TUSD superintendent and PCC chancellor call for community cooper - Tucson News Now

TUSD superintendent and PCC chancellor call for community cooperation

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pima Community College students wrote their names for all to see on a pledge Thursday afternoon. That pledge was a commitment to complete the classes and programs they started.

"I can see my name on the board, kind of like a goal that I've made a commitment to the college, to myself," paralegal student Diane James said.

"It's a physical reminder that they've committed. This banner right here, basically if you signed it, this is going to be up all semester," Phi Theta Kappa officer pro tem Aaron Dinius said.

Pima's enrollment has dropped since last year. New chancellor Lee Lambert said that the numbers are now at pre-recession levels. But he also said that while the college must move out of accreditation probation, it must also improve the quality of its education. He said that the college must move out of the 20th century and into the 21st century.

"Students play a vital role in that. And then we, on our end, we have to be willing to listen to the information that we receive, be willing to engage in honest and open conversations about where we are, so that we can get to a better place," Lambert said.

The students on Thursday afternoon said that they understand they must still do their work.

"I do believe that by increasing our graduation completion rate, we could reflect very positively," Dinius said.

"We need to help each other at this point. We both have to commit, we both have to give to each other and any little bit that we can give will help," James said.

Tucson Unified School District superintendent H.T. Sanchez and Lambert met together with the public at the ward 6 Tucson City Council office Thursday afternoon. Both said that they are working together to make sure that TUSD students are prepared for Pima Community College as well as state universities, while PCC students are prepared for the workplace or state universities. Sanchez said that some scheduled evaluations of the district will help find other districts similar to TUSD that have succeeded. By speaking to those districts, information can be used in community meetings to help form a five year plan for the district.

"You take a look at the success, they're very successful. Why? It's because there's a common focus and it's not about putting out fires it's about looking and inspiring and putting fire in people's hearts, and so that's really what we're looking at as we move forward," TUSD superintendent H.T. Sanchez said.

Both men said that the community must be less fragmented and focus on where it wants to go.

"We have to put aside our differences and come together around our commonalities. Our commonalities are really about the future of our community and providing that future for our future, our current students and future students. And if that can't bring us together, then I don't know what will," Lambert said.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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