Roosevelt Elementary School District
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|Roosevelt School District #66|
|Motto||Where everyone is committed to success for every student, in every classroom, every day.|
|Superintendent||Dr. Dino Coronado|
The Roosevelt Elementary School District sits in the Phoenix, Arizona area. It has 19 schools.
The Roosevelt School District #66 was established in Phoenix Arizona in 1912. The first Roosevelt School District School was located south of the Phoenix City Center on the corner of what is now 7th Street and Southern.
As told by Jas. R. Wilson, the District’s founding principal; he and school board members Mr. Gould and Mr. Larsen were discussing naming the District outside the Neighborhood House after church services on Sunday in late spring 1913. Wilson wrote that even though a third board member, a Mr. Townsend, was not present, the discussion continued... “all four of us were good Republicans at the time, and Teddy Roosevelt was the top man of the times and had just dedicated the Roosevelt Darn, so no one objected to naming the school Roosevelt’.”
There were very few roads in the District’s early days. Southern Avenue did not exist and students reached the school by walking or riding horses or burros along the bank of “San Francisco Ditch” from Central Avenue. Homesteaders of Anglo and Hispanic descent were the District’s original population. Mexican laborers came later to work the farms. The population increased rapidly and a twelve-room addition was built in 1921.
The burgeoning population made it necessary to provide more classrooms. This was done when schools were built on the east and a west end of the District, but this accommodation was minimal and short-lived. When the East End School burned down, the West End School was abandoned and buses were bought to transport all students to Roosevelt School.
The 1930s saw the District’s cultural diversity broaden as the African-American population grew as workers attracted by the Valley’s growing cotton industry. However, the growing number of African-American students created a logistics problem for District officials who followed the state’s segregation laws that required African-American children to be educated separate from other student Two small facilities were provided for African-American students 1938. Ten years later, Julian Elementary School was built to accommodate the District’s African-American student population.
Although Arizona amended segregation laws in 1951, the Roosevelt School District opted to continue educating African-American students separately. The assimilation of African-American students into classrooms throughout the District did not begin until May 21, 1954, four days aft the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Brown vs. Board of Education.
The original Roosevelt School, located at 6000 S. 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ, was destroyed in a fire on April 5, 1985. The classroom wings we demolished in 1986, and the new administration’ center opened in December 1987 on the old Roosevelt School site. The school bell that hung in the tower of the original school building survived the fire and now sits on bricks salvaged from the 1985 fire in the vestibule of the District Office Building.
The District boundaries are the Salt River the north, South Mountain to the south, 40th Street the east and 35th Avenue on the west. What began a 15-pupil district in the late 19th century grew into a district serving more than 12,000 students and 1,200 employees in 21 schools by 2008. In 2008, Roosevelt was one of the largest employers in south Phoenix.
Roosevelt School District has been plagued in recent years by stories such as this from AZCentral on September 11th, 2018 "Several educators in the Roosevelt Elementary School District allege that their superintendent made false, crude remarks about a school administrator, telling a parent the administrator had sexual relationships with multiple teachers.
That school administrator and at least seven female Roosevelt teachers filed complaints with the five-member school board and the district's human resources director, documents obtained by The Arizona Republic show.
They each wrote in their complaints that the alleged comments made by Superintendent Dino Coronado were false and damaging, and they asked the school board to investigate.
Norma Muñoz, Roosevelt school board president, instructed the district's attorney to immediately investigate the concerns about Coronado raised by the teachers, the district said.
Coronado denied the allegations. An investigation concluded the allegations couldn't be substantiated, the school district said in a statement to The Republic.
The school board has not discussed the matter in any public meeting. A board meeting is scheduled Tuesday at Irene Lopez Elementary School, 4610 S. 12th St. in Phoenix. The executive session is at 5:30 p.m., with the regular meeting to follow.
“In the case of Dr. Dino Coronado, there (have) been no disciplinary actions, nor are there any pending.”
Diana Figueroa, Roosevelt's executive director of community engagement The Roosevelt district did not fulfill requests for documents related to the investigation that were submitted by The Republic under the Arizona Public Records Law.
In response to one of the two public-records requests the newspaper filed in August, Roosevelt's Diana Figueroa, executive director of community engagement, said, "Any complaints that become part of an investigation cannot be disclosed."
She added: "However, any formal disciplinary action can be disclosed. In the case of Dr. Dino Coronado there (have) been no disciplinary actions, nor are there any pending."
In a statement, Figueroa said the district takes any complaints seriously and noted the immediate undertaking of the investigation.
"The district continues to remain focused on the goal of improving the learning of all students and stakeholders," she said.
Coronado, whom the board appointed unanimously, started as superintendent in mid-2017. His contract runs through mid-2020. He had worked as a district administrator in El Paso, Texas, and in Houston.
'Beyond inappropriate and disrespectful' The remarks about the school administrator were alleged to have been made June 27 in a meeting with a Roosevelt parent, according to teachers' written complaints.
The complaints were written by the administrator to whom Coronado allegedly made reference and seven female teachers who work at his school. They were filed June 27, 28 and 29.
The complaints each allege having heard from a parent that Coronado, when discussing the man's qualifications, said the school administrator was "too busy f--king his teachers."
The educators expressed concern and outrage in their complaints.
The school administrator, in his complaint to the board, wrote, "I am requesting a full investigation into his (Coronado's) slander and defamation of my character."
"I am offended and appalled," the school administrator wrote. "Please inform me of your next steps to investigate his improprieties. Thank you for your attention to this serious matter."
“Those words came from a place of anger from our district leader and need to be addressed.”
Roosevelt teacher, in a letter to the board The Republic is not naming the administrator because the allegations of misconduct with teachers are unsubstantiated. The school administrator declined to comment about Coronado's alleged remarks.
One educator, in her complaint to the board, described the alleged comments as "beyond inappropriate and disrespectful" and "tramples all over the female staff at our school."
"Those words came from a place of anger from our district leader and need to be addressed," the teacher wrote to the board.
"I am extremely hurt, angry, disappointed and uncomfortable that such a despicable lie could be said to a parent, from our superintendent nonetheless. I feel very disrespected."
Another teacher wrote that she was repulsedand wanted to see an investigation.
"I am OUTRAGED by this SLANDER and DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER implicated not only on (the school administrator), but also on MY INTEGRITY and the integrity of my husband ... " the teacher wrote.
A third teacher filed a complaint saying the comments were degrading and disrespectful and reflected negatively on the district.
"To think that a community member believes that (a school administrator) is unqualified because "he's too busy f--king his teachers" is a defamation to my character and could possibly destroy my teaching career," the teacher wrote.
Parent confirmed meeting with Coronado The parent referenced in the complaints against Coronado confirmed to The Republic that the superintendent had made those remarks earlier this year.
The meeting between Coronado and the parent came after the school administrator was not selected for a leadership position at a school in the Roosevelt district. The parent had wanted to know why.
MORE: Roosevelt district students in Phoenix left in lurch as bus drivers 'call in sick'
The parent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the remarks "made me feel uncomfortable."
"I was like, 'What the hell?'” the parent said.
The parent asked Coronado why he hadn't done anything if his remarks were, in fact, true.
"If you know that this guy is a dirty man, what’s he doing around eighth-graders?” the parent asked.
The parent said Coronado did not give a clear answer.
The parent then met with the school administrator accused by Coronado to see whether the comments were true, and the school administrator was shocked and devastated, the parent said.
The administrator's reaction led the parent to believe that the accusations weren't true, the parent said.
Turbulent times in Roosevelt The teachers' complaints come at a turbulent time in the Roosevelt school district, with many parents, educators and community members expressing concerns over a laundry list of issues in the south Phoenix district.
More than 200 people packed the Aug. 7 school board meeting, which was punctuated by heated exchanges between the audience, superintendent and school board members.
At that meeting, Coronado gave a presentation on the 2017-18 school year in review in which he touted several initiatives — such as adding more advanced math classes for middle-school students and integrating iPad tablets in students' curriculum as a way to boost reading and math proficiency in the district.
Among the biggest accomplishments Coronado noted in his presentation was finishing the year with $4.7 million in budget reserves two years after a $3 million budget shortfall resulted in staff reductions for Roosevelt.
At that meeting, Coronado reaffirmed that boosting student achievement in Roosevelt remained one of his top priorities. According to 2017-18 AzMERIT results, 22 percent of Roosevelt's students were proficient in reading, and 24 percent of kids in grades 3-8 were proficient in math.
“It is unnecessary for these teachers to be here being disrespectful to this superintendent.”
Norma Muñoz, Roosevelt school board president But several educators — particularly at Roosevelt's Amy L. Houston Transition Service Center, which serves students with severe special needs — criticized the district for not having adequate resources and staffing to start the school year.
Muñoz, the school board president, repeatedly told members of the crowd that they were being disrespectful and asked some of them to leave. At one point, she threatened to call police.
“It is unnecessary for these teachers to be here being disrespectful to this superintendent. Not all of you, mind you," Muñoz said.
She gave Coronado a vote of confidence and praised the work he had done in the past year, saying it was "incredible" the district had come so far in such a short time.
At the meeting, Coronado acknowledged the friction within the district's community and said he was working on being a more effective communicator.
"I do think we have a lot of work to do in communicating effectively and providing clarity in what we want, because I believe we all want the same thing," he said.
Other clashes with Coronado Among the most heated moments of the board meeting came in an exchange between Coronado and board member Lawrence Robinson during the superintendent's presentation.
Coronado called Robinson "misinformed" after Robinson had seemed to infer the Coronado had threatened to fire one of his principals because he wasn't smiling during a meeting.
Coronado told Robinson he should have spoken to him personally if he had any concerns instead of raising issues in a rowdy public meeting.
The Aug. 7 meeting was just the latest clash between warring factions on the board.
Robinson held a news conference in late July and started a Change.org petition calling on Coronado to be placed on leave until the investigation concluded.
“As I told the board president when the meeting ended: I’m not an animal and I’m not going to be treated like one.”
Raymond Gardea, former Sunland Elementary principal Michelle Campuzano, a former special education teacher in Roosevelt who is now running for the board, participated in the news conference. Campuzano has criticized Coronado.
Others in the district have spoken out against Coronado.
Raymond Gardea, the former Sunland Elementary principal, said Coronado ran the district as a "dictatorship" in which his policies reigned and dissent wasn't allowed.
Gardea said he quit because of Coronado's leadership. He instead took a part-time job as a bus driver in another district.
"As I told the board president when the meeting ended: I’m not an animal and I’m not going to be treated like one," Gardea said.
Coronado did not immediately respond to request for comment about Gardea's remarks.
Coronado's record defended Other community members have expressed confidence in Coronado, and Muñoz has supported him as well.
"Dr. Coronado, I’m gonna go on record and say I support you. I support what you’ve done," Perry Ealim, a Roosevelt resident told Coronado and the board Aug. 7.
"I support the direction of this district, and I challenge each one of you – stop this bull," Ealim said, addressing the meeting's audience. "Enough is enough. Let’s move forward and rise Roosevelt. Let’s take it to another level."
Coronado came to Roosevelt from the El Paso Independent School District, where he was area superintendent for less than a year, his résumé shows. Before that, he was area superintendent for the Houston Independent School District. He has master's and doctorate degrees in education and served in the U.S. Army for more than 20 years.
“I support the direction of this district … Let’s move forward and rise Roosevelt. Let’s take it to another level.”
Perry Ealim, Roosevelt resident In a cover letter accompanying Coronado's job application, he says every campus he has worked for has been considered "'hard to staff,'" "'demographically challenged,'" or some other unappealing label." Still, he has improved student achievement in these previous jobs, he said.
"I believe that my success has more to do with who I am as a person rather than what I know or don't know," he wrote. "I value honesty, integrity, commitment, and a sense of humor and believe that if we can change a person's perspective, we can change their destiny."
Muñoz said in a statement sent by a district spokesman that she stands behind Coronado and the work he's done at Roosevelt in the past year.
"He and the staff remain focused on the goal of improving the learning of all students," Munoz said."
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