Although the last six months have been difficult for our students, parents, staff and administration, AJUSD has stayed busy, positive and productive. School closings, the cancellation of spring sports, implementing online learning and hybrid classrooms definitely have been an adjustment and I truly appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during these challenging times.
Despite these challenges, the Governing Board, administration, teachers and staff have been hard at work to ensure our children receive the best possible education in these unprecedented times so that our district operates efficiently and that we are ready to welcome all students back into the classroom.
During the last several months, we have taken several steps aimed at enhancing our students’ educational experience, further improving our performance and enhancing our facilities. Among those I would like to highlight is the adoption of new curriculum which will undoubtedly benefit our children. Particularly, new English Language Arts and Mathematics curriculum have been acquired. These materials are focused on meeting state standards and will provide teachers with the tools necessary to instruct students and measure their progress and performance in a very efficient manner.
Upgrades to equipment and facilities also have been obtained. A new phone system has been purchased which will save the district approximately $2,500 per month, help prioritize safety by giving everyone better access to schools and the district office and allow for immediate community notifications by text message, e-mail, etc. in the event of a school closure or other emergency. This is a definite upgrade from the 20-year-old phone system that was in place and often would malfunction during inclement weather.
Additionally, we contracted with a utility audit provider to identify and correct lighting, water and other energy issues. This, too, will result in a significant annual savings and will allow us to design a student lounge and learning center at the high school. The lounge and learning center will spark student innovation, college inspiration and school pride. Further, the installation of Intouch, a new accounting system, will help the district track, monitor and keep more accurate records of receipts and expenditures for our athletic programs, clubs and sponsors. Finally, a big shout out and huge thanks to the members of our transportation department who painted a number of classrooms during their time away from usual duties.
As always, our students’ best interest is the main factor in making any decision, purchase or acquisition. We continuously strive to improve and our goal is to make the Apache Junction Unified School District an example for surrounding communities to follow. Be confident that we will be ready to welcome our students to return to “in person” instruction and will provide all children with a safe, healthy and productive learning environment.
Editor’s note: Dena Kimble is a member of the Apache Junction Unified School District Governing Board.