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Options for Excellence Hosts 4th Annual Education Conference

September 17, 2007

Options for Excellence, a program of the Office of Youth Preparation in the Office of the Vice President for Education Partnerships, hosted the 4th Annual Advancing Arizona Education Conference September 11-12th in the Memorial Union. Teachers, coordinators, administrators and counselors, from state-wide middle and high schools attended conference sessions focusing on professional development, building programs, utilizing computer technology, and methods for increasing educational access and equity, among others. The conference featured nationally renowned speakers, university administrators and faculty members, as well as community leaders.  

Paul Luna, President of the Helios Education Foundation, discussed research indicating that college readiness for all students should begin in sixth through eighth grades. Luna asked educators to work with community organizations, and especially the Helios Education Foundation, to expand the opportunities for all Arizona students. “We don’t have the answers to solve our educational issues, but it is important that you know we are here to listen and to help. We are part of the Arizona community dedicated to improving educational opportunities for all.” 

Tom Horne, Superintendent of Education for the Arizona Department of Education, addressed the following key educational concerns facing classroom teachers: AIMS testing, students moving through the system unprepared, the current teacher shortage, and projected end of sessions exams in science designed to be implemented 2008 through 2010. Mr. Horne also noted the changes in the Honors Tuition Waiver Scholarship. 

Dr. Gene Garcia, Vice President of the Office of Education Partnerships, and Richard Mayorga, A.P. History teacher at Sunnyside H.S. from the Tucson Unified School District, and a national workshop leader for The College Board, participated in round table discussions. The roundtables were designed to focus on ASU’s partnerships with school districts to improve education within the state, ways to develop community involvement around educational issues, and steps to increase the number of minority and low-income students in Advanced Placement programs. 

In addition to attending conference sessions and networking with colleagues, participants were able to visit exhibits displaying: new textbooks, classroom technologies, and university and community resources.  Educators also earned professional development hours for each day attended. 

The Options for Excellence program is a vehicle by which the Office of Youth Preparation delivers resources to school districts and high schools. Its major goals are to assist in teacher training, curriculum building, and test preparation at the secondary level. Our staff members serve as liaisons with The College Board and ACT, providing the latest research in educational theory and services to enrich SAT/ACT school wide test scores, as well as to help school districts increase the number of students receiving college credit through Advanced Placement, IB, or CLEP programs.

For additional information contact Patricia Nash at or view