Teachers and staff from all nine schools in the district gathered for the welcome back celebration on Friday morning.

MARICOPA — The Maricopa Unified School District welcomed its teachers, administrators and transportation staff in preparation to the first day of school approaching on Monday.

The welcome back celebration engaged teachers from nine schools in the district and welcomed several new teachers. Dr. Stacey Lopeman, the superintendent for the district, led the celebration and ensured that all staff understand the mission of the district.

That mission includes “Maricopa Why,” which is to ensure all students achieve excellence by preparing them to be lifelong learners and responsible citizens who value innovation and global diversity, according to the MUSD website.

Lopeman led the stage in addressing the vision for the district, which is a community dedicated to student success.

Access and equity are also areas that the district focuses on. Making sure that all students have access to all of the resources to full potential is part of what increased MHS student graduation rate by 10 percent, Lopeman said.

For the upcoming year, the district has put some funding into making sure that every teacher has a laptop that allows access to the curriculums of the school. The laptops are expected to be delivered after fall break of the upcoming school year, according to Lopeman.

She also announced the state funding for a raise for all teachers and administration staff, and despite the increase of health insurance, the pay raise will not be affected because the district is paying some of that cost.

A video from the students explaining several of their favorite features of the teachers at MUSD played during the event.

“All of those accomplishments moved the dial for MUSD,” Lopeman said.

She assured that personal relationships with the students and within the staff is key to success in all areas.

“It’s the personal relationships that developed the graduation increase,” Lopeman said. “And it’s what makes a difference.”