VIVA Arizona Teacher leaders in the News

From Arizona Sun’s Classroom Daily Briefs

Heritage Elementary School’s Williams campus principal Kaytie Thies was among a select group of charter school teachers chosen to present an action plan for implementing new Common Core Standards for education to Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal and Arizona State Board of Education President Jaime Molera.

The action plan is based on a collection of ideas submitted by nearly 200 Arizona teachers during Phase I of the three-part VIVA Arizona Charter Teachers Idea Exchange.

The exchange is a collaboration between the Arizona Charter Schools Association and the online teacher’s forum The VIVA Project (VIVA stands for Voices, Ideas, Vision, Action). Its goal is to help Arizona charter school teachers collaborate on the new Common Core Standards, a state-led effort to establish shared academic standards in K-12 English/language arts and mathematics.

Thies and six other teachers who participated in Phase I were invited to continue on to Phase II and III of the program. During Phase II, they summarized and synthesized the ideas presented during Phase I into 36 distinct, workable recommendations for implementing Common Core Standards in a way most likely to result in improved student learning.

Phase III took place on June 13, when Thies and the others presented the action plan in a meeting with Huppenthal and Molera.

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How to Successfully Implement Common Core

Source: AZ Charter Teachers’ Association

In a meeting with Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal and State Board President Jaime Molera, VIVA Teacher Leaders offered their advice for smoothing the transition to Common Core State Standards for all schools in Arizona.

Two hundred VIVA Teachers who teach in Arizona’s charter schools, where they already are implementing the new, higher Common Core State Standards in their classrooms, participated in the first phase of the VIVA Arizona Charter Teachers Idea Exchange, from April 16-May 13, 2012. They shared 50 ideas for ways to ensure the transition to Common Core. Then, seven of those teachers distilled the ideas into the 36 recommendations they delivered to Huppenthal and Molera on June 13, 2012.

Read an executive summary of the report, or download the full 32-page report, “Arizona Charter Teachers’ Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice from the Classroom,” here.

Read the press release here.


VIVA Arizona Project – Arizona Charter Teachers’ Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice From the Classroom

On Wednesday, June 13, members of the VIVA Arizona Charter Teachers Idea Exchange Writing Collaborative delivered their report, Arizona Charter Teachers Guide to Common Core Implementation: Advice from the Classroom, to Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal and State Board President Jaime Molera.

Teachers are significant stakeholders in the implementation of Common Core Standards and should be key players in the process. These recommendations will foster the environment necessary to ensure successful implementation of Common Core Standards, promote the development of professional knowledge and expertise of teachers, and maintain high expectations and academic achievement on the part of Arizona’s students.

Download the full report as a PDF

Click here to read the executive summary and recommendations

VIVA Arizona Press Release

Contact: Megan Gilbertson
O: 602.944.0644 ext. 312
C:  602.688.9435


Charter Teachers Share Thoughts on Implementing New Standards

Arizona teachers need more training, parents need a heads up


VIVA Arizona Press Release

Download as a PDF

Phoenix, Ariz. (June 8, 2012) – In order to ensure a successful transition to new, more rigorous K-12 curriculum standards, Arizona must provide additional training and tools to educators, launch a public awareness campaign about the new student achievement standards, and ease the transition to new tests, according to a report prepared by Arizona charter school teachers.

In a first of its kind online collaboration in Arizona, nearly 200 charter teachers across the state spent four weeks exchanging ideas about what teachers and schools need to ensure a successful transition to the Common Core State Standards, the new mandated standards all public schools — district and charter — must meet beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.

A group of seven teachers from the initial phase of the VIVA Idea Exchange worked to summarize and synthesize the ideas, and developed a report with 36 specific action steps for Arizona to use when implementing the Common Core State Standards. The teachers will present their ideas to Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal and Arizona State Board of Education President Jaime Molera on June 13.

“Our teachers want to see their students succeed, and this report provides policy makers an in-depth look at what all public schools need to make the transition to the new standards successful,” said Association President Eileen B. Sigmund. “Although charter teachers are innovative and creative, they face the same challenges as all public school teachers are facing in Arizona and across the country.”

The Arizona Charter Schools Association partnered with New Voice Strategies’ VIVA Teachers Project to engage Arizona charter schools teachers in an effective conversation about the new standards.

Find out more about the project and Common Core State Standards at Please contact Megan Gilbertson for a copy of the embargoed report.


About The Arizona Charter Schools Association

The Arizona Charter Schools Association is a non-profit membership and professional organization that serves more than 80 percent of the 524 charter schools in Arizona that enroll 133,890 students. Fully 25 percent of the state’s public schools are charter schools, and 12 percent of all public-school students are enrolled in charter schools—the highest percentage for any state, and second only to Washington D.C. With a common goal of providing the best in free, public education for Arizona’s children, the Association works alongside schools, parents, policymakers and the media, continuously advocating for high quality schools, student equity, and charter school autonomy. We are dedicated to high student achievement and aggressively seek to provide the best in comprehensive support and services to Arizona’s charter schools. For more information, visit or call 602.944.0644.

About VIVA Teachers

VIVA Teachers (VIVA stands for Voice, Ideas, Vision, Action) uses an innovative online platform to empower them to share their professional wisdom with each other and connects them directly to the people who have the power to enact change. Already, VIVA Teachers have submitted their recommendations for change to government officials in Washington, D.C. Chicago IL, Albany NY, and St. Paul MN. For more information on how VIVA elevates the voices of teachers, from the front lines to the bottom line, visit