TUSD approves new magnet school plan

2013-10-23T00:00:00Z 2014-06-10T21:38:18Z TUSD approves new magnet school planBy Alexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Carrillo and Davis elementaries and Pueblo High were spared from losing their magnet status under a revised plan unanimously approved by the TUSD Governing Board on Tuesday night.

The plan, which has to be approved by a federal judge overseeing Tucson Unified School District’s desegregation case, conflicts with the original one presented to the board last month. It would have eliminated those campuses and two others from magnet programming.

The changes were made following forums with the affected communities, a key point, said TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.

“We have to do this with each other and get past ‘the community doesn’t care, the district does whatever they want,’ ” Sanchez said.

Magnet schools focus on a certain theme: a specific academic area, a particular career or a specialized learning environment. They are designed to encourage students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to come together outside of their individual neighborhoods to take part in the magnet theme offered.

The recommendations made in the original plan were based on criteria created by a national desegregation expert who was appointed by the federal judge in charge of the case. The expert has since told Sanchez he will consider alternate criteria, while still focusing on moving TUSD schools in the direction of greater integration.

Under the revised version — drafted by TUSD — Carrillo and Davis elementary schools and Pueblo High School are now considered to be programs in need of improvement, giving them two years to make significant changes with the support of the district — support Sanchez said had been lacking. Other schools that fall into that category include Ochoa, Robison, Utterback and Tucson High’s natural science focus.

Schools that are considered to be approaching the standards but in need of improvement within the next three years include Bonillas, Drachman, Holladay, Tully, Roskruge, Safford, Cholla and Tucson High’s fine and performing arts program.

The status of Catalina’s aviation and health programs and Tucson High’s math and technology programs did not change. Both remain designated for elimination.

The plan includes the addition of magnet programs over the next three years at Cragin, Mansfeld, Kellond, Dietz, Catalina, Santa Rita and Roberts-Naylor.

UHS admissions

In other business, the board approved changes to the admission process at University High, allowing prospective students who fall short on GPA or the entrance exam to possibly make up a few points through a test designed to measure student persistence or motivation.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@azstarnet.com or 573-4175.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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