Western Sky Middle School and Desert Edge High School in Goodyear were among 44 schools across the state receiving the Arizona Educational Foundation’s A+ School of Excellence Award this week.
Western Sky is one of 16 elementary and middles schools operated by Litchfield Elementary School District in Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear and Litchfield Park. The district’s Dreaming Summit Elementary School in Litchfield Park also received the award.
Desert Edge is one of five high schools and two alternative programs operated by Agua Fria Union High School District to serve students in Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Waddell and parts of Glendale.
Since 1983, AEF has been championing public schools through the awards program since, the organization stated in a press release. The A+ Award is a way to identify, celebrate and recognize educational excellence in pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade schools throughout Arizona.
In addition to showcasing outstanding public schools, the A+ program provides school teams with an extensive comprehensive framework that serves as a basis for school self-assessment and planning.
“The A+ School of Excellence Award shines a spotlight on the positive stories and successes occurring in public schools,” AEF Executive Director Kim Graham said in a prepared statement. “The application and evaluation process for this program is comprehensive and rigorous. We applaud these schools for exceeding expectations to meet their students’ needs and for achieving overall success despite the many challenges that face the education community statewide.”
Applicant schools are evaluated in the areas of student focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data.
Evaluation of schools is based on a written application submitted by the school and a site visit conducted by a team of trained judges. In the application, each school provides demographic information, a description of current programs and practices, documentation of parent and community involvement, and a profile of the school’s principal and the school community’s commitment to excellence, equity, service and sustained high achievement, the release stated.
Preparation of each school’s application involves collaboration among all stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members.
Schools receive $500 and a banner designating them as an A+ School of Excellence winner. The award is valid for four years. Recognition through the A+ School of Excellence program helps increase confidence in Arizona’s public schools and creates greater parent and community support, the release stated.
For more information about the foundation and its programs, visit azedfoundation.org.