TopAugust 2014
In This Issue
Quick Links
Stay Connected to ADE's K-12 Standards Section
Subscribers Receive Information on Training Sessions and More


Do you want to receive the latest news from the Arizona Department of Education's K-12 Academic Standards group? Join their exclusive mailing list! You will receive regular updates on professional development activities, engagement opportunities and general topics of interest. Complete this brief form to join.
ADE Partners with Education Agencies to Improve Family Engagement
Coolidge Unified School District Receiving Additional Support & Resources


Through the Arizona Department of Education's (ADE) Family Engagement Project, and in partnership with other education groups, ADE will provide additional support and added resources to enhance family engagement activities at both Heartland Ranch and San Tan Heights, which are in the Coolidge Unified School District.


Over the next three years, the multi-member team will provide support and advise each school's action team on their family engagement activities. ADE is looking to implement the evidence based National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) model as a framework, but activities will be structured and aligned to meet school improvement goals.


Additionally, both schools will also implement the nationally recognized Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT). Dr. Maria Paredes and WestEd consultants have instructed school staff on how to link school and home learning by giving families strategies to support children's academic goals.


Currently, First Things First and ASU's University Service-Learning have collaborated with ADE on this project.


To learn more about ADE's Family Engagement Project, click here.
Accountability Update

Accountability After 2014: Forum on Transition

On August 18, 2014 from 2pm to 4pm, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Accountability unit will hold a forum to begin initial discussions on the future of accountability after 2014 letter grades. In addition to the ADE's Chief Accountability Officer, representatives from Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Johnson's office and the State Board of Education will be in attendance. Items of discussion may include timelines for presenting a transition plan, integration of AIMS Science into accountability, minor update to the Full Academic Year (FAY) definition, the status of the College and Career Ready Index (CCRI) course indicators for high schools, future use of Student Growth Percentile (SGP) in accountability, and other collaborative opportunities for the Department and stakeholders. Sign up online to be part of this important discussion in person; an online attendance option will also be available. Please note that the new assessment will still be undetermined; the estimated award date for the Request for Proposals is October.


Student Teacher Course Connection in Accountability & Assessments

The College and Career Ready Index approved by the State Board in Spring 2013 will make up 25% of a high school's future accountability determination and will rely heavily on data collected in the Student-Teacher-Course Connection (STC) as well as data from National Student Clearinghouse and other sources. Schools should report course taking information as accurately and completely as possible. Schools which prepare students for skills needed after high school but do not report data to STC will miss an opportunity to receive credit for getting students college and career ready.

Data gathered from STC and other sources will count as part of a high school's accountability determination regardless of what new assessment is selected; failure to report in 2014 and 2015 may negatively impact future accountability labels. Additionally, the Department plans on using STC data to generate files for pre-ID labels (for paper-based testing) and preregistration (computer-based testing) for the new statewide achievement tests. Accurate, timely, and complete reporting to STC will provide schools with the opportunity to demonstrate quality outside of a standardized assessment for accountability purposes and will prevent schools from redundantly reporting students to an additional system for assessment purposes.

2014 A-F Letter Grades & AIMS Data

The Department has released 2014 A-F Letter Grades, 2014 AIMS performance data as well as a list of top performing LEAs/schools in the state. Please visit to see more, and congratulations to all of our "A" schools and districts!


Stay Informed with the New Accountability Web Site

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the new Accountability section and web site at The site is a one-stop source so visitors can access resources, apply to be on A-F committees, stay updated on important accountability information, or contact the Accountability section.


If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Accountability section at 602.542.5151 or


Back to Top

Survey Says
New Monthly Newsletter Survey Designed to Help ADE Better Serve Educators
Greetings Arizona educators! In order to help us design future correspondence and professional development, we are asking you to participate in a brief, three question survey about the implementation of Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS).
We will share the results of the survey next month and will tailor future surveys based on your responses.
We greatly appreciate your participation and thank you for your time. 

Back to Top

School Updates
Web Page for New Statewide Student Information System Now Available

ADE is pleased to announce the launch of a new statewide student information system web page available on the AELAS website:  
This page contains the latest information about opting into a state-sponsored contract for Edupoint's Synergy SIS.
This user-friendly site allows users to quickly find the information they need to make informed decisions. The web page includes the following kinds of information:

  • Synergy® Student Information System - Included Feature Highlights
  • Statewide SIS Pricing Structure
  • Available Optional Modules Not Included in SIS Core Package
  • Adoption and Implementation of Synergy® SIS
Please stay tuned as we will be releasing additional details concerning the products and services offered.
If you have further questions, please contact

ADE Establishes Educator Recruitment and Retention Task Force

In response to rising concerns about high turnover rates in Arizona schools and districts and the challenges a lack of stability creates, Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Johnson recently enlisted several members of the Highly Effective Teachers and Leaders Division to assist her in the establishment and administration of an Educator Recruitment and Retention Task Force. Composed of ADE staff, school and district personnel and other education stakeholders, the task force will prepare recommendations for policy makers and educators designed to improve the recruitment and retention of quality educators in Arizona.


By looking closely at the research, structures and data associated with recruitment and retention, the group hopes to share its initial recommendations next month with the State Board of Education and other Arizona education organizations.
Opportunities for Educators

Expect More Excellence Tour is Back for 2014

Great things are happening in education in Arizona and Expect More Arizona wants people to know about them! That's why they're bringing back the Expect More Excellence Tour - to celebrate the kind of education Arizonans should expect and believe must be available to all students.
Expect More wants to hear your stories about excellence in education in Arizona! For example, tell them about an innovative school-based program that has had terrific results, or a partnership between a business and a school that has helped prepare students for the workplace, or a community organization making amazing progress in preparing children for kindergarten.

The Expect More Excellence Tour is accepting submissions now! Click here to learn more.

2014 Summit on Volunteerism and Service-Learning Seeking to Showcase Community Service

The annual Arizona Summit on Volunteerism and Service-Learning provides an opportunity for leaders and representatives of Arizona's volunteer and service-learning programs to further develop and foster their skills to better serve Arizona's community needs through collaborative effort.

This year, the Summit is seeking groups, including schools, that want to share their project(s) and information with the Summit community as part of the Community Service Showcase in the Summit's Exhibit Hall.


There you will be able to showcase your project for the volunteer and service-learning communities to network, gather ideas, learn from and develop appreciation for what your group is doing.


The deadline for submission is September 1, so click here to submit your Community Service Showcase Request for Proposal today.

Back to Top 

Opportunities for Students
Enroll Your School Today for the Chance to Send a Student to the National Spelling Bee

For schools looking to take part in the Arizona State Spelling Bee qualification process, which ultimately sends one Arizona student to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Spelling Bee, school coordinators will need to complete the school enrollment process at by October 15, 2014.

Upon enrollment, schools receive all materials necessary to hold school bees (grade-appropriate word lists, student study guides/tips and pronouncer guides). Only students who attend K-8 schools that are enrolled with Scripps are eligible to participate in the Arizona State Spelling Bee.

The Arizona Educational Foundation serves as sponsor of the Arizona State Spelling Bee and the Spelling Bee page on the Foundation's website provides the following information to schools: 2015 Rules; 2015 Instructions for conducting bees (contains step-by-step directions for Bees, a timeline, a student's progression to higher levels of the Bee, etc.); and contact information for all County and Regional Bee coordinators (note: all counties outside Maricopa have one coordinator; Maricopa is divided into 6 geographic regions by school districts, each one of which has a coordinator).

The 2015 AEF™ Arizona Spelling Bee will take place Saturday, March 21, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. at Arizona PBS, ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, 555 N. Central Ave., 6th Floor, Phoenix 85004. The champion and chaperone win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee in late May/early June 2015.


If you are planning to coordinate a spelling bee at your school and have questions, please contact your County or Regional Coordinator for more information. 

Verizon Competition Inspires Students to Solve Community Problems through Technology

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is back for a third year. The App Challenge was launched in the fall of 2012 to increase student interest in STEM, and particularly to bring students together to collaborate on a fun, technology-focused project. The challenge is simple: create a concept or design for a viable app that will solve a problem or social issue in their communities or schools.


All middle and high schools across the country are encouraged to enter between now and the competition deadline of November 24. The top teams will earn up to $20,000 for their school, as well as the latest mobile tablet from Samsung Telecommunications America. Winners also will work one-on-one with members of the MIT App Inventor Training Corps to learn coding to bring their app concept to life.


Visit the Challenge's web site for more information. 

ADEQ Seeking Student Entries for No Burn Day Video Contest

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is currently looking for 15- or 30-second videos to promote winter No Burn Days in the Phoenix metro area. The contest is part of a broader public outreach campaign designed to raise awareness on how reducing smoke from wood burning can improve air quality and reduce lung ailments such as asthma during winter.


The contest runs through September 15. Up to three video entries will be selected and featured as part of the December 2014 campaign, and could run on TV. All ages and skill-sets are welcome and encouraged to enter. 


A flier for print and distribution at your discretion is available here, and additional information concerning the contest and No Burn Days may be found at


If you have any further questions, feel free to contact ADEQ by phone at 602.771.4775 or by email at


Back to Top 

Success Stories

Alhambra STEM Team Earns National Recognition

This June, the Alhambra District MESA (Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement) Team, from Montebello School, which consisted of three 8th graders and one 7th grader lead by MESA advisor Kelby Milgrim, earned two awards at the MESA National Challenge in Portland, Oregon. The national challenge was to design, engineer, and operate a low-cost, environmentally sustainable, easy-to-operate prosthetic arm that could perform a variety of real life tasks such as picking up everyday items and placing them in a box, and tossing items into a bucket.


Alhambra's Montebello MESA Team earned first place in the country in the "Design Efficiency" category. Design efficiency is the ratio of design performance to design mass, and points are awarded for different performance tasks (ball toss, object relocation). Those numbers are then divided by the mass (or weight) of the arm, and Montebello's prosthetic arm both out-performed and weighed almost nothing compared to other teams' submissions from across the country.


In addition, Alhambra's Montebello MESA Team earned a third place award in the "Technical Paper" category. The technical paper offered a close examination of the engineering design process, especially as it related to all the major design choices and STEM concepts. The technical paper had many components, including an abstract, discussion, conclusion, bibliography, and an appendix.


This was an amazing opportunity for the Alhambra students, and they demonstrated their ability to design, write, compete, and win top rankings in a national competition. Congratulations to everyone involved in the team's success! 

Washington Elementary School District Leaders to the Rescue, Inspiring Students after School!
If you visit any of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant programs in the Washington Elementary School District (WESD), you will find student and adult superheroes all around! The WESD After-school Academy programs have been using superhero themes for several years to promote a positive space for students to learn and grow. This year the theme is Academic Avengers: The League of Excellence!


Quick, to the Batmobile!

During a recent visit to a local replica of the Batcave from the 1966 Batman television show, Superintendent Dr. Susie Cook and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lyn Bailey officially became the dynamic duo! After reviewing academic data and sliding down the official Batman and Robin poles, they were transformed into superheroes! You may see them driving through the Washington Elementary School District in the Batmobile encouraging students to participate in after-school programs at 32 district schools.

Arizona HOSA - Future Health Professionals Excel at National Leadership Conference

This past June, 338 Arizona high school students and AzHOSA advisors traveled to Orlando, FL for the 37th National HOSA Leadership Conference. In attendance were over 8,500 students, advisors, volunteers, judges and industry leaders, with over 6,800 students from around the nation competing in 54 events. Arizona students had to place in the top three in the state competitions in order to qualify for the national competitions. 


Arizona HOSA had competitors in all 54 competitive events and 9 recognition events, earning 2 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze medals, while another 15 competitors placed in the top 10 in the nation! In addition, AzHOSA was recognized as the top state fundraiser for the National Service Project, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and EVIT was the top individual chapter.


Congratulations to everyone who contributed to Arizona's successful showing at the National HOSA Conference!

ADE Recognizes Twenty-Seven Schools for Providing High Quality Civic Learning

Earlier this month, ADE's Excellence in Civic Engagement Program (ECEP) recognized 27 public schools across Arizona as Arizona Civic Engagement schools for the 2013-2014 school year. Completing a successful second year, ECEP recognizes and supports the important role schools play in ensuring that students are informed and engaged citizens.


Thirty-one public schools, traditional and charter, applied for recognition as an Arizona Civic Engagement school with one of the following designations: School of Merit, School of Distinction or School of Excellence. Of those schools, 15 were recognized as a School of Merit, nine were honored as a School of Distinction and three obtained an award as a School of Excellence.


For more information, visit the ECEP web page at

Have a Success Story You Would Like to Share?
We would love to hear it. Please send your Success Story suggestions to and a member of ADE's Communications team will reach out for more information.
Thank you for helping us share the great work that Arizona students, teachers, and schools are doing every day!
A Message from Superintendent Huppenthal

Recently, I addressed confusion that exists regarding standards we have implemented over the past three years. To make it absolutely clear, I wholly support the work of those who have been dedicated to the development and implementation of Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS).


These are excellent standards. I will always support standards that prepare our students for success in college, career and life.


I will partner with the next governor and the community to ensure Arizona's families have an opportunity to fully voice any concerns about the standards in open, public forums and to ensure we are implementing standards that are best for Arizona students.

Thank you again for your hard work and dedication. I am particularly proud to lead an extraordinary educational system that is looking out for the best interests of Arizona's students.



John Huppenthal


Back to Top 

August 2014 Calendar of Events



Special Engagement: Using Socratic Seminar to Meet AZCCRS with Diana Green (Phoenix)

Webinar: Evaluating Instructional Materials and Aligning to AZCCRS - Math: Part I EQuIP Overview & Dimensions

Webinar: Integrating Social Studies Primary Sources Grades K-2
Writing In Mathematics - Grades K-5

2014-2015 ASU/ADE Principal Institute (Eight sessions throughout the year)


Superintendent Seminar Series for Novice Superintendents (Three sessions this fall)

FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America): Teacher Leadership Conference (Phoenix)


FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America): Advisor Leadership Conference (Phoenix)


FFA (Future Farmers of America): AATA Fall Conference (Phoenix)


HOSA (Future Health Professionals): Advisor Training (2 of 3) (Phoenix)

Arizona's Fourteenth Annual Transition Conference: Promote Strengths & Inspire Success
Webinar: Math Problem Solving - Addition and Subtraction in K-2
Webinar: Integrating Social Studies Primary Sources Grades 6-8
Webinar: K-2 Writing Foundations - Sentence Construction
28Webinar: Evaluating Instructional Materials and Aligning them to the AZCCRS - EQuIP ELA PART II - Guided Practice
30FEA (Future Educators Association): State Officer and Advisor BBQ (Glendale)


Back to Top 

ADE Office of Communications Staff

Sally Stewart, Public Information Officer

Ashley Dammen, Communications Officer

Charles Tack, Electronic Communications Manager