AzMERIT scores, special education funding and other key pieces of legislation kick off the new school year – register for Aug. 15 webinar

It’s August in Arizona, which means three things for school board members: It’s humid, school is starting, and AzMERIT scores are almost here. While most of us were (hopefully) enjoying a little summer break, the Arizona Department of Education released preliminary statewide assessment scores to the Arizona Republic in July. Overall, students did not perform markedly better than they did in the 2016 administration, although in nearly all grade levels and subjects, the number of students scoring proficient or higher did increase. This will undoubtedly spark questions about why that is, which is where you come in.

School board members can provide a lot of important details—a little thing we at ASBA like to call “context.” You see, AzMERIT is only three years old, meaning that no student has ever taken it after receiving a single year, let alone multiple years, of instruction at a fully funded school. Progress was made in most areas, despite the hardships of teacher recruitment and retention and lack of dollars for technology. This is an important distinction, and one that is not shown on paper. Our students are capable of much more, if given the tools to succeed on an equitable basis.

Official AzMERIT scores are slated to be released in September, and (hopefully) soon after, the initial A-F Letter Grades for 2016-2017, using the new formula developed by the State Board of Education. SBE will meet in August to determine what scores will constitute an A, B, C, or D. With students (and their parents) returning to campus, these issues are sure to give rise to questions of the implications for our neighborhood schools.

Add to that the ongoing issues of Congressional healthcare legislation and its potential impact on schools, the status of federal IDEA funding for special education, and the implementation of several other key pieces of legislation from last session, and we’ve got lots to talk about! That’s why ASBA has put together a webinar on Back to School Advocacy on August 15th, at 11:30 a.m.

This webinar will provide in-depth details on these and more issues to watch this school year, as well as ASBA’s plans to further advance a pro-public-education agenda in 2018. Arizona’s neighborhood schools are a community asset, and remain the choice of nearly nine out of 10 parents in Arizona. Our elected officials need to honor that choice. Click here to register.

Nominate for the 2016 Barbara Robey Lifetime Achievement Award

Nominations for the Barbara Robey ASBA Lifetime Achievement Award are now open. Download the nomination form and award criteria by going to the ASBA website, and click on “Member Awards & Recognition.” This year the Annual Awards Dinner will take place on Wed., December 13, 2017. Deadline: 5 p.m. on Fri., August 25.

Annual Conference is around the corner

Present at the conference or participate in the Annual Awards Program
Share your district success by presenting at the Annual Conference, December 15-16, 2017. Proposals are now open and will close Fri., September 15, 2017. Submit now! ASBA is seeking proposals that enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of board members and superintendents, share promising strategies and best practices that can be replicated by other districts and demonstrate innovative ideas and solutions that are showing effectiveness. Contact Nikkie Whaley for any questions about presenting.

Don’t forget to nominate your school governing board, school programs and students for ASBA’s Annual Awards Program. Nominations open Tues., September 5 and due October 27, 2017. Honorees are recognized at the ASBA-ASA Annual Conference. All information can be found on the ASBA website by clicking on “Member Awards & Recognition.”

Meet Nikkie Whaley

We are pleased to announce Nikkie Whaley has joined the ASBA team as the board support and training specialist. Nikkie comes to ASBA with years of experience in board service and training, and is also a school board member in the Washington Elementary School District. She is well qualified with a Master of Public Administration degree and experienced in Human Resources with several non-profit entities. Please feel free to welcome her when you have an opportunity at any of our upcoming events this year.

Proposed ASBA bylaw changes request notice

Each year, your school governing board can determine if they wish to put forth any changes or amendments to the ASBA Bylaws. This is an option and not required by your board. If your board decides to put forth an amendment, please view the model agenda item as an example.

All proposed changes must be received no later than Friday, September 15, 2017. To view or download ASBA’s current bylaws, click here. Electronic voting on proposed changes will begin in this November. Please note this is separate from the Delegate Assembly process.

View the call for bylaw changes letter.

If you have any questions, please contact Kristi Sisk by e-mail.

How are you using the Equity Challenge?

We are kicking off the school year by asking board members across the state what component of the Equity Challenge are they using to better serve all students. Hear what Lawrence Robinson from Roosevelt ESD had to say.

The President’s Equity Challenge campaign was created and launched by the Arizona School Boards Association with the intent to encourage individual school board members and school districts to take a look at students on a deeper level—to find out who they really are and how we can best serve them by identifying equitable gaps to better serve EVERY child in every school districts across Arizona. Learn more about the challenge and download the guiding questions by clicking here. How is your district using the Equity Challenge?

ASBA Events

41st Annual Law Conference, September 6-8, 2017
Don’t miss the caucus meetings

View agenda details and register. All board members are encouraged to attend caucus meetings at the Law Conference. The Hispanic Native American Indian Caucus meeting will take place on Thurs., September 7 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. and the Black Caucus meeting will take place on Fri., September 8 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. Membership in the Black Caucus and the Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus is open to all school board members interested in doing more to meet and address the specific educational needs of students of color in their communities.

2017 Delegate Assembly, September 9, 2017

Get involved and register.

Why is the Delegate Assembly important?

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