Document 255790

Granada East School
District Name
Alhambra Elementary School District No. 68
Level: X
Elementary (PreK-­‐8 or combination) _______Secondary (9-­‐12) Name of Principal
School Mailing Address
Previous A+ School? _____Yes X No If Yes, Year(s)_______ Sandy Kennedy
3022 W. Campbell Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85017
City Primary Phone ( 602 )
Zip Principal Phone or ext.
Principal Email address [email protected]
Name of Superintendent
Karen Williams, Ed.D.
District Mailing Address
4510 N. 37th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85019
City Primary Phone ( 602 )
Zip Superintendent Phone (602) 336-2920
Superintendent Email address: [email protected]
If your school is selected to receive a site visit, the review panel members will need directions to your school and will need to know dates that will present potential conflicts. Please complete the following: Street Address City & Zip (if different from mailing address) Detailed travel directions indicating surface streets that lead to your school: The major cross streets for Granada East School are 31st Avenue and Campbell. Campbell Avenue is
located between Indian School and Camelback Roads. From 35th Avenue head East on Campbell to
31st Avenue. Granada East School is on the north side of the road just past this intersection. The
Granada East office is on the south side of the campus facing Campbell Avenue.
Total number of students (pre K-­‐12) enrolled in the district: 13,978 2.
Number of schools in the district: 6 Elementary 6 Middle/Junior High Schools 3 K-­‐8 1 High schools TOTAL SCHOOLS: 16 SCHOOL INFORMATION: 3.
Category that best describes the area where the school is located: X Urban or large central city _____Suburban _____Suburban w/characteristics of urban areas _____small city/town in rural area _____rural 4.
Number of years the principal has been in her/his position at this school? 6 (see Eligibility Requirements) If less than three years, how long was the previous principal at this school? ____ 5.
Number of students enrolled at each grade level (or its equivalent) in the school applying for A+ status: Pre-­‐K 0 5th 211 9th 0 1st 0 6th 248 10th 0 2nd 0 7th 222 11th 0 3rd 0 8th 198 12th 0 4th 235 (Self-­‐contained) 29 TOTAL: _1,143_ 6.
Racial/ethnic composition of students in the school: .89 % American Indian or Alaska Native 2.76 % Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 2.49 % Black or African American 89.95 % Hispanic or Latino 3.91 % White % Other; specify____________________________ 2
Student turnover, or mobility rate, during the past year: 23.08% (Calculate this rate by taking the total number of students who transferred to or from your school between October 1 and the end of the school year, divided by the total number of students in school as of October 1, and multiplying by 100.) 8.
Limited English proficient students in the school: 39.90 % 456 a.
Total Number of languages represented: 13 b.
Specify languages: English, Spanish, Navajo, Burmese, Dinka, Kirundi, Cambodian, SerboCroatian, Apache, Somali, Arabic, Swahili, Vietnamese
Students who participate in free/reduced-­‐priced meals: 1,093 Total Number 95.63
% of total student population If this method is not a reasonably accurate estimate of the percentage of students from low-­‐
income families or the school does not participate in the federally-­‐supported lunch program, specify a more accurate estimate, tell why the school chose it, and explain how it arrived at this estimate. Students receiving special education services: 139 Total Number
12 % of total student population
92 Specific Learning Disability
8 DD/Health Impaired/Autistic
39 Other Severe (specify)______________________
Indicate if your school is the district site for any specific special education magnet
program(s); if so, include student enrollment for program(s).
Granada East hosts two classrooms of self contained special education students who are
mildly mentally retarded. The enrollment is 27.
Indicate number of full-time and part-time staff members in each of the categories below: Number of Staff Administrators Full-­‐time Classroom teachers Specials: Therapists Resource teachers Other specialists Paraprofessionals Other Support Staff 2
TOTAL FTE Part-­‐time 0
At Granada East School, we are committed to provide a learning environment, laser-focused to
the needs of every student, regardless of challenges or circumstances. Besides academic success,
we expect students to develop emotional and psychological maturity. Our focus is to educate the
whole child. Our vision is to promote every student to high school with the academic skills to
ensure success and the vision to go to college. We want our students to leave us with the goals
and self-confidence to further their education beyond high school and with the empathy and
sense of responsibility to care for others and make the world a better place. Our school
community created our mission and vision statements five years ago, through a comprehensive
process of inquiry with staff, parents, and community members. At the beginning of each school
year, we revisit these statements and refine the goals, if necessary, to ensure that they reflect an
alignment of beliefs and actions that are meaningful to all members of our school community.
Our school goals are:
Work collaboratively to use authentic, systematic assessment to measure student
achievement, drive instruction, and design immediate and effective interventions for
student success.
Prepare goal-oriented students with the academic and social skills necessary to become
lifelong learners and productive members of society.
Engage students in their own learning by fostering an environment that is safe,
cooperative, and relevant.
Promote our school as the center of our neighborhood, where students, staff, parents, and
community members work as a team to promote the importance of education as a tool for
a better future.
The header on our school vision statement reads: Granada East–A Place of Pride–A Place of
Excellence. We make this promise to every parent and every student who enrolls at Granada
East. We make no excuses. We do whatever it takes to create that pride and excellence in every
classroom and within the reach of every child.
Granada East School is an urban school, just west of the I-17 freeway and Camelback
Road in Phoenix, Arizona, currently serving a student population of approximately 1,143
students in fourth through eighth grades. We are proud to be the vibrant center of this west valley
community. Our mission is to work collaboratively with the entire school community to provide
an equitable, quality education to every student. We believe it is important for us to teach
students the value of education as a means for impacting their community in a positive way.
Our students come from diverse backgrounds. The once middle class neighborhood now
consists of inexpensive and federally subsidized single-family homes and high density, lowincome apartments. The majority of our students’ family incomes are well below the poverty
level, with 95% of our students receiving free/reduced food services. To see how the
neighborhood has changed over the past 30 years, one need only walk the halls of the office and
look at the promotion pictures of students dating back to 1980. Granada East currently serves a
minority student population with 87% Hispanic, 3% African American, 2% Native American,
4% Asian, and 4% Caucasian. Approximately, 40% of Granada East’s students are English
language learners. There are 13 languages represented in the school and a fluctuating refugee
population, ranging from 40 to 80 students. We have students who were born in refugee camps in
Thailand and who have recently been relocated to Arizona. They are the first to arrive many
mornings at 6:30. They often play a “pick up sticks” game with small pebbles in front of the
library until breakfast. While some students arrive early, other students may arrive late because
they have to take a few dollars to the nearby Circle K to put money on the electricity card to buy
enough electricity to dry their uniforms. Regardless of our community demographics, we
maintain high expectations for success at Granada East.
Granada East is a data driven school. Every decision, resource, program, and school
policy is based on data. We regularly look at student achievement, discipline, attendance
information, and parent participation numbers. We set goals based on this data and develop
support through collaborative efforts to accomplish our goals. Granada East provides state-ofthe-art technology and well-maintained facilities to support learning in our school. Every
classroom has a SMART Board and CPS responders to enhance lessons for increased engagement. Teachers have extensive resources with which to teach. Our Success For All reading room
is complete with materials and tools to support and supplement instruction. Teacher staff
development is embedded, meaningful, and impacts classroom instruction–at the point of touch.
Much of our success can be attributed to the relationships staff members build with
students, parents, and the extended community. Students work with their teachers to create goals
for learning, parents attend monthly events to help their students achieve, and the extended
community partners with us to provide programs and services. Because of our partnerships with
community organizations and businesses, we are able to assist our families with basic needs such
as clothing, food, and health and dental services. Our school culture is welcoming and our
students are happy. This approach to school reform has paid off. In 2002, our AZ LEARNS
profile was “Underperforming” with a point value of 6. For the past two years, we have watched
our points climb to 18.6, which has earned Granada East a “Performing Plus” status. We can
boast of one of the highest student attendance rates in the district, a building administrator named
as a Rodel Exemplary Principal, and significant decreases in student discipline referrals. Our
data driven instruction and collaborative relationships have resulted in a school community
committed to sustaining student success for every child–academically and socially.
A. School Organization and Culture
The success of students at Granada East School is grounded in relationships–relationships
among and between the adults from every facet of our community and between teachers and
students. Parents are encouraged–expected to participate in the decision-making for their child’s
education. Trust, respect, and communication are the foundation of these relationships. Ms.
Judith Ornelas, parent, says it well: “The school gives us the confidence to give our opinions
and ideas and also to have the ability to get involved as a volunteer and speak freely with
teachers…” A genuine shared belief that all students can reach their potential, demonstrate good
citizenship, responsibility, and achievement exists within the community at Granada East. Some
of the things we do to create this culture follow. A welcoming environment is the cornerstone
of our school. Strong communication with families begins as soon as a child enrolls. The
principal, Ms. Kennedy, introduces herself to new students and makes it a point to help them to
feel at ease. One parent reported, “The principal is a good person. She is out in front of the
school at 7 a.m., greeting the children. If someone needs help, she is outside in the afternoon
watching all the children leave and making sure they leave right from the school and are safe to
go home like they should.” Each child is also given a student agenda that is used daily to
facilitate communication with families. These agendas, written in English and Spanish, contain
student assignments, learning goals, and character cards. Teachers make a positive contact to all
students’ families within the first 30 days of school. Parents report that this never happened when
they were in school. Each month, at least three parents receive personal invitations to visit their
child’s classroom during the school day to see what their children are learning. SFA Day
(Success for All Day) is one of the activities created to bring parents into the classroom. This
year, over 100 parents came through our gates at the beginning of the school day to spend time in
classrooms (See Section G). Our quarterly honor roll celebrations are designed to allow our
students to shine and show off their growth to parents. Our first honor roll celebration of the year
had 193 parents in attendance. Our parents work two and three jobs to put food on the table, yet
make time midday to attend the celebrations and show how important they believe education is
for their students. Another regular activity is our Student of the Month Breakfast. Every month
we host a Student of the Month Breakfast celebration to honor selected students for their great
character and/or improvement (See Section G). Besides an open and welcoming campus, we
promote social skills that will allow for appropriate and successful interactions.
We promote the tenets of Character Counts with a Pillar of the Month, awarding
students who demonstrate one of the six pillars of character in an extraordinary way with a
colored jelly bracelet. The bracelet states the pillar they have demonstrated. Students may also
receive a t-shirt that states, “My Character Rocks,” that they are allowed to wear on Fridays, in
place of their usual uniform shirt. Building character is key to developing children into adults
that care for their world. We encourage students to do the right thing, whether that is picking up
trash, cleaning the tables and floor in the cafeteria before the next group arrives, or turning in a
dollar bill another student dropped. Our Getting Along Together program teaches students
practices and procedures to help maintain positive social interactions. The program helps us
teach students to resolve conflict using “I” messages and “conflict stoppers.” The goal is to solve
problems using appropriate language, rather than relying on violence. Weekly Class Council
meetings take place in our classrooms. Classrooms have boxes that say, “Teacher, I need to tell
you…” Students write down their concern and deposit it in the box, which the teachers check
frequently. One of our teachers found out about a student’s mother dying of cancer through this
box. Teachers may find out if a student feels unsafe or is having problems with another student.
Bullying is taken seriously, as are problems between students that could result in an altercation.
Students know that all they need to do is let a teacher or the principal know when they need help
solving a problem and we will allow them to work it out, without consequences, in the
conference room, with or without mediation. Our students often take advantage of this solution
and ask to come to the conference room in the office to resolve their issue with a friend.
Teachers support our students in a variety of ways. Our teachers mentor students who need
special attention. Oscar is a fourth grade student who was not doing his homework and not
paying attention in class. His teacher mentor checks on him regularly and throws the football
with him for a few minutes during the week as an incentive for him to work hard. Oscar’s
classroom teacher reports marked improvement and Oscar was named Student of the Week.
Middle school students need to “fit-in” and belong. Our staff collaborated and came up
with Team Building Day to foster a sense of belonging among our students. The whole school
participates each quarter to build relationships among students and teachers at their particular
grade level and to celebrate the hard work they have demonstrated throughout the quarter.
Activities promote teamwork and collaboration–skills that are required to be successful in life
and ALL kids are eligible to participate. Middle school students, particularly those born to a
harsh environment, need to experience “play” in a way that allows them to build the skills to
socialize in positive ways. This activity has turned into a much-loved tradition among staff and
students. Teachers organize students into small teams who compete against one another. Each
grade level designs the activities, ranging from tricycle races to building towers out of spaghetti.
Students, teachers and support staff wear team shirts to represent their classroom. Each class has
their own color and special name, e.g., Greenawalt’s Geckos, Stewart-Hernandez’ Super Heroes,
and Perales’ Panthers. Parents are invited to attend. Mr. Sergio Valdez said, “I enjoyed watching
my daughter participate at teambuilding day. She had lots of fun. I also came to SFA Day and it
was very interesting to see how all the kids worked together…school wasn’t like that when I was
a kid.”
We kicked off our year with NBA (Never Been Absent) Hall of Fame. Every day of
instruction is a critical day for students in our community. We know that if students aren’t with
us, they aren’t learning and are more likely to fall behind and drop out of school. A picture of
every student and teacher lines the perimeter of our cafeteria–an impressive display! Pictures of
students and teachers who have not been absent remain on the walls, and in January, they receive
a colored star to show distinction. We have regular drawings and recognition events to encourage
and promote attendance, like a luncheon sponsored by McDonald’s and Golden States Foods
where students were treated to Happy Meals and given backpacks filled with school supplies and
a brand new pair of shoes. Students with a star of distinction have a double chance of winning a
prize from the drawing. Those who were absent during the first semester have their picture
returned to the display in January, with another chance for perfect attendance.
The best way to get kids to school is to make it engaging. Cooperative learning is
practiced in classrooms throughout the day. If students have a role that fosters personal
accountability, interdependence, equal participation, and simultaneous interaction, they are more
likely to become a positive part of the social network in the classroom much sooner. It is
commonplace for fourth grade students to form a pyramid with their hands in their team to signal
they are ready to share with the whole group.
Our students’ safety is a top priority at Granada East, in and out of school. Our lead
custodian, Mr. Schmidt, walks the campus daily to ensure safe conditions prevail. Safety
meetings occur monthly between the school health assistant, cafeteria manager, lead custodian,
outreach coordinator, and principal to be proactive in solving any condition that may pose a
safety hazard. Every classroom is equipped with a telephone, and each year we practice the
established emergency procedures to be prepared in the event a lockdown or evacuation is
necessary. For the past several years, we have partnered with G.R.E.A.T. - Gang Resistance
Education and Training to provide our sixth graders with instruction in this area. In addition,
Officer Enigren has offered a six-week program to selected families to reinforce parenting skills
to resist gang affiliation. We are also partnering with Touchstone Behavioral Mental Health, to
provide a 6-week workshop to targeted junior high students, identified at risk for violence or
drug abuse. We also expect all school staff to follow strict procedures for releasing students to
the appropriate adults and to make sure that all adults on campus are identified with a visitor or
staff badge. Locked doors separate the visitors’ side of our lobby, and a code must be used to
enter. Gates are locked at all times, unless a staff member is present to greet or dismiss students.
Despite these precautions, we make it a priority to use our customer service standards and make
everyone who comes in to our office feel welcome. One parent, Mr. Barrios says, “ I feel that
the school, from the entrance to the classroom, respects my culture, my language and my race.
This is all teachers, principal and all personnel”. To promote equity and consistency in their
appearance, students are required to wear uniforms, in an appropriate size with shirts tucked in.
Out-of-school suspensions have been reduced by 50% over the past five years. Our
discipline program is effective because it is consistent, fair, and protects the rights of everyone.
We have adopted schoolwide rules that are posted in classrooms. These rules ensure that there is
a consistent code of conduct followed throughout the campus. Teachers give team and classroom
points for appropriate behavior. Students can redeem the points for Principal Passes that can be
spent at a school “store.” Last year, a group of principals and teachers from another district
visited our campus to observe our reading program. They were continuously commenting on the
great behavior of our students. They would ask, “Why is there no trash on the ground?” and
“How do you get all of these kids to keep their shirts tucked in?” In the classrooms, they would
say, “This won’t work in our school, we have special education kids. Where are your special ed
kids?” The answer, of course, was, “Right here!” All adults on our campus are there to foster
student achievement and good citizenship. Our crossing guard, Mr. Hau, reminds students as
they cross the street to tuck in their shirts before entering the campus. It is not uncommon to see
kids tucking in their shirts half a block away from the crosswalk! Mr. Arroyo, our night
custodian, works alongside our National Junior Honor Society students to paint some walls at the
school on a Saturday afternoon. Mr. Arroyo says he wants the school to always look nice for the
Cooperation and collaboration among adults and students is fostered. One of the most
important ways our students collaborate with teachers is by setting quarterly achievement goals.
Each student meets individually with his/her teacher to set a challenging, yet accessible goal to
work toward throughout the quarter. Students collaborate with their teacher to determine a
creative, inspiring way to display their class progress toward their goals each quarter. In a fourth
grade room, student scores from the quarterly assessments are posted on racecars speeding
towards a finish line. This goal is also documented in the student agenda, so everyone that works
with the student will have ready access to the information. Goodwill runs between students and
adults. Our students appreciate their teachers. Each month, students have the opportunity to
nominate their teachers for the Teacher of the Month award. The teacher, who is ultimately
chosen by the Social and Pride Committee, is celebrated at a staff meeting and on our morning
video announcements.
We work closely with our parents through two groups: School Community Council
(SCC) and our Second Cup of Coffee. These groups participate actively in the life of the school.
Our SCC raises money to provide incentives for our students and show appreciation to our staff.
These funds support our Principal Pass Store and provide dinner for teachers during
Parent/Teacher Conference nights. Our Second Cup of Coffee group will take part in a “We
Can” nutrition and family wellness program for six weeks beginning in January. This year, we
have worked closely with ASU to provide the American Dream Academy for our parents. The
largest elementary school class ever completed the program with 281 graduates. We are
beginning financial literacy classes for parents in February. Granada East maintains a positive
and cooperative relationship with our community organizations. We partnered with our
neighborhood association, Vecinos Unidos, to offer 285 free flu shots to the community in
December. We also invite parents to participate in our Student Support Team meetings to
address concerns related to their child’s behavior or academic achievement. This practice is
grounded in the belief that parents know their children better than anyone and it is most effective
to have parent input when developing solutions for children who are experiencing difficulty. So
far this year, we have held SST meetings for 31 students, in which 18 parents have attended.
B. School Focus and Support
Granada East currently serves 1,143 students in fourth-eighth grades, and has a minority
student population with 87% Hispanic, 3% African American, 2% Native American, 4% Asian,
and 4% Caucasian. Ninety-five percent of Granada East students qualify for the free and
reduced-priced food services. A total of 53% of Granada East’s students are English language
learners. As you can see, our school consists of families from a variety of circumstances and
backgrounds. There are 17 languages represented in the school. We have students who were born
in refugee camps and who have recently been relocated to Arizona. Most of our children live in
poverty. Rainy days can be tough on our students. Many only have one pair of shoes and if they
get wet, they slosh around in cold, soggy shoes until they dry out. Quite a few of our students are
responsible for getting younger brothers and sisters to the primary school next door in the
morning and to pick them up after school. We frequently host these siblings in our tutoring
rooms after school so our students can get the extra academic help they need. Fifty-eight of our
students are homeless, and either live with relatives or in cars.
We are 90+% minority, 90+% free-reduced lunch, and our goal is to be 90+% “meeting
or exceeding” the standards. As a result of collaborative efforts, Granada East students are
improving, achieving, and excelling. We continue to sustain academic growth through an
examination of student data, a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum based on the state
standards, an outstanding professional community, effective leadership, and partnerships with
parents and businesses in the community. Granada East educates one child at a time. We have
multiple programs and measurement practices in place to ensure that we are meeting the needs of
all students. Over half of our student population is limited English proficient, and classroom
instruction focuses on building English language skills to enable students to access a rigorous
curriculum. We believe every student deserves equitable opportunities for learning, these
opportunities are systematic and school wide.
We provide extended day learning opportunities to our students. Students are
identified through assessment data, provided an invitation and a permission slip, and are
expected to attend. Ms. Zraick, our tutoring coordinator, sets up tutoring classes according to
student needs. For example, we would place 15 students together who have the same academic
area of need based on the state standards and the assessment data collected on these students.
Students are expected to attend or a parent must confer with the principal. Once the parents see
the data and the program is explained, they are always supportive and in turn, expect their child
to attend. Once in a while a student will stop the principal and ask when he can get out of
tutoring. Her standard question is, “What is your 4Sight Score?” The student will say that his
score is not high enough to exit tutoring and after an exchange of a smile, the conversation turns
to something else. We have approximately 250 students in after-school tutoring this year. These
classes are set up according to need. For example, over 100 students rotate every two weeks
through our math tutoring based on their identified needs through assessment aligned with
essential performance objectives. In addition to regular classroom teachers supporting students
in our after school tutoring, we have developed a relationship with the high school down the
street. A dozen or more National Honor Society high school students assist in our tutoring
classes each week. These students are exemplary role models.
Every student is expected to read 20 minutes each night for homework, and our Rise and
Read Program is an opportunity for students who, for whatever reason, didn’t get to complete
his/her homework the night before. Fifteen or so students read to an adult each morning in the
library before school to complete their reading homework assignment. Many students don’t have
a quiet place to do homework or read at home. If a student prefers, he/she can attend Read,
Reflect and Respond in the library each afternoon after school, which is hosted by the principal.
Students also have access to Homework Clubs, where students may drop in to do their
homework. Sometimes, Homework Club becomes an intervention for a particular student, if
necessary. Students are not permitted to receive a failing grade, in place of not completing
homework or class work. If the work is important enough to be assigned, it is important enough
to do. Our teachers will stay as long as they need to in the afternoon to allow students to finish
their work. One of our teachers told the story about a young man who told her that at his old
school, he just got a zero when he didn’t do his work. He asked why we didn’t do the same thing.
She explained it was because he comes to school to learn and a zero meant he didn’t engage in
that learning activity. She carefully chose those activities for her students so they would have the
best learning experiences. She reported that this young man was soon on Honor Roll. We meet
the needs of all students.
Honor’s classes are for those students who need more challenge in reading and math. For
example, in addition to an honor’s math class, we offer two algebra classes to our eighth grade
students. If they successfully complete this course and pass the Algebra Qualifying Test, they
receive high school credit. For the past two years, we have had the most students in the district
take this exam and pass. In the 2007-08 school year, 18 out of 30 passed, and in 2008-09, 24 out
of 34 passed the test. Last year, fewer students passed, but we provided the opportunity to a
much greater number of students. This year we have 66 students enrolled. Our goal is that every
eighth grader be placed in algebra to be prepared for a rigorous high school curriculum. In
grades 4-6, we offer an accelerated math class for students who demonstrate on the first
benchmark assessment they have mastered the current grade level material. We have a prealgebra class for our exceptional sixth grade students. Our students are proud to be selected for
these accelerated math classes. One fourth grade student was telling the principal he felt stressed
out. She asked if his classes were too challenging and if he would like to be back in his regular
math class. He emphatically said no and stated that he really needed that class to get into college
and it was “just perfect” for him.
Success for All/Reading Edge is a research-based reading program designed specifically
for middle grades students. We adopted this program as part of our reform effort. From the
refugee student who is just learning to read English to our brightest eighth graders, all of our
students are grouped according to instructional reading level and provided reading instruction.
These groups change quarterly based on data.
We promote extracurricular activities to encourage students to feel connected to the
school beyond academics. We have 30 girls in the Latin Dance Club, 50 girls in cheerleading,
110 boys and girls in our choral program, and 120 students in our band program. Five of our
students were selected this year to participate in the Greater Phoenix Honor Band. We have
boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, girls’ volleyball, boys’ soccer, girls’ softball and boys’
baseball. Our boys’ soccer team won the Valley Junior High 4-A Soccer Tournament for the
past two years in a row. Approximately 20 students belong to the United We Care Garden
Club. They collected 1,100 pounds of food for the needy this year and do on-going fundraisers
to support our student scholarship program, like selling hot chocolate on cold mornings. This
year they are growing vegetables to make salsa from the vegetables they grow to sell. A survey
of our households showed that only 44% of our families have access to the Internet. We offer an
open computer lab to students three days per week, where students can explore the Internet in a
supervised setting or work on class projects. Other organizations that provide students with
additional opportunities to grow are National Junior Honor Society, where students are
accepted based on recommendations, grades, and character, and our Student Council, which is
our student government component. We provide a late bus at 4:00 p.m. to allow all students
these opportunities. Engaging in extracurricular activities builds confidence, competence and
feelings of well-being. Our students develop emotional and psychological maturity, as stated in
our mission statement, allowing them to believe in their ability to build successful relationships
and pursue dreams.
We have procedures to maintain student success and provide intervention when students
are not successful. If attendance is an issue, our attendance clerk provides the outreach
coordinator with the names of students who have been absent five times or who are
demonstrating frequent tardies. We have conversations with the student and with the parents.
We are able to find out the root cause for the absence and/or tardies and after putting a plan in
place, we monitor. Teachers are encouraged to follow up on any student who exhibits behaviors
that could prevent success. We use Student Support Teams (SST) for intervention that meets
regularly to design solutions for kids. We also provide incentives for kids and classrooms that
demonstrate perfect attendance. Students’ names go into a drawing each week to receive a
“paycheck” for coming to “work.” Classrooms who have the highest attendance for the month,
at each grade level participate in a “dress down” day, instead of wearing the usual school
Student success is paramount and we know that first impressions are everything for
incoming fourth graders and for students new to the school once the year has begun. To support
the transition of primary students to middle school, we invite the third grade classes from the
primary school across the street for Step Up Day during the month of May prior to their fourth
grade year. They begin in our MPR for a pep rally, where students from Latin Dance and our
Cheerleading Club perform. Fourth grade students put on a fashion show to highlight our
uniforms and show the “right” way they should be worn. The third graders move through the
health office, library, cafeteria, and on to the classrooms. At each stop they are greeted by
friendly smiles and a special surprise such as a pencil or a bookmark. Once in our fourth grade
classrooms, they are paired up with a fourth grade student, who reads them a letter they
individually wrote to explain the best things about being a fourth grader at Granada East. Finally,
as students walk back to their primary school, the principal wishes them a great summer and lets
them know how anxious we are to have them. The third grade teachers report that this practice
relieves their students’ anxiety and the third graders look forward to coming up to the “big
school.” We also meet with parents who come along and answer any questions they may have.
To bridge the transition to high school, counselors from the local high school come to
pre-register students and answer any questions they may have. We hosted our High School Fair
in December. Several schools, including Brophy Prep and Xavier showcased their programs for
our students and their parents. One of our alumni actually provided the presentation from
Xavier. Our eighth grade teachers, who know our students well through the relationships they
have built, were also there to advise and assist students.
We keep a close eye on our seventh grade students, especially our incoming seventh
grade special education students. It can be a difficult transition moving from a self-contained
classroom to a departmentalized program with several teachers. Our teachers work closely as a
team to ensure student success and when difficulty begins to arise, students are immediately
referred to the Student Support Team.
Last year, we had an eighth grade wheelchair-bound student who went on the end-of-theyear field trip to Sun Splash. The student longed to go down the tallest, longest slide there. One
of our eighth grade teachers put this student on his back, climbed the 100 or so steps and took the
boy on the ride of his life. He didn’t just do this one time; he did it as many times as the boy
wanted to go. When you truly care about kids and want to make them feel successful, whether it
is academic or emotional, you do whatever it takes.
We host two self-contained cross-categorical special education classrooms for the
district. We call them our REACH rooms–Realizing Everyone’s Abilities, Character and
Hard Work. Our goal for our special education students is the same as for regular education
students. We look at their assessment data, find out their area of need, and provide appropriate
accommodations and intervention. We want them to achieve and reach their potential. They are
mainstreamed in regular education classrooms for math, reading and science whenever it is
appropriate. Our self-contained students are also included in teams with our regular education
students during Teambuilding Day. One parent, Ms. Ramirez, thanked the school for efforts
exhibited by one of our special education teachers, Ms. Reyes, for “working with my son who
has Asperger Syndrome, to insure he is successful in school.” Our school is committed to the
success of all students. Our teachers are central to student success.
C. Professional Learning Communities
Professional development is seen as continuous, job-embedded, and ongoing. Our focus
is high student achievement, so we continuously look at student achievement data to determine
our staff development needs. Our schedule is organized to allow each grade level a common prep
period, which allows them to meet as a team. Teams meet several times per week to analyze
student assessment data and to plan lessons and re-teaching sessions. They also meet one day
per week to provide solutions to teammates for students with challenges. Teams meet with the
principal biweekly to look at assessment data and to review research-based, best practices. For
example, while analyzing a test item, it became apparent that our students understood the skill
but struggled with the academic vocabulary. This observation became a pattern that our staff saw
as a need to provide more instruction in that area; however, they also needed more staff
development in vocabulary instructional practice. During grade level meetings, we conducted a
mini workshop for teachers on the use of response frames to teach high utility academic
vocabulary, provided teachers with resources, and offered to model the process in classrooms.
Ms. Kennedy, the principal, modeled for an eighth grade classroom teacher later that week. A
portion of these meetings is devoted to a book study, entitled The Collaborative Teacher.
Monthly staff meetings have also become a forum for book studies, scoring writing, learning
new technology and studying best practice. Success for All component meetings are held each
month–one for Reading Edge teachers, one for Wings teachers, and one for teachers new to
teaching the program. These component meetings are designed to answer questions about
practice, model different strategies for implementation with fidelity, and discuss concerns
teachers have regarding the implementation of the program.
Collaborative Peer Teachers (CPT) coach teachers whose assessment data show
students are not making the desired growth. The teacher may need support in interpreting the
assessment data, grouping students according to need, or implementing a particular strategy.
Teachers are grateful for the assistance. Our CPTs meet weekly to discuss the coaching they are
doing in the classrooms and to problem solve with one another. CPTs also participate in an
additional book study geared towards enhancing their coaching abilities and leadership skills.
We just finished reading and discussing the book, Building Teachers Capacity for Success. We
have early dismissal five times a year devoted to staff development. We learned how to spend
this time effectively as a professional learning community. Now, we use the time to discuss
student achievement and what to do when we don’t get the results we want. We also use this
time to receive instruction ourselves, once an area of need is determined. For example, we want
to improve our students’ writing skills, so in addition to using the non-fiction writing rubric we
developed for schoolwide consistency and submitting writing samples to the principal, we will
spend some of this time receiving instruction from a writing expert and will also continue to
trade writing samples to develop the same expectations for students across the grade levels.
Our staff learns from one another. They engage in peer observations, at a minimum of
twice per year. Besides going into another classroom and observing a lesson, the observer
completes a reflection sheet and copies it for the teacher who was observed. Our teachers report
that it improves their practice and affirms what they are doing in the classroom. Our CPTs will
cover a class at any time for a teacher to go into another classroom to observe a specific practice.
This is encouraged and supported school wide. Teachers share lessons and common
assessments via email and on the school server regularly. Every classroom has an electronic
SMART Board. Teachers create interactive reading and math lessons to use on the SMART
Board for interactive instruction and share with one another regularly. The principal and
assistant also observe classrooms regularly. A form, designed to target our school focus, is used
to document the informal observation and provided to the teacher. Teachers are encouraged to
discuss the visit with the administrator at any time. Administrators work closely with the
teaching staff to provide the best instruction to our students.
School walkthroughs are another means of staff development. The principal,
intervention specialist, school psychologist, two CPTs, and two or three teachers canvas the
school every three weeks, unannounced, to gather data on trends and on the school focus of
student engagement. Our staff never knows the day, but teachers who are invited to attend leave
their classrooms in the hands of a CPT for an hour on that day. We go in teams of two and with
the help of every team, all classrooms are visited and information is gathered in the areas of
instructional delivery, instructional strategies, and student engagement. We meet and report the
data, which is formatted for analysis by the staff. We have improved our student engagement
from 6% to 70% over the past five years. Teachers who go on the walkthroughs report their
observations in a debriefing session that is respectful and professional. They always, without
exception, say it is an informative process that they are glad they are able to be part of. When
observing in one classroom, the visiting teacher pointed out that if the teacher tweaked this
strategy a bit, they would have had higher engagement. She also said it made her aware she
would need to watch that in her own classroom. The data is also shared with the entire staff.
Teachers new to the school begin with an orientation before the continuing staff returns.
The mentor who has been assigned to them also attends the orientation. After lunch is served, a
discussion follows to answer their questions. We spend the second half of the meeting showing
and talking about the community we serve. Support staff and community members are invited to
say a few words. Most recently, a clip from the movie, Freedom Writers, was shown. In the clip
a homeless child, whose family was recently evicted from their apartment, expressed how
grateful he was for belonging to the class. The point is to illustrate the need to build relationships
and create a sense of belonging for all students. New teachers also meet with a teacher leader
each week for the first semester and then biweekly thereafter. Teachers who experience
difficulties in the classroom or who have made a change in grade levels and demonstrate they are
struggling receive additional support. Depending on the issue, they may be assigned a mentor at
our school or at a different school in the district. They may also be required to observe other
teachers at their current grade level who may be a master at organization, lesson planning,
differentiation, use of assessment data, or student engagement.
Classroom assistants also receive a minimum of four staff development sessions per year,
such as building positive relationships with students or how to deal with difficult situations with
students. This year, assistants in our REACH classrooms learned strategies to use with students
to develop reading fluency and word recognition. They have also been trained to use Edmark
Reading Intervention Program to increase students’ reading skills.
Our staff members are committed, hardworking people who deserve to be recognized for
all that they do for our students. Staff members are routinely recognized for their achievements
during staff meetings and grade level meetings with thank you notes written by the principal (52
this year, to date), on the Pay it Forward board in the lounge where staff members post kind
words towards one another in a public way, in the monthly newsletter that goes home to families,
in the morning announcements, and in the Monday Morning Message sent out by the principal
each week. During our staff meeting, a different staff member is appreciated each month by
receiving the Affirmation Ball from the staff member who received it the month before.
Another staff member receives the “traveling gnome” who is adorned with a personal item that
represents the previous recipient. Our staff has great fun with these items and it provides an
avenue for everyone to express appreciation for one another. Each month students nominate a
Teacher of the Month (See Section A). At the beginning of each school year, teachers are
publicly recognized for their student achievement based on AIMS, if it is at or above the district
average. Special recognition is given to teachers whose students score above the state average.
Two of our teachers have been Rodel Exemplary Teacher Finalists over the past two years. This
is quite an impressive distinction, considering only 16 are chosen from across the county. Twelve
of our teachers have earned the district’s Excellence in Education Award over the past five years
and one of our teachers was recognized by Fulton Homes.
D. Active Teaching and Learning
Our state standards, district curriculum, and pacing guides are our roadmaps to successful
teaching and learning at each grade level. We use the AIMS Blueprint and AIMS Item
Specifications to drill down to the precise level of rigor for each grade level on a particular
standard. We rely on these tools to make informed decisions about how we spend instructional
time in the classroom. We have increased continuity of practice, policies, resources, and
pedagogy from classroom to classroom and grade to grade to significantly and positively affect
student achievement. Our practices are research-based and contribute to high expectations and
student achievement for all students. Each grade level meets as a team to collaborate. They plan,
analyze weekly student data from just-in-time assessments, and develop intervention plans for
students who did not master the concepts. During these grade level meetings, teachers plan
together, deciding which performance objectives will be taught that week. If for some reason, we
have to split a class among the rest of the classrooms at a particular grade level, we are confident
students will be receiving quality instruction on the same concepts they would have received in
their own classroom. Time is also built in on staff development days to analyze the Arizona State
Standards in reading and math by strand, concept, and performance objective. Teachers look at
the grade level above and the grade level below to identify the differences in expectations for
mastery. Our teachers opt for depth in the curriculum, rather than breadth. Throughout this
school year, our teachers are identifying essential outcomes based on the standards. They spend
time discussing, debating and answering the questions: What are five to seven essential
understandings I want every student entering my classroom to have and what are five to seven
essential understandings I am willing to guarantee every student leaving my classroom will
have? Teachers meet with members of other grade levels to determine what students must learn
to be promoted to the next grade level in order to be successful. At this time, we are working
with the primary school across the street to continue the vertical alignment discussion for optimal
student success.
A common characteristic of highly achieving schools is an emphasis on writing. Our
Writing Task Force researched non-fiction writing rubrics and developed a school wide rubric
for teachers to use to ensure we are consistently applying the same standard across the grade
levels when grading student writing. All of our teachers are trained in the Holistic Writing
Rubric. We grade our quarterly benchmark writing in teams of four, with teachers grading a
class from a different grade level. Every two weeks, all teachers turn a class set of scored
student writing using the rubric. Our leadership team reads the papers, writes feedback to the
teachers regarding patterns of strengths and areas to target for instruction, and returns them to the
teachers. To engage students in their own learning and increase language and collaboration
skills, we integrate Kagan Cooperative Learning across the curriculum, at every grade level. (See
Section A).
Students are involved in charting their quarterly progress, setting goals and making a plan
to achieve their goals, as described in Section A. They record their goal and their progress in
their agenda. Teachers keep a copy in the class data folder, along with the steps students and
teachers have discussed to help them reach their goals. During Parent/Teacher Conferences,
many of our junior high students display Powerpoint presentations they have designed to show
their parents their progress, areas of strength and areas needing improvement. For students who
fall below mastery, we have several safety nets. Each week our students take a just-in-time
assessment to monitor whether or not the student mastered the concept taught. This is a
collaborative endeavor across the grade level. Students are regrouped and retaught according
to the concept needed, frequently by a teacher whose data showed greater success among
students. Teachers co-teach with the idea that the same standards taught from a different
perspective may make the difference for a student. Teachers report increased student motivation
and more focus due to the difference in the delivery of instruction. All teachers invest in every
student. We have 15 classrooms of after-school tutoring opportunities set up according to need
(described in section B). Two mornings per week we host a Fact Academy for students in
grades 6-8 who have not mastered their multiplication facts. Students are required to attend this
tutoring before school until they know their facts. We expect every student to demonstrate 80%
mastery before the end of the school year. Classrooms are tracking student progress and at the
end of the school year, we host an ice cream sundae party to celebrate their success.
Push-in tutoring during the day is also a regular practice. Three certified district tutors
are assigned to our campus and they use research-based practices to increase fluency and
comprehension skills of students identified by assessment data. Our CPTs also work with
students, who have scored “falls far below” on weekly assessments, during lunchtime tutoring
sessions or daily homeroom sessions. During the third quarter, right after our spring break, every
available staff member–including the principal–takes a group of students, identified by
assessment data, to give them intensive tutoring time during the school day. This is designed to
encourage these students before the state assessment so they feel ready to show what they know.
When a student is not successful in one or more areas, we look at root causes and at
possible solutions in our Student Support Team (SST). All data is gathered, including
attendance and discipline. We look at patterns such as the days a student may be absent or tardy.
A team of teachers, which spans the grade levels and subject areas, comes together with the
parents to discuss interventions. A case manager is assigned to determine the success of the
interventions within a two-week period and if necessary, reconvenes the team to further examine
possible solutions.
Elect to Learn classes are for the junior high student that needs a double dose of
instruction in reading or math. Students are placed according to their AIMS scores and the
specific strand where they are weak. For example, we group all of our students who need more
instruction in geometry in one class, and those who need more instruction in number sense in
another class. Student engagement is crucial to learning. We expect every student to be ready to
learn each and everyday, and we have systems in place, like cooperative learning and data-driven
instruction, to facilitate that readiness. Kid Biz Achieve 3000 is a web-based, intervention
program that provides individualized support, using technology to help each student progress
towards reading and writing proficiency, specifically, informational text. The articles are high
interest and centered on current events. This supplemental program helps us to laser-focus
instruction for our students who require a little extra instruction for mastery. They are popular
with students, as they are driven by each student’s rate of achievement and specific area of need.
We have established routines and procedures that optimize the learning time and set a
standard for behavior. The last morning bell rings at 7:30 and students are lined up, outside their
classroom, where the teacher greets them. Junior high students have three minutes to travel
between classes. Throughout the school day, students are expected to follow all of the pillars of
good character. We want our students to see school as a rehearsal for the workplace. Students
need to develop the skills to be successful in all of their interactions and make appropriate
choices. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning by coming to class
ready to learn. We provide them with a student agenda/planner that is used throughout the school
day. Students carry their agenda/planner (discussed in Section A), which contains a school
Character Card. Students receive a stamp of “yes” when the behavioral expectations are met,
and when they are not met, they receive a “no.” Students who receive one or more “no’s” in a
day attend a ninth hour after school. If a student frequently receives ninth hour, the student is
referred to SST (See Section B) to seek appropriate interventions designed for student success.
Our students set goals for learning every quarter as discussed in Section A. We make it a point to
celebrate quarterly accomplishments, so students make the connection between working towards
goals and student achievement.
It is also critical to provide a meaningful and relevant curriculum that applies learning to
the real world. Some examples of how we do that include:
• One of our fourth grade classrooms exchanges letters with Trucker Buddy Chuck. He sends
Ms. Guse’s class postcards from every state he visits in the country, and he visits the
classroom when he is in town. Students measure his “18-wheeler” and explore his living
quarters. This relationship has promoted their writing, math, and geography skills.
• Ms. Thompson’s class participates in the Adopt-A-Pilot program with Southwest Airlines for
four weeks in the spring. This is an aviation-related educational program that teaches math,
science, geography, language arts, career planning, and presentation skills with the help of
pilot mentors. The pilots come into the classroom and students correspond with the pilots and
follow his/her flight plan around the country.
• Our students participate in Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement is a hands-on,
experiential program that teaches the key concepts of work readiness, entrepreneurship, and
financial literacy to students. Volunteers from the business community teach our students in
the classroom. Our seventh graders will participate in a month-long economics education
program that introduces personal financial planning and career exploration and then go on a
field trip to Junior Achievement Finance Park by developing a budget and making decisions
about life based on their budget.
• In junior high social studies, students study the stock market through a simulation. Students
watch the news looking for trends in business and world events that would impact the price
of their stock.
In addition to classroom-based projects, our students are learning that we are all
responsible for each other. As noted in Section A, our students participate in numerous activities
to care for their school and the community—the United We Care Club, National Junior Honor
Society, and Student Council to name but a few. Our junior high art classes participate in service
learning projects. This year, they created ceramic turkeys and ornaments for decorations for a
rest home for the elderly. They also held a holiday bazaar with crafts they created and sold for
profit. The proceeds went to Alhambra Foundation for the Future.
Our school supports significant resources for teachers and students. Our library is open
45 minutes before school and 45 minutes after school each day. It is available to students for
research, to check out books, to complete homework, and to simply, read. All of the books are
shelved according to reading level, which makes books easy for students to locate.
Realia Kits, boxes of “real life” objects to provide a complete understanding of a word or
concept, are available to all teachers to use with book sets. These kits are perfect to describe the
background to a student who may never have had the experience. In the book Shark Attack,
students can try on flippers and goggles. There is ribbon marked to show the length of different
sharks. Our teachers can also access virtual realia for vocabulary, via the district Intranet for each
of the literature pieces in our Reading Edge program. Realia kits provide an excellent teaching
tool for English language learners.
Technology is integrated into our classrooms with CPS responders, laptop carts, SMART
Boards and a variety of educational software. With the responders, teachers and students receive
immediate feedback as to whether or not students have mastered a concept. They are small,
hand-held devices in which a student enters a response to a question with a number or letter. The
information is displayed on the SMART Board in the form of a graph or other visual selected by
the teacher. Teachers know who understands and who doesn’t and are able to correct
misconceptions immediately. The energy in the classroom is extremely high with such
immediate feedback. Besides a laptop for every teacher, we have several laptop carts, each
containing 32 laptops, for grades 4-6. Each cart is shared between two classrooms. Students use
the laptops for quadrant graphing and to display 3-D representations in math, to do simulations,
Webquests, and make iMovies in science and to research topics of interest and complete writing
projects in language arts. Our overall goal is for teachers to use technology as a tool to create an
environment where cooperative, project-based, and interdisciplinary learning takes place. Every
student in our junior high is engaged in project-based learning using one-to-one laptops. Students
are learning about past events from their social studies curriculum and actively connecting the
concepts with events that are occurring throughout the world today. Due to an ARRA Title II 21st
Century grant, we have purchased seven laptop carts for the junior high—each science and social
studies classroom shares a cart, and each language arts and math classroom have their own. For
example, in the seventh grade, students are using the immigration experience of Ellis Island to
create and assume individual profiles of past immigrants, collect and analyze data concerning
income, employment, diseases, country of origin, etc, and look for patterns and trends to evaluate
the needs of the virtual community. After considerable research and analysis, students are
creating multi-media projects. Students have Gaggle accounts—monitored email accounts that
allow teachers to post assignments and students to share their projects with each other and the
teacher. In addition, students make Blog entries to high level questions posed by the teacher:
“How has the experience of immigrants remained the same throughout history and how has it
changed”. This is an integrated learning experience, where technology opens the door to
collaboration, innovation, critical thinking and problem solving—the ingredients of a rigorous
and motivating curriculum. It is challenging for teachers, as well. Teachers across the content
areas collaborate and receive training from Intel and ongoing support from our district
technology coaches. In addition, we use Galileo, a web-based educational management system,
to create our weekly assessments, find instructional dialogs to assist with instruction, create
reports to analyze student data, and track student achievement. Students in grades 4-6 take a
special technology class. Our technology teacher, Ms. Martin, brags about her students’ creative
technological projects at almost every staff meeting. Students design web pages, learn
presentation techniques, ways of displaying and analyzing information, and creative design. This
prepares them for their junior high curriculum, when they will rely on technology for much of
their learning.
E. Challenging Curriculum Standards
As stated, the focus at Granada East School is to provide every child a challenging and
rigorous learning environment in order to prepare him/her for a 21st Century world. We view
mastery of the Arizona State Standards as a minimum requirement for our students. Once the
AIMS scores are in, teachers are mailed their scores and those of their teammates in a summer
packet with reflection questions to answer and bring back in the fall. They also receive the strand
and concept data of the students coming up, so they can prepare for their specific needs.
Teachers look at the standards above and below the current grade level to ensure the correct level
of academic rigor. The following is a snapshot of the curriculum our school provides:
Language Arts/Homeroom Reading: Every child receives instruction on the grade level
standards for reading and writing at least 90 minutes per day in their homeroom or, in the case of
junior high, in their language arts class. This is double-dose, in addition to the SFA reading
block. Writing is taught using the 6-Trait process and a writer’s workshop model. Vocabulary
development, using high utility academic words, is a critical part of our language arts instruction
and is usually an additional 20 to 30 per day. This is extremely important for our ELL population
to provide access to content. We use Marzano’s six-step process and Kate Kinsella’s method for
making words meaningful to students through oral practice and sentence framing. Our goal is to
develop competent communicators critical readers and writers. Students are learning strategies
to read, understanding the author’s purpose and to write persuasively.
Social Studies: In grades 4-6, we use a variety of resources to provide our students with current
events in addition to their text. Time for Kids, Scholastic News and Weekly Reader for current
events and real life applications are a few examples of the resources teachers use. Our junior
high received new texts this year–Glencoe. Additionally, teachers frequently take 5-minute clips
from United Streaming to give students a more visual lesson. Reading and writing are integrated
into the social studies curriculum, as teachers also teach skills for reading informational text
during social studies. Junior high social studies teachers collaborate with language arts teachers
to combine research skills with social studies content. Hands-on and simulation activities also
engage all of our students in history and social studies. Students dress in period clothing and set
up a wax museum in the fifth grade, and fourth grade students make iMovies depicting historical
Science: Our science program is primarily hands-on. We use FOSS and SEPUP hands-on kits.
Each grade level teaches modules designated by our district curriculum. Writing, reading, math,
and technology skills are integrated. In junior high, our science teachers collaborate with the
math teachers to reinforce math skills with the science curriculum. A science technology cart
supports exploration, research, and visual descriptions of our science instruction. Every student
in our school is expected to participate in the Science Fair each year. Six Saturdays this year our
district has sponsored STEM Saturdays in which 30 or our students attend. Fourth grade
students are encouraged to join Design Squad and eighth grade students can join MESA, in
which students work in teams to complete engineering tasks, using a collaborative, inquiry-based
process. To encourage our girls to explore science and math careers, we also began an all Girls’
Robotics Team this year.
Technology: We focus on using technology to enhance instruction and student engagement. As
stated in Section C, SMART Boards are integral to our classroom instruction, allowing access to
the Internet, CPS responders, and other applications that inform and engage students. Every
classroom has a SMART Board. As we can afford to purchase them, mobile laptop carts are used
at every grade level to enhance learning. Teachers use the Nettrekker software program to assign
specific websites for supplemental instruction, and Inspiration, a writing software program, to
assist students with creating graphic organizers and enhancing writing projects with illustrations.
Students also have access to Discovery Education Videos for research. We have two computer
labs. One lab is staffed with a certified teacher who teaches students to use many computer
applications to create podcasts, web pages, and PowerPoint presentations. The other lab is open
to teachers to use Achieve 3000 (See Section D) and complete writing and research projects. All
students in grades 4-6 regularly attend a computer class. Some of the projects in the technology
class include designing a Microsoft Word Teen brochure that requires students to research a
current issue involving teens and create a brochure using statistics and pictures from the Internet.
Another example is a Microsoft Excel project. Students research different cell phone plans and
record their data in a spreadsheet. They are then expected to graph the data for a visual
representation and interpret the data for an informed decision about which plan is the most costeffective.
Physical Education, Health: All 4-6 grade students are required to participate in P.E. It is an
elective in junior high. Students participate in an exercise regime, as well as learning various
sports. For example, our girls begin each class completing a Step Aerobics exercise, running a
timed lap, or doing timed sit-ups and push-ups. Our girls’ team has won the district fitness meet
for the past six years. They learn the sports of volleyball, basketball, track and field, softball,
golf, and a variety of other activities.
The Arts: Our arts program is very strong. Students in grades 4-6 participate in art and music
twice in a six-day cycle. Junior high students participate daily and as mentioned in Section D,
create projects for the good of the community. Band is offered to all students beginning in fifth
grade, and several of our students have been selected to play in the Greater Phoenix Honor
Band. Sixteen students were awarded for their entries in the Grand Canyon State Games 2010
National Art Contest. Over 125 students participated in our winter choral concert. With
funding received from a grant, our choral teacher took 50 students dressed in their Sunday best to
a concert at ASU. Student artwork lines the walls of our student lobby and the district office.
One Saturday, our art teacher took a group of 20 parents and students to the Phoenix Art
Museum on the light rail and then for a picnic afterwards. Art and music classes support our
regular curriculum. Students write poetry to critique art masterpieces, learn academic
vocabulary, and read biographies of famous musicians.
Two programs that are significant to our school’s success are Success for All/Reading
Edge and Hands on Equations/Math. Success For All Program/Reading Edge: This
program has changed the way we view teaching and learning at Granada East. Reading Edge is a
research-based, comprehensive reading program designed to support and accelerate the literacy
development of adolescent readers. What makes it unique to reading instruction in the middle
grades is that all of our teachers teach reading–including PE coaches, art teachers, science, and
math teachers. All of our teachers share the responsibility to teach every student to read at grade
level and become strategic readers. This makes our program particularly effective. Our
leadership team received five days of training prior to the start of the program. Our teachers also
received intensive training before we began implementation four years ago. The program is
highly individualized and tailored to the needs of students at each level. For example, students
who are new to the country and speak little English receive Roots for Older Students
instruction. This has a high phonics base and controlled vocabulary readers to prevent gaps in
literacy development and build confidence. Our fourth and fifth graders are in the Wings
program and grouped from Levels 2.1-6.2. (These levels coincide with grade levels, i.e., 2.1 is
second grade, first semester.) Our sixth-eighth grade students are in the Reading Edge program,
which is similar in scope and sequence, but with strategies geared towards the adolescent
student. Whether it is Adair from the Sudan, in Ms. Middleton’s class, blending sounds to make
words, or Carolina from Mr. Roubison’s class reading Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing
to study how themes are expressed in a play, the SFA program meets the needs of all students.
We have dedicated a Collaborative Peer Teacher as the SFA Facilitator to this program to
provide support to teachers, gather and purchase resources, and analyze student data for
appropriate placement. Students are grouped according to instructional level and every nine
weeks are administered a benchmark test that determines their level for the next quarter.
Instructional practices include the use of visuals and realia, graphic organizers, cooperative
learning, building background and vocabulary, and the use of quality literature. Cooperative
learning fosters a cooperative, collaborative atmosphere. Students work together, supporting one
another, developing positive language skills, yet maintaining a sense of individual accountability.
This is a huge support to our English language learners. Since all of our teachers are trained in
these instructional practices, they are used across every grade level and content area to support
learning and increase student engagement. During homeroom reading time, students sit in the
SFA position to participate in partner reading. Eighth grade students talk with their shoulder
partner to identify the cause and effect in a science experiment. Students from Granada Primary,
our feeder school, also participate in the SFA program. When our students come to us in the
fourth grade, the continuity of the program is familiar to them; therefore, their transition is made
easier. We selected this program based on the research and we implemented it with fidelity.
Because of our high level of implementation, we were selected as the model school for the
SFA’s nationwide video used for marketing and training.
Hands On Equations/Math: Our standard textbook for 4-5 grade is Harcourt and for 6-8 grade,
Holt (although we are in the adoption process). We use the District curriculum and pacing guide
to guide our instruction. These programs offer online support for students, and teachers can use
the online resources with their SMART Boards to provide interactive lessons. What makes our
math program unique and particularly effective at Granada East is the school wide
implementation of a hands-on algebra program beginning in grade four called Hands-On
Equations. Our teachers report that our students love the program and they are able to transfer
the concepts from the hands-on program to solving paper/pencil equations. One of our sixth
grade classes competed with one of our eighth grade algebra classes (who never used the handson program) and the sixth grade students presented them with quite the challenge! This program
also teaches students how to solve some very challenging verbal equations. One example is:
“Each day, Grandma gives Mary 5 more toys than the day before. Over the course of a whole
week, she gives her 126 toys. How many toys did grandma give Mary each day?” Our students
who have demonstrated they have competently achieved the standards at their grade level are
placed in an accelerated math class where they are taught the next grade’s curriculum. Our sixth
grade students in the accelerated class are already in a pre-algebra class. Our goal is for all of
our students to be enrolled in Algebra I when in the eighth grade. We have two sections of
Algebra I for capable students, however they must take an honor’s math class to ensure
competency in the eighth grade standards. Besides delivering a rigorous math curriculum to
challenge our students, we have made a school wide commitment that every child will know
his/her multiplication facts by the end of the school year. All students are assessed and those who
do not demonstrate 80% or higher mastery are given fact cards to use at home with their parents.
In addition, 6-8 grade students who do not have mastery of the basic facts are required to attend
the Fact Academy (See Section D) twice per week. Students who are struggling with concepts in
junior high math, are required to take Elect to Learn as an elective. We supplement our program
in the fourth grade with Superintendent’s Math Achievement Club and in fifth and sixth grade
with MAC-Ro. Both of these programs entail take-home booklets students must complete with
their parents each month. Our math program is comprehensive and designed to challenge all of
our students. In addition, every student takes a basic skills math assessment, designed by our
math task force made up of teachers at each grade level. This assessment includes performance
objectives from each grade level to identify gaps that may prevent a student from being
successful. Based on multiple measures, a student may be identified for a six-day cycle of after
school math tutoring to eliminate that gap, allowing the student to achieve success.
Our teachers are committed to making the curriculum meaningful to all students. By
teaching a unit on the stock market, engaging in a Junior Achievement simulation, tracking our
airline pilot or trucker buddy across the country, or by including an emphasis on physical fitness
in our physical education program, we are integrating practical skills into our curriculum. It is
also important to us that we are preparing our students for the 21st Century workplace. The
integration of technology into instruction and building students’ computer literacy skills are ways
that we are doing just that.
Our curriculum is constantly refined based on what our student achievement data tells us.
Teachers work on committees at school, such as our Writing Task Force, building in refinements
to get high student achievement. We celebrate our success, reinforce what is working, and look
for root causes to eliminate barriers to success. If a barrier is identified that requires teacher
training, we build it into our professional development. Our school wide writing rubric is an
example. We realized we needed a consistent standard for writing for all students. We developed
the rubric after researching the most effective rubrics to strengthen writing and we have begun to
score in teams to maintain a consistent, high expectation. The very best teachers on our staff
work on district committees, where Just-In-Time Assessments, lesson plans, and writing prompts
are created. These are shared with our staff during staff and grade level meetings. Teachers also
work together with their grade level to collectively write common assessments and lesson plans
for their own grade level team.
Our standards are rigorous. At each behavior assembly, we inform students that it is
unfair to the students who come to school every day prepared to learn to allow those who don’t
to receive the benefit of promotion. We expect students to be prepared before moving to the next
grade. Teachers do not let students off the hook. If they owe an assignment, they must do it.
Zeros are not acceptable. We have safety nets in place to catch any student who is failing due to
attendance, a gap in skills, or behavior. Students receive extra help at lunch, before and after
school, and in the summer. We target our interventions to the specific need of the child. One of
our eighth grade students’ families was evicted from their trailer and he was absent for 10 days.
While checking attendance records we noticed this and contacted the family through a cousin.
We brought the boy back to school, made sure the family was connected with social agencies to
help them, provided a mentor to the student to catch him up, and since then he has been at school
each day thriving. If a student doesn’t know his/her math facts, we will do extra duty to make
sure the student gets them. We expect our students to participate in that effort as well.
Approximately 40% of our students are English language learners (ELLs). We have our
students grouped according to language proficiency and in reading, according to instructional
level. In addition to language instruction, students learn academics with strategies that promote
language proficiency and academic knowledge. Cooperative learning and our school wide
academic vocabulary initiatives are successful strategies in closing the achievement gap for
English language learners. Last year, we reclassified 45% of our ELL students.
We believe in differentiating instruction for all of our students. Our Gifted Academically
Talented Environment (G.A.T.E.) students are challenged through differentiated instruction.
Our 4-6 G.A.T.E. students attend a district program once every six days to work on special
projects. They are grouped according to their instructional reading levels in SFA to ensure they
are challenged in reading and in an accelerated math class. These students often peer tutor, which
provides them with the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and take a leadership role in
the classroom. Junior high G.A.T.E. students take honor level classes.
Our special needs students are provided a rich and challenging curriculum with
accommodations that meet their needs. We use an inclusion model where appropriate, so they
attend classes with mainstream peers, and provide additional support through resource
assistance. Students who receive special education services receive a double-dose of reading or
math to give them additional instruction in their area of need.
In the past two years, we became the home to two self-contained special education
classrooms. We have embraced this opportunity, providing all of these students with an enriched
educational experience. We are proud to say that five of our MIMR students from our REACH
program are meeting the standards in reading for their grade level. Our REACH students are
mainstreamed into our SFA program (Section B) according to their instructional level. At
Granada East School, we meet all students where they are. Whatever needs our students have, we
are equipped and ready to provide appropriate instruction.
F. Leadership and Educational Vitality
Ms. Kennedy, the principal, believes that to sustain school improvement and high student
achievement, it is critical to build capacity through shared leadership. Every decision, policy, and
program is evaluated on the impact it will have on our students and their achievement. When a
request is made for resources, a program initiative, a field trip, or a change in policy, the same
questions are always asked: How does this benefit students and impact student achievement?
Does this align with our school vision? Ms. Kennedy’s strong leadership centers on our school
goals and vision. Systems are in place to ensure all stakeholders are involved in decision-making.
These systems include data analysis, needs assessment, goal setting, action plans, progress
monitoring, and intervention. Teachers, who once worked independently, now work
collaboratively within their grade level and with teachers throughout the school, and feel a strong
investment in the school as a whole. Programs are chosen based on data and decisions are always
made in the best interest of students. Leadership is promoted to include students and parents, and
consistency leaves no question with regards to our focus.
Through the strong, focused leadership of Ms. Kennedy, the school has found a vitality to
respond to school improvement reform, carefully, thoughtfully, and with vigor. Ms. Kennedy
was named a 2009 Rodel Exemplary Principal (The Rodel Charitable Foundation seeks out and
honors exceptional leaders in high-needs schools).
Today, there are many examples of leadership on the Granada East campus. There is so
much going on that one person could not possibly do it all, nor do it well. Our leadership begins
with our principal, and the leadership team, which is comprised of the outreach coordinator, the
data analysis coordinator, parent outreach/Title I facilitator, ELL collaborative peer teacher,
school psychologist, and the SFA facilitator. This leadership team meets weekly to examine data
from classroom walkthroughs and common assessment summaries teachers turn in to Ms.
Kennedy each week. The purpose is to determine staff coaching and student intervention needs.
We know the importance of building capacity. For example, grade level team leaders guide
teachers in data analysis and interpretation, lesson planning and alignment and student concerns.
We have several overarching committees comprised of different facets of the school community.
For example, we have a Math Task Force and Science Task Force comprised of teachers who
chart our course in each of these content areas. Our School Improvement Committee (SIC) is
comprised of our leadership team, grade level team leaders, and any other staff members who
wish to participate. We also meet as a staff and use an evidence-based school improvement
rubric to determine the areas where we are doing well and the areas where we need to direct our
focus. Our mission on this committee is to ensure that our school resources are aligned with our
goals, which have been determined by a needs assessment process. The data collected by this
process early in 2005-2006 showed a significant number of students in the “falls far below”
category on AIMS. The goals that came from this included: implementing a Solution Network
and Student Support Team (SST) to provide a system of interventions for students struggling
behaviorally and academically, increasing the number of students who “meet/exceed” the
standards in reading and math, and provide training and support to parents to improve our
communication and the parents’ ability to impact the academic achievement of their children.
Our parent training and support efforts described previously in Section A and Section G, our
student agendas, and our Thursday parent communication folder are some of the examples of this
Our goals change each year as we successfully find effective strategies to address our
areas of need and more and more stakeholders become leaders in various aspects of school life.
As you will see in the next section, we met those earlier goals. Our students do not struggle
behaviorally, and our academic achievement continues to increase each year. We have a strong
pyramid of interventions in place, and our parent participation has more than doubled with an
increase from 1,049 parents participating in workshop activities in 2006 to 2,853 in 2009.
Teacher leaders chair grade level teams. One of their responsibilities is to go over
classroom/student data with other teachers on the team and make decisions about the grade level
common assessment and reteaching. These teacher leaders participate in a retreat before school
begins and receive regular training and support throughout the school year to combat resistance
and keep grade levels focused on student achievement.
Under Ms. Kennedy’s leadership, many informal examples of leadership have surfaced.
Most recently, one of our teachers asked to write a mini-grant to develop a community garden.
She did and she received the grant, calling her group the We Care Club. At the same time, a
group of sixth grade students asked to start a “United” club to help out the community–clean up
the park, collect food for the poor, and beautify different areas of the school. They found a
teacher sponsor and both clubs decided to come together as one. They are known as the United
WE Care Club. Our NJHS group asked if they could paint a few walls on campus. Our night lead
custodian came on a Saturday, at his suggestion, to prepare the wall and materials for the
students. These examples of leadership grew out of our vision to grow students who care about
their world.
We use multiple sources of data to make decisions, with technology playing a huge role
in our collection and analysis of that data. One specific part of our mission statement states we
use, “authentic, systematic assessment to measure student success.” We are able to assess
students and immediately analyze the results on a classroom level and on a school level. Every
quarter, 4Sight and Galileo benchmark assessments are given to measure student progress.
Teachers know the results the day their class takes the assessment. This information is shared
with students who anxiously await their individual results to see if they met their goal. It is also
used on the classroom level to mark progress towards class goals on a classroom goal chart and
in leadership and grade level meetings to identify areas needing more instructional focus. We
have created a room devoted to student data wall graphs and discussions. Every student has a
card—updated quarterly, which is coded to describe the student’s academic information. The
cards are placed on the wall to form a school wide graph. Meetings are conducted in our data
room to discuss patterns and trends that help us identify areas of strength and concern for
intervention. Five years ago, accessing data and creating a plan for a school, grade level,
classroom, groups of students, or an individual student was not something teachers could do.
Today, all of our teachers feel confident and have said they don’t know what they ever did before
they had the skills. We provide time during staff development to analyze reports and learn new
ways to use the information to drive quality instruction. Teachers meet in their teams and access
numerous reports, such as Item Analysis Reports, to look at the question most frequently missed
by students to understand why and develop plans for teaching the concept for greater mastery.
Our staff spends time analyzing student work and results and developing lesson plans. It has
opened up a laser-focused approach to instruction. Students are also taught to use technology–
taking assessments with CPS responders, looking at and analyzing the graphs of student answers
immediately, and using various individualized online programs. Technology is also used to share
student grades with parents. Our eSembler grading system is online, as is our assessment
management system, Galileo. Parents can access both of these programs to check their student’s
test scores and class grades—a process we teach them to do through our parent liaison and
during a parent workshop night. Since many of our parents do not have Internet access in their
home, daily assistance is provided in our Parent Resource Room and also in our labs during our
Second Cup of Coffee monthly meeting. Our school website is designed to provide parents with
a snapshot of services and programs offered at our school. It is an additional tool to access
teachers through their websites and stay in touch with students’ assignments and progress.
We continue to operate on the edge of our competence. We continuously examine our
data and make strategic plans for the future. We believe it is a never-ending cycle.
Our current plan has us deciding how many students are needed to acquire an “Excelling” label
for Arizona Learns. We won’t be satisfied until every student demonstrates proficiency on
AIMS, but we also know we have many students that need to be challenged to reach “exceeds.”
Our students set goals and are engaged in the responsibility of learning. Our staff continues to
invite parents to participate in the education of their children, and we make that partnership more
and more accessible to them through technology and frequent conversations.
G. School, Family and Community Partnership
Granada East is committed to developing and fostering a positive relationship with
parents and families in our community. We believe that it takes everyone–students, teachers,
parents, and community partnerships to ensure that all students learn and achieve their goals. The
location of our Parent Resource Room right off the front office is one example of how we want
to make our school a welcoming, convenient place. Parents can speak with our Parent Volunteer
Coordinator to get assistance for a variety of needs. Our front office staff is also trained in our
district Customer Service Standards and expected to use them always. A district “secret shopper”
called and one of our receptionists received the district’s Outstanding Customer Service
Ambassador Award for her thorough and polite response to the call. Our receptionists are
bilingual, which also makes communication a warm experience for many of our parents. We
bring together students, parents, and community through numerous activities. On SFA Day,
parents are invited to reading class with their student and participate in a reading lesson. Students
are proud to have their parents there. According to the teacher of one eighth grade class, who
thought the students would be self conscious with their parents in the room, found instead they
were pleased to show off what they knew about Fahrenheit 451 and how the author develops
characters in a story. This year 144 parents attended.
Our School Community Council (SCC)/Booster Club (Section A) meetings are held
monthly. The principal co-chairs with a parent leader to share information and gather input from
our parents and school community. This committee also sets goals. Our mission statement says
that it takes a, “team effort from school professionals, parents and other community resources,”
to help our students and improve our school. The goals of this committee are to increase
communication between home and school, provide instruction to parents to help with homework,
and find ways to involve more parents in school activities. Everyone is welcome and encouraged
to express ideas and concerns. We provide translation headsets at all meetings to ensure
everyone in attendance is able to participate. Following our SCC meetings, parents are invited to
attend a variety of events. Our SCC/Booster Club sponsors our end of the year, eighth grade
Honor’s Banquet for honor students who are promoting to high school. Besides a dinner with
their parents, students receive a special gift from the Booster Club in appreciation for their
dedication to their studies. The SCC chairperson, Mr. Lujan, hosts the dinner. On average, 30 to
50 parents attend the SCC/Booster Club meetings each month.
Parents at Granada East participate in their children’s education. We are proud to say that
we had over 88% parent attendance at fall Parent /Teacher Conferences. We expect the same
or better for spring conferences as we hold the same high expectations for parent participation.
Our students are prepared to lead their own parent/teacher conferences. They explain their
progress, their test scores, their goals, and show samples of their work. Our students take this
very seriously and do a fantastic job showcasing their accomplishments. Our Spanish speaking
instructional assistants stay to translate for our parents and translators from the International
Refugee Committee are contracted to translate for parents who speak other languages, like
Vietnamese, Burmese, Arabic, and some of the African dialects. Ms. Guzman, a parent, said,
“When we have school conferences, there are interpreters that can help me communicate with
the teachers and now I know how my children are doing. There are always interpreters at
This year, our fourth and fifth grade teachers began Academic Parent/Teacher
Meetings, in which teachers held three 90-minute meetings with parents in each class and a 30minute individual conference. The teachers explain their classroom student data, set goals for
higher achievement, teach a skill to parents they can do to help their child at home and show
parents how to chart progress. To date, each teacher has met with 100% of their parents at least
once and each grade level has conducted two parent workshop meetings each. Parents and
teachers report a successful partnership and sense of community has formed in their classrooms.
Sixth grade teachers are discussing the possibility of doing this next year. Computers are
available on campus from our Take-Home Computer Program for parent use. These
computers are set up with software programs such as, Rosetta Stone to teach the whole family
English, reading, and math software to reinforce skills for students. A word processing and
typing program are also installed. Each computer is Internet ready if the family has access at
home. The business community at Granada East continues to support our goals by partnering
with us to provide the Student of the Month Breakfast. This event is a favorite of our students
and their entire family. Each month every teacher selects a student based on character, academic
improvement, and overall attitude towards learning. The student and family receive an invitation
to the breakfast, which is held the first Thursday of each month at 6:45 a.m. Parents beam with
pride when students hand over a framed picture of themselves and a certificate of honor.
Gratitude and appreciation are expressed to and for the students, parents, and teachers. Mr. Ken
Clements, owner of several McDonald’s franchises in the community, is always there, serving a
McDonald’s breakfast to our families. We frequently have entertainment from our cheerleaders
or Latin dancers and the service/cleanup crew is comprised of our Student Council members. It is
a great way to begin the day! This celebration really highlights students as individuals. An eighth
grader commented that he enjoys the breakfast so much, “because we have good food and the
teachers treat us special.” Another student says that she gets to “spend quality time with my
teachers, and they get to meet my parents.” Each month, 150 or more people attend this special
To maintain and facilitate communication with families, monthly newsletters are sent
home to every family with a letter from the principal. She often thanks the community for their
participation at family events and advertises new programs on campus. Our newsletters are
written in English and Spanish. All flyers advertising monthly family events are sent home in
English and Spanish as well. This year, we began sending home a Thursday Folder. All
important information, student work, fliers to events, etc., travel home in this folder each
Thursday. Parents are required to sign to show they received the folder. Every student carries a
student agenda and parents are encouraged to use it to communicate with their child’s teacher.
Our Parent Volunteer Coordinator is a paid 29.5-hour employee. She maintains office hours
while school is in session, assisting parents with various needs. She recruits volunteers to help
with Booster Club activities and to help prepare materials for teachers. Volunteers help monitor
our playground, collate papers, assist with maintaining our NBA Wall of Fame and fold and sort
new uniforms. Since school began this year, volunteers have clocked 556 hours.
Our Second Cup of Coffee meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month at
7:15 a.m. We realize parents may not be available in the evening for SCC, so we provide a
similar meeting in the morning. Parents look at student data and learn about using the student
agenda effectively, accessing student grades on the computer, Internet safety for their children,
the Census, special education laws, immigration laws, and the list goes on. Parents are invited to
go to their students’ classrooms after the meeting to see what students are learning, or go back to
the volunteer room to help out in some way.
Our school has truly become the center of the community. We have activities to engage
families several times each month centered on student learning. Most recently in December, we
had three events going on at once—a high school fair for our eighth graders and their parents,
our fourth grade Academic Parent/Teacher Meeting, a neighborhood association meeting and the
multi-purpose room was set up with five nurses administering flu shots, free to anyone in the
community. On Math Night, families rotate through classrooms solving math problems and
playing games that can be created and played at home. Attendance at these activities is
spectacular. Two hundred seventy-nine people attended Multiplication Madness last year, where
parents and students made a multiplication kaleidoscope for students to practice their facts.
Every student was given a package of multiplication flashcards to take home. Two hundred and
fifty people attended Reading Night, with several walking away with turkeys for Thanksgiving
dinner, and all of the children, no matter what age, receiving a book of their choice to take home.
Other family events include our annual Science Fair in the spring. The multipurpose room and
cafeteria are filled with interesting, complex science projects. Every student is required to
participate in creating a science project. We have many events showcasing our students’
accomplishments ranging from choral and band concerts to technology nights.
Community outreach is important to sustain community support, particularly when the
needs of the community are diverse. The local neighborhood associations hold all of their
monthly meetings at Granada East School. Our relationship with one organization is unique
because they are retired community members who are predominantly white and middle-class and
who have lived in the community for many years. Several of them had children that once went to
Granada East. The faces of our students are very different today. A new association, Vecinos
Unidos also supports our school and meets here. The principal attends many of the meetings to
maintain a positive relationship with members of both associations. We have partnered with
them for several city of Phoenix grants, including receiving funds for school uniforms for needy
students and to run our after-school athletic program. They have also been generous to deserving
students who promote from the eighth grade by giving them savings bonds each year.
Additionally, when they heard about our community garden, one member brought seeds for
planting and is donating mulch to the club. We invited members of the association to a luncheon
at Granada East to showcase our students and the technology that supports them in the
classroom. Approximately twenty association members came. As mentioned in Section A, we
hosted the American Dream Academy for our parents and community this fall. This required
five classroom spaces every Tuesday morning and eight every Tuesday evening to accommodate
the large number of attendees. We also provided childcare, which usually included over 100
children in the evening. Teachers volunteered to watch toddlers and play games and do
homework with students so parents could participate. Adult ESL classes are held in our
classrooms four nights per week. Besides the Granada Neighborhood Association and Vecinos
Unidos, other community organizations, such as Stand for Children and the Canyon Corridor
Alliance use the multipurpose room and library for meetings. The Parent Resource Room houses
a computer that is accessible to our parents and we encourage our parents to use it.
We are a community school and support our families in any way that we can. Some of the
services provided as a result of our partnerships with other organizations are:
• Abrazo School-Based Health Clinic: For students who do not have health care, a physician
assistant treats children from birth to 18. So far this year, she has seen 48 students.
• Dental services: We are privileged to partner with several dental clinics. St. Vincent de Paul
Dental Clinic treats students enrolled in the school-based clinic. This year, 33 students
received treatment, and more students continue to go each week. Dr. Chopra at A Plus Dental
Clinic sees any student who is enrolled, once they complete an application. Last year, he saw
153 students and through December this school year, he has seen 111 students. The Arizona
Department of Dental Health Services targets sixth grade for services. This year, they
screened 95, treated all for some kind of dental decay or need, and provided sealants to 71
• Twenty students have received a vision test and glasses from Costco through Vision
Connection this year.
• Virginia Piper grants and Operation School Bell funding helped us cloth 202 students so
far this year.
• Last year, Refugee Impact Grant funds helped us clothe 69 students.
• This year 50 food boxes and three transition boxes were provided to families in need.
We find that through many of these services, families become involved who otherwise
may not. We provide uniforms to any student whose parents cannot afford them. We ask that in
return, the parents volunteer for one hour per uniform in our school or attend a parent involvement function. We monitor our parent involvement through sign-in sheets at every function held.
Our teachers continue to find creative ways to involve our families. Fourth grade teacher,
Ms. Cook, invited families of students in her class on a field trip to a behind-the-scenes view of
the Arizona State Fair. They saw the commissary, post office, classrooms, and other support
services for people who own and operate the Arizona State Fair. The owner spoke to families
about the importance of education as well as provided all participants with admission, ride
tickets, and food vouchers. Over 50 people attended. Ms. Carter facilitated a holiday cardmaking event after school for students. Over 200 students stayed—making cards and listening to
holiday music.
H. Indicators of Success
We believe the most beneficial assessment system is one that provides all stakeholders–
teachers, administrators, parents, and students with a clear picture of where we are in a very
concrete and specific manner, providing a mirror for self-reflection. Our assessment results act to
steer the school, the classroom, and the student in a direction to meet our goals. Our approach is
simply to assess what we teach and to teach what we assess. We are very focused on the Arizona
State Standards and our district curriculum. Embedded effectively, our assessments help us focus
our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture
dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of education our students receive.
The district pacing guide provides teachers with a road map for instruction. Teachers
administer assessments weekly to determine if what was taught was learned. We systematically
assess and share grade level results with the principal using an assessment summary report. We
analyze and interpret the results to determine if student performance matches expectations. We
also spend time focusing on student error to determine where the disconnect occurs between
teaching and learning. We match interventions to student needs, individually and in small
groups, to improve student performance. We customize our common assessments using an item
bank from IDEAL (Arizona Department of Education website) and/or Galileo. Benchmark
assessments are given quarterly. Galileo is used to assess student mastery of the concepts taught
during a particular quarter and 4Sight is given as a summative assessment to gain predictive state
test results. In addition, our teachers use alternative assessments to measure learning. Students
take a reading assessment on the skills they have learned in each cycle in our Success for All
program. Their daily responses, both written and oral, are assessed on a rubric. Teachers also
complete a quarterly assessment summary that measures student performance in all components
of literacy development, such as specific phonetic sounds and reading comprehension. We use
running records to assess reading fluency and AIMS-Web to measure specific objectives in afterschool tutoring and special education classes to guide instruction. Teachers grade writing
assignments in teams with the Holistic Writing Rubric and our schoolwide non-fiction rubric.
Students participate by graphing results from their cycle tests in SFA and fluency scores in
tutoring, charting math fact progress, creating goals, and measuring their progress towards those
We collect multiple forms of data to monitor student success and school climate. Besides
weekly formative assessment data for reading and math, teachers turn in student writing to the
principal. We measure tardies and attendance each day (See Section B). We monitor discipline
referrals–the amount, the frequency, and the type. We have discovered that we need to have all
junior high teachers in the hallways during transition times and sign out sheets need to be in the
classrooms for junior high students who leave during class. These practices have eliminated
student problems when changing classes and reduced the number of students outside of the class
during instructional times. We measure parent involvement, and as indicated in Section A, we
monitor positive parent contacts and parent participation at school events (See Section G).
Our instructional program is expected to engage all students in a high quality education.
We are constantly looking at subgroup data to ensure equity. We were not making Adequate
Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2006 and years prior, due to a gap in the achievement of our ELL
students, so we implemented programs and practices to bridge the achievement gap between our
student populations. Research is clear that English language learners need good models of
language and frequent opportunities to practice that language. Five years ago, our rooms were
void of student talk and were predominately teacher lecture dominated. Today, through
continuous school improvement efforts, our school walkthrough data shows that student talk
outweighs teacher talk due to embedded opportunities for high student engagement and oral
practice. Our teachers model complete sentences and expect the same from students. We know
that our students have limited background knowledge necessary for comprehending text. We also
know that our students have a very limited academic vocabulary. Research is clear about the
relationships between vocabulary and connecting prior knowledge to increasing reading
comprehension. Our teachers create lesson plans that include concrete objects and visuals to
teach concepts and vocabulary. They develop plans to “front load” lessons to build background
for deeper understanding. Our ELLs are targeted and receive tutoring after school. We monitor
our student data after each benchmark assessment to ensure our ELLs are moving upward. We
are committed to closing the gap, which is why our scores are continuously going up. Our
demographics might cause one to think our student achievement would be low, but Granada East
students are doing well and improving all the time. Below are some highlights:
• Over the past five years, student achievement at every grade level has increased from 5 to 34
percentage points. Eighth grade math grew 34% and eighth grade reading grew 25%.
• In 2002, our AZLEARNS profile was “Underperforming” with point value of 6 and we were
not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) according to federal requirements. For the past
two years, we have watched our points climb to 18.6 with a “Performing Plus” status and we
have met AYP requirements.
• In 2010, 75% of our eighth grade students “met or exceeded” the AIMS reading standards,
while Arizona’s students were at the 73%.
• In 2010, 59% of Arizona’s eighth grade students “met or exceeded” the AIMS math
standards, compared to 56% of Arizona’s students.
• Our ELL subgroup demonstrated substantial growth over the past five years. The percentage
of fourth grade ELL students meeting or exceeding the AIMS standard for reading increased
by 24%. Fifth grade students increased in reading by 19% and sixth grade students increased
by 26%.
• In the 2008-2009 school year, discipline referrals decreased overall by 30%. Out-of-school
suspensions decreased by 50% from the 2007-08 school year.
• Granada East has won the monthly district attendance award five times in two years for
showing the greatest increase in attendance in one month.
2009-2010 2008-2009 2007-2008 2006-2007 2005-2006
Daily Student Attendance
Daily Teacher Attendance
Teacher Turnover Rate
Promotion Rate
Graduation Rate
I. Challenges
School climate was a challenge five years ago. Parents did not feel welcome at Granada
East. Students were disruptive and disengaged, fighting between classes and on the way home.
We had to open up lines of communication between the home and the school. We built relationships with students and families. Structures were put into place to engage parents and students in
their learning. We also began teambuilding with our staff to create trusting relationships. Last
spring, we designed and participated in the first Annual Amazing Race. This involved
teambuilding challenges and data exercises that gave us information about student progress and
deepened relationships among staff.
The absence of adult collaboration prevented teachers and students from learning.
Teachers worked in isolation. We saw only random acts of good teaching. We combined our
efforts to maximize the effect on student learning with common assessments, consistent
expectations, customary routines, and a collective system to monitor student progress. We
restructured our schedule to include common planning periods and we use that time for staff
development and to develop professional learning communities. Teachers share teaching
strategies that work, interventions for students, common assessments, and common scoring of
writing, to name a few. Parents and teachers communicate and parents are becoming increasingly
involved in their children’s education. Last year, three mothers who attended the Second Cup of
Coffee asked Ms. Kennedy to start an American Dream Academy. We made that happen.
Developing a system for sharing and analyzing student achievement data to drive
instruction and intervention is another area of challenge we faced five years ago. Our teachers
needed staff development and the time to learn what data was important, how to interpret it, and
how to make changes in their instructional practice based on the information.
We love the challenge before us. We are encouraged to now have the challenge to move
many of our students from “meeting” the standards to “exceeding” the standards. In analyzing
our data, we know we must move 23 students in grade four from “meets to exceeds” in reading
on AIMS. We are ready to challenge all of our students. To do this, we must continue to create
rigorous, differentiated lessons and use challenging materials and programs.
Another challenge we have is the budget situation facing the state. As our budget is
reduced we must find ways to continue the innovative programs we have begun. We can’t let
budget dictate the quality of instruction or programming we provide our students. We will need
to continue to build partnerships with outside organizations, and we will continue to apply for
grants through our neighborhood associations and the City of Phoenix to fund our after-school
sports program and after school clubs.
As the Annual Measurable Objective continues to increase for No Child Left Behind, we
have to carefully attend to all of our students and apply appropriate interventions to make sure
we make AYP. We will continue to look at our data from our common assessments, look at the
blueprint from AIMS, analyze the errors and areas of concern at the strand and concept level, and
make informed decisions to align all of our resources for every student’s success. We want our
students to leave our school prepared for high school, with an unwavering vision for higher