High school graduation and drop out rates are two of the most impactful statistics affecting a school's academic achievements, said H.T. Sanchez, Tucson Unified School District's superintendent during an interview with Michael Chihak, host of Arizona Week.

"State scores are important, classroom grades are important, but what is really powerful...is the number of students who graduate, have a diploma, have that right of passage into the community," he said. "There are very little things that can be done without a high school education."

Teens who drop out of school tend to come from a background of very limited lives, and very limited opportunities, Sanchez explained. "Our work in education, the reason we do what we do, is for people to have opportunities, and not be limited."

TUSD's unitary status plan provides students with various professionals whose sole focus is to identify students' grades, their attendance, and their discipline challenges to work with them and their families, and hopefully close that gap.

"We want to communicate with them, and tie them in with resources (to prevent them from dropping out) that the district provides, as well as in the community," Sanchez said.

American Graduate segments were produced in corporation with Tucson Values Teachers.

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