Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction


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:

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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    Published: Published: May 15th, 2018

    Arizona Department of Education Awarded Troops to Teachers Grant

    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/.

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    Published: Published: April 17th, 2018

    Superintendent Douglas Announces New Chief Accountability Officer

    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.

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