Phoenix Public Schools

Before deciding on a Phoenix area neighborhood, do your homework on the public schools for that neighborhood first.

Phoenix area public schools are divided into districts, not necessarily correlating directly to cities. Each Phoenix school district has a web site with information on school boundaries, the schools that are included in the district, district news, etc. To get a complete list of school districts, go to the Arizona Department of Education. You shouldn’t necessarily pick a good school based on which district it is in, because there are great schools in districts that don’t necessarily rate high.

According to state law, school districts have an open enrollment policy. If the school has available space, a student may attend the school even if not living within the school boundaries.

Evaluating Phoenix Public Schools

Since your kid brings home a report card, no reason the school shouldn’t be graded as well. That’s just what the Arizona Department of Education does every year for every school within Arizona. The old version of the report card had a set of labels that rated each chool (listed from highest to lowest performance): Excelling, Highly Performing, Performing Plus, Performing, Under-performing. But the new model is more familiar to the rest of us – a letter grade from A-F.

To find a grade for a school, go to the Arizona Department of Education website and search for “letter grades.”

The largest components of the grade include the percentage of students passing the state test, and the growth in student performance.

In general, you should not judge a school solely on its grade. Instead, take a careful look at the school’s safety record, the drop-out rate and the test scores.  Talk to parents in the district, look at extracurricular activities, and advanced classes if your kid is academically inclined. Remember also that a new school in a new development or a high school that is growing because of new developments may not necessarily be an A today because of their quick growth, but may be a solid school in the future.

Phoenix Public School Test Scores

There’s been a lot of bickering by all parties (parents/public school administrators/the media) about the AIMS test. The AIMS test measures student knowledge based on a set of Arizona standards and is required of all Arizona Public Schools and is currently used as a graduation requirement.   Just when AIMS was coming into its own, the state decided to implement a national set of standards and test to go with it.  This will take several years to implement, but is probably a good thing as we’ll be able to measure our students in comparison to students in other states.