March 2017

           Coming Together to Improve Education

Transition to New Standards and New Accountability Plan

BT Continues to be A Viable Tool to Help 

It is one of the busiest times of the year in education. While we work on the day to day needs of the current school year, we must also have an eye towards the future.

As such, I would like to provide an update for you on information to help partners deal with the new Math and ELA standards and the new A-F School Accountability plan that will soon be in place.

New Math and ELA Standards
Many of you are aware that Arizona has new Math and ELA standards that are expected to be fully implemented and assessed during the 2018-2019 school year.

The good news is that there are minimal changes as a whole to the existing standards. 

Our plan to make sure BT partners are ready for these changes is as follows:

  • Spring 2017
    Examine the ADE crosswalk for new Math and ELA standards.
  • Fall 2017
    Complete the curriculum process for new Math and ELA standards - identifying new essential standards, creating unwrapped documents for each of the new standards not in place currently, and calendaring these standards. 
  • Spring 2018
    Adjust assessments and finalize calendars to align with new standards.
  • June 2018
    Release 18-19 curriculum calendars that reflect new standards.

For more information about these new standards, please visit the ADE website. 

New A-F School Accountability Plan
As Arizona continues to gather feedback on its draft of a new A-F School Accountability plan, one component that appears to be foundational is that student proficiency and growth on Math and ELA standards will comprise a significant portion of the new accountability plan.

While acknowledging the obvious, BT is not all things to all people, we are confident that it is a fundamental tool to having a systematic framework that enables the adults within schools to all be moving in the same direction with regard to planning, instruction, and learning.

As you see and hear more about the new accountability system, I want to acknowledge it is easy to have angst. Things that are new or unknown can cause concern or fear in all of us.

Please be reaffirmed that you will be set up for success in working to meet the criteria regarding proficiency and growth on Math and ELA standards.

Not only are we motivated to do right by our partners, we are further motivated to make sure we have things ready for our own school district here in Vail as we work to excel in meeting the likely forthcoming criteria.

In closing, please let me know if you have any questions regarding these upcoming changes.

Thank you for your continued partnership.
Kevin Carney
Chief Executive Officer
Beyond Textbooks
Vail Unified School District

Free BT Webinar: Enrichment for All 
March 9th - 3:30 p.m.

Looking for some quick takeaway activities to enhance enrichment in your classroom?

Join BT Coordinator, Jen Strosin, for a FREE monthly BT webinar on March 9th at 3:30 p.m.!

In "Enrichment for All," Jen will share some of her favorite enrichment techniques including Question Ball, Cubing, and Socratic Seminar that can be used across content areas and grade levels.

These are highly engaging ways to increase your confidence in planning enrichment activities that build critical higher level thinking skills with your students. 

CLICK HERE to join us on March 9th!

Free BT New Teacher Induction Workshop - March 30th and 31st

An essential element of the Vail School District's success is the foundational work that is annually done in its New Teacher Induction (NTI) program.

Designed for administrators, in our BT New Teacher Induction Workshop Vail's Director of Professional Development, Megan Cloud, will share great tips, insights, and materials on how she trains teachers new to Vail.

Attending administrators will leave with plenty of handouts as well as copies of PowerPoints in order to create an NTI program in your organization or sharpen the saw on your existing NTI.

We highly encourage you to attend this FREE annual BT workshop on Thursday and Friday, March 30th and 31st from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Vail Education Center.

A light breakfast will be served and lunch will be provided as well.

Please email Justin Chesebrough, BT Director, at to RSVP by March 17th.

AzMERIT Prep Series - Article II

As AzMERIT draws closer, this is the second installment in our AzMERIT Prep Series. The goal of this series is to provide an at-a-glance look at the work Vail Testing Coordinators do to ensure the testing process run smoothly for our district. 

That said, please continue to refer directly to the AzMERIT website for all final directions and testing expectations. 

1. Make sure that school sites have begun creating their testing schedules for once the testing window opens. Keep in mind that students should not participate in more than two testing sessions per day and should have a break between test sessions scheduled on the same day. Once students start a session, it must be completed on the same day. 

2. All test administrators need to familiarize themselves with the spring 2017 Test Administration Directions on the the AzMERIT Portal. There are separate books for grades 3-8 and EOC administrators. All test administrators must also complete the TA Certification Course located in the AzMERIT Portal.

3. Anyone who may come into contact with the testing environment needs to sign the Achievement Test Security Agreement for Staff. These must stay on file at your site for six years. Using the link provided, these can be found under AzMERIT Resources.

4. Please refer to the February 2017 issue of The Examiner for some important updates regarding iOS and Chromebook devices. Also make sure to have downloaded the AzMERIT Secure Browser to any devices that will be used for computer-based testing. 

5. Continue to add/update staff members in TIDE. Also continue to add any missing students into TIDE. Remember, any students with accommodations must have those entered prior to testing and they must match a student's IEP/504 or ILLP.

6. Whether testing on computer or paper, this is a great time to start putting students into rosters. Rosters help sort students within the Online Reporting System. A roster can be an entire homeroom class in lower grades, or class periods in the upper grades. However, you can also create rosters to represent subsets of students, like an Advanced Math roster. The benefit to creating rosters is that you can more easily analyze aggregate score data and track students' scores. The deadline to create rosters in TIDE is May 4, 2017. Step-by-step directions can be found in the TIDE User Guide and the ORS User Guide.

CLICK HERE for AzMERIT Prep Series Article I.

BT Spirit of Sharing Series
Stephanie Purcell, GCUSD

Please CLICK HERE to watch Grand Canyon Unified School District's Stephanie Purcell highlight a resource she used from Vail's Maribeth Runyon.

This video is a part of the BT Spirit of Sharing video series, highlighting two teachers, from two different organizations, using the same resource to help their students learn.

If you would like to be a part of this video series or know someone who would be great to showcase, please email or call BT Coordinator, Chelsea Scopellite, at or 520-879-3963.

To view other Spirit of Sharing videos, CLICK HERE.

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Effective Enrichment for All
9:00am - 12:00pm
3/3/17 - Prescott, Queen Creek, Snowflake, Vail

BT March Webinar 

8:30am - 3:30pm
3/30/17 - 3/31/17 - Vail

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