Thank you for your dedication

Tim-Ogle-10The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect, appreciate and celebrate the magnificent things we as an association have been able to accomplish. And none of it, could have been possible, without the countless hours you have dedicated as a school board member and the time you’ve sacrificed away from your jobs and families. We sincerely appreciate it.

It’s also a good time to look forward and continue to innovate and redefine our services to the K-12 community. As an association, we’ve made important strides that will enable us to continue improving not only next year, but years to come.
We look forward to working together toward an environment of excellence and high achievement for all students. So, as we ring in the new year, I’d like to thank all of you for your extraordinary examples as public school advocates. Your efforts prove that the spirit of the season exists for more than just a day.

I am confident that when we return in 2017, we will feel refreshed and excited to continue this journey that we share to provide equitable opportunities for all Arizona students to succeed, one day at a time.

Read our ASBA Annual Highlights for 2016 which outlines this year’s highpoints and department updates.

Is a good teacher hard to keep in Arizona?

From the Data Desk of Dr. Anabel Aportela
Many of the conversations I participate in these days either begin or come around to the topic of teachers. Do we have enough of them? (The consensus is “no.”) Are the shortages localized or statewide? Are the shortages getting worse or are things improving? How much do we need to raise teacher salaries to be competitive with other states? Other professions? Is compensation the only challenge to getting a quality teacher in front of every Arizona student?

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions right now. A big part of the challenge is the general lack of good teacher data. While the situation is improving, thanks to concerted efforts from a few organizations; we, as a state, have not been collecting and reporting quality, longitudinal data on teachers in a way that allows us to answer these questions. The good news is that there’s now widespread recognition that we need this information and a focus on making it happen.

And yet, the policy questions remain a matter of pressing concern and we must do the best with what we have. I have been and will continue to gather any available data on teachers, tie these data sets to each other and to other educational information we have, to inform the policy conversations. The data below shows some of what I have found.

A quarter of the nearly 50,000 school district teachers1 in Arizona have fewer than five years of experience and less than one-third have 15 or more years of experience2

  • 1. Charter schools do not report employee data to ADE.
  • 2. Due to how data are reported by ADE, we do not know how many teachers are at 20 or 25 or 30 years.

Absent a high rate of student growth, 25 percent of new teachers, those with fewer than five years of experience, suggests high teacher turnover across the state. The practical costs to districts of such turnover can be significant (e.g., training and professional development) as is the potential instructional cost to students being taught by rookie teachers still honing their craft.

The percent of new teachers is greater in urban and suburban elementary school districts.

Next to unified school districts, elementary districts that are part of a high school district have the largest number of teachers (12,622) and almost one-third of them are new. These districts are primarily urban (e.g., those feeding into Phoenix Union High School District) or suburban, rapidly growing areas (e.g., those feeding into Agua Fria Union High School District or Tolleson Union High School District). Elementary districts not in a high school district, with 452 teachers, are primarily small, rural school districts. These districts have seen enrollment declines in recent years, which may help to explain their relatively low percentage of new teachers.

Union high school districts, serving only grades 9-12, have a relatively low percent of new teachers, though that varies within this group of districts. West valley high school districts in Maricopa County have much higher rates of new teachers, consistent with the growth of student enrollment in that part of the county.

As a first look at teacher turnover, these data tell me that we do have a statewide challenge in teacher turnover, and the challenge is greater in urban and suburban elementary districts. Many of these districts are growing rapidly, necessitating additional teachers, and it appears they are hiring recent graduates. As we look to address these challenges, capturing longitudinal data will tell us whether this situation is getting worse or improving over time.

Embrace new leadership strategies at Board Operations Leadership Training

Perfect for brand new board members

Build your knowledge and skills through informative and interactive learning sessions on essential governance and leadership topics. Benefits both newly elected and continuing members and focuses on the mechanics of effective boards. View agenda topics by clicking here on any of the below dates.

Pick from three locations

Regional Policy Workshops are coming this March For school administrators and board administrative professionals ONLY

ASBA Policy Services is excited about our new Regional Policy Workshops which will be conducted in March and October of 2017.

The target audience for these sessions will be school administrators and board administrative professionals only, and will focus on timely school policy topics. The locations will be convenient for you and cost will be minimal.  Registration will open by February 1, 2017 by clicking here.

Preliminary topics include:

  • Working with PolicyBridge
  • Managing a Policy Review Adoption Process
  • Legislative Update (March)
  • New Policy Advisories (October)
  • Complying with Prop. 206 (New Minimum Wage Law)
  • Best Policies and Practices for Open Meeting Law Compliance
  • Preview of ASBA’s New Employee Handbook Service
  • Disciplining Students – While Keeping Them in School
  • The Importance of Following Your Policy
  • Avoiding an OCR Complaint – and What to Do If You Get One

The workshop locations are being finalized now but here is a list of areas and dates: 

  • March 2 – West Valley (Phoenix Area)
  • March 3 – Prescott Area
  • March 30 – Yuma Area
  • March 31 – Tucson Area
  • October 5 – East Valley (Phoenix Area)
  • October 6 – Gila/Graham County Area
  • October 26 – Northeast Arizona (Apache/Navajo County Area)
  • October 27 – Northwest Arizona (Mohave County)

2017 Arizona Teacher of the Year says strong connections boost students’ learning
Long-term funding fix could be hottest K-12 conversation in 2017