As the elected Pima County school superintendent I’m often asked many questions regarding education, policies, and about all types of districts and schools. My personal goal is to answer these questions in a fair, factual and consistent manner. I often explain the most important aspect of education is putting the students first and foremost.
On reflecting over my first year in office one school district in particular comes up for conversation more often than others. The Tucson Unified School District is the second largest public school district in Arizona and is a hot topic for many constituents. People often ask me: What’s wrong with TUSD? Why do they have so many problems? When is that court case ever going to end? How can we fix it? It’s a difficult scenario and one I take very seriously. As a past TUSD educator I feel a sense of family or skin in the game. These questions are very important and constituents want answers.
So how do we help TUSD? One thing I know for sure is that in order to help TUSD we must all change our connotations toward TUSD. To solve an issue or tackle a problem a certain attitude must be taken. We need to change our mindset to a positive outlook rather than a negative one. Instead of what’s wrong with TUSD, lets begin to ask ourselves how can we help TUSD. One of the most important attributes we all possess is the ability to care. Do we all have 20 minutes or more to share our time at a school, tutor a student, or deliver some supplies? The answer is yes, we do!
I was recently collaborating with Jason Freed, who is an educator and president of the Tucson Education Association. We were discussing this very idea. We were brainstorming ways to help TUSD that don’t cost tons of money, change legislation, or involve a redraft of policies and procedures. We agreed it’s starting with a fresh outlook in 2018 and working together for a common goal. The goal of a positive attitude toward TUSD and the ability to put boots on the ground. At the end of the day it’s all about the students and improving their futures. So, next time there’s an obstacle regarding TUSD, let’s turn it into a positive action. You can help by picking up the phone of your nearest TUSD school and say, “I’m here to help; what can I do?”