The Arizona Department of Education released its 2013-14 letter grades for schools across the state on Monday, and the Kyrene and Tempe Union High school districts and Horizon Community Learning Center all received an overall “A” grade.

For the first time, all six schools in the Tempe Union district — Corona del Sol, Desert Vista, McClintock, Mountain Pointe, Tempe High and Marcos de Niza — each received an “A” grade.

According to a statement released by the district, this is the fourth year for the state letter grades, which is one measure of a school’s achievement.

Desert Vista has received an “A” grade for four years in a row; this is the second year Mountain Pointe earned the rating.

Each high school showed high academic growth and significant improvements within the Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test and overall academic growth throughout the year.

“We are proud of the work our schools have done to either maintain their ‘A’ grade or improve their grade to an ‘A’ without compromising the rigor of our instructional program. We will continue to grow and improve in our mission of excellence in teaching and learning,” said Dr. Kenneth Baca, superintendent of Tempe Union High School District, in a statement.

Kyrene schools in Ahwatukee scored high within the grade system, with eight schools receiving “A” grades and four schools receiving “B” grades.

No “C” grades were given out to any Kyrene schools in Ahwatukee.

Lorah Neville, executive director for educational services at Kyrene, said the overall “A” grade confirmed the hard work being done around the district.

“We’ve been getting good results and strive to be a premier district in the state and the nation,” she said.

Key components of the Arizona Department of Education grade system ranged from how many students met or exceeded the standards in reading and math to students’ academic growth from one grade level to another, Neville said.

“We’re very proud of all the hard work that’s been happening all around our schools,” she said. “There have been a lot of changes within the community … yet we’ve been able to perform at an ‘A’ level. We know the challenges are there, but we know our staff have been stepping up and doing what it takes to help kids.”

Horizon Community Learning Center also received an “A” grade for the second consecutive year.

Betsy Fera, Horizon executive director, said the grade validated the hard work that was put into Horizon’s school community.

“Teachers spent many hours outside of the classroom collaborating in smaller groups to analyze student data and define strategies to help all students grow. We will continue that process this year as we look for better ways to instruct students and provide the resources to support the instruction,” she said in a statement. “As we celebrate our ‘A’ label for the 2013-2014 school year, we will continue to move forward on the path of academic excellence during the 2014-2015 school year. … HCLC will never stand still as we strive to provide the best education in order to prepare our future leaders.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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