Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - As Tucson Unified School District students head back to school, those institutions are getting an early report card. The state Department of Education grades schools using a letter scale. TUSD earned an overall grade of C.
In comparison, Flowing Wells School District earned a B and Sunnyside earned a C. Vail, Catalina and Tanque Verde School districts earned A's.
Of the 84 schools listed in TUSD, 16 of those earned D grades. About half earned C's. TUSD superintendent Dr. John Pedicone says he won't be satisfied until all of the grades are high, but says this year is an improvement over the last.
Last year, 27 TUSD schools got D's. One of those with a score almost low enough for a D was Palo Verde Magnet High, but the turnaround school is boasting a score that's 25 points higher this year. They are just 4 points away from an A.
"I just feel like firecrackers are going off inside of me," said the principal Janna Acevedo, "and really what we've done is for the kids for Palo Verde."
The turnaround school pulled it off with the help of a state program enabling them to turnover staff and restart the school's mindset. Last year, dedicated new teachers tutored students on weekends and made self-esteem a priority.
"Do a few things really great and just keep that," said Acevedo, "And just continue to do a few things really great that makes the changes."
Pedicone says not all of the changes will happen overnight. Some that are not in the turnaround program are still struggling to achieve the test scores and academic growth required for a higher grade from the state. Pedicone says progress in on the way.
"I think parents should feel hopeful that the work that we're doing and they should expect that their school will not be a D school in the future," he said, "that's what we're working toward."
To get all of the school report card results, click here.