City Speak: EDUCATION: THE KEY TO OUR COMMUNITY’S GROWTH AND SUCCESS

by Craig McFarland, Mayor of Casa Grande

New families looking to relocate to a new community will typically Google search the local education ratings. They look for the best-rated school for their children to attend. These ratings typically use state test scores, diversity and income level when establishing the final score. Unfortunately, that rating doesn’t tell the whole story and is prejudiced toward higher income areas.

Our education system in Casa Grande is much better than the ratings and reputation (which, in part, is driven by the ratings). I have visited every elementary school (charter schools included), middle school and high school (charter schools included) in the City of Casa Grande. I can tell you we have a lot of good schools, good students and good teachers.

Here are just a few accolades/accomplishments that we should all be talking about:

Casa Grande Elementary School District:

  • 7,000 fantastic children
  • 900 dedicated employees
  • 44 district awards/recognition (2000 – 2017)
  • 13 Rodel Leadership recipients
  • 7 – A+ School Awards from the Arizona Education Foundation
  • Parental approval ratings of equal to or greater than 96 percent for 14 years in a row

Casa Grande Union High School District:

  • 4,539 fantastic students
  • 450 dedicated employees
  • 1,800 students enrolled in 12 different Career Technical Education (CTE) programs (FFA,DECA,STEM)
  • FFA named AZ Outstanding Chapter three times in the last 10 years
  • 100 percent industry credential licensing to all CTE program completers
  • 98 percent graduation rate for all CTE students

ASU Preparatory Academy

  • 62 dedicated students
  • 100 percent graduation rate
  • 100 percent of seniors were admitted to post-secondary institutions or military service
  • Prepares students using the internationally acclaimed Cambridge Curriculum

Other local private and charter schools:

  • St. Anthony’s of Padua Catholic School (K-8)
  • Legacy Traditional Charter School (K-8)
  • Grande Innovation Academy Charter School (K-8)
  • PPEP Tec High Charter School
  • Mission Heights Preparatory High Charter School

Additionally, our middle schools have implemented a program by Scott Shickler and Jeff Waller called “The 7 Mindsets.” Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes, expectations and mindsets. This relatively new program, implemented in our middle schools (and in the fall will be added to four of our elementary schools), teaches:

  • “Everything is possible”
  • “Passion first”
  • “We are connected”
  • “100 percent accountable”
  • “Attitude of gratitude”
  • “Live to give”
  • “The time is now”

Casa Grande has lots of choices — from public school districts to private schools to public charters. All have excellent curriculum and teaching staff. As my parents used to tell me, “You get out what you put in!”

So the next time someone asks, “How are your schools in Casa Grande?” You can answer them with, “They are good! And, we have lots of choices to fit all needs!”

CitySpeak