In January, Expect More Arizona launched the Expect More Excellence Tour to spotlight what Arizonans are doing today to make progress toward world-class education and celebrate the kind of excellence we expect and believe must be available to all students.
We asked people throughout the state to submit their examples of excellence on our website. We had nearly 200 submissions and invited people to view, vote and share the excellence. We split the state up into 4 geographic areas with the goal of choosing three spotlights in each area. Yesterday, we held an event in Yuma to celebrate the submissions we received from Yuma, La Paz and Mohave counties. A local selection committee reviewed the submissions to identify the top three that most align with Expect More Arizona’s building blocks for a world-class education. We presented the three identified by the committee with Excellence Tour Spotlight Awards. These are the first 3 of the 12 Spotlight Awards we will be presenting throughout the state.
The video below provides a brief overview of each of the winners. You can read more about them below, and you can click their names to view their original submissions.
Ready Now Yuma is an initiative of Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD) and Helios Education Foundation to ensure every student graduates prepared to succeed in college and career. Their goal is to have every YUHSD student challenged, supported and prepared by a rigorous, high expectations program of study, which are aligned with national and international academic standards, within a college-going environment. Ready Now Yuma is unique because it makes a rigorous program of study available to every student, regardless of past academic performance and post-high school aspirations. It also focuses on helping students master the key content knowledge and skills they need to succeed in beyond high school and in today’s global economy.
(Pictured below from left to right: Linda Thompson, Helios Education Foundation; Pearl Chang Esau, Expect More Arizona; Antonia Badone, Yuma Union High School District; Leticia de la Vara, Expect More Arizona.)
I’m Going to College is a collaboration between Arizona Western College and Northern Arizona University Yuma Branch Campus. This innovative program brings 5th graders from across Yuma and La Paz Counties to college for a day. “I’m Going to College” helps light the fire of desire for learning, achievement and excellence and demonstrates to all students that a college education is possible.
(Pictured below from left to right: Tara Cobourn, Northern Arizona University, Yuma Branch Campus; Pearl Chang Esau, Expect More Arizona; Lori Stofft, AWC; Mandy Heil, AWC; Leticia de la Vara, Expect More Arizona.)
Dateland Elementary is located 70 miles from Yuma and is the poorest school district in Yuma County. On average, 60% of their students do not speak English when they start kindergarten. None of the homes in the area have access to the Internet and many do not have television. However, that doesn’t stop them from expecting more and striving for a world-class education for all of their students. In fact, after six years of being a performing plus school, today they are proud to have been awarded an “A” letter grade by the Arizona Department of Education.
(Pictured below from left to right: Leticia de la Vara, Expect More Arizona; Bob Sloncen, Dateland Elementary ; Pearl Chang Esau, Expect More Arizona.)
Congratulations to our Spotlight Award winners. These three programs truly exemplify world-class education in the community. Click on their names above to view their submissions, and visit the Expect More Excellence Tour to view other submissions from across the state.
As a statewide education advocacy organization, Expect More Arizona couldn’t do our work without the support and partnership of individuals and organizations around the state. We want to acknowledge some individuals from the Yuma area who worked to guide and advise the Expect More Excellence Tour:
- Antonia Badone, Yuma Union High School District
- Andrea Bereznak from APS
- Madeline Coil, United Way of Yuma County
- Joe (Jose) de la Vara – Yuma County Public Defenders Office
- Dr. Linda Elliott-Nelson – Arizona Western College
- Judy Gresser – Yuma Community Foundation
- Frank Nuñez – Yuma Union High School District
- Pat Romant – Yuma Private Industry Council
- Ken Rosevear – Yuma County Chamber of Commerce
- Tom Tyree – Yuma County School Superintendent
We would also like to give a special recognition to our Excellence Tour Spotlight Selection Committee:
- Dr. Eric Aurand, ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu
- Richard J. Tozer – Arizona Western College
- Madeline Coil – United Way of Yuma County
And a special thank you goes to the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce for hosting us at this wonderful event. Yuma set the bar high, and we are looking forward to more events across the state in the coming month where we will announce the remaining Spotlight Award winners and celebrate world-class education in Arizona. Stay tuned!
Read more April newsletter Articles:
- Expect More Excellence Tour Spotlight Winners Announced in Yuma & Tucson
- [INFOGRAPHIC]: Communities Working Together for Education
- Arizona a National Leader in Career and Technical Education
- Now is the Time to Invest in Arizona Schools
- Ensuring Arizona Students are Prepared to Succeed in College, Career and Life