Cartwright School District

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In 2008, the Cartwright School District had 11 under-performing schools.
Today, the district now has a “B” rating. Dr. Jacob A. Chavez, superintendent of the Cartwright School District, talks about what the district has done to improve performance in all their schools.

Jose Cardenas: Good evening and welcome to "Horizonte," I'm Jose Cardenas. You'll meet the new ASU Dean of Graduate Education, plus hear how administrators are improving schools in one Valley School District. And the COPA America Soccer Tournament is coming to Arizona and is expected to draw a large crowd. All this coming up straight ahead on "Horizonte."

Video: "Horizonte" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Arizona PBS of your PBS station. Thank you. ¶¶

Jose Cardenas: There's a new University Dean of Graduate Education at ASU, Dr. Alfredo Artiles is an ASU Borderlands Initiative professor and directs the Equity Alliance, a group that advances discussion about education equity. Join you as we get to know Dr. Alfredo Artiles. Welcome to "Horizonte."

Alfredo Artiles: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: You're the new dean of the ASU graduate school. There are more ASU graduate students than many Universities have in the total student population. How many students are we talking about?

Alfredo Artiles: That's correct, we have about 18,000 graduate students on the campus.

Jose Cardenas: And your job as the new dean will be what?

Alfredo Artiles: I will be the new dean starting July 1 of this year. Graduate education, the dean is in charge of supporting, advancing and making sure we have quality graduate programs across the board.

Jose Cardenas: We just had graduation ceremonies at ASU and it's so big you have a separate ceremony for the graduate students. How many did you have graduate this year?

Alfredo Artiles: I don't have the exact number of the people graduating at that time.

Jose Cardenas: Several thousand.

Alfredo Artiles: Several thousand were definitely receiving degrees this year.

Jose Cardenas: Gives us a sense of the schools that are part of the graduate schools at ASU.

Alfredo Artiles: We have the school of engineering, and we have the School of Public Affairs, the W.P. Carey school of business, we have schools of liberal arts and sciences. In all, we have over 450 graduate programs on campus, and of those, over 140 specialize in what we call S.T.E.M., which are programs that stress science, technology, engineering and math.

Jose Cardenas: You also have a number of programs that are nationally recognized.

Alfredo Artiles: We have a number of programs that are nationally recognized. In Arizona to start, we have a number of number one programs in law, education, international business, management and fine arts. At the national level the School of Public Affairs is No. 13 ahead of Columbia and Georgetown among others. The teachers college is No. 14 in the nation, ahead of Universities like Berkeley and Michigan state. The city management programs are No. 4, higher than Harvard. We do have -- and we're among the top 25 colleges in the nation. They have a number of very prestigious programs.

Jose Cardenas: And all of these programs have their own deans in charge. What is it you do as the Dean of Graduate Education?

Alfredo Artiles: My job is to collaborate and work closely on issues related to academic programs, refinement, changes. Working with did areas related to certificates, and to some extent working on specializations and new emphasis schools might want to advance in their offerings. We offer special development opportunity for graduate students, including preparing students for jobs as future faculty members. We have an award winning program called preparing future faculty that has been in place for a number of years. The program is designed to select students that apply given their mentor's recommendation, to prepare them to be a faculty member in a research institution. We also advance the supports that we have for students in terms of financial supports as well as other opportunities that will help them be better prepared and competitive for the job market. We have also a number of international initiatives we pursue in collaboration and close coordination for the different schools.

Jose Cardenas: Talking about student awards, you have a significant number of Fulbright scholars.

Alfredo Artiles: That's right. Our students received 104 Fulbright Scholarships, 41 of them were for graduate students. They go all over the world to work on different assignments related to their proposed projects. We do very well with Fulbright. We are increasingly investing and preparing students to be competitive in securing those scholarships.

Jose Cardenas: I know you don't actually start work until July 1st but you must be planning what kinds of initiatives you're going to undertake or what you envision in your role as dean. Can you share a little bit of that with us?

Alfredo Artiles: I have a number of ideas. The process of interviewing Deans about needs and priorities as well as assets, I'm trying to understand better the campus. I've been at ASU for 12 years now so I have a very good understanding of graduate education. But this will give me an even better opportunity to understand the nuances and priorities. We are very concerned, committed at ASU with the notion of impact. We are interested in producing knowledge and innovation as well as discovery. None of that makes any difference if we don't invest in making sure whatever we do, especially around knowledge and discovery, is concerned with the idea of impact. So one of the initiatives I would like to pursue is to create opportunities for our graduate students to learn how to translate, how to do translational work based on their own research for multiple audiences. People in the sciences, people in educational sociology or the social sciences or humanities, produce knowledge and engage in the arts and other kind of performance. We need to find ways of communicating the insights their work has for the general public. Most of the time especially at the graduate level, students are not necessarily prepared nationwide, worldwide, to do that translational work. I would like to pursue an initiative described under the term of knowledge mobilization.

Jose Cardenas: When you talk about impact, it sounds like there's a connection between that area of focus and what you were focused on before, which is education equity.

Jose Cardenas: Tell us what that means.

Alfredo Artiles: It's concerned with making sure that students are using their rights, basic rights to a good quality education, and that they have equal opportunity to advance their own development, and have opportunities to use that education for being competitive in the job market, and being full participants in their own communities. Unfortunately for different reasons, economics, social, et cetera, not every student will have always the same level of opportunity.

Jose Cardenas: And we're talking about work that you and your folks have done with the K-12 system.

Alfredo Artiles: That's right. My colleagues and I have been doing this work for over 20 years. We have designed resources and professional development tools for professionals around the country. We're increasingly doing work at the international level in educational equity and inclusive education is becoming a large concern especially as we see education moving across international borders. What does this mean for the curriculum we have, how do we make the curriculum accessible for different kinds of learners because of linguistic differences, variability in cultural backgrounds, because of gender and other kinds of indices of difference. What we do is to use evidence from throws districts to pursue new ways to help leaders and professionals to make sense of their own work, support them in making sense of their work, and whether the investment they are making may be creating more opportunity for some groups than others, and even curtailing opportunities to learn for other groups. It's a long term, careful, difficult work we've been doing. It's very needed, every society faces questions related to education equity and we're happy to be able to support that.

Jose Cardenas: We're out of time but I assume you're going to keep your toe in that field, as well. It's a big issue in Arizona.

Alfredo Artiles: Indeed.

Jose Cardenas: Thank you very much for joining us here on "Horizonte."

Alfredo Artiles: Thank you very much.

Jose Cardenas: The Cartwright School District is located in the Maryvale community. In 2000 site the district had 11 underperforming schools. Today the district has a B rating. Here's a clip from a documentary about the district.

Video: What does the future of education in Arizona look like? It looks like Diego Suarez, an 11-year-old student who stands just five feet tall. This fifth grader is one of more than 700 students that helped make this elementary school an A rated school.

Video: 10 years ago when Diego was just a toddler century elementary school was failing more than half of its students.

Pedro Lopez: They took positions with the governing board that for some of the community members were not okay with.

Video: It was admittedly a dark time in the district. Contentious board meetings were focusing the spotlight on politics rather than on students.

Lydia Hernandez: Down to the point where our nametags, they were turned upside down. We needed security.

Video: Cartwright students deserved better. It took a visionary leader backed by a professional executive team and a supportive governing board to move the district into a better light.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: What I wanted to do is to assure that our students were getting a world-class education.

Video: Dr. Jacob A. Chavez grew up in Springerville, a small town in Eastern Arizona. A high school quarterback, Chavez believed his future was in sports. As the son of a superintendent, a career in education eventually won out.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: When you implement whatever program it may be, sometimes you implement it and don't master it.

Video: You can get eggs from it.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: What we have to do is continue to move forward in a systematic fashion so we master those things that we implement.

Video: The Cartwright School District is at the heart of the Maryvale neighborhood. Affordable housing has been attracting large numbers of Latino families to the west side of Phoenix since the 1950s. That proud Latino heritage continues to thrive as memories of Cartwright's past continue to fade.

Jose Cardenas: Joining me now to talk about what the district has done and is doing to improve performance in all of their schools is Dr. Jacob A. Chavez, superintendent of the Cartwright School District. Dr. Chavez, thanks for joining us this evening.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: You're most welcome, thank you.

Jose Cardenas: The School District itself is one of the older ones in the Valley. And significant change in demographics.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: Over a period of time.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: Yes, that's correct. We are now 90% Latino. And within that 90%, 40% of those are ELL students. So the demographics.

Jose Cardenas: English language learners.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: Yes. Back when John F. long began building homes in that particular area, it was a suburb of Phoenix. And of course now it's an urban area in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: At that time 90% Caucasian, and now 90% Latino.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: It's flipped, yes, in that fashion.

Jose Cardenas: So in the video we saw, a little bit like a minidocumentary, they talked about the problems that were affecting the School District before you started your tenure as superintendent. Gives us thumbnail sketch of what was going on. Sounds like there was contentiousness in the board and schools were just failing?

Dr. Jacob Chavez: There was. At that time we had 11 schools that were underperforming according to the Arizona Department of Education. And the direction that the Cartwright School District was going, there were some board members that felt it needed to go in another direction. I was at that time an assistant superintendent, and I was tapped to be the interim superintendent. At that time I applied for the superintendency and did get it. The interesting part about that is that there's two concepts that are very interesting for our population. One would be that all kids can learn. And that we focus on learning, not teaching. Those two concepts were very doll get across to all of our staff. But those are the two foundational things that have caused us to have success.

Jose Cardenas: When we talk about success over all, the district has a B rating. You've got a number of schools with A ratings. What specifically you have done? You talk about this philosophy of learning, not teaching. But give us some concrete examples of that.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: We have three goals, one being increasing student achievement. Two, providing opportunities for innovation. And three, having -- providing exceptional customer service. We are in the business of competing with other school districts, charter, parochial and public school systems. We have to provide that exceptional customer service so people come to us because they choose to. So what we do is make sure that everyone is trained well, and that teachers have the expertise and pedagogy to be able to provide a world-class education.

Jose Cardenas: You know, we just had the election for 1, 2, 3, it passed. What is your district going do with the moneys the committee received?

Dr. Jacob Chavez: That's a very good question. What we're going to do initially is provide a 6% one-time payment in November. Then we'll put 4% on the base for all employees, whether it be classified, certified and administrative. All groups will get that 6% one-time pay and 4% on the base. Then we have to look at the starting salary and how we can be more competitive in that area. And also look across the board to make sure that we pay our teachers well so that we can retain them, and also attract them to our school district.

Jose Cardenas: As everybody keeps emphasizing, the Governor himself, it's a start. What needs to be done to continue this kind of progress?

Dr. Jacob Chavez: It's a start and we're leaking at a decade of funding coming in. However, what we have to do is look at the funding formula for education, and sure that we have enough money to take care of all the things that go along with running the school district. But also so that we go beyond 49th in the United States. Irthink we have to do a better job in funding education, so that our kids can compete with other students across the country.

Jose Cardenas: And where do you think the district will be, let's say, in the next 10 years?

Dr. Jacob Chavez: I'm very hopeful, I'm very proud to be the superintendent in the Cartwright School District, and we have wonderful employees, very talented employees. In the next 10 years I believe that the Cartwright School District will be an A district. Here's the reason it's important to be an A. I don't need an A by my name, I've had plenty of those. Cartwright School District doesn't need an A, either. But being an A school district will allow our kids to compete with other students at other A school districts so they can compete in the game of life and win. Gain scholarships to not only Ivy League schools, Stanford, whenever they would like to go. Also to be able to compete for jobs, coding, computer science, stem type. Getting an A is for our students, not necessarily for our employees.

Jose Cardenas: Dr. Jacob A. Chavez, superintendent of the Cartwright School District, thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. Jacob Chavez: Thank you, Jose.

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Jose Cardenas: The COPA America is the oldest international soccer tournament, it was held in Chile in 2015 and plans are set for Brazil in 2019. This year it'll be a special 100-year tournament played for the first time in the United States. Joining me is Jeff Golner, Phoenix director of the COPA America Soccer Tournament Centenario, the 100th event of the COPA America. There were articles about a year ago that Phoenix was bidding to be one of the U.S. cities that would host this. Tell us how it was Phoenix that was selected.

Jeff Golner: A long process to get to the point of being selected, one of the 10 cities bidding to be the host of COPA America. We're really proud of that. The entire state should be really proud that the stadium is hosting. This is by far one of the most significant soccer events ever to come to Arizona by far. Certainly the most significant in the United States since 1994 when the World Cup was hosted.

Jose Cardenas: Tell us about the COPA America and who will be participating in this year's tournament.

Jeff Golner: It's the 100th anniversary, founded in South America and crept its way up to include Central America, Mexico and now the United States. 16 total nations will be represented in the tournament. 32 total matches throughout the month of June. And the matches here in Phoenix will be on June 5th, June 8th and June 25th.

Jose Cardenas: It's like the format followed in World Cup, you have groups.

Jeff Golner: Group play and that will come four winners and then they will play and we'll have on that June 25th, we're very proud to have the third place match hosted here on June 25th. It'll very possible you have one or two very good teams participating in that third place match.

Jose Cardenas: For sure one of the biggest draws will be the first match.

Jeff Golner: Feature, Mexico versus Uruguay. It's one of the top teams in the world and presented as one of the better matches early on in the tournament.

Jose Cardenas: How do people go about getting tickets? By now pretty close to being sold out?

Jeff Golner: Tickets selling very briskly, certain that first match. A lot of attention is given to the Mexico match. Tickets are being sold during regular business hours over at University Phoenix stadium, as well.

Jose Cardenas: This is all happening when professional soccer or the soccer world is being rocked scandal.

Jeff Golner: I don't think we'll have any effect whatsoever. The COPA America is the championship of the Americas. It's reputation over 100 years is unscathed and it's very popular. The passion that we're hearing from fans, even the players, some are choosing to only play for their nations in copa and maybe not even for their team in the Olympics, it says a lot. We're really excited. Plans are coming along very smoothly to host some great, awesome soccer next month.

Jose Cardenas: Speaking of the Olympics, not timingwise, but they are pretty close in proximity.

Jeff Golner: You're seeing a lot of European leagues have come to the conclusion, some of those players are taking a quick break but not for much longer. They are very excited to be part of the copa. It's a really good time for them.

Jose Cardenas: Will there be players participating in the Olympics?

Jeff Golner: Absolutely, yeah. In some cases some of those players, one from Mexico is selected to play for his team in copa but not for the Mexico national team when it comes to the Olympics. That answer would be go to copa to see him, but don't go to Rio, he won't be there.

Jose Cardenas: He is one of the biggest stars in soccer.

Jeff Golner: Right.

Jose Cardenas: Traditionally soccer has not been that big a sport in the United States. Tell us about the evolution in the valley.

Jeff Golner: I think the sport here in the valley, I'm a native, it's been an indoor sport on the professional side of the equation. Over time we've seen more growth and we have obviously a U.S. all-pro team here now in its fourth year. There's interesting. I think there's still a little more of a leap that needs to happen, soccer specific stadium would actually help that a great deal. It's almost a requirement for an MLS team. But I think if you look at the big picture and understand there are 10 cities hosting the cope parks only one of them doesn't have an MLS team and that's us. You feel this momentum happening. The stadium obviously is there. There's a lot of rules and regulations that would not permit an MLS team to play there unless the group behind the stadium is a part of ownership. I may not be explaining the accurately. But I think there's definitely momentum happening. The fact that it's here in the states, that's a really big sign, that's going help perpetuate and market and really educate soccer fans.

Jose Cardenas: You mentioned the stadium itself might not qualify as an MLS soccer stadium for technical reasons. But the field considered one of the better fields in the country for playing professional soccer.

Jeff Golner: Namely football, it is a well-manicured field religious one of the better playing services that the NFL players get to vote, usually in the top two or three if not the best field surface for that. It parleys itself to the soccer. So we have a great luxury that we get to roll this field in three days before the match and get it all set up and really have no worries. Certainly the weather, the roof, we have those international occurrences that most games have to deal W. we feel blessed to have the opportunity to host some great soccer.

Jose Cardenas: No need to make special changes to seating?

Jeff Golner: No, not a thing. It's got a FIFA-regulated playing surface, plenty of room along the sides and no removal of seats. It's ready to go, takes about an hour and a half to roll in.

Jose Cardenas: Just one last point: We talked about June 15th coming up, probably a sell-out. People also need to start lining up for that third place game.

Jeff Golner: Yes. You may be hesitant to go to the Mexico match which will no doubt be a sellout.

Jose Cardenas: I'm sorry, we're out of time a lot of excitement coming to the Valley and congratulations.

Jeff Golner: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: That's our show for tonight, thanks for watching. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm Jose Cardenas, have a good evening. Captioning Performed By LNS Captioning www.LNScaptioning.com

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Dr. Jacob A. Chavez: Superintendent of the Cartwright School District

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