B-grade tops Clarkdale-Jerome highlights for 2018

Chad Backus, Laurie Lozano and Angelina Smith, from left, take the oath of office as newest members of the Clarkdale-Jerome School Board. Backus and Smith replaced Becky O’Banion and Michael Gordon on the district’s governing board. VVN/Bill Helm

Chad Backus, Laurie Lozano and Angelina Smith, from left, take the oath of office as newest members of the Clarkdale-Jerome School Board. Backus and Smith replaced Becky O’Banion and Michael Gordon on the district’s governing board. VVN/Bill Helm

CLARKDALE – Clarkdale-Jerome improved its A-to-F letter grade this year from C to B.

And District Superintendent Danny Brown still appealed the grade.

Though the district’s eighth grade students “successfully passed” the AzMERIT End of Course Algebra I assessment that they completed at Mingus Union High School – the same program as Cottonwood-Oak Creek’s eighth graders – Brown challenged the district’s A-to-F grade because it was “not given the five acceleration/readiness points that I feel we should’ve gotten.”

Though, “obviously, we are happy with a full letter grade improvement over last year,” he said.

In his second year as the district’s superintendent, Brown said that emphasizing student growth – 50 percent A-to-F measure of a school’s letter grade – is a good thing.

“It falls along within our mission of improving achievement for all students regardless of where they begin the school year,” Brown said. “Clarkdale-Jerome School has accomplished quite a bit during 2018. We are very happy and excited that we were able to raise our letter grade from a C to a B. This was a result of the tremendous efforts of the whole Clarkdale-Jerome educational community”

Clarifying draft consolidation pamphlet

Though upper Verde Valley school district consolidation talks since May 2017 really haven’t involved Clarkdale-Jerome, the district’s governing board did collectively review a sample ballot created by the office of Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter.

The board’s concern at the time was mostly about Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education and the perception of unknown impacts “in regard to governance, funding and programs.”

In the end, Mingus Union High School filed a lawsuit in August to freeze the possible merger of Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts. In the end, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge David Mackey decided that there would be no consolidation election in 2018.

Two new, one returning board member

Say hello to Chad Backus and Angelina Smith. Say hello again to Laurie Lozano. They join Jill Zaske and Dale Williams on the Clarkdale-Jerome School Board.

The new members Backus and Smith officially joined Lozano – an incumbent – and the others on the board before January due to the departure of Becky O’Banion and Michael Gordon, who left the board due to relocating out of the area.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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