It is invigorating to see Governor Ducey present a budget plan that prioritizes education with targeted supports for high performing schools serving low-income students.
As superintendent of a small, rural school district — Congress Elementary in Yavapai County — I can attest to the continual work that goes into preparing students in our community to be successful. To do great work on behalf of students and families, and to expand our efforts to more students, it’s vital that we have support from the State of Arizona and its leadership. This is reflected in the Governor’s recent budget proposal.
Our Congress Elementary School District’s two-part vision is for “students to enjoy learning and success,” and for “students to discover the world and its opportunities.” We have a rigorous curriculum that focuses on excellence through whole child education as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. We have organized around this vision to become one of the top performing schools in Arizona and recently ranked 6TH in AzMERIT performance among all schools serving greater than 60 percent of students that qualify for free and reduced lunch.
Clearly, our teachers and faculty are strongly committed to our student success, without letting income or zip code get in their way. As a rural school district, finding teachers who embrace our vision and this strong commitment to student success can be a challenge. The governor’s proposed $1,000 signing bonus for teachers who choose to work in low-income schools will assist us in hiring excellent educators who can bring out the best in all our students.
Additionally, Governor Ducey’s proposed funding for high performing schools can help initiate a statewide ripple effect of support for education by helping us pay our teachers for their efforts and to mentor others who want to replicate our results.
The team at Congress Elementary School District remains committed to serving students and families, achieving excellent results, and sharing/supporting successful practices with others. This executive budget values and invests in schools, which is critical for the State of Arizona and we stand in support of the governor’s proposal.
Dr. Stephanie Miller is Superintendent of Congress Elementary School District #17 and Principal of Congress Elementary School.