A+ School, Blue Ribbon School, Arizona Teacher of the Year, 2004

Abia Judd Named A+ School

In 2000, Abia Judd Elementary School was given the prestigious A+ award.  The award is given to schools that have superior achievement, programs, and practices.  Abia Judd was one of only seven elementary schools and two high schools in Arizona named A+ schools in 2000. In 2001, Abia Judd went on to win the national Blue Ribbon Award.

The A+ School Recognition Program was created by the Arizona Educational Foundation in 1983. Its purpose is threefold:

  • to identify and give public recognition to outstanding public schools in Arizona;
  • to make available a comprehensive framework of key criteria for school effectiveness that can serve as a basis for participatory self-assessment and planning in schools;
  • to facilitate communication and sharing of best practices within and among schools based on a common criteria related to success.

Abia Judd Elementary Wins National Honors

Daily Courier, 6/6/01

Noting exemplary instruction and a high level of community participation, the U.S. Department of Education has selected Abia Judd Elementary as a 2000-01 Blue Ribbon School.

Principal William Munson officially announced Monday that his school is one of 264 the department is recognizing this year for the award, which is the nation’s highest.

“It’s like an alignment of stars that happens every so often,” he said. “We really do have a combination of factors we believe are special: exceptional staff dedication coupled with an outstanding level of parental involvement.”

If the district governing board ap-proves expenses, the school’s steering committee members will travel with Munson to Washington, D.C., this fall for the awards ceremony. They are teachers Carol Yetman and Susan Kissel, librarian Melissa Moore and Abia Judd PTA president Jenny Phelps, all of whom worked hundreds of extra hours over two years on the application.

Of those, Munson, a teacher and a parent will receive the Blue Ribbon from President Bush. However, that decision is not yet final.

Everyone at Abia Judd was jubilant over news of the award. “It just took our breath away,” said Phelps. “This ball has been rolling for a few years; so much energy went into it that I personally feel privileged to be a part of the process and of the whole school.”

Munson, who has been Abia Judd principal for five years, said he’d never been prouder of individuals than those at his school.

“I work with teachers, support staff, PTA members and volunteers,” he added, “and I’ve never in my life seen a group that is so dedicated to the needs of kids.”
Munson maintained that Abia Judd is representative of the high quality of schools within the Prescott Unified School District, any one of which could win the Blue Ribbon upon completion of the lengthy application process.

“We’re proud to be an example of what’s happening in education in our town,” he said.

According to Munson, that rigorous application process was beneficial to the school, which earned Arizona A+ designation this past year.

“We celebrated the things we do well and improved the things we can do better,” he said.

The 51-page application required the school’s self-assessment of outstanding achievement on test scores over sev-eral years, documenting successful practices and offering comprehensive programs to meet student needs, among other things.

After the department received that, it sent a representative, David L. Gray, to the school on March 8 and 9 to confirm the school’s assertions.

In his report, Gray wrote that Abia Judd “is truly an exemplary school … The school’s mission statement is indeed the guiding influence in decision making and programming. It is evident from the visit that students are expected to achieve at high levels and follow the mission of ‘Achieving, Believing, Caring, and Sharing.’”

Further, he maintained that the school-wide learning goals “are evident as one travels through the halls and exchanges greetings with students, teachers and parents.”

Community involvement in school projects and programs is commendable and is partly responsible for the quality programs for students, Gray added.
In closing, Gray said that “one of the most compelling statements that I recorded while visiting Abia Judd was given to me by a parent when she stated that, ‘in this school, it is kids first.’”

Abia Judd is one of eight Arizona elementary schools to capture the coveted Blue Ribbon status this year. The others are in Chandler, Peoria, Tucson, Tempe and Scottsdale.

Information on the department’s Web site indicates that Chino Valley’s Del Rio Elementary School is the only other Yavapai County school to win this award since the Secretary of Education established the program in 1982.

Mrs. Robertson Arizona 2004 Teacher of the Year

Jane Robertson, a first grade teacher at Abia Judd, was selected by the Arizona Educational Foundation as Arizona Teacher of the Year. The Foundation named Jane from among the finalists at a special luncheon at the Arizona Science Center on November 12. The luncheon was hosted by the CEO’s of Wells Fargo Bank, Basha’s, the Arizona Republic, APS, and Governor Napolitano.

As Arizona Teacher of the Year, Jane received $20,000 and was sponsored by the state in a ceremony at the White House with teachers of the year from all the other states. She was the state nominee for American Teacher of the Year, along with an extensive list of speaking engagements, recognitions, and prizes