News & Updates
September 2019 – National Study: Madison Provides Higher than Average Educational Opportunities
The Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA) is an initiative aimed at harnessing data to help scholars, policymakers, educators, and parents learn how to improve educational opportunity for all children. According to the SEDA report, the Madison Elementary School District provides higher than average educational opportunities. Madison students score 0.61 grade levels above the U.S. average. Average scores of Madison students are 0.37 grade levels higher than districts with similar socioeconomic status. In Madison, students’ test scores increased an average of 0.03 grade levels each year from 2009-2016. The SEDA utilized the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results to create a process for comparing the state test scores which all have unique performance levels thresholds and/or scales.
September 2019 – Madison School District Teacher and Student Recipients of 2019 AZIBS Primary Years Programme Awards
Madison Simis Elementary School’s International Baccalaureate Program took home not one, but TWO awards from the Arizona International Baccalaureate (IB) Schools Association. Simis teacher, Julia Hubbs, was named the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Teacher of the Year. Her former student, Sophie Garcia, is the 2019 recipient of the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Student of the Year award during her time as a fourth-grade student at Simis Elementary.
“Being a teacher at an IB world school requires dedication and the ability to demonstrate attributes such as being open-minded and an inquirer,” shared Madison Simis IB Coordinator Melissa Powers. “Julia Hubbs is that type of teacher. We are proud to have her as a teacher in our IB World School because she truly believes in each child’s ability to think and have ownership in their learning.”
Through the IB curriculum at the Madison School District, students become independent learners capable of in-depth research, report writing, and taking action. Students inquire within the six IB transdisciplinary themes to become internationally minded.
“It feels so amazing to be honored for this award,” said Hubbs, who has 16 years of teaching experience, six of which is at Simis. “It didn’t just happen last year. This was 16 years in the making so I feel incredibly blown away by all the recognition.”
Hubbs said she found her niche with the IB program because it gives both the teacher and student voice and agency to make choices in their learning.
“The IB program is so amazing because it’s a combination of teaching on a global scale through inquiry, incorporating character education, and practicing 21st century skills like research and cooperative work,” Hubbs said. “I try to incorporate this every day in my classroom. This year I’m focusing on questioning because we’re always wondering and learning. It’s continually an adventure in the classroom.”
Madison student Sophie Garcia was extremely excited to hear that her hard work and dedication to “The Cleaning Committee” was being recognized. Garcia and her friends started TCC to keep the school campus clean. Kids could participate with their friends and work together during their social time to help clean up campus.
“I am honored to receive the award and excited to tell my classmates who were involved with the club last year that the TCC was being given an opportunity to be recognized on another level outside of the Simis campus,” Sophie said. “I am excited at the opportunity to be recognized in front of a group of people who are important to my community, and the plaque with my name on it is just icing on the cake.”
Melissa Powers added, “Sophie Garcia is one of the sweetest students you can meet. Because of her great empathy for others and her world, she helped organize a wonderful club at Simis which helped her win PYP student of the year. We are proud of her hard work, dedication and caring heart.”
The Garcia family said Hubbs absolutely deserved the Teacher of the Year Award.
“Ms. Hubbs is an incredible mentor with a huge heart that resonates with the kids that are lucky enough to have her as a teacher,” the Garcia family said. “We are so lucky that Sophie had the opportunity to be a part of Ms. Hubbs’ classroom, and the amount of appreciation that our family (and the Madison Simis Family) have for her is endless.”
Sophie, now in fifth grade at Madison Meadows Middle School, aspires to one day be a digital animator, creating digital animated videos/movies.
Hubbs said as a teacher, she lives by the philosophy to “ignite curiosity, don’t extinguish it.”
“I want my students to leave school every day exhausted but excited for the next day wondering what they will learn about next,” Hubbs said.
September 12, 2019 – Madison Receives Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting
Madison School District was recently awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for its fiscal year 2018 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). In their press release, the GFOA states, “The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.”
August 28, 2019 – Madison Educators visit Uganda
This past summer, a team of Madison educators was afforded the opportunity to visit Omuto Emmaus School near Jinja, Uganda. The team consisted of Dr. Mike Winters, Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction, and four teachers from Madison Meadows, IB Coordinator Victoria Coughlin, Language Arts teacher Amber Bradshaw, Science teacher Alexandra Ritter, and Math teacher Christy Schwalenberg.
During the visit the team toured the school, provided training to the teachers, observed instruction, and provided feedback to the teachers and head mistress (principal). Team members interacted with students, and participated in extracurricular activities and a debate. The team was also able to bring a donation of 30 backpacks stuffed full of school supplies and each team member donated a professional book to add to the school’s library.
August 20, 2019 – Madison Park Middle School Creates New Makerspace through SRP Grant
Madison Park Middle School was one of 33 schools in Arizona selected by SRP to receive a learning grant for the 2019-2020 school year. Park was awarded $4,710 to create a new Makerspace in their library with materials such as LittleBits electronic building blocks, 3D Doodler Pens and Aquaponics Stations, among other reusable resources. These materials will enhance classroom lessons in science, math and technology, enabling students to have a more hands-on approach in their learning.
The grants were awarded through a variety of evaluators and committee from hundreds of grant applications. This year SRP will fund projects ranging from robotics to lab equipment for a total of $147,000 in local STEM/STEAM projects.
August 1, 2019 – Amy Ball Recognized as 12News A+ Teacher of the Week
Ms. Amy Ball was recently named 12News’ A+ Teacher of the Week. Amy was a kindergarten teacher at Madison Traditional Academy for 12 years and begins this school year in a new role as Assistant Principal at Madison No. 1 Middle School.
July 2019 – Madison School District Receives Notice of Re-accreditation by AdvancED
AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world that conducts rigorous, on-site reviews of a variety of educational institutions and systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. Madison was the first elementary school district in Arizona to have been accredited by AdvancED. This past year, Madison was re-accredited and earned the highest AdvancED Index of Education Quality (IEQ) score for any education institution, internationally, in the last 5 years. Madison earned an IEQ of 323.55 compared to the previous highest score of any district, which was 283.33.
July 2019 – Madison’s Bond Rating Upgraded
Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Madison Elementary School District’s outstanding general obligation tax bonds from Aa2 to Aa1. Madison is one of only 7 school districts in Arizona to have such a high rating from Moody’s. The upgrade to Aa1 reflects the District’s robust financial position and experienced management team in place. The rating also reflects the District’s manageable debt and pension liabilities. Madison is grateful to receive validation from Moody’s that the District is responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars as it works to help students realize their full academic, social and emotional potential.
Because of the community’s support, Madison can continue its strong tradition of academic excellence by investing money in the classroom via signature programs that meet the needs of children; programs such as Visual & Performing Arts, Spanish Immersion, International Baccalaureate, Traditional Academy, REACH (Highly Gifted) and STEAM.
Tax Rate Declines
Madison Elementary School District’s tax rate continues to decline. When compared to surrounding elementary school districts, Madison has one of the lowest Primary and Secondary tax rates.