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What is BT?

As Vail moved from a school district of 500 students to a school district of more than 13,000 students, we labored and at times struggled to pull together and articulate all the necessary resources to implement the mandated standards-based curriculum.

Thousands of hours have been spent by our staff unwrapping, prioritizing and calendaring standards, and developing delivery and assessment strategies. The sum of this work is a district-wide instructional program we call Beyond Textbooks (see below for a detailed description). It helped us receive “Excelling”  and “A” school labels across our school district. Now it is available to you.

-Calvin Baker, Superintendent

Contact Us

Visit our website at beyondtextbooks.org.

Contact BT staff here.

Coming Together to Improve Education

  • Over 100 partners
  • Impacting over 148,000 students
  • 300 Professional Development sessions a year for over 10,000 educators
  • Over 40,000 digital resources

BT Map 7-1-17

Chinese Immersion In Vail

The Vail School District proudly offers a unique and exciting opportunity for students to learn a foreign language – Chinese.

The District was approached by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, and a partnership was established to provide immersion for students at Mesquite Elementary. Language immersion is an educational approach, especially effective for young children, that results in second language acquisition.

Mesquite Elementary School earned the Confucius Classroom status through the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona. More than 390 Confucius Classrooms have been established around the world. | Read More

For more information on Chinese Immersion, please contact: Diane Vargo, Mesquite principal at vargod@vailschooldistrict.org.

What Does Immersion Look Like at Mesquite?

Mesquite’s Chinese Immersion Program is a Partial Immersion Program as 50% of its instructional delivery occurs in Chinese and the other 50% in English. Students will learn math and science in Mandarin Chinese.

There are two teachers at each grade level of immersion who work together to deliver this model. One teacher teaches math, science, and language reinforcement in Chinese. The other teacher teaches ELA and social studies in English. Instructional time starts at 7:45 AM and ends at 2:15 PM daily.

This program aligns with the District’s practice to provide parents with choices regarding their child’s education.


What is Immersion?

Immersion language learning helps children to learn a new language in the same way that we all learned our first language – by surrounding them in a warm and supportive environment in which they are encouraged to use the language for everyday communication.

It is an educational model that provides academic instruction in English and a “target language” such as Mandarin Chinese. The goals of dual language programs are for students to develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in both program languages, to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, and to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of diverse cultures.

In total immersion programs, children learn their entire core curriculum (language arts, math, science, and social studies) in the second language. Partial immersion programs are based on the same principle, but a portion of the curriculum is taught in the second language.

What are the benefits of an Immersion Program?

Language education that starts early and involves children in daily communication and content learning provides children the opportunity to develop a second language as naturally as they learned their first language.

Learning a second language prepares students to communicate with more people and to compete in a global economy, where proficiency in more than one language represents a significant advantage.

Students will learn:

  • Increased problem solving
  • Utilizes right and left brain hemisphere
  • Enhanced Cognitive Skills
  • Increased Cultural Sensitivity
  • Second Language Skill
  • Globally competitive

Why Chinese Immersion?

Chinese is spoken by one-fifth of the world’s population and is ranked number one among first languages spoken. Learning Chinese will open many career opportunities for individuals who can acquire native-like fluency.

China has the world’s fastest growing economy and the world’s 2nd largest economy. It’s the world’s largest exporter of goods and the world’s second largest importer of goods.

Research indicates students are best able to learn another language if they are exposed to that language at a young age especially through an immersion program. Our country is growing globally, our students are the business leaders of the future and being able to communicate in the world’s most widely spoken language will be imperative to success.

Which grade levels are accepting students?

While the program is now K-5, we are accepting Mandarin Chinese speaking transfer students pending screening and kindergartners. Later grades will be added as students progress.

How are the kindergarten students selected for the immersion class?

Parents of incoming kindergarten students are invited to attend an informational meeting held in the early spring. Applications will be available at our front office and online.

Is this a gifted program? Are students prescreened or can anyone apply?

The immersion program is NOT a gifted program. The immersion program is open to any interested incoming kindergarten student and prescreening is not part of the application process.

What are the entry requirements?

There is no formal criteria for enrollment into the program.

If you live outside the Mesquite service area, you will need to complete and submit an Open Enrollment application. Forms are available here and will be accepted between December 1st and April 1st.

Full day Kindergarten Chinese Immersion is a fee based program.

Kinder classes are established the spring before they begin. Contact the front office for further details at (520) 879-2102.

About Us

VUSD Community Programs offer a variety of year-round enrichment opportunities for Preschool, Kindergarten, and School Age children throughout the district serving over 1,000 students annually.

In the spirit of the District’s Guiding Principles, “We are never satisfied with the status quo.” Our programs are licensed through the Arizona Department of Health Services and participate in the state-wide Quality First star rating initiative. Together, we are laying the foundation for higher learning.

Early Childhood and School Age Programs

Online Registration is available below.

If you have already created an account on our Family Portal, click existing account. If not, please create one by clicking new account.


We believe that the preschool years are a special and magical time that should be filled with fun, laughter, and exploration. Experts agree that the way young children learn best is inherently different from how school age children and adults learn. This belief forms the basis of our program philosophy and reinforces Developmentally Appropriate Practices as we accept and embrace:

  • An environment that acknowledges both structured and unstructured play as the most effective and appropriate way for young children to learn.
  • The uniqueness and special qualities of each child.
  • The emphasis on the whole child, not just one single area of development.
  • The importance of safety, consistency, and positive role modeling.
  • Parents as partners.

The Community Programs Early Childhood Enrichment Programs are located on seven of the elementary school campuses throughout the Vail School District.  Children ages 3-5, that can handle their toileting needs, are eligible to enroll into the program.  There are no school boundaries for the Early Childhood programs so you may contact the sites that you are interested in attending in the district to set up a time to visit.  It is important to us that you visit the sites, meet the Site Director and have a tour of the program.  Each program is unique in that the staff create of their own culture however the philosophy is the same for all sites.

Please review our Parent Handbook and find our Locations and Site Contacts.

View the VUSD CP Calendar here.


The KinderPlus Enrichment Program is a 3 & 1⁄2 hour program designed to compliment and enhance the school experience by extending the Kindergarten curriculum and providing a strong foundation from which students become engaged learners. The goals of the KinderPlus Program are achieved when children:

  • Develop confidence in themselves and their ability to demonstrate knowledge.
  • Demonstrate curiosity and the ability to focus their attention.
  • Acquire a level of communicative competence.
  • Acquire social skills and abilities that enable them to relate to other children and adults.

The KinderPlus curriculum includes Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Health, Physical Education, Music and Art. Teachers refer to the Arizona State Kindergarten Curriculum Guide for each area of study. The following components are used to maximize each child’s individual learning style:

  • Child-Centered: Teachers facilitate children’s search for meaning by providing materials that allow students to make discoveries, upon which they can build further learning.
  • Hands-On Constructive Play: It is through play that young children come to know and understand the world around them. The physical,  emotional, social, and cognitive development of a child is dependent upon activity. It is important that children have the opportunity and  time for free exploration, experimentation, and observation, particularly when concepts, materials, or activities are new or unknown to the children.
  • Support from the Teacher: The role of the teacher is to provide choices, prepare the environment, extend the curriculum and help guide experiences

Please review our Parent Handbook and find our Locations and Site Contacts.

View the VUSD CP Calendar here.

Before and Aftercare

The Before and Aftercare Program provides a safe and supportive environment before and after school for children to explore and develop their own interests. Personal responsibility and positive peer interactions will be stressed. A variety of activities such as art, wood working, games, music, physical activity, science, computers, homework time, clubs, cooking and community service projects will be introduced throughout the year. Thematic units and long-term projects are utilized and designed to enhance the following areas:

  • Math: Basic computation skills, logic, measurement and graphs.
  • Literacy: Activities involving reading, writing and spelling.
  • Science: Inquiry-based investigations in a variety of areas.
  • Fine Arts: Music, art, and dramatic play activities.
  • Social: Emphasis on problem-solving, respect and responsibility

Please review our Parent Handbook and find our Locations and Site Contacts.

View the VUSD CP Calendar here.

Programs Fees - Effective July 16, 2018

Toddler Program: Desert Willow Only
2-3 year olds  
Monday through Friday Full Time (7am-6pm) $ 183 per week
Part Time (3 hrs/day)
Cottonwood & Copper Ridge Only
Full Time (over 3 hrs/day)
4 Day Schedule $ 91 per week $ 138 per week
5 Day Schedule $ 113 per week $ 172 per week
KinderPlus Program: KinderPlus (3 1/2 hrs/day) KinderPlus & Before/After Care
4 Day Schedule $ 96 per week $ 119 per week
5 Day Schedule $ 119 per week $ 148 per week
School Age: Before School Only After School Only Before/After
4 Day Schedule $ 27 per week $ 63 per week $ 67 per week
5 Day Schedule $ 33 per week $ 78 per week $ 85 per week
Vail Discovery Camp (School Age & Preschool):
Monday through Friday Full Time (7am-6pm) $ 180 per week
Inservice & Half-days:
 Regularly Scheduled Day  Non-Scheduled Day
$ 25 per day $ 36 per day

Important Billing Information

Non-refundable yearly registration fee of $95 for first child/$70 for each additional sibling.
• There is no reduction in weekly fees for days my child is absent due to holidays, illness, vacation or adverse weather during the regular school year. Weekly fees are the same regardless of closure days or whether or not the child attends. This includes shortened weeks.
• Payments are due weekly or monthly in advance of services.
• A 2 week notice is required when disenrolling your child from the program, please contact your Site Director.
$3 per minute late fee if picked up after 6pm or beyond your scheduled program time.
• Services will be terminated if a child is picked up after 6:10pm on more than three occasions in one school year.
$10 weekly late fee if payments are not made in advance.
$25 fee for any declined electronic transactions or returned checks.
$25 fee for every contract change.
• Electronic payments, credit cards (MasterCard & Visa), checks, and money orders are accepted.
• If my payments become delinquent, I will lose any associated discounts/scholarships from the time my account became delinquent and my child will be dropped from the program.
• Delinquent accounts will be sent to collections and I will be responsible for any collection fees incurred. Families sent to collections are permanently suspended from all Vail Community Programs.
• Although there is the possibility that our rates may increase, we will always provide at least one month’s prior notice and our fees will never increase more than 5% within the current school year.

Discounts – Families may access only one discount, if applicable; this includes any subsidies or scholarships.

VUSD – Vail School District permanent employees will receive a 15% discount on total fees incurred, if payments are current and made through Payroll Deduction or Auto Payments.

Sibling – A 10% discount is given on the lesser fees for each additional child from the same family, when payments are made in advance.

To print a copy of the program fees click here.

Payment Options

Payments may be made online through your existing account or you may send in a check, money order, or cashier’s check. Checks must be mailed to:

VUSD Community Services
PO Box 800
Vail, AZ 85641

Cash payments may be made in person at the Community Programs office, located at the Vail Education Center, 13801 E. Benson Highway. Payments cannot be accepted at the school site. Please contact the billing department at 879-3938 or 879-3976 for more information.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our administrative staff and contact information, click here.

Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter Camps



Vail Discovery Camp is Back!


Daily activities will include the areas of Innovation & Discovery, Creative Arts, In a Word (discovering the power of the written and spoken word) and getting physical with Fun with Fitness. Children will also participate in a number of captivating events including field trips, special guests and live performances.

Open for Enrollment now in the Family Portal. If you do not have an existing account with us please click here to create one.

For more information check out our flyer.

School Break Enrichment Camps


Give your child the ultimate School Break experience that will expand their interests in a whole new way! Each of our School Enrichment Camps is designed to provide your child with a unique adventure. Our campers will get active, create art, travel and explore the sciences! 

Join us for a School Break experience that you will not forget! 


More information can be found in our flyer.

Like our Facebook Page for exciting new camp announcements, updates & reminders!

Forms for Sal’s Sports Camp.

Open for Enrollment now in the Family Portal. If you do not have an existing account with us please click here to create one.

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Would you like to be a Substitute or Volunteer?

Substitute Information

The following are needed to apply as a substitute teacher for the Vail School District:

Questions? Contact Erika Hurt, Substitute Coordinator at 520.879.2080 or email hurte@vailschooldistrict.org

Be a Volunteer

Thank you for expressing an interest in being a volunteer for the Vail School District. We understand how important you are to a child’s education and community spirit.

The Vail School District values and appreciates your time!

Click here to complete an online volunteer application.

More Employment Information

Employment Opportunities

Vail is located near the eastern border of Pima County, Arizona, in the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Valley. Just a few miles to the West is the city of Tucson, the 34th largest city in the U.S.

Staff Recruitment

The Vail Unified School District is recruiting highly qualified and motivated teachers, professionals, and support staff.

Join an Award-Winning District!

The Vail School District serves 1,900 employees dedicated to providing quality education and related services to more that 13,500 students and their families.

Vail Employee Benefits

  • Excellent Benefits Package
  • 3 Medical & 2 Dental Plan Options
  • Vision Insurance
  • Arizona State Retirement System Participation with 100% District Matching Contribution
  • District Paid Life Insurance
  • Paid Sick Days and Personal Leave
  • Wellness Benefits-Employee Assistance Plan, Free Flu Shots, Free Mammography Mobiles

New Teachers Receive

  • Beginning Teacher Mentors
  • Comprehensive New Teacher Induction
  • Staff Development Program
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Incentive Opportunities
  • Performance Pay
  • Technology Driven Environment
  • Priority for Childcare Services

Vail’s mission and guiding principles pave our path, reinforce our vision and provide motivation for each employee to do their job to the best of their ability. The underlying belief is that fundamentally, people desire to serve and be part of a “community effort”, something larger than themselves.

Relocation Information

Tucson is a growing metropolis in southern Arizona that recently reached the 1,000,000 mark. The Vail School District encompasses 425 miles and almost 40,000 of those residents. The district boundaries extend to the SE corner of Tucson and all the way out to the eastern border of Pima County. Approximately half of the District’s students live in the City of Tucson; the rest in unincorporated areas.

The Tucson metropolitan area is well-known for mild winters, dry desert air, low annual rainfall, and sunshine – about 360 days of sunshine a year, more than any other U.S. city! The winter temperatures are around 68 degrees during the day; with an average January low of 38 degrees. The average July high temperature is 99 degrees; however, the mercury can top 104 degrees during summer months. Annual rainfall averages about 12 inches per year.

While it may feel like a small town, don’t be fooled; Tucson offers many of the amenities of a larger city, including arts, sports, outdoor activities, and resorts. This region is a natural playground surrounded by four mountain ranges – enjoy hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Tucson is also one of only 14 cities in the U.S. with a symphony as well as opera, live theatre, ballet, and a Jazz Society.

The Milkin Institute’s “2005 Best Performing Cities” index gives Tucson an overall enviable rank of 14 out of 200 metropolitan areas, based on economic performance and ability to create, as well as keep, the greatest number of jobs in the nation. The metro Tucson area offers many employment opportunities — The University of Arizona is the largest single employer with over 10,300 employees and is ranked among the top 20 public research universities, while Davis-Monthan Air Force Base employs 8,340. Other major industries include natural resources and mining, construction, missile manufacturing, health care, and government.

The Tucson Association of REALTORS calls the Tucson area “…a stable market with attractive appreciation.” New housing prices are generally less than in other major metropolitan areas. Diverse housing options range from 100-year-old haciendas to trendy downtown Tucson lofts to family-friendly master-planned communities– there is something for every taste, lifestyle, and budget.

Additional Links

Cost of Living Calculator

Tucson Visitors Bureau

Things to Do in Southern Arizona

Arizona Vacation Travel Guide

Rental listings in Tucson

For sale listings in Tucson

North American Moving Services: Packing calculator, moving guides, checklists and moving quote

Employee Referral Incentive

Do you know a highly qualified, motivated individual who is looking for a great place to work?

Participate in the Vail Employee Referral Incentive Program and earn up to $500!

Refer an Occupational Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist, or Physical Therapist and you will be eligible for a $500 Referral Incentive payment.

Refer a special education teacher or high school math, high school physics, or middle school math teacher and you will be eligible for a $250 Referral Incentive payment.

Referrals for all other teacher positions will be eligible for a $150 Referral Incentive payment.

Referrals for bus drivers are eligible for a $200 Referral Incentive Payment.

Tell everyone you know to visit the Vail Schools website at Work4VailSchools.org to apply online for a teaching, OT/SLP/PT, or bus driver position and indicate on the application that they were referred.


Print this form and submit it to the Vail Human Resources Department

The Vail Employee Referral Incentive Program is open to staff currently employed by the Vail School District. District administrators and HR personnel are not eligible for participation.

New teachers and other professionals referred must sign their employment contract prior to an employee referral incentive payment is issued.

Contact the Vail Human Resources Department if you have any questions.
Jena Privette, Human Resources Supervisor
520-879-2047 privettej@vailschooldistrict.org

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.


Job Descriptions and Salary Guides

Employee Benefits

Other Information

Non-Discrimination Statement

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Vail Unified School District #20 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, genetic information, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its educational programs or activities. Inquiries concerning Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Section 504, and Americans With Disabilities Act may be referred to the Superintendent, Calvin Baker, Assistant Superintendent, John Carruth, 13801 E. Benson Hwy. Vail, AZ 85641, 520.879.2000.

Vail School District’s 504 Grievance Procedures can be found here.  Print VUSD’s 504 Complaint Form.

Aviso de No Discrimination

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Vail # 20 no discrimina a base de raza, color, origen de nacionalidad, sexo, edad, religion, información genética, o inhabilidad en admisión o acceso a, o tratamiento de personas o empleo en, sus programas educacionales o actividades. Si usted tiene preguntas o algun otra cuestión sobre Titulo VI, Titulo VII, Titulo IX, Sección 504 ud. puede digerirse con al Superintendente Sr. Calvin Baker, Superintendente Sr. John Carruth, 13801 E. Benson Hwy., Vail, AZ 85641 520.879.2000.

ADA Compliance

It is District policy to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Vail Unified School District is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees and applicants for employment in order to assure that individuals with disabilities enjoy full access to equal employment opportunities.

If you are disabled and would need accommodations to attend a hiring interview, please notify the hiring authority at the time you are contacted to schedule an interview.

District employees should contact their Principal or Department Supervisor if you believe a reasonable accommodation is required.

If you have any questions regarding District ADA Procedures, please contact:

Lisa Cervantez
Chief Administrative Officer
(520) 879-2062

District Policies

To view Personnel Policies for the Vail School District No. 20 you will need to click on the link below, find Vail Policy Manual in the left column and then click on Section G Personnel.


Maintenance Department

We the staff and tradesmen of the Vail School District’s Facilities & Maintenance Department are dedicated to maintaining the District’s facilities and grounds in order to provide a safe, comfortable, and accommodating learning environment for our students, parents, faculty, staff, and community.

We work behind the scenes and beyond the view of most casual observers maintaining, servicing, and repairing the many mechanical, electrical, structural, and architectural components of the education process. We are a small group of thirty individuals who, as a team, are responsible for the everyday operation and repairs of the District’s facilities.

Complete your maintenance request here.

Facility Usage

Thank you for your interest in renting facilities from the Vail School District.

School facilities are available for rent to public agencies and to responsible and properly organized community groups for the purpose of education, elections, and civic welfare. All requests must be made at least one week prior to the scheduled event/activity and are subject to the guidelines outlined in the Vail School District Facility Agreement.

NOTE: School-related functions and events take precedence over rental requests from outside organizations.

If you have any questions about facility requests, please contact Rene Aguilar at 879-2457 or at aguilarr@vailschooldistrict.org.

Print the Vail School District Facility Agreement and/or Energy and Room Rental Fees.

To complete an online facility request, click here.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Custodial Department

The Vail School District custodial staff is committed to keeping and maintaining a safe, beautiful, and clean environment for all students, staff, parents, and community who make use of our facilities.

BSS Staff

Current Bids

Notice of Request for Proposals
Date: November 28, 2018
RFP No. #19-004-23
Material and/or Service: Child Nutrition Programs
RFP Due Date: January 29, 2019
Time: 2:00 p.m., Arizona Time
Opening Location:
Vail Unified School District No. 20
Vail Education Center
Attention: Tori Gamble, Purchasing Department
13801 E Benson Highway, Suite B
Vail, Arizona 85641

Print the RFP

To access the exhibits for the above mentioned RFP 19-004-23, click the link provided below.





The Purchasing Department must receive a vendor application and a W9 for every vendor before any purchase can be process. Please follow the instructions below. Any questions can be directed to the Purchasing Department, Tori Gamble 520-879-2028 or Sue Masanz 520-879-2059; or email purchasing@vailschooldistrict.org

 *Be advised that a VENDOR will not be added without a completed W-9 form (to find the updated version, please click on the link listed below).

Please click here for the Vail Vendor Applicaiton.  The W-9 can be obtained at the following IRS link https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf .

*Special Note: If this application is being completed for a bid or RFP, you must include it with your packet being submitted. It is a formal document to the solicitation.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.



The District creates and revises the budget throughout the school year.  Once the year is completed, the District will prepare an Annual Financial Report (AFR) that will reflect the revenues and expenditures that occurred during the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). The format and submission deadlines for these files are governed by Arizona Revised Statues.  The AFR is audited by the District’s auditing firm, Heinfeld & Meech (H&M).  H&M then assists the District with the preparation of the Comprehensive Annual financial Report (CAFR).  In addition to financial data, the CAFR contains financial analysis of District funds, a narrative with a description of the funds, District financial awards and demographic data.  The AFR is also submitted to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) where it is compiled with other information to create the Superintendent’s Annual Financial Report (SAFR).

The AFR is also submitted to the Auditor General’s Office who compiles information from all of the Arizona Districts.  The Auditor General’s Office uses the information from the School Districts to create the Classroom Spending Report.  This report compares the spending patterns and achievement of each District by Grouping Districts into peer groups.

To view the Districts Adopted budget click this link. (This file will be found in  your downloads folder)

Budget information can be found on the ADE website.  Click here for AFR information on the ADE website.

All of these reports can be accessed in the table below:



Initial planned expenditures of the District based on anticipated revenues and defined Budget Limits. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by July 5.

2018-2019 Proposed Budget Summary

FY 2018-2019 Proposed Budget Worksheets

FY 2018-2019 Proposed Expenditure Budget

Budget Adoption Hearing Notification – July 10, 2018



2017-2018 Proposed Budget

FY 2017-2018 Proposed Budget Worksheets

Budget Adoption Hearing Notification – July 11, 2017


The official adoption of the Proposed Budget based on input from the community during a Public Hearing. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by July 15.

FY 2018-2019 Adopted Expenditure Budget

FY 2018-2019 Adopted Budget Worksheets

FY 2017-2018 Adopted Expenditure Budget 2016-2017

The most current budget for the fiscal year which reflects any changes in revenues and/or expenditures. The final revision must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by May 15. There are some provisions for revising after the deadline.

Budget Hearing Notification – October 24, 2017 or view a .pdf copy here.

FY 2017-2018 Adopted Budget Revision #3
FY 2017-2018 Adopted Budget Worksheets


The actual revenue and expenditures completed after the end of the fiscal year. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by October 15. There are some provisions for revising the file after the deadline.

Summary 2017-2018 Summary 2016-2017

The audited financial statements of the District completed with a narrative to help provide a greater understanding. This report is typically released in January of the following fiscal year.

2015-2016 2014-2015

Differentiation is the Key

The Extended Learning Program in the Vail Unified School District is designed to provide appropriate services for gifted students. Vail School District’s definition of a gifted student is a student who demonstrates an advanced learning ability whose needs cannot be met in a normal classroom placement without supplemental modifications. The program complies with Arizona State regulations regarding gifted students, and provides access and equity to students from the diverse populations represented within the district.

student working on ELP project

Our Common Language

The Vail School District is committed to providing a program for gifted students that is designed to aid in the optimum development of their intellectual, emotional and social abilities.  Recognizing that gifted students have unique needs, in our schools, we offer programming that is challenging and offers a more differentiated curriculum.  Modifications made in the curriculum for the gifted students will ensure they have mastered the standards and will provide extensions for students to perform, or highly perform on State standards.  An integrated cross-disciplinary program approach is utilized, where the content is more abstract, complex, varied and accelerated.

Contact Us

Contact Gifted Director, Christine In-Albon @ http://ehs.vail.k12.az.us/staff/inalbonc


The Vail School District uses the Cognitive Abilities Test to determine gifted eligibility. vote for women The Cognitive Abilities Test measures thinking and processing skills in three ability areas: verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal. Testing occurs a minimum of 2 times per year at each site. To qualify for the gifted program, students must score in the 97th percentile, or above, in one of the ability areas. Parents are notified in writing of the testing results and placement. Upon parent request, students may be tested again using the CogAT after one calendar year has passed between testing dates. Parents may also test their child outside of the District and test results will be accepted as long as it is a State approved assessment. See the state approved testing link.

Gifted Programs

Elementary Gifted Programs

We are committed to providing differentiated, in-depth, complex and accelerated opportunities for our ELP students. Our Extended Learning Program provides strives to to maximize student learning, nurture creativity, develop and enhance leadership skills.

ELP encompasses:

  • Guiding students who have been identified as gifted through a different level of learning
  • Utilizing standards-based curriculum and allowing students freedom to explore a deeper level of understanding
  • Providing opportunities to think creatively, critically and deeply through the use of projects and discussions
  • Socializing with and relating to peers

If you would like information on our ELP program at specific sites, please contact:

Desert Willow and Cottonwood Elementary: Liz Bradshaw bradshawl@vailschooldistrict.org
Mesquite Elementary: Paula Maxwell maxwellp@vailschooldistrict.org
Acacia Elementary: Terri Nangeroni nangeronit@vailschooldistrict.org
Senita Valley Elemenatry: Margie Dautrich dautrichm@vailschooldistrict.org
Ocotillo Ridge Elementary: Ellen Samuelsen samuelsene@vailschooldistrict.org
Sycamore Elementary and Copper Ridge Elementary: Karen Kershner kershnerk@vailschooldistrict.org
Esmond Station: Jenifer Campos camposje@vailschooldistrict.org

Middle School Gifted Programs

We recognize the unique and diverse needs of our middle school gifted population.  We strive to meet their needs through differentiation while supporting their social and emotional growth.

Our overarching goals and objectives for our middle school students are as follows:

  • think critically
  • question effectively
  • form connections and applications to real-world scenarios
  • take ownership of learning
  • communicate effectively

Programming at middle school embraces a well rounded, complex and varied curriculum. Our programming ensures our students are prepared for the rigors of high school and beyond. Program components may include the following:

  • Speech and Thetoric
          Art of Converation
          Socratic Seminars
          Rhetorical Analysis
  • Project Based Learning
         Passion Project
         Exit Project
  • Academic Writing
         PIECE (Point, Introduce, Evidence, Citation, Explain)

If you would like information on our ELP program at specific sites, please contact:

Corona Foothills Middle School: Mary Garcia  garciama@vailschooldistrict.org
Desert Sky Middle School: Rebecca Frericks  frericksr@vailschooldistrict.org
Esmond Station: Jenifer Campos  camposje@vailschooldistrict.org
Old Vail Middle School: Kristina Laborin  laborink@vailschooldistrict.org
Rincon Vista Middle School: April Hale halea@vailschooldistrict.org

High School Gifted Programs

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Cienega High School
Empire High School
Vail Academy & High School
Vail Digital Learning Program

About Us

Sodexo School Services provide the Vail schools breakfast and lunch program.

School Meal Handbook

School Meal Account Information

      • Prices for school meals are set by the Vail School District in accordance with federal and state regulations.
      • Families may obtain information about the district’s school lunch and breakfast program and apply for free or reduced price meals at www.vailschooldistrict.org or by contacting the student’s school or the district’s school food service office at vailfoodservice@vailschooldistrict.org or call Sheila Flores at 520-879-2015, Patty Filip at 520-879-3913, or Linda Millman at 520-879-2072
      • It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to ensure the student has money in his or her student meal account. A student meal account is delinquent if the account balance has a negative balance.
      • Because the district cares about the well-being of our students, students in grades K-8 will not be refused a meal, even if their student meal account has a negative balance. K-8 students with a negative balance student meal account will receive an alternate healthy meal. The alternative healthy meal will be charged to the student’s meal account that will affect the negative balance.
      • Students in high school will not be permitted to charge a meal if the student meal account has a negative balance.
      • Families may apply for free or reduced price meals at any time during the school year. Families are responsible for student meal account charges made before the free or reduced price meal application is approved – the approval is not retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Reimbursable Meals and Other Meal Purchases

For students with free lunch status

      • A qualifying student will receive one free school lunch every day that meets the USDA Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) guidelines.
      • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance.
      • Families are responsible for student meal account balance and charges that were incurred prior to approval of free school meal status.

For students with reduced price lunch status

      • A qualifying student, with a positive student meal account balance, will receive one reduced price lunch every day that meets the USDA HHFKA guidelines.
      • If a K-8 student’s meal account has a negative balance, they will receive an alternate reimbursable meal and the student’s meal account will be charged.
      • A high school student will only receive a meal if their meal account has a positive balance or if the student pays with cash.
      • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance.
      • Families are responsible for student meal account balances and charges that were incurred prior to approval of reduced price meal status.

For students with full price lunch status

      • If a K-8 student’s meal account has a negative balance, they will receive an alternate reimbursable meal and the student meal account will be charged.
      • A high school student will only receive a meal if their student meal account has a positive balance or if they pay with cash.
      • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance.

School Meal Account Payments

      • We encourage families to make payments for school meals through MealTime Online or at the school with cash or check. There is a nominal fee for using the MealTime Online payment option. This fee is a processing fee and does not benefit the District. Payments through MealTime Online may take 1-2 business days to reflect the credit.
      • By using MealTime Online, you can review the student’s purchase history and school meal account balance and make payments. You can also apply for free or reduced price meal status.
      • The District will send out low balance and negative account balance reminders using an automated telephone call through School Messenger and by email.
      • Parents/guardians can request a restriction on the student’s meal account by emailing vailfoodservice@vailschooldistrict.org. You can restrict or deny the purchase of a la carte items, limit the daily transactions, or set a dollar cap on the student’s daily school meal purchases.
      • Payments for elementary and middle school students will be accepted at school. Payments for high school students will be accepted either by the kitchen manager or at the point of sale. Payments should clearly indicate the account to which the funds should be credited, e.g., if a parent/guardian has multiple children at one school the payment must indicate which student’s account should be credited and the amount to be credited to that student’s account.
      • The school will credit meal payments to student’s accounts before the meal period. Schools will apply payments to the purchase of the current day’s meal first, and payment to the negative or delinquent account balance second.
      • Personal checks will not be accepted from parents/guardians who have previously provided a check that was returned from their bank for any reason, including insufficient funds. If the parent/guardian with a returned check does not provide reimbursement in cash or by money order within seven (7) business days from the date of notice, the matter will be referred to District Administration.
      • The district’s school meal program is subject to federally mandated cost principles which state that bad debts, including losses arising from uncollectable accounts and related collection and legal costs are unallowed, meaning the school district is prohibited from extending a line of credit for a negative student meal account.
      • Accordingly, the district must use all reasonable collection efforts, including the use of a collection agency, in order to ensure that parents/guardians pay for their students’ school meals.

Identification and Notification of Delinquent Student Meal Accounts

      • Schools will identify student meal accounts that do not have adequate balances to pay for student meals. Before the end of each school day, the school’s kitchen manager will run a negative account balance report and provide a copy to the school principal.
      • Parents/guardians will be notified with the District’s in-house email notification system, School Messenger, when their students’ meal account has a low balance and/or when the student meal account has a negative balance.
      • The district will also personally call the parent(s) or guardian(s) and/or send letters when the student’s meal account becomes delinquent (has a negative balance), the parent/ guardian must respond to the phone call and/or letter within seven (7) business days.
      • Accounts that are delinquent by $35.00 or more and/or the parent(s) or guardian(s) have not responded to the district’s phone calls and/or letters, will be sent a final written notice to bring the student’s meal account current. The final notice will inform the parent/guardian that if the student’s meal account balance is not brought current, the account will be sent to a collection agency.
      • If the student’s meal account is sent to a collection agency, the parent(s) or guardian(s) will be responsible for the collection costs, including but not limited to, the delinquent student’s meal account amount, collection agency fees, attorney fees, and court costs.
      • If an account is delinquent at the end of the school year the delinquent amount will be rolled over to the next school year. The district may withhold a student’s grade or report card, at the principal’s discretion, until a negative student meal account balance is brought current.
      • If a student repeatedly does not have money in his or her student meal account, and no meals are sent from home for the student, school administration will consider circumstances in the home and may contact the district’s student services staff and/or the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS).
      • For any questions concerning negative balances, delinquent student meal accounts, or for assistance with the free or reduced price meal application please contact Vail School District Food Services at vailfoodservice@vailschooldistrict.org or call Sheila Flores at 520-879-2015, Patty Filip at 520-879-3913, or Linda Millman at 520-879-2072.

School Procedures for Students with Insufficient or Negative Account Balances

      • Kitchen staff and school employees will exercise sensitivity and confidentiality in serving students who have low or negative balance student meal accounts. No district employee will subject a student to embarrassment or humiliation based on the balance of his or her student meal account.
      • If a student’s meal account balance is inadequate to pay for the entire meal, the school will provide K-8 students with a healthy alternative to the menued school lunch and the meal account will be charged. High school students will not be permitted to charge any part of a student meal if the charge will result in a negative balance

Requesting a Refund

      • If a student has withdrawn from school, parents/guardians may submit a written request to the district’ food service department for a refund of any money remaining in their child’s meal account. Please email Vail foodservice@vailschooldistrict.org.
      • If a student is graduating or leaving the district, parents/guardians may contact the district’s food service department for meal account balances, and to request a refund. Any unused balance can also be transferred to a sibling’s meal account upon request.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

      • No person shall, on the basis of race, color national origin, age, gender, disability, sex, religion, reprisal, or income, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any child nutrition program or activity.
      • There will be no physical segregation of, nor any discrimination against, any student because of his or her inability to pay the full price of the student meal, or due to his or her eligibility for free or reduced price meals.
      • The names of students eligible to receive free or reduced price meals shall not be published, posted, or announced in any manner, and there shall be no overt identification of any such students by any means.
      • No district employee may deny a meal benefit to any child as a disciplinary action

Print a copy of the handbook.

Lunch Prices

Elementary Schools Middle Schools CHS, EHS and APHS
Breakfast $1.10 Breakfast $1.25 Breakfast $1.50 Breakfast (K-5) $1.10 (6-12) $1.25
Lunch $2.55 Lunch $2.70 Lunch $2.95 or $3.60 Lunch (K-5) $2.55 (6-8) $2.70 (9-12) $2.95

The price of a meal includes milk. Milk may also be purchased separately for children bringing their own lunch ($.55).

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Summer Food Service Program

Summer is coming soon. You may be thinking about what your child will do for meals while school is out. The good news is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture partners in your local community to serve free meals. It’s food that’s in, while school is out. There are no income requirements, and any child under age 18 may come to eat.

Here is information about your local Summer Food site:

Clements Recreation Center              8155 E Poinciana Dr, Tucson AZ 85730
Mon-Fri     Breakfast 7:45 – 8:30 am     Lunch 11:45 – 12:30 pm

Dunham Elementary School             9850 E 29th St, Tucson AZ 85748
Mon-Fri     Breakfast 8:00 – 8:30 am     Lunch 12:00 – 12:30 pm

Littletown Recreation Center            6465 S Craycroft Rd, Tucson AZ 85706
Mon-Fri     Breakfast 7:30 – 8:30 am     Lunch 11:15 – 12:30 pm

Ford Elementary School                     8001 E Stella, Tucson AZ 85730
Mon-Fri     Breakfast 7:30 – 8:00 am     Lunch 12:00 – 12:30 pm

For more information about the national Summer Food Service Program, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/summer.

Lift Off


Find complete menus here.

Online Payment

Lunches may be paid for on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Online payment and student account information is available at https://www.mymealtime.com/signin.aspx. Questions may be directed to Linda Millman @ 879.2072, Patty Filip @ 879.3913, or Sheila Flores @ 879.2015.  You may also fax inquiries to 879.2078.

Free and  Reduced Lunch

Complete a Free and Reduced Price School Meals Household Application.  All questions can be directed to Linda Millman @ 879.2072 or Cynthia Griego @ 879.2015.

District Catering

Sodexo School Services also provides catering services to the district. Contact Danelle Harrelson for your catering needs at 520.879.2081 or harrelsond@vailschooldistrict.org.

Collaboration is Key

      • Student doing class workSpecial Education staff partner with General Education staff to design instruction at their home school that meets student needs
      • Inclusion Specialists, Resource Teachers, Behavior Specialists and General Education Teachers work together with families to develop IEP goals with a focus on student achievement.
      • Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapist provide quality school based services as identified by the student’s IEP team.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Our Common Language

Our Students

Special education teachers and paraprofessionals partner closely with general education teachers and members of the school community. We very much believe in a team approach to supporting students with disabilities. Given that we believe in this team approach, students who receive special education services are all “our” students. We all have ownership in providing services and supports that meet the individual needs of each student.

Assumed Competence

In Vail, we start with the assumption that all of our students are competent and capable of learning and engaging in daily activities at school. Doing this allows us to target specific areas where we need to provide support to students with disabilities. This also allows us to foster independence and appropriately challenge our students

Meeting Students’ Needs

Vail is unique in the sense that we provide services centered around what each individual student needs. For example, we do not have classrooms for students with autism. Instead, we provide what each individual student needs at their school.

Targeted Support

This phrase is closely tied to the idea of Assumed Competence. Students who need and receive support from paraprofessionals, peer mentors and other members of the school staff receive that support for very specific purposes. Assuming that students are capable of learning allows us to target the specific areas where each student needs support and allows them to be independent and demonstrate their strengths.

Life Skills Classroom

Our students receive instruction in several classrooms and locations on each campus. In Vail, Life Skills classrooms are available for targeted interventions and for teaching specific life skills on an as-needed basis.

Join Our Team

A Message from the Superintendent

Calvin BakerVail is known for the strength of its academic programs. Our school district is among the very top-rated districts in the State. Every school in Vail that is eligible to be an A+ school is one. And, over 100 school districts across Arizona and into Alaska, California, Idaho, Kentucky, and Wyoming subscribe to Beyond Textbooks, a program that makes it possible for us to share our successful and proven instructional strategies and materials.

What truly sets Vail apart, however, is our connections to our community and our commitment to serve parents.

We practice our motto: “Where Education is a Community Effort.” Every year, we celebrate student achievement and our community connections with Vail Pride Day, a huge district-wide series of events and displays at the Pima County Fairgrounds. We work closely with other community organizations, including service groups, chambers, and churches. Every school has a volunteer coordinator who has the responsibility of welcoming and connecting volunteers to each school.

Our mission statement clearly states our responsibility to serve the parents of the students who attend our schools. We understand parents are the primary educators and deeply value their involvement and input. Every school has an elected site council with a chair and majority of voting members who are parents. And, Vail provides parents with the important power of choice. We are the largest district in the State with no attendance boundaries for our five high schools. We also provide parents with a significant number of district-run charter schools and other choices at the K-8 level.

Our purpose is to provide parents with great educational opportunities for their children and our role is to serve.

Calvin Baker

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Curriculum and Assessment

In the Vail School District we have clearly identified what students will learn at each grade level. These topics of study are aligned with both the State standards and the State assessments. Testing does not exist as an isolated event. Rather, it provides teachers with valuable information to inform and guide instruction and provides students with an opportunity to show all that they have learned.

Assessment Calendars

Megan Cloud's Chimes

Professional Development

Vail is known throughout Southern Arizona both for the comprehensiveness as well as the quality of its staff development programs. Indeed, ongoing staff development is endemic to the culture of Vail, which takes pride in never settling for the status quo in educational practices.

Support Systems for Teachers New in Vail

First year teachers receive New Teacher Induction (NTI) along with Cognitive, Literacy, and Math Coaching. Second year teachers receive continued NTI and Cognitive Coaching.

New Teacher Induction Program
Cognitive, Literacy, and Math Coaching

Leader Development

Leadership positions available for teachers include: Instructional Team Leaders; Cognitive Coaches; Literacy and Math Coaches; Curriculum Management Team; District Formative Assessment Team; Technology Advisory Team; Science Fair Coordinators; Art, Music, and P.E. Coordinators; Benchmark Review Team, and Curriculum Committees.

Teachers are also eligible for Educational Enrichment Plans (EEP’s) where they can create new programs to enrich students’ experiences. Further, teachers who are interested in pursuing a principal’s certification may do so through the NAU Vail Cohort.

Employee Educational Program (EEPs)
NAU Cohort

Ongoing Support Systems

      • Half Day In-Services at the Sites
      • District Level In-Services
      • Site Approved and Site-Funded Conferences

Opportunities for Classified Staff

Vail Classified Academy

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

To learn all about Career and Technical Education according to the Arizona Department of Education, please click here.

Joint Technical Education District (JTED)

JTED LogoJTED Mission Statement:

We deliver premier career and technical education in partnership with business, industry and community stakeholders.


Guiding Educational Philosophy:
• Upgrading and enhancing existing courses and programs in participating districts.
• Expanding the options and rigor of courses available to students.
• Providing innovative training for students to enter the Southern Arizona workforce.
• Providing a community resource to enhance career skills and improve employability options.

JTED courses are open to all public, charter, private, and home school students who are eligible to attend high school. You’ll find many opportunities to pursue your career and college goals at satellite locations on high school campuses throughout Pima County, at Pima Community College, and the Central Campus Learning Facilities, Programs & Classes.

Courses are available at little or no cost to students at various locations around Pima County including schools in our district:

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Cienega High School
Empire High School
Vail Academy and High Schoo

To learn more about the Pima County JTED, visit their website at http://pimajted.org

In the Vail School District, contact Tiffany Guenther, at (520) 879 – 2043 or email guenthert@vailschooldistrict.org

CTE Vision and Mission


Ensure a dynamic workforce by fully developing every student’s career and academic potential.


Prepare Arizona students for workforce success and continuous learning.

College and Career Readiness

College and Career Readiness provides a graduating high school student the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the education and/or postsecondary job training needed for his/her chosen career (i.e. community college, university, tech/vocational program, apprenticeship, or significant on-the-job training). An essential component of this outcome is for students to learn about their own interests and skills, career options, finances, and post-secondary learning options.

Thus, students should select a rigorous course load consisting of core as well as elective and/or Career and Technical Education subjects that are part of a well-rounded education. Students should also be engaging in multiple community and work opportunities which expand on their interests and allow them opportunities to acquire experiences that will guide them towards selecting a career.

At each of our high schools, VSD provides access to the courses, experiences, and supports needed for our students to succeed in their chosen career.

Print the Vail School District College Handbook.

Read more about Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.

School Contacts for College and Career Readiness

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Vanessa Hall

Visit our website at: http://class.vail.k12.az.us/aphsacademicadvising/

Cienega High School
Dainah Graham

Visit our website at: http://chsstaff.vail.k12.az.us/~tritzj/

Empire High School
Tara Zook

Visit our website at: http://class.vail.k12.az.us/zookt/

Pantano High School
Monica Wright

Vail Academy and High School
Michael Gutman

Visit our website at: http://class.vail.k12.az.us/vahs-counseling/

Vail Digital Learning Program
John Roberts

What We Do

Under the leadership of CIO Matt Federoff, Vail’s IT Department has grown from a handful of technologists to 28 full-time staff. Site technology coordinators provide technical and instructional support at each of our schools. Our district repair team keeps the thousands of devices on our network up and running led by supervisor Steve Lee. At the District Office, our Student Data Team protects the integrity of our student information and ensures that Vail gets full funding from the state for every enrollment. Our district web-master, Robbin Klinger-McGee works closely with multiple departments to keep our internet presence relevant, up-to-date, and beautiful.

Leader in Education Technology

Vail’s Technology Department has established a tradition of excellence that stretches across multiple decades. The number of ed-tech “firsts” that were created in Vail include:

1999 – Grades and Attendance online in real time (first in Arizona)

2003 – Wireless networking at all schools (first in Arizona)

2005 – Empire High School, Arizona’s first “1-1” laptop high school, and the first “textbook-free” high school in the US.

2008 – Beyond Textbooks Digital Content Initiative

2009 – Arizona’s first “Bring Your Own Device” initiative

2010 – WiFi Equipped school buses (first public school district in the world to do so)

2010, 2012 – Second and third “1-1” high schools opened

2013 – All Vail high schools provide “1-1” laptop for every student

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Vail’s Worldwide Technology Headlines

Vail technology has made the front page of the New Times not just once, but twice. Thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world have come to learn about Vail’s IT processes and leadership philosophy.

Countless articles have been written in various ed-tech journals regarding various Vail technology initiatives:

Digital Content and Curriculum Awards Announced

VUSD is Awarded the 2011 Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology

As Classrooms Go Digital, Textbooks May Become History

WI-FI Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall

School Buses Now Take Wireless Internet For A Ride

Left To Their Own Devices

Free At Last

Students’ Prayers Answered: No Books

US school swaps books for bytes


About Us

Welcome to the Vail School District Transportation Department where “Safety is Not Negotiable.”| Read More


School, Bus Route, and Attendance Boundaries

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Help Desk Now Open! We are here to help! Call 520.879.2497


A Little Bus History

A story relayed to us by Superintendent Calvin Baker

Little School BusIt was about 17 years ago that the Superintendents of the Vail School District (Cal Baker) and the Continental School District (Steve McAllister) were on an extended bike ride.  The two friends were discussing the usual common school issues when the Continental Superintendent mentioned that he had a bus that Continental didn’t need any longer. Mr. Baker, always on the lookout for transportation needs and a good deal, offered to buy the bus.  As often happens many corporate deals are struck outside the board room and, in this case, a plan was hatched for Vail to acquire the vehicle. Unfortunately, there are no provisions in the State Budget laws that allow the exchange of cash between school districts.  After substantial research and wrestling with legal issues, the two Superintendents found a way to“cut a deal”.

In 1992 the Vail School District took possession of Bus 21, a 1982 Chevrolet – 40 passenger school bus.  The Bus was acquired in a trade for a Macintosh Performa Computer.  That’s right a computer!

Now the rest of the story:

Bus 21 is (as near as our research can prove), the only 1982 Chevrolet, 40 passenger school bus currently operational, anywhere.  The bus has been detailed and is used in car shows, and community functions on a regular basis.

We wonder where the computer is?


Rules and Policies

Bus Rules and Expectations

Arizona statutes do not mandate pupil transportation in this state. School bus transportation is provided as a courtesy and is a privilege, not a right. If a student’s conduct is such that the health, safety, comfort, or the well-being of others is jeopardized, on or off the bus, a school district official may deny the privilege of riding the bus. The school bus driver is in charge of the bus and all its passengers and has total authority and responsibility. Only designated transportation officials are authorized to suspend transportation privileges.

General Bus Policies
Student Responsibilities
While Waiting for the Bus
Boarding and Disembarking from the School Bus
Student Conduct on the School Bus
Bus Misconduct Referral Policy and Procedures
School Site Walking Boundary Regulations