Secretary Betsy DeVos

Published: Published: October 11th, 2018

Five Arizona Schools Being Honored Amongst the Nation’s Best

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas was proud to announce today which Arizona schools will be honored as 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

“The best part of my job is being able to celebrate the hard work and accomplishments of our Arizona schools and students,” Superintendent Douglas said. “These schools are an example for all others to follow. By putting the children first, these schools are now able to receive national recognition and take a well-deserved bow for their commitment to excellence.”

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


Franklin Junior High School, Mesa

Gilbert Classical Academy High School, Gilbert

Knox Gifted Academy, Chandler

Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies, Mesa

Vista College Preparatory, Phoenix

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award recognizes the efforts of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools. On November 7 and 8, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her agency will celebrate with all honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

All schools are honored in one of two performance 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.

    At least 420 schools are nominated on a yearly basis. The U.S. Department of Education accepts National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

    NOTE TO EDITORS: Photographs and brief descriptions of the 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools are available at

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    Published: Published: September 7th, 2017

    Arizona’s ESSA State Plan Approved by the US Department of Education

    Arizona ESSA Plan Approved

    Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas today announced the approval of Arizona’s consolidated state plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

    “I am extremely proud of the hundreds of hours of work put into developing this plan by my staff here at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), and I am most thankful for the thousands of comments we have received from parents, teachers, administrators, stakeholder groups, community members and elected officials that truly helped make this a plan for all of Arizona,” Superintendent Douglas said. “This is a plan made by Arizona – for Arizona – that would be ideal with or without ESSA.”

    The USDOE highlighted several aspects of Arizona’s state plan, including the ability of elementary and middle schools to earn additional points in its accountability system for accelerating student achievement. Arizona was also recognized for allowing high schools to earn additional points in its accountability system for preparing students to be college and career ready, including students performing well in Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, passing college-level courses, earning an industry credential and/or completing a work-based learning internship.

    “After reviewing Arizona’s plan and ensuring it complies with the law, I am pleased to approve it,” said USDOE Secretary Betsy DeVos. “I commend Governor (Doug) Ducey, Superintendent Douglas and the many stakeholders in Arizona who helped craft a plan to improve education for the students of the Grand Canyon State.”

    ESSA was passed into law by Congress in December 2015, replacing No Child Left Behind as the primary federal legislation addressing America’s public education system. Taking effect in the 2017-18 school year, $1 billion of federal aid to Arizona would be at risk without compliance.

    To learn more about ADE’s state plan, please visit

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