Dear Educators & Administrators,
Over the past two months, the Arizona Department of Education worked closely with the Governor’s office, State Board of Education staff, and other stakeholders to develop a plan to get $20 million dollars for school counselors, social workers, and school resource officers (SROs) to schools as quickly as possible.
On Monday August 26, 2019, the State Board unanimously approved that plan and districts will be able to apply for these new funds in the coming weeks. I applaud the Governor, lawmakers, and advocates for prioritizing these issues during the last legislative session, and I look forward to finding ways to build on this work in the months ahead. Our students are counting on us to ensure their mental health and physical safety – we cannot let them down.
Our School Safety Program has published Goals & Requirements and an updated FAQ document detailing the timeline and requirements for the new grant process. The new application will open September 16, 2019 and close on September 27, 2019. Please visit their webpage for more information and resources to help you apply to bring a school counselor, social worker, or SRO officer to your school.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman’s statement on the proposed amendments regarding sex education at today’s State Board meeting:
“Today during our State Board of Education meeting, we heard nearly four hours of public comment regarding proposed amendments to board policies about sex education. I greatly respect that parents came to this meeting to advocate for their families and I appreciate the sensitivity that surrounds this topic.
While I have many takeaways from the comments, it became clear to me that there is misunderstanding about what is decided by districts and what guidelines can be set by the State Board of Education. Sex education curriculum is determined by districts and local school boards. Parents have always had the right to opt their child in or out of these health courses if they wish to provide that information themselves. The language proposed today did not attempt to change this, nor did it mandate or institute additional curriculum. The minor changes were intended to clean up outdated language in state guidelines and ensure that any curriculum a district chooses is medically and scientifically accurate.
I heard from community members and parents who were concerned about the information their children would be provided if their districts were to account for LGBTQ students in health education. Arizona’s public schools exist to serve all students who walk through their doors. However, for decades, codified bigotry has denied too many children information about their sexual health.
I am greatly concerned with the health of our students. With rising rates of suicide, depression, and transmission of STIs, it is my utmost priority that all students have access to medically accurate information so that they can make healthy, informed choices. It is a matter of safety and respect.”
On behalf of the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Arizona State Board of Education (SBE), Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman and President of the State Board of Education Lucas J. Narducci sent a letter to district superintendents and charter leaders regarding the future of statewide assessments. The letter was in response to a communication from the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) that stated Arizona law was at odds with current federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) law regarding assessment.
In December 2018, ADE made a request to US ED asking to waive certain federal requirements as they pertain to the Menu of Assessments state law (A.R.S. 15-741.02) that passed in 2016, which required Arizona to offer a Menu of Assessments to allow schools to administer an alternate assessment instead of the statewide assessment (i.e. AzMERIT). This was designed to be phased in over a set timeframe, beginning with high school in Spring 2019 and for grades 3-8 in Spring 2020.
Last week, ADE received notification from US ED that this waiver request was denied. Since that time, ADE and SBE officials have collaborated with education stakeholders throughout the state to communicate the effects this will have on schools, as well as to work toward solutions regarding the future of statewide assessments.
Please see the letters below from Superintendent Hoffman and President Narducci to Arizona schools, as well as the letter from US ED to ADE:
US ED Letter to ADE | ADE and SBE Letter to Schools
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas presented drafts of the new Arizona Science Standards, as well as the new Arizona History and Social Science Standards at today’s State Board of Education (SBE) meeting. The draft standards were immediately made available on the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) K-12 Academic Standards website.
“These draft standards are a step forward for the education of Arizona students,” Superintendent Douglas said. “Not only do the standards help guide educators in preparing students to compete in a modern technology-based economy, but they also help prepare students to be good citizens grounded in the founding principles of our constitutional republic. I am looking forward to the feedback during the public comment period, but I would like to thank the working groups and ADE staff for all the hard work they have put into these drafts.”
The period for public review and comment will be from March 26, 2018 until May 28, 2018. During that time, the Department will host two public meetings. On April 5, 2018 from 3:30-5:00 p.m., members of the Department will walk the public through the draft of the Arizona History and Social Science Standards. On April 6, 2018, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., the draft of the Arizona Science Standards will be reviewed. Both meetings will be held in the State Board of Education meeting room located at 1535 W. Jefferson St. Phoenix, AZ 85007. The meetings will also be live streamed and recorded for those who are not able to attend in person.
During this time, the Department will also be receiving feedback from technical reviewers. Once the technical and public comment period is completed, ADE will reconvene working groups to finalize the drafts before presenting them to the SBE for adoption.
Please find the new draft standards posted on our website at: http://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/k-12standards/k12engagement/az_sci_ss_standards-review/. The public may both review and comment on the new proposed standards.
(Phoenix, Ariz., August 28, 2017) – Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Diane Douglas, is pleased to announce the approval grant contracts to help homeless students. The State Board of Education (SBE) approved grant funding for 32 school districts and/or schools for Homeless Education Services. The grants will assist around 30,000 homeless students. The awarded grants help both rural and urban schools.
The federal funds for the program come from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. The Arizona Department of Education administers the program and grant application process. The Arizona State Board of Education approves the grants. Key goals include outreach to ensure school enrollment, retention and attendance. Access to participation in regular education programs for all homeless students is required.
“We are fortunate to have received this additional federal allocation,” said State Coordinator for Homeless Education Alexis Clermont. “It has allowed us to increase our expanded reach to schools. These extra funds mean that more schools and more of Arizona’s underserved children have equal access to a high-quality education.”
“It is important to me that the needs of all of our students are met,” said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas. “We know that these children are an especially vulnerable population. Not only have we been able to meet the needs of those currently on the program, we have also increased our aid to additional children.”
This is the first year of a three-year competitive grant. For more information about the Office of Homeless Education and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, please visit www.azed.gov/homeless.
The following school districts and schools will receive grant funds:
Alhambra Elementary School District
American Charter, West Phoenix High School
Amphitheater Unified School District
Bullhead City School District
Chandler Unified School District
Concho Elementary School District
Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary School District
Creighton Elementary School District
Deer Valley Unified School District
Flagstaff Unified School District
Flowing Wells Unified School District
Glendale Union High School
Higley Unified School District
Kaizen Education Foundation dba Vista Grove Preparatory Academy Elementary
Marana Unified School District
Maricopa Unified School District
Maricopa County Regional School District
Mayer Unified School District
Mesa Unified School District
Osborn Elementary School District
Paradise Valley Unified School District
PAS Charter, Intelli-School
Phoenix Elementary School District
Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District
SC Jensen Co Intelli-School
Scottsdale Unified School District
Sunnyside Unified School District
Tolleson Elementary School District
Tolleson Union High School District
Tucson Unified School District
Washington Elementary School District
Williams Unified School District