School districts Valleywide are often being faced with losing students to nearby districts. When this happens, a district must do what it can to keep their current students, bring in new students and bring back students that may have moved on. To do so, it’s necessary for a school district to highlight what makes them great in the first place. Be it the skill level of teachers, the grading label given to a particular school, the athletic department or state-of-the-art facilities and cutting edge classes, each can attract a different parent or student to one particular district.

The following are a few things parents should be looking for in a school district, and what school districts should be highlighting to attract parents and students:

State-of-the-Art Facilities

How modern and updated are the facilities offered to students on campus and within the district? With the technology and amenities that are available in this day and age, state-of-the-art facilities will ultimately be a big draw.

Case in point: MUSD’s Performing Arts Center (PAC). With a grand opening for parents, students and the community in the coming months, the PAC, while located on the Maricopa High School campus, is a facility used by all Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) schools and is currently hosting elementary and middle school students to watch performances by various MHS students and programs, offering them a glimpse of what’s to come in their education and programs they can look forward to taking part in.

Not only will a state-of-the-art facility such as this become a focal point of a school district and a community, the facilities itself offer a multitude of uses and ways for students to learn everything from lighting, sound and drama to dance and other performing arts.

Excelling Schools

The new grading labels being released by the Arizona Department of Education is a measure being used to help redefine what makes a school outstanding and urge continual student improvement. When looking into school districts in your surrounding area, these grades and their corresponding achievement profiles (Failing, Performing, Excelling, etc.) can be an indication of how any particular district is doing in terms of teaching and testing students.

Case in point: In 2011, MUSD received grades A-C for every school in its district; similar to those of the surrounding districts, in addition to receiving Performing, Performing Plus and Excelling achievement levels for all of its schools.

Class Offerings

More and more schools are diversifying class offerings and programs in order to allow students a broader education on a variety of subjects and tailor their educational experience based on their future career goals (or try a variety of courses in order to narrow down what those career goals may be).

Case in point: While MUSD offers the general course work that one would see in any district statewide, there are many unique classes that students may not find elsewhere. For example, culinary arts, jewelry making, graphic design, AP studio art, speech and debate, fire science, EMT, law enforcement, marketing and many others.

Whatever educational “assets” a school or district may have, it’s important for parents to take them all into consideration and for school districts to put their best foot/feet forward. Providing the best educational opportunities for children is the focus for MUSD, and we are planning to debut the best-blended learning model in the state of Arizona for our middle school students. We are combining state of the art technology with master teachers to create a learning environment that invigorates our students’ minds and enhances their opportunity to maximize their potential. This new program is just one of many programs that shows we are truly Maricopa UNIFIED! A community dedicated to student success.