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.
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/
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/.
The United States Department of Defense has informed the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) that it is one of the states honored as a 2018 recipient of the Troops to Teachers Grant award. The mission of the Troops to Teachers Program is to assist current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces in beginning a new career as a public school teacher.
“I could not be any more delighted that the state of Arizona is a recipient of this prestigious grant,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “I have enormous admiration and respect for our military personnel, so I hope this grant will encourage more military members to make the transition from one honorable professional to another. Military service members have accumulated a number of life skills that would prove invaluable in the classroom.”
The grant will provide ADE with a dedicated staff position and overhead for the Troops to Teachers Program over the next five years, totaling $735,513.00. Former ADE Legislative Liaison and current Arizona National Guard member Nick LeFevre wrote the grant application, while ADE Deputy Associate Superintendent of Educator Excellence Keith Snyder will manage the program out of the Certification Unit.
Snyder spent 11 years as an active member of the U.S. Army, serving in Fort Huachuca, Fort Hood, Germany and Kuwait. After being honorably discharged from the military, Snyder transitioned into becoming a public school teacher and administrator, serving as an example of the type of candidate this program intends to attract.
“Our hope is that this grant will provide another avenue for combating our current teacher shortage in Arizona,” Snyder said. “Former military members offer a unique set of skills that are instrumental for teachers to possess. Teamwork, adaptability, time management, learning to prioritize tasks and developing an environment of respect are all abilities that are developed in the military, but would also be tremendously utilized by a teacher.”
Congress enacted the Troops to Teachers Program in 1993, placing the initiative underneath the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) of the U.S. Department of Defense. The goal of the program is to reach 500 service members by visiting each active duty military base at least once per quarter.
To learn more about becoming a teacher in Arizona, please visit http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/.
Following the decision made yesterday evening by teachers to strike next Thursday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas has implored teachers not to walk out of their classrooms if their salary demands are not met by that time.
“I have long been a vocal proponent of providing teachers with significant pay raises,” Superintendent Douglas said. “No one has more respect for the jobs that teachers do, which is why I proposed a viable, meaningful increase in their salaries last year, as well as sustainable funding specifically for them and school facilities.
“But if the teachers do not give the leadership at the Capitol the time to implement their salary increase, I’m afraid that striking will only hurt students and parents, while simultaneously setting back their own cause. I know that if we put the students first, we will be able to resolve all of our issues, and that is the role the Arizona Department of Education and I plan on playing until this issue is resolved.”
In preparation of a potential walk out on Thursday, the Department will issue guidance in the coming days from program areas such as School Finance, Health and Nutrition and Assessment. The Department is already working with schools that are deciding to remain open to provide free and reduced meals, as well as provide direction regarding the legal amount of annual instructional hours necessary for schools that close.
“Since my first priority is the children,” Superintendent Douglas continued, “in the unfortunate event that the teachers proceed to strike on Thursday, I’m calling on the communities, businesses and faith-based organizations near the schools that decide to close to please make contingencies on behalf the students that do not have anywhere else to go, especially the children of single parents. It’s an absolute shame that it has come to this, but now that we are all in this situation, I hope that the teachers and Capitol leadership can rebuild trust and come together to resolve this matter as quickly as possible for the sake of our students.”
Superintendent Douglas will also present more guidance and provide an update at the upcoming State Board of Education meeting on Monday regarding a potential walkout.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is pleased to announce today that Wendy Davy has been named the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) new Chief Accountability Officer.
“I am excited to work with Wendy on the continuing support of our state’s Accountability system,” Superintendent Douglas said. “The top priority of Arizona’s Accountability system is to evaluate and inform the academic performance of public schools, which Wendy has excellent insight into from her prior experience in research, evaluation and analysis. She will be instrumental in leading the Accountability and Data Research Teams, as well as an invaluable asset in fostering ongoing collaboration with education leaders and stakeholders from around our great state.”
With 19 years of valuable experience in K-12 education, Davy has spent the last 16 years with the Peoria Unified School District, most recently in the role of Director of Research, Assessment and Planning. Due to her voluntary commitment to the Accountability Advisory Group over the past several years, Davy has developed extensive experience in modeling data with technical business rules.
Davy will replace the position previously held by Dr. Jennifer Fletcher, who will remain at the Department until August. Until that time, Dr. Fletcher and Davy will work together to ensure that a seamless transition occurs for Arizona schools.
Before working in education, Davy held positions in the corporate world, providing sales and consulting to Fortune 500 companies. Married to her husband, Leonard, they have three children: Kent (27), Amanda (25) and Emily (23), as well as Katie, their daughter-in-law. She was raised on a small farm in Colorado before moving to Arizona for the sunshine, is the proud owner of a 13-year-old Miniature Schnauzer named Sam and enjoys hiking and camping in her free time.
The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) has released fourth and eighth grade math and reading results from the 2017 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which is designed to inform the public about academic achievement of American elementary and secondary students. As Arizona continues to tackle numerous important educational challenges, the Arizona 10-year (2007-17) trend NAEP scores remain strong, while the two-year (2015-17) comparative results are mixed.
“I am pleased to see the continuing upward trend in the test scores of Arizona students,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “But we also see the negative impact that occurs when we experiment with our children’s education as we did with the Common Core standards. I am excited to see how the adoption of our new Arizona standards will benefit our students’ scores going forward.”
The Arizona average scale scores for 2017 NAEP are +8 in Grade 8 Reading, +6 in Grade 8 Math, +5 in Grade 4 Reading, and +2 in Grade 4 Math when compared to Arizona average scale scores for 2007.
2017 Arizona Grade 8 Reading
- Arizona students maintained the same average scale score in 2017 that they received in 2015 (263).
- Arizona students with a disability (SD) had an average scale score of 233; this was +7 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona SD students in 2015 (226).
- Arizona African-American students had an average scale score of 254; this was a +5 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona African-American students in 2015 (249).
- Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students had an average scale score of 254; this was a +10 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students in 2015 (244).
2017 Arizona Grade 8 Math
- Arizona students had an average scale score that equaled the national average scale score (282).
- Arizona Asian students had an average scale score of 316; this was a +11 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona Asian students in 2015 (305).
- Arizona African-American students had an average scale score of 272; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona African-American students in 2015 (269).
- Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students had an average scale score of 263; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students in 2015 (260).
2017 Arizona Grade 4 Reading
- Arizona students maintained the same average scale score in 2017 that they received in 2015 (263).
- Arizona SD students had an average scale score of 183; this was +6 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona SD students in 2015 (177).
- Arizona English Learner (EL) students had an average scale score of 171; this was a +6 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona EL students in 2015 (165).
- Arizona white students had an average scale score of 232; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona white students in 2015 (229).
2017 Arizona Grade 4 Math
- Arizona students had an average scale of 234; this was a -4 scale-point decrease from that of Arizona students in 2015 (238).
- Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students had an average scale score of 223; this was a +3 scale-point improvement from that of Arizona American Indian/Alaskan Native students in 2015 (220).
NAEP Achievement Levels are defined as the following:
- Basic denotes a partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work.
- Proficient represents a solid academic performance with demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter.
- Advanced represents superior performance.
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) opened grant applications for the upcoming year on March 1, 2018, marking the earliest time ever that Arizona schools could apply for grants. The flood of early applications has demonstrated how popular the new practice has been with traditional districts and charters.
“We have been working over the past year to overhaul and streamline the Department’s internal grants management practices,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “The goal is to allocate grant money to schools as soon as possible. The heavy lifting and hard work performed by my finance, grants and program area staff appears to be paying off.”
Since the application window opened, 345 applications have been initiated, including more than 17 percent of the entitlement grants available for this year. The Department is now well on its way to achieving the goal of schools receiving their grant allocations before the start of the new school year in July. This change in the grants process was created to ensure that schools did not receive their grant allocations after the beginning of the school year, which had been common practice in previous years.
“It was simply unacceptable to have schools waiting until after the school year had started to receive grant funds,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Schools need to know the extent of their funding before the school year has started so they can budget their finances accordingly. Schools already have enough financial concerns on their plate without external factors complicating their processes any further.”
Under the leadership of Superintendent Douglas, ADE has been working diligently to ease any procedural burdens on Arizona’s public schools. Opening the grant funding applications in March will not only help get grant money to schools earlier, but it will also streamline the application process, create a consistent schedule for opening funding applications and awarding grant funds, as well as provide districts and charters with more proactive planning opportunities.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas presented drafts of the new Arizona Science Standards, as well as the new Arizona History and Social Science Standards at today’s State Board of Education (SBE) meeting. The draft standards were immediately made available on the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) K-12 Academic Standards website.
“These draft standards are a step forward for the education of Arizona students,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Not only do the standards help guide educators in preparing students to compete in a modern technology-based economy, but they also help prepare students to be good citizens grounded in the founding principles of our constitutional republic. I am looking forward to the feedback during the public comment period, but I would like to thank the working groups and ADE staff for all the hard work they have put into these drafts.”
The period for public review and comment will be from March 26, 2018 until May 28, 2018. During that time, the Department will host two public meetings. On April 5, 2018 from 3:30-5:00 p.m., members of the Department will walk the public through the draft of the Arizona History and Social Science Standards. On April 6, 2018, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., the draft of the Arizona Science Standards will be reviewed. Both meetings will be held in the State Board of Education meeting room located at 1535 W. Jefferson St. Phoenix, AZ 85007. The meetings will also be live streamed and recorded for those who are not able to attend in person.
During this time, the Department will also be receiving feedback from technical reviewers. Once the technical and public comment period is completed, ADE will reconvene working groups to finalize the drafts before presenting them to the SBE for adoption.
Please find the new draft standards posted on our website at: http://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/k-12standards/k12engagement/az_sci_ss_standards-review/. The public may both review and comment on the new proposed standards.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today applauded Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature for supporting the passage of legislation to extend Proposition 301. Once signed by the Governor into law, Senate Bill 1390 will effectively replicate the original language of Prop 301 and move the expiration date out to 2041.
“I am excited that the Legislature agreed to extend Prop 301 sooner rather than later in order to avoid the looming fiscal cliff,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Since schools throughout the state rely so heavily on Prop 301 revenues, the funding is essentially baked into their respective budgets. Now that this extension has been passed, I am committed more than ever to increasing teacher salaries and finding new revenue streams for education as quickly as possible.”
The Governor indicated that he will sign the new bill into law, preventing the voter-approved 0.6-cent sales tax from expiring in 2021. The new law will also move $64.1 million in additional funding to the classroom site fund, meaning more monies will be available for increasing teacher salaries.
Last April, Superintendent Douglas released her plan to expand Prop 301 monies to a full 1 percent, which if supported by voters would generate $400 million annually for teacher salaries and school buildings, providing nearly $5,000 more in average take-home pay to teachers each year. The expansion would result in an immediate 11 percent raise for teachers and $100 million for school facilities, which could be utilized to help bolster school safety.
For more information and updates about the proposal, please visit www.azed.gov