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Sinagua Middle School National History Day

In this file photo from December, students present exhibits for National History Day at Sinagua Middle School.

The letter grades of two Flagstaff Unified School District schools improved with the recent release of revised grades by the Arizona State Board of Education.

This is the first time since 2013 that letter grades have been assigned to Arizona schools. The ASBE released the revised 2016/17 grades late last month. The majority of Flagstaff charter and FUSD school grades are the same as those released last summer. Three schools, Flagstaff High School, Singaua Middle School and Northland Preparatory Academy, all had an increase in their letter grade.

According to ASBE, the grades are designed to give parents a quick look at the quality of their child’s school. The grades are based on student academic growth from year to year, proficiency on AzMERIT tests, English language proficiency, high school graduation rates and whether students are ready to move on to the next grade or, for high school students, to a career or higher education.

Flagstaff High School was originally rated as a C. Sinagua was rated as a D and NPA was rated as a B. Flagstaff High is now rated as a B, Sinagua as a C and NPA as an A. Flagstaff High and Singaua are currently listed as “under review” on the ASBE website because both have pending appeals.

The new grades are because of changes ASBE made in the state cut scores, Robert Hagstrom, the FUSD director of research and assessment told the FUSD Governing Board Tuesday night. The changes in the cut scores changed state averages, which led to changes in letter grades for FHS and Sinagua.

FHS Principal Tony Cullen said FHS plans to drop its appeal after having its grade change from a C to a B. He said he spoke with the appeals board earlier this month about the series of threatening notes the school had last spring. The appeals board was very receptive, he said. However, Cullen said he’s pleased with the change from a C to a B and plans to drop the appeal.

Hagstrom said that Sinagua is still going through its appeals process. A representative from Sinagua was not at the FUSD Board meeting Tuesday.

FUSD Superintendent Mike Penca said schools that received a D or lower are required to send out letters to parents explaining the letter grade and the improvements the schools plan to make. Three FUSD schools received a D: Kinsey Elementary, Leupp Public and Puente de Hozho.

According to ASBE website, the 2017/2018 school letter grades are expected to be released sometime this fall.

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The reporter can be reached at or (928)556-2253.


Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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