Two Tucson schools may face drastic personnel overhaul

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's called an 'Intervention.'  And it could end up meaning big time changes for two under-performing Tucson Unified School District high schools.

Tuesday night, Superintendent John Pedicone will ask the TUSD board for permission to evaluate the staff and make sweeping changes.

The Rincon and Palo Verde high schools may soon make a 'turn-around.'  A process to bring in new teachers and staff to raise academic achievement.

"The turn around model comes with money," said Luci Messing of the Tucson Education Association.

Messing says the schools would get a boost from the school improvement grant.  But the cost? jobs.

"Only up to 50% of the teachers may return so you know that 50% of the staff will not return," said Messing.

The question Tuesday night will be, do under-performing teachers make an under-performing school?

The answer varies depending on the student.

"I think it has more to do with the kids and they're not paying attention to the teachers, and some teachers might not really care so much," said freshman Katrina Mondesi.

"The teachers that we have, some of them are really great," said Beatrice Castro-Cortez.

The firing and re-hiring process might sound like a formality to the most talented of teachers, but Messing says the recent turn-around process at a TUSD Middle School dispels any notion of security.

"Out of all the teachers that worked at Maxwell, only four were rehired," said Messing.

It's a new beginning, with new funding, versus keeping the same staff.  Messing says focused professional development will save teachers and the school.

"You assess the data that says where you're not meeting student academic needs and you address those specific areas.  It's nothing new,"  said Messing.

If the board decides on the turn around model, teachers will have to re-apply for their jobs, and they will be considered for transfer to other district schools.