Eighth-grader Trevor Tam with a practice AIMS test at Horizon Community Learning Center on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

The Arizona Department of Education recently issued letter grades for each school based on its Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) performance results, and schools located in Ahwatukee have received high praises.

The grades for each school are based on a point system, where the Arizona Department of Education uses a formula to determine students passing and growth throughout the year.

According to the Department, academic growth — how much a student improves from one year to the next — is given a point total out of 100, with the bottom 25 percent of student performers weighted twice.

The Academic outcomes, based on the percentage of students passing the AIMS, are also scored out of 100 points.

In the Kyrene School District alone 16 schools received an A letter grade, while nine other schools receiving a B. No C grades were given to any schools in the district.

This is an improvement since last year’s results, where only one school received a C grading.

Community Relations Assistant Director Nancy Dudenhoefer said this has been the second year where the Arizona Department of Education has issued these grades, and that the Kyrene School District has been an A district for both years.

One reason Dudenhoefer believes the schools in the district have scored high grades from this scale is because many of the teachers are highly qualified, and have high expectations.

“There’s a dedication to see every child move forward and that means if that child is at this point here they may not get to the tip top, but they will make progress,” Dudenhoefer said. “That’s really what this new system is all about. Paying attention to every child on where they are and making them move forward from where they are at. It‘s taking every one of those kids and moving them a step forward.”

Dudenhoefer added that schools specifically looked at how they can take groups of students who were staying at a “meets” level, and trying to propel them to exceed.

Tempe Union High School District also received an overall A grade with both of its area schools, Mountain Pointe High School and Desert Vista High School, receiving A grades.

Mountain Pointe showed significant improvements from last year’s B grading.

Dr. Linda Littell, director of communications for the Tempe Union High School District, said each school has stressed student achievement focusing on after-school tutoring programs for the students to make sure none of their students fall behind.

Horizon Community Learning Center (HCLC) also earned an A grading from the Arizona Department of Education.

HCLC Executive Director Betsy Fera sent a letter out to the parents explaining how proud the school is on receiving an A grade and the work its students have done throughout the year.

Fera explained that teachers at the school spent many hours outside of the classrooms collaborating in smaller groups to analyze student data and define strategies to help all students grow.

Fera said the school will continue to move forward on the path of academic excellence during the 2013-2014 school year.

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