“It’s an exciting time and things are happening,” Globe Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Jennex said.
In the interest of fulfilling its mission of “capturing hearts and empowering minds,” GUSD has made strides in preparing students for college and life beyond high school. Whether it’s preparatory classes in partnership with Gila Community College or participating in the robotics team, educational opportunities in Globe are better than ever.
According to Jennex there are “literally hundreds of students” taking college courses through a partnership with GCC known as the College Academy Program.
“Many will graduate with at least one year of college credits and some will have an AA,” he said.
To fund the program, the GUSD board and administration have continued to use the district’s financial resources to compliment and promote the program, implemented at little to no cost to parents and students.
Another win-win for the district has been a successful transition from semesters to trimesters.
The change has allowed GUSD to offer more electives for students, but an additional benefit is that there is earlier intervention for struggling students, which Jennex says is the main reason for implementation of the trimester schedule.
The policies implemented by the district have had the ancillary effect of raising the tide for Globe’s high school students.
“We moved from a D to a C in our state grade,” Jennex says. “It’s taken tremendous effort from Principal Bobby Armenta and his teachers and staff: We’re not satisfied but we’re going to keep pushing that rock like Sisyphus.”
There is good news in the teachers’ ranks too, as the GUSD is continuing its efforts to increase pay for all employees in the system. Thanks in part to the Red for Ed movement in 2018, district teachers are beginning to see bigger paychecks, which will also help the district recruit and maintain a full staffing compliment.
“This has been a tremendous year for teachers,” Jennex says. “The Red for Ed helped with a 10 percent increase, but we were already committed to giving them an additional $100 per paycheck, so some have received [as much as a] 14 percent raise.”
But the board and administration of the district has not done it on their own. It has taken a lot of effort from top to bottom, including GHS’s Principal Armenta and the principals of High Desert Middle School, Tejay Montgomery, and Copper Rim Elementary, Brian Peace, as well.
“Tejay is doing a great job,” Jennex says. “Upgrades to the auditorium have allowed us to expand its use, so we’ve been able to host community productions from the Summer Youth Musical Theater Program and the Globe-Miami Community Concert Association.”
Copper Rim and its principal Brian Peace are creating innovative programs too.
“STEM has integrated into the classroom and it’s been highly successful: robotics, science and math,” Jennex said. “We couldn’t do what we do without the leadership at our schools.”
The district is also working to upgrade and repair other facilities, such as the GHS gym, which was damaged last year by a pair of leaking heating units and has been working with community members to create additional facilities for external school programs.
“We’ve had a problem with the gym at the high school and it’s still a process,” Jennex said. “We’ll have the new floor installed this summer, so in late summer or early fall we’ll have a newly remodeled and freshly repainted gym.”
The district has also been working to revive the old stockyard south of town to expand FFA and 4-H opportunities for kids who don’t otherwise have access to livestock.
“That way, kids who don’t live on a ranch or farm can have the experience of raising animals,” Jennex said.
And just to add some cherries on top, the district’s robotics team is going to the world championships in Houston, thanks to $21,000 provided by Cobre Valley Medical Center, Freeport McMoRan, Resolution Copper and the Globe Miami United Fund and the district also has Arizona Rural Schools Teacher of the year in Sal Fiorella commander of the JROTC program.
“It’s a good time to be superintendent of the Globe district,” Jennex concluded.