Achievement TODAY for an EXCEPTIONAL Tomorrow
Superintendent Message

Dear Union Elementary School District Community,  

On August 14 the Union Elementary School Board appointed me interim superintendent of the district. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to serve the children, parents, and staff of the Union Elementary School District. I am entering my 44th year as an educator and have served most of my career in the Alhambra Elementary School District as teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Most recently, I served as interim superintendent for Gilbert Public Schools, and now have the opportunity to serve in the same capacity with  the Union Elementary School District.  

I have had the opportunity to visit the campuses of Dos Rios and Hurley Ranch schools and have been very impressed with the school leadership and the teachers serving your children. The staff is working diligently to serve the needs of every individual student. I look forward to working with them as we progress through the school year.  

This school year I will be assisting the governing board with screening applicants for the district superintendent position.  Our goal is to have applicant recommendations to the governing board so they may select a well-qualified superintendent to begin officially by July 1, 2015.  

As you may know, this past June the governing board passed a resolution to have a budget override election on November 4 of this year. The current override election, which begins phasing down at the conclusion of this school year, funds low class sizes, fine arts, health, physical education, and instructional support. If the budget override election is not successful, the 2015-2016 school district budget will be reduced by approximately $310,000, with corresponding reductions in the previously mentioned programs and services.  In the near future, we will have budget override information meetings to address frequently asked questions at Dos Rios Elementary School and Hurley Ranch Elementary School. Your child's school will provide notifications of these meetings.

If you have questions or comments you would like to discuss with me, please contact me at 623-478-5004 or via email. I look forward to meeting our community members throughout the school year. 

Thank you,  

James Rice

Jim Rice

Dr. Jim Rice                                                                                                                                            
Union Elementary School District

Superintendent Top Happenings

September 2014

  1. 21st Century Community Learning Centers awarded $500,000 to Dos Rios Elementary School. The team writing the grant last year was Brittany Benson, Christa Matthews, and Shannon Haley. The process that was undertaken last year was truly a team effort with all team members ensures alignment, accountability, and support. The ladies are to be commended for the work they completed all year towards this process.
  2. Jennifer Morley, a junior high language arts teacher applied and was awarded $5,000 from the Arizona Cardinals Charities. The funds can be used for technology, supplies, health/wellness, and literacy. Congratulations to Dos Rios and Jennifer Morley for this valuable grant.
  3. Hurley Ranch received a check for $700 to seed a STEM club. They will be adding this “club” to the Soaring Stars classes and the money will assist in getting our kids ready to go to the Olympiads. The money was donated by the Science Foundation of Arizona (SFA).
  4. Hurley Ranch has developed a Bully Free committee and set one day a month that will be their Bully Free day.  This day will focus on a 20 minute lessons taught by the teachers in their class.  Mrs. Bustos will be teaching 5th and 6th grade students at Hurley Ranch. 
  5. The Target Take Charge of Education program donated $410.00 to Hurley Ranch to purchase books, go on field trips, or purchase art supplies. Thanks to parents, teachers, and community members who used their Target Redcard and designated Hurley Ranch as their choice school to receive a donation of 1% of their purchase.
  6. The Business office was given an award for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Governmental Finance Officers Association. This is the second year that the business office has received this award. 
  7. Mrs. Eddy, 5th grade teacher at Hurley Ranch has completed her second masters two weeks ago. Congratulations to Mrs. Eddy for continuing her education. 
  8. Dru Barisich, mentor teacher at Hurley Ranch completed her doctorate and defended her dissertation with Grand Canyon University. Congratulations to Dr. Barisich.
  9. Union Elementary School District teachers are focusing on the writing process this year. To date we have worked on creating a pre-write process for all of our students K – 8 that is aligned and consistent. We moved on to the revision and editing portion of writing and are beginning to identify consistent revision procedures and editing marks for our students.
  10. We are pleased to report that our math coach, Mr. Kenneth Vallier, was able to meet with teachers to ensure they have the online version of the math textbook and manipulatives for students to learn the Arizona College Career Ready Standards.   
  11. As of September 8 the district has a total of 1,979 students. On this same date last year the district had 1,831 students.