U.S. Dept of Ed: Students must take standardized tests, but there's flexiblity on when & how - AZEdNews
Sections    Thursday March 30th, 2023

U.S. Dept of Ed: Students must take standardized tests, but there’s flexiblity on when & how


Click here for updates 2/24/21 and going forward

Update 2/23/21:The U.S. Dept. of Education said states must have students take standardized tests to measure academic growth this year, but they will provide flexibility to delay testing or do testing online during the COVID-19 pandemic, ABC 15 Arizona reports.

Young people are struggling to keep close to their friends close as the distance created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the stresses surrounding it are taking a toll, National Public Radio reports.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 810,658 today from 809,474 yesterday, and 15,650 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 506,662 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 108,630 in Pima County, 45,754 in Pinal County, 36,348 in Yuma County, 20,961 in Mohave County, 16,937  in Yavapai County, 15,495  in Navajo County, 16,298  in Coconino County, 11,053 in Cochise County, 11,067 in Apache County, 7,609 in Santa Cruz County, 6,357 in Gila County, 5,272 in Graham County, 2,382 in La Paz County and 555 in Greenlee County.

Arizona Dept. of Health Services Interactive Graphic: (Hover over counties and boxes for more info)


Trying to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many parents of young children and the difficulty finding childcare options has increased their stress, NBC News reports.

Family and friends mourn the loss of a University of Arizona student murdered in a campus parking garage last weekend.

Morenci Unified School District honors students leaders in their schools.

Cave Creek Unified School District is honoring it’s graduating seniors with yearbook-style social media posts.

Horizon High School will be honored for achieving DECA’s Gold Standard during this year’s virtual international career development conference.

Tucson Unified School District students learned more about desert plant and animal adaptations during a virtual field trip.

Learn more about Laveen School District‘s online academy opening in August 2021 below.

Update 2/22/21: Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the Arizona Board of Regents agreed to dismiss the remaining claim that ABOR illegally spent public funds when granting in-state tuition to some undocumented students, ending the 2017 lawsuit.

Hear why Sen. Christine Marsh and Sen. Martin Quezada say Arizona Legislators should vote against Senate Bill 1452, which would expand eligibility for vouchers to 70 percent of Arizona students.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 809,474 today from 806,163 yesterday, and 15,502 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 506,046 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 108,479 in Pima County, 45,535 in Pinal County, 36,310 in Yuma County, 20,931 in Mohave County, 16,923  in Yavapai County, 15,477  in Navajo County, 16,281  in Coconino County, 11,053 in Cochise County, 10,281 in Apache County, 7,611 in Santa Cruz County, 6,354 in Gila County, 5,262 in Graham County, 2,379 in La Paz County and 552 in Greenlee County.

Register now to take part in a conversation about racial justice and equity with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How To Be an Antiracist” on March 3 at 3 p.m.

Carver Museum, once Arizona’s only all-Black high school, preserves and honors the achievements of Black Arizonans, learn more from this 12 News story.

David Schwake who served over 20 years as Litchfield School District’s Food Service Director and was known for his work to stop childhood hunger has passed away from COVID-19.

More Arizona school districts are planning on returning to hybrid or in-person learning in March, nearly a year after students began distance learning due to COVID-19.

Learn more about how University of Arizona students are getting hands-on experience at the UA state point of distribution for COVID-19 vaccine, in this ABC 15 Arizona story.

SCR 1020 brings the end of segregating Arizona’s English Language Learner students from their peers one step closer.

Youth in Surprise can work with local leaders to solve issues through this opportunity, click below to apply.

Update 2/19/21: Arizona Department of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ, gave an update on how COVID-19 vaccination is going in Arizona.

AZ Dept. of Health Services video: COVID-19 Vaccine Update – February 19, 2021

Updated 2/17/21: Education leaders are working with students and families to provide students with at least one F grade with additional support, ABC 15 Arizona and KGUN 9 report.

More Latino students attend lower-ranked schools, and there’s a correlation between poverty and academic performance, says a report released today by Arizona for Latino Leaders in Education.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 801,055 today from 799,740 yesterday, and 15,063 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 500,631 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 107,401 in Pima County, 45,019 in Pinal County, 36,160 in Yuma County, 20,624 in Mohave County, 16,765  in Yavapai County, 15,301  in Navajo County, 16,088  in Coconino County, 10,859 in Cochise County, 10,168 in Apache County, 7,588 in Santa Cruz County, 6,307 in Gila County, 5,232 in Graham County, 2,364 in La Paz County and 548 in Greenlee County.

Incito Schools and co-founders have been indicted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office after allegedly committing fraud to steal more than $500,000 from the Maricopa County Superintendent’s Office, 12 News reports.

Updated 2/16/21: The Arizona Senate approved SB 1452 on Monday along party lines, which would revise Arizona’s vouchers to expand eligibility to students who attend Title I schools and take part in the federal free- or reduced-price lunch program, which is about 70% of Arizona students.

The bill will be heard next in the House of Representatives.

This move to expand vouchers that use public tax dollars to fund students’ private school costs, comes just two years after Arizona voters rejected expansion of Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts by voting against Prop. 305.

Related articles:
Video: SB 1452 expands vouchers, diverts money for teacher pay
Video: Senate Ed passes bills to end school boundaries, give families transportation money

Save Our Schools initiative would limit ESA expansion, require return of unused voucher money
Supt. Hoffman asks Legislators to release full ESA administration funding
ESA expansion would cost state more money
After six years, ESA program still vexed by financial accountability
Academic accountability: How do ESAs measure up?
Court ruling impacts Invest in Ed, Save Our Schools initiatives qualifying for ballot
On Tax Day, Legislators vote to reduce corporate tax credits that fund private school scholarships
What are Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts?

Senate Bill 1452, sponsored by Sen. Paul Boyer, would also divert Classroom Site Fund money from teachers’ pay and local funding for schools to students’ Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, or vouchers.

Public education advocates, including Arizona School Boards Association and Save Our Schools Arizona, are opposed to SB 1452. Click here to read more.

In addition, the House Government and Elections Committee will hear House Bill 2435 at 8 a.m, on Wednesday, which would impose term limits on school board members of two consecutive terms, requires a majority of members on school boards be parents, grandparents or guardians of a student currently enrolled in the district, and eliminates staggered terms so that all members of a school board would be elected concurrently.

The bill has some similarities to Senate Bill 1246, which would limit school board members terms, but was removed from the Senate Education Committee agenda last week. Click here to read more.

The Arizona School Boards Association opposes House Bill 2435, by Rep. Steve Kaiser, because it would create high turnover on school boards, impact people’s eligibility to serve as a school governing board member, reduce school board members’ institutional knowledge and impact stability of school boards’ governance.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 799,740 today from 798,608 yesterday, and 14,981 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 499,865 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 107,213 in Pima County, 44,800 in Pinal County, 36,127 in Yuma County, 20,603 in Mohave County, 16,752  in Yavapai County, 15,292  in Navajo County, 16,081  in Coconino County, 10,847 in Cochise County, 10,155 in Apache County, 7,580 in Santa Cruz County, 6,291 in Gila County, 5,228 in Graham County, 2,360 in La Paz County and 546 in Greenlee County.

Updated 2/12/21: Several school districts around the state, including Yuma Elementary School District 1, plan to bring students back to campus after spring break.

Last night, the Mingus Union High School District’s Governing Board voted to bring students back to campus for in-person learning on Feb. 22, The Verde Valley Independent & Camp Verde Bugle reports.

Board Member Chip Currie said improving COVID-19 metrics and district educators scheduled to receive their second COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 17 factored into the board’s decision.

Earlier this week, Kyrene School District, Chino Valley Unified School District, Tucson Unified School District and Flagstaff Unified School District said students would return to in-person instruction in several weeks. For more information, see yesterday’s entry below.

Meanwhile, Cartwright School District‘s Governing Board voted unanimously last night to continue distance learning for the remainder of the school year, noting that vaccines are not readily available to their community and that returning for in-person instruction would be too risky for families.

But Cartwright School District Supt. Dr. LeeAnn Aguilar-Lawlor said students who need to come back for in-person support, should reach out to their school for help.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 793,532 today from 791,106 yesterday, and 14,834 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 496,037 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 106,253 in Pima County, 44,490 in Pinal County, 35,959 in Yuma County, 20,411 in Mohave County, 16,653 in Yavapai County, 15,100  in Navajo County, 15,916  in Coconino County, 10,740 in Cochise County, 10,082 in Apache County, 7,558 in Santa Cruz County, 6,245 in Gila County, 5,203 in Graham County, 2,344 in La Paz County and 541 in Greenlee County.

Arizona State University encourages people to celebrate Lunar New Year with Sun Devil style.

Phoenix Union High School District shares Bioscience High School‘s mural of pioneering scientists during Black History Month.

Tolleson Union High School District celebrates Career and Technical Education Month.

Updated 2/11/21: Several school districts around the state, including Tucson Unified School District and Flagstaff Unified School District, said earlier this week they’ll be bringing students back to campus after spring break.

In Tucson Unified, parents can enroll preschool through elementary school students in full-time on-campus learning or full-time remote learning.

Tucson parents of middle-school and high-school students can choose between a hybrid option that brings students on campus four times a week for half-days so campuses can be fully cleaned on Wednesdays or full-time remote learning, Arizona Public Media reports.

Flagstaff Unified School District voted Tuesday to begin a phased in return to in-person learning starting in March after spring break depending on public health benchmarks, Arizona Daily Sun reports.

“Preschool, kindergarten, first, second, third, sixth, ninth and 12th grades — primary and transition years — plus students in specialized programs would return the week of March 22. The remaining grades would return the following week,” Arizona Daily Sun reports.

Parents will chose whether students will learn in-person on campus or continue taking part in remote learning.

Chino Valley Unified School District‘s Governing Board voted to switch back to full in-person instruction for all grades starting on Feb. 16, The Daily Courier reported.

Clarkdale-Jerome students who are currently in a hybrid model will return to full-time in-person learning on Feb. 16, while students who prefer to continue remote learning will still have the option to do so, The Verde Valley Independent & Camp Verde Bugle reports.

Metrics have shown a decrease in cases and deaths since January, which factored into the board’s decision to move from the hybrid model to in-person learning, Superintendent Danny Brown said Wednesday to The Verde Valley Independent & Camp Verde Bugle.

At a meeting this evening, the Mingus Union High School District’s Governing Board will consider whether to offer in-person learning as early at Feb. 22, and Supt. Mike Westcott said they “may take into account vaccine effectiveness data and push that out another week,” The Verde Valley Independent & Camp Verde Bugle reports.

Kyrene School District plans to welcome students back to campus by March 16, depending on health metrics and updated recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on resuming in-person learning.

Yuma Elementary School District 1‘s governing board will also be discussion a possible return to in-person instruction during their meeting this afternoon.

Cartwright School District‘s Governing Board will meet this evening to discuss when in-person instruction might begin.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arizona rose to 791,106 today from 789,245 yesterday, and 14,662 have died from the virus, said the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In Maricopa County, there are 494,345 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 105,909 in Pima County, 44,439 in Pinal County, 35,910 in Yuma County, 20,354 in Mohave County, 16,616 in Yavapai County, 15,060 in Navajo County, 15,875 in Coconino County, 10,715 in Cochise County, 10,036 in Apache County, 7,548 in Santa Cruz County, 6,228 in Gila County, 5,194 in Graham County, 2,336 in La Paz County and 538 in Greenlee County.

Gilbert Public Schools bus drivers honor their co-worker who died from COVID-19 last week.

Phoenix Union High School students are invited to take part in a workshop to create a climate action plan to help with the design of the City of Phoenix.

Tolleson Elementary School District honors Jackie Robinson during Black History Month.

Glendale Elementary School District‘s governing board will examine plans to close or repurpose some schools due to declining enrollment, ABC 15 Arizona reports.

Find out more about scholarships and mentoring for Black students from U.S. News & World Reports.

Oasis Elementary students performed “Never Gonna Give You Up” for students and staff.

School librarians inspire a love of learning and the U.S. Dept of Education thanks them for all their work.

College Depot offers this scholarship alert for Phoenix Union High School District students.

Dysart Unified shares their pride in their students during International Day of Woman and Girls in Science.

Queen Creek Unified students used their knowledge of circuits to make light up Valentines.

When students understand what’s expected they can improve their performance, edutopia says.

A Marshall Magnet Elementary student shares the meaning of the colors of the Ethiopian flag during Black History Month.

Arredondo Elementary students make Valentines for local healthcare and essential workers as well as police, fire, military members.

Find strategies to end the homework gap due to inequities students experience from the National School Boards Association.

Scottsdale Unified‘s Community Education Department has moved.

Earlier coverage

Feb. 2 to Feb. 9Video: Supt. Hoffman gives State of Special Education address

Jan. 21 to Feb. 1Black History Mural Month Project to highlight pioneers of the Black community launches in Phoenix

Jan. 10 – Jan 20How students engage with Inauguration Day

Dec. 21, 2020 to Jan 8, 2021Teachers help students deal with attacks on Congress, Capitol

Nov. 30 – Dec. 16Watch it now: Dr. Christ asks people to avoid holiday gatherings with people they do not live with

Nov. 18 – 25COVID-19 cases rise before Thanksgiving adding to school and hospital leaders’ concerns

Nov. 16: More schools return to online learning as COVID-19 cases rise

Nov. 2 – 13: $19 M grant would help schools with teacher development, stipends, reading & math curriculum, summer ed resources and more

Oct. 20 to Oct. 30: AZDHS amends COVID-19 school benchmarks

Oct. 7 – Oct. 19What are teachers doing ahead of elections to support students afterwards

Aug. 25 – Sept. 8: Parents voice concern about online class size; school nurses prepare for students

Aug. 12 – Aug. 24: Students, teachers affected by Zoom outage

July 30 – Aug. 11Parent organizes co-op for learners; group rallies for in-person school days after benchmarks release

July 13- July 30: Teachers prepare for digital learning and back to school

June 29 – July 12Video: Gov. says ‘Goal is to get children back to school when it’s safe;’ Schools lay out learning models

June 29: Video: Gov. delays in-person classes to Aug. 17 due to rise in COVID-19

June 15 – June 29: Video: Gov. pauses re-opening of some businesses as COVID-19 cases rise

June 24: Plan provides more funding, flexible instruction as schools re-open

May 26 – June 12: Increase in COVID-19 cases marks a new daily high

May 20 – 25: AZ Dept. of Ed releases COVID-19 guidance to schools for summer programs, back to school

May 11 – 19: Arizonans consider workplace safety, what back to school will look like amid COVID-19

April 26 – May 10: Stores re-open, COVID-19 testing blitz resumes on Saturday

April 8 – 25You can get tested now if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19

March 12 – April 7Coronavirus response: Cases rise; AZ Day of Giving