Fall 2019 

Happy Fall! It has been a great start to our year and I’m excited to share with you an update on the progress we have made together and some challenges we will overcome.

First, thank you for making school attendance a priority for your child during the first quarter. Both Union Elementary and Hurley Ranch made student attendance a priority this year.  As a result of their efforts during quarter 1 Union Elementary improved attendance by 1.04 percentage points and Hurley improved their attendance rate by .55 percentage points when compared to last year's attendance! Additionally, both schools reduced their chronic absentee rates by over 3 percentage points! Your children depend on you to get them to school on time each-and-every day, and your efforts are showing. As we head into the Thanksgiving and Winter Break, let’s keep it going. The days leading up to the break, and immediately following the break, are important for your child’s learning.  Please schedule trips and appointments during the vacation days only and help your child develop important habits that will last a lifetime.

We had the highest beginning of year enrollment in recent history, at 1800 students.  Not only is it important for your child’s learning that they attend every day; but, starting at the beginning of the school year ensures that we receive the full appropriation of resources from the state to support their learning.  The state determines how much funding to send to the district based on how many students are enrolled from the first through the 100th day of school.  If a student starts 5 days late, the state will only provide the district with 95% of the funds that were set aside for their education.  Additionally, when a student arrives after the 100th day, there is no state funding provided for that student.  Thank you for choosing Union, for showing up on day one, and for helping us ensure the full resources are garnered to support our students.

Thank you for attending parent teacher conferences.  During the Fall parent-teacher conferences we were able to meet with 69% of parents about their child’s progress.  These meetings give you and your child’s teacher important face-to-face time to discuss the strengths and areas for growth for your child and they are very important to us.  These meetings not only give you  the chance to meet face to face with your child’s teacher, they also show your child that you and the teacher care about their progress, and that you are on the same page about the child’s goals.  We will be having conferences in the spring and look forward to this opportunity again. We hope to reach 100% participation in the spring.  In the meantime, if you have a question or concern, call or email your child’s teacher, they are happy to have you as their partner in learning.

We are so very proud of our teachers and staff and appreciate the work they do to help our students feel safe, supported, and to make academic progress.  Unfortunately, we have faced some challenges with staff turnover. Sometimes unavoidable life circumstances cause mid-year changes to our classrooms and although we ask that employees afford us time to find quality replacements; that cannot always occur.  We are grateful to our guest teachers, parents, and support staff for their patience and consideration of this situation. Thank you for working with us as we seek caring and qualified employees who are committed to ensuring your child’s success.   

The Arizona Department of Education recently released school letter grades from the 2018-19 school year. We have a celebration and one area for growth. Dos Rios kept pace with State averages and received a C letter grade.  They also made significant progress and were 2 points away from a B letter grade. Unfortunately, Hurley Ranch’s last year’s student achievement and growth did not keep pace with State averages and resulted in Hurley Ranch receiving a D letter grade.  We are so proud of all our Union Elementary School District students, staff, and community and know that we will do even better. We are confident that through the adjustments we have put into place for this current school year, we will make greater progress and improve our State standing.

We know you have a choice in where your child attends school and we are committed to ensuring your child experiences outstanding instruction every day. Thank you for engaging in your school through events, parent-teacher conferences, literacy & math nights, PTO events, etc.  It is your firsthand engagement, relationships with staff, conversations with and modeling for your child that education is an important family matter, that will help us strengthen our services, improve our outcomes, and inspire all children with hope and empower them to courageously pursue their goals and dreams. 

Wishing you a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving break, shared in the company of those you care about. Thank you for a great start and looking forward to an even stronger middle of the 2019-2020 school year!

With warm regard,

Ms. Kristine Morris

Posted by kmorris On 22 November, 2019 at 5:40 PM  

 
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