Diane Douglas

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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Published: Published: March 23rd, 2018

Superintendent Douglas Applauds Prop 301 Extension

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

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Published: Published: March 23rd, 2018

Douglas Lends Support to Glendale’s SROs

Superintendent Douglas

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was on hand at a press conference today in support of the city of Glendale’s school safety initiative to significantly increase the level of school resource officer (SRO) support at Glendale’s public high schools. Effective immediately, all of the city’s nine public high schools in four different school districts will have a dedicated Glendale police officer on campus.

“I am delighted to lend my support to the city of Glendale and this incredible initiative,” Superintendent Douglas said. “There is nothing more important than keeping our children safe and I hope cities throughout Arizona take a page out of Glendale’s playbook and follow suit. I also could not be more impressed that Glendale is going to have these officers ready to serve on campus immediately.”

Glendale Police Chief Rick St. John, along with Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers and City Manager Kevin Phelps, believe that this initiative is necessary in the current climate of increased violent threats against students and teachers. Should there be any threat or incident, the role of the school resource officer will be to provide rapid response capabilities to every public high school within Glendale Police Department’s jurisdiction.

“I want to ensure the citizens of Glendale that myself, the City Council, our city management and our police department are committed to keeping our schools and all of our citizens safe,” Mayor Weiers said. “Highly trained police officers are exactly what we need in our schools protecting and serving students and staff and that is why we have made the decision to take the lead by taking this action.”

The implementation of this plan will result in a full-time Glendale police officer on every high school campus in the city. A new dedicated SRO will be on the school grounds for Deer Valley High School, Mountain Ridge High School, Apollo High School, Glendale High School and Independence High School. Previous assignments of full-time resource officers at Raymond S. Kellis High School, Copper Canyon High School, Cactus High School and Ironwood High School will continue.

To learn more about this initiative, please visit https://www.glendaleaz.com/police/.

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Published: Published: December 7th, 2017

Superintendent Douglas Announces English Learner Teacher of the Year

At the Office of English Language Acquisition Services (OELAS) Conference awards banquet last night, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced that the 2017 Arizona English Learner (EL) Teacher of the Year is Kelly Neckels of Amberlea Elementary School in the Pendergast Elementary School District in Phoenix.

“It is an honor to recognize such an outstanding and beloved teacher as Kelly Neckels,” said Superintendent Douglas. “The energy and excitement at the banquet when her name was announced made it very clear how truly deserving she is of the award. Her district’s administration at could not say enough about her devotion towards her craft and her students.”

Neckels was honored at Wednesday night’s OELAS awards banquet at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson. The OELAS Conference, which was entitled “Opening Doors through Language,” also awarded four standout students with prizes for being recognized as English Learner Student Success Stories.

The process for choosing the 2017 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year began with the call for nominations in May 2017. Judging took place in October with a panel of peers, facilitated by OELAS, ultimately choosing the honoree.

On October 27, 2017, Superintendent Douglas and officials from OELAS made a surprise visit to Amberlea Elementary to inform Neckels that she had been selected as the 2017 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.

When asked to describe her educational philosophy as is relates to teaching EL students, Neckels responded, “My educational philosophy, as it relates to teaching EL students, is to cultivate an environment where my students feel a sense of security to take risks in their learning, to push themselves even further than their academic comfort level and to develop a love and passion for learning all while developing their proficiency in the English language. I also believe that showing my students how much I care about them as people, as well as learners, encourages them to develop positive relationships among each other. When my students feel secure, encouraged and loved, they support each other in their journey to becoming proficient in the English language.”

“I truly feel that every single day that I walk away from teaching my EL students I feel rewarded!” Neckels stated. “I get an overwhelming sense of excitement and pride when I hear my students use complete sentences with their peers or on their own, struggle with a difficult concept but do not give up until they succeed, face their fear of speaking in front of the class, explain how they got their answer on a math problem, or encourage each other to not be afraid to try.”

Neckels graduated with honors from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and earned her Master’s degree in Education from Northern Arizona University. Neckels has been a teacher at Amberlea for the past 11 years, and is currently a third grade Structured English Immersion teacher. She has taught EL students for the past 18 years.

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Published: Published: October 13th, 2017

ADE Correcting Title I Funds Allocation Process

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that local education agencies (LEAs) will be notified of their Title I allocations next week due to efforts taken by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).

The State Auditor General and the United States Department of Education (ED) identified several audit findings with respect to Title I that first occurred under the previous administration in FY2013-14. ADE confirmed these findings, uncovering additional issues related to the Title I allocation process.

ADE staff made LEAs aware of an issue with Title I entitlements as early as the Committee of Practitioners and Spring Coordinators meetings in April 2017. In response to the findings, ADE has established an action committee to solve the issue for this year and replaced the parties responsible for the misallocation of Title I funds. ADE additionally procured Afton Partners Inc., a third-party, independent fiscal consulting firm to analyze and validate the processes, policies and procedures used to calculate the allocations. These processes have been reviewed and validated by staff at ED.

Also, ADE’s policy manual that includes proper procedures and approval authorities are being enhanced, while specialized training of certain Title I staff and cross-training backup personnel is being developed. ADE has been working to minimize the impact to Title I LEAs as these findings are resolved, to ensure LEAs are not adversely impacted.

“I am proud of my staff for working diligently to uncover and solve these issues,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Fortunately, these findings have not impacted our statewide Title I appropriation for Arizona from the federal government. There is nothing more important than ensuring our most socio-economically disadvantaged students are accurately provided the resources they need to thrive.”

Although all money was spent on Title I services, the misallocation may result in how future funds are allocated. ADE will continue to work in conjunction with ED to ensure all individual LEAs accurately receive the funds in which they are entitled.

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Published: Published: September 29th, 2017

Five Arizona Schools Being Honored as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools

(Phoenix, Ariz., September 29, 2017) — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced today which Arizona schools are being honored as a National Blue Ribbon School. “I am proud of our Arizona schools and am glad there is an award to honor their hard work and dedication to the students and the community. These schools are putting the children first by creating safe and welcoming places where they can learn and be challenged.”

In Arizona, five schools made the grade by meeting the U.S. Department of Education’s accountability requirements:

  • Acacia Elementary School – Vail, Arizona
  • 5 School Logos including US Department of Education logo

  • Arizona College Preparatory – Oakland Campus Chandler, Arizona
  • Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School – Mesa, Arizona
  • Palm Valley Elementary School – Goodyear, Arizona
  • Seton Catholic Preparatory High School – Chandler, Arizona
  • The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 342 schools nationwide as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the honorees. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders.”

    These schools are being recognized for their performance in two 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.
  • Now in its 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition to more than 8,500 schools. On November 6-7, these schools will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Secretary and the Department of Education.

    Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year, but only the top schools make the grade to be honored as a National Blue Ribbon School. For more information about this national award, please visit azed.gov/blueribbonschools/ or the national website.


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    Published: Published: September 20th, 2017

    Superintendent Douglas Backs Attorney General’s Lawsuit Against ABOR for Unconstitutional Tuition Hikes

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced her support of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) for dramatically increasing the price of base tuition and mandatory fees at the state’s public universities. Superintendent Douglas concurs with Attorney General Brnovich and his assertion that the 300-plus-percent tuition hikes are unconstitutional.

    “The Arizona Constitution clearly states that ‘the university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible,’” Superintendent Douglas stated. “That is plainly not the case in our state right now. We want to set our children up for success when they graduate from college, not be riddled with so much debt that their choices are limited.”

    Superintendent Douglas commends Attorney General Brnovich for pointing out three types of unlawful conduct cited in the filed lawsuit. The Superintendent agrees with the Attorney General that the tuition-setting policy does not comply with the constitutional mandate, part-time or online students are charged significantly more than the actual cost and Arizona risks triggering a federal law that would forfeit the state’s ability to provide discounted in-state tuition to any of its residents.

    As a constitutional member of ABOR, Douglas has called for more dedicated education funding across the board, proposing an extension and expansion of Prop 301 to address teacher salaries and capital repairs of school infrastructures.

    “It is overdue that we have a serious conversation about controlling the cost of a college education in Arizona,” Superintendent Douglas said. “I would be interested in hearing more about ideas such as community colleges offering four-year degrees and reducing the amount of fees students pay. I think it fits within the larger dialogue of ensuring our financial resources are used wisely to ensure the best possible outcome for our children.”

    Please visit the Attorney General’s website to read the complete lawsuit at https://www.azag.gov/ with any other questions. To learn more about Superintendent Douglas’ plan to extend and expand Prop 301, please visit http://www.azed.gov/communications/2017/04/27/prop301_expansion/.

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    Published: Published: September 18th, 2017

    AZ School Receives National Award

    reaching for hedgehog

    State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas recently visited The Austin Centers for Exceptional Students (the ACES) to present the schools’ cofounder Francine Austin with the 2017–2018 School of Excellence Award from the National Association of Special Education Teachers.

    While visiting the Phoenix West Campus, Superintendent Douglas also took the opportunity to meet with students and the center’s therapy animals. All four ACES campuses are home to members of the animal therapy program, with more animals rotating between campuses. The program works with approximately 20 different species (not counting humans), and includes everything from tiny tortoises to pint-sized ponies. (Okay, it’s actually a miniature horse.) As students care for the animals, they learn compassion and responsibility.

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    Published: Published: September 11th, 2017

    Superintendent Douglas Asks Education Community to Remember 9/11

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas asked that all Arizona schools take a moment to remember those lost in the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

    The former New Jersey resident hopes that the schools honor all of the Americans lost in the attacks 16 years ago to the day. The four coordinated attacks on September 11, 2001 took the lives of nearly 3,000 people, injured over 6,000 others and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage, including the destruction of part of the Pentagon and the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center.

    “I hope that all Arizonans can take a moment of silence at some point today to remember the tragic events of 9/11,” Superintendent Douglas said. “I’d also like to take a moment to recognize all of those that serve our country and work every day to keep us all safe. My thoughts and prayers are with them, as well as with everyone who lost a family member or someone special on that day.”

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    Superintendent Douglas will conduct a moment of silence at her “We Are Listening Tour” event tonight at the West Sedona Elementary School in Sedona from 6-8. The event is free to attend and an opportunity for all Arizonans to provide feedback about education first-hand to Superintendent Douglas.

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