Tucson Unified School District buys 27.5 acres from BLM | Education

The Bureau of Land Management transferred ownership of 27.5 acres of land to Tucson Unified School District, which paid its market value of $480,000.

The land on Tucson’s southwest side holds the former Hohokam Middle School, 7400 S. Settler Road, which TUSD shut in 2013 as part of a bigger cost-saving measure. That property was then held in trust and operated by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

The latest action, according to a BLM news release, clears the way for TUSD to expand educational opportunities for students as Tucson’s population continues to grow.

“Currently, it allows TUSD to lease the property to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe so they can provide services and education opportunities to their community,” TUSD spokeswoman Karla Escamilla said. Escamilla added that, in return, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has invested approximately $2 million in the building and is scheduled to invest further.

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“Thus, if/when TUSD needs the building in the future, it will be in good shape for occupancy,” she said.

Marana pre-children

Young students in Marana Unified School District will be able to participate in the state’s pilot pre-kindergarten readiness program, called Waterford Upstart.

Through this online program, preschool-aged children will be taught basic skills they need in reading, math and science to prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond, MUSD announced in a news release.

Waterford Upstart is designed for 4-year-olds who will enter kindergarten in August 2023. It consists of online activities and resources, as well as family-focused guidance, at no cost to the participants.

The participants will receive personalized family education and coaching; a new computer and internet, if needed; and the adaptive educational software.

Approximately 700 spots are available throughout the program for students in qualifying districts this year and next year, for a total of 1,400.

To learn more or to enroll a child in the program, visit waterford.org/upstart.

Scholarships for science

The Society for Science, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and promotion of science, announced its roster of 84 educators, three of whom are from Tucson, to participate in its Advocate Program during the 2022-2023 school year.

The three local teachers are Stephen Beall of City High School, Jackie Nichols of Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School, and Sharon Sapp of Tucson High Magnet School.

According to the society’s news release, the teachers will receive grants to work with students from underrepresented groups and low-income households to help them develop science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects and enter competitions.

Beall and Sapp each received $3,000 grants. Nichols, who was appointed as a lead advocate, received a $5,000 grant and will oversee a group of educators in the program.

“In the face of learning loss, a teacher shortage and recovery from an ongoing pandemic, it is critical that we guide students in science research in diverse learning environments and help them thrive in STEM competitions,” the Society for Science said in its news release .

To learn more about the Advocate Program, visit www.societyforscience.com.

Some substitute teachers and Exceptional Education staff will see bumps in their pay this school year as TUSD deals with hard-to-fill vacancies.

Uncontested Sunnyside board election is canceled

Plus other Tucson-area education news in brief, including: United Way to invest $70,000 to support early grade literacy and middle school math.

Closed San Xavier Mission School helps to place students elsewhere

In the days following the sudden closure of San Xavier Mission School, diocese leaders coordinated with families and employees to help them find placements in other Tucson-area schools.

Have any questions or news tips about K-12 education in Southern Arizona? Contact reporter Genesis Lara at [email protected]


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