Arizona Department of Education

Published: 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:


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

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    Published: Published: October 10th, 2018

    Statement On Former State Superintendent Carolyn Warner’s Passing

    Carolyn Warner served as the 15th Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, elected as a Democrat, from 1975 to 1987. Warner passed away on October 9, 2018 at the age of 88.

    Statement From Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas on former Superintendent Warner’s passing:

    “I am deeply saddened by the news of Carolyn’s passing. She was an extremely kind and wonderful person who led a full and amazing life.

    “Although we were from different sides of the political aisle, there was no other former Superintendent of Public Instruction that was nearly as gracious and kindhearted to me as Carolyn. Even after completing three terms in this office, Carolyn remained very active in the educational community, serving with me as Co-Chair on the Career and Technical Education Quality Skills Commission and dedicating her valuable time and energy to the students of Arizona until her final days. She will be sorely missed.”

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    Published: 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:

    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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    Published: 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

    “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

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    Published: 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

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    Published: 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: Published: July 10th, 2018

    ADE’s Grants Process Begins Earlier Than Ever

    The Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE’s) new grants process is allowing eligible schools to draw down grant monies beginning in July. This new process was created to ensure that schools can receive their grant allocations before the beginning of the school year, which is not only months earlier than in the past, but also allows schools to have access to these funds before classes begin.

    “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 was 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 is paying off, allowing schools to have access to funds months earlier than they have in the past.”

    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 demonstrated how popular the new practice is with traditional districts and charters. In fact, 47 percent of all expected grant requests have been approved. Charters and districts can request draw downs on these approved grant allocations, which will soon be followed by the remaining grant approvals.

    “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 earlier in the year is not only help getting grant money to schools earlier, but it is also streamlining the application process, creating a consistent schedule for opening funding applications, as well as awarding grant funds. This provides districts and charters with more proactive planning opportunities for their budgetary needs.

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    Published: Published: July 10th, 2018

    Mission View Puppet Show After-School Program

    Mission View Puppet Show After School Program

    The Mission View Elementary School’s Puppet Show After-School Program is a great example of innovative and creative ways that the 21st Century Community Learning Grant (21stCCLG) is extending student learning past the traditional school day.

    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.

    Mission View Puppet Show After School Program.

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    Published: 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: 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:

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