Jill Hanks
Courtesy Tempe Union High School District

You won’t find many Dr. Seuss books in the hands of high school students. But the books’ messages can inspire for a lifetime, like this one: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Students in the Tempe Union High School District are definitely going places.

The class of 2014 was awarded more than $80 million in scholarships and 92-percent are continuing their education or serving in the military. In the last four years, the District had 162 National Merit Finalists, more than any other Arizona district.

Tempe Union students score well above state and national averages on standardized tests and the Arizona Department of Education has awarded all six of Tempe Union’s comprehensive high schools – Desert Vista, Corona del Sol, Marcos de Niza, McClintock, Mountain Pointe, and Tempe with its highest possible achievement grade of “A.” The Arizona Educational Foundation has awarded five schools with its A+ Award for outstanding public schools. Desert Vista continues to be recognized as the best college-prep high school in Arizona and one of the top schools in the nation.

Ready for a rigorous academic challenge

There are 200 advanced placement and gifted/honors courses available to students in Tempe Union. Tempe High hosts the International Baccalaureate program. McClintock’s campus hosts Peggy Payne Academy, a school for gifted students. Marcos de Niza is home to the W.P. Carey Business Academy at Marcos de Niza.

Students can get ahead through dual enrollment opportunities with Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Maricopa Community Colleges. In 2014, 12 students earned their associate degrees from Rio Salado College before their high school graduation.

Motivated to innovate

From creating STEM-based apps and robotics to engineering a way to bring light into student classrooms on an island in Fiji, Tempe Union students are consistently recognized for their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in state and national competitions.

Passion for government

Corona del Sol’s “We the People” team has won 14 state championships in a row and this past year finished 9th in the nation while Desert Vista’s Speech and Debate Team placed 2nd in the nation at the 2014 National Speech and debate tournament.

Fancy the fine arts

Tempe Union high schools are known for sold-out musical and theatrical performances; their programs in band, orchestra, choir, and theater are nationally recognized.

Upping your game with athletics

Tempe Union is proud of its six state championships in team sports last year alone. The district holds 2014 titles in Division I football, boys basketball, girls basketball, boys track and field, girls cross country and swimming and diving. Tempe Union students also won numerous individual state championships last year.

School of Choices

Compadre Academy provides students an alternative learning environment from the traditional comprehensive high school. The small, family atmosphere offers a flexible learning schedule, accelerated academic program, and individualized learning.

Since the Tempe Union High School District was established in 1908, there has been an expectation of excellence in teaching and learning. Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Baca says the district will continue to grow and improve in that mission.

• Jill Hanks is the executive director of community relations for the Tempe Union High School District.

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