A state plan to remove the principal
of Craycroft Elementary School drew support from a small group of parents
Thursday, but others still want more details about the change.
By Daniel Scarpinato
New principal ordered for
Word came last week that the Arizona
Department of Education will be replacing Principal Hans Schot with a
state-approved individual who will be charged with pulling the school out of
the "failing" category.
About a dozen parents met Thursday
night to discuss the possibility of appealing the state's move, but most
said they didn't know enough about the plan to proceed.
While some at the meeting supported
the state's decision, there was little vocal support for Schot.
Parent-Teacher Organization President
Maria Maldonado sees the intervention as unnecessary and wants to give Schot
more time to fix the school's problems. A low turnout of parents, which
Maldonado attributed to spring break, forced her to put those plans on hold.
Maldonado questioned whether the state
is targeting Craycroft in order to make a "success story" out of it.
But fifth-grade teacher Gil Larribas
said it was time for a takeover, since teachers were not being supported by
the school or district administrations.
"I think the state listened," he said.
"Philosophically I did not want the state to take over, but I'm in agreement
that we need to start over fresh."
The dramatic move by the state
Department of Education is a first since the implementation of the Arizona
Learns accountability program in 2002. The labels are based on a combination
of AIMS test scores and factors such as academic progress and attendance.
Schools are labeled "excelling," "highly performing," "performing,"
"underperforming" and "failing."
Eleven schools, including Sunnyside
Unified School District's Craycroft Elementary, 5455 E. Littletown Road, and
Tucson Unified School District's Van Buskirk, 725 E. Fair St., were labeled
That means they received an
"underperforming" label this year for the third time in a row. Only five of
the 11 schools will get new principals.
If parents decide to argue the state's
decision, time might not be on their side. The state Board of Education is
set to approve the move at its Monday meeting, and spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico
said anyone is welcome to speak during the call to the audience.
Parent Amy Balderrama is ready for
"I don't want to waste the next five
years of my daughter's education saying, 'OK, maybe it will get better,' "
Maldonado plans to distribute letters
to parents when school resumes with updated information about the changes.
Sunnyside spokeswoman Monique Soria
said the district sent letters home with students before the break.
The state board will meet at 9 a.m.
Monday in Phoenix at the Arizona Department of Education, 1535 W. Jefferson.