Friday, December 14, 2018

TUSD Rejects Freedom Center's High School Course

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 9:56 AM

  • Courtesy of BigStock

In the end, it wasn’t even close. When the time came for the TUSD Board to discuss the Freedom Center-created textbook for the high school course, Ethics, Economy, and Entrepreneurship, not a single board member had a kind word to say about it. And since the textbook and the course are inextricably linked, the board’s consensus opinion was the course will not return to TUSD.

[A Personal Note: For this post, I'm once again donning the blogging hat I took off recently. I'll most likely return to The Range in January, though I'll be writing less frequently. Stay tuned.]

A bit of history: Ethics, Economy, and Entrepreneurship somehow managed to sneak into the TUSD curriculum in 2016 as a yearlong course which fulfilled the state's economics requirement and could also be taken for dual credit at the University of Arizona. No one at the district knows how it got there (or at least no one is saying).

The Board is supposed to approve new courses, but they were kept in the dark on this one. Most of them first learned of the course's existence when I wrote an article about it in the print edition of the Weekly in October, 2017. Since the school year had begun and students were already enrolled, the board decided to let the course stay until the end of the school year, then discontinue it. Possibly, they said, they would take a closer look at the course at a later date.

That later date was Tuesday, December 11. After the textbook was opened to the public for inspection and evaluation, and a citizens' committee was created to make a formal assessment of the book, it was time for the board to decide on the fate of the textbook and the course.

Continue reading »

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Friday, December 7, 2018

Thornydale Elementary Closing After 4-1 Governing Board Decision

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2018 at 12:49 PM

Thornydale Elementary
  • Thornydale Elementary
The Marana Unified School District Governing Board decided to permanently close Thornydale Elementary School, located at 7651 N. Oldfather Road, in a 4-1 decision on Thursday evening.

Enrollment at the K-6 school has been declining for over two decades, according to the district. In 1994 there were 733 students enrolled, compared to just 306 this year.

Officials said the decline was caused by a demographic change in the neighborhood, with fewer elementary school-aged children living there. There are no new home developments planned either. Only 192 students at the school live within the Thornydale attendance boundaries.

“In keeping with good fiscal responsibility, the district acknowledges that school district budget revenues are solely generated on a per pupil basis; therefore school enrollment is vitally important to the sustainability of a school,” Superintendent Doug Wilson wrote in an open letter to families of Thornydale Elementary.

The district spends about $2 million annually to keep the school running. At the meeting, Wilson said they spend about $6,468 per pupil at Thornydale, compared to $4,662 at the other elementary schools.

The students of Thornydale will be relocated to the neighboring Quail Run and Butterfield elementary schools. At the public meeting, parents of students enrolled at the school expressed concerns over the hardships of transitioning their children, many of whom have special needs.

Board member Dan Post gave the sole “no” vote, stating that closing the school was the practical thing to do, but not the right thing to do.

Board president Tom Carlson said that this was an extremely difficult decision to make, and that he understood the parents’ frustration. However, he said the closure of Thornydale would be for the greater good of the district as a whole.

Assistant superintendent Carolyn Dumler said all of Thornydale’s teachers, administration and support staff will be relocated to different schools in comparable positions, per district policy.

Following the decision to close the school, the board members unanimously voted to convert the Thornydale campus into a multi-use facility for the district’s Dr. Marianne Valdez Play and Learn (PAL) preschool program, the Extended Learning Opportunities Department, the Health Services Department and the Student Services Department.

The school is expected to close at the end of this school year.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Three Great Things to Do in Tucson Today: Monday, Dec. 3

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 1:00 AM

  • courtesy
REEL Rock 13. For this event, The Loft and Rocks & Ropes climbing gym have gathered the year's best climbing films for an extravaganza with enough mountains, ropes and alpine trails to give the whole audience vertigo. This year's lineup includes The Age of Ondra, about a 25-year-old Czech exploring "a new realm of human potential in climbing"; Up to Speed, about climbing in the 2020 Olympics; Queen Maud Land, about an elite team of climbers hoping to scale the remote frozen peaks of Antarctica; and many more. 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3. 3233 E Speedway Blvd. $15. Details Here.

  • NASA
Eos Planetarium Theatre Show: Black Holes. On Monday, Dec. 3 UA Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium is hosting its documentary on Black Holes. Take a dive into modern science and discover more of what scientists have learned in the recent years. With a fresh, new and updated theater you will be sure to be comfortable while your eyes are on the screen listening to the sweet voice of Academy Award nominated actor Liam Neeson! 4 p.m. 1601 E. University Blvd. Details Here.

Einstein's Legacy: The New Era of Multimessenger Astronomy. Enjoy the last round of the 2018 Steward Public Lectures and learn about the legacy Einstein left behind. Steward Observatory has been hosting public lectures since 1922 so if you're into traditions; this definitely is one. Free. 933 N. Cherry Ave. 7:30 p.m. Details Here.

Events compiled by Brianna Lewis, Emily Dieckman, B.S. Eliot and Jeff Gardner.

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Friday, November 30, 2018

UA Ranked in Top 25 for Research Funding

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2018 at 10:49 AM

  • courtesy
Last Tuesday, the National Science Foundation announced that UA is ranked in the top 25 for research funding. In the Fiscal Year of 2017, UA had $622 million dollars in research activity.

UA was ranked No. 23 out of all public universities and No. 38 for all U.S. universities, according to UA News. This also rates them higher than all other Arizona universities, and was discovered through the Higher Education Research and Development survey.

"University of Arizona researchers have had great success over the past year, both in their efforts to attract funding for their work and in the impact that they have in Arizona and globally," said UA President Robert C. Robbins.

This year's research funding was up nearly $20 million. According to UA News this put the university in the top 5% nationwide. The HERD survey also showed that UA was No. 5 in NASA funding, No. 6 in physical sciences and No. 1 in astronomy and astrophysics.

"The quality of our research is recognized around the world and it's because of the dedication and quality of our staff and faculty," said Kimberly Ogden, interim vice president for research at the UA.

For more information on UA research click here.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UA Ranked No. 92 for America's Favorite Charity

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 3:52 PM

click image UA was ranked No. 92 on America's 100 Favorite Charities, a ranking of The Chronicle of Philanthropy. - UANEWS
  • UANews
  • UA was ranked No. 92 on America's 100 Favorite Charities, a ranking of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy that identifies the top 100 organizations that Americans are most willing to support named the University of Arizona number 92.

UA was among only 41 universities and was the only university in Arizona on the list released Oct. 30.

The Chronicle calculated $215.6 million on cash support, money and stock received as gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations at UA in 2017.

The UA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that manages UA fundraising, has helped produce more than $3 billion in private funding since it began 60 years ago.

UA is one of 20 public colleges to appear on the list and twenty-one private colleges have made the Chronicle’s list including Harvard at No. 4 and Stanford University and Cornell University in the top 10 as well.

Top 10 for Cash Support:
United Way Worldwide: $3,260,274,867
Salvation Army: $1,467,750,000
ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Hospital: $1,314,189,700
Harvard: $1,283,739,766
Mayo Clinic: $1,140,619,378
Stanford: $1,110,664,853
Boys & Girls Clubs of America: $909,035,450
Compassion International: $819,417,089
Cornell: $743,502,739
Lutheran Services in America: $731,566,533

Data retrieved here.

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Party with the Pets at Pima Animal Care Center

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 1:34 PM

click image On Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) will be throwing Party with the Pets to give thanks to the community. T - PACC
  • PACC
  • On Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) will be throwing Party with the Pets to give thanks to the community. T
Pima Animal Care Center is throwing a party to give thanks to the community for making their new buildings possible and supporting the lifesaving work they do.

Because of voters who approved proposition 415 in 2014, PACC now runs a modern animal care facility that saves many lives.

Party with the Pets will be on Dec. 2 to from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include behind the scenes tours every hour throughout the event, activities for kids, music, giveaways, adoptions specials, a dedication ceremony and more!

The dedication ceremony will take place from noon to 1 p.m. with speakers including PACC Director Kristen Auerbach, Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Elías, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, Oro Valley Council member Rhonda Piña, Friends of PACC Chair Tammi Barrick and PACC advocate Laura O'Brien. There will also be a celebratory cake.

click image There will be activities happening all day including a petting zoo with PACC puppies and kittens and farm animals from local rescue partners. - PIMA COUNTY
  • Pima County
  • There will be activities happening all day including a petting zoo with PACC puppies and kittens and farm animals from local rescue partners.
All day activities include a petting zoo with PACC puppies and kittens with farm animals from local rescue partners, glitter tattoos of a favorite animal, painting a river rock for PACC Rocks Project, making treats for the shelter pets, making enrichment toys for the pets, an interactive NRPR’s Urban Wildlife Exhibit to teach you how to coexist with wildlife in an urban setting, Canine Fun Camp, Dog Play Groups and Pima County Public Library Bookmobile where kids can get a free book and sign up to read to PACC cats.

The scheduled events, activities and demonstrations include PACC trivia for a chance to win prizes from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., shopping for Fido and Fifi at 1:45 p.m. where you have to get everything for your pet at the store without breaking the bank, Cat Clicker Training from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn how to get your cat to give you a high-five and PACC Saved Me testimonials hourly to meet some of the “top save” pets and hear their story.

There will be information booths from PACC Volunteer, Animal Protection Services, Friends of PACC, PetSmart, Sheriff’s Department Crisis K-9's and Primavera Foundation. 

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Scientific Publication for three high school students

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 4:05 PM

  • University of Arizona BioInformatics

Three high school students who were in summer internships with the UA Bioinformatics Laboratory will leave high school being published scientific authors.

Usually only college students and graduates have the opportunity to be co-authors in scientific published work, but Liam Wilson, Wesley Chiu and Minsu Pumarejo each were able to complete a summer data science internship in a bioinformatics lab in the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics at the University of Arizona.

click image Dr. Yves Lussier (left) pictured with high school intern Wesley Chiu (right). - UA NEWS
  • UA News
  • Dr. Yves Lussier (left) pictured with high school intern Wesley Chiu (right).
Dr. Yves Lussier, director of the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Biostatistics and associate director of informatics at the BIO5 Institute, taught the three high school students in the bioinformatics lab. In just 48 hours, the interns were mentored on how to analyze medical studies and cross-reference their findings.

Wesley Chiu is a senior at Basis Tucson North High School and initially had an interest in biology. After the internship, Chiu said he learned more about databases, querying and their connection to the real world application.

"We have don't a lot of programing in class, but this has really opened my eyes to the possibility of integrating programming to solving problems affecting humanity right now," Chiu said.

Though the internship, the three students participated in a four year computational biology project that analyzed 'junk DNA,' an area of the DNA that does not produce proteins and where diseases can derive from. These regions of the DNA are still not completely understood and account for 97 percent of the human genome.

UA researchers analyzed the shared molecular mechanisms between diseases and found 398 new links among approximately 16,000 potential combinations.

The continuous work of Dr. Li and Dr. Lussier in this study has the potential to contribute new solutions of preventive and treatment plans for diseases, lowering healthcare costs and can decrease mortality rates for patients.

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UA Grad Named as One of 32 Rhodes Scholars

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 2:25 PM

click image Leah Crowder - COURTESY UA
  • Courtesy UA
  • Leah Crowder
Leah Crowder, a graduate of the University of Arizona, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. She is just one of only 32 recipients chosen from the U.S. to attend Oxford University on a full scholarship.

Crowder graduated in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Middle-Eastern and North African Studies. She has been working in Turkey since she was a teenager helping people displaced by political and cultural conflict.

The Rhodes Scholarship comes from a British Charity to honor the will of Cecil J. Rhodes, a 19th-century business magnate and politician. The scholarship is given to those who have shown a commitment and dedication to a betterment of the world.

Intellect, character, leadership, commitment to service and awareness of inequity are some of the characteristics that Crowder was chosen for.

Crowder will head to Oxford in the fall to pursue her doctorate in international relations. She also recently received the UA 2018 Global Excellence Award in recognition of her contribution to the field of global education and service.

Learn more about Crowder here

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Staff Pick

Pink Martini and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra

PINK MARTINI performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece,… More

@ TCC Music Hall Sat., Jan. 19, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Sun., Jan. 20, 2-4 p.m. 260 S. Church Ave.

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