January 2020

Dear SUSD Families:

Happy New Year! Historically, this time of year is associated with closing out the past year and setting new goals and resolutions. For us, it is likewise an opportunity to reflect on the first half of the year and look forward to the spring semester.

The fall semester brought many successes, including the full opening of Wrightson Ridge School and the implementation of a new secondary level Social Studies curriculum. Many of our academic and co-curricular programs continue to achieve milestones of excellence. This includes the Walden Grove Drama Program which earned the highest honors at the State Thespian Festival and the Sahuarita NJROTC Program which placed 1st in the State Competition, and qualified for the Area 11 Western Regionals in California. Additionally, the high school bands both achieved State level excellence. Furthermore, our students were awarded over $14,000 in student achievement incentives through the National Math and Science Initiative. Two more of our teachers have achieved the coveted and prestigious distinction of earning National Board Certification. Congratulations to music educators Beth Dahl at Sahuarita Primary School and Rusty Carle-Ogren at Wrightson Ridge K-8 School, for earning this special honor. Finally, in December, our Board President, Dr. John Sparks, was recognized as one of five All School Board Members for the State of Arizona. This is the highest honor for an individual Board Member from the Arizona School Board Association, which represents the highest standards of Boardsmanship and public school governance.

As we look to the spring, many exciting things are before us. We will soon be registering students for the 2020-21 school year, and students will have an expanded menu of course offerings. These include expanded Dual Enrollment courses in both traditional academic programs and Career and Technical Education (CTE). Some of the courses include Pre-Calculus, Calculus, College English, and Education Professions. Additionally, we are currently developing a new health professions pathway, in partnership with Pima JTED, Pima Community College, and Northwest Hospital. This spring, we anticipate concluding the research process regarding a possible solar energy component, with a possible recommendation to launch the new program this summer. Finally, my most recent talks with Pima County suggest that they will be breaking ground on our community’s new Public Library, located right here on the SUSD Main Campus, during the first quarter of the new year.

As you can see, our community is continuing to grow, succeed, and thrive, and the secret to our success continues to be the spirit of shared commitment in finding common ground. Together we will continue to make a difference!


Manuel O. Valenzuela, Ed.D.