Imagine Schools at Camelback Earns "A" Rating, Completing Impressive Turnaround

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Once in danger of being closed due to poor academic performance, Imagine Schools at Camelback has earned an "A" rating from the Arizona Department of Education. The inner-city Phoenix school features a free and reduced lunch population of nearly 100 percent. More than 25 percent of the students are English language learners in 12 different languages.

“Looking at how far this school has come, I am overcome with pride,” said Principal Debbie Yarbrough.

Imagine Schools announced today that its Imagine Camelback campus in central Phoenix has earned an “A” rating from the Arizona Department of Education, the highest rating available.

“Looking at how far this school has come, I am overcome with pride,” said Principal Debbie Yarbrough. “I am so proud of our students, our teachers, our staff, our parents and our community partners. It has taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get to this level.”

As recent as 2010 Imagine Camelback was designated a “failing” school. At the time, less than 10 percent of third-grade students met Arizona reading standards. In 2009 the school scored in the bottom 5 percent in AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards) scores. The school was in danger of being closed.

Imagine Camelback applied for and received School Improvement Grants from the Arizona and US Departments of Education.

“The grants we received allowed us to begin the process of turning around our school,” Yarbrough said. “But it was not just the grant. We also changed our attitude. Students learned failure was no longer an option.”

At Imagine Camelback, more than 98 percent of the students qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program. Moreover, more than 25 percent of the students are designated English Language Learners, which includes more than 12 languages.

“If you look at us ‘statistically,’ one would assume we would be a perpetually failing school,” Yarbrough said. “That’s simply not the case here. We have challenged our students, our teachers and our parents to be the best they can possibly be. They have all proven that even under the most challenging circumstances that achievement is possible.”

ABOUT IMAGINE SCHOOLS

Imagine Schools is a national family of 69 public charter schools educating more than 36,000 students in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Imagine Schools partners with parents and guardians to educate their children, providing high quality schools that prepare students for lives of leadership, accomplishment, and exemplary character.

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Rhonda Cagle
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