Team Member Updates from Dr. H. T. Sánchez - 2014-2015

Team Member Update, June 25, 2015
The Governing Board passed the proposed 2015-2016 budget on Tuesday. The finance department did an amazing job putting the budget together, and I'd like to point out a few items that I don't want you to miss. More...

Team Member Update, June 19, 2015
I was very honored to be part of the U.S. Citizenship ceremony for 20 students during the World Refugee Day celebration at Catalina High School on Tuesday. I still have the photo of my father when he became a U.S. citizen in 1980, and I know these children and their families will cherish this day, especially given the difficult circumstances that have brought them here. More...

Team Member Update, June 11, 2015
The Governing Board approved several administrative appointments at Tuesday's meeting, including my contract for the next three years. More...

Team Member Update, June 4, 2015
You may have heard that Gov. Ducey today announced a proposal to provide more funding for K-12 education. The proposal would allow schools to draw more money from a state-land trust fund each year. At Gov. Ducey's request, school superintendents from around the state met with him Wednesday to hear the proposal and offer feedback. I was honored to be invited to the meeting and to have the opportunity to ask questions and give my thoughts on the proposal. More...

Team Member Update, May 29, 2015
If you haven't read it already, I'd like to recommend a New York Times article about school funding in Arizona. It takes a look at Gov. Doug Ducey's proposed $24 million for high achieving schools and the fact that the funding model means most of that money would go to charter schools like Basis, which graduated only 245 students in the state this year. As I said in the article, the proposal will only widen the wealth gap and further short-change the children who need education as a way of changing their lives and their families' lives.
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Team Member Update, May 21, 2015
Most adults look back at their high school experiences and remember their best friends, their teachers--the thoughts and ideas they were exposed to during those four years.
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Team Member Update, May 14, 2015
I would like to thank U.S. Rep. Martha McSally for accepting the invitation of Jack Draper, an instructor at Catalina High School, and taking the time to visit with teachers, students and industry partners at the school’s construction program on Monday.
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Team Member Update, May 7, 2015
I want to congratulate our campus Teachers of the Year and district award winners who were honored at our Celebration of the Stars event on Wednesday.
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Team Member Update, April 30, 2015
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and I are asking all of our students in Tucson Unified School District to make a pledge tomorrow to be college or career ready by the time they reach graduation, and we are asking the entire community to show their spirit by wearing their favorite college colors.
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Team Member Update, April 23, 2015
In my almost two years here, I have found that most people who have been in Tucson for awhile have had some experience with Camp Cooper—formally known as The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning.
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Team Member Update, April 16, 2015
I had the privilege of attending an incredible program at Tucson High on Monday that was repeated the next day at Rincon/University.
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Team Member Update, April 9, 2015
Please show your support to our children at Borman Elementary tomorrow by wearing red, white and blue and tagging photos with #RWB4Borman or send them to Borman is located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which is currently in the midst of one of the largest deployments in its history.
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Team Member Update, April 2, 2015
As you may have heard, we have started a campaign to paint the community red, white and blue on April 10 to show support for the children of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Just about every student at Borman Elementary, which is located on the base, has been impacted by one of the largest deployment's in DM's history. When we heard about the deployment, we reached out to principal Kathy Sisler for ways Tucson Unified could show these children--and all children of our military servicemen and servicewomen--some extra support. That’s how the idea of #RWB4Borman was born.
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Team Member Update, March 26, 2015
This past week, two amendments, or "strikers," were proposed in the legislature that would again have significantly negative effects on our school district.
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Team Member Update, March 13, 2015
Over the weekend Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona's legislators agreed to a budget with deep cuts to education at every level.
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Team Member Update, March 6, 2015
This week, school superintendents from Pima County and community and business leaders came together to raise awareness about the state budget under consideration by the legislature.
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Team Member Update, February 25, 2015
I would like to thank the state legislators for coming to Tuesday’s Governing Board meeting to discuss current education bills working their way through the legislature.
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Team Member Update, February 19, 2015
I want to keep you informed about the investigation into why an empty bus caught fire last week. We have parked all buses that are similar to the one that caught fire, and they won't go back on the road until the investigation is complete and any repairs needed are made. I'd like to direct you to our website, where you can find more information.
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Team Member Update, February 13, 2015
On Wednesday I went up to Phoenix to testify in front of the Senate finance committee that was considering a bill to phase out desegregation funding.
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Team Member Update, February 5, 2015
Last week, Sen. Debbie Lesko introduced a bill that would phase out desegregation funds for schools in Arizona. The driving force behind the proposal is a goal to reduce the local property tax burden on Tucson citizens.
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Team Member Update, January 30, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez was in town on Thursday to take a tour of Pima Community College’s Aviation Technology Center, and afterward he held a roundtable discussion that I was fortunate to be a part of.
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Team Member Update, January 23, 2015
Since our last newsletter, we’ve seen Gov. Ducey’s budget, and we’ve heard from Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Diane Douglas, who gave her take on the state of education in Arizona this week.
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Team Member Update, January 15, 2015
I was privileged to attend Opening Day of the state legislature in Phoenix on Monday. One of the goals in TUSD's Five-Year Strategic Plan is to become more involved in the legislature and to increase opportunities to advocate for the district and public education as a whole.
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Team Member Update, January 8, 2015
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to meet with new Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Diane Douglas. Of course, we discussed the recent notice from her predecessor that accused the district of violating state law in some of our ethnic studies classes. The meeting lasted about 90 minutes and left me feeling very optimistic about collaborating with Superintendent Douglas and her staff.
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Team Member Update, December 19, 2014
I want to thank everyone who works at Tucson Unified School District for the hard work and great accomplishments we have achieved together in 2014.
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Team Member Update, December 12, 2014
Most of our Tucson Unified School District employees, including teachers, have not had a cost of living raise in years. I was very proud on Tuesday to present a proposal that would give our hard-working teachers and staff a pay increase.
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Team Member Update, December 5, 2014
Over the past several months, staff members have spent countless hours reviewing the budget and finances of the district. These efforts have been beneficial and have provided the clarity we needed to determine whether there was sufficient budget to provide a pay increase for all district employees.
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Team Member Update, November 21, 2014
I want to congratulate Adelita Grijalva, Governing Board president, and Mike Hicks on their re-election to their very important roles in helping to shape Tucson Unified School District.
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Team Member Update, November 14, 2014
I would like to invite you to attend our Quarterly Strategic Plan update meeting on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the cafeteria at Catalina High School, 3645 E Pima St.

This is a dynamic, interactive session where teams will give progress reports on the five areas of the plan: Curriculum, Facilities, Finance, Diversity and Communication. Participants will move through information sessions and will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
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Team Member Update, November 7, 2014
Thursday was a very special day for Pueblo Magnet High School. The University of Arizona surprised 61 seniors with exciting news: They applied for early admission and the university said yes! The whole school was packed in the gym for what they thought was going to be an awards assembly. When U of A volunteers came rushing out to the famous “Bear Down” fight song, everyone went wild. Then when Wilbur came out—even wilder.
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Team Member Update, October 31, 2014
School Community Services is gearing up for a crowd next week. The priority open enrollment window runs from Monday, Nov. 3 to Friday, Dec. 12. This is the best time to apply for our magnet programs and to submit applications to attend any school in the district. Applying during the priority window puts families in the first lottery for their schools of choice, especially important for schools that fill up quickly.
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Team Member Update, October 24, 2014
TUSD has developed and fostered numerous partnerships with local stakeholders which have led to collaborative projects and initiatives that provide positive outcomes for our students and educators alike. The 2014-15 school year kicked off with the Steps to Success initiative, a joint venture between TUSD and the Mayor’s office.
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Team Member Update, October 17, 2014
On Tuesday, our Chief Financial Officer Karla Soto gave a detailed financial report that showed the district does not have a deficit as rumored. In fact, the district has $20 million in reserves today. When I started in July 2013, we had $14 million in reserves. At school year’s end, we expect to carry forward reserves of $14 million into the 2015-16 next school year.
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Team Member Update, October 3, 2014
As the District continues to move forward in implementing the Unitary Status Plan and enhancing equity for all students, I was pleased to participate in a historic event On October 1st and 2nd. We spent a day and a half at the federal courthouse meeting and talking with the Special Master, the plaintiffs’ counsel, and plaintiff representatives regarding the USP. No topic was off-limits. The meeting was cordial and productive.
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Team Member Update, October 1, 2014
Every one of us does what we do because we love the children we serve, respect our colleagues, and believe in our community. We are in the middle of election season. The rhetoric and mudslinging that has become part of the political process has ensued. It is very unfortunate that this tends to take the spotlight away from meaningful issues.
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Team Member Update, September 26, 2014
As a fairly new superintendent, I have a lot to learn. I am very fortunate to work with great district, campus, classroom, and operations professionals and support staff. We become better by opening ourselves up to criticism and learning from points that are made by people who agree with us and from points made by those who do not.
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Update from Sept. 19, 2014

Team Member Update, September 19, 2014
When I was hired July 1, 2013, one of my major charges by the Board that hired me was to work on salary adjustments and raises for TUSD Team Members. I remember conversations with Ms. Grijalva during her first year as Board President about salary being a priority amid a myriad of challenges the district had before it.
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Team Member Update, September 12, 2014
I have tasked Dr. Vega, Deputy Superintendent Teaching Learning, to spearhead the transition of Dodge Magnet Middle School to the "new" Dodge Magnet Middle School (Townsend Middle School), along with Stuart Duncan, Chief Operation Officer; Marcos Jones, Program Manager Bonds and Architecture; Pat Cisneros, Project Manager, and Dr. Abel Morado, Assistant Superintendent Secondary Leadership. As a result, the Dodge transition team has begun meeting to ensure a smooth transition.
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Team Member Update, September 5, 2014
I’m pleased to share that TUSD is partnering with Mayor Rothschild along with the Boys & Girls Clubs and the City of Tucson Department of Transportation to initiate a program that will begin by supporting 100 of our students’ attendance at Boys & Girls Clubs. Students who attend Utterback Middle Magnet, Myers Ganoung Elementary and Roberts K8 schools will have the opportunity to attend either the Holmes Tuttle or Jim and Vicki Click Boys & Girls Club. These students will receive a monthly bus pass to travel round-trip from their schools to the club.
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Team Member Update, August 29, 2014
Tucson Unified School District’s Governing Board held the first of many workshop meetings Aug. 26.

Rather than having the typical meeting where the board sits in a line and conducts business in a formal manner, the workshops were study sessions where board members could interact with staff and share ideas.

The topic for Aug. 26 was policy, and we had five stations: curriculum, professional development, early learning, data and committee governance.
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Team Member Update, August 22, 2014
When I came into the district, the TUSD community had just experienced school closures, layoffs and a $14 million deficit. On top off this, I was the fourth superintendent in a span of about five years. Nonetheless, with the support of Ms. Grijalva as Board President and the Board quorum, we got to work:

  • We eliminated the layoff process that had long been part of the way the district did business.
  • We opened two closed schools as Infant and Early Education Centers (whose enrollment continues to grow day by day).
  • We began the year with fewer vacancies than years past (227 in 2013-14 vs 139 in 2014-15 prior to the start of school).
  • We put $1 million forward to address salary issues, and we will roll out additional compensation adjustments prior to December 2014 for teachers while we look at means to support all district employees.
  • We created a Strategic Plan that included the input of more than 400 people with 48 hours of collaboration to build a better TUSD. The district had no long-term vision when I arrived.

Read more... (in PDF) | Elementary FTEs (in PDF) | Secondary FTEs (in PDF)

Team Member Update, August 15, 2014
We held our first Instructional Leadership Academy on Thursday. Our focus was on addressing two Strategic Plan priorities: Written curriculum and professional development. As the Curriculum Audit found, TUSD needed to focus on building an aligned districtwide curriculum.
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Team Member Update, August 8, 2014
Our Research Division in Technology Services ran an enrollment comparison from last year to this year at the district level. This is what they produced based on data and trends. Please note that 2013-14 data has been cleaned up and 2014-15 data are best estimates based on actual students in seats. On the 12th day after data clean-up, we will have a clearer look.
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Team Member Update, August 1, 2014
The entire TUSD Team did a great job preparing for the first day of school. During our central office debrief, we compared what we saw across the district. We spent time discussing what went well, so we continue such practices into the future and refine them. We also took note of areas where we had opportunities to improve. Compared to last year, this year’s list was much shorter and easier to address.
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Team Member Update, July 25, 2014
There is an amazing long list of great people to thank for the work that lead to the development of a TUSD Strategic Plan for the first time in 147 years! The biggest thanks go to all of the community members who gave of their time and themselves to craft the five year plan.
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Team Member Update, July 18, 2014
Steps to Success program reaches out to children who have given up on education
What an amazing day today was! We had over 35 teams with more 100 of Tucson’s biggest hearts going door-to-door changing the lives of young people. My team consisted of our Honorable Mayor, Johnathan Rothschild, Pima Community College President, Dr. Lorraine Morales, Health and Human Services Advisor from the Mayor’s office, Karla Avalos, and TUSD Student Success Specialist and Rincon High School track coach, Chris Golston.
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Team Member Update, July 11, 2014
Almost a year ago, within the second month of beginning my work in TUSD, the USP-required magnet plan went before the Board. At that time, the magnet plan had been devised prior to my arrival, and I was working diligently to gather as much understanding of the USP and magnet plan as possible. What became evident the night the magnet plan was to go before the Board for a vote was the community had not been involved or aware to a high degree.
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Draft Comprehensive Magnet Plan (in PDF)
District Magnet Standards - Pillars (in PDF)
Magnet Evaluation Metric (in PDF)