2020 is only a week old but there is plenty on the horizon for Fountain Hills Unified School District, according to Superintendent Dr. Robert Allen.
From the District’s first foray with the new AZM2 state test to improvements at all three sites and enhanced security, FHUSD will be going through a lot of changes over the next 12 months.
While the AIMS science test will remain in use, the AzMerit test for math and language arts are changing to a test called the AzM2.
“State testing is obviously a very big activity for us,” Dr. Allen said. “AzM2 is the new acronym and it is pretty much the same for grades 3-8, except the eighth grade class will just take one math test that every eighth grade student takes.”
The previous AzMerit tests had eighth graders take a math test based on the course of math they were currently enrolled in. In eighth grade, students have the choice between multiple math courses.
High school state tests have also changed now so that only grade 10 will be tested.
“(The test) is not course specific, it’s a tenth grade English test and tenth grade math test,” Dr. Allen said.
AzM2 testing will begin at the end of March.
Another development to FHUSD academics will be a new core program for the middle school.
“We are looking for a math middle school adoption this spring and that’s a very big project,” Allen said. “They have been working on it all of last year and they will be bringing a recommendation to the (School) Board, sometime this spring, to implement new math resources such as books and online resources.”
Allen said he doesn’t know exactly what the program is going to look like yet, but said that the full presentation to the Board will explain the program in more depth.
FHUSD is also looking to get the ball rolling on some large projects this year at both the elementary school and the high school.
“We have submitted a building renewal grant to the school facilities board for McDowell Mountain to get an entirely new roof,” Allen said. “We are also still working with them on the fire panel of the high school.”
Along with that, new security cameras will be installed at the three schools along with the bus depot, which Allen said has lately been the target of vandalism.
In his recently approved superintendent goals, Dr. Allen added an extra goal focused on student health, with mental health being a key area.
“We have done some things already,” Dr. Allen said. “The counselors at the middle school have conducted mental health seminars for both staff and students, along with introducing some suicide prevention training. I also bought a book for all my principals for a study on emotional povertyby Ruby Rayne.”
The book focuses on emotional health in children and Allen believes it will prove to be a viable resource.