Established in 1921 the Sunnyside Unified School District is the second-largest district in Southern Arizona serving more than 14,000 students and families. Located in a culturally and linguistically rich community and surrounded by two Native Nations—the Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui Tribe—our learning community is flanked by an aerospace and innovation corridor, such that our district is positioned to lead our students into the 21st century through excellence in pedagogy, world-class career and technical education, and a legacy of athletic excellence and passion for the fine arts.
Sunnyside's Profile of a Graduate provides an unparalleled level of clarity that aligns our mission, vision, and the work. This roadmap outlines five competencies, key to each student’s journey towards graduation:
During the 2020-21 school year, of the total 14,708 students, 12,228 (83%) students qualified to receive free and reduced-price meals, 2,090 (14%) of students are classified as English Language Learners and approximately 300 (2%) of Sunnyside’s students are identified as homeless. Another 1,658 students (11%) receive Special Education services.
Sunnysideserves families with children from birth to grade 12. The nationally recognized Ocotillo Early Learning Center is the District’s high quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood center serving children ages birth to five of all abilities in an inclusive, nurturing, stimulating environment. Programs include Title One preschool, early childhood special education, Parents As Teachers, Family Literacy and a fee-based pre-school program.
The Sunnyside District has a technology-rich digital learning environment where every student grades 4 through 12 have laptops assigned for use daily in classes and throughout the school year. Instructional content is primarily online which includes unique and innovative curriculum that is current with today’s learning needs. Of the District’s 12 elementary schools, 10 support kindergarten through grade 6 and one elementary school provides for kindergarten through grade 5. The District hosts two district-wide magnet schools that draw their enrollment from across the district; Gallego Primary School (grade K-3) and Gallego Intermediate Fine Arts Magnet School (grades 4-8). Another unique grade level school is Sierra 2-8 School that partners with Ocotillo Early Learning Center (K-1) to create a sustained learning environment for student enrollment grades K-8.
The District has a Serving Unique Needs (SUN) gifted program serving 572 (4%) who have been identified as having at least an above average ability (7th stanine or above on a group or individual IQ measure); demonstrate high levels of task commitment and high levels of creativity.
Two middle schools in the Sunnyside District provide enrollment for grades 7 and 8. One school enrolls the traditional middle school grades 6-8. There is one alternative high school, two comprehensive high schools and a virtual high school, Sunnyside Online Success Academy that provides fully online and blended learning environments. The Comprehensive high schools have a smaller freshman academy and a College and Career “Academy” structure for grades 10-12 that provides a small learning community learning environment.
Our six College and Career Academies provide innovative, relevant and engaging connected learning opportunities centered on the career interests of students.
The Academies provide an individualized high school experience that allows students to explore a variety of pathways to graduation and college or career. The Academies offered include Aviation and Military Science (AFJROTC), Engineering Sciences, Information Technology /Computer Repair, Mechanical Drafting & Design (3-D), Precision Manufacturing, Sports Medicine, Business Management and Administrative Services, Communications Media and Marketing – Entrepreneurship.
In 2018 the 4-year graduation rate was 76% (N=781 students). This figure is an average of our graduation rates from our two major high schools Sunnyside (84%) and Desert View (86%). It also includes the graduation rate from our alternative high school, Star Academic High School (12%) and Sunnyside Online Success Academy (data unavailable as it is not FERPA compliant).
All schools in the Sunnyside District are Title I programs and receive funding in accordance with federal programs.