Leaders study up to improve Arizona’s schools - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Leaders study up to improve Arizona’s schools

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Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2007 6:42 am | Updated: 7:41 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

City leaders got to question Arizona’s state schools superintendent about English Language Learners, AIMS scores and more this week.

And a Tempe city councilwoman hopes Thursday’s session sparks an ongoing conversation among cities about how they can better support school districts.

“Since cities don’t educate kids directly, they sometimes have trouble getting involved,” said Tempe City Councilwoman Onnie Shekerjian, who organized a session on education at the Arizona League of Cities and Towns conference at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne told about 30 officials from cities around the state that he’s expecting performance by students learning English to improve in coming years.

A state task force has been researching the best ways to ensure students learn English. It is developing models that would give such students four hours of English instruction each school day, Horne said.

However, Horne said he’s expecting to see more students struggle to graduate this year because they won’t be able to make up for low scores on Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards with additional coursework, an option that helped more than 3,000 students graduate last year.

City officials also shared how they work with school districts. Several cities let students serve on certain commissions or have teen advisory councils.

Shekerjian said she hoped participants would take ideas and resources they got from the discussion back to their cities.

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