School districts across Arizona face many of the same hurdles related to funding and teacher retention. Lorraine Rivera visited Nogales High School and learned more about how the Nogales Unified School District has managed to overcome those obstacles to boast one of the state’s highest graduation rates. It has a 98% graduation rate compared to the state average of 77%. Rivera spoke to educator Eliza Lopez and superintendent Fernando Parra about the district’s approach in the classroom.
“We also have a monitoring system,” Parra said. “If a student is absent from school, we call the parents automatically, immediately, to see why the student was not in school. And so that goes from kindergarten all the way to the higher levels to the graduation.”
Parra also described a benefit of growing up along the border is that many students are bilingual and biliterate in English and Spanish.
“By the time they finish high school they can dominate two languages,” Parra said.