Building Blocks to Great Schools

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The Goodyear Mayor and Council have made the quality of life for our City's families and children a priority. Their adoption of the National League of Cities' platform for strengthening families and improving outcomes for children and youth by Council resolution last year was just the first step in meeting their objectives. As Councilmember Joanne Osborne advocated for that resolution, she knew education was a critical component to ensure positive outcomes for youth. Long-term, she was aware that quality schools would attract economic growth. These facts motivated Osborne to build relationships with the six, individually governed school districts that serve the City of Goodyear and the neighboring cities of Avondale, Buckeye and Litchfield Park. By the end of 2008, she met with superintendents, school principals, and our local colleges. Her goal was to create a City partnership with the education community to share resources, ideas, and best practices with the purpose of achieving high quality education for Goodyear families.

 

 The next step in making this collaboration a reality was to organize an Education Summit. In January, 2009 the school districts, local colleges and City staff met to identify key areas where progress could be made to enhance school operations and education. Two professors from Arizona State University's School of Education facilitated he workgroup. What happened at the summit was extraordinary. For the first time, school principals were working with each other across districts and with local colleges, offering their input on what would become the first phase of developing a vibrant learning community in Goodyear. The summit resulted in the creation of three education committees that will address critical elements for sustaining a successful learning community - Academics, Communications and Social Services.

 

The City of Goodyear's Efforts

The City's main contribution to the partnership is to remain as facilitator for continued engagement with the schools. Additionally, the City is providing resources to further educational goals, safety, and operations. The Police Department's school resource officer program concentrates on safety and crime prevention, the City's recycling coordinator is establishing school recycling programs on campuses, and the City's water conservationist is creating lesson plans for science classes at the junior high level.

Mayor and Council understand the importance of education for the City's long-term prospects to be recognized as a place with high-quality of life standards and a force in economic activity. What will attract families and businesses to Goodyear will be the great reputation of our schools. This partnership is in its first year and has already accomplished its initial goals. The partnership works because of the commitment by the City and the professional educators who strive to be proactive in making our City known for enriching the lives of families and children.

 

Social Services Committee

There is a tremendous importance to identify and define key social services resources that school staff can use to assist Goodyear families in need. Many school personnel are unaware of the services available through the City of Goodyear?s, Community Advocate, Linda Dillard. This new awareness will broaden the scope of assistance that agencies provide through the schools. Most recently, Goodyear City schools participated in a clothing and goods drive for homeless families coordinated by the West Valley View Newspaper. Overwhelming support was given by West Valley residents to assist families in our local community.

Communications Committee

Inspired by ideas generated during the summit, schools in the City of Goodyear have an opportunity to share information to a wider audience. Our City of Goodyear Education Partnership meetings have allowed all
Teacher with students
schools within the city limits to develop a communications plan. With City support and distribution, you are reading about the initial results from our collaborative relationship. We will continue to highlight the work of our schools and Estrella Mountain Community College throughout the year. We would like for you to know about our various partnerships throughout the community, our successes with students, how to connect with a school and become involved, what resources the schools have for parents, as well as many other ideas. And we need your help. We are interested in hearing from the residents of Goodyear what information you would like to know from our schools, or topics you are concerned about.
Send your suggestions and questions to: Dr. Cathy Stafford, Superintendent, Avondale Elementary School District, cstaff@avondale.k12.az.us.

 

Academics Committee

Through collaboration with City officials, the schools represented in Goodyear have had the good fortune to be able to get together and look at common issues within our schools. Principals and administrators have come to the table representing all schools in the Goodyear area from the following districts: Aqua Fria Union High School District, Avondale Elementary School District, Litchfield Elementary School District, Liberty Elementary School District, Buckeye Union High School District, Mobile Elementary School District, and Estrella Mountain Community College. One of the largest issues identified surrounds the idea of transitions. These transitions take on many forms: there are transitions from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to college. It is the focus and goal of this committee to identify the elements of these transitions that make them so difficult for our students and eradicate these elements in order for our students to be more successful throughout their school careers. Principals have been meeting to work on specific elements of transitions that are unique to each group of students and to each transition. The work of this committee is ongoing. Please feel free to contact your local principal or school administrator if you have any ideas for other issues that need to be evaluated by this committee.

 

 

Goodyear Education Committees

Social Services Committee

Dr. Julianne Lein, Litchfield Elementary School District
Bob Grey, Principal, Desert Edge High School
Talmadge Tanks, Centerra Mirage Elementary School
Linda Wemple, Copper Trails Elementary School
Dr. Leslie Standerfer, Estrella Foothills High School
Brian Johnson, Eliseo C. Felix Elementary School

 

Communications Committee

Dr. Dennis Runyan, Agua Fria Union High School District
Dr. Cathy Stafford, Avondale Elementary School District
Dr. Kit Wood, Mobile Elementary School District
Leslie Anderson, Agua Fria Union High School District
Juliet Mendez, Avondale Elementary School District
Dr. Ruben Lara, Wildflower Elementary School District

 

Academics Committee

Dr. Beverly Hurley, Buckeye Union High School District
Dr. Andy Rogers, Liberty Elementary School District
Lexi Cunningham, Agua Fria Union High School District
Patricia Scarpa, Desert Star Elementary School
Wayne Deffenbaugh, Desert Thunder Elementary School
Stacy Ellis, Avondale Elementary School District
Dr. Evangeline Diaz, Eliseo C. Felix Elementary School
Dr. Clay Goodman, Estrella Mountain Community College
Dr. Ernie Lara, Estrella Mountain Community College
Tamara Caraway, Avondale Elementary School District
Heather Cruz, Litchfield Elementary School District
Sarah Pearson, Palm Valley Elementary School
Luke Jankee, Western Sky Middle School
Matt Smith, Agua Fria High School
Tom Huffman, Verrado High School