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Message from Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano Welcome Back to School

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Message from Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano


Dear Arizona Parents,

Welcome back to school! Whether you have just dropped your child off for the first day of kindergarten or you are a
veteran parent returning to schoolhouse doors you have passed through many times, the start of a new school year is
an exciting time.

This month, children in schools across Arizona will have a host of "firsts" to celebrate. Some will proudly write their
own names for the very first time. Others will figure out how to solve their first multiplication problems or conduct
their first science experiments. Children, parents and teachers alike can share the sense of accomplishment because
educating Arizona's children really is a team effort.

As parents, you have an extremely important role in your child's education. Parental involvement makes a huge
difference in a child's success, yet can be as simple as reading a bedtime story with your child or having a family
conversation about the school day over dinner. Your participation is the key!
As you work with your children and their teachers to kick off a great school year, I want you to know that we are
doing our part at the State Capitol to ensure that every child in Arizona has the opportunity to receive a top-quality

Arizona's families scored a big victory in the 2005 budget, which began the process of making full-day kindergarten
available to every Arizona child. More than 10,000 children participated in this program last year and we secured the
resources to accommodate 10,000 more this year. This important initiative flourished because of the commitment of
parents and teachers across Arizona to help students get off on the right foot. I will continue to fight for full day
kindergarten until every family has this option in their district or charter school.

I will also continue the tradition I started when I took office: giving every first and fourth grader in Arizona a book
they can take home and call their own. I am grateful for all the help of generous sponsors, parents and educators
who join me in my commitment to childhood literacy. Please keep an eye out for your child's book and your
opportunity to read together.

Next to parents, the most important element in raising student achievement is a qualified, experienced teacher in the
classroom. That's why I launched Arizona's Master Teacher program, an initiative that provides outstanding
teachers the opportunity to develop their skills and mentor other teachers. Eventually, in partnership with districts
across the state, we will have at least one Master Teacher in every school in Arizona.

But our job does not end with teachers. We must continue to redirect more resources into K-12 classrooms, which
we have done through my Nickel to the Classroom Initiative. We must also work to build stronger relationships
with Arizona's education and business communities to ensure that high school graduates leave school with the skills
they need to enter the workforce or seek higher education. These partnerships strengthen the connection between
‘learning' and ‘earning' and create more opportunities in the knowledge-based economy for Arizona's graduates. I
know parents want these opportunities for their children, and we want it for our state's future.

I appreciate your continued support in our efforts to improve education Arizona. But most of all, I appreciate all the
little things you do to support your school and make a difference in the life of your child.

Yours Very Truly,

Janet Napolitano

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