Monte Vista Elementary School in Ahwatukee is one of five Kyrene School District campuses that won the coveted A+ School of Excellence designation this year from the Arizona Education Foundation, it was announced on Monday.
The foundation also named Mariposa and Waggoner in Tempe and the Chandler campuses of Aprende Middle School and Kyrene Traditional Academy.
“The program celebrates outstanding schools throughout Arizona, calling attention to the positive stories and successes occurring in public schools,” said AEF Executive Director Kim Graham, adding:
“The application and evaluation process for this program is comprehensive and rigorous. We applaud these schools for exceeding expectations to meet their students’ needs and for achieving overall success despite the many challenges that face the education community statewide.”
The number of Kyrene schools to get the designation this year was higher than the A+ awards handed out in far larger districts in the East Valley. For example, Gilbert Public Schools, the state’s fourth largest, saw only two A+ schools this year.
Mesa Public Schools, the state’s largest district in terms of enrollment with more than twice as many campuses than Kyrene, had six A+ schools.
Tempe Union had none.
In all, the Arizona Education Foundation gave A+ awards to 52 public schools across the state.
Schools are evaluated in the areas of student focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data.
The evaluation process for applicants is based on a lengthy written application submitted by the school and “a rigorous site visit conducted by a team of trained judges,” the foundation said.
Applicants provide demographic information, a description of current programs and practices, documentation of parent and community involvement, and a profile of the school’s principal and the school community’s commitment to excellence, equity, service and sustained high achievement.
“Preparation of each school’s application involves collaboration among all stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members,” the foundation said.
Schools receive $500 and a banner designating them as an A+ School of Excellence™ winner. The award is valid for three and a half years.
“Recognition through the A+ School of Excellence™ program can help increase confidence in Arizona’s public schools and create greater parent and community support,” the foundation added.