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Third Grade Retention Letter




To:   Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Principals


From: John Huppenthal, Superintendent of Public Instruction


Date:  February 22, 2011

Subject: Third grade retention



The most recent revisions to A.R.S.§ 15-701 require districts and charter schools to officially notify their K-3 parents about changes to third grade promotion beginning in the 2013-14 school year.  While the new law specifically states that districts and charter schools are responsible for this notification, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is providing guidance on the content that should be included in the information letter to parents. Please see the attached sample letter.  Districts are welcome to use this suggested framework for theirletter to parents, providing local, relevant information where necessary. Districts and charter schools may also opt to construct their own letter to parents with the pertinent information included.


While the new law requires that all K-3 parents be made aware of the potential for retention at thirdgrade, the first class to be impacted by this change will be this year’s kindergarten students who will be in third grade during the school year 2013-14. It is important that districts and charter schools clearly articulate the changes to A.R.S. § 15-701 to ensure parents are well-informed and knowledgeable about potential decisions that may affect their child’s promotion to the fourth grade.


The ADE will continue to provide ongoing professional development and technical assistance to district and site educators to support the successful implementation of a tiered system of instruction that includes effective K-3 reading instruction, purposeful intervention, and meaningful assessment systems. Please check the ADE website for upcoming trainings and additional information on the AZRTI (Arizona Response to Intervention) framework. You are welcome to contact Associate Superintendent Kathy Hrabluk ([email protected]) or Associate Superintendent Roberta Alley ([email protected]) with any questions you may have concerning this new law.


It remains critically important that all of Arizona’s young students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Academic success in the ensuing grades demands it. Informing parents of our commitment to this task is the first step in engaging them in the important process of teaching their child to read. Thank you very much for your continued dedication, effort, and tenacity to build a strong K-3 program in your schools. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  Third Grade Retention Letter (Spanish)  (English)

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