For today’s families, education plays a large part in the decision process when buying a new home. Based upon test results published by the Arizona Department of Education, Estrella's schools - Westar Elementary, Estrella Mountain Elementary, and Estrella Foothills High School continue to rate among some of the highest in the west Valley.
In spring 2011, the Arizona Educational Foundation awarded Estrella Foothills High School the prestigious A+ ranking. Estrella Foothills is the only high school campus in the West Valley to earn this award. Estrella Foothills was one of just 25 campuses statewide to be awarded the distinction. The A+ ranking is valid for the next three years.
Schools receiving the A+ ranking are assessed in the areas of pupil focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data. In February 2011, a team visited Estrella Foothills High School for two days and observed every classroom according to Principal Leslie Standerfer. The college and career preparatory programs, performing and culinary arts facilities were just some of the elements that pushed Estrella Foothills to the top.
The high school has also been labeled as "Excelling" by the State of Arizona for the last three years in a row, and was only one of four schools in the West Valley to receive the label in 2010.
Exciting changes are underway at Westar Elementary School. Starting with the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, Westar Elementary will be recognized as a new magnet STEM school. STEM focuses on four areas of study: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as part of the rigorous curriculum. Westar is one of two West Valley schools to be awarded this program.
“The faculty at Westar is excited to welcome the STEM program into the curriculum and give our students hands-on challenges to increase their learning and prepare them for high school and beyond.” said Dave Bogart, Westar Principal. Through the STEM program students will use technology to enhance their learning and better prepare themselves for the ever changing global economy.
At Estrella Mountain Elementary, the school is working towards approval to offer the International Baccalaureate program to primary and middle school grades. Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Program works with over 2300 schools in 129 countries and the programs offer challenged educational frameworks for all age levels.
Estrella Mountain Elementary is planning to bring both the Primary Years and Middle Years program to students. The Primary Years program is focused on students 3-12 years old and the Middle Years program for 11-16 year olds.
Citing the International Baccalaureate Institute, Sharon Marine, Estrella Mountain Elementary Principal says the Primary Years Program "focuses on the total growth of the developing child, touching hearts as well as minds and encompassing social, physical, emotional, and cultural needs in addition to academic development."
Each year the Estrella schools continue to enhance their curriculum and programs to ensure students receive a top education and to remain competitive in not only the district and metro area, but also the state.
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