Schools are rated by the Arizona Department of Education through an A-F Accountability System. From an ADE document explaining the system, “To hold schools accountable in a fair and equitable fashion, each school is equally evaluated both on how many of its students are passing AIMS each year and how much its students academically grow each year. Other factors such as dropout rate, graduation rate and English language learner reclassification rate are taken into consideration, when applicable.”
The Peoria Unified School District sent us a press release about a group of parents at Frontier Elementary School who decided that being three points shy of an “A” rating was not going to cut it. From a parent group communication on the Frontier website, “Performance impacts our property values, community stability and the future success of our children.”
The parents decided to do something about the school rating. Because the AIMS test results are the rating measurement, a typical reaction is more focus on AIMS test skills through kill-and-drill worksheets and teaching to the test. Instead, the parents are taking a much more holistic, long-term view by encouraging their children to read more, watch less television, study more, exercise more, choose healthier foods, do a few extra math problems, read the newspaper, etc. They call it the Just 3 More! campaign
They made bingo cards with activities students can do to win prizes. The result is that parents get their children to focus on overall better study habits and lifestyle choices. There is plenty of research showing parent involvement in students’ education has positive results, so the Just 3 More! campaign will likely succeed.
The program continues through April, when the AIMS test is given, but it will likely pay off for a lot longer.