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Echo Canyon School at Scottsdale Unified receives national recognition

Photo of Echo Canyon School
As a 2023 National ESEA Distinguished School, Echo Canyon will also be known for its students’ exceptional growth and academic performance during the last two school years. (File Photos of SUSD/DigitalFreePress)

Echo Canyon is now a 2023 ESEA Distinguished School

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Known for its unique blend of teaching, learning and practical lessons in sustainability, Echo Canyon School has been delivering a first-in-class education to its elementary and middle grade students since 1990.

Now, as a 2023 National ESEA Distinguished School, Echo Canyon will also be known for its students’ exceptional growth and academic performance during the last two school years.

Echo Canyon Principal Kat Hughes is thrilled.

“It truly highlights the hard work and dedication of our students, staff and community to create and foster a learning environment that is built upon relationships with our families and our community,” she said.

School and district officials learned of Echo Canyon’s selection last week from the Arizona Department of Education, which oversees Arizona’s Title I schools. Title I, a federally funded program of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, provides resources to ensure that all students, especially those considered most academically at-risk, can close achievement gaps and succeed in school.

As one of Scottsdale Unified School District’s schools of choice with no geographic boundary, Echo Canyon draws students from a wide swath of economically diverse families.

“With its culture of continuous improvement and opportunities for all kids to thrive, it comes as no surprise that Echo Canyon has risen to receive this national recognition,” said Scottsdale Unified’s Director of State and Federal Program Dr. David Priniski. “Echo Canyon is a source of great pride for the Arcadia Learning Community, and for SUSD.”

An ADE committee toured the Echo Canyon campus earlier this month, visited classrooms, observed a ‘Chef in the Garden’ lesson — like the one above — and met with panels comprised of students and parents. (File Photos of SUSD/DigitalFreePress)
Echo Canyon is now a 2023 ESEA Distinguished School

Nestled in the shadow of Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon, 4330 N. 62nd St. in Scottsdale, offers the families of its 358 students a school-wide looping model.

The school’s cross-curricular learning gardens are home to the ‘Chef in the Garden’ program, founded by former SUSD parents and supported by James Beard Award-winning chef Charleen Badman and other local chefs.

An ADE committee toured the Echo Canyon campus earlier this month, visited classrooms, observed a Chef in the Garden lesson, and met with panels comprised of students and parents.

Echo Canyon is one of two Arizona schools to be named a National ESEA Distinguished School for 2023 and the only one in the state to be recognized for academic growth and achievement. The school will formally receive its award at the National ESEA Conference in Portland, Oregon in February.

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