Nov 112011

By Linda Kor–

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) unveiled its new A-F grading system for schools last month, a system that replaces the old rating system that labeled schools as failing, underperforming, performing, performing plus, highly performing or excelling. That system will become obsolete in 2013-14. The new rating system, called the A-F Accountability Profile, awards a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F to each school. F schools are those that rank as a D school for three consecutive years, so there are no F schools for this year.

Information on the Navajo County public school districts noted on the ADE website indicate that most are meeting the standard, with some doing above average in serving their students.

The schools in our region faired similar to those throughout the rest of the county, with the Holbrook School District showing that Hulet Elementary School received a B grade, while Holbrook High School, Holbrook Junior High School and Indian Wells Elementary School were each given a C grade.

In the Winslow School District, results show that Washington Elementary School received a B, while Jefferson Elementary School, Winslow High School and Winslow Junior High School were each given a C grade.

In the Snowflake School District, the results show Highland Primary School with a B, and Snowflake High School, Snowflake Junior High School, Snowflake Intermediate School and Taylor Elementary School each receiving a C grade.

Information on the Joseph City School District only showed that the elementary school received a B grade, while the junior/senior high school did not receive a grade, although under the old system the school was ranked as “excelling.” The reason for the exclusion has nothing to do with performance of the school, but rather with the number of students who attend it. Under the new system of accountability K-2 schools, alternative schools and small schools such as Joseph City Junior/Senior High School do not have enough students to compete with other schools on the grading system, a problem that ADE officials say will be remedied by 2012.

Of the 45 public schools within the county, 36 were listed on the ADE website with grades. Of the schools that were graded, 19 received a C and nine received a B. Only one school, Linden Elementary School, received an A. Seven schools were given a D grade, including Kayenta Middle School, Monument Valley High School, Piñon High School, Piñon Middle School, Alchesay High School, Canyon Day Junior High and Seven Mile School.

In addition to schools being graded, the ADE is also grading school districts to allow district administrators and school boards to be held accountable for their roles in improving the education of the students within their district. According to the ADE, the grades for districts were determined by comparing districts’ aggregate education results, whereby demographic factors are considered, and overall academic growth and achievement are equally weighted.

The Holbrook School District received a C, while the Joseph City, Snowflake/Taylor and Winslow school districts received Bs.