"From the Wild West to the Nation's Best"
Our Gadsden Elementary School District Governing Board continues to set goals that provide direction and high expectations for our schools. They demand excellence in the academic and social arenas for our students and personnel. I will share some of the milestones that would not be possible without 100% Governing Board support.
The 2010-2011 school year brought positive program opportunities for our students and district personnel. Our main goal for the school year was to achieve performing status or above with AZ-LEARNS. We believe all our schools will again meet this goal. Once again, Ed Pastor met the Federal AYP criteria. However, many grade levels and individual classrooms in our schools also met the AYP criteria.
Thanks to the grants approved for Rio Colorado Elementary and Cesar Chavez Elementary Schools, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs are now available in all our schools. Afterschool tutoring and enrichment opportunities will be available for our students. Our partnership with Arizona State University continues to grow with Southwest Junior High and Ed Pastor Elementary School participating in a TAP, pay for performance program. The remaining six schools are now participating in the ASU program.
We had over ninety seventh and eighth grade students participate and qualify for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Programs. They attended summer college courses in several universities across the United States. These students qualified for over half a million dollars in scholarship funds from Johns Hopkins University. Twenty one fifth and sixth grade students also qualified for College Course work with Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins officials traveled to San Luis, Arizona to recognize our district as the top district in the country with the highest percentage of students participating and qualifying for their program. Their official news release was entitled "From Wild West to the Nation's Best."
Our Gadsden Elementary Marching Band continues to excel as they received a first place rating in the Phoenix Lights Parade, competing with high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools from the Phoenix area. They also placed first in the Lake Havasu Parade and in the Scottsdale Parada del Sol parade. Our Gadsden Mariachi and the Middle School Jazz Band continue to receive accolades where they perform.
In addition, San Luis Preschool continues to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). A video was created using San Luis Preschool as a model to use across the nation. The objective was to demonstrate that in preschool, teachers could incorporate a research- based curriculum into a play-based philosophy while taking into account factors such as English language learners and children with special needs.
The partnership with Arizona Western College is now entering into the sixth year bringing 7th and 8th grade students the opportunity to take advanced math courses while earning college credit. Again, some eighth grade students completed a college precalculus class this year.
We are also committed to on-going professional development for our teachers, staff and administrators. Subsequently, three days of training for new elementary teachers covering the areas of the district’s adopted programs in reading, math, and writing were offered prior to the beginning of the school year. Middle school and junior high teachers received training specific to their needs during this time. Teachers also have site-based professional development provided by their reading coach and/or their NCLB specialist. This site specific training allows schools to focus on the needs of their teachers and students. Our transition to instructing students based on their language fluency has resulted in improved English proficiency and higher AIMS scores.
This summer about 100 teachers and administrators from all of our schools worked in our 3rd Annual Data Summit at Southwest Junior High. They reviewed and analyzed student achievement data as they developed their formal school improvement plans. Our thanks go out to those employees who sacrificed part of their summer in this most important endeavor.
Our partnership with Arizona State University allowed more of our teachers to receive their Masters Degree in Education, while others obtained a Bachelor's degree. Again, we are fortunate to have excellent new and returning teachers in our district. Our teachers demonstrate their dedication to improve student achievement by taking advanced classes from the university, attending district provided workshops and in-service training, participating in before and after school tutoring, participating in site and district leadership teams, and most importantly by supporting one another on a daily basis. We look forward to a successful 2011-2012. Working together, our administrators, teachers, support personnel and community have proven that excellence in education is possible in San Luis, Arizona.