OPINION: Legacy Traditional students outperformed state averages

Bill Bressler

There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the rollout of Arizona’s new “A-F”  letter grade accountability system for public schools.

Unfortunately, what too often gets lost in the debate about ratings formulas and metrics is real recognition for the students, teachers and schools doing great work. I’m talking about the schools that have continued to outperform – year after year – regardless of ever-changing tests, standards and measurement criteria.

There are examples of these stellar public schools all across Arizona. I’m proud to represent a dozen such schools statewide via my work as superintendent and chief academic officer for Legacy Traditional Schools. In the East Valley, each of our public, tuition-free schools in Chandler, north Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek received an “A” rating under Arizona’s new  letter-grade rating system. Similarly, all Legacy Traditional Schools received an A rating under the former accountability system, last issued in 2014.  Legacy Traditional Schools are joined by many other district and charter public schools that have demonstrated academic excellence on both accountability systems and the best-practices that occur in these schools should be examined further by our community.

Legacy Traditional first opened its  doors in Arizona a decade ago. Since then, we’ve grown from a single, 400-student campus into one of Arizona’s largest, fastest-growing and highest-performing networks of K-8 public schools – serving approximately 13,500 students across a dozen campuses statewide. In fall 2018, Legacy will  be opening two additional K-8 campuses – including one in east Mesa near East Guadalupe Road and South Signal Butte Road.

This kind of growth is only possible thanks to strong community demand for what our schools offer. That starts with strong academics – nine of our campuses earned an “A” grade on AzMERIT and three earned a “B.” As a network, Legacy Traditional students outperformed state averages in English Language Arts and Mathematics in all grades by double digits.

These letter grades are validation of the efforts of our teachers and administrators, but they’re just a part of what makes Legacy Traditional special. Our public schools feature expert instructors who are empowered to do what they do best: teach. We provide students a safe, structured environment in which to learn, and ask that parents and families be active participants in their children’s education. Our curriculum is well-rounded and advanced, and each of our campuses emphasizes the arts, physical education and a full menu of athletic and extracurricular activities.

Finally, we know some of the most important lessons can’t be found in any textbook. That’s why, at Legacy Traditional, we place  a strong emphasis on building character among our students. They learn to respect themselves and others, and to love this country we all share. Call it old-fashioned, but our students still begin every day by saluting the American flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

State assessment tests may come and go, but these values are timeless. If there’s one thing that won’t change, it’s our commitment to helping students succeed – both inside and outside of the classroom.

That’s the Legacy Traditional way.

Bill Bressler
Superintendent and chief academic officer
Legacy Traditional Schools

 

 

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