HSE - Washington Post A (subscribe)

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Williams News | Williams, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news December 17, 2014

8/20/2013 11:46:00 AM
Ash Fork school district ranked one of top 10 districts in state
District moves from school improvement category to 'A' ranking over course of three years

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

Ash Fork Joint Unified School District is one of the top 10 performing school districts in the state based on its Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) test scores, according to an Arizona Department of Education (ADE) ranking.

Ash Fork tied for ninth place, along with Glendale Union High School District and Tanque Verde Unified District.

Highlights from Ash Fork's AIMS results include:

• Third graders: 100 percent passed the math portion, and all but one student passed the reading portion.

• Sixth graders: 50 percent exceeded on the math portion, and all but one student passed the reading portion.

• Eighth graders: three students exceeded in all AIMS subject areas, all but one student passed the reading portion, and 89 percent passed the science portion.

• Sophomores: 81 percent passed the reading portion of the test, 71 percent passed the writing portion, and 67 percent passed the math portion, which is double the percentage from last year.

"We know how hard we've been working and it's just kind of nice to see some fruits of our labors and get recognition," said Ash Fork Superintendent Seth Staples. "And AIMS is important. But it really started to be kind of just a byproduct of what we were really trying to achieve for our students, which is really to just be their best and to have long term goals and to establish those goals."

One hundred percent of Ash Fork students are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Ash Fork is also a school wide Title I district, which means that it receives money from the state "to upgrade the entire educational program," since at least 40 percent of the students are from low-income families, according to the ADE.

In 2010, Staples said the state labeled Ash Fork in the school improvement category, "which means that the state was kind of watching us and saying that we need to start getting our act together or they're going to move in and start working on the school."

In 2011 the state gave the district a C rating, in 2012 the school earned a B rating, and this year Ash Fork is an A district.

Staples credits the district's success to several factors. First, Ash Fork has started doing annual needs assessment evaluations.

"We look at our data and we look at what's the problem, what's going wrong, what are we doing right, what is working," Staples said.

The district has also focused more on professional development to emphasize student engagement.

"We sent many of our teachers to successful school districts in the state for them to evaluate other teachers in their field and then to come back and discuss what made them great and how can we use that in our classrooms," Staples said.

Another reason for Ash Fork's improvement is the district's emphasis on career and technical education. Two years ago the district purchased a bus to take high school students to Yavapai College in Prescott, where they can take courses such as nursing, pre-engineering and automotive classes.

"We found that once students had a long-term goal, their behaviors changed, their motivation changed in the classroom, and it really just became different people altogether once they had that long-term goal to go after," Staples said.

The district also started a program called Capturing Kids Hearts, which ensures students are happy about coming to school through their relationships with others.

"It really just kind of breaks down looking at yourself as a person and how we interact with other people, and it's really just been a huge part of our success," Staples said.

Finally, the district upgraded its technology through federal and state grants to better prepare students for college or careers. All classrooms from kindergarten through high school now have smart boards, document cameras and six computers per classroom. All kindergarten through eighth grade students this year will have iPads, and all high school students will soon have laptops.

Staples emphasized that the dedication of district staff has been the most important factor in student success.

"Programs and technology are great, but it is hard working people that are tenacious about student achievement that make schools great, and we have great hard working people here at our schools in Ash Fork," Staples said.

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Editorial: Commenting to move to Facebook
New maintenance coordinator at Williams Airport
Williams School Board Candidates face off in candidate forum
Hunters shoot prairie dogs at Williams Elementary-Middle School
Composer Ted Nichols, known for his Scooby Doo and Flintstones scores, continues his varied musical career from his home in Williams

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013
Article comment by: Stop The Negativity

If people in this town knew what they were talking about, we might have community support for our schools. Please stop talking about things you don't understand. Ash fork gets a BOATLOAD more $$ per student because of their small school status. Why do you think they keep their student population below 100? Yeah, their facilities are better, WUSDs would be as well if they had that kind of cash. Quit being negative and just support our schools for once, they need it. Things are getting better, but they will never get where we want them to be without some support from the community.

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article comment by: Justa Thought

Here's hoping that WUSD someday figures out a way to be similarly ranked. Maybe the Board will also realize someday that putting prima donna administrators in place is not necessarily the way.

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: Stop the Madness

And the Williams School District has none of this why? Ash Fork basically has a brand new school and great teachers, Williams doesn't even have locker rooms that work properly nor a safe parking lot, and it's all due to "lack of funds". Ash Fork isn't exactly rich...

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public.Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Williams, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
Grand Canyon Rail

© Copyright 2014 Western News&Info, Inc.® Williams-Grand Canyon News is the information source for Williams, Arizona and surrounding communities. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. Williams News Online is a service of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, williamsnews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Williams News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2014 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved