Tue, June 18

Editorial: Prescott-area schools out perform Verde Valley in state grading system

“Appeal” is the rallying cry among Verde Valley educators in the aftermath of the letter grades assigned their schools by the Arizona Department of Education. Throughout the Verde Valley, local schools on average received “C” grades from the Department of Education this year.

At the high end of the scale in our public schools, the former Big Park School in the Village of Oak Creek received an “A.” At the low end, South Verde High School in Camp Verde received an “F” while the now-closed Cottonwood Elementary and Mingus Union both received “D” grades.

A common beef with the system in the Upper Verde, explained 12-year Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board Member Jason Finger, was the elementary schools did not receive proper credit for the advanced algebra classes their students took at Mingus. If you’ll recall, there was also some conflict among those districts over proper payment for those classes as Mingus did not invoice the elementary schools for the service.

Both of those problems easily could be resolved if the Upper Verde had a single unified school district vs. three school districts, two of which govern one school each.

Interestingly, the word “appeal” is not being tossed around nearly so much among school officials on the other side of the mountain in Yavapai County, all of which have unified and curriculum-aligned school districts.

The Prescott Unified District received one “A,” four “B” grades, one “C” and one “D” this year from the Department of Education. Humboldt Unified received one “A,” five “B” grades and three “C” grades. Chino Valley Unified received two “B” grades and one “C.”

Pre-appeal -- with the exception of the Clarkdale-Jerome School District -- the Verde Valley did not measure up well with the three unified school districts on the other side of Mingus Mountain. -- Dan Engler