Tucson Unified School District

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Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) is the largest school district of Tucson, Arizona, in terms of enrollment. H.T. Sanchez was named superintendent in 2013. As of 2006, TUSD had more than 60,000 students and approximately 3,700 faculty members. As of Fall 2012, according to Superintendent John Pedicone (on the 9/14/2012 Buckmaster Show), TUSD has 50,000 students. District enrollment has declined over the last 10 years and TUSD lost 1,700 to 2,000 students per year for the two or three years prior to 2012. There are many reasons for the change, including the population in general becoming more suburban and changes in school choice including increasing availability of Charter Schools and the approved ability to cross districts for school selection.


The district boundaries encompass much of the City of Tucson, the entire city of South Tucson, all of Drexel Heights, almost all of Valencia West, a fair amount of Tucson Estates, segments of Catalina Foothills and Tanque Verde, & a few unincorporated parts of Pima County that do not fall within the confines of a Census Designated Place. TUSD is currently under a federal desegregation order to help balance district schools in terms of race and ethnicity. The district was established as "Pima County School District No. 1" in 1867, centered approximately at the latitude 32°13'15.57"N and the longitude 110°58'23.70"W (a monument now known as La Placita),[1] and assumed its current name in 1977. The district has nine traditional high schools and several alternative high schools. The largest high school in the district, in terms of enrollment, is Tucson High Magnet School near downtown Tucson. According to the district website, 2945 students attended Tucson High during the 2006-2007 school year.[2] It is also the oldest high school in the district. Tucson High School was built in 1907 across the street from where it now stands. The school relocated to its present site in 1923. In 1956, the school had the largest enrollment of any high school in the United States, over 6,800 pupils. The original Tucson High building still exists as Roskruge Elementary and Bilingual Middle Magnet School. The TUSD also owns the radio station KWXL-LP .[3]


In 2012, in response to state law HB2281, the district boxed and put into storage, or distributed to the district libraries, several books used in a course that was determined to be against state law A.R.S. 15-112, including the textbook Rethinking Columbus, and the Tempest.[4][5][6] Books were taken away while students were in class.[7] The dismantling of the Mexican-American studies departments and similar Mexican cultural courses has brought controversy over perceptions of xenophobia, and racism against Mexican-American students and their heritage. Events such as TUSD board meetings, in response to HB2281, have resulted in various arrests, injuries, and protests of students and faculty against HB2281.[8] However, TUSD has maintained a stance conveying interest in maintaining the Mexican-American studies program, and it can be speculated that the 4-1 decision in January 2012 to ban the program was a result of the resulting budget cuts that would take place due to a loss of state funding should TUSD continue the program.[9][10] On January 13, 2012, students walked out of class and held a protest against the banishment of the Mexican-American Studies program.[11][12]

The Daily Show aired a satirical piece on April 2, 2012, concerning the banning of Mexican-American studies as voted by the school board. The interview of Michael Hicks, a voting board member, put a negative light on the school district, and gave the impression that many authority figures among the TUSD board were ignorant or unsuited to their responsibilities as educators.[13]

The TUSD Governing Board's resolution of this issue has been to establish a course to be taken by all students that emphasizes multiculturalism and diversity.

Language Education[edit]

TUSD came under fire for cuts to the high school graduation requirements made in the year 2008— in years prior, senior high school students at TUSD were required to obtain at least two years of foreign language education in order to receive their high school diploma.[14] In 2008, the TUSD School board approved to revoke the mandate that required the two years of foreign language education for each graduating student, citing budget cuts as the overarching problem.[14][15] The prominent Tucson newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star, later printed an editorial expressing its agreement with the new requirement, agreeing that they would rather see the budget cuts being made in the language department than in others, and stating that TUSD and the School Board did the reasonable thing under the situation.[15] Others disagreed with the mandate, expressing their concern on the fact that most public and private universities, including Tucson’s own University of Arizona, require at least two years of a high school foreign language class for admission.[14][16]


As of March 2012, the demographics of the district were composed of: 61.3% Hispanic (of any race, primarily Mexican American), 24.1% non-Hispanic Whites, 5.6% Black, 3.8% Native American, 2.6% Multi-racial, and 2.5% Asian.[17]


Tucson High Magnet School
Mansfeld Middle School

Traditional high schools[edit]

TUSD high schools
School Enrollment Establishment Mascot Colors
Catalina* 1,317 1957 Trojans Royal blue and white
Cholla* 1,786 1969 Chargers Orange and Navy blue
Palo Verde* 1,250 1963 Titans Royal blue and gold
Pueblo* 1,900 1956 Warriors Navy blue and Columbia blue
Rincon 1,278 1958 Rangers Purple and white
Sabino 1,297 1972 Sabercats Purple and Gold
Sahuaro 1,736 1968 Cougars Red and Blue
Santa Rita 1,200 1969 Eagles Green and Gold
Tucson* 3,014 1892 Badgers Red and white

Magnet program*

Other high schools[edit]

Name Est. Mascot Colors
ArtWorks Academy
Aztec Middle College East 1981
Aztec Middle College West
Howenstine Adaptive Education High School 1976[18] Hawks Baby blue and black closed in 2013
PASS Alternative High School
Project MORE
Teenage Parent Alt. Middle/High School
University High School (shares campus and sports teams with Rincon)] 1977 Penguins Black and White

Traditional middle schools and K-8 schools[edit]

Safford School entrance. Built 1918. Architect: Annie Rockfellow.
Name Location Est. Mascot Colors
Charles A. Carson Middle School (Consolidated into Delbert L. Secrist, & Charles Dietz 2013) Carson Park 1967[19] Cougars
Ida Flood Dodge Traditional Magnet Middle School 1986 Bulldogs Turquoise and Black
Doolen Middle School Doolen-Fruitvale 1941[20] Thunderbirds Burgundy and White
Rollin T. Gridley Middle School Halcyon Acres 1974[21] Grizzly Bears
Hohokam Middle School (Consolidated into Valencia in 2013) Drexel Heights Hawks Maroon and Yellow
Joseph W. Magee Middle School Carriage Hill 1964[21] Roadrunners
Mansfeld Magnet Middle School Drake 1929 Bulldogs Blue and White
Mary Belle McCorkle PreK-8 School Casitas Del Sol 2011
Pistor Middle School Manzanita Manor 1981 Panthers
Roskruge Bilingual Magnet Middle School West University 1914 Pumas/Cougars Turquoise, Black, Purple, Gold
Delbert L. Secrist Middle School South Harrison 1974[21] Scorpions
Madge Utterback Middle Magnet School Sunland Vista 1959[21] Unicorns
Alice Vail Middle School Desert Aire 1956[21] Falcons
Valencia Middle School Drexel Heights 1993[22] Jaguars
Wakefield Middle School (Consolidated into Madge Utterback, Charles Hollinger, & Safford in 2013) Whitestone 1966[23] Knights

K-8 schools[edit]

Name Est. Mascot Location Colors
Booth-Fickett Math-Science K-8 Magnet School Falcons Vista Del Sahuaro
Charles Dietz K-8 School 2013 Dragons Mañana Grande
Charles Hollinger K-8 School 2013 Bulldogs Whitestone
Mary Louise Robins K-8 School 2013 Roadrunners Agua Dulce
Morgan Maxwell K-8 School 2013 Mountain Lions
Roberts/Naylor K-8 School 2010 Phoenixes Carlita Village
Safford K-8 Magnet International Baccalaureate World School Huskies Armory Park Orange and Blue

Elementary schools[edit]

Name Location Mascot concerns
Laura Nobles Banks Elementary School Tucson Estates Bobcats
Blenman Elementary School New Deal Acres Eagles
Clara Ferrin Bloom Elementary School Hidden Hills West Eagles
Ignacio Bonillas Basic Curriculum Magnet School Franklin Heights Beavers
Borman Elementary School Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Astros
Elizabeth Borton Elementary Magnet School Bruckners
Augustus Brichta Elementary School Brichta Bears Consolidated into Morgan Maxwell, & Andy Tolson in 2013
Carillo K-5 Magnet School Barrio Viejo Cougars Magnet Theme: Communication & Creative Arts
Lillian Cavett Elementary School Western Hills 2 Eagles
Marguerite L. Collier Elementary School Tanque Verde Cougars
Corbett Elementary School San Paulo Village Cougars Consolidated into Wheeler in 2013
Gertrude Cragin Performing Arts Magnet Elementary School Shaheen Estates Cougars
Davidson Elementary School Rillito Crossing Dragons Originally the sole school of the now annexed Pima County School District No. 18.[24]
Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School McKinley Park Eagles
Drachman Montessori K-6 Magnet School Barrio Santa Rosa Dragons Montessori school
Duffy Elementary School Mitman Closed in 2010; Part of area south of Broadway Boulevard, and north of 22nd Street consolidated into Ignacio Bonillas; Part of area north of Broadway Boulevard, and west of Rosemont Boulevard consolidated into Peter Howell; Part of area south of 22nd Street, and between Country Club Road, and Palo Verde Avenue merged into Robison; Part of area north of Broadway Boulevard, and east of Rosemont Boulevard, merged into W. Arthur Sewell[25]
Alice F. Dunham Elementary School Arizona La Victoria Panthers
Irene Erickson Elementary School Vista Del Prado
Inez C. Ford Elementary School Lakeside Panthers
Fort Lowell Elementary School Cloverleaf Merged with Townsend Middle School in 2010.[26] Originally the sole school of the now annexed Fort Lowell Elementary School District (a. k. a. Pima County Elementary School District No. 9)[27] Ft Lowell/Townsend closed in 2013.
Jacob C. Fruchthendler Elementary School Sabino Vista Firebirds
Laura O. Gale Elementary School Estes Park Tigers
Grijalva Elementary School Midvale Park Grizzlies Named for U.S. Congressman and former TUSD Governing Board member Raúl Grijalva. Bilingual Ed. and Gifted Education
Anna Henry Elementary School Northeast Gila Monsters
Holladay Magnet Elementary School Grand View RedHawks Magnet Theme: Visual & Performing Arts
Peter E. Howell Elementary School Peter Howell Hawks
Hudlow Elementary School Kingston Knolls Terrace
Sam Hughes Elementary School Alta Vista Huskies
Jefferson Park Elementary School Jefferson Park Panthers Closed in 2010 and merged with Blenman Elementary.[26]
Harriet Johnson Primary School Drexel Heights K-2
Annie W. Kellond Elementary School Mañana Vista Cougars
Anna E. Lawrence 3-8 School Drexel Heights Lobos
Adah Lineweaver Elementary School Northeast Lions
Lynn/Urquides Elementary School Phebus Estates Coyotes Pre-K-5
Nan Lyons Elementary School Pine Grove Lions Consolidated into Inez C. Ford, & Irene Erickson in 2013
Amelia Maldonado Elementary School Drexel Heights Bob Cats Pre-K-5
Ricardo Manzo Elementary School El Río Park Bobcats Pre-K-5
Marshall Elementary School Rolling Hills Mustangs Pre-K–5
Menlo Park Elementary School Menlo Park Consolidated into Ricardo Manzo, Morgan Maxwell, & Andy Tolson in 2013
Miller Elementary School Mission Ridge Pre-K–5
Mission View Elementary School Mission View Pre-K–5
Myers-Ganoung Elementary School Mayfair Terrace Pre-K–5
Ochoa Community Magnet School Southern Heights Panthers Reggio Emilia inspired school
Oyama Elementary School Casas Oestes Dragons
Pueblo Gardens Elementary School Pueblo Gardens Now a Pre-K-8
Kate B. Reynolds Elementary School Valley View East Closed in 2010; Part of area west of Prudence Road, & north of Escalante Road merged with Irene Erickson; Part of area east of Prudence, & north of Escalante merged with Inez C. Ford; Part of area south of Escalante merged with Nan Lyons[28]
Richey K-8 Pascua Closed in 2010. K-5 students assigned to Roskruge; 6-8 students assigned to Mansfeld Magnet.[29]
Clara Fish Roberts Elementary School Telesco Terrace Merged with Naylor in 2010.[30]
Robison Magnet Elementary School Arroyo Chico Roadrunners International Baccalaureate World School
Anne E. Rogers Elementary School Colonia Del Valle Roadrunners Part of area north of 22nd Street consolidated into Annie W. Kellond, and part south of 22nd Street consolidated into Corbett in 2010.[31]
C. E. Rose Pre-K-8 School National City Wildcats Named for Clinton E. Rose, TUSD Superintendent from 1920-1941. Selected for 2012 NCUST Excellence in Education Award.[32]
Roskruge Elementary School West University Cougars/Pumas Same building as Roskruge Bilingual Magnet Middle School, building housed Tucson High School from 1907–1923. Named for George J. Roskruge.
Schumaker Elementary School Carriage Hill Consolidated into Clara Ferrin Bloom, and Anna Henry in 2013
W. Arthur Sewell Elementary School Indian House Estates Sabercats
Soleng Tom Elementary School Rancho Del Este Gifted and Talented Education(GATE). Named for Soleng Tom (1912–2000)
Harold Steele Elementary School Sherwood Village Terrace Stallions Pre-K-5
Andy Tolson Elementary School Southwest Thunderbirds Pre-K-5
Tully Elementary Magnet School El Río Estates Tigers Gifted and Talented Education(GATE)
Katherine Van Buskirk Elementary School Fairgrounds Bears
James D. Van Horne Elementary School Silver Shadows Estates Vikings Part of area north of Tanque Verde Road merged into Jacob C. Fruchtendler, and part of area south of Tanque Verde Road merged into Clara Ferrin Bloom in 2010.[33]
Vesey Elementary School Drexel Heights Wildcats
Frances J. Warren Elementary School Drexel Heights
Wheeler Elementary School Terra Del Sol Pre-K-5
John E. White Elementary School Garden City Bulldogs
W. V. Whitmore Elementary School Northeast Wildcats
John B. Wright Elementary School Sierra Vista Wildcats Pre-K-5
Wrightstown Elementary School Desert Palms Park Part of area east of Houghton Road, & north of Speedway Boulevard merged with Soleng Tom, & rest of area with Anna Henry in 2010.[34]

Other schools[edit]

Name Comments
Direct Link For homebound students
Mary Meredith K-12 For emotionally disabled students
Miles Exploratory Learning Center Pre-school to grade 8. Named for Nelson A. Miles.
Augustus Brichta TUSD Infant and Early Learning Center[35]
Schumaker TUSD Infant and Early Learning Center[36]

Health Initiatives[edit]

The Tucson Unified School District has a number of policies outlined to meet federal requirements and to dynamically encourage a healthy lifestyle. The District Wellness Program states that, “Schools shall implement a comprehensive, integrated program for these two components of a coordinated school health program: nutrition and physical activity”.[37] To meet United States Department of Agriculture nutrition requirements, many of the breakfast and lunch options the TUSD offers are whole grain, like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat hot dog and hamburger buns.[38] In addition, milk, fruits, and vegetables are always offered to students as sides.[38] The TUSD also requires that fundraising events that involve the sale of food meet the same health requirements that school lunches do, though special events such as sports are exempt.[37] Advertisements, such as those on the front of vending machines, must encourage students to purchase healthier options, like water; and other a la carte foods that do not meet health regulations can be offered on only an “infrequent basis."[37]

The TUSD addresses other challenges by recognizing that students will make health decisions based largely on the influence of their role models, like their parents/guardians and teachers. Therefore, the TUSD attempts to communicate with parents and guardians through a variety of channels about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and guardians are encouraged to pack lunches that meet USDA suggestions if their students do not purchase food from the school.[37] Newsletters published by the district also contain lists of foods that meet health regulations and would be popular for celebrations, such as birthday parties.[37] Furthermore, the district provides an Employee Wellness Committee, which provides health education to district employees, offers free physical activities for staff to partake in and opportunities for staff to monitor their own health and goals.[37]

To meet the physical activity aspect of the mission statement, the TUSD has partnered with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) to provide standards regarding physical education and recess for younger grades.[37] The NASPE provides physical education teachers with appropriate time ranges that students should be active for, the number of times per week students should participate in physical activity, and suggestions to make physical education more individualized.[37] The TUSD also requires that schools have opportunities for students to be physically active before, during and after school, which incorporates recess, varsity and intramural sports, and open gyms and tracks.[37] As with school lunches, the district also encourages parents and guardians to be physically active with their children and to encourage an overall healthy lifestyle.

The TUSD also supports health initiatives made by individual schools. For example, Sam Hughes Elementary School has a community garden and offers culinary classes to its students as part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign.[39] The "Greening Group" at the school maintains the garden and is funded by the school's Parent Teacher Association.[39]


  1. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/history/history101.asp
  2. ^ http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/thms/newsite/profile0607.doc
  3. ^ Tucson High Badger Foundation, Inc
  4. ^ Biggers, Jeff (January 13, 2012). "Who’s afraid of "The Tempest"?". salon. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ Norrell, Brenda (January 14, 2012). "Tucson schools bans books by Chicano and Native American authors". narcosphere. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Shakespeare and Native American Authors Among Those Banned from Tucson Schools". Indian Country Todays Media Network. January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Did Arizona School District Ban Mexican-American Studies Books?". NBC Latino. 17 January 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Opinion: What is the Tucson school district afraid of?". CNN. March 30, 2012. 
  9. ^ Tucson Unified School District. "Mexican American Student Services". Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Winerip, Michael (March 19, 2012). "Racial Lens Used to Cull Curriculum in Arizona". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ Biggers, Jeff (2012-01-23). "Tucson School Walk Outs Grow: Protest School District's Folly and Mexican American Studies Banishment". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  12. ^ Marizco, Michel (January 25, 2012). "Students Skip School For Mexican American Studies". Fronteras Desk. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  13. ^ Castellanos, Dalina (April 4, 2012). "Mexican American studies: 'Daily Show' Segment Strikes a Nerve". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c Bodfield (Dec 11, 2008). "TUSD ends Foreign-language Mandate". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved Mar 8, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Budget Crunch put TUSD in no-win Scenario". Arizona Daily Star. Dec 14, 2008. Retrieved Mar 12, 2008. 
  16. ^ "University of Arizona Entrance Requirements and Guidelines". 
  17. ^ http://tusdstats.tusd.k12.az.us/planning/profiles/curr_enr/anydate/anyenry.asp
  18. ^ http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:X0PAmRC8bZIJ:newspaperarchive.com/us/arizona/tucson/tucson-daily-citizen/1976/09-20/page-7+&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca&lr=lang_en
  19. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/history/history121.asp
  20. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/history/history114.asp
  21. ^ a b c d e http://tusdstats.tusd.k12.az.us/paweb/aggd/schoolinfo/SchoolDetail.aspx
  22. ^ http://www.propertyshark.com/mason/Property/70081201/4400-W-Irvington-Rd-Tucson-AZ-85746/
  23. ^ http://www.propertyshark.com/mason/Property/70388346/101-W-44-St-Tucson-AZ-85713/
  24. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/history/history111.asp
  25. ^ http://tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/bc_duffy.asp
  26. ^ a b "School Boundary Changes". Tucson Unified School District. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  27. ^ http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ld_XrjfFiRUJ:newspaperarchive.com/us/arizona/tucson/tucson-daily-citizen/1941/09-05/page-12+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca&lr=lang_en
  28. ^ http://tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/bc_reynolds.asp
  29. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/bc_richey.asp
  30. ^ http://tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/bc_roberts.asp
  31. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/bc_rogers.asp
  32. ^ Huicochea, Alexis. "C.E. Rose Among 7 Top Grade Schools". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  33. ^ http://tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/bc_vanhorne.asp
  34. ^ http://tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/bc_wrightstown.asp
  35. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/depart/earlylearning/brichta.asp
  36. ^ http://www.tusd1.org/contents/depart/earlylearning/schumaker.asp
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i "District Wellness Regulation". Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  38. ^ a b "Elementary School Menu". Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  39. ^ a b "Greening Group". Retrieved April 9, 2012. 

21. John Pedicone. September 14, 2012. Buckmaster show. http://www.buckmastershow.com/2012/09/14/buckmaster-show-9142012-tusd-looks (10/1/2012) 22. http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/uhs/admin/admissions/htm (10/1/2012) 23. http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/uhs/ (10/2/2012)

External links[edit]