The staff at Pima Butte Elementary School will celebrate the school's first decade on Friday. Photo by Adam Wolfe

By Adam Wolfe

This year will mark the 10th year Pima Butte Elementary School has been educating the children of Maricopa.

Pima Butte, which is Maricopa Unified School District’s sole A-rated school, has been achieving excellence in education for a decade. The school opened its doors on July 25, 2005, with 300 students. It has since grown to 501 students.

“This is the sixth consecutive year that Pima Butte Elementary has been an A-rated school and we are very proud of that,” MUSD superintendent Steve Chestnut said. “This excellent rating is the result of a dedicated staff, involved parents and hard-working students.”

This success came in spite of Pima Butte having one of the highest student-to-teacher ratios in the city. In many classrooms there are close to 30 students. Since Pima Butte is one of the smallest Maricopa schools as far as space is concerned, the high number of students already enrolled limits the number of new students that can attend the elementary school. Despite this, Pima Butte’s reputation and achievements keep it one of the most sought after schools for parents to enroll their students.

“Student achievement is our No. 1 goal, and we have high expectations for all students,” Pima Butte Principal Randy Lazar said. “The Pima Butte staff work hard to offer every student a well-rounded, excellent education, along with engaging classroom instruction and exciting experiences.”

Lazar took over as principal

on July 1, 2013. The founding principal for the school was Janelle Lowey. She no longer works in the Maricopa school district, but her contribution to the city is reflected in the achievements of Pima Butte.

“Over the past 10 years, Pima Butte has been very successful for a number of reasons,” Lazar said. “One major reason is that Pima Butte has maintained a core group of teachers who are extremely dedicated to the school. We have nine teachers who have worked at Pima Butte for more than seven years. Five of the teachers have been at Pima Butte for nine or more years.

“The consistency of the staff plays a major role in the success of the school. We also have students who work hard each day to do their very best. In addition, over the past 10 years, Pima Butte has had very supportive parents. Between the staff, parents, and students, it has been a collective effort to maintain Pima Butte’s success.”

To celebrate the last decade, Pima Butte will be hosting a “family picnic and celebration” at the Pima Butte café on Friday. Invited guests will be able to enjoy music and movies from 2005, and a complimentary dessert.

Pima Butte Elementary opened in 2005.
Pima Butte Elementary opened in 2005.