REFLECTIONS FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
“I’m going to have to ride the fence awhile until I find out where the gates are.” – Eva Bowring, U.S. Senator, Nebraska
Greetings from ABEC!
All of the family was at the park, ready to play a game. Some had already begun to play volleyball. But my young grandson Kai really wanted to play soccer. “Everybody can play soccer,” he said, “not just the adults and most of us are on soccer teams, so we know the rules.” “I brought my soccer ball,” he continued, lobbying all of the older cousins, “and we could play for the family trophy.” He had become the advocate for a good idea and spoke on behalf of his younger cousins who wanted to play soccer too, but didn’t think anyone would listen to them. He lobbied until he won everyone over to his opinion.
As we are close to wrapping up another session of the legislature, it doesn’t hurt to review the important role each of us plays as advocates for public education.
“Advocacy is taking up a cause, one whose successful resolution benefits others,” say the authors of Winning, How to Advocate for Public Education, “Where the goals demand the efforts of more than one person…the individual advocate concentrates on educating others and engaging them to work for a cause. Advocacy is about outcome.” Each of us must be moved to take a stand, to express that opinion, to be willing to educate others on the issues and to ask for action. Think of the power to affect change if the cause and the messages were aligned from person to person and organization to organization. “Education can no longer be viewed as the exclusive concern of parents, teachers and school administrators. The entire community must see the importance of good education and its impact on the economic and social well being of a community.”
It might be wise, as we look ahead at upcoming elections and legislative sessions, to think about advocacy and to ask “How best can you and your sphere of influence engage in advocacy for public education?” You advocate every day for your ideas about where to go for lunch, what movie to see, and where to go for vacation. Think now about how to raise that advocacy to a new level to support education reform and public education. We’re thinking about it right here at ABEC.
ABEC executive director
“You may have to fight the battle more than once to win it.” – Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister, England
REGISTER NOW FOR THE ABEC 2012 CONFERENCE
Readiness: Higher Standards, Tougher Assessments
Hitting the mark for ALL Arizona children
Monday, June 4, 2012
8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Desert Willow Conference Center
Are you ready? Is your community ready? Are your preschoolers ready? Are their parents ready? Are your business partners ready? What’s the level of readiness in your sphere of influence for the upcoming assessments of the new, more rigorous Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core)? The ABEC Annual Conference brings together experts, both local and national, to learn from and talk about Arizona readiness for full implementation of the new standards.
Michael Cohen, president of Achieve, and his organization have been actively involved in the development of the Common Core. Created in 1996 by the nation's governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C. that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments and strengthen accountability. Achieve in partnership with the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) developed K-12 standards in English and mathematics that are internationally-benchmarked; college and career ready; rigorous, clear and focused; and grounded in research. To date, 46 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia have chosen to adopt the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Achieve offers technical assistance to states, having worked closely with Arizona, and are currently advising the Arizona Ready Education Council.
According to Achieve, “… the mere adoption of these new standards is clearly insufficient. Success in each state hinges on implementation: the strategies used to improve instruction in every classroom, the tiered supports provided to all students, the policy changes to promote coherence and alignment, and the commitment to building and maintaining widespread understanding of and support for the new standards.” Regarding the importance of teachers to the implementation effort, findings from a key teacher survey provides valuable insight to implementing the CCSS. The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Teachers, Parents and the Economy indicated that successful implementation of CCSS to prepare all students for college and careers, will require listening to teachers in ways that can make essential opportunities for professional learning both more efficient and effective. "The survey's findings underscore that education is a shared responsibility, particularly in the face of financial challenges," said Dennis White, vice president of corporate contributions for MetLife.
ABEC echoes that sentiment. Education is a shared responsibility and everyone has a role in helping students achieve success. Conference attendees will also hear from Dr. Robert Wimpelberg, the executive director of the All Kids Alliance. The Alliance provides a structure to allow a collective impact approach to meeting the needs of students in the Houston, TX area. The question is, would this work in regions of Arizona?
COMMON CORE: ARIZONA COLLEGE AND CAREER READY STANDARDS
Whether called “Arizona Common Core Standards” or “Arizona College and Career Ready Standards (2010 Arizona additions)” or “the internationally benchmarked, college and career ready Common Core Standards”, one thing is certain: this state is stepping up to a much more rigorous set of standards for Arizona students. For example, the standards for kindergarten used to look like this:
Previously – kindergarteners counted to 20 and backward from 10; knew shapes, colors, numbers
English Language Arts
Previously – listened and responded to stories; recognized letters; blended sounds
The newly implemented Arizona College and Career Readiness Standards in kindergarten now look like this:
Now – kindergarteners count to 100 by 1’s and 10’s and count forward from any given number 1-99; compose and decompose numbers; think abstractly; manipulate 2D and 3D shapes; understand that 3+2 = 4+1.
English Language Arts
Now – Confirm understanding of written texts read aloud or information presented orally or through media by asking and answering questions about key details; create and edit using technology, read whole words and a sentence.
It is important to note that our state will be assessing this new, more rigorous set of goals for student learning in 2014-2015. Being prepared for this new assessment is on the minds of educators and policy makers all across Arizona, from the classroom to the offices of the Arizona Department of Education and Governor. This transition to a new, higher level of expectations should be on the minds of parents and the business community as well.
The Governor’s Arizona Ready Education Council heard a report from the Governor’s Office of Education Innovation on the new Arizona Ready Report Card, which is live now on the website at www.arizonaready.com. This report card will provide for specific measurable goals in six sub-areas of education, pre-kindergarten through post secondary and the workforce and will link to the dashboard at the Arizona Department of Education. The report card will report to the county level and the dashboard will drill on down to the school and student levels.
As the state approaches the date for assessment, it will be paramount that local civic and business leaders, along with parents, understand the shift happening in expectations. To that end, Achieve, a national organization focused on implementing the Common Core, will be in Arizona to provide guidance in the development of a communications plan. ABEC has already begun such communication and is developing a plan to engage the business and civic leadership in communities outside Maricopa County.
ABEC BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Friday, May 4, 2012
10am - 2pm
Desert Willow Conference Center
To RSVP or for more information, contact Karen Kehlenbach at (602) 261-6702 or email@example.com.
2012 ABEC CONFERENCE
Monday, June 4, 2012
8am - 3:30pm
Desert Willow Conference Center
Chase Building Team
Maricopa Community Colleges
ABEC MEMBER UPCOMING EVENTS
Arizona School Boards Association
A free online webinar titled
"So You Want To Be A School Board Member?"
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
To register, click here.
Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry
2012 Golf Tournament
Friday, May 18, 2012
The Links Course
The Arizona Biltmore Golf Club
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Shotgun start at 7:30am
To register and for more info,
ABEC is still seeking sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers for its 2012 Annual Conference to be held Monday, June 4, 2012 at the Desert Willow Conference Center. The deadline to submit sponsorship material (logo, ad, etc.) is Monday, May 21st so please act quickly! More information>
The governing board of the Balsz Elementary School District (Phoenix) has been honored with a 2012 Magna Award from the American School Board Journal for the district’s successful implementation of a 200-day school year. This national award recognizes exemplary leadership by local school boards to advance student learning. Congratulations to the board members of the district: Vic Grace, Fred Andersen, J. Will Roberts and Todd Schwarz.
Congratulations to J. Doug Pruitt, chairman and former CEO of Sundt Construction on his latest award, the 2012 Construction Hall of Fame Award from Clemson University’s construction science and management department, which recognizes his distinguished career in construction and the leadership positions he held in the industry.
Have you ever thought about running for a school board? The Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) will hold a free online webinar titled “So You Want to be a School Board Member?” on Wednesday, May 9th from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. To register for the webinar, visit www.azsba.org.
Teach for America (TFA) has named Lindsay Wheeler DeFrancisco executive director of its Phoenix operations. DeFrancisco was a TFA corps member who taught in South Phoenix before serving in her most recent role as a professional development facilitator with the Sanford Education Project at Arizona State University.
Governor Brewer named Roger Jacks to the Arizona State Board of Education, serving a four-year term ending Jan 2016. Jacks is the superintendent of schools for the Kingman Unified School District and replaces Vicki Balentine (Amphitheater Public Schools), whose term recently expired.
Rio Salado College is actively seeking qualified applicants for its National Science Foundation Noyce Scholars Program. Applicants must a U.S. citizen, an Arizona resident, have a minimum of three years experience in a STEM related field, a bachelor’s degree in a science, engineering, or mathematics discipline, and commit to teach for two years in a high-need school. Selected participants will receive a stipend of $16,500 to complete a comprehensive 12-month teacher certification program with online course instruction and onsite teaching experiences. The application deadline is June 1, 2012. More information>
Congratulations to Roadrunner Elementary School (Washington Elementary School District), one of only two schools in Arizona and 78 nationally, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2012 "Green Ribbon" School, schools that demonstrate compelling examples of ways schools can help children build real-world skillsets, cut school costs, and provide healthy learning environments.
ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix, a public charter school in partnership with Phoenix Elementary School District and Arizona State University, is hosting its first Celebrity Golf Tournament on Friday, May 18 at the Raven Golf Course in Phoenix. Former ASU, UofA and NFL players, as well as other local celebrities are expected to play, including: Daryl Clack, JD Hill, Adam Archuleta, Frank Kush, Steve Holden, Luis Zendejas, Anthony Parker, Larry Walton, Hakim Hill, Lamonte Hunley, Max Zendejas, Marshane Graves, Al Gross, Greg Turner, Mark Walzack, David Adams, Kwamie Lassiter, Seth Joyner, Roy Green, Mike Charles, Prentence McCray, Chris Singleton, Kevin Singleton, Toby Wright, Derek Kennard, Michael Bankston, Sid Justin, and many more! More information>
EDUCATION NEWS, SPECIAL REPORTS & WEBSITES
Deer Valley school program shows math, English need - The Arizona Republic, 04/27, 2012
A districtwide intervention plan that the Deer Valley Unified School District rolled out this school year to help middle and high school students struggling in English and math shows a need for more teacher resources and better teaching methods, particularly in math. Halfway into the spring semester, 3,879 middle and high school students in the district, 23 percent of students, had either a D or F in math class, according to preliminary data collected from teachers who have been using the new intervention methods. In English, about 3,093 students in that age group, or nearly 19 percent, had failing or near-failing grades. Read more>
New, effective handwriting curriculum at Desert Mesa - YumaSun.com, 04/22/12
A classroom volunteer at Desert Mesa Elementary School saw the need for a new, more effective handwriting model for students, so she took it upon herself to create one — no matter what the cost. Jacqueline Sund, a winter visitor who volunteers daily at Desert Mesa, noticed that students were having difficulties forming letters using their old curriculum. So she spent six months researching various handwriting models and came up with the her own called the Sunshine Scripting System which she has spent $5,000 of her own funds to develop. Read more>
Arizona school boards seek more candidates - The Arizona Republic, 04/21/12
This year, 167 school-board seats in Maricopa County – about 60 percent – will be up for election. Many who serve as school-board members say it can be one of the most demanding, rewarding jobs they have undertaken. However, if past numbers are any indicator, some of those elections will never take place for lack of interest. Read more>
New dean for NAU College of Ed - Azdailysun.com, 04/21/12
Michael Sampson, dean of the School of Education at Southern Connecticut State University, is the new dean of the College of Education at Northern Arizona University. Sampson will start July 1, filling a position that has been held by interim dean Gypsy Denzine since 2010. Denzine plans to go on her first sabbatical and return to her research in educational psychology. Read more>
Kyrene school district rated highly in recent family survey - The Arizona Republic, 04/20/12
Parent surveys show family satisfaction with the Kyrene School District at an all-time high. More than 93 percent of parents rated Kyrene schools and the district an "A" or "B," Superintendent David Schauer said Wednesday during his State of Our Schools Web address. Schauer and a panel of school leaders answered questions and addressed community concerns about the district. Read more>
Scottsdale middle schools set for revamp - The Arizona Republic, 04/19/12
The Scottsdale Unified School District will make several changes starting next school year to better prepare middle-level students for high school. The changes are intended to boost success for students in grades six, seven and eight, administrators say. "Our high schools do a good job of getting students college- and career- ready, but students are not always high school-ready," said Andi Fourlis, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. Read more>
Kyrene district challenging schools to cut back on power - The Arizona Republic, 04/19/12
Starting this fall, the Kyrene School District is challenging students and staff to turn off the lights, keep doors closed and unplug unused appliances to save $350,000 in energy costs. Jeremy Calles, the district's chief financial officer, presented the plan to save 2.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity at last week's school board meeting. Read more>
Skill gap frustrating to employers and workers; Some firms want to hire, but applicants lack the right skills - The Arizona Republic, 04/15/12
Last year, the CORE Institute, a Phoenix medical laboratory, searched for a lab director for six months. The company eventually gave up, and a vice president shouldered the extra duties. Meanwhile, Phoenix resident Alethea Session has been looking for a job as a finance manager for more than a year. Session has a master's degree in business administration and 20-plus years of industry experience. But now some companies require that certain finance-manager applicants be certified public accountants, a credential that Session lacks. The two stories illustrate a gap in the state and national job market that troubles employers, job seekers and workforce analysts. Although the state unemployment rate is 8.7 percent and nearly 262,000 Arizonans are actively looking for jobs, some employers say that they have trouble finding qualified job candidates. Read more>
Voters will decide on districts' West-MEC withdrawal; Cartwright, Fowler want out of tech-education district - The Arizona Republic, 04/14/12
The Cartwright and Fowler elementary school districts in November will ask the voters to withdraw from West-MEC, a career and technical-education district. Both school boards made the unanimous decision this week to put the issue before voters. If approved, the two Southwest Valley districts would be the first districts in Arizona to withdraw from one of the state's 13 joint technical-education districts, which provide funding for career and technical education to its member districts. Read more>
Bigger Arizona college class sizes a growing trend - The Arizona Republic, 04/14/12
This semester, Arizona State University freshman Kassandra Guerrero's largest class is a crowded 400 students while her smallest is a comfortable 15. The psychology major has learned to cope with the bigger class by sitting close to the front so she can see and hear the professor. Read more>
The newest problem with graduation rates - The Washington Post, 04/13/12
School administrators across the country have been expressing their concern over the federal government’s changes in reporting graduation rates. Starting with the 2010-2011 school year, all high schools have been required to provide data based on the four-year “cohort” rate. In some states this method has already resulted in graduation rates as much as 20% below those formerly reported. Read more>
Kingman parents, students receive a course on Cambridge Prep – Daily Miner, 03/28/12
State Sen. Rich Crandall presented Kingman Unified's Cambridge Preparatory Academy to a large audience of parents and students, and his message was clear: It's time for schools to stop focusing on minimizing failure. Read more>
SPECIAL REPORTS AND WEBSITES
Dropped? Latino Education and Arizona's Economic Future - ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy
This report offers fresh data and new projections for Arizona's future, the state's quality of life and our ability to compete in the global economy if education gaps continue in the Latino and general populations. It is a follow-up report to Five Shoes Waiting to Drop on Arizona's Future, Morrison Institute's landmark report of 10 years ago. Fives Shoes identified five areas – education being one of them –that could lead to economic prosperity or crisis for the state, depending on action. Read more>
POLICY BRIEF: “Confronting the Crises: Federal Investments in State Birth-Through-Grade-Twelve Literacy Education” - The Alliance for Excellent Education
Released on March 31, this policy brief describes two state-led initiatives—English language arts common core state standards and comprehensive birth-through-grade-twelve state literacy plans—to help all young people attain the advanced literacy skills needed to succeed in the modern world. It concludes with a set of policy recommendations to invest fully in efforts to catalyze nationwide improvements in literacy achievement. Download report (pdf) >
State Cards: “High schools in your state” – The Alliance for Excellent Education
Updated in March 2012, these state cards provide a statistical snapshot of high schools for each state in the nation and the District of Columbia. The cards include economic information, data on high school graduation and college completion rates, academic achievement, and states’ progress in building a longitudinal data system. Where applicable, statewide numbers are compared to the national average and include national rankings. Cards are available for all states, the District of Columbia, and for the nation as a whole. View Arizona-specific data>