Arizona Department of Education Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Betsy DeVos Diane Douglas U.S. Department of Education U.S. Secretary of Education


Published: Published: December 3rd, 2018

EL Teacher of the Year Announced

Miriam Romero

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced that the 2018 Arizona English Language Learner (EL) Teacher of the Year is Miriam Romero of Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in the Tucson Unified School District.

“It is an honor to recognize Miriam Romero as an outstanding teacher,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Her passion and commitment to educating Arizona’s EL students were evident by the way her school and students reacted to the news that she was selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.”

Romero will be honored at a banquet on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson. This event is being held in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition Services (OELAS) 2018 Conference, “The Art of Language.”

The process for choosing the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year began with the call for applications in May of 2018. In October, judging by a panel of peers was facilitated by OELAS, and the honoree was chosen.

On November 13, 2018, Superintendent Douglas and officials from OELAS made a surprise visit to Carrillo K-5 Magnet School in Tucson to inform Mrs. Romero that she had been selected the 2018 Arizona EL Teacher of the Year.

When asked about her educational philosophy, Mrs. Romero stated, “I feel privileged to teach and learn with the children in my ELD [English Language Development] Resource classes. As a teacher, I help my students bridge this divide between home and school, two worlds which traditionally have been at odds with each other for many generations of EL students in the United States. Throughout the year I use my SEI [Structured English Immersion] lessons to instill a sense of purpose and pride behind all the English learning we do at school. I want my students to see themselves as academics who hold an integral part in the school and their communities at large. It is my job to teach my students the skills they need to continue their growth as scholars, learning, evolving and thinking critically about their role in society, long after they leave my classroom.”

Mrs. Romero continued, “It is essential that instructors make school a safe and accepting place for their students. An instructor must take their varied students’ life experiences, cultures, histories and languages as source of inspiration for student learning. Achieving this high level of participation can be challenging. For EL teachers, involving students who may have very limited English or are unsure of their academic voice can be a constant struggle. It is essential you learn about and recognize who your students are beyond their traditional classroom identity, which is usually based on test scores and very antiquated notions of what makes a good scholar.”

Miriam Romero was born in Tucson, Arizona and began her teaching career in the Tucson Unified School District, where she has taught for 12 years. For the last 11 years, she has been teaching at Carrillo K-5 Magnet School, the school she attended as a student. Over the course of her teaching career, Mrs. Romero has taught first through fifth grade English learners. Miriam received dual degrees from the University of Arizona in 2007. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Education concentrated in Bilingual Education as well as a Bachelor of Arts concentrated in Spanish and Portuguese Literature. Her endorsements include English as a Second Language and Library/Educational Media. Miriam is married and has four amazing children.

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Published: Published: September 12th, 2018

ADE Finalizes Favorable Resolutions for Audit Findings

Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced that the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has reached final agreements with the United States Department of Education (ED) to correct audit findings related to its federal Title I and special education (IDEA) allocations.

The finalized resolutions mark the end of a thorough review and recalculation process conducted by ADE staff and third-party, independent consultants since the findings and their underlying causes were initially identified in State Auditor General and ED audits. In addition to recalculating allocations, ADE has also implemented internal policy and staff changes to ensure that future funding awards are accurate and reliable.

Under the finalized resolution agreements, any underfunded schools will be made whole over a period of one or more fiscal years and no overfunded schools will be required to repay any monies. Final revised allocations for fiscal year 2019 will be available to schools before the end of September.

“I am pleased that we have at long last completed this process with the U.S. Department of Education, bringing needed closure to our schools and districts and building a solid foundation for our allocations process in the future,” Superintendent Douglas said. “It is a testament to the hard work of my staff that we were able to resolve these issues without any additional adverse impact to Arizona students. We look forward to working with impacted schools to ensure they have the support they need.”

Specific information related to the two resolutions is available below.

Title I

The resolution of this finding required a full recalculation of all Title I allocations for fiscal years 2014–2017, and the creation of an updated, vetted and validated allocation process for fiscal year 2018 and future years.

LEAs that were overfunded during the impacted fiscal years will not be required to repay any previously awarded funds as a result of the findings. All underfunded LEAs will be made whole over a period of one to four years beginning in fiscal year 2019. 90 percent of all underfunded LEAs will be made whole in one year. LEAs that were cumulatively underfunded between $100,000-$150,000 will be made whole over three years, while LEAs that were cumulatively underfunded over $150,000 will be made whole over four years.

Special Education (IDEA)

This resolution requires ADE to make entities whole for the affected fiscal years of 2015, 2016, and 2017. The repayments will begin in fiscal year 2019 and will be completed in fiscal year 2023, spread evenly over five years. School districts and charter schools that were overfunded will not be required to return funds previously awarded.

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Published: Published: September 29th, 2017

Five Arizona Schools Being Honored as 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools

(Phoenix, Ariz., September 29, 2017) — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas announced today which Arizona schools are being honored as a National Blue Ribbon School. “I am proud of our Arizona schools and am glad there is an award to honor their hard work and dedication to the students and the community. These schools are putting the children first by creating safe and welcoming places where they can learn and be challenged.”

In Arizona, five schools made the grade by meeting the U.S. Department of Education’s accountability requirements:

  • Acacia Elementary School – Vail, Arizona
  • 5 School Logos including US Department of Education logo

  • Arizona College Preparatory – Oakland Campus Chandler, Arizona
  • Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School – Mesa, Arizona
  • Palm Valley Elementary School – Goodyear, Arizona
  • Seton Catholic Preparatory High School – Chandler, Arizona
  • The U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recognized 342 schools nationwide as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2017. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are active demonstrations of preparing every child for a bright future,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the honorees. “You are visionaries, innovators and leaders.”

    These schools are being recognized for their performance in two categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years.
  • Now in its 35th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition to more than 8,500 schools. On November 6-7, these schools will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Secretary and the Department of Education.

    Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year, but only the top schools make the grade to be honored as a National Blue Ribbon School. For more information about this national award, please visit azed.gov/blueribbonschools/ or the national website.

    END

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