Tucson education: PCC Earth Science Day; UA town halls; New technical school; AZ schools graded

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- More than 60 community groups and organizations took part in Pima Community College's Earth Science Day.

Students and staff at the northwest campus got the chance to talk to experts about astronomy, geology and environmental protection.

It also gave students the chance to talk to the groups about potential employment.

"We use this as an opportunity to educate students as well as the community-- as you cane see there are many people-- about science about the earth that we have to preserve for future generations," said PCC Northwest Campus President Alex Kajstura.

Pima Community College is expected to have another earth science day in the spring.

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- University of Arizona Interim President Eugene Sander hosted the second of four town hall meetings on campus Wednesday.

President Sander proposed the events to allow students and staff to ask him questions on his plans and the issues the university will face.

"The idea of being transparent as you possibly can with the people that are working with you is always the best policy.  We're a public university," said Interim President Eugene Sander.  "So why not simply get it right out front, take the mystery of what your trying to do."

The next two town halls are scheduled for November 16 and December 8.

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A new technical education school opened its doors in Tucson Wednesday.

The Pima County Joint Technical Education district celebrated the grand opening of their newest campus out on South Pantano Road.

The new facility has a culinary arts center with two state of the art kitchens and a dining room for students, along with a cutting edge multi-media conference center complete with a TV studio and computer lab.

"This is funded by the tax payers of Pima County separately.  We are a Joint Technical Education Disctrict and we oversee all 11 school disctricts in Pima County for the career in Technical Educational Program as well as  the programs in Rio Rico disctrict," said JTED Superintendent Alan Storm.

The new campus has 175 culinary arts students enrolled, and 80 multimedia students.

The programs are free and open to all Pima County high school students starting their sophomore year.

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- A new letter grade system keeping track of school performance in Arizona.  And Tucson's largest school district didn't rate so great.

TUSD averages a C. Across the state, more than half of schools received B's and C's.

TUSD Superintendant John Pedicone says the good thing about this system is it'll help them track progess moving forward.

"This is simply not acceptable. I understand it, it wasn't completely anticipated because we have a pretty good data an research department here but it speaks to the work we've got to do," said Pedicone.

Pedicone also points to circumstancial differences between some TUSD schools and higher performing schools in other areas.

Statewide only 297 schools earned an A.  No schools earned an F, as that will be reserved for schools earning three straight D's.