Pine School Makes The Grade

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Principal Kathe Ketchem knows the reason Pine Elementary was recently honored as one of the state's "highly performing" schools.

"It's the dedication and commitment of the faculty," she said. "We have talented teachers who teach to the standards."

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Pine Elementary School principal Kathe Ketchem considers the staff at her school one of the best in Arizona. The school was recently credited as "highly performing" in the Arizona LEARNS profiling system.

The standards she refers to are Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards, the Pine School curriculum map and its assessment plan.

The system lets administrators, parents and the public know how a school is performing against recent statewide trends, and precisely, where a school needs help, and by how much it needs to progress to meet or exceed new benchmarks.

Arizona's system also measures school performance by student achievement on the AIMS test.

The evaluation of state schools, like Pine Elementary, is based on an average percentage of students in the "exceeds the standard" category on AIMS over a three-year average, and a total of points earned on adequate yearly progress reports mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

The achievement profile system, instituted three years ago, is complex. All schools, public and charter, are ranked on a grade scale.

The possible grades are:

  • Failing to meet academic standards
  • Under performing
  • Highly performing
  • Excelling

School designated as "under performing" must notify residents of their status within 30 days. Schools then have 90 days to develop and implement an improvement plan with the help of residents in the school's attendance area and the Arizona Department of Education. Solutions teams are included in the plan to help the school improve student performance.

The only other northern Gila County school other than Pine Elementary to earn the "highly performing" label, was Rim Country Middle School.

The ARIZONA LEARNS achievement profile system by which schools are evaluated, was developed after Arizona voters approved Proposition 301 in November of 2001.

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