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Building a Grad Nation at Sunnyside Building a Grad Nation is a report published by America's Promise Alliance that provides a sobering assessment of our challenges to ending the dropout crisis in America's schools. The report shares some hopeful signs that some states and school districts are raising their high school graduation rates with scalable solutions, showing the nation we can end the high school dropout crisis. Some of those gains made by districts include challenging all students with a more a more rigorous curriculum to obtain a meaningful diploma that prepares them for college and work, and through a targeted approach

sustained over time that provides extra supports to the school leaders, teachers and students who need them the most. Progress was not the result of a magic bullet, but a weave of multiple reform efforts, sustained, integrated, and improved over time.

See How Sunnyside Compares to Grad Nation Solutions Early Warning and Intervention Systems Research shows potential dropouts can be identified as early as late elementary and middle schools with the warning signs of poor attendance, behavior, and course failure. Harness the predictive power of data to construct early warning and intervention systems to efficiently target students who are at risk of dropping out and better support them on the road to graduation. Sunnyside has implemented Reading Plus and SFA in the elementary schools and Read 180/System 44 in the middle schools to provide literacy benchmark data and early intervention to our younger students.

More Robust Data Systems Fill the gap between data collection and practitioners. Create progress reports with individual student data that provides information educators, students and parents can use to improve student performance. Sunnyside has implemented Infinite Campus Parent Connect to provide students and parents with current student data anywhere, anytime. As a by-product of the tech-savvy role teachers have come to enjoy with laptops for every teacher, targeted professional development has ensured educators know how to access, analyze, and use data appropriately.

Teacher Training and Effectiveness Researchers have consistently found that an underlying cause of our nation’s dropout crisis lies with under-qualified and ineffective teachers in classrooms. Sunnyside’s Quality First Instruction campaign and curriculum alignment under a new Curriculum and Instruction Department design has brought success in improvement of instruction and focus on Quality First instruction. .

Strategic Partnerships

Parent Engagement Research shows that students with involved parents, regardless of family income of background, are more likely to do better in school, graduate from high school, attend college, and find productive work. Sunnyside Unified School District recognizes the importance of effective partnerships between the school and families. To that end, parents are encouraged to participate in College Academy for Parents, free English classes for parents, Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council, Family Literacy and numerous parent-teacher organizations.

Credit Recovery Dropout recovery programs showing significant success in returning youth ages 16 to 24 who were dropouts that provide a graduation pathway with a combination of learning, work, and personal, academic, and social support systems. Sunnyside implemented dropout and credit recovery programs at both high schools in which students may repeat courses failed online before, during and after school. Attendance recovery computer labs also allow students who are falling behind due to absenteeism to catch up with online classes so they may stay on course to graduate.

Sunnyside Strategic Partnerships Strategic partnerships are those established and developed by the superintendent that provide Sunnyside unique technology or educational services, financial opportunities, and program evaluation and research support.

This year Sunnyside has a new strategic partnership in National Academic Educational Partners to replicate Project Graduation: The Digital Advantage in up to 8 other high schools across the nation. This successful partnership is expected to bring financial returns to Sunnyside as well as national recognition for leading high school transformation. Tyler Technologies has approached Sunnyside after a recent presentation of Superintendent Isquierdo during a national conference. Hearing Sunnyside’s story and witnessing the passion and vigor by which the presentation was given, Tyler Technologies did their research and are seeking to provide the district their data management system and data warehouse services to expand Sunnyside’s analysis and use of student and district-level data. With a two-year investment of $47,500, Sunnyside will receive services worth $267,750.

Strategic Partnerships

Sunnyside Strategic Partnerships Strategic partnerships are those established and developed by the superintendent that provides Sunnyside unique technology or educational services, financial opportunities, and program evaluation and research support. Arizona State University

One-to-One Institute

Arizona Department of Education


Arizona Technology in Education Association

Project Red


Reaching Plus




Tyler Technologies

National Academic Educational Partners

University of Arizona

Marketing and Partnerships At Sunnyside, we know how to tell our story. We’ve done it on a local, state and national level as we aim to change the image of public education in our state and across the nation. Community pride for Sunnyside had swelled with increases in local media recognition. As demonstrated by awards such as the NSBA Magna, ASBA Lou Ella Kleinz, Tech-savvy Superintendent of the Year and most recently the Arizona School Public Relations Superintendent of the Year, the Isquierdo era of leadership in telling our story is providing Sunnyside many successes and opportunities for growth. Benefits of Marketing – Our Return on Investment Telling our story: Creates national exposure Provides opportunities for securing grants Is excellent public relations at local, state and national level Attracts strategic partners such as listed above Returns excellent local media relations

Strategic Partnerships

Building a Grad Nation at Sunnyside