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TUSD developing plan to improve failing schools

Recruit expert teachers to troubled schools
Posted at 7:19 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 21:19:43-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - Tucson Unified is responding to critics of the district's failing schools.

The State Board of Education marked 6 of the schools with F's -- but recently granted appeals that raised three schools -- to D.

TUSD says most of its schools are solid performers and some are outstanding.

It says in some cases the State Board of Education treated low-graded schools unfairly but the district is working on plans to bring those schools up.

The State Board of Education tagged six TUSD schools as schools that were failing with an F, because they stayed stuck at the D level for three years in a row.

TUSD Superintendent Doctor Gabriel Trujillo says the state did not honor an agreement to grant allowances for changing test standards.

Three schools won their appeals and lost their F's: Pistor, Grijalva and Dietz now rate with D's.

Three lost their appeals. Magee, Booth Fickett and Catalina High still have reports cards of F.

Trujillo says critics were cruel and off base to slam the district for a handful of troubled schools and not recognize many more schools that perform well.

"You're indicting in a system of 86 schools where 65 of the 86 schools are A B or C rated for five schools that have high concentrations of students mired in poverty. They have high concentrations of refugee students learning the language for the first time, high concentrations of students with learning disabilities, students that are starting at a significantly further place behind."

The superintendent says TUSD is working on how it will turn the low rated schools into strong performers.

He says, "It involves school level interventions for struggling students. It involves incentives for highly distinguished and higher performing teachers to take positions into those schools, probably be the subject of the next press briefing.”

The superintendent says part of the plan could include incentives to attract top performing teachers to the schools that need a performance boost.