Pima Butte Elementary received the prestigious A+ School of Excellence Award from the Arizona Educational Foundation.
It was one of just 52 schools statewide recognized this year and the only school in Pinal County. The award is in place for three and a half years. Earning the distinction, which has been around since the 1980s, was no easy task.
During a meeting of the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board, Principal Randy Lazar held up the 33-page application comprised of 53 questions requiring answers of 600 to 1,500 words each. It was completed over four months by staff and parent volunteers.
“It was a long, drawn-out process,” he said. “Not just a one-time thing. It was like preparing for the Boston Marathon.”
Superintendent Tracey Lopeman said the school was evaluated on student focus and support, active teaching and learning, climate, parent involvement, community building and leadership. The award, she said, spotlights successes “happening at Pima Butte every single day.”
Pima Butte Elementary is also an A-rated school by the Arizona Department of Education.
Lazar credited the hard work of his staff, pointing out many of the teachers had been with the school 10 or 12 years.
“For a school to remain successful, you need a consistent staff, and that’s what Pima Butte has had over the years,” he said. “Not only a consistent staff, a dedicated staff.”
He said many of his teachers were at school before and after classes, on weekends, during breaks and during the summer.
“All of their hard work has led to this award this evening,” he said.