How Queen Creek helps students succeed after graduation - AZEdNews
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How Queen Creek helps students succeed after graduation


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  • Stephanie Ingersoll/ Queen Creek Unified School District

To Support Students' Success, Queen Creek Unified School District Has Invested In A Staffing Model That Includes Counselors, College And Career Advisors, Career Center Specialists And Social Workers. Photo Courtesy Queen Creek Unified School District

Queen Creek Unified School District seeks to help students succeed with post-secondary and business partnerships, rigorous course offerings and technological skills.

Queen Creek Unified’s mission is to empower each student to achieve excellence in all pursuits and lead with integrity. This mission drives the district’s strategic plan which has five priorities; the first priority being helping students succeed.

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“Today’s students live in a world of rapidly changing technology, workplace skills, and accountability systems,” said Erika Copeland, executive director of K-12 educational services at Queen Creek Unified.

In QCUSD, students succeed through several initiatives/strategies that are designed to prepare students for post-graduation opportunities, responsible citizenship, and competition in a global economy. These strategies include post-secondary and business partnerships, rigorous course offerings, and technological skills.

“Today’s students live in a world of rapidly changing technology, workplace skills, and accountability systems,” said Erika Copeland, executive director of K-12 educational services at Queen Creek Unified. “Within QCUSD, quality student outcomes are the result of high-quality instruction, adherence to a guaranteed and viable curriculum, a future-focused emphasis, and high expectations for all students. As a future-focused district, we have a mission of supporting each of our students’ needs to ensure their success in post-graduation roles.” 

QCUSD has long-standing partnerships with Arizona State University (ASU) and Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC).

ASU and CGCC are part of a coalition of partners working to raise the FAFSA completion rate among families across Arizona including here in Queen Creek. This FAFSA initiative, which is named Project Benjamin, was just awarded $1 million in additional funding from the Alliance for the American Dream. The money will go towards marketing and technology that will be used to connect families and students across the state to Project Benjamin. 

Additionally, QCUSD is one of several East Valley school districts who have partnered with Maricopa Community Colleges to create an Education Career Action Plan (ECAP) structure, through AzCIS, that follows students to college. The purpose of ECAP is to assist students in guiding their decisions about courses and activities they choose through middle school and high school that align with their skills, interests, and aspirations related to career choices and post-secondary education. 

All high school students in QCUSD have the opportunity to take Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement classes as well as a variety of other rigorous course offerings such as Computer Science, Biomedical Sciences, and Engineering. Both QCUSD high schools also offer Financial Literacy, Apple Coding, and a Comprehensive Health class.

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To support students’ success, Queen Creek Unified School District has invested in a staffing model that includes counselors, college and career advisors, career center specialists and social workers. Photo courtesy Queen Creek Unified School District

Additionally, QCUSD offers students the opportunity to take part in the Chief Science Officer (CSO) program. The CSO program consists of students in grades 6-12, that are elected to be ambassadors for STEM in their school and the community. The district also has a partnership with ASU to offer an engineering fast-track program. 

Finally, all high school seniors in QCUSD are required to complete a research project on a career of their choice. This includes a minimum of two hours of job shadowing in the career field.

To support the student success priority and the above-mentioned strategies, QCUSD has invested in a staffing model that includes counselors, college and career advisors, career center specialists and social workers. This level of support assists QCUSD in providing a comprehensive counseling program that emphasizes collaborative efforts benefiting students, parents, teachers, administrators and the overall community.