The City of Tempe identified education as a top priority in the General Plan 2040, their most recent strategic plan. City leaders understand the value of investing in education so much that they created an Education, Families & Youth Development Manager position in February 2015 to focus on developing an education road map for Tempe. Three public school districts, Arizona State University and the community college district fall within Tempe city limits, therefore all are collaborating and working alongside city staff to help improve educational outcomes for every student.
As part of their commitment to elevating and impacting education outcomes for its residents, the city developed a tool with local metrics, baseline data and goals, which are aligned to the Arizona Education Progress Meter. For example, using data that shows 50 percent of their residents already have a degree or credential, the city recently set its own attainment goal at 65 percent by 2030 in order to help the state meet its overall goal. By continuing to work with college connect programs and higher education entities to ensure postsecondary access and completion for all its residents, the City of Tempe is confident they can meet this goal.
Looking at their data and goals through this new lens has also helped city leaders focus limited resources on initiatives they believe will help move the needle in a couple key areas. For example, a pilot project that was two years in the making launched this fall and will create as many as 20 preschool classrooms for hundreds of children who would otherwise be unable to afford a high-quality preschool experience. Working in conjunction with two local school districts, the city of Tempe is the first Arizona city to make a commitment this sizable to early learning.