Paper Giveaway

    Treasures 4 Teachers for Back to School


    The Great Paper & Pencil Giveaway is on at Treasures 4 Teachers this Saturday, August 11th, from 9am-4pm. Every member of Treasures 4 Teachers can go Back-to-School with two reams of paper and seventy-five pencils to start the new school year.

    Treasures 4 Teachers is a non-profit created in 2004 to assist all local educators to shop for their classroom and project supplies so they do not need to pay for them completely out-of-pocket. Founder, Executive Director Barbara Blalock, explained that Treasures 4 Teachers is a donation-based operation. This has allowed them to expand their main location in Tempe, add-on another location in Tucson, and to organize pop-up shops in locations like the one at the Goodyear Ballpark in the west valley.

    Superintendent Diane Douglas had visited the 12,000 sq. ft. warehouse located in Tempe and was quite pleased with the expansive variety of supplies. She stated, “Teachers can now stock their classrooms with free or low-cost supplies from this wonderful community resource.”

    There is an annual membership fee of just $35. Also, anyone may gift a donated membership to an educator or donate particular products from a list on the organizations website.

    You may also sign-up online to become a member of Treasures 4 Teachers. Then on Saturday, stop by for your giveaway set of paper and pencils, while supplies last.

    Find out more about Treasures 4 Teachers here.

    Fill-A-Bag Bargain Bins
    $5.00 Fill-A-Bag Bargain Bins
    12,000 sq. ft. warehouse location
    12,000 sq. ft. warehouse location
    Tucson Treasures 4 Teachers location
    Tucson Treasures 4 Teachers location
    Tempe Location
    Tempe Location
    Expansive Variety
    Expansive Variety
    Free supplies
    Free organizing supplies
    Posted in News |
    Published: August 1st, 2018

    Superintendent Douglas: Welcome Back to School

    Urges motorists to be aware of children and school buses

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas welcomes back students, teachers and staff by proclaiming the start of the new school year.

    “Once again it is the time of year for new backpacks, sharpened pencils and making new friends,” Superintendent Douglas said. “It is always an exciting time of hope and anticipation when the school year begins. Welcome back to school, Arizona!”

    Since over the next few weeks most Arizona schools will begin the new school year, Superintendent Douglas urges motorists to put safety first on our state’s roads.

    “We are back to having school buses on our roads, students walking in our crosswalks, as well as riding on their bicycles,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Let’s remind ourselves to be vigilant in our driving with our children back in school. Please be extra alert and abide by the speed limits in the school zones.

    “Test scores are rising, teachers are getting raises and schools are receiving their federal grant funds sooner than ever. We are poised to have the best Arizona school year ever, so let’s all work together to achieve that goal.”

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    Published: June 19th, 2018

    ADE Coordinated Statewide School Active Shooter Training

    Active Shooter Training

    School, Law Enforcement and Health Officials Work Together

    On Thursday, June 14th, the Arizona Department of Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, and the Arizona Department of Health Services coordinated an active shooter training event for Arizona school officials.

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas opened the event. “We have all seen the devastating impact to students, parents, schools and communities that have experienced school shooter tragedies. Thankfully, we have not had a mass school shooting in Arizona. We must still remain vigilant,” said Douglas. “I am encouraged that so many of our school, law enforcement and healthcare leaders from across our state came together to be better prepared, and hopefully even find ways to prevent such an event.”

    More than one hundred and fifty participants from across the state attended including, School Superintendents, Police Chiefs, Firefighters, Psychologists, Tribal Leaders, Public Health and Hospital staff and the Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Colonel Frank Milstead. The event included a two-hour superintendent-level-training focused on active shooter and mass casualty events, followed by law enforcement current affairs briefing, behavioral health aspects of school shootings, and an open discussion.

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    Published: June 15th, 2018

    Summer Feeding Programs Kick-off with Pizza Camp

    Pizza Camp at Chief Hill Learning Academy


    Pizza Camp was the kick-off for this year’s Arizona Summer Feeding Program on Thursday, June 14th from 1-2pm at Chief Hill Learning Academy in Chandler. The Dairy Council of Arizona awarded a total of $20,000 in grants to the Summer Feeding Program to celebrate June’s Dairy Month. The Chandler Unified School District was one of 32 programs to receive $2,000 of this total to help feed children who would otherwise go hungry when out of school.

    The Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was on hand, along with The Arizona Diamondback’s organist Bobby Freeman and alumni player Kelly Stinnett, as well as the folks at the Dairy Council of Arizona and the Chandler Firefighters to help make pizzas. The groups interacted with 50+ hungry kids, as they made their own pizzas and watched the dough being hand-tossed by pizza professionals before baking them in a state-of-the-art conveyor pizza oven.

    The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded child nutrition program which was established to ensure low-income children, ages 18 and younger, continue to have an opportunity to receive nutritious means when school in not in session. In Arizona, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), Health and Nutrition Services division, directly administers the program.

    Pizza making professionals
    Pizza professional entertaining children
    Volunteer Chandler Firefighters
    Superintendent Douglas with the Chandler Firefighters
    Diamondbacks Bobby Freeman
    The Arizona Diamondback’s organist Bobby Freeman with Superintendent Douglas
    Arizona Diamondback's player signing autographs
    Arizona Diamondback’s alumni player Kelly Stinnett
    Children making their own pizzas
    Hungry Chandler children
    Some hungry children in Chandler
    Some 50+ students fed at Pizza Camp
    Waiting on the pizza oven
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    Published: June 6th, 2018

    Arizona Summer Food Services Program Begins

    Summer Food Services Program

    More than 1,100 Sites Across the State Approved

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, noted that the Summer Food Services Program (SFSP) has begun.

    “Many low-income families depend on the free and reduced meals that are served during the school year,” said Superintendent Douglas. “No child in Arizona should suffer from food insecurity just because school is out of session. That’s why the Summer Food Services Program is so important.”

    So far, one thousand and fifty-five (1,155) SFSP sites have been approved in the State of Arizona. This is an increase over last year’s total of one thousand and seventy-three (1,073). As with every summer, additional SFSP sites are added through the summer. Some of the sites are already opened, others will open soon. The sites will remain open through the first week in August.

    Last year, during the summer of 2017, more than 3.1 Million meals were served at SFSP sites in Arizona. With the increase in sites, it is anticipated that even more meals will be served. The majority of sites serve breakfast and lunch. Some also serve dinner and/or snacks.

    To find a Summer Food Program site near you and find out their address, times of operation and which meals are served, please follow this link to the interactive map: www.azhealthzone.org/summerfood/

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    Published: May 25th, 2018

    ADE Teams With Governor’s Office to Reduce Exam Fees for Low-Income Students

    Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas proudly announced an agreement between the Governor Doug Ducey’s Office of Education and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to provide partial fee subsidies for low-income students accessing Advanced Placement (AP) tests, International Baccalaureate (IB) exams and Cambridge International Examinations in the spring of 2018.

    “I am grateful to Governor Ducey and the Governor’s Office of Education for providing us with additional funding to help us support these outstanding and ambitious students,” Superintendent Douglas said. “I never want to see students struggle to achieve their potential because they cannot afford to take the exams for courses in which they excel. This agreement provides students the opportunity to challenge themselves academically and earn college credit, without burdening themselves or their families financially.”

    The interagency agreement was inspired by the Governor’s Achieve60AZ postsecondary attainment goal, which strives to ensure that 60 percent of working adults in Arizona have a certificate or college degree by 2030. Since students exposed to higher learning opportunities such as advanced placement classes, dual enrollment and early college experiences are more likely to pursue a postsecondary education, this initiative intends to increase the number of college graduates, as well as create a more diverse, knowledgeable and innovative workforce in Arizona.

    Schools began learning how to access these resources to support their students from ADE in March. For more information on the grant, please visit www.azed.gov/advanced-placement/.

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