August 21, 2015
To Parents and the TUHSD Community,
TUHSD is working to help families better understand the steps necessary to prepare students for college and career. We know that this can be daunting for students and their parents, so TUHSD has made available numerous resources to help them navigate through the activities, exams, applications, and deadlines associated with planning for college. The most valuable resource on each campus is the guidance office. Each student is assigned a guidance advisor who will help him/her navigate through the process of being college and career ready upon graduation. TUHSD guidance advisors assist students in choosing the necessary class to not only graduate from high school, but to gain acceptance into a college or university. A list of these classes can be found in the TUHSD course description book which is located on the TUHSD website.
TUHSD believes that college planning begins much earlier than a student’s senior year. For example, all high school students, including freshmen, should take rigorous academic courses, regularly review their graduation status, be involved in activities and organizations on their campuses, attend college fairs (such as the one hosted at TUHSD on November 5 at Sierra Linda High School), visit college or university campuses, and explore potential careers through internships or job shadowing. That being said, there are a few specific steps that we recommend students take each year of high school to help ensure that they are fully prepared to enter college or begin a career.
Because we believe that it is never too early to start planning, all ninth graders will meet with their guidance advisor during the first semester to develop their ECAP (Education and Career Action Plan) which will serve as a guide as the student moves through high school. The ECAP helps to personalize a student’s high school experience and also provide parents with increased opportunities to be involved in their children’s education.
Another important way for students to get early exposure to college preparation is by taking the PSAT exam. TUHSD offers this test for free for all sophomores each year in mid-October. We also strongly encourage juniors to take the PSAT exam. The PSAT exam serves as a check for students, parents, and teachers on the progress a student is making towards college and career readiness. Information on the PSAT exam can be found on the college board website.
Once students enter the 10th grade, they should begin seeking out leadership opportunities on campus and in the community. We encourage students to begin working on building their college resumes and include their activities and leadership roles. The 10th grade year is a great time to expand upon a student’s college and career research. Sophomores may use TUHSD’s online resources to further investigate universities of interest and their programs, in addition to the costs associated with attending college.
By a student’s junior year students should meet with their guidance advisor to outline the college application process and discuss their PSAT results. As a junior, a student may take the PSAT again to get more familiar with taking college entrance exams. During their junior year, TUHSD will pay for all 11th graders to take the ACT exam. We strongly recommend that students take either the SAT or ACT during the summer after their junior year to improve their score.
Small steps taken during the junior year can help simplify the college application process. For example, students should begin their application essays and continue updating their résumés. If possible, by the end of their junior year, students should visit colleges and universities to which they are considering applying in order to narrow down their choices.
Even with all of the pre-planning done during 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, the senior year can be hectic. During the first few weeks of school, all students should schedule a meeting with their guidance advisor and parents to review the college application process. Using the information gathered at this meeting, it’s helpful for students to create a calendar that lists application deadlines for admissions, scholarships, and financial aid. Seniors should begin requesting letters of recommendation to submit with their college applications. During the fall of their senior year, students can retake the SAT or ACT. The fall is also when many college applications are due. We recommend that seniors submit applications to at least three colleges and universities.
After January 1 students should complete and submit their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to apply for financial aid. Each school will host FAFSA nights to assist students and parents in filling out the FAFSA form. Senior year is also a great time to complete an internship or job shadowing experience. By spring of their senior year, students should follow up on their college applications and apply for local scholarships.
Each school within TUHSD will host a ten-week session of the American Dream Academy (ADA) during the year. ADA is presented at each school by a team from Arizona State University. The mission of ADA is to “help families gain the tools and confidence to join forces with schools and communities to make sure their children have successful academic careers.” All parents are welcome to attend and learn more about how to help their children prepare for postsecondary educational opportunities.
For more information about other college and career readiness resources available to students, or to view the current high school course catalog online, visit the district website. We also encourage you to call your child’s guidance advisor.
Yours in education,
Dr. Lexi Cunningham
TUHSD is proud to feature guest author messages.
Tutor Bus Availability
Is your student attending after school tutoring? Are you aware that bus transportation is available for students following their tutor session? Check out the tutor bus schedules for first and second semesters.
TUHSD on Social Media
Did you know that Tolleson Union has its very own Facebook page and Twitter account? You can see and read about exciting events happening in our district. These outlets are also a great way to receive important information that we want you to know.
FY16 Proposed Expenditure Budget
The proposed expenditure budget for FY16 is now available. We invite you to view the details on the Arizona Department of Education website at your convenience.
Our utility usage report has been updated.View the new utility graphs on our Facilities page under the Departments tab.
Seeking Special Education Teachers
Tolleson Union High School District is currently seeking special education teachers for the 2015-2016 school year. Apply and interview now for a letter of intent. For more information please contact:
Thanks to the support of voters who in the fall of 2012 elected to have TUHSD join the Western Maricopa Education Center, a Joint Technical Education District. West-MEC provides students who attend schools in its member districts with career driven educational opportunities they may not have at their home school. While continuing to attend school in TUHSD, students may be eligible to take coursework leading often time to industry certifications in the following programs Aesthetician, Automotive Collision, Automotive Technology, Aviation Technology, Avionics, CNC Precision Manufacturing, Cosmetology, EMT, Fire Science, HVAC-R, Medical Assisting, Medium Heavy Diesel, Veterinary Sciences, & Welding Technology. Contact your school's West-MEC Rep in the Guidance Department for more information, or visit West-Mec's website for program and application information.
Facility Rentals Information
Embracing the school/community partnership, TUHSD makes its facilities available to the public on a fee basis. To obtain information on facility rentals, contact Joanna Peterson at (623) 478-4038.