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Survey: Schools earn a B for leadership, but an F for use of teachers’ time

| June 21, 2017
Survey: Schools earn a B for leadership, but an F for use of teachers’ time

Arizona educators said in a recent survey that school leaders earned a B for creating trusting, supportive environments and addressing teacher concerns, but gave them an F for class size, and use of teachers’ time to plan, collaborate and eliminate barriers to instruction.

School leadership and use of time were the two most important conditions that factor into educators’ decisions whether to continue teaching at their schools, according to results from the 2017 Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) survey. The survey had a 31 percent response rate.

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State’s education chief favors tax hike to boost teacher pay, help schools. Please see related story

| June 21, 2017
State’s education chief favors tax hike to boost teacher pay, help schools. Please see related story

Arizona’s top schools administrator, Diane Douglas, campaigned on repealing Common Core standards and took office in 2015.

She says her focus has been on developing Arizona standards for Arizona students, higher level math standards and effectively running the state education department.

The Star met with Douglas last week while she was in Tucson to participate in an education conference and host public forums. We asked her about some key education issues. Her responses were edited for clarity and length:

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Tuba City Public Library Kicks Off Summer Reading

| June 21, 2017
Tuba City Public Library Kicks Off Summer Reading

The Tuba City Public Library has kicked off its Summer Reading program, at 10:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.

The free program, open to all ages, features activities, crafts and reading challenges.

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Five Arizona schools selected for APS STEM School for the Future program

| June 21, 2017
Five Arizona schools selected for APS STEM School for the Future program

The Northern Arizona University Center for Science Teaching and Learning has announced its second cohort of schools for the APS STEM School for the Future program, a professional development program that provides hands-on learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, to Arizona educators and school administrators.

Participating schools are Cottonwood Middle School in Cottonwood, AZ; Gowan Science Academy in Yuma, AZ; Thompson Ranch Elementary School in El Mirage, AZ; Sierra Verde STEM Academy in Glendale, AZ; and The STAR School in Flagstaff, AZ.

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Arizona students looked to make some history at National History Day

| June 21, 2017
Arizona students looked to make some history at National History Day

(Group includes Flagstaff seventh-graders Joy Kim and Ella Downard)

It took months of research, but Flagstaff seventh-graders Joy Kim and Ella Downard were finally able to produce a 10-minute documentary on Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl whose courage and determination to get an education won her the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17. 

“Our bibliography had over 4,000 words and about 80 citations,” Joy said as the presented their project. “It is just a really great accomplishment to just be here right now because we did not think we would get this far.”

“Here” was the National History Day competition last week at the University of Maryland, where the Northland Preparatory Academy students joined more than 3,000 other middle and high school students competing in a range of categories.

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Coconino Voices: Education is top cause for local business leaders’ personal involvement. See more education stories here

| June 21, 2017
Coconino Voices: Education is top cause for local business leaders’ personal involvement. See more education stories here

A recent survey of Arizona Business Leaders cites K-12 education as the No. 1 issue that business leaders feel is worth their personal involvement, followed closely by efforts to make healthcare affordable and supporting pathways to legal status and work permits.

 The study sponsored by Alliance Bank of Arizona and conducted by WestGroup surveyed nearly 500 business leaders across the state about Arizona’s business climate. Where our local business leaders are most interested in investing their personal time was just one topic, but it proved insightful. With education toping that list, business leaders cited that teacher pay, STEM, and college and career readiness where among the top improvements needed as it relates to K-12 education.

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Kaitlin Honahni named Student of the Year at Nizhoni Accelerated

| June 21, 2017
Kaitlin Honahni named Student of the Year at Nizhoni Accelerated

Katilin Honahni, 20, was named “Student of the Year” by Nizhoni Accelerated Academy (NAA) staff May 20 during the Tuba City Warrior graduation. NAA is the alternative high school for the Tuba City District.

Honahni spoke to nearly 5,000 people during the graduation ceremony, citing extreme support, understanding and attention “to doing the absolute best that one can” from NAA to help her realize her upcoming dream to continue to college to become a preschool teacher in the early childhood education field.

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Letter: Public library, Kaibab Forest offer outdoor program for Williams youth. See more education stories here

| June 21, 2017
Letter: Public library, Kaibab Forest offer outdoor program for Williams youth. See more education stories here

The Williams Public Library is partnering with the Kaibab National Forest to present a series of programs to kids more than six years old to introduce them to Williams and its surrounding area. Forest Service intern Griffin Broehm will host the programs Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers beginning July 29. This way children attending the summer rec program will have a chance to attend the talks.

The programs will cover different fields put to use by the Forest Service. The first will cover local archaeology, and show the kids some of the cool outdoor spots in and around Williams. The two other talks will discuss wildlife and local botany.

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Grand Canyon High students attend Girls State at University of Arizona. See more education stories here

| June 21, 2017
Grand Canyon High students attend Girls State at University of Arizona. See more education stories here

Nearly 300 high school girls from across Arizona converged on the University of Arizona campus for the 70th session of The American Legion Auxiliary program Arizona Girls State June 4-10.
Grand Canyon participants included Monica Dimas-Gonzalez, Savannah Perkins, Jessica Richardson and Melisha Jeter-Nanacasia.

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Page schools to end late start on Wednesdays

| June 21, 2017
Page schools to end late start on Wednesdays

The Page Unified School District will be doing away with its usual late start Wednesday schedule next school year. Instead, the district will experiment with an early release time on Fridays.
The change comes after the PUSD governing board approved a formal request from a group of teachers and staff. Many of the teachers pushed for the move because they believe it will help improve attendance among students. The idea, they said, is students and families often like to leave for vacations or trips on Fridays. Giving them an earlier window could incentivize parents to keep students in class all day, rather than taking the whole Friday off.

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