A+ Exemplary Program spurs exemplary action
March 5, 2008
O'Boyle, Special for The Republic
At Paseo Hills
School in Deer Valley, first-grade students who need extra help to improve their
reading skills participate in the one-on-one S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Tutoring Program,
which recently earned an A+ Exemplary Program Award from the Arizona Educational
Foundation. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. pairs struggling readers with trained eighth-grade
buddies who make a proven, positive difference in the reading abilities of
first-graders at Paseo Hills.
Through its Apprentice Boardroom Project, Horizon High School provides students
with opportunities to incorporate real-life business practices into their
high-school experience. Modeled after television's popular show The Apprentice,
this program incorporates a multitude of business practices and state standards
and allows students to receive meaningful feedback from actual business
Every day in schools across Arizona, staff members develop innovative,
outside-of-the-box, above-and-beyond ways to improve educational opportunities
for their students. Through its A+ Exemplary Program Award, the Arizona
Educational Foundation seeks to recognize such schools for their
resourcefulness. Since the program's inception in 2004, 26 programs in schools
across Arizona have earned the A+ distinction for finding creative ways to
successfully address challenges and solve problems.
This year, following a rigorous selection process, eight programs in schools
throughout Arizona earned the A+ Exemplary Program Award. In addition to the two
aforementioned, six additional programs received the distinction.
Two schools incorporate the fine arts to meet some of their challenges. Harris
Elementary School in the Gilbert District started a Reader's Theater Troupe,
which targets students who struggle with reading fluency. Reading scores for
participating students have soared. The Off-Freeway Performers at Marana Middle
School provide the Marana community with a variety of cultural experiences
focused on social issues relevant to the students and community.
Do something good or make positive choices at Desert Willow Elementary in Vail,
and you are likely to receive a "Caught in the Act" card from a staff member.
Students at Desert Willow make good choices and demonstrate model citizenship on
Two schools in Cave Creek offer A+ Exemplary Programs. First, Horseshoe Trails
Elementary School provides an After-school Equine Program that is available to
all horse-enthusiast students in the district. Academic standards are reinforced
through the equine curriculum. Next, at Desert Willow Elementary, the project "Idiomas
Unidos: A Partial Spanish Immersion" was developed by the principal and several
community members. By acquiring a second
language early in
life through "Idiomas Unidos," Desert Willow students broaden their scope of
knowledge, elevate their critical-thinking skills and develop neuronal networks
in their brains not available to monolingual speakers.
Finally, Kyrene de la Mariposa Elementary School's Celebrating Diversity A+
Program is a 3-year effort to encourage students and families from all parts of
the globe to share their backgrounds and cultures through a yearlong series of
events. Mariposa values and celebrates the varied cultures represented by its
families and community.
These programs are beacons of success and hope. With dedicated staff and
commitment from the community, the effects of A+ Exemplary Programs are
far-reaching. Educators and the public are encouraged to contact and visit these
schools to learn more about these outstanding programs.
Bobbie O'Boyle is executive director of the Arizona Educational Foundation.
Reach her at
Section: VALLEY & State
Record Number: pho96898617