The Arizona Board of Education has quite the to-do list this year, from English learner issues to seniors trying to pass the AIMS graduation test.
It’s a lot of work, but JoAnne Hilde, vice president of the board, is optimistic.
So far, the board has already decided to increase available tutoring hours from nine hours per semester to 90 hours for students still needing to pass Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards.
"(AIMS) is a great concern for us this year," Hilde said.
This year’s seniors are the first required to pass AIMS to graduate.
The increase in tutoring pleases school board president Mike Hughes of the Mesa Unified School District.
"Anything they can do to help students pass AIMS" is good, Hughes said.
The board also wants to find ways to provide more opportunities for students who want to pursue a technical career instead of going to college. Hilde said the board hopes to gain the funding necessary to create more programs similar to Mesa’s East Valley Institute of Technology, which has automotive, culinary arts, forensic and other vocational programs available to high school students.
Another hot-button topic the board will tackle this year: English learner education. A court decision in Flores v. the state of Arizona says the state is not providing school districts with the money necessary to adequately fund English learner programs. The board plans to look at the state’s English assessment test.
"We’ll be looking at the process by which we set the cut scores (and) what does it mean for an (English learner) to become proficient" in English, Hilde said.