Chandler schools earn prestigious A+ award - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler schools earn prestigious A+ award

May 10th, 2018 development
Chandler schools earn prestigious A+ award

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor


Several Chandler schools are celebrating after earning the equivalent of a gold star for their academics, parental involvement, culture and other strengths.

Basha High, Carlson Elementary and Hancock elementary schools in the Chandler Unified School District recently found out they received the prestigious A+ School of Excellence award.

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

The Arizona Educational Foundation announced the 41 public schools in the state that received the distinction a few weeks ago.

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 is thrilled about the honor for his school.

“It’s so exciting. It was a great undertaking,” he 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 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.

“This is the culmination of a yearlong work on the application as we reflected on our practice and purpose here at Carlson,” he said, adding:

“It truly reflects the effort and dedication that was put into identifying those characteristics of Carlson that make it stand out as an A+ School. Perhaps the greatest reflection is that is represents what others, the A+ judges, see in your school and while we know we perform to high standards and reflect what is best about our profession, it is even more rewarding when those from outside, looking in, see the same. It is affirming to the very nature of what we do as educators.”

He said the designation “speaks to the common purpose of care and compassion for students and community that Carlson brings every day to its campus.”

“I know too that our parent community is equally thrilled as they are ardent supporters of our mission here at Carlson,” Schlueter said. “The best part of being an A+ School is that it is a reflection of the effort from all stakeholders who are involved throughout the process – staff, students, parents, and community members.”

Hancock Principal Connie Hull also is happy about the honor and thankful for support from staff members and others.

“We are blessed to work in the best school district in the nation and have exceptionally supportive students, staff, parents, and grandparents,” she said. “The judges were impressed by the culture of respect and pride that is evident at Hancock.

Schools that receive the A+ label receive $500 and a banner labeling them as an A+ School of Excellence winner. Staff members and their family members are eligible to get partial scholarships from Argosy University Phoenix.


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