Recently the Douglas Unified School District received our grades from the State of Arizona. These grades are based on AIMS scores and student growth. Our overall district grade is a “C.”
Although we are disappointed that we are a C which is average, we are starting to see much improvement in many areas. The good news is that there were no declines and we are slowly moving upward. All but four of our grade levels showed improvement in math and reading. Although we did get the letter grade of a C, the District was only five points away from a B!!
Beverly Enriquez, Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs previously explained in an article for the Dispatch some of the initiatives that directly address school improvement. Her department, with teacher input, has created new pacing/curriculum guides for all courses in the District. They have also created assessments that will be given on three-week cycles. These assessments will assist the teachers in knowing what the students have learned and where the students’ strengths and weaknesses are.
Some of the other initiatives that we have in place are mandatory intervention during the day, as well as after school tutoring. Our curriculum coaches are involved in assisting teachers with assessment as well as curriculum issues.
Many prominent educational researchers say that change and improvement takes minimally from three to five years to start to see any kind of change. We are just beginning our third year with this administration and the people we have in place in key positions in the District. To see these small gains is encouraging.
Much of the research about school improvement talks about how important parent and community involvement is to improving our schools. DUSD is participating in the Family Leadership Institute which is a program that focuses on providing families with the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to help their children succeed in school and in life. This is a program that was started by Lt. Colonel (retired) Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch. In addition, the DUSD School Board and the Douglas City Council will be holding a joint meeting to discuss issues that effects both of our organizations. There will be on-going communication between the District and the City of Douglas.
Noted researcher, Peter Senge, says that “as the community goes, so goes the schools.” Improvement will take a concerted effort on the part of all of our stakeholders. We absolutely believe our community will come together in this extremely important endeavor.
Although we still have much work to accomplish, I feel that we are heading in a positive direction. Our administrators, teachers, and classified staff are working together to bring the best to the students of DUSD. These people are dedicated and hard working and know the huge responsibility that we have to our future generation.
There is an old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I believe that Douglas can be that village!