Tag Archives: maricopa unified school district


Ak-Chin Indian Community Invests $10M in Maricopa

During the May 7 Maricopa City Council meeting, Mayor Christian Price announced that the Ak-Chin Indian Community would be making an investment of $10 million in Maricopa. Of the $10 million investment, $2.6 million will support the Maricopa Unified School District and $7.4 million will be allocated to the operation of the City of Maricopa’s Copper Sky Recreational Complex, a multigenerational/aquatic center and regional park, currently under construction.

The Community’s investment in the District will assist with the short fall within the budget and the failure of the previous tax initiative.   Ak-Chin Tribal Chairman Louis J. Manuel, Jr. has long valued the importance of education and has made it a priority for the Tribal Council to find ways to improve upon it, not only for the Tribal community, but for the City of Maricopa as well.

“As true leaders to those our youth look to for guidance, we need to invest in them to promote and partake in a future yet to be determined but with the belief of opportunities,” said Chairman Manuel.  “The Ak-Chin Indian Community believes a partnership like this goes beyond the boundaries and creates a relationship to forge a strong future for everyone.”

The Copper Sky Recreational Complex, slated to open in spring 2014, includes a multigenerational/aquatic center and a regional park.  The 52,000-square-foot center will have many amenities, such as a gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts, a fitness area, an indoor running track, a competitive pool, a recreational pool, and a splash pad.  The regional park is approximately 120 acres and will be comprised of a five-acre lake, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a skate park, multi-use fields, a baseball/softball field, a dog park, and bike and multi-use trails.

“I am ecstatic to see the countless benefits that come from building positive and valuable relationships with our wonderful neighbors, the Ak-Chin Indian Community,” said Maricopa Mayor Christian Price.  “As we embark on this new era of collaboration, I look forward to seeing our partnerships continue to develop and our communities continue to thrive. I am encouraged that, together, we will continue to construct a highly-prized and decidedly-successful region.  The City of Maricopa is extremely grateful for the outstanding generosity of the Ak-Chin Community and we look forward to building a prosperous future together.”

The Community’s $10 million investment will be made in one payment to the City, who will serve as the grantor of the $2.6 million to the District.

“We have a life-long relationship with the City of Maricopa; we have shared in each other’s growth and helped when called upon.  We hope to continue our partnership into the future,” said Chairman Manuel.


From Development to Realizing Dreams: Encouraging Students’ Growth

Last night as I am turning off the last light before bedtime, I hear “singing” (if you can call it that) coming from my daughter’s bedroom. As I peaked in the door, she had her eyes closed, iPod headphones plugged in her ears, singing as loud as she could. It reminded me of a Christmas holiday that I shared with my daughter years ago when she spent hours wearing out her gift from her aunt, a Hannah Montana karaoke CD. Not only did she sing to this CD, she turned the karaoke machine as loud as it would go and dressed up like Hannah Montana. Part of her dress up attire was a pair of four-inch high heels that were hand-me-downs from her teenage cousins. She would wear the heels until she went to bed; they looked great with her pajamas, and she would put them on as soon as she was out of bed. I was worried she was going to fall down and seriously injure herself. Everyone else was crazy because they made a unique clicking sound as she walked through the house (probably because they were four sizes too big!). Her dream was to be a dancer and singer. Aren’t dreams great?

I think when we reminisce back to our childhood, we can all remember those dreams, some coming to fruition, others changing as our lives mature. As the deputy superintendent serving Maricopa Unified School District, I am reminded constantly of the maturation of our young people’s lives. It is always amazing to see the changes our students undergo during their physical and mental development as a student. Many times, it is pure joy and astonishment.  These changes, however, are never overnight.

With ACTs, SATs, prom and graduation upon us, it is important for us as parents, and as educators, to encourage that growth and development that will lead our children down the path to one day realizing their dreams. Whether it happens sooner, or takes a student a little bit longer to get there, it is ever-important to remind them that the end is in sight and to never give up.

We as adults must never minimize the daily growing process of our students, nor must we minimize the influence we have in their lives. We must gently encourage them, embrace their growth and help them follow through to their completion of high school and beyond. This time in their life is challenging and difficult and our tolerance to them acting out their dreams is significant. Just as our tolerance to my daughter’s high heel clicking, loud singing and crazy dancing was a major challenge to us, it allowed her to enjoy and grow during this time in her life.

Insightful Organizations

Insightful Organizations Must Revolutionize The Way Students Learn

Changes in our world are occurring at warp speed. Whatever form it takes, change is upon us. Insightful organizations will be ready; Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) is ready to be insightful. Today’s students must be able to quickly adapt to an increasingly chaotic, yet opportunity-filled, global environment. In this era of uncertainty — globalization, innovative thinking, rapid technology breakthroughs and stunning emerging opportunities for student growth — students must learn new leadership skills that are critical to addressing future situations.

In the book “Leaders Make the Future,” author Bob Johansen notes that “most of our current leadership models are based on the present and past, not the future … in the years ahead, there will be fewer problems that can be solved. Instead, our students will have dilemmas, which are basically unsolvable problems, and these will require a different set of leadership skills.” Organizations that ignore the trend toward greater diversity and inclusiveness will lack the skills to overcome these dilemmas.

I recently returned from Alexandria, Va. where we were the only Arizona district invited to the National School Improvement Symposium, hosted by ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development).

ASCD is an insightful organization, and their new “futuring” statement, titled “Revolutionizing the Way We Learn,” is driven by the need for school organizations to renew relevance in the classroom, create new solutions to challenges facing 21st century learners, and to define the niche, or “Blue Ocean,” in our community and state.

By adopting this statement for MUSD, we are defining our niche by critically facing our challenges, openly embracing our diversity and striving toward excellence. In order to achieve these imperatives, we must revolutionize the way we lead, which, in turn, requires us to think and act in new ways. The current thrust of leadership and boardsmanship at MUSD is centered on building leadership and stimulating value creation. The entire district’s work is intense, experiential and applied; rich in skill development; fully practical and oriented to student achievement and increased learning results.

The thrust into our future requires students, teachers, parents and community members who are predisposed to imagine what does not yet exist, to move forward with intention and purpose, to create new reality and meaning, and to address practical challenges. We at MUSD are, and will continue to be, a community dedicated to student success.

This implies thinking differently, collaborating in the face of uncertainty. Thinking differently means encouraging divergence of thought, rather than seeking convergence, while at the same time remaining focused on the objective.

Learning differently — seeking out different viewpoints and experiences — immersion in a variety of perspectives and cultures is critical for the leaders of tomorrow to compete globally.