Arizona Middle and High School Renewal and Improvement Initiative

The 2010-2011 Arizona Middle and High School Redesign Survey results are in! To find school contacts who are using a particular program or structure, click on the link below. You may need to magnify the page in order to view it.

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The Arizona Department of Education is pleased to announce that the Arizona High School Renewal and Improvement Initiative (AZHSRI) is underway! To gather information about needs, opportunities, and challenges of high school improvement in Arizona, a series of Regional Focus Groups were conducted during the month of October, 2004.

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Upcoming Conferences

Recent Events

SLC/High School Renewal Networking Roundtable; a follow-up to the February, 2007
Small Learning Community Summit

On April 18, 2007, a group of interested teachers and administrators met to discuss the possibility and need for the development of an Arizona Small Learning Community/High School Renewal Network. This roundtable discussion was conducted as a follow-up response to the successful Small Learning Community Summit which was held in Phoenix in February, 2007. The objective of this roundtable was to begin the discussion about what, if anything, is needed by the field to support high school renewal at the grassroots level (i.e. those working closest to the students – teachers, assistant principals, principals, counselors, etc.).

To find out more about the results of this meeting follow the link below, and/or to find out how you might be able to participate in future events, contact Mary Martha Gingerella, or

SLC/High School Renewal Networking Roundtable Notes

AZHSRI Regional Focus Groups:

On October 14-19, 2004, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) conducted with WestEd1 an independent, participatory statewide needs assessment in order to better define the AZHSRI agenda. The needs assessment took place through background research and a series of four Regional Focus Groups.

The purpose of the Regional Focus Groups was to clarify the unique Arizona context for high school renewal.

ADE invited a diverse set of approximately thirty stakeholders to the table in each of four communities across the state (Yuma, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Phoenix) to take part in the Focus Groups. Participants were asked to share perspectives on their needs and expectations related to Arizona’s high schools and high school improvement.

ADE and WestEd contracted with West Wind Enterprises2 to help design, conduct, and report on the Regional Focus Groups. The report written after the Focus Groups detailed the following:

  • Needs articulated in the Focus Groups;
  • Ideas for renewal activities that might work in Arizona’s schools and communities; and
  • Areas where groundwork must be done before actions will take hold.

1WestEd is a nonprofit research, development, and service agency, which operates, among numerous other programs, the federal Regional Educational Laboratory that serves the state of Arizona.
2West Wind Enterprises is a small consulting company offering professional development and research support for state education leaders engaged in strategic planning, policy development, and stakeholder engagement.

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Focus Group Partners:

ADE and WestEd are pleased that Arizona’s various statewide associations of education leaders partnered on the Regional Focus Groups. Focus Group partners provided advice and support in the planning of the Focus Group sessions, as well as assistance in selecting potential Focus Group Participants. Partners in the Focus Group effort included:

  • Arizona Association of Student Councils
  • Arizona Business and Education Coalition
  • Arizona Charter Schools Association
  • Arizona Education Association
  • Arizona Federation of Teachers
  • Arizona Minority Education Policy Analysis Center
  • Arizona School Administrators
  • Arizona School Board Association
  • Center for the Future of Arizona
  • Greater Phoenix Leadership – Education Initiative
  • Rodel Charitable Foundation of Arizona
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How AZHSRI Came About:

October 2003: Arizona sent a team of education leaders to the U.S. Department of Education’s High School Leadership Summit in Washington, DC.

April 2004: The U.S. Department of Education convened a Regional Summit on high school reform in Phoenix, issuing a call to states in our region to address challenges and opportunities facing our high school students and schools. The Arizona State Team on high school reform met for the first time at this Summit.

July 2004: The State Team met to create a proactive effort to improve high school student outcomes. At this meeting, the State Team began discussing plans for the Arizona High School Renewal and Improvement Initiative (ASHSRI).

August 2004: The Arizona Department of Education received support from both the U.S. Department of Education and WestEd to convene a series of Regional Focus Groups in four locations across the states to conduct a needs assessment of key stakeholders in high school reform.

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AZHSRI Activities, Phase One:

Phase One: The development of a statewide vision and action plan for high school renewal and improvement in order to raise academic achievement, increase the number of high school graduates, and increase post-secondary attendance and completion. The action plan included steps that we took to foster the initiative.

  • October 2004: Regional Focus Groups
  • November 2004: Release of the Focus Group Report
  • November/December 2004: State Team Meeting
  • December 2004-February 2005: Ongoing related activities*
  • February 2005: State Team Meeting

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AZHSRI Activities, Phase Two:

Phase Two: Implementation of the statewide action plan for high school renewal and improvement!

Spring/Summer 2005: AZHSRI Statewide Summit
Next Steps: To be determined!!

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* Related Activities:

  • Fall 2004/Winter 2005: The Arizona Business and Education Coalition (ABEC) will be conducting a series of public engagement forums around the state in the fall of 2004 and winter of 2005, in order to gather additional data and build public support for high school renewal.
  • February 2005: The Arizona School Administrators received a Breaking Ranks II (BRII) grant from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and convened a BRII Conference on February 1, 2005.
  • March 2005: The Arizona Department of Education, in partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona and the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network, will host a national dropout prevention conference. This is an opportunity for educators to expand their knowledge of issues and program strategies to increase high school graduation rates.

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Contact Information

Jan Brite – Director of Dropout Prevention/School Renewal
Tel: (602) 542-4365
Fax: (602) 542-5334

Mailing Address
Dropout Prevention/High School Renewal
Arizona Department of Education
1535 West Jefferson Street, Bin 42
Phoenix, Arizona 85007