A+ Schools of Excellence

A+ Schools of Excellence™

is a comprehensive school assessment program that challenges school teams to work together to identify areas of excellence in teaching, learning, climate, community building, and leadership.

A+ Schools are celebrated and recognized as outstanding. Earning the highly prestigious A+ designation spotlights the positive successes happening in public schools every day.

Ishikawa Elementary School, 2015

Photo credit: Tim Hacker, Mesa Public Schools


deadline & application

The deadline to submit the 2020 A+ School of Excellence™ application has passed.

The deadline for 2021 A+ School of Excellence applications is January 8th, 2021.

The 2021 A+ application will be available here on February 3, 2020.




  • The school must be a state accredited district or charter public school with some combination of grades Pre-K through 12.


  • Schools must be rated by the Arizona Department of Education as an “A” or “B” school for the most recent school year for which letter grades are available and demonstrate high student academic achievement or growth over time for all students through other assessments (see questions 34 and 35 of the A+ application).

  • The school must be in at least its 6th full year of operation in its current (or similar) grade configuration when the application is submitted.

  • The school or school district is not refusing Office of Civil Rights (OCR) access to information necessary to investigate a civil rights complaint or to conduct a district-wide compliance review.

  • The OCR has not issued a violation letter of findings to the school district concluding that the nominated school or the district as a whole has violated one or more of the civil rights statutes. A violation letter of findings will not be considered outstanding if OCR has accepted a corrective action plan from the district to remedy the violation.

  • The U.S. Department of Justice does not have a pending suit alleging that the nominated school or the school district as a whole has violated one or more of the civil rights statutes or the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

  • The school must not have been recognized as an A+ School of Excellence™ in 2017, 2018, or 2019. Previously recognized schools are eligible to reapply for the award after their 3-1/2-year status has expired.

  • The school’s principal must have completed at least 3 full years as leader of the applicant school when the application is submitted.


  • Schools submit applications that provide demographic information, a description of current programs and practices, documentation of parent and community involvement, a profile of the school’s leadership and commitment to excellence, equity, service.


  • Schools must demonstrate sustained high achievement or significant improvement through assessment data.


  • Winning schools are recognized for their superior ability to identify and meet the academic and non-academic needs of their student population.


  • The selection panel includes award-winning principals, district leaders, teachers, and community partners. Panel members conduct pre-arranged site visits to selected schools throughout the state in order to choose A+ School of Excellence™ award winners. Schools that receive site visits are provided with information in advance to prepare for the site visit.

  • Each school receives an awards celebration at their school where they are presented with $500 and a banner designating it as an A+ School of Excellence™.

  • As long as eligibility requirements are met, schools retain their A+ status for 3 1/2 years. If you are unsure about your status or need to renew, please contact AEF.




Applications Due

January - April

Applications are screened, Site visits occur


Schools are notified

Mid-April - May

Award celebrations happen statewide

staff contact.

For questions or more information, contact Kim Graham, Executive Director, at kim@azedfoundation.org.

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