Superintendent Douglas Highlights 2016 Education Accomplishments

(Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 27, 2016) – Today Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas celebrates significant education achievements implemented throughout 2016 under her leadership at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).

“I am extremely proud of the work my team at the Arizona Department of Education has done to improve our state’s education system,” said Superintendent Douglas. “I consider these accomplishments a victory for all of the students, teachers and parents in Arizona.”

Superintendent Douglas recently released the second version of her AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan, a comprehensive strategy to fix Arizona’s education system which is available at www.azed.gov/weheardyou. This plan was developed around public feedback received from her annual statewide tour, which has included a combination of more than 30, both rural and urban, communities throughout the state. Douglas’ plan includes many new proposals in addition to outlining the accomplishments and progress made throughout 2016. Follow her continuing accomplishments on Facebook or Twitter.

Superintendent Douglas Concludes 2016 We Are Listening Tour

Superintendent Douglas concludes her 2016 We Are Listening Tour on December 15, visiting 17 different communities throughout Arizona and completing three virtual tours.

“Our vast and diverse state has provided many great ideas that I will work to implement in my upcoming years as your elected Superintendent of Public Instruction,” said Douglas. “Some of these ideas may be completed through internal changes at ADE, while others may require legislative changes. Either way, I promise to do my very best to make sure every Arizonan’s voice is heard.”

Upon taking office, Douglas pledged to conduct an annual statewide tour to hear the concerns and suggestions of citizens regarding Arizona’s education system. The We Are Listening Tour is set to continue in the spring of 2017. The tour schedule will be available at www.azed.gov/weheardyou .

Superintendent Douglas Pursues More Funding for Education

Superintendent Douglas continues to pursue more funding for education to provide students, teachers, schools and families the support and resources needed to improve outcomes.

“I still hear everywhere I go that Arizonans want more funding for their schools,” stated Superintendent Douglas. “With that in mind, I am posing this question: As a state, do we want Arizona to have the best education system in the world or simply the cheapest system we can get by with politically?”

Douglas’ recent launch of the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan proposes an additional $680 million increase for schools to provide the  education system the proper funding to excel. The new funding proposals follow:

  • $200 million increase for basic state aid to be used as decided by local school districts and charter schools.
  • $140 million for a 5 percent classroom teacher salaries increase to retain current teachers and recruit new professionals to the career.
  • $20 million for rural school transportation funding to compensate for longer distances traveled.
  • $40 million for rural schools to provide adequate support and services for their unique populations.
  • $180 million to fully fund capital for schools to build new buildings as needed.
  • $100 million to fully fund building renewal for school facilities to maintain buildings.

Arizona Standards for Arizona’s Students

Superintendent Douglas fulfills her campaign pledge to sever the state’s ties to the nationally developed Common Core standards and create Arizona standards for Arizona’s students.

“One of my top campaign promises was to move Arizona away from Common Core, and I am pleased that we have taken several steps to ensure our state’s children and parents once again have access to the best possible standards that have been tailored to fit the unique needs of Arizonans,” said Douglas.

Throughout 2016, ADE and the State Board of Education worked collaboratively to revise the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Standards. After robust public feedback and further revisions by the standards working groups, ADE is proud to announce that the State Board of Education voted to approve the Arizona Mathematics Standards and the Arizona ELA Standards at the Dec. 19 meeting.

In 2016, Douglas also developed a schedule to review academic standards on a consistent and timely basis with extensive public input to ensure Arizona’s standards represent the best interest of students. Since the development of this schedule, ADE opened public comment on the Science and Social Studies standards for revisions to begin in 2017.

Previously, Superintendent Douglas praised the State Board of Education’s 6-2 vote in October  2015 to remove Common Core standards and allow for the review and revision to the standards where necessary so that they meet the needs of Arizona students.

Superintendent Douglas Enriches Arizona’s Cultures and Languages

Superintendent Douglas encourages the enrichment of Arizona’s cultural diversity by praising multilingual students and creating councils and action committees to improve outcomes for different student populations.

Throughout 2015 and 2016, Superintendent Douglas established education action committees and councils to engage members of the community in an effort to support minority students and encourage cultural inclusivity across the state.

Superintendent Douglas also promoted the introduction and passage of the statutory establishment of the Seal of Biliteracy Program to recognize students who are able to attain high-level proficiency in both English and one or more additional languages.

“I entered office with a goal of opening doors for students and the Seal of Biliteracy does just that,” stated Douglas. “This program incentivizes our students to focus on mastering languages beyond English and steers our state in the right direction as we work to establish Arizona as a leader in world languages. I am thrilled that this proposal from my 2016 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan became a reality!”

The Seal of Biliteracy Program officially launches in 2017 for schools to participate.

Superintendent Douglas Introduces the Zip Code Project

Superintendent Douglas introduces a new project focused on underserved and disconnected youth in high-need communities throughout Arizona called the Zip Code Project.

The Zip Code Project builds partnerships with community-based organizations to enhance services provided to youth in Arizona ages 16 to 24 who are unemployed and not in school.

“All children and young adults, regardless of where they live, deserve a chance to pursue their dreams and our mission with the Zip Code Project is to help these young adults get back on a path to a successful, happy and productive life,” stated Douglas.

Because of its swift success, Superintendent Douglas unveils Zip Code Project 2.0, a new proposal in the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan to enhance and expand the current project with the goal to establish a presence in more than  16 zip codes throughout Arizona.

Superintendent Douglas Strengthens Parental Involvement in Education

Superintendent Douglas celebrates a statewide focus to more actively engage parents and families in a child’s education as a means to positively impact student outcomes.

In the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan, Superintendent Douglas proposes a new objective targeted at expanding parental involvement through a program called Read 20. ADE will partner with education organizations and programs to promote parents and caregivers reading with their children 20 minutes a day.

In 2015, Douglas created the ADE Family Engagement Initiative to provide schools enhanced resources and proven practices that can help strengthen and sustain relationships with families. Since its inception, ADE has launched an agency-wide push to increase family engagement in schools and has offered educators professional development opportunities for high-impact family engagement.

 What to Look Forward to in 2017

Superintendent Douglas will devote 2017 to implementing the proposals of the 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan.

“I am fully committed to working with the Governor and the legislators, alongside parents, teachers, students, school administrators, and business and community leaders to make Arizona’s education system the best in the nation,” stated Douglas.

Superintendent Douglas looks forward to the submission of a State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education required by the Every Student Succeeds Act that reinvigorates state and local control of the education system. The State Plan includes Arizona’s vision for our unique state and will include topics such as accountability, funding, school improvement and grant-making systems.

Douglas thanks the many people that positively impacted education in 2016, stating, “I believe that classroom teachers have the most important job in the world, and that’s to educate our children, so I thank them for their dedication to educating our children. I would also like to thank administrators, education organizations, governing board members and my staff for their commitment to education in Arizona.”

 

Arizona Students Selected for 2017 United States Senate Youth Program

(Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 8, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that two Arizona students have been selected as delegates to the 55th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), which will be held March 4-11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Henry Rosas Ibarra of Glendale and Meena Venkataramanan of Tucson were chosen from over 80 outstanding Arizona high school applicants to be members of the group of 104 student delegates who will attend the program’s 55th annual Washington Week.

“Henry Rosas Ibarra and Meena Venkataramanan are outstanding students and I know they will represent Arizona proudly as part of this esteemed program,” said Superintendent Douglas. “This is a life-changing opportunity for these students to meet with our nation’s leaders, experience the American political process and reinforce their commitment to public service.”

Henry Rosas Ibarra is a senior at North Pointe Preparatory in Phoenix where he holds the position of president of the National Honor Society. He currently serves on the advisory commission for the City of Glendale’s Park and Recreation Division to represent the city’s youth and advocate for the services they need. Henry also interns at the Office of Congressman Ruben Gallego where he assists with casework and outreach activities.

Meena Venkataramanan is a senior at Catalina Foothills High School where she is president of the Speech and Debate Team. Meena serves as a teen attorney at the Pima County Teen Court, a local nonprofit diversion program for adolescent misdemeanants. She is a member of the Metropolitan Education Commission’s Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress, which lobbies state and national leaders on issues impacting her community.

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program brings the most outstanding high school juniors and seniors—two from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity—to Washington, D.C. for an intensive week-long study of the federal government.

The Hearst Foundations provide each student with transportation and all expenses for Washington Week, as well as a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship.

Chosen as alternates to the 2017 USSYP were Daiva Scovil of Tucson, who attends University High School, and David Jaffe of Mesa, who attends Westwood High School.

For questions about Arizona’s USSYP, please contact the state selection administrator Alexis Susdorf at [email protected] or 602-542-3309 or visit www.azed.gov/oci/ussyp/. For general information about the United States Senate Youth Program, please visit www.ussenateyouth.org or contact National Program Director Rayne Guilford at 800-425-3632 or [email protected].

 

Arizona Department of Education Now Seeking Public Comment on Science and Social Studies Standards

(Phoenix, Ariz., Oct. 6, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is pleased to announce that the public comment period for the revision of Arizona’s current Science and Social Studies Standards is now open and will be available through Dec. 3, 2016.

“Arizona parents, teachers and citizens now have an opportunity to share their thoughts and help improve these important standards,” said Superintendent Douglas. “Our goal is to deliver exceptional standards that truly belong to our state, and the feedback we gather through this process is critical to achieving that objective.”

Arizona’s current Science Standards were approved in 2004 and its Social Studies Standards were approved in 2005. Standards outline what a student needs to understand and be able to do by the end of each grade.

Arizonans are invited to review the two sets of standards and submit comments by completing a survey in each content area. The surveys are designed to gather comments from teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members, policy makers and the general public. The feedback provided will help inform revision committees of Arizona educators as they begin the process of revising the standards in the coming months.

The Arizona Department of Education is also accepting applications for educators to serve on the revision committees for each subject.

To provide feedback or to apply to serve on a revision committee, Arizonans can visit the Department’s Science and Social Studies Standards Public Feedback page.

Four Arizona Schools Earn National Blue Ribbon Recognition

(Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 28, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today proudly announced four Arizona schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.

“I am honored to congratulate these four outstanding schools who received the honorable National Blue Ribbon School award for their exemplary high performance,” said Superintendent Douglas. “This great accomplishment highlights the hard work and dedication of both students and staff to ensure the highest levels of academic achievement. These schools embody what is great about education in Arizona.”

The four schools receiving this honor are Fuller Elementary School in Tempe, Vista Del Sur Traditional School in Laveen, University High School in Tucson, and Jack Barnes Elementary School in Queen Creek. These schools are among 279 public and 50 private schools that will be recognized at a ceremony in Arlington, Virginia on November 7-8.

This prestigious national award is administered annually by the U.S. Department of Education to spotlight public and private elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation as National Blue Ribbon Schools for their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

For additional information, please visit www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools or contact Alexis Susdorf, the Blue Ribbon School Program Coordinator for Arizona at (602) 542-3309 or [email protected].

Arizona Department of Education Releases ESSA Draft State Plan for Public Comment

(Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 7, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the first draft of Arizona’s State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is now available for public comment at www.azed.gov/essa/draftplan.

“After many months of hard work, I am thrilled to share the first draft of our ESSA State Plan with Arizona,” said Superintendent Douglas. “While I consider this draft a great first step in the ESSA implementation process, there is still much work to be done. This is by no means the final State Plan, and we will continue to modify this document based on the vision of all Arizonans.”

Under ESSA, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is responsible for creating a State Plan that reflects a shared statewide vision for Arizona’s students and schools on topics such as accountability, funding, school improvement and grant-making systems.

To create this first draft of the State Plan, Superintendent Douglas conducted extensive statewide outreach and engagement efforts to thousands of Arizonans through her We Are Listening Tour and via online resources. ADE staff also met with dozens of stakeholder organizations and education officials to gather their feedback. Comments and survey responses that have been received so far are available at www.azed.gov/essa/responses/.

“When I took office, I made it a top priority for ADE to consider public input when determining education policy,” said Superintendent Douglas. “This document is the future of Arizona’s education system and it is extremely important that all Arizonans participate in this discussion so that the final plan represents what is best for our unique state.”

Superintendent Douglas invites all Arizonans to provide their comments on the draft State Plan in person at one of her We Are Listening Tour events, which will continue this month in Page on Sept. 20 and on the Hopi reservation in Kykotsmovi on Sept. 21. More events are planned through the end of the year and a current schedule is available at www.azed.gov/weheardyou/.

Feedback also can be submitted through ADE’s ESSA website, online survey, and via email at [email protected]. Arizonans are also invited to join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ESSAinAZ. Comments received by Oct. 1 will be considered as a second draft is developed for release in mid-October. The release of that second draft will mark the beginning of the official 60 day comment period required by ESSA and feedback gathered during that window will be used to finalize the plan.

ESSA, which is designed to replace No Child Left Behind as the primary federal legislation addressing America’s public education system, was passed into law by Congress in December 2015 and will take effect in the 2017-2018 school year. ESSA is marketed as affording states greater flexibility, and the new law encourages states and schools to innovate while maintaining a focus on accountability, state and local systems of improvement and a more balanced assessment system.

Anyone interested in receiving regular ESSA updates from ADE can sign up at www.azed.gov/essa/essa-updates/.

Arizona Department of Education Releases 2014 AIMS Test Results & A-F Letter Grades

Press Release – Arizona Department of Education Releases 2014 AIMS Test Results & A-F Letter Grades

Superintendent Huppenthal Encourages All Arizonans to “Thank a Teacher”

Press Release – Superintendent Huppenthal Encourages All Arizonans to “Thank a Teacher”

Read On Arizona Announces Reading Solution to Keep Kids Reading All Summer

Press Release – Read On Arizona Announces Reading Solution to Keep Kids Reading All Summer

Superintendent Huppenthal Attends New ADE Flagstaff Office Ribbon Cutting

Press Release – Superintendent Huppenthal to Attend New ADE Flagstaff Office Ribbon Cutting

Superintendent Huppenthal Delivers 2014 State of Education Address and Announces New School Report Cards

On February 3, 2014, Superintendent Huppenthal delivered his 2014 State of Education in Arizona address at the State Capitol and announced Arizona’s new school report card website, www.azreportcards.com. Please click on the link below to view a complete transcript of the speech:

2014 State of Education Address (Full Remarks)