Most schools in Ahwatukee scored an “A”in the 2019 round of grading by the state Department of Education.
And among the others, one Ahwatukee middle school went up a notch while another dropped a grade, according to data released last week.
An “A” grade reflects overall excellent performance by the school, and includes distinguished performance on assessment tests, significant student growth over the previous year, high four-year graduation rates for high schools, and an overall performance that is significantly higher than the state average.
However, the department notes that all “A” schools don’t necessarily meet all those categories.
“B” reflects ”highly performing schools” in at least one of those categories while a “C” reflects “adequate performance but needs improvement on some indicators, including proficiency, growth or graduation rate,” the Education Department explained.
Earning an A for a second consecutive year among Kyrene schools in Ahwatukee were Altadena Middle School, Colina, Cerritos, Esperanza, Estrella, Lagos, Monte Vista and Sierra.
Also earning an A were Desert Vista High School, both the elementary and secondary division of Horizon Honors and BASIS Ahwatukee.
A “B” went to Mountain Pointe High School, Akimel A-al Middle School and Lagos Dual Language Academy and Milenio.
Among all 25 Kyrene campuses in Ahwatukee, Chandler and Tempe, 11 earned an “A” and another 11 a “B.”
The three Kyrene schools earning a “C” were Centennial Middle School and Lomas Elementary in Ahwatukee, Kyrene Middle School in Tempe.
For six Kyrene schools, the 2019 grades represented a change from last year – with five dropping a notch, including two in Ahwatukee.
Only Akimel saw an improved grade, going from a “C” last year to a “B.”
Lagos dropped from an “A” to a “B” and Centennial dropped from “B” to “C.”
The other Kyrene schools that dropped were Brisas Elementary and Paloma Arts Integration Academy in Chandler and Pueblo Middle School in Tempe. All three went from “A” last year to a “B.”
Joining Desert Vista with an “A” in the Tempe Union High School District was Corona del Sol. Mirroring Mountain Pointe’s “B” grade were Tempe High and McClintock. Marcos de Niza scored a “C.”
The grade system is used to help improve schools.
Specifically, the Education Department notes, the system also is a tool to help parents “better understand what school is best for their child and to help the state identify which schools are in need of support and how to better prioritize resources.”
This year the grading system was tweaked by the state to include a broader range of performance assessment.
An overall growth rate was replaced by three measures, included improvements among student “subgroups” such as race or gender as well graduation and dropout rates.
School districts have an opportunity to appeal grades given for individual schools, although it’s unclear how many grades actually get changed.
Schools have until Nov.5 to file an appeal and the Arizona Board of Education in December will make a determination on those appeals based on the recommendations of a special committee.