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.


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.

Department Releases Preliminary 2015-2016 State Level AzMERIT Results

Department Releases Preliminary 2015-2016 State Level AzMERIT Results

(Phoenix, Ariz., Jun. 27, 2016) – The Arizona Department of Education this morning released preliminary state level AzMERIT results for the 2015-2016 school year. The results included statewide passing and proficiency rates for both English language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and high school.

“I am pleased to see that our students are improving in both English language arts and mathematics at several grade levels,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. “However, these results also underscore that as a state we still have much work to do. I will continue working with our parents, teachers and community members to find the best possible ways to support our students and help them achieve their dreams.”

Final AzMERIT results for all Arizona public schools, districts and charter holders will be made available in late August. Data released at that time will also include demographic breakdowns and performance by school type (district, charter and alternative).

Paper AzMERIT family reports will be made available to districts and charters in mid-July. Parents can contact their child’s school for more information on when and how they will have access to results for their students.

“While these types of results can show general trends, I still firmly believe that Arizona needs to move away from the high stakes, snapshot assessment model,” continued the Superintendent. “Testing was not originally created to determine how well a teacher or school is performing; it was designed to show us how to help students improve. I will keep that focus in mind as we work with Arizonans to develop our state’s future assessment systems.”

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.

For more information on AzMERIT, please visit www.azed.gov/azmerit.

2015-2016 AzMERIT Preliminary Passing and Proficiency Rates


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 44 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 32 47 46 22 23 18 22 13 10
Grade 8 34 26 41 51 25 23 20 17 14 9
Algebra I 32 36 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 25 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 45 36 31 31 23 28 32 4 13
Grade 6 36 37 39 41 25 22 32 31 4 6
Grade 7 33 38 42 38 25 21 29 35 5 3
Grade 8 35 34 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 29 51 53 19 17 20 19 11 10

For the 2015-16 Preliminary State Level AzMERIT Results PowerPoint, click here.

Arizona Joins Texas in Lawsuit to Stop Federal Overreach

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and State Superintendent Diane Douglas Announce that Arizona will Join Texas in Lawsuit to Stop Federal Overreach

(Phoenix, Ariz.) – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that they have joined ten other States in a federal lawsuit to challenge President Obama’s mandate requiring all public K-12 and postsecondary schools to open up boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and restrooms to students of the opposite sex, based on students’ perceptions of their “gender identity.” The Heber-Overgaard Unified School District has also joined the State’s lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Since the President has threatened to deny federal funding to all schools that object to this outrageous decree, Arizona has joined Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The lawsuit is focused on who should set these sensitive policies – the federal government via unaccountable agencies or States and local school districts. The challenge seeks declaratory relief against a number of federal agencies in order to block the implementation of the administration’s unprecedented interpretation of the law.

“President Obama has no business setting locker room and restroom policies for our schools,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “Deciding how to protect our children and preserve their privacy, while balancing these complicated issues, is best done locally and not by some one-size-fits-all decree from Washington.”

“When Arizona students attend school, they deserve a safe environment that is free from bullying and discrimination, regardless of their gender identity,” said Superintendent Douglas. “I know that our districts and schools have policies in place to ensure that is the case. The fact that the federal government has yet again decided that it knows what is best for every one of our local communities is insulting and, quite frankly, intolerable.”

On May 13, the President issued so-called “significant guidance” to K-12 and postsecondary schools nationwide instructing those schools to grant students access to Title IX facilities including restrooms, locker rooms, and showers based on their gender identity. The non-binding guidance broadly defines “gender identity” as “an individual’s internal sense of gender,” regardless of “the person’s sex assignment at birth.” The guidance also carried the threat of withholding federal funding if schools are found by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to be out of compliance.

The formal filing is available here.

Superintendent Douglas Praises Signing of HB 2620, Invites Parents to Participate in 2016 We Are Listening Tour

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today shared her thoughts on the passage and signing of HB 2620, which will end the ongoing litigation between her office and the Arizona State Board of Education (SBE).

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the process of settling this disagreement, from the early negotiations to the passage of the final bill that was signed into law today,” said Superintendent Douglas. “I look forward to welcoming our investigators back to the Department and working with them to ensure the safety of Arizona students.”

Based on draft language provided by Superintendent Douglas, HB 2620’s final adopted provisions state that SBE will be responsible for the hiring and supervision of its four employees, while the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) will oversee the investigators responsible for reviewing cases of educator misconduct.

“With the lawsuits now behind us, I am very excited to invite all Arizonans, and particularly parents of school-age children, to join me as I travel across the state on my 2016 We Are Listening Tour,” the Superintendent continued. “The tour will be an opportunity for community members to share with me their thoughts on K-12 education and learn more about my AZ Kids Can’t Wait! education plan.”

The tour kicked off this week on May 9 at the Buckeye Public Library, Coyote Branch and continues tomorrow, May 12 at the Canyon Breeze Elementary School cafeteria in Avondale. Tomorrow’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. Details for each tour stop and a copy of the plan are available on the ADE website at www.azed.gov/weheardyou/.

Superintendent Diane Douglas and State Board of Education Announce Legislation to Resolve Ongoing Litigation

(Phoenix, Ariz., May 3, 2016) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas and the Arizona State Board of Education (SBE) today announced that pending legislation supported by legislative leadership and the Governor’s Office will settle the ongoing litigation between the two parties.

The legislative amendment to HB 2620 is designed to eliminate the need for continued legal proceedings. The legislation specifies that SBE will be responsible for the hiring and supervision of its four employees, while the Department of Education will have the sole authority to employ and oversee the work of all investigators responsible for reviewing cases of educator misconduct.

Both parties remain committed to doing what is best for Arizona students and are calling on all legislators to support the legislation. With the adoption of the agreement, the Superintendent and SBE will avoid spending more time and money in court and can continue working together to ensure that every Arizona student has access to an excellent education.

Superintendent Douglas Honors School Counselors of the Year

Superintendent Douglas Honors School Counselors of the Year

Arizona Department of Education to Provide Open Access to Free Educational Materials

Press Release – Arizona Department of Education to Provide Open Access to Free Educational Materials