The Marana Unified School District was handed out grades through the Arizona Department of Education. One of their schools is making big gains when it comes to their letter grades.

Tortolita Middle School is now at a “B” rating, prior they had got a failing grade.

“So, when I came here it was an A school in 2019 and we let it slide,” Robert Myers, math teacher at Tortolita Middle School said. “It just slid through a combination of things and [Shelly Vroegh] came in and said we are going to straighten this out and we all jumped on the band wagon we worked hard for it.”

The “F” rating on the heels of the pandemic meant everything in the classroom would have to change.

“So, when I came in 2019, we had been a ‘D’ three years in a row. And so then the state says if you’re a ‘D’ three years in a row, then you automatically become an ‘F,'” Tortolita Middle School Principal Shelly Vroegh said. “So, I came on board, and we just had some really committed teachers and I was here and in March, all of a sudden, it shut down because of COVID. and we still continue to do the work. And our teachers never stopped working. And we changed around everything. And it’s just been great. And so now this year, we’re a ‘B.”‘

For students it’s about learning in a good environment and having fun.

“I feel like the teachers are really good at teaching,” Neimiah Nichols said.

“I like that it’s a nice learning environment and I have a lot of friends here,” Dominic Decroti said.

The grade based on testing, graduation rates and proficiency in learning.

“I think we hold students accountable, but we also really care about our kids,” Vroegh said. “And if you care about them, and you set those boundaries, and have those high expectations, they always achieve it.”

For a full look at MUSD’s letter grades, visit the district’s website.