Peoria and Its Leadership Again Creating Great Headlines

Peoria Mayor Jason Beck

Peoria doesn’t typically get much coverage in this blog, although recently it’s been making more appearances as it rises up as the jewel of the west valley (you can read our coverage here). Last time we took notice it was some great new developments and more entertainment options going up there (combined with leadership’s spirit of saying Yes and being open to change).

This time around it’s an entirely different reason reflective of a commitment to excellence: education. One of their public schools, BASIS Peoria, recently received the extremely prestigious recognition of being ranked the single best public school in all of the United States. Arizona’s BASIS schools were well represented in the top 100, but Peoria’s stood alone.

And why is that? First, it’s worth examining what those rankings were based on. In this case college readiness was weighted the most, state assessment proficiency and performance were next, and lastly were college curriculum breadth, underserved student performance and graduation rate were last. A fairly balanced take focused on the largest student body being ready to take the next step.

BASIS obviously deserves quite a few accolades for the operation of their schools, considering how well they’ve collectively performed. Perhaps a kudos should be given to state leadership making an atmosphere that is friendly to charter schools; while obviously not all of them are this successful, they do give exemplary students unique opportunities in a way that traditional public schools often do not.

While directly not responsible, we should also give respect to other echelons of leadership that have collectively fostered a dynamic city that is growing the right way. The Peoria Unified School District almost certainly plays a strong role. And although they are not directly involved in education, Mayor Jason Beck and the rest of the city council have been laying the groundwork to make a city that is quickly becoming a destination, not just for an evening out but to relocate to. Great schools don’t happen in a vacuum; they are often a symptom of something grander happening in the background, which is the case here.

We may not be too far away from considering Peoria something akin to the Scottsdale of the West Valley, and while there is only one Scottsdale, it is clear that they are building something special out there. Kudos to Mayor Beck for continuing the momentum of those who came before him.