AJ Schools’ Letter Grades Drop

By Dr. Krista Anderson

We recently received notice from the State Department of Education regarding letter grades for each of our schools for the 2017-2018 school year. The state bases its score on an A to F letter grade. A is the highest (excellent) and F is the lowest (failing).

The system measures year to year student academic growth, proficiency in English Language Arts, Math and Science, the proficiency and academic growth of English Language Learners, indicators that an elementary student is ready for success in high school and that high school students are ready to succeed in a career or higher education and high school graduation rates.

AJUSD schools’ grades are: Desert Vista Elementary School, D; Four Peaks Elementary School, D; Peralta Trail Elementary School, C; Cactus Canyon Junior High, C and Apache Junction High School, D.

The state describes a C grade as adequate performance, but needs improvement on some indicators, including proficiency, growth or graduation rate. A designation of D is described as minimally performing or inadequate performance in proficiency growth and/or four-year graduation rate relative to the state average.

Even before the letter grades were released, we knew we had important work to do. Over the summer, we met with school principals and asked for a comprehensive student improvement plan, and we met again with principals after the first quarter of the 2018-2019 school year for an update. As a district, we are committed to deliver results-oriented actions that will focus on strengthening students’ core skills, as well as providing professional growth opportunities for teachers.

AJUSD administrators will present the letter grade report and a plan to improve student learning at the Governing Board meeting on October 23, 6 p.m., in the District Office Board Room, 1575 W. Southern Ave., Apache Junction.  Some of the topics include a plan to:

  • Ensure that instruction includes time to provide interventions to students to support their learning of foundation skills in reading, math and writing.
  • Emphasize professional development for teachers that will support their expertise in content areas and allow time for them to work collaboratively on standards that they are required to teach.
  • Review daily schedules to maximize learning time throughout the school day for students.

The task at hand will not be easy, but we are up to the challenge. We ask for your continued support as we work hard to raise the bar on student learning and help our students achieve their highest potential.

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