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Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools) is located in nearly 100 square miles of northeast Phoenix and north Scottsdale in an area bounded by 7th Avenue and Pima Road, and Northern Avenue and Jomax Road.
To cultivate world-class thinkers.
Our students will be the leaders of tomorrow with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to realize their dreams in an ever-changing world.
- Every member of our community plays a valuable role in the success of our students by supporting a positive, student-focused learning environment.
- It is vital to ensure equity and access to a high-quality educational experience for all.
- The essential skills for success are collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking.
- A collaborative and inclusive culture is critical to reaching our goals.
- Lifelong learning is essential.
PVSchools has 28 elementary schools; one K-8 school; seven middle schools for 7th and 8th grades; five high schools for grades 9-12, two alternative schools; two online-based schools; one dedicated preschool; and 25 other preschool locations.
- All elementary schools include free full-day kindergarten.
- High schools offer dual enrollment and college credits.
- PVOnline, an accredited online instructional provider, offers courses for grades 1-12. A student may attend school entirely online and still participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities with the school located within their school boundaries.
- At each level – elementary, middle and high school – the district has Title I schools.
The district also offers preschool, Gifted preschool, night classes and Special Education services, plus a range of signature programs.
The district serves approximately 30,000 students, with about one-third of whom come from outside the district or outside their home school boundaries via open enrollment.
Instruction and Support Staff
The district is one of the largest employers in the North Valley with approximately 3,700 employees. Staff includes:
- Highly qualified teachers
- School nurses, full time, at all of our schools
- Licensed certified professionals such as school psychologists, speech pathologists, and other professionals dedicated to supporting the whole child
- Educational Support Professionals. District operations are supported by professionals in many areas including IT, transportation, nutrition and business operations
A highly qualified teacher meets federal requirements for that designation including all the following criteria:
- Fully certified and/or licensed by the state.
- Holds at least a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution.
- Demonstrates competence in each core academic subject area they teach.
At PVSchools, 100 percent of classroom teachers are highly qualified. Additionally, many of our para-educators who work with teachers meet definitions of highly qualified for their classroom roles.
Read About National Board Certified Teachers
National board-certified teachers are recognized as being at the forefront of their profession and only 3 percent of the U.S. teaching force achieves this standard. PVSchools believes this intensive, multi-year certification process helps elevate the quality of teachers with its focus on classroom practices, standards-based instruction, and student achievement.
PVSchools has one of the highest concentrations of nationally board-certified teachers of any district in Arizona.
At every stage of their career, PVSchools is committed to helping teachers increase their professional expertise. Our programs include:
- A mentor program that supports those new to the profession through their first and second years in the classroom.
- Professional Learning Communities that foster collaboration and continuous improvement.
- The Center for Teacher Development, where teachers learn from one another by using information and video technology to observe the techniques of advanced practitioners. This innovative approach has attracted interest from universities and districts around the country.
- Current teachers and PVSchools staff are invited to visit our Professional Development website.
Read More About the Center for Teacher Development
At PVSchools, we have a commitment to life-long learning for students and staff. Our Center for Teacher Development – an innovative program that provides live classroom observations, one-to-one coaching, video broadcasting, and teacher discussion – helps teachers continually improve their professional practice. The center seeks to build collaboration between teachers, coaches and administrators to share knowledge and best practices.
The Professional Development Department helps our teachers continually evolve their practice with resources, in-depth training, one-on-one support, and access to data.
• Beginning teacher mentors
• Ongoing coursework
• Professional library
• Resources for Professional Learning Communities
• Support of state standards
• Center for Teacher Development
Feel free to call 602-449-2130 for more details on any of the above information.
PVSchools staff members are encouraged to view the available Professional Development courses.
Recruiting and Keeping the Best
Our average teacher salary exceeds the average of peer districts and across Arizona. Additionally, our teachers are provided performance-based pay; compensation for specialized skills and for advancing their skills by becoming nationally board certified; as well as duty-free workdays with a planning period.
The district is committed to parent involvement, including volunteering in classrooms or for special events, working on school councils which help advise principals, Parent Teacher Organizations and involvement with the United Parent Council (UPC), a coalition of PTO members from all schools in the district. The district and schools provide email, text and phone updates on important matters to keep parents informed.
History of PVSchools
- Read About the History of Our District
1913 was an auspicious year in many ways: the federal tax was levied for the first time, Henry Ford cranked up his assembly line, suffragettes demonstrated for the vote, issues leading to World War I simmered and children found a prize in their Cracker Jacks for the first time.
Here in Arizona, citizens were proud of their new statehood earned just the year before, and newcomers marveled at the beauty of an area of north Phoenix so green and dotted with yellow Palo Verde blossoms and the purple blooms of Ironwood trees, they dubbed it Paradise Valley. For all its beauty, the environment was harsh. Only those willing to brave the heat, scorpions, sandstorms and rattlesnakes stayed.
In 1913, the hardy few signaled their determination to make Paradise Valley home by opening a one-room schoolhouse a half-mile east of 32nd Street and Cactus.
Sunnyside School served 14 boys and 21 girls that first year and became the precursor to Paradise Valley Unified School District, now Arizona’s 7th largest district serving 31,500 students across a geographical area the size of Flagstaff. The 98-square mile district is bounded by 7th Avenue and Pima Road, and Northern Avenue and Jomax Road.
A Slow Start
Over its 100-year history, the district’s growth stuttered at times and soared others, as the community evolved. When the area failed to secure water rights for irrigation, many packed up and left. In fact there is no record of a school from 1920 to 1923, probably because there were not 10 children in the area, the required number to operate.
Throughout the rest of the 20s, the school operated with only the basics. The school, which had moved in 1918 to a barn-like building at the northeast corner of 32nd and Greenway, had no indoor plumbing but proudly boasted “an outdoor facility – one for the boys and one for the girls.” Students attended to their reading, writing and arithmetic, but also brought in wood for the stove.
By 1930, concerned citizens knew they had to prepare for growth. Edwin Nisbet donated land for a new school (the present day site of Greenway Middle School) that he’d originally bought for 50 cents an acre. Still, the area was served by a single
school throughout the 30s and 40s. In the late 1940s, when electricity first came to the area, the district began to grow.
As World War II ended, a boom was under way. The early settlers — some familiar names from traveling streets named for them — finally saw their investment in the area pay off. Among them, the Bells, Nisbets, O’Clairs, Norrises, and Vondraceks.
By 1956, the district had 259 students, which had to attend tenth grade on at Phoenix Union High School. That changed in 1957 with the opening of Paradise Valley High School (which was rebuilt in 1993). The Paradise Valley High School District formed in 1957, in July of 1976 the high school district unified with the elementary and middle schools districts into Paradise Valley Unified School District.
Preparing for the baby boomers, the district built four schools in the 60s. During the next decades, some schools were closed and others remodeled, but growth and construction were a constant for the district. The projects included 13 schools in the 70s, 11 schools in the 80s, 10 in the 90s, and nine since 2000 with the most recent being Larkspur Elementary in north Phoenix – an entire new school build adjacent to the existing school of the same name.
Today and Tomorrow
By the district’s centennial year in 2013, it had grown to 53 school sites and support facilities. New construction across the district reflects changing needs as the district has evolved with the community. Technology has been a driver as the district focuses on preparing students with 21st century skills. So has serving expanding areas as growth continues in the northern most parts of Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Certainly, when one of the early teachers bumped along roads no better than cowpaths in a Willys Knight automobile to greet her 24 students, she could hardly envision a district as large or progressive as what is now Paradise Valley Unified School District.