Momentum continues to build around the Arizona Education Progress Meter as a nonpartisan framework for education in our state. Below are a few examples of how local governments, school districts and community organizations are using the Progress Meter to advance Arizona’s long-term education goals at the local level.
We know that it will take local communities leading the way to make significant progress on the Progress Meter indicators and to help the state reach its 60% attainment goal by 2030. Therefore, we’re engaging local governments in adopting the state’s attainment goal and the Progress Meter as their tool for measuring local impact on education. To date, 35 local governments have already signed on.
Cradle to Career (C2C) Partnership
The Cradle to Career (C2C) Partnership is a diverse network in Pima County that includes K-12 schools and districts, nonprofits, businesses, and civic, faith and philanthropic organizations that are committed to improving educational outcomes for children. By preparing every child for success in school and life, they aim to ensure the economic vitality of the community.
This is no small feat since there are more than 340,000 youth working their way through the education pipeline in Pima County. An estimated 30 percent of these youth are living in poverty. To achieve success for all youth, C2C analyzes data to inform action, communicates best practices, facilitates community ownership of shared results and grows capacities of education systems and stakeholders.
With a focus on three key areas – kindergarten readiness, high school graduation and the re-engagement of opportunity youth – the partners have worked since 2015 to identify effective practices, spread what works and take it to scale, all supported by data.
After the statewide Progress Meter goals were announced earlier this year, C2C staff used a similar format for showcasing local county data and goals by creating a results meter. The C2C leadership was then motivated to set their own local goal for high school graduation at 90 percent to align with statewide efforts. Additionally, C2C has recently partnered with Sunnyside Unified School District to support its high school counselors in using data to adapt practices that results in higher FAFSA completion, the biggest driver for post high school enrollment. The organization regularly pulls data for FAFSA submissions and completions and shares it with the district in easy-to-understand data visualizations that support the counselors in identifying ways to increase both, and ultimately impact post high school enrollment for Tucson. Learn more about the work being done in Pima County.
Chandler Unified School District
The Chandler Unified School District is the first school district in Arizona to directly align its long-term strategic plan and goals with the Arizona Education Progress Meter.
As a K-12 district, Chandler Unified’s governing board members and administrators fully understand the impact they have on the whole education continuum and how everyone has to work together to meet the goals outlined in the Education Progress Meter. While it’s easy to see how third grade reading and eighth grade math proficiency on the AzMERIT statewide assessment are trackable at the district and school levels, the district has taken a more holistic approach.
For example, Chandler Unified tracks and set a goal for degree attainment by its high school graduates, and also works to maintain a low dropout rate that would otherwise contribute to the opportunity youth percentage. Additionally, the district’s schools are providing quality early learning to nearly 1,000 pre-K students this academic year (approximately 30% of its kindergarten students).
Chandler Unified has the opportunity to elevate educational outcomes within the City of Chandler, Town of Gilbert and Town of Queen Creek. View the district’s plan and a quick snapshot of the metrics they have aligned to the Education Progress Meter on the district’s website.
City of Tempe’s General Plan 2040
The City of Tempe identified education as a top priority in the General Plan 2040, their most recent strategic plan. City leaders understand the value of investing in education so much that they created an Education, Families & Youth Development Manager position in February 2015 to focus on developing an education road map for Tempe. Three public school districts, Arizona State University and the community college district fall within Tempe city limits, therefore all are collaborating and working alongside city staff to help improve educational outcomes for every student.
As part of their commitment to elevating and impacting education outcomes for its residents, the city developed a tool with local metrics, baseline data and goals, which are aligned to the Arizona Education Progress Meter. For example, using data that shows 50 percent of their residents already have a degree or credential, the city recently set its own attainment goal at 65 percent by 2030 in order to help the state meet its overall goal. By continuing to work with college connect programs and higher education entities to ensure postsecondary access and completion for all its residents, the City of Tempe is confident they can meet this goal.
Looking at their data and goals through this new lens has also helped city leaders focus limited resources on initiatives they believe will help move the needle in a couple key areas. For example, a pilot project that was two years in the making launched this fall and will create as many as 20 preschool classrooms for hundreds of children who would otherwise be unable to afford a high-quality preschool experience. Working in conjunction with two local school districts, the city of Tempe is the first Arizona city to make a commitment this sizable to early learning.