2017 Charter Award Winners

Charter schools have been part of the fabric of Arizona’s public school landscape for over 20 years. Through the hard work and dedication of our teachers, administrators and students, Arizona charter schools are outperforming nearly every state in the country.

The Association is proud to celebrate these success stories through our 2017 Charter Awards, spotlighting outstanding examples of public charter school excellence in teaching, academic leadership, business administration and school-wide success.

“The 2017 Charter Award honorees embody the promise of public charter schools and work tirelessly every day to improve education in schools and communities across Arizona,” said Eileen B. Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “These educators fully represent the quality choices, which are fundamental to Arizona families. Congratulations to this year’s winners!”

Winners and finalists will be honored at a ceremony on December 6 at the Hotel Palomar in Phoenix.

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Association Hires Director of Government Affairs

The Arizona Charter Schools Association is proud to announce the hiring of Matthew Simon as its Director of Government Affairs. Simon, a Tucson native, joins the Association after serving as Education Policy Advisory for Senate Majority Staff. During his time at the Arizona State Legislature, Simon developed a wealth of education finance and policy knowledge. Simon is a former high school science teacher and Teach for America corps member. He graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S. in Political Science and is working towards his MBA in 2019.

“As a former teacher, Matthew understands the impact advocacy and policy can have on the classroom,” said Eileen B. Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “Matthew brings another layer of support to Association members and we are thrilled to have his expertise on our team to inform policymakers of the excellent work in Arizona’s public charter schools.”

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Public charter schools held to stringent financial accountability while improving student achievement

Eileen B. Sigmund, Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO, released the following statement:

“Lost in the Grand Canyon Institute’s self-published 90-page diatribe against public charter schools is virtually any mention of what matters most: student performance. And that’s no coincidence, as students across all demographics see higher outcomes when enrolled in charter schools. For the last three years, public charter students in all racial and ethnic groups are outperforming their peers. The fact is that the finest public schools in Arizona are public charter schools, which have been lifting the quality of education in our state for more than a decade. The outstanding performance of Arizona’s charter sector compels better results in district schools — exactly what was intended when the charter law was enacted in 1994.

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Charter Students Top State Performers

For three straight years, charter students outperform state averages

Public charter school students continue to outperform their peers, as AzMERIT results show charter students scored better than the state average in virtually every grade level and subject area for the third straight year.

The AzMERIT scores, released by the Arizona Department of Education on September 6, illustrate the hard work and dedication of Arizona’s charter students, teachers and leaders.

“These results are a strong testament to the great work happening at public charter schools across Arizona, and further validation of our efforts to expand high-quality education options for a rising number of students and families statewide,” said Eileen Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association. “Charter schools are raising the bar and improving public education in Arizona. We’re proud of all the wonderful educators, students and families who continue to drive that success.”

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Statement on DACA and resources for schools

Today the Arizona Charter Schools Association issued the follow statement in response to the rescission of the the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

We believe that every Arizona school should be a safe, inspiring place for all children, regardless of their immigration status. National policy is changing, but we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring supportive schools where all students feel safe to pursue their dreams and contribute to the evolving Arizona that we all call home. We stand with all students – every aspiring architect, lawyer, doctor, and teacher – and we remain unwavering in helping them realize their dreams. We understand that many of our school community members have questions and fears about the recent rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and its serious implications for the DREAMers in our state. As a support organization for Arizona’s 556 public charter schools, we’ve compiled resources to support for our schools.

Access the Resources

Association Commends Ducey, Legislature on pro-education budget

Eileen B. Sigmund, Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO, released the following statement today on the Fiscal Year 2018 state budget:

“On behalf of public charter schools across Arizona, we commend Governor Ducey for signing into law a pro-education spending plan that makes critical investments in K-12 students, teachers and schools.

“Infused with an additional $163 million, this spending plan builds on Proposition 123 dollars recently approved by Arizona voters and signals a renewed commitment to K-12 education.

“Public charter schools were created by the legislature to improve student achievement, and this budget supports schools that are delivering the best outcomes for Arizona students. This new emphasis on results-based funding rewards high-performing schools, especially those serving disadvantaged students.

“Additionally, legislators and the Governor have prioritized teachers with a commitment that doesn’t end with this budget. Our state is truly beginning to take the steps necessary to support our schools in their work to recruit and retain high quality teachers. Arizona public charter schools, who are delivering strong outcomes for students, will continue to elevate teachers at the local level.

“We thank Governor Ducey for his leadership, as well as legislators who worked hard to get this done for Arizona families.”

Arizona Celebrates Charter Schools Week: May 1-5

Gov. Ducey proclamation recognizes contributions of AZ charters to public education

Phoenix (May 2, 2017) – The Arizona Charter Schools Association is proud to join students, families, educators and advocates across the country in celebrating National Charter Schools Week.

In accordance with the national annual event, Gov. Doug Ducey has proclaimed the week of May 1-5 “Arizona Charter Schools Week” in honor of the significant role charters have played in Arizona’s public education system.

“For the past 20 years, Arizona’s charter schools have increasingly become the preferred choice for parents and families seeking an excellent public education that delivers quality options, serves a diverse population, and improves student outcomes across all demographics,” said Eileen Sigmund, President and CEO of the Arizona Charter Schools Association.

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Association commends Gov. Ducey, lawmakers for expanding pathways to higher education

HB 2078 supports innovation, excellence & opportunity in K-12

Phoenix (April 18, 2017) – Thanks to the continued support of excellence and innovation in K-12 education, lawmakers have secured an alternative path to higher education for Arizona’s students.

Signed by Governor Doug Ducey on April 17, House Bill 2078 clarifies the concurrent coursework programs presently offered in many high schools and defines best practices for the operations and funding of these programs.

“Concurrent coursework provides students an opportunity to graduate high school with not only their high school diploma, but also with an associate degree or credits toward a degree,” said Eileen B. Sigmund, Arizona Charter Schools Association President and CEO. “This legislation will ensure that public schools across the state can continue to offer innovative programs that challenge students and bring higher education within reach of more Arizonans.”

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Arizona Charter School Leaders, Advocates Visit Gov. Ducey and Legislators

Third Annual “Charters at the Capitol” celebrates school choice, empowers students and families

Today, public charter-school leaders and advocates from every corner of Arizona turned out for the third annual “Charters at the Capitol” – a day-long celebration of Arizona’s charter movement and its vital, growing role in strengthening public K-12 education.

Charter leaders representing students and families from every legislative district in Arizona participated in the event, meeting with Governor Ducey and dozens of legislators. Additionally, 2016 Charter Teacher of the Year Richelle Lewis, of American Leadership Academy-Queen Creek, made a presentation to the Senate Education Committee.

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