Superintendent Diane Douglas Releases 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! Education Plan

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today released her 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! education plan, which presents a comprehensive vision for improving education in Arizona.

“I am thrilled to share this updated version of my AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan with Arizonans,” said Superintendent Douglas. “The plan represents how the people of Arizona believe we can make our schools the best in the nation, and I am very proud of everyone who came together to make the plan a reality.”

Based on feedback gathered during the Superintendent’s 2016 We Are Listening Tour, the 2017 plan includes new proposals, accomplishments from last year’s plan and progress updates for several ongoing initiatives. Because the focus of this year’s Listening Tour was #ParentsMustBeHeard, the Superintendent has also provided an executive summary of the plan that is designed to give parents a quick look at the proposals that are most likely to be of interest to them.

Highlighting the new proposals are several funding requests, which range from additional base funding for schools to use as they see fit to teacher salary increases and additional support for rural schools and capital needs. Funding was still the most common topic on the minds of those who attended the We Are Listening Tour or shared their feedback in other ways.

“It seems to me that as leaders in education we must ask ourselves, do we want Arizona to have the best education system in the world or simply the cheapest system we can get by with politically?” said the Superintendent. “For me, the answer is simple―I want the best for our students and I will partner with education stakeholders, Governor Ducey, and the Legislature to make that vision a reality.”

The 2017 AZ Kids Can’t Wait! plan is available online at www.azed.gov/weheardyou.

Arizona Leads the Nation in Fourth Grade Growth on NAEP Science Assessment

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that from 2009 to 2015 Arizona’s fourth graders led the nation in growth on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science test. Science scores for eighth grade students also increased significantly over the same time period.

“This is an incredible accomplishment for our students and their hardworking teachers,” said Superintendent Douglas. “While our state still has room to grow, these scores show that we are on the right track. I am also pleased that this progress has been made without sweeping changes to our science standards, which we now have the opportunity to build upon and improve.”

The average score for Arizona fourth graders increased by 11 points between 2009 and 2015 while the eighth grade average increased by seven. Of the seven states that showed the most dramatic growth over the same time period, none had adopted the national Next Generation Science Standards before the 2015 NAEP administration.

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) recently opened the review process for the state’s Science standards, which were last updated in 2005. The public comment period on the standards is available through Dec. 3 and feedback can be submitted on ADE’s public feedback page.

Arizona also emerged as a leader in closing the achievement gap between white and Hispanic students, with Hispanic eighth graders making an 11 point gain and the gap shrinking significantly by six points. Additionally, no gender gap was present in either the fourth or eighth grade 2015 Science results.

“Supporting the success of all students is my top priority, so it is very encouraging to see that some of our state’s achievement gaps are narrowing,” said the Superintendent. “I will continue working with our schools and communities to ensure they have the resources necessary to make further progress in these efforts.”

Arizona is still scoring lower than the national average in both fourth and eighth grade, but has made significant progress toward matching the nation’s average performance.

The average NAEP Science score for Arizona fourth grade students was 149, while the average for the nation’s public schools was 153. For Arizona eighth graders, the average score was 148 compared to a national average of 153.

NAEP is designed to inform the public about the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States. The full report of the 2015 NAEP Science Results is available at https://www.nagb.org/.

2009 vs. 2015 NAEP Average Scale Scores

4th Grade Science Arizona National
2009 138*^ 149
2015 149^ 153

 

8th Grade Science Arizona National
2009 141*^ 149
2011 144*^ 151
2015 148^ 153

*Statistically significant from AZ 2015 at p < .05
^Statistically significant from National scores at p < .05


2009 vs. 2015 NAEP Average Scale Scores – Arizona Demographic Breakdowns

4th Grade Science White Hispanic Native American Black
2009 155* 124* 123 129
2015 166 137 128 139

 

8th Grade Science White Hispanic Native American Black
2009 157* 127* 126 126
2011 158 132 129 128
2015 162 138 130 131

*Statistically significant from AZ 2015 at p < .05

2015-naep-science-grade-4-overall-growth

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 Final 2015-2016 AzMERIT Results

(Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 15, 2016) – The Arizona Department of Education today released final combined performance results from the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 administrations of the AzMERIT statewide assessment and the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) alternate statewide assessment. An Excel file containing the results and additional details about the assessments have been posted at www.azed.gov/research-evaluation/assessment-results/.

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.

MSAA is Arizona’s alternate statewide achievement test for eligible students with significant cognitive disabilities. The MSAA alternate assessment is based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Eligible Arizona public school students take the MSAA Alternate Assessments for ELA and Mathematics in Grades 3 through 8 and Grade 11.

For more information on AzMERIT, please visit www.azed.gov/azmerit. For additional details about MSAA, visit www.azed.gov/assessment/ncsc/.

2015-2016 AzMERIT Final Passing and Proficiency Rates

Mathematics

Test Level % Passing Minimally Proficient Partially Proficient Proficient Highly Proficient
  2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016
Grade 3 42 46 27 25 31 30 29 29 13 17
Grade 4 42 45 29 29 29 26 32 34 10 10
Grade 5 40 46 29 27 31 27 28 31 12 15
Grade 6 33 39 37 37 30 24 22 24 11 15
Grade 7 31 31 47 46 22 23 18 22 13 10
Grade 8 34 26 41 51 25 23 20 17 14 9
Algebra I 32 37 45 44 23 20 23 27 9 9
Geometry 31 34 42 41 27 24 25 27 6 7
Algebra II 30 30 46 46 25 24 23 23 7 7


English Language Arts

Test Level % Passing Minimally Proficient Partially Proficient Proficient Highly Proficient
  2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016 2015 2016
Grade 3 41 41 43 45 16 14 30 29 11 12
Grade 4 42 46 41 40 17 14 36 34 6 12
Grade 5 32 46 36 31 31 23 28 32 4 13
Grade 6 36 38 39 41 25 21 32 32 4 6
Grade 7 33 41 42 38 25 21 29 35 5 6
Grade 8 35 33 39 44 26 23 27 26 8 8
ELA 9 27 34 44 38 29 28 22 25 5 9
ELA 10 32 29 47 54 21 17 22 20 10 9
ELA 11 31 30 51 53 19 17 20 19 11 10

 

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/.

 

Draft English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards Now Available for Public Review and Comment

(Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 19, 2016) – The Arizona State Board of Education and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today invited all Arizonans to share their feedback on draft versions of updated Arizona English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards.

“I am excited that Arizona is finally moving away from the federally imposed Common Core standards,” said Superintendent Douglas. “The drafting of higher and more rigorous standards that are developmentally appropriate at every grade level brings us one step closer to giving Arizona students the excellent education they deserve. While I have not yet completed my final review of the drafts, I am pleased with the direction we are taking based on the briefings I have had so far.”

“Last March, Governor Ducey charged the Board with a rigorous review of the standards and securing input from individuals throughout the state to develop Arizona academic standards,” State Board of Education President Reginald M. Ballantyne III stated. “I applaud the essential, thoughtful and tireless efforts of the dedicated educators from across the state in reviewing the comments and crafting this draft. The release of the 2016 draft English Language Arts and Mathematics standards certainly responds to the Governor’s call and I encourage the citizens of Arizona to offer their input. This is a terrific step forward.”

The updated draft standards are now available for review on the Arizona State Board of Education website at https://k12standards.az.gov/. The comment period will remain open for 45 days and will close on October 3, 2016. To solicit additional feedback, the State Board has also scheduled 17 public hearings to take place across 13 counties from Sept. 12-21, 2016. A list of hearing dates, times and locations is available at https://k12standards.az.gov/public-meetings-2016-arizona-draft-standards.

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

The State Board and the Superintendent also expressed their appreciation for the English Language Arts and Mathematics Working Groups, which were made up of over 200 Arizona educators from 10 counties. These educators reviewed over 2,000 public comments on the 2010 English Language Arts and Math standards and used that input along with their own grade-level expertise to review each standard. Throughout the review process, Arizona educators donated over 6,000 hours of their time.

Two Arizona Students to be Selected for Weeklong Trip in Washington, D.C.

Two Arizona Students to be Selected for Weeklong Trip in Washington, D.C.

(Phoenix, Ariz., Aug. 2, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) has initiated its annual statewide selection process. As part of the program, two Arizona high school students will join 102 other delegates March 4-11, 2017 for the program’s 55th annual Washington Week.

Since its inception in 1962, more than 5,500 students have participated in this unique leadership program, which every year brings two students from each state, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity to Washington. While there, students experience an intensive weeklong educational program that highlights the workings of the U.S. Senate and the federal government as a whole.

USSYP is sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by the Hearst Foundations — no government funds are utilized. Each of the 104 student delegates will receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship in addition to the all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital.

Last year, Lydia Chew from Hamilton High School in Chandler and Ryley Goulet from Mesquite High School in Gilbert were selected as the Arizona delegates.

In addition to outstanding leadership abilities and a strong commitment to volunteer work, the student delegates generally rank academically in the top one percent of their states among high school juniors and seniors.

Potential delegates must be juniors or seniors and elected student officers for the 2016-2017 academic year, and they must reside and attend school in Arizona. Eligibility considerations may also be made for student representatives elected or selected (by a panel, commission or board) to district, regional or state-level civic or educational organizations where the delegate is serving a constituency in a high-level leadership position for the entire 2016-2017 academic year.

Names of students selected will be formally announced mid-December. Interested Arizona students should visit www.azed.gov/oci/ussyp/ or contact the Arizona selection administrator indicated below:

Mrs. Alexis Burkhart

Program Manager

Arizona Department of Education

(602) 542-3309

[email protected]

The 2017 program brochure, which includes detailed rules, information about the selection process and the annual yearbook, may be accessed on the USSYP website at www.ussenateyouth.org.

END

Superintendent Douglas Invites Arizonans to Provide Feedback on ESSA

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today invited all Arizonans to share their feedback with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) on the upcoming implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA, which will replace No Child Left Behind as the primary federal legislation addressing America’s public education system, is scheduled to be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year.

“All Arizonans must play an important role as our state plan for ESSA is developed, so I look forward to hearing the thoughts of parents, teachers, members of the public and many others,” said Superintendent Douglas. “My commitment is to make this process highly transparent and collaborative, and ADE is working hard to provide all stakeholders with as many avenues as possible to make their feelings known.”

General feedback regarding ESSA and the transition process, which will be used over the next several months to help draft and develop Arizona’s state plan for ESSA, can be submitted via a survey at www.azed.gov/essa. That dedicated ESSA website also contains links to additional ESSA resources and gives stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the proposed ESSA rulemaking that was introduced in late May. The site will be updated frequently with information on stakeholder engagement opportunities and examples of comments as they are gathered.

Feedback also can be submitted via email at [email protected] and Arizonans are invited to join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ESSAinAZ.

Interested stakeholders will have additional opportunities to share their thoughts on ESSA with Superintendent Douglas at any of her upcoming We Are Listening Tour events, which continue this month in Pinetop-Lakeside on July 19 and Payson on July 21. More events are planned through the fall and a full schedule is available at www.azed.gov/weheardyou. Further chances to provide feedback in person will be announced as they are scheduled.

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

ADE CIO Mark Masterson Delivers Keynote Address at Education Conference

ADE CIO Mark Masterson Delivers Keynote Address at Education Conference

CIO tabbed as “national data expert” at Mississippi education technology event

(Phoenix, Ariz., Jun. 24, 2016) – Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Chief Information Officer (CIO) Mark Masterson this week was featured as the keynote speaker for the Mississippi Department of Education’s MDE Data Conference in Jackson, Miss.

The theme of the conference, “Building a World Class Data System,” made Masterson an excellent choice since he is renowned in education technology for his expertise on the subject. The MDE Data Conference is Mississippi’s largest education conference, consisting of over 800 participants from public, private and charter schools, including superintendents, business managers, technology coordinators and career and technical education directors.

“I was incredibly privileged to represent the state of Arizona at this esteemed conference,” Masterson said. “No matter where it is needed, it is always an honor to assist in the development and improvement of technology in education.”

The ADE CIO is currently spearheading Arizona’s innovative transition to AzEDS, the state’s new student data system. Before arriving at ADE, Masterson performed technology transformations at private institutions such as American Airlines and DHL. He also successfully directed large, globally-dispersed and culturally diverse teams in enterprise resource planning, e-commerce, business intelligence and supply chain at SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle, Dynamics and Siebel CRM.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas, who has been a strong proponent of technology development in Arizona education, has extended her support for ADE IT since taking office last year.

“We are thrilled that Mark and our IT division are being recognized for their achievements,” Douglas said. “I hope that Mississippi can benefit from his insights as much as we have here in Arizona.”

During his tenure in Arizona, Masterson’s ADE technology team was named one of CIO magazine’s “Top 100 most innovative IT organizations” of 2015. This honor came on the heels of Masterson being individually recognized by ComputerWorld as a “2014 Premier 100 IT Leaders” honoree.

To learn more about Arizona’s cutting-edge transition to a new a data system, please click here.