Richard Meyer is certain that the vacated position of Payson High School’s coordinator for Arizona Academic Scholars will fill.
“It’s just a matter of getting the right person,” he said.
The program’s mission of encouraging all students toward excellence also happens to epitomize why the recently elected school board member ran for the job.
Meyer, who also holds the title of district-wide Arizona Scholars coordinator, will work with Payson High School students aimed at becoming scholars until a new coordinator fills the position. Rita Schoeneman, who was the high school’s point person, has resigned from her teaching job.
“It will basically fall back to whatever I can arrange to do, but it’s difficult not being at the high school,” Meyer said. “You really need someone within the system to talk to teachers (and) try to arrange for a recognition day,” he added. “It’s an active, inside job.”
Students who earn at least a “C” while taking the number of credits that Arizona Academic Scholars requires, which is more rigorous than basic high school requirements, receive certification upon graduation.
For instance, instead of the two high school math credits required for graduation in Arizona, the scholars program requires three.
The idea, Meyer said, is to encourage average, “C” students to take harder classes instead of taking an easier class to achieve a higher grade.
Meyer said that when he graduated from high school, “all of the courses that the Arizona Scholars program now promotes were core courses.”
He added, “Our students are no longer going to be competitive in the global marketplace. We need to go back to good, solid core courses.”
Payson is one of nine communities statewide who have implemented the initiative. Others include Flagstaff, Mesa and Chandler.
Campus coordinators promote the program, work to engage teachers and arrange student recognition, which Meyer says is an important component.
The following are Payson High School’s Arizona Academic Scholars for the current school year.