The bar has been raised for three Kyrene schools, two of which sit in Ahwatukee Foothills.

Kyrene de la Esperanza Elementary School, Kyrene Altadeña Middle School and Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary School in Chandler, were named as an A+ School of Excellence by the Arizona Educational Foundation.

After an extensive application process and review, which one principal said took just about two years from start to finish, the schools were told of the results on Monday.

“Everyone is really excited, it was a huge endeavor,” said Cheryl Greene, principal at Kyrene de la Esperanza. “We started this process two springs ago. I talked to the staff about it and they knew what was involved. I told them not to do anything differently, we are just going to put a spotlight on the hard work we always do.”

Altadeña principal Nancy Corner said she submitted nine notebooks full of information about the school and described in great detail what they do to deserve the award. After that was reviewed by the Arizona Educational Foundation, they sent out a team to see if what had been written was in fact a reality.

“We had people here from seven in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon verifying everything we said on the application,” Corner said. “Overall, it was a good process because you reflect on your school and what you are doing. We always knew we were a really great school and this is such a reward for all the hard work we have done over the years.”

It was the first time Altadeña had applied for the award and Esperanza was previously named as an A+ school in 1999, before Greene took over.

The Arizona Educational Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation, and the Foundation Board is comprised of business and community leaders, a classroom teacher, and is joined by a representative from the Arizona Department of Education.

Along with the recognition, each school receives $500 and will host an school-wide assembly to be attended by members of the foundation.

“The whole idea of it is to be models of excellence in education and raise the appreciation of public schools around the state,” Greene said.

To find out more about the foundation, visit

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