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Sunnyside Unified School District


Our Vision:

Every child... College, Career and Community Ready.

Our Mission:

Our mission is to develop students with a strong sense of identity, purpose and agency, so that they leave our system as effective learners who act with purpose to achieve the conditions they desire in their own and others’ lives.

Established in 1921 the Sunnyside Unified School District is the second-largest district in Southern Arizona serving more than 16,300 students and families. Located in a culturally-diverse community and surrounded by two First Nations—the Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui Tribe—our learning community is flanked by an aerospace and innovation corridor, such that our district is positioned to lead our students into the 21st century through excellence in pedagogy, world-class career and technical education, and a legacy of athletic excellence and passion for the fine arts.

During the 2018-19 school year, 13,553 (80%) students qualified to receive free and reduced-price meals, 2,688 (17%) of students are classified as English Language Learners and approximately 142 (.9%) of Sunnyside’s students are identified as homeless. Another 2,098 students (13%) receive Special Education services.

Sunnyside serves families with children from birth to grade 12. The nationally recognized Ocotillo Early Learning Center is the District’s high quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood center serving children ages birth to five of all abilities in an inclusive, nurturing, stimulating environment.  Programs include Title One preschool, early childhood special education, Parents As Teachers, Family Literacy and a fee-based pre-school program.

The Sunnyside District has a technology-rich digital learning environment where every student grades 4 through 12 have laptops assigned for use daily in classes and throughout the school year. Instructional content is primarily online which includes unique and innovative curriculum that is current with today’s learning needs. Of the District’s 12 elementary schools, 10 support kindergarten through grade 6 and one elementary school provides for kindergarten through grade 5. The District hosts two district-wide magnet schools that draw their enrollment from across the district; Gallego Primary School (grade K-3) and Gallego Intermediate Fine Arts Magnet School (grades 4-8). Another unique grade level school is Sierra 2-8 School that partners with Ocotillo Early Learning Center (K-1) to create a sustained learning environment for student enrollment grades K-8.

The District has a Serving Unique Needs (SUN) gifted program serving 988 (6%) who have been identified as having a least an above average ability (7th stanine or above on a group or individual IQ measure); demonstrate high levels of task commitment and high levels of creativity.

Two middle schools in the Sunnyside District provide enrollment for grades 7 and 8. One school enrolls the traditional middle school grades 6-8.  There is one alternative high school, two comprehensive high schools and a virtual high school, Sunnyside Online Success Academy that provides fully online and blended learning environments.  The Comprehensive high schools have a smaller freshman academy and a College and Career “Academy” structure for grades 10-12 that provides a small learning community learning environment.

Our six College and Career Academies provide innovative, relevant and engaging connected learning opportunities centered on the career interests of students.

The Academies provide an individualized high school experience that allows students to explore a variety of pathways to graduation and college or career. The Academies offered include Aviation and Military Science (AFJROTC), Engineering Sciences, Information Technology /Computer Repair, Mechanical Drafting & Design (3-D), Precision Manufacturing, Sports Medicine, Business Management and Administrative Services, Communications Media and Marketing – Entrepreneurship.

In 2018 the 4-year graduation rate was 76% (N=781 students). This figure is an average of our graduation rates from our two major high schools Sunnyside (84%) and Desert View (86%). It also includes the graduation rate from our alternative high school, Star Academic High School (12%) and Sunnyside Online Success Academy (data unavailable as it is not FERPA compliant). 

All schools in the Sunnyside District are Title I programs and receive funding in accordance with federal programs.

Languages Spoken

  • Navajo
  • Pueblo
  • Punjabi
  • Sioux
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Tohono O’odham
  • Vietnamese
  • Yaqui
  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Apache
  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • English
  • Filipino
  • French
  • Hopi
  • Lingala
  • Maay
Our Staff: 18-19 SY
Certified 829
School Site Administrators 32
Central Administrators22
Classified788
Substitutes 280

Classified Racial/Ethnicity

Hispanic/Latino 674
White 87
Black or African American 13
Asian 5
Native American or Alaska Native 8
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 1
Total 788

Certified Racial/Ethnicity

Hispanic/Latino 400
White 372
Black or African American 28
Asian 20
Native American or Alaska Native 9
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0
Total 829

Certified Sub Racial/Ethnicity

Hispanic/Latino 93
White 72
Black or African American 5
Asian 6
Native American or Alaska Native 0
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 1
Total 177

Classified Sub Racial/Ethnicity

Hispanic/Latino 92
White 8
Black or African American 2
Asian 0
Native American or Alaska Native 0
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 1
Total 103