Steps to Success

So far, five Steps to Success reenrollment walks have brought 384 former high school students back to school—and 64 have graduated!

An initiative of Tucson Unified School District and the Mayor’s Office, these walks pair community leaders and local celebrities with school staff to go door to door and get students back on track to graduation. School staff have information on different options for the student, including classroom instruction or online programs with in-person teacher support.

Those targeted include students who dropped out, students who should have graduated but lacked credits, and students who should be starting the semester as sophomores but have fallen behind, and could benefit from special programs to help them catch up.

The most recent walk took place August 3, 2016, with strong support from the community. Elected officials present included Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, TUSD Governing Board Members Cam Juárez and Kristel Foster, State Representative Stephanie Mach and Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos. Other community leaders from business, government and nonprofit sectors also participated, including several Tucson Police Department officers. University of Arizona athletes participated as well.

“We’re showing these students that they’re important to the community and their future is important to the community,” said Mayor Rothschild. “When a student sees the mayor or the chief of police or—best of all—a U of A athlete, that makes an impression.”

University of Arizona men’s basketball player Ray Smith was one of the student athletes who participated in the walk. He shared his experience of falling behind as a freshman in high school and coming back to graduate, telling the students his team reached out to, “If I can do it, I know you can do it.”

In an effort to spread this program throughout the state, TUSD and Mayor Rothschild have shared program information with other members of the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable, and the Phoenix Union High School District will hold its first Steps to Success walk with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton later in August.

The program is beginning to attract national attention, with recent coverage by U.S. News and World Report, Politico and Huffington Post.

One of the program’s first graduates was profiled in a story by Arizona Public Media, below.

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