Tucson school opens with fewer than 25% returning teachers

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The beginning of a school year always gives students and teachers the chance to put aside everything from the last year And start fresh.

But one TUSD school's taking that idea to a whole new level.

As history teacher Derek Hamilton prepares his classroom for students, this five year veteran of Maxwell Middle School also gets ready to open a new chapter in the school's history, "There's a really good energy. There's a lot of young teachers that are coming up. I've been on a lot of staffs and this is probably the most enthusiastic I've ever been on."

Out of 26 teachers only six, including Hamilton, taught at Maxwell last year.

Last spring TUSD leaders told Maxwell parents it was time for a fresh start after the Arizona Department of Education gave the school a failing grade.

All staff members had to reapply for their jobs. Some decided not to return.

Out of the nearly 40 who did re-apply, only about a dozen school employees got their jobs back.

"I think its exciting. I mean it's every principals dream to start with a new staff, "Even principal Mary Quinnan is new to the school. She says this year, besides all of the fresh faces, she hopes a $500-million technology grant from the state will help turn things around.

"I think there will be a collaborative effort for creating a plan in helping students be successful," says Principal Quinnan.

"I was concerned about when the grades were really poor, so this year hopefully will be a good change," Rita Domagalski and her seventh-grade daughter had their doubts about returning to Maxwell in a transition year.  But, like Hamilton, They're hopeful this is a chance for the school to grow.

"We have the interactive whiteboards, they're going to have the small lap tops, I think it just makes a lot of what I do more accessible, more engaging," says Hamilton.

And as Hamilton puts the finishing touches on his classroom, the anticipation for this school year grows greater than ever before.

Maxwell Middle School students will head back to the classroom Monday.