Aug 1, 2013 9:26 PM by Samantha Ptashkin
TUCSON- The Arizona Department of Education has released its annual grades to measure how schools are performing and TUSD received a "C" grade based on AIMS test results for the 2012-2013 school year.
Two-thirds of TUSD schools improved scores and the district is on the verge of a "B" grade.
Breaking it down by grades for each school, there are now 12 "A" schools, 31 "B" schools, 39 "C" schools and 16 "D" schools.
One of those "D" rated schools includes Catalina Magnet High School. Since the Arizona Department of Education started rating schools three years ago, Catalina Magnet has received a "D" letter grade each year. That means this year it is considered in danger of failing. "I certainly wish we had reached the next level," says Principal Rex Scott.
But despite the not so stellar marks, Scott says it's not as bad as it looks. "I was very pleased with the gains we made," Scott says. "If you look at 10th grade scores on the AIMS test we had the biggest gains across any of the TUSD high schools."
In fact, Catalina Magnet High School just missed a "C" letter grade by two points. Scott says it's even more motivation to do better this year. "We have to redouble our efforts to help the students who need the most help in both math and reading," Scott says.
Across the district other schools like Kellond Elementary School have shown vast improvement over the last three years. The AZ Department of Education gave it a "C" grade in 2011, a "B" grade in 2012 and an "A" grade for 2013. "I think with improving test scores it just affords more opportunities for the kids, so their futures are even brighter," says Kellond Parent Carrie Ross.
TUSD's largest high school, Tucson High School, received a "B" letter grade for its academic achievements.
Superintendent Dr. H.T. Sanchez acknowledges improvements need to be made. But as he heads into his first year with TUSD he says he is optimistic about the district's future. "I think the biggest thing we're looking at is how can we increase enrollment with all of the programs we offer," Dr. H.T. Sanchez says. "We just need to do a better job of making people aware of all those programs."
The following Southern Arizona school districts all recieved "A" letter grades: Basis Schools, Benson Unified School District, Vail Unified School District, Catalina Foothills Unified School District, The Academy of Tucson, Tanque Verde Unified School District and San Simon Unified District.