Arizona Educational Foundation names 2010 A+ Schools of Excellence

April 21, 2010

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20 schools recognized by AEF for overall success
PHOENIX The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) today announced 20 schools have earned the A+ Schools of Excellence Award. Since 1983, AEF has honored exemplary PreK-12 public schools in Arizona through the A+ Schools Program.

AEF's A+ Schools of Excellence Program endeavors to improve education by identifying and recognizing outstanding Arizona public schools. The A+ Program strives to create a comprehensive framework of successful programs and practices that other schools throughout the state and nation might adopt.

A+ Schools are evaluated in the following areas: student focus and support; school culture; active teaching and learning; curriculum; leadership; community and parent involvement; and assessment data. Arizona's 2009-2010 A+ Schools of Excellence are:

Acacia Elementary School, Phoenix (Washington Elementary District), Christine Hollingsworth, Principal;
Acacia Elementary School, Vail, Jerry Wood, Principal;
Basha High School, Chandler, Ken James, Principal;
Copper Canyon Elementary School, Scottsdale (Paradise Valley District), Steve Bursi, Principal;
Cottonwood Elementary School, Tucson (Vail District), Deborah Bryson, Principal;
Desert Arroyo Middle School, Cave Creek, Ann Orlando, Principal;
Edu-Prize School, Gilbert, Dr. Robbie McCamman, Principal;
Flowing Wells High School, Tucson, James Brunenkant, Principal;
Hancock Elementary School, Chandler, Connie Hull, Principal;
Homer Davis Elementary School, Tucson (Flowing Wells District), Brett Bonner, Principal;
Hulet Elementary School, Holbrook, Tim Newton-Pender, Principal;
Ishikawa Elementary School, Mesa, Shelley Heath, Principal;
Laguna Elementary School, Scottsdale, Dr. Kathleen Root, Principal;
Los Amigos Elementary School, Tucson (Sunnyside District), Pamela Betten, Principal;
Mesquite Elementary School, Tucson (Vail District), Katie Dabney, Principal;
Mountain Pointe High School, Phoenix (Tempe Union High School District), Bruce Kipper, Principal;
Paseo Hills School, Phoenix (Deer Valley District), Gayle Galligan, Principal;
Sierra Verde K-8 School, Glendale (Deer Valley District), Cherryl Paul, Principal;
Stetson Hills School, Phoenix (Deer Valley District), Krista Anderson, Principal;
Vista Verde Middle School, Phoenix (Paradise Valley District), Elaine Jacobs, Principal.

Applications for the A+ Schools of Excellence Program are made available to schools statewide. Each A+ School is evaluated based on a lengthy written application and rigorous site visit by the A+ review panel. In the application process, each school provides: demographic information, documentation of parent and community involvement, a profile of the school and principal including his/her vision and commitment to excellence, equity, and service, as well as sustained high achievement or significant improvement in the school's assessment data. Preparation of each school's application involves the commitment of all stakeholders: students; faculty; staff; administration; and community members.

While recognition itself is one reward of AEF's A+ Schools of Excellence Program, the Foundation's honorees serve as important models of educational excellence. Based on information provided by its A+ Schools, AEF compiles a database on its website of A+ Best Practices as a resource for Arizona's education community. Visitors to AEF's site can view the A+ Best Practices by selecting a subject area or by researching specific programs currently implemented at A+ Schools. A comprehensive list of A+ Best Practices can be viewed at

The A+ Schools of Excellence Program is open to PreK -12 public schools throughout Arizona. The A+ Award is valid for three years. Corporate sponsors that make AEF's A+ Schools of Excellence possible are: APS, The Arizona Republic/Season for Sharing, Desert Schools Federal Credit Union, Safeway and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. "Our credit union was founded on the idea that education has the power to improve lives. It's one of the primary reasons we're so proud to support the Arizona Educational Foundation's A+ program," said Jeffrey Meshey, senior executive vice president for Desert Schools Federal Credit Union.

"Safeway supports education in our local communities through many different initiatives. Our education system is facing unprecedented budget cuts, and some schools are eliminating courses and increasing class size. Safeway's goal is to be a partner in the communities we serve and provide ways to continue these programs that are in danger of being eliminated. Supporting the A+ Program is just one of the many ways we can accomplish this!" Cathy Kloos, Safeway, Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations.

For more information on AEF's A+ Schools of Excellence Program, please visit