Diane Douglas


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 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: 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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Published: Published: April 10th, 2018

Arizona’s 10-Year NAEP Trend Remains Strong

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.”

2017 NAEP 2-year Scale Scores
2017 NAEP 10-Year Trend Scores

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).

2017 NAEP AZ Achievement LevelsNAEP 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.
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Published: Published: March 28th, 2018

New Grants Process for Schools Debuts to Widespread Success

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.

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Published: Published: March 26th, 2018

Drafts of New Standards for Science, History and Social Science Presented to State Board

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.

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