Official School Name
District Name
Mountain Ridge High School
Deer Valley Unified School District
Pre-K K
Previous A+ School of Excellence™? __X___Yes _____No
Name of Principal:
Mrs. Debra Poulson
School Mailing Address:
22800 North 67th Avenue
Primary Phone: (623) 376-3000
Principal Email Address
If Yes, Year(s)
2001-2002; 2005-2006
Principal Phone or ext.
(623) 376-3004
[email protected]
Name of Superintendent:
District Mailing Address
Dr. James R. Veitenheimer
20402 North 15th Avenue
Primary Phone (623) 445-5000
Superintendent Email Address
Superintendent Phone (623) 445-5002
James. [email protected]
If your school is selected to receive a site visit, the review panel members will need directions to your school and will
need to know dates that will present potential conflicts. Please complete the following:
Street Address City & Zip of school (if different from mailing address):
same as above
Detailed travel directions indicating surface streets that lead to your school:
Travel on the 101 West or East to 67th Avenue. Turn north on 67th Avenue. Follow 67th Avenue past Deer Valley.
Turn west (left) on Ridge Road. The administration office is located just north of the first parking lot on your right.
Calendar information:
Best days of week, and times, to observe: Monday through Friday, from the start of the school day to the conclusion
Time school buses begin arriving in the morning: 7:10 A.M
Time classes dismiss: 2:10 P.M.
Time classes begin: 7:40 A.M.
Spring Break dates: March 25-29, 2013
Standardized testing dates: February 26-27, 2013 and April 9-10, 2013
Early release, overnight or all-day field trips or other out-of-the-ordinary activities planned that might interfere with a
site visit for the period February 4 – April 19, 2013; indicate grade level(s) affected:
• Full release day for students, staff on campus for professional development February 4th
• Holiday/No School February18th
• Staff Prep Talks all day February 19th
• Early Release at 11:00 A.M on March 1st
• Parent Teacher Conferences Early Release at 11:00 A.M. March 14th and 15th
• Staff Prep Talks all day March 19th
• Early Release at 11:00 A.M. April 5th
I have reviewed the information in this package including the eligibility requirements, and certify that to the best of my
knowledge it is accurate. If my school is recognized as an A+ School of Excellence, the contents of this application
may be made available to the public. The school will comply with the logo and name usage agreement related to “A+
School of Excellence™”, which will be given to the school upon earning the award.
Principal’s signature
I have reviewed the information in this package, including the eligibility requirements, and certify that to the best of
my knowledge it is accurate.
Superintendent’s signature
I have reviewed the information in this package, including the eligibility requirements, and certify that to the best of
my knowledge it is accurate.
School Board Member’s signature
Printed name of School Board Member _____Kelly Gorman__________________________________________
Arizona Educational Foundation
6155 E. Indian School Rd., Suite #106
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 18, 2013; Call 480-421-9376 with questions.
Preparation of A+ School of Excellence™ Application
Representatives of all relevant stakeholder groups, i.e. administrators, teachers, other school staff,
students, parents, and community representatives, should be involved in the preparation of the
application. List the individuals actively involved in preparation. Insert additional page(s) if needed.
Name (list primary author(s) first)
Ashley Butler
Debra Poulson
Heidi Moya
Cathryn Monasky
Yvonne Johnson
Gloria Winburne
Angela McElroy
Diane Milliken
Jaymie Foreman
Shawn Korman
Leslie Schramm
Jacqueline Witzke
Elisabeth Borchers
Andrew Lang
George Hattendorf
Andrew Jewett
Tim Rosinbum
Michele Markham
Renee Spitler
Lisette Romero
Sean Romero
Holly Batsell
Hilary Blanchard
Patricia Resetar
Shanalee Dorsey
Devin Trudgen
Joanne Kaye
Laura Nardone
Katy Klassen
Carl Wilfong
Shawna Bernard
Gary King
Greg Perry
Kim Rodgers
Dan Singleton
Renee Woodruff
Alexis LaDuca
Natalie Aspaas
English Language Arts teacher / Author
Principal / A+ Committee
English Language Arts teacher / A+ Committee
Registrar / A+ Committee
Counselor / A+ Committee
World Language teacher / A+ Committee
Social Studies teacher / A+ Committee
Media Center Specialist / A+ Committee
Mathematics teacher / A+ Committee
Science teacher / A+ Committee
Science teacher / A+ Committee
English Language Arts teacher / A+ Committee
English Language Arts teacher / A+ Committee
Mathematics Teacher / Athletic Director / A+ Committee
Instrumental Music teacher / A+ Committee
Science teacher / A+ Committee
Social Studies teacher / A+ Committee
Social Studies teacher / A+ Committee
Special Education teacher / A+ Committee
World Language teacher / A+ Committee
Science teacher / A+ Committee
Assistant Principal / Contributor
Assistant Principal / Contributor
Assistant Principal / Contributor
Fine Arts teacher / Contributor
Fine Arts teacher / Contributor
Fine Arts teacher / Contributor
Fine Arts teacher / Contributor
Fine Arts teacher / Contributor
Fine Arts teacher / Contributor
CTE teacher / Contributor
CTE teacher / Contributor
CTE teacher / Contributor
CTE teacher / Science teacher / Contributor
CTE teacher / Contributor
CTE teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
Kathleen Collins-Mascaro
Merry Gordon
Adam Korman
Heather Lange
Michael Racine
Kelly Romirowsky
Dan Sabel
Ryan Santanello
Melinda Splitek
Ruth Yip
Candice Mitton
Drew Tutt
Kelly Devenney
Doug Evans
Lindsey Fleegle
Jason Girnius
Eli Lopez
David Lynk
Doug McDermott
Renee Nelson
Francine Tan
Corey Whitten
Jeff Williams
Mike Youngberg
Kelly Saufley
Tara Daley
Dena Howse
Kevin Schmitt
Joe Belcher
Patricia Bills
Jon Devenney
Stephen Huston
Christine Fergus
Mark Miskell
Alissa Mizrahi
Jason Prey
Jessica Reynolds
Brenda Shriver
Richard Stein
Rachel Brown
Jon Cochran
Bobby Green
Ted Guillory
Michele Markham
Chris O’Brien
Candice Roa
Bryan Rossi
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
English Language Arts teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Mathematics teacher / Contributor
Physical Education teacher / Contributor
Physical Education teacher / Contributor
Physical Education teacher / Contributor
Physical Education teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Science teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Special Education teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Cassio Saverino
Lisa Vaughn
Steve Hoelzen
Radmila Bicanin-Ferguson
John Cassin
Sharon Coffee
David Cook
Tiffany Davis
Karen Koenig
Debra Payne
Candace Policaro
Renee Spitler
Don Tate
Annie Williams
Melissa Field
Kevin Copenheaver
Liz Guyton
Charles Jones
Gene Klein
Margie Shafer-Bellamy
Beth Sanders
Valerie Esgar
Annette Steele
Fran Bono
DeeDee Koski
Anna Ramey
Andi Honer
Kim Crepinsek
Stacey Harvey
Mary Nicholas
Karen Parsons
Lisa McMorrow
Annette Bernard
Wendi Matthews
Don Cooley
Diane Letcher
McKenzie Davis
Sierra Kaszubinski
KayCee Miller
Sarah Duke
Briggs Carhart
Kendall Church
Lindsay Fischer
Lauren Brennan
Haley McCormick
Carly Akine
Todd Carlson
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Social Studies teacher / Contributor
Support Specialist for Special Education / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Youth Transition Program teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Youth Transition Program teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
Special Education teacher / Contributor
World Language teacher / Contributor
World Language teacher / Contributor
World Language teacher / Contributor
World Language teacher / Contributor
World Language teacher / Contributor
School Psychologist / Contributor
Speech Language Pathologist / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Classified Staff / Contributor
Bookstore Manager / Contributor
Counselor / Contributor
Counselor / Contributor
Counselor / Contributor
Counselor / Contributor
Counseling Secretary / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Valerie DeLuca
Sydney Moss
Sanga Shir
Samuel Miller-Gutierrez
Andrew Richardson
Nelson Hum
Elizabeth Rivard
Ashley Francis
Ryan Spacek
Regina Marette
Cindy Alloway
Rene Hoover
Julie Howard
Julie Sienkiewicz
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Student / Contributor
Parent / Contributor
Parent / Contributor
Parent / Contributor
Parent / Contributor
Parent / Contributor
1. Total number of Pre-K-12 students enrolled in the district: 34, 516
2. Number of schools in the district:
16 Elementary
13 Pre-K-8
3 Middle/Junior High Schools
5 High school
3. Category that best describes the area where the school is located:
__________ Urban or large central city
____X_____ Suburban
__________ Suburban w/ characteristic of urban areas
__________ Small city/town in a rural area
__________ Rural
4. Number of years the principal has been in her/his position at this school? 11 years
5. Number of students enrolled at each grade level of its equivalent in this school:
Pre-K __________
4th __________
9th 562
K __________
5th __________
10th 551
6 __________
11th 592
1 __________
2nd __________
7th __________
12th 549
3 __________
8 __________
6. Racial/ethnic composition of students in the school:
0.70% American Indian or Alaska Native
5.80% Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
2.70% Black or African American
11.80% Hispanic or Latino
76.20% White
2.80% Other; specify two or more races
TOTAL: 100.00%
7. Student turnover, or mobility rate, during the past year: 12.8%
8. Limited English proficient in this school:
Total number: 219
As a % of total student population: 9.7%
a. Total Number of languages represented: 26
b. Specify languages: Mandarin, Punjabi, Other Indian, Navajo, Russian, Hindi, Thai, SerboCroatian, Pashio, Dutch, Hopi, Greek, Albanian, Arabic, Spanish, Cambodian, Cantonese,
Filipino, French, Romanian, Other Native Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean
9. Students who participate in free/reduced-priced meals:
Total number: 323
As a % of the student population: 14.3%
Due to economic downturn, there has been an increase in the families of MRHS being forced to
now live with other families due to a foreclosure. A review of the foreclosure rate in the
Phoenix/Glendale area shows that a high density of foreclosures has taken place near MRHS. As
such, the increased numbers are caused by the increased personal struggle families recovering
from their homes foreclosing.
10. Students receiving special education services:
Total number: 129
As a % of total student population: 5.7%
50 Specific Learning Disability
55 DD/Health Impaired/Autistic
14 Other Severe (specify): Emotional handicap, hearing impaired, cognitive delays
Indicate if your school is the district site for any specific special education magnet program(s); if so,
include student enrollment for program(s).
Mountain Ridge High School is not a district site for a specific special education magnet program.
11. Indicate number of full-time and part-time staff members in each of the categories below:
Number of Staff
Classroom teachers
Resource Teachers
Other Support Staff
___11 ______
Total FTE: 161
Describe any significant changes in the data reported in items 1-11 that have occurred during the
past five years. Explain why the changes occurred and the impact on your school programs (use
additional page if necessary).
Mountain Ridge High School has endured declining student enrollment due to the opening of two sister
high schools and in large part due to the economic downturns that has changed demographics that once
existed around MRHS. Many of the families of MRHS are now living with other families. Additionally, three
new group homes have opened in our attendance area in the past three years. The foreclosure map
numbers indicate that the area around MRHS (Phoenix/Glendale) has some of the highest numbers. Due
to this, the number of students that are on free/reduced-lunch has increased. The Deer Valley Unified
School District (DVUSD) has also struggled during this time. The economics within Arizona has caused
DVUSD to not provide salary increases for faculty and staff for many years. In turn, this has caused some
teachers to move or leave the profession resulting in the data above.
Opening in 1995, the goal of Mountain Ridge High School was simple and precise: MRHS would
become a school that would define its graduates to become global leaders who would positively impact the
world. As time has progressed, MRHS has became one of the preeminent Arizona schools with the highest
of academic standards and expectations, specialized programs, clubs dedicated to a multitude of interests,
and an athletic department devoted to distinction. Seventeen years from its opening, MRHS has surpassed
its initial goals of being a school breeding leaders to also being the school that defines the standards of
what it takes to be excellent, notable, recognizable, and paramount. Home of the Mountain Lions, MRHS
has 2,254 students that are diverse, enthusiastic, driven, and innovative. The Mountain Ridge Mountain
Lions never cease to impress the community with our various community service projects, student
dedication to academics, and with the endless recognitions that are awarded to our athletes and fine arts
MRHS has five academic buildings, one administration building, and a cafeteria that all surround a
central courtyard. The Grassy Knoll plays host to gatherings for school spirit, a location for Student
Government to host friendly competitions, and a place to meet and greet friends. Each classroom is
technologically advanced with a mounted LCD-projector and a SMART Board, wireless Internet, and a
specifically-assigned laptop to each instructor. There is a theatre with state-of-the-art technology for
innovative stage productions. MRHS is home to the Pride of the West Marching Band, led by Mr. George
Hattendorf, whose performances are heralded across the nation. In the last five years, our Pride of the
West has been asked to perform at the 2008 Inaugural Parade of President Barack Obama and to perform
at the 2011 Waikiki Holiday Parade Pearl Harbor Performance commemorating the 70th anniversary of
Pearl Harbor.
MRHS has dedicated itself to collaborating and partnering with its local affiliates to better our
community. One of our longest and proudest traditions is also one of our proudest milestones: since 2008,
MRHS has received the Van Hengel Cup (awarded by St. Mary’s Food Bank to the high school with the
most food raised in the state of Arizona). In the fall of 2012, MRHS raised over 208,000 cans to help those
less fortunate around the state of Arizona. In addition, countless staff members have been selected as
Teachers of the Year in the Deer Valley Unified School District, with several others whom have been
nominated for this prestigious award. MRHS also takes pride in the shared accomplishment of receiving
the “A” Accountability Achievement Profile from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) for the second
year in a row for our excelling student achievement and learning growth performance.
The strengths of MRHS are defined by our unified family comprised of students, parents, educators,
administration, counselors, and classified staff. We are a community that collaboratively fosters and
embraces the challenges of a rapidly evolving 21st century world. Each year, we review standards that
allow our students to be innovative; we draft lessons that are designed to push our graduates to be ready to
enter a career or a college-setting. Mountain Ridge’s staff works hard to ensure that its students are selfadvocates in a world that is constantly changing and adapting.
When someone comes to visit MRHS, there is a sense of fulfillment. This is a school that has it all: a
dedicated administrative team, a highly innovative staff of educators and students that pursue Victory With
Honor in academics, athletics, and in the arts. MRHS does more than just care about its students. MRHS
prepares the 2,254 young adults that walk its hallways for a successful and purposeful future. MRHS has
always been, and is still driven, to being one of the premier high schools in our state. MRHS is an
exceptional school for a myriad of reasons that go beyond pen and paper. Any Mountain Ridge Mountain
Lion is proud to be part of our campus and know they will lead future generations with innovation,
compassion, and with excellence.
Mountain Ridge High School comes to life every day, starting at 7:10 A.M. The parking lot fills up, the
school buses arrive, the Grassy Knoll and picnic tables fill up with groups of friends, and the hallways fill
with laughter and stories.
That’s when it happens. That’s when you realize that Mountain Ridge High School is not another high
school. There’s something about Mountain Ridge that people cannot quite describe right away.
Without question, the people you will find at MRHS are the heart and the soul of this school. From the
classified staff, to the students, to the teachers, to administration, to everything in between – these
stakeholders are what make MRHS a school worth coming to daily. MRHS is not just a school where you
are taught lessons in specific content areas. It is a home away from home for some: a place to feel safe,
welcome, and wanted. For four years, high school dominates the lives of young adults nationwide. MRHS
strives to make those four years not only purposeful but also unforgettable.
MRHS works hard to create a collaborative environment which enables each stakeholder to recognize
the value of their voice on campus. In drafting and creating a vision statement, the stakeholders of the
school were asked to think of adjectives that describe our campus life and atmosphere. Using the school’s
initials, the stakeholders drafted several ideas that define the goals of MRHS. When we finalized the
statement, we were able to create an enduring vision statement that represented the campus-wide goal to
prepare our learners to be leaders of tomorrow. Our vision statement is:
The Mountain Ridge High School vision of learning embraces Merit, Respect,
Honor, and Success for all students as they travel on their educational path.
In conjunction, MRHS drafted a mission statement for all stakeholders to follow. Each and every year,
this statement is revisited with the hopes of pushing our staff to always improve and to always provide our
students with the most up-to-date educational practices. The staff of MRHS changes and modifies the way
they teach yearly, implementing new teaching strategies and various technological standards. The goal is
always to follow our mission statement, and to be one of the excelling high schools in the state:
The Mission of Mountain Ridge High School is to provide real world
connections within highly engaging classrooms that prepare graduates to meet
the rigors and demands of 21st century global citizens.
Both the vision and mission statement of MRHS were designed and dedicated to our students. There
are 2,254 Mountain Lions walking our hallways, learning in our classrooms, working in the community, and
dominating in athletics and the arts. Our vision and mission statement are designed to remind our
students, our Mountain Lions, that all 2,254 students are extraordinary. We do this by living and breathing
the vision and the mission statement year round. The staff of MRHS remains dedicated to ensuring that
our students find each lesson engaging, meaningful, impactful, and knows the applications in a real-world
setting. When our learners graduate from MRHS, we know that they will be the global leaders of
There is something extraordinary and exceptional about Mountain Ridge High School that is hard to
describe. That indescribable feeling hits you when you arrive, and it follows you throughout the school day.
For the Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions, that feeling follows you beyond graduation. The four years spent
at Mountain Ridge High School prepares each student to become a confident and capable leader in the
global marketplace of tomorrow. A Mountain Ridge Mountain Lion knows that when they graduate they will
change the world with a single roar.
10 | P a g e
A. Strong Instructional Leadership
A1. Leadership structure, roles and functions are important at the school.
Mountain Ridge High School’s administration team is dedicated, supportive, and fully involved in the
instructional environment. The environment of MRHS is goal-orientated and competitive when making
instructional-based decisions on behalf of its students. Each administrator is specific, meticulous, and
detail-orientated when it comes to instructional leadership. At the start of each school year, the
administration team sets a standard of rigor for teachers and staff in a variety of formats. The school’s
initiative is to ensure that all classrooms exhibit an effective structure founded on unyielding expectations
for teachers, as well as students, entering the global marketplace in the 21st century. Prior to students
arriving for the school year, the principal, Mrs. Debra Poulson, reviews data in comparison to other schools
in the district and in the state with the MRHS staff in order to showcase that MRHS is a leader at being an
excelling school. Further, in reviewing this data, the entire staff of MRHS is able to become unified and is
able to celebrate their efforts from the previous year. The staff firmly believes that this is due to Mrs.
Poulson being a deeply involved and supportive leader who encourages ample opportunities for training,
clarification, and for assistance.
As an instructional leader, Mrs. Poulson encourages her staff to take part in professional development.
Unlike most other school leaders, Mrs. Poulson attends professional development with her teachers to help
foster partnership between administration and teachers. Prior to the start of the 2012-2013 school year,
Mrs. Poulson attended trainings for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and a workshop for the
Classroom Continuous Improvement model (CCI) (both to be discussed shortly) to help facilitate training
the MRHS staff. These initiatives are not new to the MRHS campus (for the past three school years, the
English Language Arts [ELA] department has been developing CCSS aligned lesson plans, while the World
Language department has been implementing the CCI model within their classrooms). For the 2012-2013
school year, training for CCSS and the CCI model are now being trickled down into all classrooms across
campus as an initiative to unify staff on methods to raise rigor for our students with aligned standards and
The CCSS are the new national standards being implemented in the school year 2014-2015 in order to
ensure that all of the United States’ students are prepared to be college and career ready by the time of
graduation. Part of this national initiative is to raise the reading Lexile levels of all students and to ensure
that students are marketable to a global marketplace within the 21st century. The teachers of Mountain
Ridge are preparing for this national change initiative now. During this school year, a group of seven
teachers were trained in how to start implementing the Common Core standards within their classroom.
These seven teachers then returned to the MRHS campus and facilitated trainings on three different
professional in-service staff days. These new standards will be measured using the Partnership for
Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. The PARCC test, to be administered in
2015, is a national test that will replace the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards [AIMS] to ensure that
all students are learning and showing growth throughout the school year. The teachers of MRHS are
aligning these new standards with the CCI model. This program is designed to monitor and improve
teaching and learning by allowing all MRHS stakeholders to participate in setting goals, collecting data,
tracking progress, and making improvements to reach proficiency in all units. Each classroom on the
MRHS campus has a PDSA board (representing the four phases of the CCI model: Plan, Do, Study, Act).
At the start of the school year, each department conducted a study to learn what students expect to learn in
their specific classes. This information was then compiled in order to create department mission
statements. Then, individual classes created class goal statements that involve 100% of the student
11 | P a g e
population within that class meeting or exceeding proficiency. Throughout the learning cycles/units,
teachers create a plan that details what students have to be able to do in order to be proficient. Then,
students and teachers recognize what they both must do in order for proficiency to be met. Once the unit
has concluded, students and teachers engage in a discussion about what was and was not effective during
the unit (study). Finally, an action plan is created for the next unit using the data and the feedback from
students and teachers in order to help create a system in which all stakeholders have a voice. For the
previous two school years, the CCI model was piloted within all department’s on campus to improve the
weaknesses analyzed in our AIMS scores. This collaboration has now created a branch to allow all
teachers the ability to successfully implement the CCI model into their classrooms based on the practice
gained during the previous two years.
The entire administration staff of MRHS is dedicated to supporting the teachers of the school. All
teachers are informally and formally observed through walkthroughs and longer in-depth observations, and
then are asked to attend a post-conference with their assigned administrator in order to converse about the
strengths and the weaknesses of the observed lesson. The post-observational conferences provide praise
(a plus), address issues (any deltas), and assess the needs of teachers in order to ensure that the
instructional environment is fully supported. All administrators have an open-door policy, encouraging the
teachers of MRHS to meet with them, as needed, in order to better their daily teaching practices. Several
teachers from our campus have been sent to professional conferences throughout the summer and
throughout the school year with the encouragement and assistance of our administration team in order to
help provide all teachers the opportunity to preview new research and ideas. These teachers return to
campus ready and eager to share the information gleaned from these conferences to help enhance the
teaching community at MRHS.
This school year, administration is leading a book club with teachers by reading The Global
Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner. The book club meets once per month, and is designed to discuss the
change initiatives taking place on campus and to prepare teachers for district mandates aimed at improving
teaching practice and improving student achievement.
To further establish a leadership structure on MRHS, Mr. Andrew Lang is the Teacher on Assignment
who acts as a part-time administrator (our Athletic Director), in addition to his teaching duties. Mr. Lang’s
role is to represent a bridge from staff members and administration, effectively serving in both important
roles on the campus. Next in the leadership structure are the several members on campus that are
department chairs. These teachers attend regular meetings with the administration team to assist in
ensuring that all teachers have access to vital information that impacts daily campus life. These teachers
are responsible for organizing meetings within their departments to effectively relay the information and
expectations from administration. Following the department chairs are teacher leaders. Teacher leaders
are elected by administration to facilitate staff development for professional in-service days, which occur
one time each month. In addition, several of these teacher leaders act as committee chairs and/or as level
leaders. Teachers may join these committees voluntarily based on interests, be elected, assigned to a
committee, or become part of a committee automatically based on what the teacher teaches. For example,
within each subject there are several teachers that teach that same subject. Each month, that group of
specific teachers will meet to help organize and distribute information to assist all students in that one
MRHS is dedicated to supporting new campus members. Mentor teachers and buddy teachers
(experienced teachers within proximity of the novice teacher) are available to assist all novice teachers
(either new to the MRHS campus or to the profession). Each month, after-school meetings are held to help
familiarize these new teachers to the MRHS campus expectations and to help provide support for
information that may not have been discussed during their university training. All buddy teachers are
12 | P a g e
located in the vicinity of new teachers, and all offer assistance to new teachers in terms of lesson planning,
classroom management, and other issues that arise during the school year.
A2. The school improvement process or Strategic Plan is organized and managed to ensure that the
school is always moving forward.
Mountain Ridge High School diligently reviews all data and results in order to make educated decisions
for its future student population. The results from the AIMS test, the Advanced Placement (AP) exam
scores, and the Stanford 10 (guides teaching and learning toward high achievement standards) results help
staff to meta-cognitively reflect on the strengths and the weaknesses of current teaching practices in the
hopes of continuously improving. Further, the administration ensures that each school year provides
unique staff development workshops to consistently allow our teachers to grow as leaders on campus. The
two focused change initiatives of 2012-2013 are the implementation of CCSS and CCI model into every
classroom on campus. These goals are driven and focused on the strategic plan of MRHS, and offers all
stakeholders the ability to prepare students to being college and career ready upon graduation.
The primary focus of concern for MRHS is its students and their ability to have a meaningful future
upon graduation. To ensure this, the staff encourages its students to have a voice and to be their own selfadvocates. One way of providing students this opportunity is through the Curriculum Fair. Each January
students register for their classes for the following school year. During the Curriculum Fair, students are
invited to review their potential choices for classes, meet the teachers, and review the curriculum of
courses they are interested in. The Curriculum Fair was designed to allow students the chance and
opportunity to explore the various types of curriculum offered, but to also understand the differences
between the AP classes, dual enrollment, and elective courses offered at the MRHS campus. To ensure
that parents also have the ability to be introduced to teachers and to understand the varying curriculum, two
different events are hosted: AP/Dual Night and Future Freshman Night. At these events, parents are able
to learn about the benefits of the dual enrollment curriculum (students earn a concurrent high school and
college credit for the same course taken, as long as students meet the requirements set forth by Rio
Salado Community College and MRHS), and of the AP curriculum (the requirements set forth by College
Board for students who might qualify for college credit pending their score on an AP exam taken in May).
Future Freshman Night is an event in which the parents of any 8th grade student considering on attending
MRHS is invited onto campus to learn about the signature programs, the academics, the extracurricular
activities, the arts, and the athletics of MRHS. This event has become so popular that the administration
team has had to use two sessions during one evening to support the many parents who come to learn of
the culture and curriculum of MRHS.
At Mountain Ridge High School we invite parents and students to be part of various committees, such
as Site Council. MRHS staff believes that all stakeholders have a voice when it comes to campus affairs.
Committee work offers parents the opportunity to be involved in their children’s educational experience to a
multitude of aspects as it offers parents an immediate platform to provide feedback to our administration,
but to also be a contributing factor to all change initiatives on the campus. Students are invited and
welcomed to provide input and feedback regarding campus programs: the Principal’s Advisory Council and
the Athletic Management Team. On the Principal’s Advisory Council, students are invited to sit with Mrs.
Poulson and discuss various student issues. The students also provide ideas on what MRHS can do as a
campus in order to improve the climate, the culture, and to address any foreseeable problems that could
arise for the school. On the Athletic Management Team, students have an opportunity to become involved
in promoting and facilitating MRHS sports. All stakeholders on campus are important and are recognized
for the valuable feedback that each party is able to provide.
Additionally, MRHS strives to be a place where parents feel welcomed. Starting in August, the school
welcomes all parents to campus for Academic Expectations Evening. This is an event where parents are
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invited on campus, follow their student’s schedule to meet each teacher, and review important information
from administration. As well, in October and again in March, parents are invited by administration and
teachers to attend parent-teacher conferences using e-mail and through ConnectEd (a telephone service
that contact all phone numbers in the MRHS directory – staff and parents – at once with important
messages or reminders). Parent-teacher conferences are ten-minute time slots that enable the teacherparent team to discuss academic achievement, behavior, and opportunities for enrichment. In addition to
inviting parents on campus, MRHS strives to stay connected beyond the walls of classroom. MRHS has a
dedicated website (http://mrhs.dvusd.org) and Twitter account where all stakeholders can obtain
information about campus policies and events. Teachers continue this outreach by using Remind101 (a
Web 2.0 tool that is able to send students and parents reminders about the classroom or school through a
text message for cellular devices).
In order to collaborate with the teaching staff, administration strives at creating an atmosphere
conducive to open and honest discussions. Held annually, Mrs. Poulson hosts an all day conference
opportunity known as “Dialogue with Deb.” Teachers are encouraged to meet with Mrs. Poulson during
their prep period to discuss campus celebrations as well as any campus issues. Teachers can share
feedback and ideas, ask questions, and help to facilitate change at MRHS. While this event is held on a
single day, the administration team also has an open-door policy. To further staff conferencing, time is
allotted each month for all teachers to meet as a team through staff meetings, department meetings, and
through level meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to create an open environment for teachers to
process district and campus mandates, address curricular changes, and receive professional development
and/or training. At the end of any meeting, all staff members are invited to share out any celebrations or
concerns that were not addressed throughout the session.
The administration and teaching staff of MRHS are dedicated to continually improving the pedagogical
content within each classroom. As discussed, some teachers at MRHS are in the beginning phases of
implementing CCSS and CCI within each classroom. Regardless of change initiatives taking place on
campus, the teaching staff of MRHS are dedicated and driven to improvement of teaching skills within the
classroom to better prepare students for the rigors of the 21st century. To start this process of continuous
professional development, teachers and administrators have open conversations about what takes place
inside the classroom. Each department on campus has an assigned administrator as their primary
observer. Pending the level of teacher (novice to continuing professional), there are one to two formal
observations each year. Regardless of teaching experience, each teacher will also be informally observed
(20-30 minute observations) and will be observed by several walkthroughs throughout the year. A formal
evaluation involves a teacher providing fully scripted lesson plans for an entire school week to their
evaluator in advance, as well as copies of notes and handouts that would be distributed and discussed with
students during the course of that week. Next, the evaluator reviews and offers feedback on the teacher’s
ability to lesson plan, and then attends one of the class sessions to see how well the lesson plans are
followed. The administrator sits in the classroom for the entire duration and records the actions of the
teacher as well as his/her students. Once a teacher has been observed (formally or informally), all
teachers and staff members are able to view feedback from their observation and/or lesson plan
observations on a district website known as TEVAL (an online location for teachers to access evaluation
data in DVUSD). Within a short time frame, the administrator and teacher arrange a time to meet face-toface in order to conference about the strengths and weaknesses demonstrated throughout the lesson using
the evaluation rubric. This allows all teachers the ability to continually improve their teaching practices
within the classroom, and their ability to plan lessons and units.
The teaching staff at MRHS is also acutely aware of the insight that our families are able to provide. To
do this, teachers invite parents to attend parent-teacher conferences. While the main focus of any
conference is the student, the MRHS teachers recognize that the teacher is another party who can also
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grow in order to better aid the student. As such, the teachers of MRHS request and openly invite feedback
and insight from parents in order to improve. Likewise, with the implementation of CCI, student feedback is
also more critical than ever before, during, and after units. Feedback from both student and teacher
encourages self-advocacy to reach proficiency and to ensure our teachers use the best teaching practices.
In addition to the teacher’s progressing and improving, the campus is also consistently transforming
and is becoming one of the most innovative campuses in the state. MRHS is committed to ensuring that its
graduates are college and career ready by the time a student graduates. To prepare our students for the
challenges of a technological global marketplace, MRHS has purchased and is utilizing various new
technologies in the classroom: additional computers (desktops, laptops, notebooks, etc.), SMART Boards,
iPads, and other technologies. In the fall of 2012, MRHS opened a new computer lab inside our newest
academic building for teacher and student use. There are also several mobile laptop carts in each
academic building that are designed for teachers to reserve for students to use within the teachers
classrooms. The Science department of MRHS is also highly technological with a well-equipped computerbased lab (CBL) in which uses hand-held computers with specially adapted science based software and
probes to collect real-time data during experimentation. Our science teachers use these systems to collect
the rate of carbon dioxide production in aquatic plants, to track exothermic reactions over time, to calculate
the amount of force differing masses generate in controlled experiments, and to record temperatures
generated by solar energy in our student constructed solar ovens.
Finally, every classroom at MRHS is equipped with a ceiling-mounted LCD projector and a SMART
Board. Several teachers have also been selected to pilot iPads in the classroom with their students. As
well, the current pilot programs at MRHS (Biomedicine, Future Teachers Academy [FTA], and
Engineering), provide students an opportunity to explore a possible study and career choice past high
school. For instance, students in the FTA are able to work with teachers on the MRHS campus with
various projects (designing classroom boards, grading, filing, etc.). These students are given an
opportunity to learn about a possible career choice while still in high school.
A3. Leadership is inclusive and engages staff, teachers, students, parents, and community in
All stakeholders of MRHS are encouraged to have a voice that is heard. Parents, students, and staff
members are always included in school improvement efforts to ensure that our school is a community.
Stakeholders are invited and are always welcome to share celebrations and concerns about our campus,
and have a multitude of opportunities to do so. The goal of feedback from any stakeholder is to ensure that
all parties of our campus have a chance to feel represented and to know that anyone can truly make a
positive difference for our campus. The Site Council, the Athletic Management Team, and the Principal’s
Advisory Council are a few options in which both the parent and the student are recognized as valued
members of our school community and are seen as leaders on our campus.
To ensure that all families have a voice on our campus, MRHS conducts several surveys throughout
the school year that are designed to capture information that will help to improve the climate, the
cleanliness of the campus, the curriculums offered, and to any other concern that a parent or student might
have. The staff, students, and parents of MRHS are also asked to take an AdvancED survey (a survey that
was distributed to aid DVUSD seeking district accreditation; AdvancED accreditation helps to distinguish
schools adhering to a rigorous set of educational standards) annually in order to elicit valuable feedback
about the campus, classes offered, and the expectations of our campus. Pending this data, the Site
Council also sends a survey out for all stakeholders to take in order to collect more data that can help
create a more positive climate on campus. In addition to this, the students of MRHS are also asked to take
the National Gallup Poll survey. The National Gallup Poll is a survey that compares our students nationally
with other students in the areas of hope, engagement, and well-being. The data from these surveys are
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reviewed and analyzed, and then school leaders discuss ideas and implement changes based on the
commentary of stakeholders. Parents of MRHS are welcomed to attend school-board meetings to further
their input beyond the school campus. Additionally, parents are encouraged to join the MRHS PRIDE
Committee who assists in planning events for all families of MRHS (to be discussed in-depth in Section F).
Beyond surveys and open discussions, MRHS is dedicated to ensuring that students have ample
opportunities to review potential career options and interests. As such, MRHS creates opportunities for
students to meet industry representatives to learn about potential career paths within our Career and
Technical Education (CTE) department. This opportunity affords students a chance to see real-world
connections at a young age, and allow our students to make decisions about what courses and programs
would be a better fit at MRHS. Our counselors are dedicated to also support parents and students in these
decisions for curriculum, college admissions, and other personal values.
The staff of MRHS is also equally represented among the leadership structure. All staff members are
encouraged to attend professional development that best represent the wants and needs of the campus. In
addition, many teachers are recognized to lead and facilitate professional development activities on
campus for in-service days based on their training. MRHS analyzes the results of survey data in order to
ensure that all voices are heard, are recognized and further reviews feedback to drive changes seen on
A4. Leadership models the use of 21st century tools and applications in the roles of the principal,
manager, teacher leaders, and staff leaders.
As previously stated, the MRHS campus is highly technological with the intent of offering our students
every opportunity to be successful. Each academic building has a mobile laptop cart which holds 15-16
laptops that are able to be charged throughout the school day and a functioning printer. Teachers are able
to reserve these carts for use within the classroom. Teachers are then able to help students recognize the
appropriate use of technology, how to have a protected online identity, and how to use various Web 2.0
tools that help enhance and further their learning.
In order to help connect the student population’s access to technology, there are four computer labs
(two in the Media Center, one in the CC-building, and a large computer lab capable of holding more than 60
students in the C-building). Likewise, several teachers on campus have been selected by the district to
pilot iPads in the classroom. MRHS recognizes that the economic downturn has not only affected parents,
but also many students do not have a working computer at home. To help with this hardship, MRHS offers
students access to various computer locations throughout the school week. For example, students are
able to go to the Media Center before or after school or during their lunch hour in order to work on
technological projects or to print out materials as needed.
Mentioned previously, MRHS is dedicated to communication within the community. MRHS as a school,
as well as several teachers on campus, have a Twitter account which sends out classroom reminders or
updates to further communication for parents and students. Several teachers also utilize the Remind101
tool to continue family outreach and administration uses the ConnectED telephone service to send out
prerecorded messages. All teachers are expected to have a dedicated webpage that is updated monthly
with information for the classroom, documents, and other materials that support students in that class.
Senior, Sydney Moss, says “My teachers are all extremely passionate and endlessly reassuring. They are
the absolute best because they empathize.”
To further the success of the school, MRHS is always reflecting using data from assessments given to
the student body (AIMS, AP exams, Stanford 10, the National Gallup Poll, surveys for parents, students,
and/or teachers, etc.). As seen in Section A, MRHS is devoted to continuously reflecting on the strengths
and the weaknesses as a collective campus. Data is made available to all stakeholders with the intent on
improving the culture and climate of our campus.
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B. School Organization and Culture
B1. Underlying values, beliefs, and traditions ensure that people work together to solve problems
and confront challenges.
MRHS is dedicated to its stakeholders in every capacity, starting with the value and belief of safety.
The administration team firmly believes that all parties should feel physically and psychologically safe while
on campus and work diligently to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the procedures to make MRHS
a safe campus both physically and psychologically. At the beginning of each school year, students are
tasked with reviewing the student handbook for rules and expectations to ensure a safe, positive, and
healthy school environment for all stakeholders. In addition to students reviewing these expectations each
year, MRHS asks that parents read and review the rules with their child as well. The MRHS staff also
reviews with students the definition of bullying and/or harassment, what a student can do to report an act of
bullying, and also what a student can do in order to prevent bullying from occurring on campus. The
student population knows and recognizes that MRHS is an anti-bullying school, and that all faculty
members are very serious about the safety and well-being of their students.
In order to help facilitate and distribute information regarding all aspects of the school, MRHS has a
dedicated website that is updated to reflect the celebrations and upcoming events in the athletic
department, in the arts, and all teacher websites are linked from the MRHS webpage. In addition to our
webpage, MRHS has a digital marquee at the front of the school that communicates information for all
families. The marquee helps to distribute information on the school calendar (such as holidays, early
releases, standardized testing dates), but also the celebrations of our campus (e.g., upcoming events in
athletics and in the arts, students that are being recognized for an accomplishment). This same information
can be accessed using the PowerSchools website. PowerSchools offers parents a one-stop shop of
information regarding their student’s grade and progress in a class, and a recap of all daily school
announcements. Parents are able to receive email bulletins regarding daily announcements and grades.
In addition, MRHS uses the ConnectED telephone system and Twitter to relay important information to our
community (refer to Section A for more information). Senior Nelson Hum says that PowerSchools is
“informative because it offers easy access to my grade and assignments. I’m able to keep up to date on
progress in school, see where I need help or improvement.”
Beyond the safety of our students, MRHS is diligent in creating a positive atmosphere that recognizes
the efforts of our students to making our campus one of the best in the state. Academically, the Mountain
Lions are ambitious and competitive. One of the longest running traditions on the MRHS campus is the
Renaissance Program. Based on semester grade point average, students have the ability to earn a
graduation cord that will help to showcase the academic achievements for each semester of high school as
students walk across the stage at the University of Phoenix Stadium for their high school graduation.
There are untold pressures that weigh on almost every decision a teenager makes. In accordance,
MRHS strives to recognize our students’ positive actions that go beyond the classroom twice each school
year with the Rising Stars Program. MRHS knows that each and every student on our campus has the
extraordinary potential to make a positive impact on our campus, in our community, and in the world. The
Rising Stars Program allows teachers to recognize students beyond academics by noticing the smaller
attributes that make each Mountain Lion outstanding. Students who are nominated as a Rising Star are
invited with their family for a continental breakfast and to receive their award.
In addition to the Rising Star Program, there is another ceremony to recognize students: the Motivated
Mountain Lions Ceremony. Started during the 2011-2012 school year, the Motivated Mountain Lion
Ceremony is designed to allow each teacher on campus the ability to nominate one student a year that
stands out in an extraordinary way. Each month throughout the school year, ten to twelve teachers from all
departments choose one students to nominate and recognize. This student cannot be repeated by any
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other teacher on campus for the remainder of the year, making the award much more unique and special.
Students and their families are personally invited by the teacher for a morning brunch before school where
teachers will read the award to the small gathering.
MRHS’s devotion starts with our campus, but pushes our student efforts beyond the campus in order to
make the world a better place. For example, the yearly food drive is an event that all stakeholders look
forward to as we strive to raise the most food and money possible in order to help those less fortunate in
the state of Arizona. Since 2008, MRHS has been the high school to raise the most amount of food
possible throughout the state of Arizona. In the fall of 2012, MRHS successfully raised over 208,000 cans
of food and retained the Van Hengel Cup for being the high school in the state of Arizona that raised the
most food. Held twice a year, the MRHS campus also hosts a blood drive to help save lives. Students are
able to volunteer (with parental permission if under the age of 18), and our staff is welcome to donate blood
as well. In the fall of 2012, over 260 students and staff signed up to donate blood helping 708 people.
Beyond organized events, MRHS is home to clubs that are dedicated to close partnerships that strive
for positive community outreach. Two clubs, the National Honor Society (NHS) and the Interact Club are
committed to group projects that better the community and the world. In October of 2012, the MRHS NHS
students planned a trick-or-treat event to help UNICEF. The students in the NHS chapter walked around
campus and their local neighborhoods with small pumpkin boxes in order to raise $800 of donations for
UNICEF. The Interact Club is also incredibly dedicated to community service projects. Since their
formation, the Interact Club has painted ten houses during the Rock & Roll Paint-A-Thon, helped to pick
citrus for elderly, and also works with Habitat for Humanity. In April of 2012, the Interact Club received the
Arizona Governor’s Volunteer Service award. The mission of this recognition group is to promote the ethics
of service and volunteerism and to recognize volunteer efforts that strengthen communities and improve
quality of life for Arizonans. The Interact Club has also received awards from the Deer Valley Unified
School District (DVUSD) Superintendent Awards of Excellence for Community Relations, and was the
recipient of the Best of the West award by the Western Maricopa Coalition for promoting a positive image
and advocating community relations within Western Maricopa County.
B2. The school environment or climate is conducive to Learning for All and moves beyond the
elimination of undesirable behavior.
The campus of MRHS creates and sustains a positive climate that is conducive to all stakeholders
being valued in the learning process. The goal of MRHS is to ensure the protection and safety of all, with
our students being the number one priority. As discussed, MRHS is an anti-bullying campus and is
dedicated to the physical and psychological safety of its students. During Aca-Prep times (a time built into
the schedule that acts as a form of study hall; to be discussed in-depth in Section D), our students are
educated on the prevention of bullying and/or harassment and are also provided strategies for study-habits
and other student success. Further, we help to teach our students what they can do if they are a witness to
or a victim of bullying. To further this outreach, MRHS also hosts several events (e.g., parent-teacher
conferences, Future Freshman Night, and curriculum nights) throughout the year to allow the community to
learn about family and student support agencies.
Despite all the best intentions and policies, MRHS knows that young adults make mistakes and often
let their emotions dictate their action. To help foster maturity and collaboration between students, MRHS
has a peer mediation program. Each year, teachers select and nominate individual students that show
strong leadership skills in problem-solving that would be willing and able to help their peers involved in
conflicts on campus. MRHS is appreciative of human diversity, and strives to create an environment that is
not only understanding but also accepting. One of the longest-running traditions on our campus is Project
RESPECT, hosted by Sean Romero. Mr. Romero asks teachers to consider students who stand out as
someone who values the principles of acceptance in all aspects of life. Project RESPECT’s has a fall and
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spring training for students to learn about respecting themselves and others cultural, sexual, and physical
differences. Students are trained to be proactive bystanders where they can stand up to support students
who are being bullied. These student mediators are also involved in this project by creating anti-bullying
videos that are played during the morning announcements. In addition to Project RESPECT, our campus is
home to the Best Buddies Club. Best Buddies advocates all of its members to positively impact people on
campus with and without disabilities by creating friendships and positive connections on and around our
To further our diversity within the classrooms on campus, MRHS has a dedicated co-teaching program.
A co-taught class has two teachers (one general education teacher and one special education teacher).
The students enrolled in these classes are a mixture of assorted students from all ability levels. These
classes offer the general education student a chance to learn how to collaborate and how to work with a
student who has a special need, while at the same time offering a special education student the chance to
reach their highest potential. Without question, a co-taught classroom builds relationships, helps to mold
young adults into compassionate and caring individuals, and changes the way all stakeholders understand
disabilities. Samuel Miller-Gutierrez, junior, says, “My peers have greatly impacted my learning experience
at Mountain Ridge. They have helped me to become a more confident person.”
MRHS also hosts a variety of events that are designed to model to our students the value of
acceptance. Each year, there are a multitude of events from assemblies to dances to bring the campus
together. MRHS is also host to the Special Olympic Track activities, and several of our students volunteer
to aid and support the event. Our entire student body is represented as often as possible with student
elections that represent their wants and needs of the campus. In addition to these events, the World
Language department organizes International Week to help showcase the wonders of being part of a
diverse global population.
To help the school environment be focused on learning, MRHS is dedicated to advancing the
professional teaching methods of its staff as much as possible. As discussed extensively in Section A,
MRHS is implementing two full staff roll-outs for the 2012-2013 school year: CCI and CCSS. To help the
staff with the transition, professional in-service half days are used to support the staff with continued
training in both CCSS and CCI. For CCSS training, teachers are identifying and practicing how to
determine appropriate Lexile levels/text complexity, how to locate informational text, review the PARCC
assessment, and close reading strategies. The CCI training occurs during half days, but also once a month
during a teacher’s prep period (known as Prep Talks). During a Prep Talk, teachers with a common prep
period meet with administrators and fellow leader teachers in order to best practice and understand the CCI
To MRHS, these facets of our campus make us unique and help to showcase our values. We believe
in a safe environment for young adults to thrive in academics, in arts, in athletics, and in extracurricular
activities. If you spend a day walking around MRHS’s campus, any person can see that there are several
security guards and a School Resource Officer around campus helping to make the school day to be more
efficient, and each student knows and recognizes the importance of lockdown drills and fire drills. Finally,
each student is given a weekly calendar upon their arrival to school in August. This calendar is not only
designed to help students be more efficient and productive in time-management, but also acts as their hall
pass to use the restroom or to go to other locations on campus.
B3. The school fosters positive interactions, respect, cooperation, and collaboration between and
among students and adults, and promotes a healthy peer climate among student.
All the stakeholders of MRHS are dedicated to building, sustaining, and promoting a positive school
climate. As discussed previously in Section of A and throughout Section B, the teachers of MRHS are
committed to ensuring that students are successful in and out of the classroom. Senior student, Sanga
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Shir, says, “The teachers of Mountain Ridge are definitely amazing. They are so helpful and they know
their subject inside and out. They have great attitudes and make kids want to learn.” Each teacher on
campus has an individually created and hosted website (easily accessible to students and parents through
the main website). Several teachers implement various Web 2.0 tools to connect with students and parents
(Remind101, Turnitin.com [a web-based plagiarism scanner, as well as email/discussion board host],
PowerSchools, and Blackboard [an online site that students can log into that is a hybrid classroom]). Our
teachers also conduct parent-teacher conferences twice a year, but welcome parents throughout the year
for any reason in order to ensure student success. In addition to this, MRHS also hosts the Motivated
Mountain Lion Ceremony, the Rising Stars Program, and the Renaissance Program to help ensure
students recognize their efforts in behaviors and in academics.
MRHS has over 40 clubs sponsored on our campus, covering a wide range of interests: reading,
writing, community outreach, animals, animation, sports, and even fostering school spirit. All clubs are
encouraged to invite and welcome new members at the start of the school year at an event known as Club
Rush (an event in which clubs are able to showcase what they do and accomplish throughout the year). All
students are invited to meet and greet the club representatives, and are able to join the club if their
interests are shared. Students are welcomed and encouraged to create their own clubs at any time, and
most staff members are happy to help in its formation (e.g., writing a constitution, being a sponsor).
Elizabeth Rivard, 12th grader, says that “students can indulge in their niche” at Mountain Ridge.
As discussed, MRHS is committed to the welfare of its students’ needs. In addition to systems
previously discussed, MRHS also hosts Community of Caring Month in February. The goal of Community
of Caring Month is to help model activities that promote community involvement or campus beautification.
All clubs, most sports, and several departments choose an activity to help make our community a better
place (activities include helping clean at lunch, working at a food bank, or writing letters to U.S. veterans).
Regardless of the activity, Community of Caring Month is to spread good will and to model appropriate
behaviors that make the world a better place.
MRHS is a school that shapes and defines its young students to be global citizens. The staff of MRHS
(this goes beyond just teachers) recognizes that to make the best students, you require the best staff
members possible. Twice each school year, MRHS hosts a spirit week where each day is a designated
dress-up day. While our students definitely have school spirit, it is not uncommon for our staff to show up
dressed up showing their own school spirit during these weeks. Every Friday, MRHS shows its Mountain
Lion pride by hosting a spirit day where all stakeholders are encouraged to wear a spirit shirt. There are a
variety of shirts available to show one’s school spirit (purchasable through the bookstore). Specialty shirts
for sports or clubs or classes are also available for purchase from individual sponsors on campus.
A trait that all staff members share here at MRHS is pride. Counselors are committed to working with
our student population to ensure their success. They assist students with everything from applying for
college and college scholarships, to applying and interviewing for a job. Our paraprofessionals interact with
general education students in all aspects of campus life. Transportation organizes and conducts bus
evacuations each year to help promote the safety of our students. The maintenance department is
dedicated to keeping MRHS one of the most beautiful campuses in the state of Arizona. The cafeteria
employees help provide healthy food and a clean environment for our students and our staff throughout the
entire school year. The school nurse is driven to the health and welfare of each and every student, as well
as staff members by providing descriptive emails on preventative health measures. The administration of
MRHS is seen in all aspects on our campus (presenting orientation information to freshman in August,
having a presence at all school activities [including sports, performances, and even daily lunches], planning
and promoting fire drills and lockdowns, and even providing training for professional development for the
staff of MRHS). Without question, all stakeholders are engaged and are part of a process to ensure that
the campus of MRHS is positive and nurturing environment.
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C. Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
C1. The curriculum reflects current research and use of curriculum development best practices
across all grade levels.
The essential content of the curriculum offered at MRHS is defined by both by the Arizona state
standards and the CCSS. Materials are sequenced chronologically, topically, or thematically depending on
the academic discussion taking place within the classroom. The curriculum at MRHS is monitored in
several ways: all teachers meet by department, as well as within level groups, to discuss curriculum and to
exchange ideas on how to implement these strategies in the classroom. To aid with alignment, most
curriculums have a scope and sequence that a teacher is able to follow (a document that details the units
that the students should study in order to be successful on district-aligned assessments).
The success of the students of MRHS lies in the teachers within the classroom. The MRHS teaching
staff prides itself on implementing various teaching strategies to ensure student success: scaffolding,
differentiation, and remediation in higher levels. Further, the teachers of MRHS are dedicated to articulation
and partnerships with our feeder school teachers, grades K through 8th grade, to maximize instruction for
students as they progress from elementary school to middle school to high school. Based on articulation
and the results of data (AIMS, district assessments, etc.), MRHS then reflects and revises the current
Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP) Goal Areas and Strategies for each upcoming school year. Our
teachers are consistently observed, evaluated, and are discussing their teaching within the classroom in
order to help continue improving the teaching staff of MRHS.
Concurrently with strong teaching strategies in the classroom, teachers all offer office hours to
accommodate students that need additional assistance. To extend academic opportunities to our students,
most departments offer various levels of teaching to fit students’ needs. For example, in the English
Language Arts department, students are able to take READ 180 (a remedial reading class designed to
raise reading fluency), co-taught/special education inclusion classes, general education classes, Honors
courses, Advanced Placement courses, and dual enrollment courses (college-level courses). This wide
variety of options allows a diverse group of students to be represented, and also fosters a sense of
community in recognizing that all ability levels have a welcome home at MRHS.
The administration and staff of MRHS protects instructional time through a variety of protocols. The
teaching staff of MRHS are expected to create lesson plans that utilize all classroom time available from
the start of the school year to the semester and/or year-end conclusion with final exams, and are supported
by administration through a variety of policies that limit classroom interruptions (e.g., cell phones are not
permitted in class, the intercom not being used during class time, teachers are discouraged from writing
passes to excuse students that are arriving late to another class). Additionally, students who are more than
20 minutes tardy at the beginning of the school day must go to sweep (the sweep room is a form of
detention used for students that are late for class) to avoid interrupting the learning environment.
C2. Select two curricular areas OR one curricular area and one unique program to discuss in depth.
MRHS’s most innovative curriculum is Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Principles of Biomedical Science.
This curriculum introduces high school students to the human body, cell biology, genetics, disease, and
other biomedical topics in a sequence of four courses. This curriculum is designed to prepare students for
postsecondary education training necessary for success in a wide variety of position, including physician,
nurse, pharmaceutical researcher, and technician. Currently, MRHS only offers the introductory course
(Principles of Biomedical Sciences [PBS]), taught by Mrs. Kim Rodgers. PBS provides an introduction to
the biomedical sciences through exciting hands-on projects and problem-solving activities, allowing
students to investigate the human body systems and various health conditions (heart disease, diabetes,
sickle-cell disease, hypercholesterolemia, and other infectious diseases), factors that contribute to a
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fictional person’s death, explore lifestyle choices, and medical treatments that could have prolonged life.
The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, medicine, research processes and
bioinformatics. Key biological concepts including homeostasis, metabolism, inheritance of traits, and
defense against disease are embedded in the curriculum. Engineering principles including the design
process, feedback loops, and the relationship of structure to function are also incorporated. In the
immediate future, MRHS is planning to implement the remaining courses to expand this curriculum: Human
Body Systems (HBS), Medical Interventions (MI), and the capstone course, Biomedical Innovation (BI).
These courses will only be available to students that took the foundation course, but if taken sequentially,
students are able to take all four courses throughout their four-years at MRHS if they start the program as a
freshman and continue through senior year. Students are excited by this new opportunity. Freshman,
McKenzie Davis says about the program: “The biomedical class at Mountain Ridge is a wonderful
opportunity to broaden my knowledge of the human body, how it works at the cellular level, and how each
organ affects one another. The biomedical class is an incredible experience not only for people wanting to
pursue health-centered careers, but for anyone interested by the sciences.” In the fall of 2012, Ms. Davis’
favorite lesson was about the heart. Ms. Davis continued, “It was interesting to learn in detail about of the
most vital organs in our body, one which all other parts of the body rely on for survival. There were some
fascinating activities accompanied in this topic, including the dissections of a sheep’s heart.”
PBS utilizes several standards in order to ensure that the coursework goes beyond the expectation.
PBS draws on expectations and standards from: National Science Education and CCSS, Principals and
Standards for School Mathematics, National Healthcare Cluster Foundation Standards, the National
Education Technology Standards (ISTE), Standards for Technological Literacy (ITEA), and also the Arizona
Career and Technical Standards for Bioscience. The various standards are ingrained in the curriculum
through introducing students to hands on, collaborative, open ended science, technology, engineering, and
math activities. The fast paced, project-based curriculum encourages students to apply the information
they are exposed to and, through collaboration and feedback, the outcomes are not only positive, but also
meets the mission statement of MRHS as it provides real world connections and also further prepares the
graduates of this program to be prepared with the foundation and basics of a biomedical career. Students
also have the opportunity to participate in the Health Occupations Students of America Club, as well as
promoting the curriculum to incoming freshman and other MRHS students interested in joining the program.
As this program is in its pilot year, the effectiveness of the biomedical curriculum is currently measured
through the systems approach to continuous improvement plan, as well as varied informal and formal
assessments (including tests, labs, presentations, and projects). PLTW requires all students enrolled in the
biomedical sciences curriculum to complete the End of Course Assessment which is used to evaluate the
curriculum content throughout the country. Students in the second year of the program will be required to
complete an Arizona Career and Technical Education Bioscience exam, as well.
MRHS has also hosted a ten-year alliance with Maricopa County College District and Rio Salado
Community College. Qualified underclassmen students, and all juniors and seniors students of MRHS are
able to take classes for concurrent high school and college credit within their regular school day. We now
offer every dual enrollment course students need to complete the 35-credit hour Arizona General Education
Curriculum-A (AGEC-A) (a block of courses that are liberal arts-based). Students who complete the
AGEC-A are ensured admissions into any public Arizona University and enter college as a sophomore or
junior with their general studies completed, ready to begin taking more specialized coursework in their field
of interest. This program affords our students an ample opportunity to gain a taste of college success that
is likely to propel them onto more college classes. One of the many benefits of taking our dual enrollment
classes is the reduced cost of college tuition and text books; likewise, students have stronger qualifications
for scholarships. Additionally, students eliminate duplication of coursework during the early years of
college which allows MRHS graduates to finish their college studies faster.
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The dual enrollment program at MRHS is measured by total student enrollment and number of classes
offered. In the 2012-2013 school year, 438 students took a total of 662 dual courses in: English Language
Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and CTE. In addition, MRHS measures the number of
students who complete the AGEC-A block.
C3. All students, including learners with unique needs, have the opportunity to learn challenging
content and achieve at high levels.
MRHS strives to provide a continuum of services based on a student’s individual learning needs.
MRHS has varying classroom settings to accommodate students of all academic levels, such as: selfcontained classes, inclusion, READ 180, Honors, AP, dual enrollment, learning center core (LCC), and
multiple elective offering real world connections (Youth Transition Program [YTP] classes, life-skills
classes, CTE courses, etc.). In addition, Response to Interaction (RTI) and 504 plans (named in the
American with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from education
and ensures that modifications/accommodations are in place for students with needs) are designed and
implemented to provide extra support and services for students with differing abilities and/or needs, but do
not qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (defines the individualized objectives of a child who has
been found with a disability intended to help the child reach educational goals [also identified as IEP]).
MRHS conducts annual IEP and 504 meetings to ensure that students are receiving the appropriate
accommodations to ensure success in the classroom setting. The inclusion and co-taught special
education courses are offered to help modify and accommodate general education materials in order to
ensure each student has the ability to achieve academic success.
MRHS also adheres to General Education Intervention Teams (GEIT), a system that is similar to RTI,
which helps to support a general education student that is struggling and is not currently responding to
strategies being implemented in the classroom for support. Regardless of what a student needs to be
successful, diversity is welcomed and celebrated at MRHS. Students in diverse groups are fully integrated,
when appropriate. These students are given every opportunity, and are expected to participate in any/all
campus events. All students are cherished members of our community.
Students are placed into appropriate level courses using well-defined criteria (e.g., previous course
grades, aptitude tests, special need testing, teaching input, and parent or counselor initiation). Each year,
our school actively solicits teacher input in attempting to identify potential Honors/AP students. As a result,
we have a large number of Honor/AP classes that make each school year. To elaborate on this, MRHS
had over 150 students enrolled in the AP Calculus program in the 2011-2012 school year, which is one of
the largest student populations on the west side of the valley. Our special education department is also
very dedicated to supporting the students at MRHS that need ancillary support. At in-service or staff
meetings, the special education department offers insight on current laws, as well as provides tips and
techniques that can help the teacher accommodate and modify lessons to support special education
students enrolled in a general education class.
It is also important to note that all teacher and all students monitor progress towards desired goals using
the CCI model within each classroom. At MRHS, the goal is for all students to experience success. To
ensure that all stakeholders have immediate feedback, DVUSD and MRHS utilize PowerSchools (please
refer to Section B for detailed description). Administration also monitors progress regularly to help assist all
stakeholders. To further support students, the teachers of MRHS track students who have earned a “D” or
an “F” in the classroom starting on the third week of the semester. The teachers then record what
strategies are being implemented to help assist the student. The teaching staff is also dedicated to having
consistent parent communication (through telephone, email and other methods of communication). Andrew
Richardson, 11th grader, says that teachers at Mountain Ridge “really try to get to know your learning style
and go above and beyond to make sure you succeed.”
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C4. HIGH SCHOOLS ONLY: Curricular offerings provide rigorous educational opportunities that
transition students to post-secondary education and/or careers.
MRHS offers a multitude of rigorous educational opportunities that transition students to their future
goals (be it a four-year university or directly into the workforce). MRHS offers AP courses in Science,
Mathematics, ELA, Social Studies, Fine Arts, and in Foreign Language. To help underclassmen prepare
for the rigors of an AP course, MRHS offers a variety of Honors courses to help build the foundational skills
in order to be successful in our AP program. The AP courses on our campus are designed to augment the
core knowledge relating to the curriculum by building upon the higher learning ability of gifted students in
order to develop beyond the basic core requirements of the curriculum by implementing the CCSS, as well
as requirements as set forth by College Board.
The teachers and students of our AP programs are highly successful. Since 2008, the enrollment rates
of these courses have steadily been on the rise (in 2008, 269 students were enrolled in AP courses;
compared with 2012, 313 students were enrolled). Additionally, the participation in taking AP exams has
been increasing despite hard economic times. The AP exam costs students $89 per course exam. While
MRHS offers a scholarship program to students qualifying (such as students on free and reduced lunch),
the rise in AP exams is evidence of the success of the AP program at MRHS. In 2008, 523 AP tests were
administered; whereas in 2012, 673 AP tests were administered.
Without question, the AP program at MRHS is successful and is dedicated (test results will be
discussed in Section G). The AP student population of MRHS scores above the national average. Sierra
Kaszubinski, senior student, says “I would describe our AP program at Mountain Ridge as fulfilling. Not
only does the structure of the class make you into a better student and learner for the college arena, it also
helps formulate bonds between the students and teachers that go way beyond what a regular class ever
could.” In addition to this, MRHS has a partnership with Rio Salado Community College to be able to offer
dual enrollment courses to students seeking the ability to earn high school credit and college credit
concurrently. Courses are able to be taken in ELA, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and through
CTE courses. Likewise, the PLTW PBS curriculum is available and will continue to develop.
Academic Decathlon is offered as an Honors course for the most dedicated students who are
interested in a challenge. Students who enroll in this course are able to study and work as a team to
prepare for the Arizona Academic Decathlon. Students are given a broad topic (for example, this year the
focus was Russia). Students then compete in ten areas: art, economics, essay, interview, language and
literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, and speech. In this course, students learn to
collaborate and create team-building skills in order to successfully participate in the competitions. In the
spring of 2012, MRHS made state history when then-sophomore Hansen Qui earned a perfect score in
mathematics, a first for the Arizona Academic Decathlon history of competition. Mrs. Natalie Aspaas is the
teacher for this course, and her students believe she is dedicated and enthusiastic. Ryan Spacek,
sophomore, says that “Academic Decathlon is set up like a large family. Mrs. Aspaas understands her
students and treats us respectfully, and she acknowledges we’re all unique.”
There are also CTE courses that are designed to prepare students for a desired career. MRHS offers
coursework in audio visual technology, accounting, early childhood education, education professions,
engineering, and graphic communication. There are two dual enrollment courses offered with Information
Technology and Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship. At the conclusion of the 2011-2012
school year, the students involved in CTE classes were assessed through the state. Our students did
incredibly well, with 93% of students passing the Future Teachers assessment, 91% of students passing
the Engineering assessment, 89% of students passing the Marketing assessment, and 86% of students
passing the Web Page Design assessment.
Our CTE program is also collaborating with Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) which is
a public school district that is dedicated to providing students innovative CTE programs that will prepare
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them to enter the workforce and pursue continuing education. High school students living within the
boundaries of the DVUSD are eligible to enroll in West-MEC programs. These students attend high school
for core subjects, and then travel to a West-MEC Program career campus to receive their high school
elective credits, an opportunity to earn college credits, internship experience, and industry certifications.
For 2012-2013, there are 49 MRHS students enrolled in these programs, which include options in programs
such as: Automotive Collision Industries, Automotive Technology, Aviation Technology, Cosmetology,
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Dental Assisting, Fire Science, and Medium Heavy Diesel
D. Active Teaching and Learning
D1. The school ensures that there is a systematic way for novice and experienced teachers to
develop instructional expertise in the following areas: planning and preparation; instructional
strategies and behaviors; reflection on teaching; and collegiality and professionalism.
The teachers of MRHS are dedicated to assuring their students understand the content and context of
classes by ensuring that the curriculum covers depth and breadth of content. Our teaching staff is
dedicated to pushing students to go beyond the basics of any problem, and recognize that it is the
teachers’ responsibility to provide our students every outlet to be successful. Inside the classrooms of
MRHS, one will see students and teachers engaging in Socratic seminars, implementing higher-level
questioning strategies, meta-cognition skills, and simulations. Everything in the classroom is done to
ensure that students are able to make personal connections and understand connections to the real world.
Further, all activities are now aligned to implement the CCI model to ensure 100% proficiency/mastery per
unit/lesson (please reference Section A for more information).
Each classroom on campus teaches from bell-to-bell and uses higher-level thinking verbs when
creating tasks for students to complete. Through a variety of in-service professional development, teachers
have shared a plethora of strategies (e.g., paired-reading, document analysis, higher-level Blooms, Depth
of Knowledge (DOK), exploratory labs, two-column note-taking, reciprocal teaching, and modeling) to help
their colleagues advance their teaching practices. MRHS also supports all novice teachers (new to the
campus and new to the profession) by having a mentorship teaching program. This program is designed to
help support novice teachers as they acclimate to the campus and to also support these teachers with new
strategies (teaching or technological) that the teacher might not have discussed during their college training
or internship. For a more in-depth discussion of the teaching staff’s dedication to improving the
professional learning community, please refer to Section B.
D2. A purposeful decision-making process that is researched based governs all aspects of teaching
and learning; there is a discernible link between instructional strategies and student achievement.
Starting in 2012-2013, the CCI model has trickled down into all classrooms on campus (please
reference Section A for more details). As such, every classroom of MRHS has two guaranteed promises:
daily objectives for student success and a PDSA board. These two promises ensure that the MRHS
campus is focused on student achievement. For further elaboration on the articulation of content, please
refer to Section C and the discussion of scope and sequences.
The student population at MRHS has a variety of opportunities to ensure that all student needs and all
learning styles are met (e.g., the co-teaching program). The staff also ensures that a variety of teaching
strategies are implemented in every classroom on campus, for example implementing cooperative learning
strategies and differentiated instruction.
MRHS remains committed to ensuring that students have opportunities to receive additional support
beyond the classroom in order to be successful. MRHS has an after school tutoring program that is free to
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all students available Monday through Thursday (Monday – ELA; Tuesday – Math; Wednesday – Science;
Thursday – Electives). This tutoring is done by a MRHS teacher who stays after school. In addition to this
support, NHS students offer peer tutoring for one hour every day after school and help students in all
content areas on any day of the week. As previously mentioned, every teacher on the MRHS campus
hosts office hours for students to receive ancillary support and every teacher hosts a dedicated webpage
with resources to help students in the classroom and beyond. In addition to these support systems, MRHS
has a schedule that allows for two blocks of time that act as a form of a study hall. These time slots are
known as Aca-Prep, and offer students a moment in the school day to travel to another classroom to make
up work missed while absent, to attend club meetings, or to meet with a teacher for additional support.
There is a 20-minute Aca-Prep on Tuesdays following fifth period, and then a 40-minute Aca-Prep on
Fridays following second period. Valerie DeLuca, senior student, says that “Aca-prep is a great time to get
some work done and speak with teachers individually.”
D3. Students have opportunities to apply learning to real world situations.
The students are the focused and primary concern of the MRHS staff. When the staff of MRHS began
the process of implementing the CCI model, each department created a mission statement. As discussed
in Section A, teachers and students collaborated to create a department mission statement that would
model the wants and needs that all stakeholders feel are critical for school success. In addition to the
academics in the classroom, MRHS is a school that advices its students to recognize how the lessons
learned within the classroom extend past our campus. The Interact Club, the NHS, and the Society of
Female Scholars (SOFS) are devoted to donating time outside of school to help the local community.
Inside all the classrooms of MRHS, one can easily find independent research projects or collaborative
group projects that are designed to help the young adults of MRHS to build real-life project-solving skills.
In the last several school years, the teaching staff of MRHS has worked diligently to create class wide
projects that also serve the community. One example is Ms. Heather Lange’s ELA 1-2 CORE classes (our
CORE program is an extension of the middle school model that is applied to select 9th grade students who
need more time to adjust to the monumental changes experienced at the high school level; a group of
approximately 90 students are selected to share and collaborate with the same ELA, Math and Science
teachers). During the fall semester, Ms. Lange’s CORE students adopt families that are struggling from our
feeder schools. Ms. Lange and her students then collaborate on methods on how to raise money and
donations, and then complete a series of classroom activities that allow students to recognize the real world
connections in such a manner that is truly authentic and life-changing. In the fall of 2012, Ms. Lange’s
students successfully raised over $800 in money and several toys and clothes for three families at one of
MRHS’s feeder schools. In addition to this, our students have the ability to integrate quality work-based
experience and experiential learning within the classrooms of our campus. Every senior is required to take
a government class during 12th grade, and one of the requirements of the class is to complete an eight-hour
community service project.
MRHS also offers a variety of experiences through our CTE department, through YTP and through our
partnership with West-MEC. All of these programs allow students the ability to authentically experience
various careers while still in a high school classroom. For example, the FTA allows students to go into
schools and on-site preschool at MRHS in order to learn the basics and foundation of what it means to be a
teacher. Another example is the Student Government (StuGo) of MRHS. StuGo is incredibly dedicated
and offers its student members the ability to help make the school climate positive and welcoming in a
different way past academics. Senior student, KayCee Miller, says “While StuGo is not an academic based
class it offers the same stimulating and encouraging mentality that I find in my other AP classes. Being a
part of StuGo is very special, and I feel a true sense of satisfaction knowing that being a part of Student
Government is helping our faculty and student body. Encouraging school spirit, and volunteering on
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campus is made all the better when surrounded by such a terrific group of students. Mountain Ridge is an
incredible school made up of hundreds of dedicated individuals. I feel proud to be a Mountain Lion, and
blessed to call Mountain Ridge my home.”
D4. Resources are available to teachers and students for instruction, gathering information and
sharing the results of their efforts.
All stakeholders on the MRHS campus have access to technological resources in order to research, to
gain information, and to share and publish materials. All students (once granted parental permission) have
access to their grades online via the PowerSchools website. Further, each student is allotted server space
in order to be able to not only create a technological project, but also to save their work for later reference
or revision. The MRHS Media Center provides access to all students and teachers with subscription
databases, computers, books and materials for research. Further, students have access to the Media
Center for extended time on Wednesdays in order to allow students to create their own technology
products as needed (examples include Prezi, PowerPoint’s, or completing various blog assignments). One
of the newest features for students is the accessibility of eBooks. A student, from any location (home or
school), can access an eBook that is available through the MRHS library system.
To further our technological outreach, each teacher is provided a laptop (installed with SMART
technologies), and each classroom has a SMART Board with mounted LCD projector. This allows each
teacher to integrate technology to enhance any lesson. Teachers have access to an electronic sign-out
sheet to be able to request one of the four computer labs or one of the mobile laptop carts. The schedule is
flexible and allows teachers the ability to not only use the computer labs, but to also teach within the
computer labs.
The technological resources listed above have become a priority in professional development to ensure
that our teachers are comfortable and capable of implementing this technology into the classroom. As part
of the campus CIP, the staff of MRHS remains dedicated to implementing technology into the classroom to
help students prepare for the rigors of the growing and expanding 21st century. Teachers are able to work
with our Media Center Specialist, Diane Milliken, or can work with proximity buddy teachers. Additional
trainings have been offered at MRHS through professional in-service days to allow teachers a chance to be
exposed to new technological tools and strategies, but to also allow time to understand and apply the
knowledge to a pre-existing lesson.
D5. Available technology supports curricular goals and teaching and learning.
MRHS remains dedicated to ensuring that all stakeholders have equitable access to the available
technology on our campus. As discussed in Section D, students have access to technology on our campus
and also have individual server space to save and access their materials. In addition, our students that
have special needs are provided laptops as outlined in their IEPs to help ensure their success in the
classroom. These students are trained in how to use specific programs. For example, if a student requires
the use of Dragon Speak (a program that dictates speech to text) as a form of accommodation, the student
will be taught how to use the program in order to be successful.
Throughout all the curriculums offered on campus, there are a variety of technologies that are available
and used on campus. Teachers and students most often use Microsoft PowerPoint, the online Web 2.0
tool Prezi, and SMART Notebook in order to create and distribute presentations. Teachers are also using a
variety of social interaction tools online (such as blogs, Twitter, and the Blackboard system) in order to
create a hybrid classroom that diversifies the method of how materials are learned. In addition, some
teachers have document cameras and surround sound speakers in their classrooms in order to change the
methodology of how materials are presented to students.
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D6. The school tailors professional growth and support to address the differences in career
experience and professional needs.
All teachers (from novice to continuing teachers) are supported at MRHS. Previously in the application,
the New Teacher Mentor Program was discussed in order to highlight the support system that is provided
to all novice teachers in order to acclimate to the MRHS campus and to the DVUSD. It is important to note
that all teachers, regardless of tenure, have support and guidance from countless individual leaders on our
campus (department leaders, level leaders, counselors, administrators, etc.). In addition to this, the
administration of MRHS is dedicated to ensuring that professional development is meaningful, purposeful,
and is a school-wide effort to improve.
MRHS is also committed to recognizing the efforts, achievements, participation, expertise, and
accomplishments of the staff. To ensure that all stakeholders know of important information, information is
published on the main website of MRHS and is also published in the monthly-edition of the school
newspaper. Each staff meeting starts with discussing all the celebrations of the school: student, teacher, or
campus effort. At the end of the school year, during Teacher Appreciation Week, students and parents
write letters to teachers thanking them for their efforts throughout the school year. Starting in the 20112012 school year, each department has sent out an act of kindness to the staff to boost morale across the
campus. However, the most rewarding recognition that MRHS is most proud of is our two-year “A”
Accountability Achievement Profile rating from the ADE recognizing our school’s effort in providing an
excelling level of performance in student achievement and learning growth.
E. Student Focus and Support
E1. The academic and nonacademic and cultural needs of the student population are addressed
through a network of cohesive and integrated program and services, which demonstrates a
learning climate that is stimulating and nurturing to all students.
The student population at MRHS is diverse. With over 2,200 students, MRHS is home to students that
come from all walks of life (free and reduced lunch, special education, gifted, athletic, community-driven,
etc.) In order for MRHS to assess the academic and nonacademic needs of its students, MRHS reviews
data from various sources (AIMS Reading, Writing, and Mathematics; Stanford 10 Achievement test;
DVUSD Formative/Summative Assessments; AP exams, etc.) in order to determine the strengths and
weaknesses of the curriculum currently offered to students. Based on the results, classes change in order
to improve the already rigorous curriculum of MRHS.
To best meet and support the academic needs of our student, MRHS has structured the campus in a
multitude of ways. Support is offered to students that qualify as English as a Second Language (ESL), with
a 504 plan, IEP, co-taught classes, READ 180, and also a summer credit recovery program (please refer to
Section C for more information). Our students are also prepared to meet college and career readiness
through events hosted on campus, such as a college and career fair, lunches with college/military
recruiters, and a presentation made by colleges for upperclassmen. The AP and dual enrollment courses
at MRHS also offer students a chance to prepare for what lies in their lives beyond graduation with higher
expectations. MRHS also offers an internship program with West-MEC that will be discussed in Section F.
In order to support the nonacademic needs of students, the staff of MRHS reviewed the results for
OASIS and AZCIS Interest Inventories (both OASIS and AZCIS are online databases that collect
information from students regarding interests to help guide students to potential high-interest careers). The
results of this inventory helps to make decisions that reflect the wants of students. In addition, MRHS staff
reviews disciplinary logs and data in order to review the most and least effective interventions, what areas
of campus require improvement, and what requires increased attention. Additionally, MRHS reviews the
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data from various surveys and make the results available to all stakeholders in order to make critical
decisions to improve campus life (please refer to Section A for detailed information).
MRHS also works diligently to provide extracurricular activities to the student body to ensure that
everyone’s interests are equally represented. MRHS is home to a stellar athletic department, a multitude of
clubs, and a dedicated arts program. All extracurricular activities play to a strength or interest of a student,
and help to ensure that our students have room to grow and mature into their adult interests. Further,
MRHS is firmly set in its goal to celebrate diversity and differences. Senior student, Sarah Duke, best
describes the clubs at MRHS as engaging. Duke says, “They are engaging because they give students
opportunities like Interact Club, Society of Female Scholars (SOFS), and National Honor Society (NHS).
They give students experiences when they are in officer positions, and they offer students an outlet to
express themselves and do what they love to do.”
In order to provide a viable and guaranteed curriculum, the staff of MRHS is dedicated to offering
countless support services to students and parents. Previously discussed in the application were several of
these support services: PowerSchools, teacher websites, tutoring opportunities, AIMS preparation and
tutoring, and extended hours in the Media Center and in the computer labs. Not previously discussed,
however, students are given a copy of their classroom textbooks to take home in order to ensure success
on our campus. Each of these support services are also offered to our transfer students, first-year
students, and families in order to make the transition to a new school campus smooth. In addition to these
support services, new families at MRHS are welcomed by a student from Student Government who takes
the family and student on a tour of the campus and classrooms that are assigned to the student.
In a commitment to offer accessibility and safety to all students, MRHS is equipped with elevators,
ramps, restrooms, Braille signs, and flashing fire alarms for any disabled student. MRHS further supports
any disabled student by assisting with transitions from classroom to classroom; as needed, a disabled
student is able to leave the classroom five minutes early for another class or to go to lunch in order to not
have the heavy traffic of the other 2,200 students on campus. MRHS offers mobility training for blind and
wheelchair bound students, paraprofessional support and monitoring for mobility, feeding, and restroom
tasks, and a sign language interpreter in the classroom as needed. The entire staff of MRHS is trained in
McKinney-Vento to ensure sensitivity and accessibility to homeless students. To protect all students,
MRHS has security monitors and Glendale City Police Officers to monitor our campus. Finally, MRHS is
also a closed campus for the security of all students.
E2. The school addresses students’ physical, social and emotional needs, and intervenes when
students’ personal needs are preventing academic success.
To support the diverse background of students at MRHS, varieties of strategies are used daily in order
to ensure that students and the school are successful and meet goals. MRHS has dedicated counselors
who offer support for school and with any emotional needs of a student. Our counselors meet with all
students on campus to help create a graduation plan, how to apply for universities or scholarships, and to
help create a resume that can be used beyond high school. If a student is not comfortable discussing their
problems with an adult, MRHS offers peer mediators to help students feel safe, welcome, and cared for
(please refer to Section B). Further support services have been discussed previously and in-depth: GEIT,
504, the YTP program, and IEPs. MRHS also has various ceremonies that recognize the efforts of
students on our campus in academics, athletics, the arts, and in behaviors: the Motivated Mountain Lion
Ceremony and the Rising Star Program. Our school clubs also provide students an outlet to support
interests, education, and promoting equality and diversity on our campus.
MRHS works hard to prevent bullying on our campus. As previously discussed, all students attend a
session that discusses the impacts and negativity of bullying for any person on campus. In addition, there
are several initiatives in place at MRHS that are designed to protect the diversity and differences of all
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students (e.g., Project RESPECT, peer mediation). In order to consistently create a positive atmosphere,
the hallways of MRHS are adorned with student-made (and administration approved) signs that discuss
upcoming events or goals of the campus to unify and create a school community. One such event is the
Mock Disaster. MRHS teams up with AirEvac services, the City of Glendale Police and Fire Department,
and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) to do a simulated motor vehicle crash on the football field as a
deterrent from drinking and driving during prom.
F. Parent and Community Involvement
F1. Families, partnerships and the community play an important role in supporting learning.
MRHS is home to the most outstanding students and parents. This group of parent involvement are
known as our PRIDE parents (People Responsibly Involved in Developing Education), and these parents
are dedicated to building strong working relationships among parents, teachers, and staff in support of the
students. This includes recruiting and coordinating volunteers for many monthly events, keeping parents
educated in regards to school and to district news, planning teacher appreciation activities, and providing a
safe, drug and alcohol free, celebratory event for our graduating seniors (known as Grad Night, a fun-filled
night for our graduating seniors to make one last high school memory).
The PRIDE parents firmly believe that their actions not only help to better the school, but to align with
the missions and goals of MRHS which are dedicated to ensuring that graduates are prepared to meet the
challenges and rigors of the 21st century by displaying merit, respect, honor and success. By strengthening
communication between staff, teachers, and parents, PRIDE ensures that parents are well-informed about
academic policies and opportunities available to their children. In this way, PRIDE extends the supportive
environment in the school to the home of the students by offering all stakeholders information and a chance
to be part of the campus atmosphere. Such continuity is vital to the success of high school students as
they begin to explore their place in their local and global communities. Our PRIDE parents are integral
members of the MRHS campus, seen daily in the front office. Each month, the PRIDE parents help to
assist with the dances hosted through our campus, chaperoning events, and organizing the Rising Star
Program. Our PRIDE parents help support our school by creating emergency buckets for all classrooms,
helping to answer the phones on our campus as needed, and handing out Renaissance cords for
graduation to students who have shown academic success. Parent volunteers also assist with screening
students for hearing and vision, passing out schedules and grade cards, and help students on yearbook
picture day to get students checked in and into the right location. Our PRIDE parents also organize an
AIMS Recognition Lunch, as well as provide dessert to teachers on parent-teacher conference night.
All parents of MRHS are dedicated and are involved. Parents are welcomed and invited to join booster
clubs to help support our sports teams. These booster clubs help to gather clothing for the needy, raise
money for scholarships, and organize awareness events, such as organizing a breast cancer football game
in the fall of 2012.
Parents also donate tax credit donations to help support students on campus (so far, in 2012, parents
have donated $123,690.00; in 2011, parents donated $263,678.00). Additionally, MRHS has a School
Effectiveness Team (SET). The SET’s primary responsibility is to work collaboratively to guide school
improvement effectors that are research-based and data-driven. MRHS is dedicated to recognizing the
voices of all stakeholders. Please refer to Section A for the distribution and analysis of data collected from
surveys. MRHS distributes important information through PowerSchools, ConnectED, and through our
updated webpage (refer to Sections A and B). The administration and counseling members of MRHS host
various parent evenings that are designed to help parents in making the best academic choices for their
children. Events like Future Freshman Night and AP/Dual Night are designed to showcase the curriculum
and many offerings to MRHS students. Our Counseling Department bridges relationships between
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students, parents, and teachers in a variety of methods: offering conferences with groups of teachers to
start communication, discussing registration materials with the school staff and students, conducting
Education and Career Action Plans (ECAPS) that are kept online for parents to view, and offer
presentations to parents in order to support students as they prepare for their goals for a post-high school
Students at MRHS are represented in a variety of manners. Our various events of recognition (e.g.,
Motivated Mountain Lion, Rising Stars, Rotary Student of the Month, etc.) are a starting place for students
to feel important and extraordinary. Likewise, MRHS is dedicated to the involvement of students in all
aspects of life on campus. MRHS hosts art shows and sells athletic passes in order to encourage students
to participate beyond the designated school hours.
F2. Educational resources in the school and the community are used to extend learning
opportunities for students, teachers, and families.
MRHS is a dedicated partner to the community through partnerships and alliances with vendors and
programs. For example, Mrs. Merry Gordon collaborates with the Arizona Theatre Company (ATC) for
Open Doors. Students involved in Open Doors are provided theatre tickets to shows in the spring and then
facilitate discussions about the work presented. Likewise, through a grant-funded artist-in-residence
program with ATC, our ELA students in freshman and sophomore Honors learn how to act out
Shakespearean works. In order to better assist and help families, our Counseling Department provides
crisis support when necessary. Counseling provides a referral list to any families who ask for our help.
As discussed in Section B, one of our most devoted clubs on campus is the Interact Club. Mr. O’Brien
and the students of Interact have accumulated various awards that all reflect how the school is a respected
and valued partner within our community. Please refer to Section B for more information on these awards.
The Interact Club has done countless events within the community as a form of outreach. These dedicated
students have built two houses for Habitat for Humanity from start to finish, prepared and served food to the
disadvantaged at the Andre House once a month, work at the local food bank once a month, paint the
exterior of homes of low income seniors, and work at an Alzheimer’s facility twice a week throughout the
duration of the entire school year. Sophomore, Ashley Francis, says that Mr. O’Brien is her favorite teacher
because “he pushes us beyond what is expected and encourages participation in our community.”
Also previously mentioned within the application is our Project RESPECT program (please refer to
Section B for more information). In addition to this, Mr. Bryan Rossi conducts the Honor Flight fundraiser.
The Honor Flight is designed to help send U.S. veterans who are a relative of a MRHS student to take a
tour of Washington, D.C.
MRHS works with several local businesses in order to promote various programs and initiatives at
MRHS. One partnership is with Jeanne Getz, a Horace Mann representative who supports ceremonies
such as the Rising Stars and the monthly Motivated Mountain Lion Awards Ceremony (please refer to
Section B for more information on both ceremonies). Ms. Getz likes to help recognize students who show
good, positive, and motivational citizenship in and around MRHS. Likewise, the NHS and Interact Club
host several fundraisers throughout the school year in order to extend connections with the community. In
the fall of 2012, MRHS’s NHS conducted a fundraiser with Babbo’s Italian Eatery and with NYPD Pizza.
Likewise, students in NHS donated socks and blankets to the Andre House to help with veterans. In our
athletics department, the Boys Basketball team offered an 8th grade night at the beginning of the season
where all 8th graders in our district received half-price tickets to the sporting event. Also on this night, the
Boys Basketball team honored our Girls Volleyball team for making it to the Semi-Finals. The basketball
parents presented our Lady Lions with roses at the halftime. Additionally, all middle school volleyball teams
within DVUSD in the semifinals were recognized during halftime. This evening will be repeated in January
2013, where middle school basketball teams will be honored.
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F3. The school welcomes and respects families from all walks of life, solicits and values their input,
and finds multiple ways to invite and involve them to school initiatives to build a shared
commitment to student success.
MRHS is devoted to its students’ success. In order to ensure that this occurs, the staff of MRHS are
diligent in ensuring families are connected to the upcoming events at the school using the dedicated
website (which is updated to reflect upcoming events in academics, athletics, the arts, and college-andcareer preparedness), Twitter, and ConnectED. For example, MRHS respects religious beliefs when
creating our sporting schedule for the year. The Counseling Department offers interpreters for parents in
meetings as needed. In addition to this, MRHS is committed to seeking out input from all stakeholders.
We have several formal methods of collecting information throughout the academic year (please refer to
Section A for a more detailed explanation).
To further welcome insight from stakeholders, our principal holds monthly Student Advisory Council
meetings where students discuss celebrations, concerns, and campus policies and procedures that need to
be addressed. This is an important decision making body on our campus. One of the strengths of the
advisory group is that the principal actively recruits students from all walks of life. This ensures that all
student voices are being heard. By keeping all stakeholders actively involved in the day-to-day
celebrations and concerns of MRHS, we help to establish a strong sense of community.
In addition to these systems of support, we have referenced a variety of support systems to actively
involve all students on the MRHS campus: our Media Center has extended times open on Wednesdays
(please refer to Section D), IEP and 504 plans encourage student and parental involvement (please refer to
Section C), and our Best Buddies program (please refer to Section B for more information). Likewise, our
PowerSchools system enables families to be part of a shared commitment to student success.
PowerSchools offers stakeholders the ability to review grades of students in individual classes, as well as
daily announcements. As of November 2012, 2,112 families have a PowerSchools access code. This has
fostered a stronger sense of involvement for all stakeholders for academic success, but has also ensured
that families are always welcomed to be part of our campus daily life.
G. Indicators of Success
G1. A coherent school-wide assessment program is tied to the school’s mission, which shows
through multiple measures that high levels of learning are achieved, or that there is significant
student progress over time.
As mentioned previously, MRHS is implementing the CCI with overall goals to align with departmental
mission statements that are all aligned to the campus’ Campus Improvement Plan (CIP) goals. Teachers
administer a pre-assessment, based on the CCSS (please refer to Section A for a more in-depth review of
CCI). The CCI model encourages pre-assessment, but also requires formative and summative measures
to become critical within the classroom.
MRHS ensures alignment exists on campus through a myriad of manners. For starters, all staff on
campus experience classroom walkthroughs and observations. Several classes and levels collaborate and
are expected to give district finals in order to measure a student’s progress in comparison to their peers on
campus and within the district. MRHS also encourages level meetings within content areas to allow
teachers to foster a collaborative and unified spirit. Our teachers and students participate in a 10-minute
Stop, Drop, and Read (SDR) on Tuesday mornings. Our reading scores on the AIMS Reading test, since
2008, have continuously been in the 90 percentile range. Writing is also emphasized on our campus, with
each department having a writing assignment due throughout the semester. The AIMS Writing test shows
that our scores are in the 80 percentile range. MRHS also offers credit recovery classes to students that
previously failed courses during the school year. In the summer of 2012, four courses were offered to
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students as a form of summer school (Algebra 1-2, Geometry, English Language Arts 1-2, and English
Language Arts 3-4). All students who elected to take this course successfully passed the course and were
able to earn credit for the classes previously failed.
At MRHS, we collect data to make the most educated decisions possible. Our intent has always been
specific: we want to have the best campus possible for our students. As such, each year we review data
from a variety of sources to determine class offerings, what materials are not addressed in the classroom,
and how to help teachers with their 301 goals (301 goals are academic-goals that teachers write for their
students to accomplish by the end of the school year; legislation put this into affect with the passing of
Proposition 301). MRHS is also an open-enrollment school. In the 2012-2013 school year, 278 students
have elected to come to MRHS which is more than any other school in this local area. MRHS recognizes
that our community perception is that we are an exemplary school in academics, in the fine arts, in
extracurricular activities, and in athletics.
In addition, MRHS has a CTE department that offers students’ the ability to take a completer exam if a
student takes the full program offered on a subject matter. If the student is working in that same field one
year after graduation, the school receives a bonus stipend from West-MEC. This stipend is immediately
put back into the CTE program in order to provide our students continued support and more services. Child
Development and FTA teach age-appropriate lessons to pre-school and elementary age students. These
students are also evaluated on lesson plans and presentations to help showcase real-world applicability.
Students are encouraged to be their own self-advocates for their own education. Each method listed
below has been discussed in-depth in a variety of locations in the application: checking their grade online
using the PowerSchools system, following each classroom’s CCI model, utilizing teacher office hours,
conferencing with teachers or the counselors, or students accessing each teacher’s individual website to
check for assignments or to get copies of notes or handouts missed due to an absence.
G2. All subgroups of students achieve at high levels or have improved significantly in achievement.
In the last five years, MRHS has consistently scored well on AIMS. From 2008-2011, our AIMS
Reading data averaged a 93%, AIMS Writing data averaged an 85%, and AIMS Math data averaged a
80%. In 2012, 93% of the student population passed the AIMS reading test, 89% passed the AIMS writing
test, and 80% passed the AIMS math test. While proud of these scores, the staff and administration of
MRHS always review the data with the intent on improving the data from year to year. MRHS is dedicated
to increasing rigor.
To start this process, the staff of MRHS reviews the data each year with the intent on discovering our
strongest and our weakest results on the AIMS test. In the 2012-2013 school year, the staff of MRHS is
implementing a CCI model to push our students to their very best. MRHS also offers a variety of methods
to help close the gaps to our students that have struggled on the AIMS test. MRHS offers AIMS tutoring for
students that have not yet passed the exam. Students are eligible to be tutored with a teacher, or can elect
to work with students that have exceeded the standard and would like peer-to-peer assistance in preparing
for their retake (students in the NHS offer to tutor upperclassmen who are looking for a more individualized
tutoring experience). All Math and ELA classes complete a dedicated review of skills prior to the AIMS test
to help students prepare for the test itself, as well as the testing environment. The AIMS Math test changed
because of new math standards in 2010. Prior to 2010, our Math scores were in the 90 percentile range.
In 2010, the AIMS Math test changed resulting in 60% of the student population passing the exam.
Following these results, teachers modified their curriculum and tailored their content delivery to ensure their
students were more successful in 2011. Our student population showed a 19% increase in our AIMS Math
data in 2011, with 79% of our student population passing the exam. On the campus of MRHS, there are no
known students that are excluded from a test. However, some students may qualify for a modified test
(such as AIMS A).
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G3. A balanced assessment system and approach includes high quality formative, benchmark and
summative assessments used to improve teaching and learning.
In the last five years, MRHS is proud to recognize our quantitative indicators that show our school is
improving and continuously getting stronger. The dropout rate of MRHS is steadily decreasing. Not only
this, but MRHS has steadily started to shift the dropout rate to increasing the graduation rate. From 2007
to 2010, our graduation rates declined, but have been on the rise continuously for two years improving six
percent. Further, the AIMS scores are also on the rise. From the spring 2011 test to the spring 2012 test,
our writing scores improved drastically from an 84% pass rate to an 89% pass rate. Likewise, more
students from MRHS are electing to take the SAT or ACT test to continue to four-year college/university. In
2010, 38% of the graduating class elected to take the SAT, while 24% of the graduating class elected to
take the ACT. Compared to our student population in 2012, 59% of the graduating class elected to take the
SAT, while 27% of the graduating class elected to take the ACT. To build on this success, the rate of
students electing to take Advanced Placement/Honor courses or dual enrollment courses is on the rise as
well. As discussed previously, the AP student population is steadily increasing as is the confidence level of
our students who elect to take the AP exam. In 2012, there were 313 students enrolled in AP courses and
673 AP exams were taken by these students. Of the fifteen different courses that gained results, 77% of
the student population passed the exam with a 3 or higher (the result of a three or higher means that a
student not only passed the AP exam, but that they might qualify for college credit pending on the school
the student elects to attend). While this number might not seem overly impressive, to pass any exam is
incredibly difficult. The 2012 national pass rate of a three or higher on the AP Language exam was 62%.
At MRHS, the AP Language students had a pass rate of a 99% with a three or higher.
As discussed extensively throughout the application, MRHS prides itself on its ability to analyze and
reflect on data. The results of the AIMS test, AP exam, CTE assessments, various district assessments
given, PLAN, and from PSAT are all used to adjust curriculum accordingly for the following school year not
only on a campus-wide level, but also within each individual classroom.
G4. Data Collection
2011-2012 2010-2011
Average daily student attendance
Average daily teacher attendance
Teacher turnover rate
Promotion rate
Graduation rate (high schools)
* As reported to the Arizona Department of Education
The data above for the teacher turnover rate reflects a decline in the student population, several staff
members retiring from MRHS, and teachers that left the teaching professional altogether due to the
economic downturn.
H. Challenges
Much like any school, MRHS is not immune to the ever-changing world we live in. Our campus opened
in 1995, and since then there have been shifts to the local community and to the key demographic that
once lived in the neighborhood. Schools are experiencing declining enrollment. The economy is facing
hardships that previous generations never believed were possible. Class sizes are on the rise. Budgets
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are being cut. Teachers are being held accountable on countless levels of performance and preparedness
within the classroom. This is a hardship that any school faces in 2013. However, the staff of MRHS
chooses to persevere and welcomes these challenges as they offer a chance grow and evolve. MRHS
prides itself on its ability to overcome and to become a leader in the face of the unknown.
Our most direct concern at the present time is collaborating with our feeder schools to ensure that
students recognize that MRHS is a top-notch school. With a maturing neighborhood, MRHS knows that we
are competing with younger schools with newer technology available. To proactively alleviate this concern,
the Fine Arts teachers of MRHS are reaching out to feeder schools, coordinating visits to view plays and to
display art projects to the potential students while they are on our campus. Our content teachers are
working to collaborate in regards to curriculum to ensure that information is always new, always engaging,
and always purposeful. MRHS has a strong student population now, but it is impossible to predict the
student population five years into the future. By addressing this concern now, MRHS is dedicating itself to
continually improving the campus for our students.
Much like many of the other high schools in the state, MRHS is struggling with budget cuts. Teachers
are expected to outperform themselves year-after-year, and yet are also expected to implement more
technology and more skills that will be utilized in the 21st century global marketplace. The textbooks on
campus are twelve-years old and are becoming noticeably out-of-date. On top of these issues, the
teachers within the DVUSD have endured a four-year pay deduction and/or freeze. While many teachers
would lose their passion and their willpower to be the best educators possible, the staff of MRHS chooses
to see this as a chance to do more with less. Our teachers choose to persist and dedicate themselves
making our students our top priority. Despite these issues, the students of MRHS still outperform countless
other schools. Our “A” rating for student growth as recognized by the Arizona Department of Education for
the second year is evidence of that. To further this point, the teachers of MRHS are diligent in
communicating closely with parents and students to ensure success through electronic communication,
PowerSchools, and dedicated websites.
As well, our teachers are dedicated to learning how to implement technology into the classroom, as
well as effectively ensuring students are able to work with technology beyond the classroom doors. Five
years ago, teachers integrated minimal technology and only dreamt of having a SMART Board in the
classroom. In 2013, MRHS is now a leader in implementing technology in the classroom due in large part
to continued professional development with various ability levels of exploration. With the implementation of
CCSS, MRHS has dedicated itself to ensuring that all students are able to read proficiently at grade level.
To help assess and determine student skills, all students are given a Scholastic Reading Inventory Lexile
test to measure the grade level our students are capable of reading at. By doing this, MRHS has been able
to implement the READ180 program for general education students that struggle with reading.
In the last five years, MRHS recognized the lack of female sports offered. Despite the challenges of
adding a new sport or the associated costs for the school, MRHS was determined to shift our athletic
program to offer more sports for female athletes. Starting in the fall of 2011, female athletes were able to
try-out for our newest sport: badminton. Now, in their second year of being a competitor in our district, the
Lady Mountain Lions are making sure their roars are heard in athletics.
The staff of MRHS knows and recognizes that challenges define our campus, and continually push our
school towards excellence. We know that we are capable, innovative, and prepared to work with every
change initiative that comes into education. We are proud to be part of Mountain Ridge High School, the
school that strives to lead our graduates into the future with innovation, compassion, and excellence.
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