The state’s report cards for Arizona schools were released Monday by the Department of Education and those in the Maricopa Unified School District were split between holding steady and improving over last year’s scores.
Pima Butte Elementary was the top school in MUSD, according to the state, notching a label of highly performing, the second highest category on the six-level scale. Pima Butte was one of two MUSD schools to improve their labels from the 2005-06 school year, moving up one category from the performing plus label it had received previously. Maricopa Elementary pulled out of the underperforming category to score at performing for 2006-07.
Maricopa Wells Middle School and Maricopa High School, labeled performing and performing plus respectively, maintained their state grades from the 2005-06 school year. Santa Rosa Elementary was the only elementary school to hold steady, matching their performing plus label from 2005-06 in 2006-07.
Santa Cruz Elementary, which is now housed on its new campus in Tortosa, but completed last year on the high school campus, scored as performing plus in its first year of existence.
Principals across the district, as well as Superintendent John Flores were pleased with the results. However, plans continued to be made to ensure gains would continue to push school grades higher.
At Santa Rosa Elementary, at the direction of Principal Rick Abel, a new PUSH initiative – Providing U With Special Help – comes into play this year to help push the school toward an “excelling” rating. Public Relations Director Tom Beckett said the PUSH program will provide 30-minute intervention periods for assisting students with math, reading and writing skills.
Statewide, schools broke out from the middle of the pack compared to the 2005-06 school year scores. A nearly four percent jump was seen in the top “excelling” category, pushing the total of schools in Arizona receiving the state’s top grade to just more than 20 percent. However, a half percent increase was seen this year in schools in the failing category, as well as a 1.3 percent increase in underperforming schools.
The AZ Learns profiles are determined by the state using a complex formula that measures student achievement, AIMS scores, student growth during the past three years, a school’s Adequate Yearly Progress – measured under the federal guidelines of the No Child Left Behind Act – as well as attendance rates and the school’s previous labels.
In districts surrounding Maricopa, the Kyrene Unified School District has 22 of its 25 elementary and middle schools meet the excelling standard, while in Casa Grande Unified, scores were similar to that of MUSD, with no schools in either the excelling category or below performing. Vah-Ki Middle School, a charter school on the Gila River Indian Community, is one of 17 schools ranked as failing by the state.