FIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF GREAT SCHOOL LEADERS

FEBRUARY 3, 2016

The February edition of the MCESA Principal Link highlights five characteristics of great school leaders, and provides examples of how to develop those qualities. View the article here.

MCESA ANNOUNCES TXTS4LEADERS

FEBRUARY 1, 2016

MCESA has created a new professional learning resource for school leaders. TXTS4 Leaders builds on the popular MCESA Service, TXTS4 Teachers, by sending weekly professional tips directly to leaders' phones via text messages. The service is free and guarantees complete phone number security. Sign up here.

MCESA ANNOUNCES #CHALLENGEACCEPTED

JANUARY 4, 2016

MCESA has a brand new publication that highlights several of our signature service areas. Using the format- Challenge, Process, Solution- readers discover how MCESA works with a variety of stakeholders to solve education's toughest challenges. View and download the publication here.

STEM PRO LIVE! NOW ON YOUTUBE

DECEMBER 6, 2015

STEM Pro Live! now has a dedicated YouTube playlist! All current episodes of MCESA's live web streaming program, STEM Pro Live!, are now available on YouTube. View the Playlist here.

MEASURE OF AMERICA CREDITS MCESA FOR HELPING LAY THE GROUNDWORK FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

SEPTEMBER 24, 2015

MCESA is featured in the Measure of America article on Youth Disconnection. MCESA is credited for laying the groundwork for social change by hosting two summits on Opportunity Youth. Read the article here.

MCESA SUPERINTENDENT LINK HIGHLIGHTS COMMUNITY STRATEGIES

SEPTEMBER 9, 2015

The September version of the MCESA Superintendent Link describes four strategies district leaders can use to increase communication with their staff. The article covers such topics as how top leaders use Facebook and blogs as well as strategies for using videos and celebrating the unexpected. You can view the September edition here.

MCESA AND PARTNERS HIGHLIGHTED IN NEW WORKING PAPER

MAY 20, 2015

MCESA, Mayor Greg Stanton, and Starbucks are featured in the new Measure of America Report. The report, titled The Measure of America Approach to Gauging Well-Being and Opportunity in the United States: Concept, Application, and Impacts at the Community Level. The report highlights MCESA's work with the Opportunity Youth Initiative. Download the report here.

MCESA PEER EVALUATOR PROGRAM FEATURED IN NATIONAL CASE STUDY

MAY 1, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) program just released a case study on Peer Evaluation. The study focuses on MCESA's Peer Evaluator program and the work being done in 11 school districts. The study states, "Based on what we have learned from the Maricopa County program, we believe that other TIF grantees and school districts should consider peer evaluation as a potential contribution to effective educator evaluation. As practiced in the Maricopa County TIF districts, peer evaluation has the potential to support more rigorous performance evaluation as well as improve teaching." Download the case study here.

MCESA DISCONNECTED YOUTH INITIATIVE FEATURED ON PBS

DECEMBER 16, 2014

Dr. Don Covey, Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, spoke on a panel about Phoenix's disconnected youth crisis. The panel was aired on Arizona PBS, Eight Horizon as part of PBS' American Graduate initiative. You can view the episode here.

MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS INSPIRED BY LOCAL SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS

NOVEMBER 21, 2014

MCESA is bringing local scientists and engineers from companies like Intel, MedTronic and Freeport-McMoRan into sixth, seventh and eighth-grade classrooms across Maricopa County. Read more about this initiative.

DR. DON COVEY HONORED AT THE WHITE HOUSE

NOVEMBER 19, 2014

Dr. Don Covey, Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of 100 top technology leaders from across America. He has been invited to participate in the first-ever National Connected Superintendents Summit Wednesday, Nov. 19 at the White House. Superintendent Covey is among exemplary school chiefs who will be recognized for their leadership in helping transition districts to digital learning. Learn more about MCESA's efforts to be #Future Ready.

RE-ENGAGING DISCONNECTED YOUTH SUMMIT II

OCTOBER 15, 2014

The Re-Engaging Disconnected Youth Summit II brings together business leaders, policy makers, educators, and youth serving individuals throughout Arizona. Participants will learn from re-engagement experts about what strategies have worked in other areas, both near and far, and look at how to be successful in our own initiatives. Learn more about the summit by visiting the Opportunities for Youth website.

MCESA RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR PERFORMANCE-BASED COMPENSATION PROGRAM

AUGUST 2014

The National Association of Counties (NACo) granted MCESA a 2014 Achievement Award for “Rewarding Excellence in Instruction and Leadership (REIL)." REIL is a transformational performance-based management program led by MCESA in collaboration with five Maricopa County school districts, in an effort to strengthen the educator workforce resulting in improved student academic progress for 27,145 students, attending thirty-three schools in high-need districts. By rewarding excellence, as well as addressing ineffective teaching and leading, REIL has begun to institutionalize the conditions that ensure students graduate college-and-career ready, which will be critical as Arizona strives to shift to a knowledge-based economy. Read more.

MCESA RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR ASSESSMENT DEVELOPMENT

AUGUST 2014

The National Association of Counties (NACo) granted MCESA a 2014 Achievement Award for “Assessment Development”. MCESA, in collaboration with approximately 45 school districts, and with funds from federal Teacher Incentive Fund grants, developed assessments for 18 different non-state-tested subject areas to support the collection of valid and reliable assessment data to measure student academic progress and teacher effectiveness. MCESA assessment development process is an effective example of our mission at work.

MCESA COLLECTING BACKPACKS AND SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS

JULY 2014

One way to ensure all Maricopa County students are ready for a successful school year is to equip them with basic school supplies. MCESA has teamed up with the Maricopa County Home and Garden Show to collect donations of backpacks and school supplies at this year's show. Donate a backpack at the show and receive two free tickets. Or donate any three of the following items and receive one free ticket to the Home Show: 4-pack of glue sticks; Pack of ballpoint pens (12/box); Box of no. 2 pencils (12/box); Box of colored pencils (12/box); Box of water-based markers (8/box); Box of crayons (16/box); 4-pack of dry erase markers; Single subject spiral-bound notebook; Package of loose-leaf notebook paper; Pocket folders; or Scotch tape. Bring your donated items to MCESA’s table at Gate 2 to receive your ticket, and proceed directly to the entrance.

THE MARICOPA COUNTY TEEN LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE

MAY 2014

The MCLE program is a unique no-charge, self-directed, self-paced experience designed to introduce youth to careers in County government with activities, workshops, and volunteer opportunities. Departments from across the County have opened up their doors and invited youth to come in and experience what they do to serve our community. MCLE begins June 2. Download more information.

DISCONNECTED YOUTH SUMMIT

APRIL 2014

On May 7, 2014 MCESA will be conducting the first-ever Disconnected Youth Summit. Disconnected youth are young adults, ages 16-24, that are currently not in school or not employed. In the Phoenix metropolitan area 20% of youth are considered disconnected. This is the highest percentage in the country and is cause for alarm as well as action. Learn more about this issue and join forces with committed organizations, industry leader, and engaged community members to take on this issue and ensure all of our youth are meaningfully engaged.

MATH 20/20: A NEW LENS FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING

Learn about how MCESA and the Rodel Foundation are partnering to provide school districts with an incredible solution to effective Math Standard implementation. Read more.

PARTICIPATE IN THE ARIZONA INTERNET SCHOOL SPEED TEST

As we enter the era of online assessments, it is imperative that policy makers understand how much bandwidth is currently available to our classrooms. In order to do this quickly and easily, Arizona has partnered with Education Super Highway to complete "speed tests". This data will support network planning, demonstrate the need for increased funding, and support your district's readiness for online assessments. To participate, complete the quick and easy speed test at http://partners.schoolspeedtest.org/arizona.html.

REPORT VALIDATES THAT ARIZONA TEACHERS ARE PASSIONATE AND COMMITTED

Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently published a report titled America's Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change. The report validates that although 99% of Arizona teachers believe that teaching is more than just a profession, multiple factors create challenges for realizing our professions full potential. Download MCESA's Infographic summarizing this report. View full report.

2014 ASSESSED VALUATIONS

Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) has received the Tax Year 2014 Assessed Valuations (School Year 2015) from the Maricopa County Assessor’s Office. You can locate your school district information on the MCESA website using the provided link: Assessed Valuations. (Salt River Project will provide MCESA their Assessed Values after board approval scheduled for early March.) As we begin the tax rate setting, please remember to use the EMCTeam@mcesa.maricopa.gov so we may provide prompt attention to your needs.

ARIZONA AIMS HIGHER

MCESA is supporting the efforts of Expect More Arizona to join thousands of educators and families across the state in supporting higher expectations for all children, so they are prepared for life after high school. Sign up to be a part of the movement for a world-class education in Arizona that supports higher standards and an aligned assessment.

ASSESSMENTS FOR NON-TESTED SUBJECTS

Since January 2012, MCESA has been developing assessments for the non-tested subjects and grades to measure student achievement growth as a measure of educator effectiveness and support compliance with ARS 15-203. Currently, assessments for visual arts, music, PE, theater, and dance courses at the high school and elementary level are already in use this school year. The matched pre- and post-assessments are available for order, and hard copies are delivered though a secure FTP site. We are pleased to announce new Membership and Purchase Plans for assessments for grades 6-8 social studies courses and high school US history, world history, government, and economics courses. Read more.

MCESA EDUCATION CELEBRATION

The Education Celebration Summit was held on December 5, 2013 and recognized the courageous work being done by the REIL and REIL-TNG school district leaders and teachers. View the resources presented at the summit here. 

MCESA'S REIL AND REIL-TNG PROGRAMS MENTIONED IN NATIONAL PUBLICATION

The REIL and REIL-TNG Programs have been receiving national attention for their innovative practices and positive results. Read the articles and publications on the REIL Website. More

MARICOPA COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD VACANCY

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-1441 (E), the County School Superintendent makes appointments to the MCCCD Governing Board in the case of vacancy. Currently, a vacancy exists inDistrict 5. The procedures and processes for appointment are now available. Read more.

STEM PROFESSIONAL MENTORS

MCESA is forming an alliance of private sector STEM Professional Mentors to provide financial and or technical support for school STEM programming. STEM Professional Mentors are community, business, and industry members that have expertise in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, and who are committed to exposing more students to careers in these areas. Read more.

APS BRINGS ENERGY EDUCATION TO THE VALLEY

MCESA is excited to partner with APS in order to spread the word about the brand new Palo Verde Energy Education Center located in the West Valley. APS has created a "one-of-a-kind facility that will allow school groups to learn more about energy and nuclear power." Teachers and students will be able to participate in hands-on learning experiences that provide them both information about energy production and consumption, as well as experiences that will help students see how they might one day work in the energy field. Educators are invited to attend the grand opening of the Energy Education Center on December 2, 2013.

MCESA'S ENGINEERING STEM IDENTITY PROGRAM MOBILIZES THE COLLECTIVE IMPACT MODEL TO INCREASE STEM INSTRUCTION IN ARIZONA

On Friday November 8, 2013, Maricopa Education Service Agency (MCESA) was notified by the United States Department of Education that it is one of the Highest-Rated Applications for Investing in Innovation (I3) 2013 Competition. The I3 competition is a highly competitive grant program that funded only four percent of its 618 applicants. MCESA’s proposal, titled Engineering STEM Identities, was scored in the top five of all applications in its category and will be awarded 3 million dollars over the course of three years.

Through Engineering STEM Identities, approximately 2,300 students in ten rural and urban school districts will be immersed in STEM cultures to explicitly build STEM identities and positively influence their persistence in STEM. Through these authentic learning experiences that give students opportunities to envision themselves as “STEM learners and workers”, research has shown that students are far more likely to pursue future STEM careers.

MCESA understands that an initiative such as this cannot be accomplished and sustained without the collaboration of multiple organizations that have a similar vision. This type of collaboration is known as the Collective Impact Model, and MCESA is currently employing this model with partners such as the Arizona STEM Network, led by Science Foundation Arizona. STEM Network’s goals of 1) Create meaningful business engagement opportunities; 2) Strengthen STEM teacher effectiveness; 3) Integrate STEM into schools and districts (in a systemic manner); and 4) Develop predictive analysis and measurable STEM education outcomes, are aligned to MCESA’s I3 grant goals, and therefore will be an important part of the collective solution to increase the quality of STEM instruction throughout Arizona.

However MCESA and STEM Network’s Collective Impact must be expanded to include more Arizona organizations that share their vision. The I3 award is contingent upon MCESA securing a private-sector match of $450,000. This match may be a combination of in-kind and/or cash support matches. Fifty percent of this match must be committed by December 6, 2013, with the remaining match committed by July 3, 2014. MCESA sees this match as an excellent opportunity for multiple organizations invested in Arizona’s future to come together for a better STEM future. As a result of acquiring the private-sector match, MCESA and the greater Arizona community will bring $3,000,000 to Arizona schools with an investment of just $450,000.

Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Don Covey stated, “MCESA is fortunate to be supported by innovative partners that understand that an investment in STEM education is an investment in the future of this state, and I have every confidence we will successfully raise the $450,000 needed to make this critical program a reality.”

RE-CONNECTING YOUTH BY ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY

OCTOBER 3, 2013

According to a recent study, metropolitan Phoenix has the highest rate of disconnected youth in the country. Youth that are not involved in school or work are much more likely to become involved in the juvenile and adult justice systems. The Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to reverse this trend by reconnecting youth to their families and their communities, and by providing training and support to build the case management and evidence-based practice capacity of youth-serving agencies throughout Maricopa County. Dottie Wodraska, Director of Juvenile Transitions for MCESA states, "This award demonstrates the effectiveness of collaborative efforts to leverage resources to ensure the highest quality of services for those youth and families entrusted to our collective care.”

MCESA, partnering with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections (ADJC), the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department, and the Maricopa County Human Services Department have developed a shared mission and vision for this initiative titled “Building Futures: A Second Act”. Eric Meaux, Chief of Juvenile Probation states, “This award acknowledges that our commitment to build better and more efficient systems of care through multi-agency collaboration is a sound investment, will improve service continuity, and will reduce the number of youth that re-enter the justice system.”

This innovative program was conceptualized in 2011 when MCESA and partners, led by ADJC, were awarded a Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The planning work done by this powerful partnership will now take action with the award of this grant. Charles Flanagan, Director of the ADJC, notes that “our ongoing partnership with MCESA is based upon their strong commitment to improve outcomes for at-risk children in Maricopa County. By enhancing educational achievements, and strengthening transition and re-entry services for incarcerated children, research demonstrates that we will reduce recidivism, thereby creating safer communities and reducing costs for incarceration. This innovative program is intended to be a best practice and to serve as a replicable model for the country.”

Building Futures: A Second Act will specifically serve a critical subpopulation of juvenile justice involved youth and families from five geographical areas in Maricopa County. Bruce Liggett, Director for Maricopa County Human Services states, “This project will provide a youth and family focused approach and coordinates resources that will effectively and efficiently reduce juvenile recidivism.” 

COMMUNITY MAPPING SYSTEM

MCESA has partnered with the Maricopa County Office of Enterprise Technology to create a dynamic and powerful online community mapping tool. This tool, built on the popular Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, empowers users to search for community resources such as counseling, medical providers, mentoring services, shelters, recreational facilities, and schools within a specific geographic location. This is an invaluable free resource for educators, service providers, and juvenile justice system workers.

BOND AND OVERRIDE ELECTION RESULTS

NOVEMBER 8, 2013

Election results for the November 5 school district bond and override elections are in! 27 out of the 37 questions taken to voters were answered yes. School districts such as Mesa, Fountain Hills, and Agua Fria Union passed their bonds and budget overrides while districts such as Scottsdale, Buckeye Union, and Balsz did not. A full report of all votes for all districts can be found on the County Recorder's website.

MCESA'S READING FOR THE STARS PROGRAM RECEIVES THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES 2013 ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The National Association of Counties (NACO) recognized MCESA for the Reading for the Stars program. Reading for the Stars provides targeted reading intervention and mentoring to students living in areas of the county with historically high juvenile justice involvement.

MCESA COLLECTS BACKPACKS FOR STUDENTS IN NEED

JULY 16, 2013

More than 700,000 school-age children reside in Maricopa County. One in five of those children live in poverty, unable to buy school essentials that will prepare them for learning.  Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA) believes all students should get the opportunity to be career-and college-ready.  One small way to help with that is to provide students at some of our high-needs schools with basic school supplies.

MCESA has teamed up with the Maricopa County Home and Garden Show to collect donations this July 19th, 20th, and 21st at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.  MCESA will be on hand near Gate 2 collecting backpacks and school supplies and sharing information on volunteer opportunities and innovative educational programs.  Donate a backpack and receive two free tickets to the Home Show. Or donate any three of the following items and receive one free ticket to the Home Show: 4-pack of glue sticks; Pack of ballpoint pens (12/box); Box of no. 2 pencils (12/box); Box of colored pencils (12/box); Box of water-based markers (8/box); Box of crayons (16/box); 4-pack of dry erase markers; Single subject spiral-bound notebook; Package of loose-leaf notebook paper; Pocket folders; or Scotch tape. Bring your donated items to MCESA’s table to receive your ticket, and proceed directly to the entrance.

Donations of gently used books, appropriate for elementary-age readers, will also be accepted.

Please help our students have a successful school year at the Maricopa County Home and Garden Show: University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinal Drive, Glendale, AZ 85305. Show hours: Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

MCESA TO PROVIDE COMMON CORE TRAINING TO WICKENBURG UNIFIED

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors June 19th voted unanimously to approve an intergovernmentalagreement with the Wickenburg Unified School Districttoprovide teachers and school leaders in the school districtwith professional development to implement Arizona’s Common Core Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

The Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA), using funding provided through the Race to the Top Grant, has formed a consortium that supports districts and charter schools with the development of high-quality and effective ELA and Mathematics resources. “The Race to the Top Consortium is designed to assist schools with implementing the actions that have been prioritized by the State as part of the Race to the Top Grant,” said Dr. Lori Shough, MCESA Assistant Superintendent. Over the next three years, MCESA and Wickenburg will work to ensure that teachers and leaders receive the professional development and resources that will help prepare youth for college and/or careers.

“This is a great opportunity for Maricopa County and the Wickenburg Unified School District to work together to fully Implement the Arizona ELA and Math Common Core Standards,” said District 4 Supervisor Clint Hickman.  “Partnerships like this leverage resources and expertise,  and emphasize the type of collaboration I hope to build with other organizations in my district.”

According to WUSD’s Superintendent Dr. Howard Carlson, “Teachers need training in the structure, content demands and progressions, depth of knowledge, and instructional pedagogy shifts. Principals need the same training with additional support for leading implementation of Arizona’s Common Core Standards. Our participation in the MCESA RTT consortium will help us meet those needs.” 

MCESA RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL AWARD

MARCH 27, 2013

Maricopa County Education Service Agency (MCESA)  in collaboration with the Maricopa County Office of Enterprise Technology (OET) have been named a 2013 Computerworld Honors Laureate for innovative uses of educational technology. MCESA and OET are partnering to deliver both instruction and assessments that provide solutions to education’s toughest challenges.

This prestigious international award specifically acknowledged innovations in delivering both student instruction as well as professional development via interactive video conferencing, and delivering assessments for traditionally non tested subject areas using tablet computers.

MCESA’s Interactive Video Learning (IVL) program provides a highly qualified and highly effective teacher to geographic regions throughout Maricopa County that struggle to recruit teachers. It also empowers professional learning and collaboration opportunities for teachers who have been denied that chance due to geographic and financial limits.

MCESA is collaborating with school districts to provide valid and reliable assessments for traditionally non tested subject areas. These assessments, such as art, music, and physical education, are costly to print and distribute. By providing the assessments electronically, students are able to access high resolution material in a timely manner, and teachers are able to access the assessment results immediately. To view a video highlighting this work, visit www.maricopa.gov/mcesa.

The Computerworld Honors Program brings together the men, women, organizations and institutions around the world whose visionary applications of information technology promote positive social, economic and educational change. The IVL and Electronic Assessments project was chosen from more than 700 nominations. The team will be recognized for this outstanding achievement in Washington, D.C. in June.