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Articles from December 2019

Laveen is Home to Six “A” Rated Schools

On October 31, 2022, the Arizona Department of Education released new letter grades for each school based on the latest state assessment data from the 2021-22 school year. All schools in the Laveen School District have received top marks with six schools earning an “A” rating and three schools earning a “B” rating from the Arizona Department of Education for 2022. 

Desert Meadows School, Estrella Foothills Global Academy, Laveen School, M.C. Cash School, Rogers Ranch School, and Vista del Sur Accelerated Academy all received “A” Labels. Cheatham, Paseo Pointe, and Trailside Point received “B” Labels, also considered to be “Highly Performing.” Visit our accountability page for more detailed information about each school’s letter grade.

Laveen attributes this performance to providing quality and rigorous instruction to all students with a focus on academic growth. “Our students and staff have been doing amazing work, “ said district superintendent Dr. Jeff Sprout. “We are focused on instructional excellence and have also received incredible support from our parents and community.  These latest school letter grades reflect that.”

Background: The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) issues annual achievement profiles for every public school in the state of Arizona, based on an A through F scale. The system measures year-to-year student academic growth; proficiency in English language arts, math, and science; the proficiency and academic growth of English language learners; and acceleration/readiness indicators.

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Laveen’s Annual Winter Festival is December 2

Each year, the Laveen Elementary School District hosts a Winter Festival for the community. The ninth annual Laveen Winter Festival is scheduled for Friday, December 2, 2022. The event runs from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the David Glasser Athletic Complex, 5001 W. Dobbins.

This year’s Winter Festival will feature obstacle courses (for both big and little kids), games, activities, student performances, photo opportunities, holiday gift vendors, food, and much more!

Admission is free. Tickets will be available for purchase for select activities. Credit cards accepted.

All proceeds benefit the Laveen Education Foundation.

Visit our Winter Festival page for more info.

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3rd and 4th Graders join Superintendent’s Math All Stars Club

District superintendent Dr. Sprout held an assembly at each school to introduce all third and fourth-grade students to the Superintendent’s Math-All Stars Club, challenging students to spend 15 minutes a day practicing math skills. Students who join the club will be given a Chromebook to use at home for the duration of the school year. Students will participate in the ALEKS online math program, a companion product to the district’s math curriculum. ALEKS uses adaptive tools to tailor students’ math practice to their identified needs. Dr. Sprout will appear in Google Classroom videos monthly to congratulate students and introduce the month’s challenges and monthly prizes.

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6 – 8 Social Studies Adoption Committee

Vacancy Announcement

Social Studies Curriculum Committee for Grades 6 – 8

Academic Services is seeking parents, teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators to serve in a collaborative capacity to research and evaluate Social Studies programs for grades 6 – 8. The committee will be trained in evaluative criteria prior to reviewing programs and accompanying resources. Our first meeting dates are tentatively scheduled for November 1st and November 15th at the LEC from 4pm-5pm.

To apply, please submit a brief letter of interest to your building principal by Friday, October 21st. Letters of interest will only be accepted with principal approval.

Please direct any questions to Tracy Watkins, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction:



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Student recognition AASA

Perfect Score 22Each Spring, all students in Grades 3-8 participate in the statewide academic achievement test. The test, Arizona’s Academic Standards Assessment (AASA), measures a student’s mastery of the standards in two subjects: Math and English Language Arts (Reading and Writing). This year we had 67 students across the district who received a perfect score in at least one of the tested areas.

At last week’s Governing Board meeting, we recognized three students whose achievements on this test set them apart from the others: Viviana Alvarado (Grade 5) received a perfect score in both Math and ELA. Patrick Minh (Grade 8) and Emilyse Winter (Grade 8) both received a perfect score in the Math section for the last four years. All three of these students attend Vista del Sur.

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Vista del Sur Named a 2022 National Blue Ribbon School

Vista del Sur Accelerated Academy has once again been named a 2022 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Secretary Miguel Cardona made the announcement on September 16, 2022. “I applaud all the honorees for the 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award for creating vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school communities where students can learn, grow, reach their potential, and achieve their dreams. These schools show what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives,” Cardona said.

The National Blue Ribbon School program recognizes overall academic excellence. Blue Ribbon Schools show outstanding results for all students. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for – and attaining – exemplary achievement. National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation.

Vista del Sur was one of only six schools in Arizona to join this esteemed community. They were nominated as an Exemplary High Performing School, receiving this distinction for the performance of all students on state assessments in both math and English language arts in addition to other state performance targets.

Vista principal, Jessica Epacs attributed Vista’s success to the partnership and hard work of staff, students and parents.  In addition, cooperative learning or Kagan structures are used throughout the school and in each lesson. Each Kagan structure has a purpose and guides students to work together while also holding every child individually accountable for their knowledge. For example, Rally Coaching allows students to be peer instructors to each other. “Because the student is being the instructor it requires students to be actively engaged during the lesson since they know they will need to teach another person,” explained Mrs. Epacs.

She also noted the constructivist approach that Vista teachers take. The constructivist approach means that teachers allow students to construct their own arguments and approaches to solve problems. This approach encourages students to think and process rather than memorize with drill and practice. Even within a constructivist approach, there is still room for direct instruction but the types of problems used for direct instruction are strategically selected to continue to allow students to think and use what they know to solve the problem even when learning new material.

Vista has an overarching approach to instruction, but a key strategy that Vista teachers use when lesson planning is the backwards design model.  Thinking of the end product first, helps teachers to see the path that students need to take in order to get there successfully

Vista del Sur will be recognized at an award ceremony in November in Washington, D.C. Here they will receive the coveted National Blue Ribbon flag that will fly at their school as a reminder of their exemplary teaching and learning. “All of us at Vista are honored to serve as an example of quality instruction and learning for schools across the nation,” said Principal Epacs. “This honor affirms the dedication of our students, staff, and parents in making Vista a community of excellence.”

Vista is part of the Laveen Elementary School District. As an accelerated school, students work a grade level ahead in math and English language arts. It is a school of choice and, as such, does not have attendance boundaries.

Vista was also named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School. They also were recognized as a Top Elementary and Middle School by U.S. News and World Report.

ABC15 ran a segment on Vista’s award. Watch it here.

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