The Arizona Department of Education says Vail School District in suburban Tucson is the top-rated, multi-school district in the state.

Vail as a district received an "A" grade based on the 2011-2012 school year, and all 12 of Vail's elementary and middle schools earned an "A" grade for the school year.

Debbie Hedgepeth, Vail assistant superintendent of curriculum and professional development, began her career at Vail as a classroom teacher and she’s been part of the team leading the push to improve the district’s AIMS scores.

“I remember the first year we got the results back –they weren’t very good,” she says. “We were ranked about the middle of the pack for the Tucson area, and well below the state average.”

Hedgepeth says the low AIMS scores were a wakeup call and provided an opportunity to reassess the effectiveness of the curriculum.

Weekly principal meetings now help district leaders maintain an integrated schedule designed to maximize results on the state standard assessments.

Vail schools serve more than 10,000 students and employ more than 1,600 people. Administrators say the district is characterized by rapid growth as new neighborhoods continue to develop throughout southeast Tucson and Corona de Tucson.

See ADE Vail audit here: View at Google Docs | Download File