2023 AEF® Impact in Arizona

Because you invested in the work of the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF®), we were able to serve students, teachers, and administrators in public schools staewide

YOU Helped AEF ® Impact Hundreds of Thousands of People This Year! Because you invested in the work of the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF ® ), we were able to serve students, teachers, and administrators in public schools staewide.

Learn more at azedfoundation.org

The 2023 Arizona Spelling Bee, sponsored by Thunderbirds Charitie s , is one of the largest statewide spelling bees in the nation. During the 2022–2023 school year, 1,067 schools and over 540,000 students participated. AEF coordinates this massive program, assisting teachers with everything from classroom-level bees all the way to hosting the Arizona State Bee Finals. All Arizona counties sends one student finalist to compete at the State Bee, and this year AEF sent two state champions, Karen Opoku-Appoh , 13, and Opal Mishra , 12, to represent Arizona in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. committee comprised of educators and community partners who identify ten teachers who will become candidates for the Arizona Teacher of the Year Award. This year, Efrain Casillas , a music teacher at Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary and Desert Oasis Elementary, won top honors and will now become Arizona’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year. The top fifteen Arizona teachers were honored at the celebratory Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards and will spend 2024 engaging in a year of recognition where they are celebrated for their dedication to their respective school communities. The AEF 2024 Arizona Teacher of the Year ® program, presented by Desert Financial Credit Union , saw 312 nominations for teachers from across Arizona. As our state’s highest level award honoring excellence in teaching, AEF convenes a selection

The AEF A+ School of Excellence ® program, sponsored in 2023 by Fiesta Bowl Charities , is the state of Arizona’s highest recognition for individual public schools. This program began in 1983 as a way to identify, celebrate, and recognize educational excellence in schools throughout Arizona. To date, over 300 schools have earned the A+ School of Excellence distinction. In 2023, 36 schools received the award, who collectively serve 33,707 students. The A+ School of Excellence award is a powerful energizer for increasing public confidence in recognized schools, often resulting in greater parent and community involvement and even serves as an economic driver for some communities. Schools earning the distinction are celebrated as exceptional.

AEF’s teachSTEM , sponsored by Boeing with additional support provided by Avnet, APS Foundation, Phoenix IDA, and SRP , began in 2019 in four schools; this year, 61 classrooms throughout Arizona are implementing this innovative program, which is impacting over 1440 high school students . teachSTEM is designed to address Arizona's critical STEM teacher shortage by motivating junior high and high school students to pursue teaching degrees in STEM. Did you know that the first time most students hear the term "STEM" or learn about STEM careers is usually from a teacher? teachSTEM is an early intervention, that not only provides access to STEM learning for students, but also builds awareness about the need for STEM teachers and job opportunities within mainstream STEM fields.

The AEF Principals Leadership Academy of Arizona (PLAA) , now celebrating its 16th year, is one of the only administrator prep programs in the state of Arizona for aspiring school leaders and first-year principals. Over 250 individuals have graduated from PLAA since it began, with 82% of them going on to obtain careers in school and/or district administration . Each PLAA participant benefits from one-on-one engagement with an award winning A+ School of Excellence Principal Mentor. Curriculum is uniquely Arizona-based, designed and facilitated by A+ School of Excellence principals and district administrators as well as state education leaders. PLAA scholarships are graciously provided byThe Kurz Education Fund & Charles Kurz, II.

AEF’s Our World program is a ground-breaking initiative that aligns with AEF’s mission of celebrating excellence and cultivating equity in PK-12th grade Arizona public education. Our World provides diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training for schools, businesses, nonprofits, and higher education. Designed and facilitated by Arizona Teachers of the Year ® , higher education partners, and AEF staff, Our World has a unique non-biased approach that supports education and business partners with fulfilling commitments they made to adopt more equitable practices. Since it began in 2020, over 3,000 individuals have gone through the training. Our World is provided free of charge via Zoom to any Arizona public school because of generous support provided by Boeing, and additional support provided by Avnet.

AEF’s Take Your Legislator to School (TYLTS) is a unique collaboration which pairs Arizona teachers with Arizona state legislators who spend a full day in a public school classroom. All 90 Arizona legislators are invited to participate in this program each year , which are then paired with teachers and classrooms across the state. This partnership facilitates meaningful conversation between policy makers and educators and gives state legislators an intimate look at the day-to-day realities of public schools in Arizona.

Learn more at azedfoundation.org | info@azedfoundation.org

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