COOLIDGE — Though the Coolidge Unified School District saw a number of public triumphs since the start of the 2019-20 school year — including the increase of West Elementary School’s letter grade from an “F” to a “D” and the approval of the district’s bond proposal in November — there were also a number of not so widely publicized successes that school district officials shared with members of the Governing Board on Dec. 11.
The district, Superintendent Charie Wallace announced, will add two counselors thanks to a recently awarded safety grant through the Arizona Department of Education. West School and Coolidge High School were both recipients of the grant, enabling the district to hire one new counselor for each school.
But leading up to the winter break, there were some triumphs that had less to do with academics and more to do with character.
Ahead of the holidays, students participating in the CHS Family, Career and Community Leaders of America program held a ramen noodle drive. The packages of noodles collected through the drive were donated to the Hope International Food Pantry.
Likewise, students on the CHS student council put together 40 food boxes, which were given, along with turkeys donated by Eloy and Florence Detention Centers, to local families in need.
A canned food drive run and organized by students from the Coolidge Alternative Program also managed to collect over 1,100 food cans for the Elks Feeding Empty Little Tummies program, run by Coolidge-Florence Elks Lodge.
In addition, as part of some of their other service projects, CAP students have spent some time interacting with younger students at West Elementary. Most recently, a group of students from the alternative program supervised recess, acting as high school role models to the younger students, Wallace noted.
Other projects taken on by CUSD schools ahead of the holidays included the “Spread the Warmth” campaign at West School, which aims to collect scarves and hats to give to homeless and migrant families living within the boundaries of the district. The elementary school also collected Christmas tree ornaments, decorations and presents for a local family. In addition, the elementary school collected monetary donations to help fill a specific need for the family.
The second elementary school within the district, Heartland Ranch, managed to donate over 1,600 non-perishable food items to the Open Hands Outreach program ahead of the holidays. According to Wallace, CUSD staff including those from the district office participated in giving back leading up to the holidays by taking part in the Giving Tree. The annual Giving Tree program provides gifts for homeless or migrant families in the area. This year, CUSD was tasked with gathering gifts for 36 local families.
Many local businesses also work together with the district by contributing in one way or another to the various drives and holiday projects CUSD students and staff take on each year, Wallace noted.
“What an awesome community we live in,” Wallace said. “These are local businesses that are giving back to the community and our kids.”
The meeting also celebrated the CHS marching band program, which recently took second place in the Arizona Marching Band Association Championships, by having them perform before the board. They were also joined by the Coolidge High School and Coolidge Junior High choirs.