COOLIDGE — One week after the city of Coolidge updated its webpage, the Coolidge Unified School District announced a website redesign of its own.

Although Superintendent Dawn Dee Hodge said the timing is pure coincidence, the district has some specific reasons for adjusting its site. The district expects around 100 students to utilize the Virtual Academy option this year.

“We think it’s much more user friendly for parents and families,” Hodge said. “We were able to personalize it a little bit better, and it's really easy now to highlight things happening on our campuses.”

Hodge credited Executive Assistant Kylea de la Rosa with putting the new website together.

During a light schedule amidst summer break, the Governing Board also formally approved the 2021-22 budget, which was unchanged from when it was introduced at last month’s meeting.

During her report to the board, Hodge gave a brief update on summer school, which she said is a success. Although Hodge said that the district was “hit or miss” with getting all invited students to participate, it nevertheless had record raw attendance numbers. Many students regained credits at the high school level, or at lower levels recouped necessary skills.

“There’s always a struggle when you invite a kid at the high school level,” Hodge said. “They might have been failing when invited and just pulled ahead, or they failed at the last minute. We have to be flexible with attendance, and we have some ideas how to make it better for next year.”

During the break, a number of construction projects have been underway. Hodge said that the gym at the Coolidge Alternative Program has a new floor put in this week, and lighting was installed in the Coolidge High School cafeteria. The redesigned drop-off area at West Elementary School is also nearing completion, and Hodge said she believed it would be a welcome relief this year for parents.

Although not a CUSD project, work being on Northern Avenue also affected access to the high school and Aquatic Center; construction on that road is expected to be nearly finished by the time school begins again on Aug. 2.

Hodge said that the district is excited to welcome new teachers and staff to campus next week, including several former CUSD graduates, previous staff members who are returning after stints elsewhere and several substitute teachers who were hired to teach full time.

“It speaks loudly about the district and the environment we create for our employees that they felt it was a place they were supported,” Hodge said of the promoted substitutes.

Board President Michael Flores also teased a “huge celebration” for next month’s reopening of the board meetings to the public for the first time in over a year and a half. That meeting will take place on Aug. 11.

Registration for students is currently ongoing. Prior to the official start of the school year, new teachers started this week and the district will hold professional development days July 19-29.

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Aaron Dorman is the Casa Grande reporter at PinalCentral, covering government, schools, business and more. He can be reached at adorman@pinalcentral.com.

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