Julia Randall Produces First ‘Excelling' For School District

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Kudos to Julia Randall Elementary School for achieving "Excelling" status with the state department of education.

Here's a rousing bulldog growl to the students who did their homework, the parents who got them to school, the teachers and staff who went the extra mile, and Parent Teacher Organization members who cheer them on all year.

This is the first time the ADE has ever honored any school in Payson Unified School District with this top accomplishment through Arizona Learns.

Arizona Learns measures academic ability using a point system. AIMS scores, students progress from one school year to the next, whether that progress is adequate and graduation/dropout rates are the components of the formula.

School participation in Arizona Learns is required by state law.

The program began six years ago and is one of two standards of accountability -- the other standard is the federal "No Child Left Behind" program.

The staff and students at JRE have worked hard to overcome the odds of a school where more than half the students' meals qualify through federal income guidelines as free or reduced.

A commitment to each child's success is overcoming financial issues.

From 2006 to 2007 students who took the AIMS test and fell below standards decreased to 11 percent.

Reading and writing go hand in hand.

A student who understands the process of written communication can pick up a book on the library shelf that they found too difficult the previous year and enjoy it.

They can comprehend a "story" math problem.

As students grow and become more informed citizens, they can succinctly communicate their aspirations and needs to others.

They have access to more information that interests them.

The power to communicate with words gives people the power to make a difference in the world if they choose.

Throughout the public school system, teachers are tasked to teach all they can, with not all they might need, in the way of materials.

JRE principal Rob Varner thanked his staff in a letter before fall break for "being the best staff a principal could ask for."

Teaching is a job rewarded by the "smile when a child understands," a hug or high-five when a teacher and student pass each other in a store, or the occasional note from a grateful parent.

Varner commended parents and guardians for their "tireless support" of the "academic demands placed on their children every day," in a letter he sent home Oct. 15.

JRE has an outstanding organization of parents that stand behind their teachers. They bake goods and raise money for simple things such as pencil sharpeners and larger purchases, such as reading sets for classrooms.

The JRE community works together and gets to glory in a good report card.

It is a model politicians would do well to follow.

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