What exactly does being an AEF™ A+ School of Excellence mean? Well…it means that the school that is the recipient of this award has met all of the criteria and requirements set forth by the Arizona Educational Foundation as schools of quality, equity, and excellence.
The process began at Pantano High School when we submitted an application that outlined what we do and how we do it! This process involved all teachers, staff, parents and community members who provided input into the contents of the application. The application was _____ pages long and was comprised of approximately ____________ words!
It would be great if we could write a fantastic application and the AEF™ took everything we wrote in the application at face value and honored us with the award, but that’s not how this process works!
Once a committee reads the application, it is then determined if a school deserves a site visit. Pantano High School made it past the first round of eligibility and our application was found to be most interesting. A panel of four judges, made up of award winning principals visited our school over a two day period. During that time they spent time in every classroom, observing to make sure that we were meeting the rigorous teaching and learning standards as well as being able to provide strong student achievement data.
In addition, they met with Classified Staff and Certified faculty were interviewed them regarding their thoughts, feelings, and contributions to our school and its students. During these interviews, data was again produced that demonstrated our ability to go above and beyond the norm to ensure that our students’ needs were being met both in and out of the classroom.
Lastly, the panel met with parents and community members to find out what they thought about Pantano High School. More specifically, how and if we were meeting the educational needs of their children as well as their overall satisfaction level with the rigor of the curriculum, the interventions that were being made to support students’ overall school experience. Community members were able to weigh in on the impact that our school has had on the community and their engagement with our students on a variety of levels.
The easiest way to define what it means to be a 2015 AEF™ School of Excellence Award recipient is that it shows to the world that not all schools have to look the same in order to be an excellent school. An outside, credible organization has seen what it is that we do and how we do it, and ultimately determined that Pantano High School is most deserving of this honor because we do what’s best for kids!
I want to personally thank the teachers, staff, parents, communities and most importantly, the students, who helped make this honor possible. Your commitment to going above and beyond to make sure that all students have the chance they deserve to be successful, it to be commended.
Monica H. Wright