Dysart Schools Centennial Year in Review
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 6/30/2021
Dysart Unified School District’s 100th school year has been completed. The district of 26 schools and nearly 24,000 pre-k through high school students had a highly successful year, despite the challenges of operating during a pandemic.
The 2020-2021 school year was Dysart’s first ever remote start for classes, but Dysart was committed to opening schools for in-person learning as soon as it was safe, and was one of the first districts to return to in-person instruction in mid-September. While 80% of families chose to send their children for in-person instruction, full-time online classes remained an option for those who preferred a remote experience.
Dysart Schools saw great success this year. Dysart High School and Sonoran Heights Elementary Schools were named A+ Schools of Excellence by the Arizona Educational Foundation, making nine schools over the past ten years with that designation. With a nationally competitive graduation rate of 93%, Dysart graduates have a great start after high school. This year Dysart saw increases in the passing rate for Advanced Placement and Cambridge Exams, and over 1,600 high school students received college credits. Additionally, Dysart saw a boost in scholarships earned by nearly 1,800 graduates to $53 million. A significant jump from the $30 million received in 2019.
Dysart athletics are excelling, with state championships in girls basketball, softball, cheer partner stunt, javelin, decathlon, and hurdles, as well as a national championships for Show Cheer. Numerous others qualified for and placed well in state competitions. Many Dysart athletes were named to all-american teams and top player lists, or received scholar athlete awards. Seven coaches were named Coach of the Year for their region or conference.
Arts continue to be a focus, and this year Dysart held the first combined district theatre show, with the advanced student production of Guys and Dolls. In its second year, 54 students earned the Arizona Seal of Arts Proficiency, with three students earning double-seals. Additionally, the district Winterguard colorguard and indoor drumline were named state champions.
As the largest employer in the cities of Surprise and El Mirage, Dysart employs over 3,000 teachers and support staff. This year Dysart had an impressive 95% retention rate for teachers, and 54 National Board Certified staff members. Accolades abound with five nominees for the Governor’s Art in Education Award, a Lifetime Achievement in School Social Work award winner, Distinguished Administrators from the ASA, a Career Guidance Award, and last but not least, Exemplary Principal and Superintendent of the Year honors. Dysart Schools are always hiring, and openings are posted at Dysart.org/Careers.
Dysart takes fiscal responsibility seriously, having earned the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for 25 years in a row. Administrative costs (8.7%) are lower than the state average (10.1%), and those of peer districts. Dysart has been diligent in submitting much needed repair projects to the Arizona School Facilities Board, and were able to get approval and funding for over $2.3 million for building repairs such as roofs, air handling equipment and fire alarm panels. By installing LED light bulbs and a utility management program, Dysart has reduced electric costs, even though electric rates continue to increase. Budget details are always available at Dysart.org/Budget.
This Centennial year brought some new and exciting programs to the community, including the launch of DSB Live, which provided livestream coverage for 215 athletic contests and other school events throughout the year. Although already in the works prior to the pandemic, it was a timely launch as the community had limited opportunities to attend in person events for much of the year. Additionally, Dysart partnered with the City of El Mirage to open up the playgrounds of K-8 schools in El Mirage for community use after school and on weekends. In response to the COVID pandemic, and to ensure a healthier indoor environment, Dysart installed air scrubbers at every facility to reduce the amount of particulates in the air and improve air quality.
Looking forward to the 2021-2022 school year, and in response to community requests, Dysart will be offering four middle school options in August (Ashton Ranch Middle School, Cimarron Springs Middle School, Dysart Middle School, and Sonoran Heights Middle School). The 2021-2022 school year begins on Tuesday, August 3. Enrollment can be completed online at Dysart.org/Enroll, and Open Enrollment is available for those that want to attend a school outside of their boundaries at Dysart.org/OE.
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