John B. Wright Elementary is TUSD’s poorest school, measured by a 20-year 99% free lunch and breakfast rate. At 500+ students JBW is one of TUSD’s largest schools.
Surviving midtown Tucson, JBW is marked by grinding poverty from nearby mobile parks and section 8 apartments. Students speak 22 languages. Mobility is 55% meaning more than half the students beginning class each August have moved by the following May. 15% of students are homeless or have incarcerated parents. By any measure JBW students are struggling.
Despite the grim data points, JBW is thriving. For 5 years CFC has cradled JBW:
CFC supported amenities
- Half acre organic and productive garden producing crops for 90 families, improving nutrition and aligned with STEM lessons of optics, hydrology, geology, soil chemistry. And the kids love it.
- 750 sf greenhouse for deeper STEM lessons.
- A professional grade running track to compensate for budget cuts to PE.
- Child proof kitchen for farm-to-table cooking lessons as the federal lunch kitchen is off limits to students.
- Refurbished auditorium with black out shades, updated audio/visual and projection.
CFC’s focus has resulted in bringing a neglected school to the attention of business partners resulting in funding for 200 Legos sets each year and 500 STEM t-shirts. An onsite foodbank and clothing bank are maintained.
- Enrollment increased from 350 to 500 in three years. Low-income parents know JBW is a top choice for their children
- JBW is STEM proficient. CFC amenities have created strong ties to UA professors and events. JBW students are familiar with PhDs, careers, scientific process.
- Teacher turnover is extremely low measured against national or TUSD averages. 1-2 per calendar year out of 30. The teachers feel supported, acknowledged.
- Test scores have risen to B rating*
- Discipline problems greatly reduced. If children run one mile, they are better able to focus.
- Improved nutrition, lower obesity and more outdoor time in garden.