LAUNCH Flagstaff update for Oct. 26

| November 1, 2017

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 ADVANCING WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION
September and October have been busy months for the partners of LAUNCH Flagstaff, so  we have a double dose of information about the progress we are making to create a culture of world-class education for every child in our community, from cradle through career.
3 STEPS FORWARD – double time
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PRESENTS TO LAUNCHOn October 17th the LAUNCH Flagstaff Kindergarten Readiness Community Action Network (CAN) met with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to learn more about their Kindergarten Developmental Inventory (KDI) as part of our research into finding the most appropriate tool for Flagstaff educators to measure developmentally appropriate skills necessary for success in Kindergarten.
The ADE is seeking to develop agreements with local education agencies to subscribe and use this tool in collaboration for making improvements.

The CAN has agreed to reconvene on October 30th to discuss this offer and to coordinate our community-wide efforts in this application process.

LAUNCH COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEETSThe first LAUNCH Flagstaff Community Leadership Council convened on September 13, 2017.   Leaders learned a little more about each other and what might be possible when we are successful in creating a world-class educational experience for every child in Flagstaff, from cradle through career.  The Council created a word cloud with that question. Overwhelmingly leaders said that greater prosperity for Flagstaff would be the most obvious indicator of our success.

Lattie Coor, Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona and President-Emeritus of Arizona State University, showed us the importance of the alignment of LAUNCH’s five goals with the eight goals of the Arizona Education Progress Meter as well as the challenges we are up against at the state level,

FLAGSTAFF’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRE-K – 12 EDUCATIONNearly one hundred Flagstaff community members engaged in thoughtful discussion about funding preK – 12 education in Arizona for four hours on October 1, 2017 at the Coconino Community College Lone Tree Campus.   Students, educators, parents, government officials, business leaders, and other concerned citizens crafted a five-page report with their recommendations for improving the funding of our educational system.

The report describes the desired educational system to be one that is nimble and “helps to build a vibrant community….by creating quality education that is flexible and meets [student’s] unique needs, while ensuring that it serves the needs of ALL students”.

The report goes on to state the recommendation to “raise teacher pay to a level that makes it an attractive and respected profession, and which addresses stress, class sizes, and keeps young teachers in the classroom”.

The report calls on businesses and community members to become directly engaged “in the classroom, through student internships, apprenticeships and new sponsorships” in support of education.

STUDENT RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT THEIR EDUCATIONTwenty-One student leaders from all seven Flagstaff area high schools met on September 26, 2017 to discuss their ideas for what a world-class education system could look like.  They drafted a three page report with their recommendations around goals and and actions for community leaders, policy makers and citizens to take for creating this educational system.

Our student leaders believe that a world-class system of education helps students find their passion and prepares them for achieving life-time success and remove the “stigma” of not attending a four-year college.  “Vocational courses often generate passion among students and we need to find innovative ways to bring the same level of passion to academic courses”, the report states.

Their report is clear about standardized tests.  “It needs to be understood that standardized tests are often counterproductive to educating students.  Often, students do not take the standardized tests seriously since they have no effect on their own performance evaluation”, the report states.  Students recommend that “money spent on standardized testing should go into the classroom”, specifically toward teacher salaries.  “It is unacceptable to be $14,000 below the national average for teacher wages”, student leaders wrote in their report.

EDUCATION FILMS INFORM FLAGSTAFFAs a lead up to the Flagstaff Community Town Hall event, LAUNCH Flagstaff hosted three educational films in September. Approximately 200 people showed up at the McGee Auditorium to watch the movies and listen to panels of experts following each film.The films Beyond Measure, Paper Tigers, and Rise Above the Mark were selected because they set a good framework to discuss some of the major challenges facing education in Arizona.

Themes for the post-film panel discussions included the economic impact of a robust educational system, challenges in education policy and funding, potential systems for community-wide support of student wellbeing, and the importance of Flagstaff’s high quality teachers.

Community leaders who spoke following the films included Daniel Kain, Laura Nicol, John Stigmon, Mary K. Walton, Michael Vogler, Virginia Watahomigie, Andrea Meronuck, Geoff Esposito, Sarah Ells, and Renee Fauset.

LOOKING FORWARD
Help us spread the word.  The LAUNCH Flagstaff Post-Secondary CAN is working to increase the number of high-school seniors who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with individualized assistance during this local workshop.  We also need volunteers.  Click here to learn more. 
UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS

  • October 30, 2017 – 4:00 pm: Kindergarten Readiness CAN @ FRC
  • November 4, 2017 – 9am – 2pm Flagstaff FAFSA @ CCC 4th St
  • November 7, 2017 – 3:30 pm Kindergarten Readiness CAN @ FRC
  • November 9, 2017 – 11:00 am Post-Secondary CAN @ CCC Lone Tree
  • November 21, 2017 – 4:30 pm LAUNCH 101
Click here to see the complete event calendar
Thank you for your commitment to creating a system of world-class education for every child in Flagstaff, from cradle through career.

Warmly,

Paul Kulpinski
Partnership Director, LAUNCH Flagstaff


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