’23 RECAP: Education – InMaricopa

InMaricopa
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Class of 2023 Maricopa High School commencement. [Victor Moreno]

Post-pandemic graduation rates improve, but still trail pre-pandemic era
From 2019 to 2020, the graduation rate at Maricopa High School tanked from 80% to 69%. Maricopa fared much worse than most school districts in Pinal County, where graduation rates on average fell less than 5%, and in Arizona where graduation rates fell on average just 1%.

In 2022, MUSD closed the gap at 75%, about two points behind county and state figures. By 2023, however, MUSD notched a tic above 75% — on par with other districts but still not back to pre-pandemic numbers.

MUSD retains teachers
In 2023, there was a severe shortage of teachers around Arizona, but Maricopa Unified School District defied that trend.

At the end of the year, there were only about 10 vacancies with 471 teachers on staff at MUSD. That’s just more than a 2% rate of teacher vacancies, compared to a 30% teacher vacancy rate around the state. A statewide trend of growing teacher shortages reached its eighth consecutive year in 2023, Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association survey results showed.

MUSD elementaries lauded
MUSD received glowing Arizona Department of Education report cards for three of its elementary schools, all of which earned A grades. Butterfield, Maricopa and Pima Butte elementaries achieved excellence in the state administration’s eyes. The state education department is required by state law to develop an annual achievement profile for every public school in the state based on an A through F scale. The report card is subject to final adoption by the state board of education.

Legacy, Heritage honored
Legacy Traditional School and Heritage Academy earned an A grade on their annual Arizona Department of Education report cards. They were the only two charter schools in Maricopa to achieve the top honor in the latest charter school grading period.

New schools
Proposed new schools in Hidden Valley would be the first in the district outside city limits. MUSD officials in October said the possibility of the district’s first school outside Maricopa was only in early discussions. Proposals from developer Ashton Woods include elementary and middle schools in its 175-acre, 600-home development. The site is south of the Ak-Chin Indian Community bounded to the south of Peters and Nall Road, north of Papago Road, west of Green Road and east of Amarillo Valley Road.

Teacher paychecks in limbo
In September, MUSD teachers woke up to find their paychecks missing and were told a ransomware attack caused the issue. By early afternoon, Pinal County Superintendent Jill Broussard reported systems were restored. “We have been told we can expect paper paychecks this afternoon,” MUSD Superintendent Tracey Lopeman told InMaricopa. “We will update employees with the time frame during which they can pick up paychecks at the district office. This situation has been stressful for our employees, and I truly hope our employees can find a sense of relief with this news.”




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2024-01-08 01:27:47 , InMaricopa

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