By Jennifer R. Carnes
Copper Area News
Just as students receive report cards tracking their progress throughout a school year, so too do schools receive grades.
The Arizona Department of Education assigns each school district and each school within the district a letter grade A-F based on the weighting of student performance on the AIMS tests and student academic growth from year to year, along with additional points for high English Language Learner reclassifications and significant reductions in dropout rates. This report card reflects the school’s and district’s annual academic profile.
Approximately 75 more schools across the state earned “A” letter grades when compared to last year. At the same time, the number of schools receiving a grade of B, C, or D fell. “The majority of Arizona schools are doing quite well,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal Monday at a press conference. Sixty-five percent of schools are receiving A or B labels. “Arizona’s schools are improving. In fact, we found over 20% schools improved a letter grade over last year,” he said.
Among the Copper Corridor school districts, one showed improvement over 2013, two maintained the same grades and two dropped a letter grade. District grades are an average of the school grades.
Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District brought 2013’s “D” up a letter grade to a “C.” Winkelman Elementary School improved its overall grade from a “D” last year to a “C” this year. Leonor Hambly Middle School (Hayden Junior High) dropped its grade from a “C” in 2013 to a “D” this year. Hayden High School maintained its “C.”
Ray Unified School District and Oracle Elementary School District maintained their letter grades from 2013. Both are sporting “C” averages.
In the Ray District, Ray Elementary School (K-6) dropped its “C” grade from 2013 to a “D” in 2014. Ray Junior-Senior High School last year was given two grades, one for the junior high and one for the senior high. Both schools were awarded a “C” and this year, though combined, maintained that grade.
In the Oracle School District, only one school is graded, Mountain Vista School (Oracle Ridge School is a kindergarten only school and is not tested; it received only a “Pass” grade). Mountain Vista kept its “C” grade from 2013.
Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District and Superior Unified School District both dropped a letter grade overall. Mammoth-San Manuel dropped from a “B” last year to a “C” this year, while Superior dropped from a “C” to a “D.”
Two schools within the M-SM School District contributed to the district’s grade drop, San Manuel Junior High and, surprisingly, Mammoth Elementary STEM School. SMJHS’s grade dipped to a “D” while the MESS grade slipped from a “B” to a “C.” First Avenue Elementary and San Manuel High School remained static at “C.”
Superior School District was the only school in the Copper Corridor to receive a “D” grade overall, which overshadows the fact it has the only high school in the area to receive a “B,” an improvement over last year’s “C.” John F. Kennedy Elementary School’s grade dropped from its 2013 “C” to a “D” while Superior Junior High saw no improvement over last year’s “D.”
The Copper Corridor’s only charter school, Sierra Oaks Community School (which announced in May that it would be closing its doors) also saw an improvement over the previous year. In 2013, the school’s overall grade was a “D.” This year’s grade was a “C.” Officials from Sierra Oaks cited a lack of enrollment and state funding as the cause for the school’s demise.
A complete list of AIMS test results by grade, school, district, charter and county can be found at: http://www.azed.gov/research-evaluation/aims-assessment-results/
A complete list of A-F Letter Grades can be found at: http://www.azed.gov/accountability/
Editor’s Note: This story has been amended to note that Winkelman Elementary School’s grade last year was a “D” improved to a “C” this year. Copper Area News apologizes for the error.