Pueblo Elementary School is a recent recipient of the A+ School of Excellence Award, a distinction presented by the Arizona Educational Foundation to schools that “go above and beyond the everyday practices that all schools are expected to implement.”
To be considered for the annual award, which dates back to 1983, schools submit a written application oriented around what makes their school exemplary. After reviewing the application a panel of judges then visit the site to extensively vet its programs and activities described in the application, evaluating the school in areas like school culture, leadership assessment data and community involvement. The success of the visit determines the school’s receipt of the award.
According to the Foundation’s website, www.azedfoundation.org, “A+” schools are those that consistently model quality and equity; demonstrate a strong commitment to academic excellence; respond successfully to the changing environment of education; cultivate learning-centered safe school environments; encourage innovative instruction by supporting teachers; actively address students’ social, emotional, physical and intellectual needs; and demonstrate superior ability to go above and beyond the norm in providing services to children, families and the local community.
This year, 44 schools were awarded across Arizona. Schools selected for the award can renew and retain the distinction for up to four years if they remain an “A” or “B” school and continue to exhibit these qualities.
Pueblo is the third school in the Crane School District and the fourth in Yuma County to receive this award. Gowan Science Academy was designated an A+ School of Excellence in 2019; according to the Arizona Educational Foundation archives, Rancho Viejo Elementary School received the award in 1987 and Cibola High School – housed by Yuma Union High School District – was awarded in 1996.
According to a Crane School District press release, Pueblo houses several programs to ensure academic success and provide opportunities for enrichment, including the Kagan Learning Cooperative, Kids At Hope, 21st Century Learning Centers and FIRST Lego League in addition to participation in the Gowan Achievement Program (GAP) for high achieving fourth, fifth and sixth grade students.
“The Arizona Educational Foundation’s Award for A+ School of Excellence means the world to me because it is a validation of the hours of work, the effort and the heart and soul that every Pueblo staff member puts into doing what is best for children every single day,” said Principal Bobbie Henry. “This award is all the more important because the judges that visit and help make the decisions of who should receive this award are other principals and educators across our state who know what quality teaching and learning looks like.”
According to Henry, the distinction came at an opportune time.
“Our school staff, students and families are working harder than ever to meet the demand of what learning looks like in a pandemic, so it feels good to be able to recognize the exceptional job our school is doing,” she said.