Having lived in the Chandler community for more than 20 years, I have watched the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) improve student achievement and become a top-rated district. Now that I am charged with implementing education policy statewide, I am especially impressed with Chandler’s ability to rise to the top in a number of endeavors.
Chandler has achieved an “A” label for the last three years, one of only 10 districts in the state to do so. This grade is based on students’ AIMS scores, as well as the academic growth of their students from year to year. Chandler was one of the top 10 highest performing multi-school districts in 2013, one of five districts across the state to rank in the top 10 all three years.
Chandler offers challenging Advanced Placement courses and boasts a number of AP Scholars — students who have demonstrated college-level achievement in Advanced Placement courses and exams. In 2013, the district had 688 AP Scholars, an increase in 197 students from 2011. And this past year, 54 students received the prestigious AP National Scholar distinction reserved for those students who score at least a 4 on all AP exams and have scores of 4 or higher on eight or more exams. The knowledge these students gain through these advanced courses prepares them for greater academic success in college and beyond.
Chandler continues to increase their graduation rate with 92.3 percent of the Class of 2012 graduating. This is a 2.3 percent increase from five years ago, further proof that Chandler’s students are college and career ready.
Under the direction of Superintendent Camille Casteel, Chandler has opened more than 20 new schools since 1998 and has become the third-largest school district in the state with more than 40,000 students. Their growth is attributed to a booming population as well as increased open enrollment. Chandler is a district of choice that offers numerous personalized education options including several traditional schools, gifted education and programs such as International Baccalaureate and Core Knowledge.
Chandler’s ongoing success can be attributed to the extraordinary leadership of Superintendent Casteel and her staff as well as the district’s exemplary school board. They are truly a district dedicated to excellence. CUSD is one of our “A” districts that deserves the full support of the community and serves as a model of excellence; their successful elements should be replicated by districts statewide that are committed to moving toward excellence
• John Huppenthal is the Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, elected in 2010 and taking office in 2011. Huppenthal previously served in the Arizona State Senate and House of Representatives, as well as on the Chandler City Council.