Every spring public school students in the State of Arizona take state assessments to ensure our students are meeting the skills and knowledge outlined in Arizona’s State Standards. These assessments test reading, writing, and math skills for students in grades 3-11, and science skills in grades 4, 8 & Biology. Teachers take these assessments very seriously. The results could potentially impact students’ feelings of success, public opinion and school funding.
I am happy to announce that we received the testing results and our schools have demonstrated higher achievement than in the past two years and are growing faster than the state average. Vulture Peak Middle School showed the highest growth and has moved to a B-rated school. Last year we saw two other schools, Hassayampa and Festival Foothills, improve their letter grade. This year both schools maintained those grades and Hassayampa moved up in overall points.
Wickenburg High School showed growth in math, reading and writing and increased their overall score, but they have a little further to go in order to move out of the C-category. The high school state assessment will change this year, as it will only test students in 10th grade for reading, writing and math.
Here is a list of our schools final letter grades:
A - Festival Foothills Elementary (K-8)
B - Hassayampa Elementary (K-5)
B - Vulture Peak Middle School (6-8)
C - Wickenburg High School (9-12)
For the past year and a half, teachers have been working with a school improvement team from Fairfax, Virginia called Project Momentum. Project Momentum is based on two main concepts: improvement and collaboration. Collaboration is demonstrated by shared leadership and professional learning communities. Shared leadership is established through school leadership teams that work alongside the principals to set goals and provide professional development for their peers. Project Momentum funds pay teachers to work through the summer months and outside of normal school hours on their school goals. Within the regular workweek, professional learning communities (collaborative teacher teams) are meeting before and after school every week to plan curriculum, create lessons to increase student engagement and build assessments to measure students’ understanding concepts. The funds that make this work possible are provided through a grant from Governor Ducey’s office and private philanthropic sponsors. The funds pay for teacher leadership grants, professional development and principal partners from top schools in Fairfax, Virginia to provide coaching to our principals so the work can continue once the project ends.
I would like to commend our staff and students for their hard work and dedication needed for their achievements.