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Education Notes: Monsanto Fund gives Sunnyside robotics program $10K


The Monsanto Fund — the philanthropic arm of the Bayer company — has given Lauffer Middle School’s robotics program a $10,000 donation.

The gift will allow Lauffer to expand the program to the greater Sunnyside Unified School District community and to create a seamless pipeline between Craycroft Elementary, Lauffer and Desert View High, which all emphasize STEM education, according to a press release.

Both Craycroft and Lauffer offer robotics programs that teach students the ins and outs of coding, while Desert View offers a precision-manufacturing program that provides industry certifications.

Schools chief appoints 4 to audit committee

State school Superintendent Kathy Hoffman has created a committee to audit the Department of Education’s finances, and four of those appointees have Tucson ties.

They include Ricky Hernandez, chief operating officer of the University of Arizona Alumni Association; Lizette Huie, business services coordinator in the Sahuarita Unified School District; Norman Purdy, director of student data and state reporting outreach in the Vail School District; and Tina Norton, assistant superintendent and chief financial officer at the Pima County Joint Technological Education District.

Hoffman said she created the audit committee to fulfill her pledge to be a “good steward of taxpayer dollars,” according to a press release.

Brainstorm education ideas at ‘unconference’

CITY Center for Collaborative Learning will host its spring Edcamp on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Edcamp is a participant-led professional-development opportunity following the “unconference” approach, which means attendees will determine the agenda on the day of the event, according to a press release. Past Edcamp agendas have touched on topics like education strategy, technology and innovation.

Edcamp is open to educators and non-educators alike. Register at online. Registration is $5 online, but will be refunded upon arrival. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. at CITY’s downtown campus, 37 E. Pennington St.

Contact reporter Brenna Bailey at or 520-573-4279. On Twitter: @brennanonymous

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Brenna explains how national, state and local K-12 education issues impact Tucson schools. She's a proud product of Arizona public schools. Send her news tips, story ideas and existential life questions at

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