Under Arizona Ready, a partnership created to meet the needs of students, teachers, administrators and public schools, technology plays a major role, but not exclusively in the classroom.
Luis Avila, interim executive director of Stand for Children, which strongly supports Arizona Ready, and Carl Zaragoza, the Arizona advocacy director of Stand for Children, stress the importance of making sure teachers have the tools and expertise to provide students with a 21st century education.
Arizona Ready, which was inspired by Gov. Jan Brewer, is working to implement comprehensive teacher and principal evaluation systems throughout the state. “The purpose is to ensure that all children are being taught by effective teachers and all principals are effectively leading their teachers,” says Zaragoza, who doubles as a member of the Creighton Elementary School District Governing Board.
Avila emphasizes the importance of using technology to quickly track and analyze data that shows the progress students are making. Reports should be available on a weekly basis so adjustments can be made in a timely fashion, he says. Currently, the results of the AIMS test, taken in the spring, generally aren’t available until the end of summer.
With 227 independent school districts in Arizona and more than 500 charter schools, Arizona Ready is striving for a statewide data system that will enable officials to know where the overall Arizona educational system stands.
“We need to know how we’re doing,” Zaragoza says, “so we can appropriately set goals and work purposely to achieve those goals. Without the technology telling us that, we’re pretty much throwing darts in the dark.”