Team Member Updates from Dr. H. T. Sánchez - 2013-2014

Team Member Update, June 27, 2014
On July 18, TUSD and community partners will go door-to-door to help bring students who have given up on education back to school and get them back on the track to earning their high school diplomas.
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Team Member Update, June 20, 2014
What an amazing journey this first year! To show how much focus there has been on building a strategic plan, I have posted a copy of every article I have written about the strategic planning process from my first TUSD Team Member Update to last week's update. You can access them at the links below. You will see the evolution of the process and how many people it took to create the draft that will be presented to the Board in final form on July 22, 2014 in the TEP Conference Center at 6:00 pm. I have also attached a DRAFT copy of the Strategic Plan. Please know there is still more work to do on the Plan before it is finalized.
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Project and System Application Manager (in PDF)
Draft Strategic Plan (in PDF)

Team Member Update, June 13, 2014
The Magnet Department on Tuesday presented the Governing Board with an overview of the revised Comprehensive Magnet Plan (CMP). The revised Magnet Plan addressed the following key areas:

  1. Creating new magnets
  2. Relocating and revising magnets
  3. Eliminating magnets
  4. Improving magnets
  5. Conducting professional development

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Team Member Update, June 6, 2014
Representatives from all parts of the Tucson community have participated in the district’s strategic planning process, which kicked off with our community meeting on Feb. 25. We started with over 200 participants, including students, parents, educators, business people, higher educators, elected officials, community leaders and representatives from communities connected to the desegregation order. We had representatives from all chambers of commerce. Mr. Lee Lambert, Pima Community College Chancellor, also spent the day working with us.
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Team Member Update, May 30, 2014
In May of this school year, Gibson Consulting presented the TUSD Efficiency Audit in open session at a Governing Board meeting. Many great means for saving money to turn back to campuses and the classroom came from the report. What caught the media's attention was the Efficiency Audit's recommendation to close more TUSD schools. I want to be absolutely clear that this is a recommendation from the audit, not me. I will not bring school closures to the Board as a means for saving money. I understand that some feel that this is my recommendation. Please know that it is not. To the contrary, we have opened two closed schools to serve as Infant and Early Learning Centers. Both Brichta and Schumaker elementary schools will reopen July 1, 2014 to serve the needs of TUSD team members' children ages six weeks to five years and community members' children ages two to five years.
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Summer Wellness Challenge for TUSD Staff (in PDF)

Team Member Update, May 23, 2014
I want to extend my congratulations to the more than 2,635 TUSD high school seniors who received their diplomas at graduations throughout the city. I was privileged to speak at Sabino High School, where approximately 270 graduating Sabercats and their friends and families gathered in the football stadium.
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Team Member Update, May 16, 2014
With the Curriculum Audit and Efficiency Audit findings and recommendations in hand, we are ready to continue our work to take our newly crafted strategic priorities and build meaningful goals that contain accountability measures. Our work will have to focus on understanding the recommendations well enough to roll out the goals over the next five years. While engaged in this rollout, we will have greater focus on what occurs in the district.
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EEF CORE Report Spring 2014 (in PDF)

Team Member Update, May 9, 2014
We had nearly 100 people present for our very first strategic planning subcommittee meeting on May 3. Those in attendance were a mix of central leadership, campus staff, parents, community leaders and business people. After a brief introduction, the participants broke into five subcommittees. Each subcommittee focused on a specific area (teaching/learning, finance, facilities, communication and diversity).
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Team Member Update, May 2, 2014
This Saturday we will continue our strategic planning work at the Duffy Student Service Center, 5145 E. 5th St., from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The event will begin with a general introduction of the purpose for our gathering. We will then break into work groups (teaching/learning, finance, facilities, communication and diversity) to write five strategic priorities.
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Team Member Update, April 25, 2014
Last Thursday, I had an opportunity to visit with a group of amazing mothers. Las Mujeres Fuertes (Strong Women) group invited me to a conversation about what they felt could be done to improve TUSD. They not only offered ideas but they also offered their energy, commitment, and support to their ideas. I enjoyed the bilingual conversation. The Strong Women's group spends time supporting the schools their children attend and improving their English language skills. Just as I enjoyed practicing Spanish, they enjoyed practicing English. We shared ideas and common stories. Most importantly, we shared our belief in our community's children and the bright future ahead of them.
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Team Member Update, April 17, 2014
Meeting the state requirement to test our students with the AIMS assessment takes a lot of coordination, time and effort by teachers, support staff, principals and administrators. I'm proud of how everyone has pulled together to meet this expectation and to support our students so that they may have the best chance possible to be successful. Thank you to our students for your hard work in preparing for the AIMS test and for your focus and efforts going forward for the remainder of the school year.
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Team Member Update, April 11, 2014
We have set the dates for our upcoming strategic planning sub-committee work. After reviewing all options, I felt it best to set four 2-hour sessions on Saturdays in May and June. I decided on weekend mornings because evenings are difficult for people who work a full day, have families, and other evening commitments. The four sessions will be organized to optimize the community conversations held on February 25th through defining the strategic priorities and the annual specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound (SMART) goals.
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Compression Information Graphic (in PDF)

Team Member Update, April 4, 2014
At the SCPC meeting this past Tuesday at Tucson High Magnet School, we had an opportunity to share where we are with the 27 plans required by the Unitary Status Plan. We have written 24 of the 27 plans. Thus far, we have received agreement on 16 plans by the special master, plaintiffs and Governing Board.
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Strategic Planning Feedback - Executive Summary (in PDF)

Team Member Update, March 28, 2014
The Monday following spring break is usually a day to allow students to readjust to the school routine. That sure wasn't the case at Sewell Elementary in Ms. Celeste Aho's classroom. I arrived on campus at 12:15 and was greeted by Mr. Kerry Varga and members of his staff. He was moving through the halls, encouraging students, and conversing with his campus team members. After signing in, he walked me to the kindergarten classroom section of his campus. By design, he has his lower grade students in one part of the building and upper grade students in another.
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Team Member Update, March 14, 2014
Today, it's here! We have made it to spring break – a nice respite for our teachers and students. We also have many administrators and their staff taking a few days off. Please find time to enjoy your family and friends. I am going to take time to enjoy the company of my wife, daughter, and son. There are strings of days and weeks where I leave the house before they wake up and return after they have gone to bed. Breaks like these are precious, and we should focus on those who support us when times are tough and who we support when they need encouragement and to hear a kind word.
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Team Member Update, March 7, 2014
On February 17, I had the opportunity to visit with Pascua Yaqui Tribal Chairman Peter Yucupicio. We discussed areas where we can work together for the benefit of our Pascua Yaqui students. Chairman Yucupicio and I had the opportunity to discuss Richey, as well.
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Team Member Update, February 28, 2014
On February 25, at the Tucson Electric Power conference center, we took our first step in our journey to transform Tucson Unified School District. We will be a district that responds to the needs of our students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, civic leaders, community volunteers, business leaders, higher educators, union leadership, and elected officials.
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Team Member Update, February 14, 2014
Deadline approaching for first round acceptance in Infant & Early Learning Center Reserve your space now! We've received numerous responses thus far from employees wishing to take advantage of enrolling their children or grandchildren in the Infant & Early Learning Center. I want to encourage those of you who are interested in this service to please participate in the priority enrollment to ensure your child has a space. The deadline for priority enrollment for employees is Feb. 28.
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Team Member Update, February 7, 2014
We are getting closer and closer to our first ever community TUSD Strategic Planning event. The RSVPs are rolling in, and the community is responding well. We have a good representation of parents, elected officials, business leaders, higher education leaders, teachers, community volunteers, and administrators. Within the next couple of weeks, we will begin creating our table lists of representatives from each group.
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Team Member Update, January 31, 2014
On Monday afternoon, I met with all members of the district's Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and Business Leadership Team (BLT) to provide clarity in three key areas:

1) Division of Unitary Status Plan (USP) responsibilities
2) Accountability/communication structure
3) Dates by which work will be submitted to plaintiffs for their review

The structure for addressing USP work prior to Monday was isolated to a handful of administrators working to shoulder the entirety of the USP responsibilities.
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Superintendent's Focus Group (in PDF)

Team Member Update, January 24, 2014
I haven't met anyone who hates three-day weekends. I had time to reacquaint myself with my wife and kids during the holiday weekend. Over a basketball game at Buffalo Wild Wings, I had time to visit with my wife and thank her for putting up with me for nearly 18 years.
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Team Member Update, January 17, 2014
This was the big week for the 51st Legislative Session to begin and for the Governor of Arizona to give the State of the State address. Both of these are important to educators. The legislative session will cover myriad educational topics, including district charter school reforms, expanding vouchers, the new test for Common Core, and the structure for State initiated pay for performance, to name a few.
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Team Member Update, January 10, 2014
I hope everyone had a restful winter break surrounded by family and friends. We made the long road trip to visit grandma, grandpa, and cousins in Texas. Everyone knows how much fun 12 hours on the road with a 3-year-old little boy and his 6-year-old big sister can be! My kids had forgotten what 5 degrees feels like, so when we got back into Tucson, they were happy to shed the winter coats and wool socks.
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Team Member Update, December 20, 2013
The end of this month officially marks six months in Tucson for my family and me. In my six months, I have met many amazing people. I have met community leaders who want excellence for all TUSD students. I have met business leaders who want to ensure our students graduate ready to take on good paying jobs. I have met educators (remember every TUSD Team Member is an educator) who love their students and do a great job every day. I have met parents who demand the best for their children and who believe in public education. I have met religious leaders who have prayed for my family, me, and the district.

With a grateful and humble heart, I thank ya'll for being a blessing unto my family and me. Remember, the holidays are about love, family, forgiveness, renewal, hope, and new beginnings. I'll see you in 2014.
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Team Member Update, December 13, 2013
We are a week away from winter break! It is amazing how fast the year goes by. Think about all of the lives you have touched in a positive way. It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve you for this first semester. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but please take time to reflect on all of the work we have done to better the opportunities for our students and enhance the lives of our TUSD Team Members.
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Business Leadership Team Plan (in PDF)
Evaluation Process - Teacher Viewpoint (in PDF)
Instructional and Business Leadership Plans: Governing Board Presentation December 10, 2013 (in PDF)
Instructional Leadership Plan (in PDF)

Team Member Update, December 6, 2013
In my October 15 TUSD Team Member Update, I noted that the Special Master had threatened to object to the Governing Board approved University High School admissions plan. I further noted that a team of very knowledgeable and committed educators had spent over 5 months working on the admissions plan to be in line with the recently approved Unitary Status Plan (USP). Beyond the district and campus level perspectives, the views of external experts were incorporated into the plan. The TUSD team working on this project followed the aspects of the USP to the letter.
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ADE's Key Changes in Educator Evaluations (in PDF)

Team Member Update, November 22, 2013
Pueblo, CE Rose, and Tully Receive National Recognition: Three TUSD schools received national honors this week at Pueblo High School. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognized all three campuses for the leadership roles assumed by students to promote healthy living! The TUSD schools won the designation by meeting criteria in three areas: offering healthful food options, providing nutrition education and increasing physical activity. What is most exciting is Pueblo High School is the first Arizona high school to obtain this honor.
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Superintendent Focus Group's Top Five Priorities (in PDF)

Team Member Update, November 15, 2013
For years, neighboring districts have run buses and advertisements into TUSD to lure students out of TUSD and into their districts. We have been politely allowing this with a limited response. We can no longer sit idly by we too must reach out to parents in surrounding areas.
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Team Member Update, November 8, 2013
We are currently in the process of scheduling a follow-up meeting for campus representatives from schools in TUSD that operate magnet programs. The special master, appointed by the federal court, has sent a letter stating his stance and objections to the recently approved TUSD Magnet Plan. The plan was approved 5-0 by the Board at our last regular Board Meeting. The special master refers to the TUSD Magnet Plan as the "Interim" Magnet Plan. Before we respond, we need to hear from the school communities directly affected by any change in the current magnet structure.
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Team Member Update, November 1, 2013
There is a lot to be said about the natural beauty of my new home, Tucson, AZ. The mountains and picturesque sunsets serve as amazing backdrops to a community filled with people who want Tucson to continue to be a great place to live, learn, and work. My family and I have begun to acquaint ourselves with Tucson and the State of Arizona, and all that it has to offer. I would like to share the link to a powerful study conducted by The Arizona We Want Institute, lead by Dr. Lattie Coor, Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.
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Team Member Update, October 25, 2013
One of the first requests I took before the Board, upon my entry into TUSD, centered on addressing salary inequity. A plan was crafted in conjunction with the Tucson Education Association, and the Board approved the plan. The intent of the plan is to address a long-standing issue – teachers hired from outside of the district making more money than current TUSD teachers with the same years of experience. The new plan provides salary adjustments to ensure that current TUSD teachers don't make less than newly hired teachers with similar experience.
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Business Leadership Team Plan: Effectiveness & Efficiency (in PDF)
Business Leadership Team Plan: Facilities Needs and Fixed Assets (in PDF)
Business Leadership Team Plan: Personnel Focus (in PDF)

Team Member Update, October 18, 2013
Every person who works in TUSD is an educator. Some may think only the people in the classroom or those who work directly with students are educators; however, the fact of the matter is counterintuitive. Consider the function of a public school district our job is to graduate students ready for college, career, or military service. However, this doesn't occur unless an amazing team of people come together, with one purpose.
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Team Member Update, October 4, 2013
With the first quarter behind us, next week will give our students and team an opportunity to catch their breath before we enter the next quarter to winter break. There will be no school in session the week of October 7th through October 11th due to fall break. We hope you enjoy the cooler weather, family, and friends.
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Team Member Update, September 27, 2013
We don't spend enough time recognizing the amazing people we have in TUSD. Every day, we have people doing great work with students. Every so often, however, we have a few classrooms, campuses, or district leaders stand a bit above the rest. I would like to recognize two of our TUSD Team Members who have earned acclaim for their amazing
work in education.
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Team Member Update, September 20, 2013
In this week's update, I have attached the third component of this year's Business Leadership Team plan. It is focused on the management and security of the district's facilities and fixed assets, such as computers, smart boards, and other non-facility items. TUSD has faced issues in the security of such assets and it is important that we have clearly documented and consistently followed processes that ensure what is bought with taxpayer dollars is secured and taken care of for years to come in the area of facilities and within the reasonable lifespan for fixed assets.
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Business Leadership Team Plan - Facilities and Fixed Assets (in PDF)

Team Member Update, September 13, 2013
This past Tuesday, the Board approved three requests to support members of the TUSD Team. The Board approved the revised teacher salary schedule that will now ensure teachers who have committed years of service to the students of TUSD are not paid less than new teachers hired into TUSD from outside of the district who have the same years of experience. This is a great first step as we look at our salary schedule.
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Business Leadership Team Plan - Personnel Focus (in PDF)

Team Member Update, September 6, 2013
I was visiting with one of our TUSD parents when she made the recommendation that I share the TUSD Team Updates with parents. There is so much work we are doing to serve our students and to build a better Tucson one learner at a time that I am humbly asking that you send, post or email out a copy of the TUSD Team Updates to your parent listserv. I am attending as many community events as I can to meet our parents, but your help in spreading the word about the work we are doing would help me share information.
Read more... (in PDF) | Business Leadership Team Plan (in PDF)

Team Member Update, August 30, 2013
Two weeks ago, I shared information regarding the overall model for teaching and learning. This week, I wanted to go a bit deeper into our next steps now that we have Mr. Steve Holmes, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, on board.
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Team Member Update, August 23, 2013
Last week, I shared our teaching and learning model. Just as with teaching and learning, our district-level business leadership answered the same three questions. From their responses, I devised the following model. As you will note, the same external influences exert pressure on our business model. In the same way the teaching and learning model gives focus and purpose to the work we do in the area of instruction, our business model will ensure we understand the interplay among all major functions of business and operations.
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Team Member Update, August 16, 2013
The work we have begun is moving forward. We posted the request for proposals for the efficiency audit, curriculum audit, and identified a company to conduct the 3rd party boundary review. Our work with a market analysis regarding the unique magnet programs offered in TUSD is underway in the development stage. The end-date for the data to arrive from each of these endeavors is late November to early December.
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Team Member Update, August 9, 2013
I would like to thank the outstanding teams of TUSD campus and classroom leaders at Vail Middle School, Pistor Middle School, and Palo Verde High School. Thank you for being so kind and allowing us to hold our Superintendent's Leadership Team (SLT) meetings, Business Leadership Team (BLT) meetings, and Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) meetings on your campuses. I enjoyed visiting with the team members and students. Being on the campuses truly highlights what we are all here to do . . . support our students!
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Team Member Update, August 2, 2013
Academic excellence was seen throughout the district. Multiple campuses raised their ratings and we saw a 50% increase in the number of A-designated schools. We also saw a 30% decrease in D-school ratings. This is a great indicator of even better things to come this next year.
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Team Member Update, July 26, 2013
During this week, our Business Leadership Team (BLT) met for the first time on Wednesday. We had a full agenda of items. The biggest items up for discussion, beyond the meeting's function and norms, focused on the criteria for the effectiveness/efficiency audit, the 3rd party comprehensive demographic study, and the magnet/specialty school market analysis. We also reviewed industry standards for custodial and preventive maintenance support.
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Team Member Update, July 19, 2013
I would like to thank Mr. Cam Juarez for arranging for an opportunity for me to meet the South Tucson community. The energy in the room was powerful. The room was filled with people who love their community and who asked many great questions about the current and future work of TUSD. The questions focused on quality of education, support for community schools, and a strong desire to open up communication.
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Superintendent Sánchez featured on Arizona Spotlight radio show, July 12, 2013

Team Member Update, July 11, 2013
It is an honor to join the TUSD Team! I have met many of our outstanding TUSD Team Members throughout the community. I truly appreciate your willingness to walk up to me and introduce yourselves. Everyone with whom I have spoken is passionate about further elevating TUSD above the rest in the State of Arizona. Please know that I believe in the work you have begun and the valuable traditions you and generations before us set into place. I look forward to the new traditions we will add to the rich history of our storied district. Again, it is an honor to join the team, and I look forward to serving you, our children, and our community.
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