In new achievement profiles issued on Oct. 14 for schools including all reservation education facilities, Tuba City Unified School District met all standards set by the state for each of its seven schools. In addition, Tuba City Primary maintained the Exemplary listing it achieved last year.
In receiving the news of TC District’s continued state status of Performing for its schools, Superintendent Dr. Hector Tahu had this to say, “Success in this field we call education is based upon the choices that are made.
“Receiving an Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Achievement profile of Performing for the Eagles Nest Intermediate School, the TC Junior High and the TC High School is built upon that idea. Choices were made to identify the target, stay on that target and see it through.”
Dr. Tahu went on to give credit to those responsible for the rating.
“Thanks must go to the staff of our district, the parents of these wonderful children, the members of the community itself, and the direction of our Governing Board, [that] we have no school in the Tuba City District that has been identified as Underperforming according to the Arizona State standards and requirements for the 2003-04 year,” he said.
ADE defines purposeful school accountability as fair and accurate measurements of school performance that are designed to publicly identify and improve schools.
AZ Learns is the Arizona Department of Education’s (ADE) school accountability system. Standards developed through AZ Learns are to meet requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
TC District has taken aggressive action in, not only meeting these state standards, but, according to administrators, hopes to exceed current maintaining category in the coming year.
Under the No Child Left Behind, all schools are required to make adequate yearly progress toward ensuring that all students are able to demonstrate proficiency on the required state academic and performance standards.
ADE defines the levels of proficiency that all students must achieve in math, reading and writing on the AIMS (Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards) test.
Within the next 12 years, all students must attain this level of proficiency and each school is required to demonstrate that it is making yearly progress toward achieving that goal. At the high school level, dropout rates and graduation rates are also used to determine adequate yearly progress.
There are four achievement profile levels with classifications—Underperforming, Maintaining, Improving and Excelling. Both the AIMS and Stanford 9 results are used to determine the classification given to each school.
Progress of each school is measured overall and then broken out by grade level as well as for the following groups: economically disadvantaged students, students from major ethic-racial groups, students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency. No Child Left Behind requires 100 percent proficiency for all students and student groups by the year 2014, which includes all reservation area schools.
According to administrators, Tuba City District is aiming for the top category of ADE’s labeling, which is the Excelling category. The average time for this to occur has been three years because the rolling averages must be above 90 percent.
TC District administrators say they are confident that their schools’ state status will improve. They base this optimism on their current student population’s motivation and academic abilities as well as teaching staff’s high standards. They also cite the district’s creative learning environment, which is accompanied by total support from both the current administration and direction from the TCUSD Governing Board.
One of the advantages that the ADE has over other states in the No Child Left Behind labeling is that Arizona established is standards before federal law.
Unlike some other states, the Arizona standards are being quoted as the “Cadillac” of standards, according to Susan Carlson who is the Executive Director of the Arizona Business and Education Coalition. She said the state standards are “not just basic skills,” but much more.
Arizona educators, according to Carlson, have high expectations for students because they are the workforce of the future. TC District, according to administrators, has these same high standards for its students and will continue to challenge its students.
(Rosanda Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director of Tuba City Unified School District.)