The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) recently announced the 2020 A+ Schools of Excellence, recognizing educational excellence at three Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) schools. The A+ program provides schools with a comprehensive plan and evaluation that encourages self-assessment, planning and community engagement.

Canyon Springs STEM Academy was recognized for encompassing a strong culture of collaboration. As you walk through the campus, you see colorful hallways that depict the theme of each grade level. This school is doing amazing things in the arena of STEM, and it is obvious there is buy-in from their families and the community. In addition, their special education program is doing wonderful things to add to the achievement of all students.

During the Desert Mountain School site visit, the AEF team observed fantastic programs that were visible throughout. The student tour was excellent and it was clear that the students know and love their school. The students also have a great deal of pride in their school and each other. Students were actively engaged in learning at each level. Respect for all was evident and the TIG or “Teamwork, Integrity, and Growth” concept was felt throughout the school. Staff is dedicated to providing an outstanding learning environment for their hawks. Desert Mountain’s mission to “ensure all students achieve academic success and develop social skills needed to care, connect, and collaborate throughout their lives,” is what keeps staff focused on the needs of all students.

Gavilan Peak School boasts an impressive Mandarin Immersion Program along with a strong culture of acceptance and caring bolstered by the EQ Program. The school is invested in the PLC constructs and is working to strengthen data driven instruction through the processes. The campus has an environment in which students are inspired to explore their limitless possibilities. Teachers and administration collaborate to develop unique and engaging learning opportunities, data drives instruction, and the campus is immersed in Mandarin culture. In addition to striving for excellence in academics, Gavilan Peak also affords a safe and caring campus that promotes a positive learning environment for all.
During the past two decades, AEF has recognized 20 DVUSD schools as A+ Schools of Excellence.