Thumbs Up

“Superintendents Betsy Hargrove, Curtis Finch, and Howard Carlson are here today. Please join me in congratulating these school leaders.”

On Jan. 13, Avondale Elementary School District sent the following Tweet:

“We continue to put our students first. Today, Gov. Doug Ducey acknowledged Avondale ESD’s achievements in academic growth in his State of the State address. AESD had triple the average growth than other Arizona schools. Your district of choice!”

AESD was referring to the following, during Ducey’s State of the State speech:

“...we have a proven model to scale success in our most struggling schools.

“Avondale Elementary School District serves more than 5,000 West Valley students. Nearly 70 percent of them residing in low-income areas.

“In 2015, Superintendent Betsy Hargrove didn’t like what she saw on the report card.

“So she rolled up her sleeves to turn things around.

“And did she deliver. By 2018, through a targeted strategy, the district had double-digit growth in math and English -- triple the average growth rate of other Arizona schools. Same deal in Deer Valley and Wickenburg.

“Superintendents Betsy Hargrove, Curtis Finch, and Howard Carlson are here today. Please join me in congratulating these school leaders.”

He repeated those words two days later, at a West Valley version of his “State of the State,” held at Phoenix Raceway —conveniently enough, in Avondale.

While Ducey was looking at grades from 2015 to 2018, achievements in AESD have continued to be strong - for the most part.

Four of AESD’s eight state-graded schools –Wildflower Accelerated Academy, Desert Thunder, Centerra Mirage STEM Academy and Copper Trails — earned “A” grades in the state report cards issued in November.

Three of those schools also had “A” grades in 2018; Copper Trails moved up from a “B” to an “A.”

Michael Anderson Elementary School repeated its “B” grade (up from a “C” in 2017).

Desert Star and Avondale Middle School both had “C” grades, as they did in 2018. However, Avondale Middle School had a “B” grade in 2017. Desert Star also had a “C” that year.

The one AESD school to slip this year was Eliseo C. Felix School, which, after “C” grades in 2017 and 2018, fell to a “D” in November.

At press time, Hargrove had not returned a call for comment.