Question 1: With or without consolidation, what can be done to ensure there is a well-defined plan between Mingus and the two elementary districts for an aligned K-12 curriculum strategy?
Teague: K-12 curriculum is set by the Arizona Department of Education with minimum standards that a student must reach to be promoted.
I count at least 10 schools that feed students into MUHS, plus home-schooled kids and new students. Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Clarkdale-Jerome contribute only 56 percent to the 2018-2019 Mingus pre-enrollment figures, so we rely on the ADE for curriculum alignment.
The job of primary schools is to prepare students for entry into high school. The job of any high school is to embrace the highly diverse groups of incoming students and prepare them for college or technical school, jobs, and life.
If we became aware that students from a specific incoming school were consistently underperforming, I would ask that Mingus’ superintendent collaborate with their administration to help the kids who were falling short. This conversation would happen because open dialogue and cooperation between all of the schools is a priority.
Question 2: How would you describe the working relationship between Mingus and the two elementary districts? As a member of the Mingus Union School Board, what would you like to see done to strengthen the relationship with those three districts?
Teague: I asked this question to current and past Mingus school board members, MUHS administration and staff, and teachers at all four of the school districts. They were puzzled. Across the board they felt that the relationship between Mingus and the primary schools is open, communicative, and healthy.
Cottonwood-Oak Creek teachers said that consolidation had been presented as the magic bullet that was going to get them paid more. They hypothesized that Mingus challenging the botched consolidation petition could have caused the misconception that there’s bad blood when there isn’t.
Nevertheless, it’s always good to look for ways to keep our relationships strong. Mingus has an open-door attitude, and I would encourage those doors to stay open. I would encourage people in all of the schools to keep communicating. I would discourage any “us against them” attitudes. We all have the same goal – the education and welfare of our students.
Question 3: How would you describe the working relationship between Mingus Union and the Valley Academy for Career and Technical Education (VACTE). As a member of the Mingus Union School Board, what would you like to see done to strengthen the relationship and course offerings with VACTE?
Teague: V’ACTE provides important courses to our students in construction, fire science, CNA, medical assistant, drafting, culinary arts, mechanics, agriculture, and more. V’ACTE provides job training with high school credits. Our agreement with V’ACTE provides critical classes to Mingus students.
I called my old friend Lee Weiwick for this question. Lee was a Mingus school board member for years and is now a long time member of the V’ACTE governing board. Again, my source was puzzled. Lee said that the relationship between V’ACTE and MUHS has never been stronger.
I believe in nurturing relationships. I love that Lee spoke at length to me and had nothing but praise for MUHS. I love that Mingus has aligned with V’ACTE to provide our kids with this sort of training and I would be fierce if this relationship were again threatened.
Course offerings by V’ACTE, as always, are driven by the job market’s demands.