Three Chandler schools start off on A+ footing SanTan Sun News

Three Chandler schools start off on A+ footing

July 20th, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
Three Chandler schools start off on A+ footing
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By Santan sun news staff

Chandler Unified begins the school year July 23 with three new A+ schools.

Basha High, Carlson Elementary and Hancock elementary schools all received the A+ rating late last spring after earning the equivalent of a gold star for their academics, parental involvement, culture and other strengths.

In the Kyrene School District, Kyrene de la Paloma Elementary School in Chandler, as well as five other district schools were designated A+.

They were among a total of 41 schools statewide that received the coveted rating from the Arizona Educational Foundation.

Applicant schools are reviewed on how they perform as far as active teaching and learning; student focus and support; assessment data, school culture, curriculum, leadership and community and parent involvement.

Schools are evaluated on a lengthy written application and a stringent site visit by a team of judges.

“The A+ School of Excellence program celebrates outstanding schools throughout Arizona, calling attention to the positive stories and successes occurring in public schools,” Arizona Educational Foundation executive director Bobbie O’Boyle said.

“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,” she added.

Basha High School Principal David Loutzenheiser was thrilled about the honor when he heard the news last school year.

“It’s so exciting. It was a great undertaking,” Loutzenheiser said. “The judges were so complimentary about all the different things. I think for me it’s more the validation for my staff and my students that the things that we’re doing here are positive and go above and beyond what most schools do.

“I’ve got a staff that works really hard to build a community. This was just validation for people.”

He said Basha emphasizes benevolence, honor and scholarship on campus.

The benevolence aspect is “what we do on campus, with the focus of giving back to our community,” Loutzenheiser explained.

Students do a four-year research project in which they write a research paper and help the community in various ways including supporting organizations tied to stress dogs and Alzheimer’s disease.

The honor and scholarship components of Basha’s goals related to “the pride that we have on our campus” and the academic rigor respectively, Loutzenheiser said.

Basha has an Accelerated Middle School for sixth- through eighth-graders who take challenging high school courses.

Leo Schlueter, principal at Carlson Elementary School, also expressed enthusiasm about the award his school received.

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