COVID-19 Information – Updated September 20, 2021


District Services

Where Are They Now?

Beyond Textbooks Logo

What is BT?

As Vail moved from a school district of 500 students to a school district of more than 13,000 students, we labored and at times struggled to pull together and articulate all the necessary resources to implement the mandated standards-based curriculum.

Thousands of hours have been spent by our staff unwrapping, prioritizing and calendaring standards, and developing delivery and assessment strategies. The sum of this work is a district-wide instructional program we call Beyond Textbooks (see below for a detailed description). It helped us receive Excelling school labels across our school district. Now it is available to you.

-Calvin Baker, Superintendent

Contact Us

Visit our website at beyondtextbooks.org.

Contact BT staff here.

Coming Together to Improve Education

  • Over 100 partners
  • Impacting over 148,000 students
  • 300 Professional Development sessions a year for over 10,000 educators
  • Over 40,000 digital resources

BT Map 7-1-17

Chinese Immersion In Vail

The Vail School District proudly offers a unique and exciting opportunity for students to learn a foreign language – Chinese.

The District was approached by the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona, and a partnership was established to provide immersion for students at Mesquite Elementary. Language immersion is an educational approach, especially effective for young children, that results in second language acquisition.

Mesquite Elementary School earned the Confucius Classroom status through the Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona. More than 390 Confucius Classrooms have been established around the world. | Read More

For more information on Chinese Immersion, please contact: Diane Vargo, Mesquite principal at vargod@vailschooldistrict.org.

What Does Immersion Look Like at Mesquite?

Mesquite’s Chinese Immersion Program is a Partial Immersion Program as 50% of its instructional delivery occurs in Chinese and the other 50% in English. Students will learn math and science in Mandarin Chinese.

There are two teachers at each grade level of immersion who work together to deliver this model. One teacher teaches math, science, and language reinforcement in Chinese. The other teacher teaches ELA and social studies in English. Instructional time starts at 7:45 AM and ends at 2:15 PM daily.

This program aligns with the District’s practice to provide parents with choices regarding their child’s education.


What is Immersion?

Immersion language learning helps children to learn a new language in the same way that we all learned our first language by surrounding them in a warm and supportive environment in which they are encouraged to use the language for everyday communication.

It is an educational model that provides academic instruction in English and a target language such as Mandarin Chinese. The goals of dual language programs are for students to develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in both program languages, to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, and to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of diverse cultures.

In total immersion programs, children learn their entire core curriculum (language arts, math, science, and social studies) in the second language. Partial immersion programs are based on the same principle, but a portion of the curriculum is taught in the second language.

What are the benefits of an Immersion Program?

Language education that starts early and involves children in daily communication and content learning provides children the opportunity to develop a second language as naturally as they learned their first language.

Learning a second language prepares students to communicate with more people and to compete in a global economy, where proficiency in more than one language represents a significant advantage.

Students will learn:

  • Increased problem solving
  • Utilizes right and left brain hemisphere
  • Enhanced Cognitive Skills
  • Increased Cultural Sensitivity
  • Second Language Skill
  • Globally competitive

Why Chinese Immersion?

Chinese is spoken by one-fifth of the world’s population and is ranked number one among first languages spoken. Learning Chinese will open many career opportunities for individuals who can acquire native-like fluency.

China has the world’s fastest growing economy and the world’s 2nd largest economy. It’s the world’s largest exporter of goods and the world’s second largest importer of goods.

Research indicates students are best able to learn another language if they are exposed to that language at a young age especially through an immersion program. Our country is growing globally, our students are the business leaders of the future and being able to communicate in the world’s most widely spoken language will be imperative to success.

Which grade levels are accepting students?

While the program is now K-5, we are accepting Mandarin Chinese speaking transfer students pending screening and kindergartners. Later grades will be added as students progress.

How are the kindergarten students selected for the immersion class?

Parents of incoming kindergarten students are invited to attend an informational meeting held in the early spring. Applications will be available at our front office and online.

Is this a gifted program? Are students prescreened or can anyone apply?

The immersion program is NOT a gifted program. The immersion program is open to any interested incoming kindergarten student and prescreening is not part of the application process.

What are the entry requirements?

There is no formal criteria for enrollment into the program.

If you live outside the Mesquite service area, you will need to complete and submit an Open Enrollment application. Forms are available here and will be accepted between December 1st and April 1st.

Full day Kindergarten Chinese Immersion is a fee based program.

Kinder classes are established the spring before they begin. Contact the front office for further details at (520) 879-2102.

Work for Vail

More Employment Information

Employment Opportunities

Vail is located near the eastern border of Pima County, Arizona, in the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert Valley. Just a few miles to the West is the city of Tucson, the 34th largest city in the U.S.

Staff Recruitment

The Vail Unified School District is recruiting highly qualified and motivated teachers, professionals, and support staff.

Join an Award-Winning District!

The Vail School District serves 1,900 employees dedicated to providing quality education and related services to more that 13,500 students and their families.

Vail Employee Benefits

  • Excellent Benefits Package
  • 3 Medical & 2 Dental Plan Options
  • Vision Insurance
  • Arizona State Retirement System Participation with 100% District Matching Contribution
  • District Paid Life Insurance
  • Paid Sick Days and Personal Leave
  • Wellness Benefits-Employee Assistance Plan, Free Flu Shots, Free Mammography Mobiles

New Teachers Receive

  • Beginning Teacher Mentors
  • Comprehensive New Teacher Induction
  • Staff Development Program
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Incentive Opportunities
  • Performance Pay
  • Technology Driven Environment
  • Priority for Childcare Services

Vail’s mission and guiding principles pave our path, reinforce our vision and provide motivation for each employee to do their job to the best of their ability. The underlying belief is that fundamentally, people desire to serve and be part of a community effort, something larger than themselves.

Relocation Information

Tucson is a growing metropolis in southern Arizona that recently reached the 1,000,000 mark. The Vail School District encompasses 425 miles and almost 40,000 of those residents. The district boundaries extend to the SE corner of Tucson and all the way out to the eastern border of Pima County. Approximately half of the District’s students live in the City of Tucson; the rest in unincorporated areas.

The Tucson metropolitan area is well-known for mild winters, dry desert air, low annual rainfall, and sunshine about 360 days of sunshine a year, more than any other U.S. city! The winter temperatures are around 68 degrees during the day; with an average January low of 38 degrees. The average July high temperature is 99 degrees; however, the mercury can top 104 degrees during summer months. Annual rainfall averages about 12 inches per year.

While it may feel like a small town, don’t be fooled; Tucson offers many of the amenities of a larger city, including arts, sports, outdoor activities, and resorts. This region is a natural playground surrounded by four mountain ranges enjoy hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Tucson is also one of only 14 cities in the U.S. with a symphony as well as opera, live theatre, ballet, and a Jazz Society.

The Milkin Institutes Best Performing Cities index gives Tucson an overall enviable rank of 14 out of 200 metropolitan areas, based on economic performance and ability to create, as well as keep, the greatest number of jobs in the nation. The metro Tucson area offers many employment opportunities. The University of Arizona is the largest single employer with over 10,300 employees and is ranked among the top 20 public research universities, while Davis-Monthan Air Force Base employs 8,340. Other major industries include natural resources and mining, construction, missile manufacturing, health care, and government.

The Tucson Association of REALTORS calls the Tucson area a stable market with attractive appreciation. New housing prices are generally less than in other major metropolitan areas. Diverse housing options range from 100-year-old haciendas to trendy downtown Tucson lofts to family-friendly master-planned communities– there is something for every taste, lifestyle, and budget.

Additional Links

Cost of Living Calculator

Tucson Visitors Bureau

Things to Do in Southern Arizona

Arizona Vacation Travel Guide

Rental listings in Tucson

For sale listings in Tucson

North American Moving Services: Packing calculator, moving guides, checklists and moving quote

Would you like to be a Substitute or Volunteer?

Substitute Information

The following are needed to apply as a substitute teacher for the Vail School District:

Questions? Contact Brenda Ross, Substitute Coordinator at 520.879.2080 or email rossb@vailschooldistrict.org

Be a Volunteer

Thank you for expressing an interest in being a volunteer for the Vail School District. We understand how important you are to a child’s education and community spirit.

The Vail School District values and appreciates your time!

Click here to complete an online volunteer application.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Current Employee Links

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Other Information

Employee Referral Incentive

Do you know a highly qualified, motivated individual who is looking for a great place to work?

Participate in the Vail Employee Referral Incentive Program and earn up to $500!

Refer an Occupational Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist, or Physical Therapist and you will be eligible for a $500 Referral Incentive payment.

Refer a special education teacher or high school math, high school physics, or middle school math teacher and you will be eligible for a $250 Referral Incentive payment.

Referrals for all other teacher positions will be eligible for a $150 Referral Incentive payment.

Referrals for bus drivers are eligible for a $200 Referral Incentive Payment.

Tell everyone you know to visit the Vail Schools website at Work4VailSchools.org to apply online for a teaching, OT/SLP/PT, or bus driver position and indicate on the application that they were referred.


Print this form and submit it to the Vail Human Resources Department

The Vail Employee Referral Incentive Program is open to staff currently employed by the Vail School District. District administrators and HR personnel are not eligible for participation.

New teachers and other professionals referred must sign their employment contract prior to an employee referral incentive payment is issued.

Contact the Vail Human Resources Department if you have any questions.
Ally Armenta, Human Resources Supervisor
520-879-2047  or armentaa@vailschooldistrict.org

Non-Discrimination Statement

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Vail Unified School District #20 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, genetic information, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its educational programs or activities. Inquiries concerning Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Section 504, and Americans With Disabilities Act may be referred to the Superintendent, John Carruth, Assistant Superintendent, Kevin Carney, 13801 E. Benson Hwy. Vail, AZ 85641, 520.879.2000.

Vail School District’s 504 Grievance Procedures can be found here. Print VUSD’s 504 Complaint Form.

Aviso de No Discrimination

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Vail # 20 no discrimina a base de raza, color, origen de nacionalidad, sexo, edad, religion, information genética, o discapacidad en la admisión o acceso a Si usted tiene preguntas o consultas relacionadas sobre Titulo VI, Titulo VII, Titulo IX, Sección 504, y la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades puede dirigirse al Superintendente Sr. John Carruth, Superintendente Sr. Kevin Carney, 13801 E. Benson Hwy., Vail, AZ 85641 520.879.2000.

ADA Compliance

It is District policy to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Vail Unified School District is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees and applicants for employment in order to assure that individuals with disabilities enjoy full access to equal employment opportunities.

If you are disabled and would need accommodations to attend a hiring interview, please notify the hiring authority at the time you are contacted to schedule an interview.

District employees should contact their Principal or Department Supervisor if you believe a reasonable accommodation is required.

If you have any questions regarding District ADA Procedures, please contact:

Lisa Cervantez
Chief Administrative Officer
(520) 879-2062

District Policies

To view Personnel Policies for the Vail School District No. 20 you will need to click on the link below, find Vail Policy Manual in the left column and then click on Section G Personnel.


Maintenance Department

We the staff and tradesmen of the Vail School District’s Facilities & Maintenance Department are dedicated to maintaining the District’s facilities and grounds in order to provide a safe, comfortable, and accommodating learning environment for our students, parents, faculty, staff, and community.

We work behind the scenes and beyond the view of most casual observers maintaining, servicing, and repairing the many mechanical, electrical, structural, and architectural components of the education process. We are a small group of thirty individuals who, as a team, are responsible for the everyday operation and repairs of the District’s facilities.

Complete your maintenance request here.

Facility Usage

Thank you for your interest in renting facilities from the Vail School District.

School facilities are available for rent to public agencies and to responsible and properly organized community groups for the purpose of education, elections, and civic welfare. All requests must be made at least one week prior to the scheduled event/activity and are subject to the guidelines outlined in the Vail School District Facility Agreement.

NOTE: School-related functions and events take precedence over rental requests from outside organizations.

If you have any questions about facility requests, please contact Rene Aguilar at 879-2457 or at aguilarr@vailschooldistrict.org.

Print the Vail School District Facility Agreement and/or Energy and Room Rental Fees.

To complete an online facility request, click here.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Custodial Department

The Vail School District custodial staff is committed to keeping and maintaining a safe, beautiful, and clean environment for all students, staff, parents, and community who make use of our facilities.

BSS Staff

Current Bids

Request for Qualifications #22-004-27 - Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) Services for Building Expansion at Vail Academy and High School - Due Date: September 15, 2021

Request for Qualifications
RFP# 22-004-27
MATERIALS AND/OR SERVICE: Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) Services for Vail Unified School District No.20, for Building Expansions at Vail Academy and High School (Project)
RFQ DUE DATE: September 15, 2021 TIME: 2 p.m., Arizona Time
SUBMIT BIDS TO: Calvin Baker Leadership Center
Attention: Tori Gamble, Purchasing Department
13801 E. Benson Highway, Suite B
Vail, AZ 85641

Print and/or View:

Request for Qualifications

Federal Requirements
Contract and General Conditions Between Owner and Contractor (Guaranteed Maximum Price)
Construction Management Contract Between Owner and Contractor

Invitation for Bid #22-005-27 - Irrigation Supplies for the Vail Unified School District #20 - Due Date: October 5, 2021

Invitation for Bid
IFB# 22-005-27
MATERIALS AND/OR SERVICE: Irrigation Supplies for the Vail Unified School District #20
IFB DUE DATE: October 5, 2021 TIME: 2 p.m., Arizona Time
SUBMIT BIDS TO: Calvin Baker Leadership Center
Attention: Tori Gamble, Purchasing Department
13801 E. Benson Highway, Suite B
Vail, AZ 85641

Print and/or View:

Invitation for Bid



The Purchasing Department must receive a vendor application and a W9 for every vendor before any purchase can be process. Please follow the instructions below. Any questions can be directed to the Purchasing Department, Tori Gamble 520-879-2028 or email purchasing@vailschooldistrict.org

*Be advised that a VENDOR will not be added without a completed W-9 form (to find the updated version, please click on the link listed below).

Please click here for the Vail Vendor Applicaiton. The W-9 can be obtained at the following IRS link https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf .

*Special Note: If this application is being completed for a bid or RFP, you must include it with your packet being submitted. It is a formal document to the solicitation.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.


The District creates and revises the budget throughout the school year. Once the year is completed, the District will prepare an Annual Financial Report (AFR) that will reflect the revenues and expenditures that occurred during the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). The format and submission deadlines for these files are governed by Arizona Revised Statues. The AFR is audited by the District’s auditing firm, Heinfeld & Meech (H&M). H&M then assists the District with the preparation of the Comprehensive Annual financial Report (CAFR). In addition to financial data, the CAFR contains financial analysis of District funds, a narrative with a description of the funds, District financial awards and demographic data. The AFR is also submitted to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) where it is compiled with other information to create the Superintendent’s Annual Financial Report (SAFR).

The AFR is also submitted to the Auditor General’s Office who compiles information from all of the Arizona Districts. The Auditor General’s Office uses the information from the School Districts to create the Classroom Spending Report. This report compares the spending patterns and achievement of each District by Grouping Districts into peer groups.

View Arizona Department of Education Budgets and Annual Financial Reports

All of these reports can be accessed in the table below:



Initial planned expenditures of the District based on anticipated revenues and defined Budget Limits. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by July 5.

FY 2021-2022 Proposed Expenditure Budget

FY 2021-2022 Proposed Budget Summary

Hearing Notification 7/13/2021






FY 2020-2021 Proposed Expenditure Budget

FY 2020-2021 Proposed Budget Summary

Hearing Notification 7/14/2020


FY 2019-2020 Proposed Expenditure Budget


FY 2019-2020 Proposed Budget Summary


The official adoption of the Proposed Budget based on input from the community during a Public Hearing. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by July 15.

FY 2021-2022 Adopted Expenditure Budget


FY 2020-2021 Adopted Expenditure Budget FY 2019-2020 Adopted Expenditure Budget

The most current budget for the fiscal year which reflects any changes in revenues and/or expenditures. The final revision must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by May 15. There are some provisions for revising after the deadline.

FY 2020-2021 Adopted Budget Revision #1

FY 2020-2021 Adopted Budget Revision #2


FY 2019-2020 Revised Budget FY 2017-2018 Adopted Budget Revision #3

FY 2017-2018 Adopted Budget Worksheets

The actual revenue and expenditures completed after the end of the fiscal year. This file must be submitted to the Arizona Department of Education by October 15. There are some provisions for revising the file after the deadline.


Summary 2019-2020 Summary 2018-2019

The audited financial statements of the District completed with a narrative to help provide a greater understanding. This report is typically released in January of the following fiscal year.

FY 2019-2020


FY 2018-2019 FY 2017-2018

The Office of the Auditor General serves as an independent source of impartial information concerning state and local governmental entities and provides specific recommendations to improve the operations of those entities. Below you will find links to the Auditor General’s reports for the Vail Unified School District.FY 2019
FY 2018 FY 2017

Differentiation is the Key

The Extended Learning Program in the Vail Unified School District is designed to provide appropriate services for gifted students. Vail School District’s definition of a gifted student is a student who demonstrates an advanced learning ability whose needs cannot be met in a normal classroom placement without supplemental modifications. The program complies with Arizona State regulations regarding gifted students, and provides access and equity to students from the diverse populations represented within the district.

student working on ELP project

Our Common Language

The Vail School District is committed to providing a program for gifted students that is designed to aid in the optimum development of their intellectual, emotional and social abilities. Recognizing that gifted students have unique needs, in our schools, we offer programming that is challenging and offers a more differentiated curriculum. Modifications made in the curriculum for the gifted students will ensure they have mastered the standards and will provide extensions for students to perform, or highly perform on State standards. An integrated cross-disciplinary program approach is utilized, where the content is more abstract, complex, varied and accelerated.

Contact Us

Contact Gifted Director, Christine In-Albon @ http://ehs.vail.k12.az.us/staff/inalbonc


The Vail School District uses the Cognitive Abilities Test to determine gifted eligibility. vote for womenThe Cognitive Abilities Test measures thinking and processing skills in three ability areas: verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal. Testing occurs a minimum of 2 times per year at each site. To qualify for the gifted program, students must score in the 97th percentile, or above, in one of the ability areas. Parents are notified in writing of the testing results and placement. Upon parent request, students may be tested again using the CogAT after one calendar year has passed between testing dates. Parents may also test their child outside of the District and test results will be accepted as long as it is a State approved assessment. See the state approved testing link.

Gifted Programs

Elementary Gifted Programs

We are committed to providing differentiated, in-depth, complex and accelerated opportunities for our ELP students. Our Extended Learning Program provides strives to to maximize student learning, nurture creativity, develop and enhance leadership skills.

ELP encompasses:

  • Guiding students who have been identified as gifted through a different level of learning
  • Utilizing standards-based curriculum and allowing students freedom to explore a deeper level of understanding
  • Providing opportunities to think creatively, critically and deeply through the use of projects and discussions
  • Socializing with and relating to peers

If you would like information on our ELP program at specific sites, please contact:

Desert Willow and Cottonwood Elementary: Liz Bradshaw bradshawl@vailschooldistrict.org
Mesquite Elementary: Paula Maxwell maxwellp@vailschooldistrict.org
Acacia Elementary: Terri Nangeroni nangeronit@vailschooldistrict.org
Senita Valley Elemenatry: Margie Dautrich dautrichm@vailschooldistrict.org
Ocotillo Ridge Elementary: Ellen Samuelsen samuelsene@vailschooldistrict.org
Sycamore Elementary and Copper Ridge Elementary: Karen Kershner kershnerk@vailschooldistrict.org
Esmond Station: Jenifer Campos camposje@vailschooldistrict.org

Middle School Gifted Programs

We recognize the unique and diverse needs of our middle school gifted population. Â We strive to meet their needs through differentiation while supporting their social and emotional growth.

Our overarching goals and objectives for our middle school students are as follows:

  • think critically
  • question effectively
  • form connections and applications to real-world scenarios
  • take ownership of learning
  • communicate effectively

Programming at middle school embraces a well rounded, complex and varied curriculum. Our programming ensures our students are prepared for the rigors of high school and beyond. Program components may include the following:

  • Speech and Thetoric
         Art of Converation
         Socratic Seminars
         Rhetorical Analysis
  • Project Based Learning
         Passion Project
         Exit Project
  • Academic Writing
         PIECE (Point, Introduce, Evidence, Citation, Explain)

If you would like information on our ELP program at specific sites, please contact:

Corona Foothills Middle School: Mary Garcia garciama@vailschooldistrict.org
Desert Sky Middle School: Rebecca Frericks frericksr@vailschooldistrict.org
Esmond Station: Jenifer Campos camposje@vailschooldistrict.org
Old Vail Middle School: Kristina Laborin laborink@vailschooldistrict.org
Rincon Vista Middle School: April Hale halea@vailschooldistrict.org

High School Gifted Programs

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Coming Soon!
Cienega High School
Coming Soon!
Empire High School
Coming Soon!
Vail Academy & High School
Coming Soon!
Vail Digital Learning Program
Coming Soon!

About Us

Aramark provides the Vail schools breakfast and lunch program.

Fun Facts

School Meal Handbook

School Meal Account Information

  • The National School Lunch and Breakfast Program (NSLP) offered by Vail School District adheres to all federal and state regulations. All student meals served meet the USDA Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) guidelines.   For more information visit http://www.azed.gov/hns/nslp/
  • Free or Reduced School Meal Applications will be available after July 1 at:

Please remember that a new Free or Reduced School Meal Application must be completed every school year.  The free or reduced meal benefit becomes effective as of  the date the new application is approved.  Student meal accounts are charged the full price of school meals each day until the application is approved.  Any charges incurred prior to the application approval must be paid in full.

  • If your child had an approved application in the Vail School District from last school year, the benefits continue for the first 30 days of this school year.
  • It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to ensure the student has money in his/her student meal account. A student meal account is delinquent if the account balance is negative.
  • Students in grades PreK-8 will not be refused a meal. If a student in grades PreK-8 has reached a negative student meal account balance equivalent to three (3) charged meals they will then receive an alternate healthy meal. The alternate healthy meal will be charged to the student’s meal account which will increase the negative balance.
  • A high school student will only receive a meal if their student meal account has a positive balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Prices for school meals are set annually by the Vail School District in accordance with federal and state regulations. For more information regarding Vail’s School Meal Program:

Reimbursable Meals and Other Meal Purchases

Free Reduced Paid
Breakfast FREE $0.30 Full Price
Lunch FREE $0.40 Full Price
2nd Meal* Full Price Full Price Full Price
A la Carte/Snack Bar* Posted Price Posted Price Posted Price
Additional Milk $0.55 $0.55 $0.55

*Item can only be purchased if student has a sufficient positive meal account balance or pays with cash

For students with free meal status

  • A student who has qualified for free benefits will receive one free school breakfast and lunch every day.
  • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Families are responsible for student meal account balances and charges that were incurred prior to approval of free school meal benefits.

For students with reduced price meal status

  • A student who has qualified for reduced meal benefits and has a positive student meal account balance will receive one reduced price breakfast and lunch every day.
  • If a student in grades PreK-8 has reached a negative student meal account balance equivalent to three charged meals they will then receive an alternate healthy meal. The alternate healthy meal will be charged to the student’s meal account which will increase the negative balance.
  • A high school student will only receive a meal if their meal account has a positive balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance or if the student pays with cash.
  • Families are responsible for student meal account balances and charges that were incurred prior to approval of reduced price meal benefits.

For students with full price meal status

  • A student who is required to pay full price for breakfast and lunch will need to have a positive meal account balance or pay with cash.
  • If a student in grades PreK-8 has reached a negative student meal account balance equivalent to three charged meals they will then receive an alternate healthy meal. The alternate healthy meal will be charged to the student’s meal account which will increase the negative balance.
  • A high school student will only receive a meal if their student meal account has a positive balance or if they pay with cash.
  • Second meals, a la carte and snack bar items are available to be purchased only if the student’s meal account has a positive account balance or if the student pays with cash.

Student Meal Account Payments

Payments can be made utilizing the following options:

  1. Debit or Credit Card – Contact Vail Food Service – Michelle Gibson (520) 879-2015 or Mary Filip (520) 879-3913. There is not a fee assessed for this service.
  2. Online at http://www.mymealtime.com. You are required to set up an account if you do not already have one. Meal Time charges a convenience fee for transactions.
  3. Checks and/or cash are accepted at the school by the kitchen manager or cashier at the point of sale. Please make checks payable to: Vail School District.
  •  The District will send out low balance and negative account balance reminders by email two times per week.
  • Parents/guardians can request a restriction on the student’s meal account by emailing vailfoodservice@vailschooldistrict.org. You can restrict or deny the purchase of a la carte items, limit the daily transactions, or set a dollar cap on the student’s daily school meal purchases.
  • Payment by check should clearly indicate the account to which the funds should be credited, e.g., if a parent/guardian has multiple children at one school the payment must indicate which student’s account should be credited and the amount to be credited to that student’s account.
  • Payments will be applied to the purchase of the current day’s meal first, followed by payment toward the negative or delinquent account balance.
  • Personal checks will not be accepted from parents/guardians who have previously provided a check that was returned from their bank for any reason, including insufficient funds. If the parent/guardian with a returned check does not provide reimbursement in cash or by money order within seven (7) business days from the date of notice, the matter will be referred to District Administration.
  • The district’s school meal program is subject to federally mandated cost principles which state that bad debts, including losses arising from uncollectable accounts and related collection and legal costs are not allowed, meaning the school district is prohibited from extending a line of credit for a negative student meal account.

Notification of Low, Negative and/or Delinquent Student Meal Account Balances

  • Parents/guardians will be notified by email through the District’s in-house email notification system, when their students’ meal account has a low balance and/or a negative balance.
  • The District will also personally call the parent(s) or guardian(s) and/or send letters when the student’s meal account is negative or becomes delinquent.
  • If an account is negative at the end of the school year the negative amount will be rolled over to the next school year. The District may withhold a student’s grade or report card, at the principal’s discretion, until a negative student meal account balance is brought current.
  • Accounts that are delinquent by $35.00 or more and/or the parent(s) or guardian(s) have not responded to the district’s phone calls and/or letters will be sent a final written notice to bring the student’s meal account current.
  • Kitchen staff and school employees will exercise sensitivity and confidentiality in serving students who have a low or negative balance student meal account. No district employee or food service employee will subject a student to embarrassment or humiliation based on the balance of his or her student meal account. Communication regarding low or negative student meal account balances will only be discussed with parents/guardians.

Requesting a Refund

  • If a student is graduating or withdrawing from the District, parents/guardians may submit a written request to the district food service department for a refund of any money remaining in their child’s meal account. Please email vailfoodservice@vailschooldistrict.org.


Statement of Non-Discrimination

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


De conformidad con la Ley Federal de Derechos Civiles y los reglamentos y políticas de derechos civiles del Departamento de Agricultura de los EE. UU. (USDA, por sus siglas en inglés), se prohíbe que el USDA, sus agencias, oficinas, empleados e instituciones que participan o administran programas del USDA discriminen sobre la base de raza, color, nacionalidad, sexo, credo religioso, discapacidad, edad, creencias políticas, o en represalia o venganza por actividades previas de derechos civiles en algún programa o actividad realizados o financiados por el USDA.

Las personas con discapacidades que necesiten medios alternativos para la comunicación de la información del programa (por ejemplo, sistema Braille, letras grandes, cintas de audio, lenguaje de señas americano, etc.), deben ponerse en contacto con la agencia (estatal o local) en la que solicitaron los beneficios. Las personas sordas, con dificultades de audición o con discapacidades del habla pueden comunicarse con el USDA por medio del Federal Relay Service [Servicio Federal de Retransmisión] llamando al (800) 877-8339. Además, la información del programa se puede proporcionar en otros idiomas.

Para presentar una denuncia de discriminación, complete el Formulario de Denuncia de Discriminación del Programa del USDA, (AD-3027) que está disponible en línea en: How to File a Complaint. y en cualquier oficina del USDA, o bien escriba una carta dirigida al USDA e incluya en la carta toda la información solicitada en el formulario. Para solicitar una copia del formulario de denuncia, llame al (866) 632-9992. Haga llegar su formulario lleno o carta al USDA por: (1) correo: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; o (3) correo electrónico: program.intake@usda.gov. Esta institución es un proveedor que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.

Lunch Prices

Elementary Schools Middle Schools High Schools
Breakfast $1.10 Breakfast $1.25 Breakfast $1.50
Lunch $2.75 Lunch $2.90 Lunch $3.10

The price of a meal includes milk. Milk may also be purchased separately for children bringing their own lunch ($.55).

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Curbside Menus

Online Payment

Lunches may be paid for on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Online payment and student account information is available at https://www.mymealtime.com/signin.aspx. Questions may be directed to Mary Filip @ 879.3913, or Michelle Gibson @ 879.2015. You may also fax inquiries to 879.2078.

Free and Reduced Lunch

Complete a Free and Reduced Price School Meals Household Application. All questions can be directed to Mary Filip @ 879.3913, or Michelle Gibson @ 879.2015.

Catering Information

We invite you to enjoy our warm, friendly catering service.  To schedule an event, please call Aramark Food Service Department at 520.879.2081 or 520.879.2065.  You can also email parra-marco@aramark.com.

The catering menu is attached for your convenience.


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Collaboration is Key

      • Student doing class workSpecial Education staff partner with General Education staff to design instruction at their home school that meets student needs
      • Inclusion Specialists, Resource Teachers, Behavior Specialists and General Education Teachers work together with families to develop IEP goals with a focus on student achievement.
      • Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapist provide quality school based services as identified by the student’s IEP team.

Governing Board Policy IHB-R
Special Instructional Programs

Identification and Placement of Exceptional Students

Public Comment Period Open January 6, 2020 till April 10, 2020

Please send your comments to:

Kathleen McNaboe
Director of Special Education, Vail Unified School District at mcnaboek@vailschooldistrict.org

The policy can be viewed here. Select section I-Instructional Programs and then click on IHB-R.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Our Common Language

Our Students

Special education teachers and paraprofessionals partner closely with general education teachers and members of the school community. We very much believe in a team approach to supporting students with disabilities. Given that we believe in this team approach, students who receive special education services are all our students. We all have ownership in providing services and supports that meet the individual needs of each student.

Assumed Competence

In Vail, we start with the assumption that all of our students are competent and capable of learning and engaging in daily activities at school. Doing this allows us to target specific areas where we need to provide support to students with disabilities. This also allows us to foster independence and appropriately challenge our students

Meeting Students’ Needs

Vail is unique in the sense that we provide services centered around what each individual student needs. For example, we do not have classrooms for students with autism. Instead, we provide what each individual student needs at their school.

Targeted Support

This phrase is closely tied to the idea of Assumed Competence. Students who need and receive support from paraprofessionals, peer mentors and other members of the school staff receive that support for very specific purposes. Assuming that students are capable of learning allows us to target the specific areas where each student needs support and allows them to be independent and demonstrate their strengths.

Life Skills Classroom

Our students receive instruction in several classrooms and locations on each campus. In Vail, Life Skills classrooms are available for targeted interventions and for teaching specific life skills on an as-needed basis.

Join Our Team

INACTIVE – Special Education Records

The Vail School District Special Education Office is in the process of destroying SPECIAL EDUCATION records for students who withdrew, transferred or graduated from high school four or more years ago.  We are required to notify parents or students, if they are 18 years or older, to give them an opportunity to review the records before they are destroyed.  If you believe that you or your child might have Special Education records and would like to review them, please contact Cindy Cahill at 879-2051 or email at cahillc@vailschooldistrict.org   

Otherwise, records are due to be destroyed on June 1, 2021.

Mental Health Guiding Principles



We respect all students and families and desire to make positive connections with them. Nurturing and safe school communities are the strongest commitment we provide to support mental health.


As a district we utilize PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), which enables us to support all students.


Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Office of the Superintendent

John Carruth

John Carruth

Letters to Parents

August 6, 2021 RE: 2021-22 School Year Update

August 6, 2021

Dear Parents,

The first few weeks of the 2021-22 school year are in the books. Our schools are operating on their regular full-time schedules and athletics are underway. We are optimistic that COVID-19 will cause minimal disruptions this year, but our reality is that the virus is still here.

We are experiencing an increase of COVID-19 cases in our community. In light of this and recent CDC guidance, I highly recommend each family consider having their children wear face coverings while indoors on campuses. In addition to protecting individuals from COVID-19, these measures also help prevent the spread in schools and keep classrooms open.

I also encourage each family to strongly consider getting vaccinated if eligible to do so. The Pima County Health Department will be holding vaccination clinics on some of our campuses in the coming weeks. Vaccinations are a choice – not a requirement. Parent authorization is needed before any child can receive a vaccination. Information on the vaccination clinics can be found HERE.

Parents in Vail continue to have many outstanding instructional choices this year. In addition to our traditional in person options, we have Vail Virtual Live and Vail Virtual Self-Paced programs for parents who prefer remote instruction at this time. Information about the virtual school options can be found HERE

At the June 8th governing board meeting, the Board took action making face coverings optional with the pledge to continue to monitor conditions surrounding COVID-19. At the end of June, the Arizona Legislature passed a law stating that masks and vaccines cannot be required for students, staff, or visitors in Arizona’s K-12 schools. 

The validity of the law is being challenged. We will continue to monitor the situation. In the meantime, Vail schools are required to and will follow all state laws.

Vail’s first guiding principle is, “We respect parents.” No matter what you choose for your family (vaccines, masks, in-person/remote), that decision will be respected. Further, in the Vail schools, we treat one another with kindness. At this time in the Vail schools, masks are recommended, and kindness is required.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Thank you for your continued support and trust.

John Carruth


April 30, 2021 RE: Mitigation, Board Meetings, Town Halls

April 30, 2021

Dear Parents,

I want to provide you with several important updates.

Mitigation Measures:

This past Tuesday, the CDC updated its guidance on outdoor activities. After consulting with public health officials and listening to comments from parents and staff, the following adjustments will be made to our mitigation policy.

Beginning on Monday, May 3rd, the mask policy will be adjusted as follows:

  • During outdoor activities students will now have the choice of wearing a mask or removing it.
  • All students K-12 must continue to wear masks while indoors and while riding district transportation.

All mitigation strategies, including those listed above, will remain in place for the remainder of the school year. Thank you for your help and understanding in finishing out the school year safely.

Board Meetings:

Due to an unfortunate series of events, this past Tuesday’s board meeting was canceled. That meeting is being rescheduled and will be split into two meetings next week.

The first meeting will be held on Monday, May 3rd at 5:00PM. The only agenda item will be a discussion of Vail’s mitigation policy which is set to expire on June 30th. Anyone wishing to speak to the Board on this issue may do so by registering at this link prior to 3:00PM on Monday.

All speakers will be limited to two minutes. The call to the public portion of the meeting may be limited to one hour.
The second board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 7th at 7:00PM. There will not be an agenda item on mitigation plans at this meeting. The agenda will consist of standard board business items. Information about the call to the public procedures for this meeting will be listed on the district website by next Tuesday.

Based on the advice from Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, both board meetings will be held remotely. We are working on plans to return to in-person board meetings as soon as possible.

Town Halls:

We are hosting the last in our series of four town hall meetings on Tuesday, May 5th at 6:00PM. At each meeting we are asking participants to engage with each other around two questions focused on next year and then opening the last hour for open discussion/questions.

You can register for the town hall here Capacity is limited to the first 100 people.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate the changing landscape of providing education to our children during this pandemic.

If you have any questions please email us at vusdcommunications@vailschooldistrict.org.


John Carruth

April 19, 2021 RE: Governor's Executive Order on Face Coverings

April 19, 2021

Dear Vail Families,

Late this afternoon, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order which rescinded the requirement that face coverings be worn in schools. The Executive Order also states that school districts maintain the right to institute and enforce mitigation strategies, including the use of face coverings.

The Vail School District has a mitigation plan that has been adopted by our Governing Board. That plan includes the requirement to wear face coverings while on District property or while at District functions. 

That mitigation plan remains in effect and is unchanged by today’s Executive Order. To clear up any confusion for tomorrow, our mitigation plan and face covering policy remain in effect until further notice. 

We are evaluating the extent of the impact of today’s Executive Order beyond what is noted above. We will keep you informed of any additional impacts or changes as they arise. 

Thank you for your continued support.

John Carruth

April 18, 2021 RE: Plans for Next School Year

April 18, 2021

Dear Parents,

The end of our school year is rapidly approaching, and we are deep into planning for next school year. Unless there are unforeseen events, it is our expectation that next school year will be a return to a full slate of normal schedules and activities. It is our intent to open the school year in July with full five day-a-week schedules across our sites.

For parents who prefer remote instruction, we will have four distinct options available through our Vail Innovation Center (VIC). One of these options will be Vail Virtual Live which will replace the current Brick-to-Click remote model. If you or anyone you know is interested in remote learning, please see the attached flyer from VIC.

As we plan for next year, we also want to hear from you. I, along with our Governing Board, will be hosting a series of town halls to have an opportunity to listen and get your feedback on critical issues moving forward. There will be three in-person town hall dates and one Zoom date. Due to space restrictions, we are asking you to please RSVP for the events. All events will start at 6:00PM. The dates and locations are as follows:

Thursday, April 22nd @ Andrada Polytechnic High School

Monday, April 26th @ Cienega High School

Wednesday, April 28th @ Mica Mountain High School

Tuesday, May 4th – Virtual via Zoom

Attached below is a flyer with additional details.

You can register here

If you have any questions, please respond to newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you,
John Carruth

March 5, 2021 RE: Governing Board Approves In-Person Instruction

March 5, 2021

Dear Parents,

At a special meeting of the Vail Governing Board yesterday evening, plans to expand in-person instruction were discussed and approved.

The following will begin on March 22, 2021:

  • All schools will continue with the current start and end times to the day. 
  • Elementary schools will return to in-person instruction five days a week. 
  • Middle and high schools will return to in-person instruction four days a week, Monday through Thursday, with Fridays remaining asynchronous.
  • Brick to Click instruction will continue for families who need that option.

More information will be coming from your child’s school regarding the specific details of these plans at their respective schools. If you have any questions after you receive those details, please email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued support. Please have a safe and wonderful spring break.

John Carruth


February 23, 2021 RE: Transition to In-Person Instruction

February 23, 2021

Dear Parents,

As conditions surrounding COVID-19 are improving, we are making plans to expand in-person instruction. 

The following is being considered with tentative plans to begin on March 22, 2021:

  • All schools will continue with the current start and end times to the day. 
  • Elementary schools will return to in-person instruction five days a week. 
  • Middle and high schools will return to in-person instruction four days a week, Monday through Thursday, with Fridays remaining asynchronous.

We are also planning to maintain Brick to Click instruction for families who need that option.

You can expect more details coming from your child’s school in the coming days regarding the specifics of these plans at their respective school. Your child’s school will also contact you regarding your preference for in-person instruction or Brick-to-Click instruction. 

Once these plans have been finalized, I will make a recommendation to our Governing Board for consideration. I expect this final decision to take place no later than at our regularly scheduled board meeting on March 9th.

If you have any further questions after you hear from your child’s school, please feel free to email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued support.

John Carruth


January 20, 2021 RE: Board Approves Return to Hybrid Instruction

January 20, 2021

Dear Parents and Families,

Yesterday afternoon the Vail Governing Board approved a return to hybrid instruction for all Pre-K-8 schools and Vail Academy and High School on Monday, January 25th and all high schools on Monday, February 8th. 

Parent and staff input was thoughtfully considered along with four important factors to make this decision including Pima County Health Department metrics (PCHD), guidance from PCHD, very low virus transmission rates on our campuses, and staff availability.

You can expect additional information about the return to hybrid learning from the principal at your child’s school within the next few days. 

Thank you.

John Carruth


January 18, 2021 RE: Update on Return to Hybrid Instruction

January 18, 2021

Dear Parents and Families,

After careful consideration I will be recommending to the Vail Governing Board that they approve a return to hybrid instruction for all Pre-K-8 schools and Vail Academy and High School on Monday, January 25th. 

In an effort to stagger the return, I will  also recommend that all high schools return to hybrid instruction on Monday, February 8th

Staffing schools with many on quarantine has been one of the most difficult challenges of the last several months. Staggering the opening will help assure we have enough staff, bus drivers, and substitute teachers to keep schools open. 

The Vail Governing Board is holding a special meeting Tuesday at 3:00 PM to discuss and take action on these recommendations.

If you have any further questions, please email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

Our strong mitigation strategies will continue to be used moving forward. Further, if someone in your household is sick with COVID or experiencing COVID like symptoms, notify the respective school and please keep your student home. 

Thank you again, for your continued support.

John Carruth


December 13, 2020 RE: Update from the Superintendent

December 13, 2020

Dear Parents,

The Vail Governing Board will be holding a special meeting Monday, December 14th. At the meeting I will recommend a temporary transition to remote learning for a three week period for all Vail schools starting Monday, January 4th. 

This three week period will allow staff, students, and community members who may have come in contact with the virus during Winter Break a period of time to quarantine before resuming hybrid learning. 

There was an increase in staff and students needing to quarantine after both the Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break. This increase often made it very difficult to staff schools. We hope to avoid repeating this situation by providing this temporary period of remote learning.

A final decision regarding the transition is pending Board approval on Monday evening. If approved, we plan on resuming hybrid learning on Monday, January 25th.

Navigating the changing conditions of this pandemic is extremely difficult. We will continue to monitor these conditions closely and make adjustments if and when necessary. 

We also understand that decisions such as this one impact all of you. Please know that they are made from a place of deep care for our students, their families, and our staff.

If you have any questions, please email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

We greatly anticipate the day when we can resume normal school operations. Together we will overcome these difficult times. Thank you, again, for your continued support. Please have a very safe and happy holiday season.

John Carruth


PS – We also understand the current crisis in hospitals and will make accommodations to support the community by continuing to provide child care through Vail Community Programs and Vail Inclusive Preschool for hospital staff who are parents in the District. Please contact Vail Community Programs at 879-2032 or Vail Inclusive Preschool at 879-1755 for more information.

November 25, 2020 RE: Update from the Superintendent

November 25, 2020

Dear Parents,

I would like to provide you with an update on where we are with regard to keeping our schools open for hybrid learning. 

Through all the changes during the pandemic, one constant continues to guide our decisions. We must continue to rely on public health benchmarks and guidance from Pima County Health experts to provide the safest learning environment for students and staff. 

Yesterday, we met with Dr. Garcia, the Chief Medical Officer of Pima County Health Department (PCHD). Now that schools across the county have been in hybrid learning for the past two months, they are seeing very low rates of spread (less than 5%) within school environments. Dr. Garcia stated that while cases of COVID-19 are rising in our community, it is largely being driven by small social gatherings. For these reasons, he continues to support hybrid learning as the preferred environment for schools to use at this time.

The health metrics from Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) also continue to support hybrid learning at this time. The PCHD and ADHS health benchmarks can be found HERE.

In Vail, we are also seeing very low rates of virus transmission within our schools. Mitigation strategies including wearing face coverings, health checks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing are working. When someone (staff or student) is exposed to someone who is sick, we are using quarantines to prevent spread and protect others.

You can continue to help us keep our doors open by exercising caution in regards to COVID-19.

The conditions of this pandemic remain fluid. We are watching closely and will make adjustments when conditions and public health advice warrant a change. We will also give you advanced notice so that you can prepare. 

If you have any questions, please email us at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

The Thanksgiving holiday always gives us a reason to pause and reflect on the things for which we are most grateful. I am very grateful for your partnership during this most unusual year. 

All I can say is thank you. Thank you to the Vail parents, teachers, staff, students, and community for the endless support, words of encouragement, and volunteer hours you continue to render on behalf of Vail’s students.

Please have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. 

John Carruth


October 9, 2020 RE: Fall Break & Next Steps

October 9, 2020

Dear Parents,

I want to personally thank you for your trust and partnership over the past seven months as we navigated one of the most challenging times in the history of our school district. 

During Spring Break 2020, I sent the first letter to you letting you know that we were preparing for the storm of COVID-19. 

Seven months later we stand on the cusp of Fall Break 2020. The world looks vastly different, yet our shared values have bound us together as we weathered this storm. We have leaned heavily into our motto, “Where Education is a Community Effort”. I am grateful for your partnership as we worked to provide an education and a sense of normal to your children and family during the most unusual of times. 

While the COVID-19 virus will play a role in shaping the conditions of what learning looks like over the next several months, I anticipate the most drastic changes are behind us now. We have created solid frameworks for remote and hybrid learning. And, when the conditions are such that it is reasonably safe to do so, we know how to do in-person instruction better than any school district in the state. 

After fall break, we will continue with hybrid and brick to click instruction. We will also continue to work closely with both the Arizona Department of Health and Pima County Health Department to determine when it is reasonably safe and stable enough to move into full in-person learning. 

It will be pretty quiet around the Vail School District over the next two weeks. I am encouraging our staff to unplug and get some much needed rest. If you have specific questions, please contact your student’s respective school, or you can always ask at: newschoolyear@vailschooldisrict.org.  

I hope you enjoy time with your children over the break, too. Please be safe and be well. 

Kind regards,

John Carruth – Superintendent

September 19, 2020 RE: Ready for Monday

September 19, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are excited to welcome Vail students back to our campuses on Monday. Although the hybrid model of instruction is new to us, we have worked hard to plan and expect Monday to be a great day.

Our parent survey results ended with 76% choosing hybrid instruction and 24% selecting Brick to Click. For parents who have chosen the hybrid option, it is likely the first time their children will be back on a school campus since early March. As such, we’d like to call attention to a few important details.



Coming to school feeling well (and staying home when not feeling well) along with wearing a face covering are the two most powerful tools we have in keeping our students and staff safe and our campuses open during the pandemic.

Wellness checks and face coverings:

  • Please make sure that your student is feeling well before sending him/her to school. A list of symptoms to be mindful of can be found here
  • Please have a child care plan in mind. Both students and staff will be required to leave campus when they are not feeling well and stay home until the symptoms resolve. 
  • Please make sure to send your student with a proper face covering. We will provide one if a student forgets to bring one or if you need any assistance with purchasing one. 

What happens if my student is sick?

We’ve created an overview video of what happens when someone is sick. You can view it here. If you’d like more details, you can view them here.

Changes for food service – Free breakfast and lunch!

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the US Department of Education has authorized the continuation of free meals for school age children. Please click here for more details. 

All of the information contained in this email is also posted on our district website at: www.vailschooldistrict.org 

If you have any additional questions, please contact your student’s school or reach out to us at: newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued trust in the Vail School District. Deputy Superintendent Debbie Penn was asked by a reporter if we were ready for hybrid learning. She explained, “we have worked very hard to prepare, and although it is new to all of us, our hearts are ready!” Thank you for your continued patience and partnership as we open the doors and iron out wrinkles along the way.

John Carruth


September 4, 2020 RE: Hybrid Instruction Information and Parent Survey

September 4, 2020

Dear Parents,

Last week we were excited to announce that the health metrics surrounding COVID-19 in Pima County are improving. Assuming the metrics continue to improve, we are still targeting September 21st as the date when we will move to the next phase of opening schools – the hybrid phase. 

The purpose of the hybrid phase is to welcome students on campus, but physically distanced as much as possible and/or keep them in the same groups throughout the day. This is made possible by the reassigning and restructuring of classes and teachers.

Under the hybrid phase, parents who did NOT choose the Vail Innovation Center for the first semester will have two choices for their students:

  1. Hybrid – Partially In-Person/Partially Remote (with modified schedules)
  2. Brick to Click* – Remote Instruction Connected to Your School

These two options will look a little different at each level.

Vail Inclusive Preschool: See note below**


  • Hybrid: 4 days of on campus learning, a shortened school day, one hour of at-home learning each of the 4 days, and independent learning on Fridays
  • Brick to Click: teacher contact 3 days a week, including live lessons for Language Arts and Math on Fridays. Brick to Click is ideal for families who are not yet ready to come back to school on campus or who have the support at home to continue learning remotely. 

Middle School:

  • Hybrid: 2 days of on campus learning, a shortened in-person school day, and one hour of at home learning each day. Students will follow their class schedule from home on the at-home learning days with Friday serving as an independent learning and office hours day. 
  • Brick to Click: students will follow their class schedule from home 4 days a week with Friday serving as an independent learning and office hours day.

High School:

  • Hybrid: 2 days of on campus learning for a full day with 3 days of at-home learning. 
  • Brick to Click: students will follow the same daily schedule as their peers. Fridays will serve as an independent learning and office hours day for all students.

Smaller schools of choice like Civano, Esmond Station, Pantano, VAHS, and Vail Blended may have different scenarios. 

We will make every effort to keep students in the same family on the same schedule.

You will be receiving further communication about the specifics of each option from your students’ principals on Wednesday, September 9th. If you are ready to make your choice for the hybrid learning phase now, please feel free to do so here

You will be able to make and/or change your selection through Sunday, September 13th when the survey closes. Please also visit School Opening – Hybrid Learning Information on our District website for more information.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at: newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Again, thank you for your patience and support as we work to develop sustainable plans for each phase of learning. We are grateful for our community.

John Carruth


*During the hybrid phase students will not be able to move between Brick to Click and in-person learning unless in the case of illness or the need to quarantine. Further, students who choose Brick to Click will be asked to remain in Brick to Click for the duration of the hybrid phase. 

**This survey does not apply to students at Vail Inclusive Preschool. If you have not received a call from your child’s VIP teacher, please call the VIP office.

August 28, 2020 RE: Next Phase of Opening

August 28, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Two weeks ago, we wrote to let you know that the Vail School District would be using the recently established public health metrics as a guide for when our schools would transition between the three phases of delivering instruction during the pandemic. Those phases, as outlined by the Arizona Department of Health, are: Remote instruction, hybrid instruction, and in-person instruction.

We also communicated that it was likely that Vail schools would be able to move to the next phase of instruction sometime between September 14th and October 5th. 

The good news is that the conditions are improving. The metrics indicate steady progress in the reduction of the spread of COVID-19 in Pima County. 

As such, we are targeting September 21st as the date for when we will move to the next phase of opening schools. Like most things during this pandemic, this assumes that conditions continue to improve and do not get worse. 

The next phase will allow for hybrid instruction during a time of moderate risk. The hybrid phase involves another shift in the way instruction is delivered, staff are utilized, and campuses operate. The purpose of the hybrid phase is to keep students physically distanced as much as possible and/or keep them in the same groups throughout the day. 

Plans are being developed for what the hybrid phase will look like at the preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school levels. We will communicate the details of these plans to you by Friday of next week. 

Remote instruction will continue to be a choice for students during the hybrid phase. Brick to Click* will be available through each school, and the Vail Innovation Center will continue to provide full-time remote learning to students who have chosen this option. 

Please send any questions you may have to: newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work to get students back to school safely.

John Carruth

*During the hybrid phase students will not be able to move between Brick to Click and in-person learning unless in the case of illness or the need to quarantine. Further, students who choose Brick to Click will be asked to remain in Brick to Click during the hybrid phase. 

August 13, 2020 RE: Reopening Explained

August 13, 2020

Dear Parents,

Remote learning will continue to be in place on Monday, August 17th.

Tuesday evening the Vail School District Governing Board voted to utilize public health benchmarks developed by the Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) and Pima County Department of Health to guide the district’s decision on when to safely return to in-person instruction.

One key component to reopening school buildings for in-person instruction is tracking the level of COVID-19 spread within a community. The ADHS benchmarks track this across three metrics which are updated every Thursday. You can follow these benchmarks by clicking here.

Currently, the benchmarks have not been met. Utilizing the ADHS benchmarks and in consultation with Pima County Health officials, it is estimated that it will take an additional five to seven weeks before the criteria for opening schools are met. The Vail School District is targeting a transition from remote learning to occur sometime between September 14th and October 5th. We will continue to utilize these public health benchmarks to refine the exact date.

We intend to provide parents with at least a two week notice for when the transition will occur.

We are committed to opening schools as soon as it is reasonably safe to do so. We share the belief of many parents that having students in school is best for children and their families.

Please click on the video for additional information.

John Carruth


August 9, 2020 RE: New School Year Update

August 9, 2020

Dear Parents,

There is nothing more exciting or anticipated than the first day of school. Possibility, growth, friendship, and hope are all on the horizon as the journey of a new school year begins. For all of us, that journey will start a little differently Monday via remote instruction. 

If there has been one constant since schools were closed by executive order this past March it has been frequent change. The past five months have taught us that adaptation, perseverance, sacrifice, and grace are necessary pursuits to navigate the ever changing dynamics of life in a pandemic. 

This past Thursday brought more change. Under the direction of an executive order by Governor Ducey, the Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) released public health benchmarks that are intended to guide the safe return to in-person instruction. ADHS has created an online dashboard explaining these benchmarks and tracking progress toward meeting them. It can be viewed HERE.

The good news is that the benchmarks are trending in the right direction. The bad news is that they are currently above what will be required to open schools for in-person instruction on August 17th.

Further, Pima County issued a statement to school districts on July 28th, that included recommendations from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia and Public Health Director Dr. Teresa Cullen. In short, the guidance stated that the earliest in-person instruction could safely be anticipated to resume would be after Labor Day, September 7th

I will recommend to the Vail Governing Board that our district follow the public health data provided by ADHS and Pima County Health in determining when it is reasonably safe to resume in-person instruction. 

Following these data points will likely mean that in-person instruction won’t be an option through at least Labor Day.

The Vail Governing Board will be meeting on Tuesday, August 11th at 7 p.m. to review the ADHS benchmarks and the Pima County Health data. They will also review adjustments to instructional options that may need to be put in place in order to reopen schools.

We recognize that COVID-19 is creating challenges beyond just the physical safe return to school. The social, emotional, and academic well-being of our children is of utmost importance to all of us. As we plan to open schools as soon as possible, we are also dedicated to connecting with your children, welcoming them back to learning, and providing them with the best learning experience possible starting Monday, August 10th.

As we start this school year, we will likely make some mistakes along the way. Operating in a pandemic is historic and unfamiliar for all of us. When we fall, we will do so with every intent of falling forward in the pursuit of creating high quality, safe learning environments for your children. We will get up together. We will adapt. We will persevere. We will sacrifice. And, we will offer grace. Perhaps these are the most important lessons presented to all of us this year. 

I wish everyone a safe and blessed school year. 

John Carruth


July 27, 2020 RE: Please Choose an Educational Option

July 27, 2020

Dear Parents,

We value parent choice in Vail. In order to best meet the needs of each family, the Vail School District is providing multiple educational options this year.

Below you will find the link to choose an educational option for your child(ren). This survey will ask you to choose between two options – Remote Learning through your child’s school and Remote Learning through the Vail Innovation Center (VIC). Both options will begin August 10th.

For families who choose Remote Learning through your child’s school, once schools are able to open campuses, you will be asked to make a second choice – whether your child will attend On Campus or through Brick to Click. Your child will be able to transition between On Campus and Brick to Click at any time during the first semester.

If you choose remote learning through the VIC, your child will remain in this educational setting throughout the first semester.

The survey will remain open until Friday, August 7th at 5:00 p.m. You may change your choice at any time up to this date and time.

Please feel free to email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.com if you have any further questions.

Click HERE to select an educational option for your child(ren).

John Carruth


July 24, 2020 RE: Weekly School Opening Update

July 24, 2020

Dear Vail Families and Staff,

We have wrapped up our virtual town halls this week. It was wonderful to connect with so many families. We miss you and your children and look forward to the time when we can be together again. I was again reminded just how strong our community is. Vail is most certainly a place where education is a community effort. I know that we will get through every challenge we face in the coming months together.

So, what’s the update for this week? 

Yesterday, Governor Ducey held a press conference and issued a new executive order regarding the opening of schools. We are working to unwrap what the order means for the Vail School District and will inform you once we have a clear understanding. This morning a small group of superintendents met with Pima County and Pima County Health Department leaders to determine what metrics should be used to determine when schools can safely re-open, as referenced in the Governor’s order and press conference. 

As we anticipated the executive order would make changes to reopening schools, we have delayed sending out the survey for parents to choose an educational option for their child(ren). Our intent is to open up the survey for parents in the next week after ensuring that our plans are in compliance with the new instruction from the State.

In the meantime, please review the graphic below to see what our options currently look like, and get more details around each educational option on the district website at vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you again for your continued patience and support as we work to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information. Please let us know if you have any further questions at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

John Carruth

July 17, 2020 RE: Weekly School Opening Update

July 17, 2020

Dear Vail Parents,

Our virtual town halls with parents this week have been going very well. They have given us an opportunity to answer questions, listen to feedback, and connect with Vail families. Because of the high level of interest in attending the virtual town halls, I have added three additional town halls to accommodate the requests we received. 

A common question we have been hearing surrounds the difference between Remote Learning, Brick to Click Learning, and full time virtual learning through the Vail Innovation Center (VIC). 

We have created the following videos to help clarify the differences. The first video shows what Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8 will look like and explains the difference between them. A written description for 9-12 is also attached. The second video explains what full time virtual learning through the VIC will look like. 

Click HERE to watch video on Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8.

Click HERE to watch video on virtual learning through the VIC.

Many of the other questions we have been hearing are specific to individual schools. In order to help parents find important information we have added site specific information to the Vail School District website. 

To find it please go to vailschooldistrict.org. Click on the purple box. Then click on the SCHOOL DAY tab and the COMMUNICATIONS FROM SCHOOLS tabs.

We know this is not anyone’s ideal start to school. It isn’t ours either. However, as the Vail community continues along the path of reopening schools in these uncertain times, we are committed to continuing to serve parents.

Again, we appreciate your patience and support as we work to re-open schools. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

John Carruth

High School Remote Learning Plan.pdf 

July 10, 2020 RE: School Opening Updates

July 10, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

I’d like to provide you a quick update regarding our plans for the upcoming school year. 

School Start Date: Vail schools will open remotely on August 10th.

Governor Ducey has delayed the start of in-person school until August 17th. However, schools are able to open remotely prior to that date. The Governor also stated they would, “continuously re-evaluate that date.” If a decrease in COVID-19 rates are not seen, it is possible that the Governor may delay in-person classes beyond August 17th. VUSD will open in-person as soon as the State allows.

School Choices:

Once our campuses are able to open for in-person classes, there will be three options from which parents must choose:

  • On Campus Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
  • Brick to Click Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
  • Full Time Digital Learning through the Vail Innovation Center (begins August 10th)

Because in-person classes are delayed, the On Campus and Brick to Click options will not begin until campuses are allowed to open. It is important to note that remote learning before our campuses open may look different from the Brick to Click option.

For more information regarding these three distinct options and other school opening information, please visit vailschooldistrict.org.

When school begins on August 10th, all Vail students will be taught remotely by their classroom teacher(s). Elementary school students will be provided with instruction and lessons to be completed daily. Middle and high school students will follow their course schedules. 

We know parents have many questions regarding the three educational options and the remote start. We will be hosting a series of Virtual Town Halls over the next two weeks to answer questions that parents have. Please see the dates and times below.

Parents will receive a link the week of July 20th to an online portal where they will be asked to select the option that works best for their child(ren) and family.

School Calendar:

Starting school on August 10th requires that a few adjustments be made to the school calendar for next year. This issue is currently being studied by the Governing Board, but the current plan is to have a two-week fall break for all students from October 12th – 23rd and a one week spring break from March 15th – 19th. A draft of the school calendar is attached to this email. 

I intend to continue sending a weekly email until school begins on August 10th. We are working out the details on issues like Senior Exit Projects and student travel. I hope to have updates on these issues as well as any new developments that may occur over the course of the week. 

Thank you for your continued support.

John Carruth



July 3, 2020 RE: Executive Order, AIA Info, Website Info

July 3, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Earlier this week I sent an email explaining what Governor Ducey’s June 29th Executive Order means for the Vail School District.

During the press conference Governor Ducey reviewed the upward trajectory of COVID-19 in Arizona. “Our numbers continue to increase. They are going in the wrong direction. We are going to take additional actions to contain this virus and get back on track.”- Governor Doug Ducey.

For this reason the Governor ordered that in-person learning cannot begin until August 17, 2020. The Governor also said that Arizona will, “continuously re-evaluate this target date.” So, we want to acknowledge the possibility that the order to delay could be extended.

The executive order allows schools to open remotely prior to August 17th. Last week the Vail Governing Board voted to delay the start of school until August 10th.  In light of the executive order, we are planning for schools to open remotely on August 10th and starting in-person learning on August 17th, or when the order is lifted. Information on what a remote start will look like is currently being developed and will be shared with you as soon as it is available.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), which governs all high school athletics, has also made a decision to delay the start of fall sports. The fall sports season, which was scheduled to begin on August 21st, has been postponed. The AIA Board will be meeting to determine the start date for the fall season. More information about AIA can be found here.

In the meantime please take some time to familiarize yourself with the information in the School Opening section of the VUSD website. School Opening and COVID-19 Information

New information is being added daily. As we receive questions from parents, staff, and students, we are adding the answers to the FAQ section of the website. You can also expect regular email updates from me as the situation evolves between now and the start of the school year.

Please be safe and enjoy the holiday weekend!

John Carruth

June 29, 2020 RE: New Start Date, Governor's Executive Order, New Website

June 29, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Friday evening the Vail School District Governing Board voted unanimously to postpone the start of the 2020/2021 school year to August 10th for the following reasons:

  • Additional time is needed to plan and execute the work necessary to address three distinct instructional models as well as develop and execute specific plans for health and safety needs at each school site.
  • Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing record rates of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additional time will allow for statewide measures, including the Pima County Resolution requiring the use of face coverings, to take effect to help slow the spread.

Today, Monday June 29th, Governor Ducey announced at a press conference that schools will be required to delay the start of in-person classes until August 17th. However, the order allows schools to open remotely through distance learning prior to August 17th.

Over the next few days we will be unwrapping the details in today’s executive order and what they mean for opening schools in Vail. We anticipate being able to communicate our next steps with you by early next week.

In the meantime, please take a moment to review the new section of VUSD’s website. Information regarding educational options, health and safety, and much more can be found at vailschooldistrict.org.

John Carruth

June 25, 2020 RE: Board Meeting - New Start Date - Three Instructional Options

June 25, 2020

Dear Parents,

It has been a little less than two weeks since I last wrote to you. At that time, I indicated that we were working hard on plans to open school on time in July. In the same email, I also noted that the conditions around COVID-19 remain very fluid.

As of this writing it has become apparent that additional time before the start of the new school year would be very helpful to address the following issues: 

1) Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing a record spike of COVID-19 cases. According to Governor Ducey’s news conference today, this spike is expected to last into July. 

2) Additional planning time is needed to ensure that details around the three instructional choices and safety precautions for schools are fully developed and in place before the start of the school year. 

As such, our Governing Board is meeting tomorrow evening at 6:00PM to discuss the possibility of moving the start of the school year to August 10 for all K-8 schools and high schools. 

The Governing Board will also review three instructional choices for your family that will be made available next year along with health and safety plans for school sites. The instructional choices include:

  1. On Campus Learning where school will be as close to normal as possible with enhanced health and safety precautions in place. 
  2. “Brick to Click” Learning that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools. 
  3. Full-Time Digital Learning with the Vail Innovation Center (VIC) delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.

The board meeting will be streamed live for those who would like to view it. A link to the livestream video will be made available on our website at www.vailschooldistrict.org.

If you have questions or comments regarding the new school year, please feel free to reach out to us at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

John Carruth

June 12, 2020 RE: Opening School Survey

June 12, 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your family are healthy and are enjoying your summer. I’d like to provide you with an update on plans for next school year.

Our primary focus since the end of the school year has been planning for our return to school. Thank you for your feedback through the parent survey and other correspondence. It has helped shape the decision making.

We are planning to open schools on-time in July.

We are working closely with Governor Ducey’s office, the Arizona Department of Education, and state and county health officials. As of this writing, Governor Ducey has stated that schools will be allowed to open on time.

The reality is that conditions around COVID-19 are fluid and will likely remain so through much of this next school year. As such we are planning for flexibility and parent choice.

We are developing three primary choices for you and your family.

  1. School as close to normal as possible with reasonable health and safety precautions in place.

A list of logistics and safety precautions being considered is attached to this letter.

  1. A “Brick to Click” option that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools.

A student or group of students may want to remain connected to their regular school but may need to learn remotely due to health concerns, illness, or personal reasons.

  1. On-line school with the Vail Innovation Center delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.

For over 15 years, Vail has offered on-line learning to support parents who choose to home school their children or need them to learn remotely. This program is offered through our Vail Innovation Center. Information about this program can be found here.

Our desire is to provide you with information about your family’s options for the start of the new school year. We are not asking you to choose right now. As more details develop around each plan, we will share them with you and let you know how to indicate your choice. If you have any questions, please contact newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org or me directly.

Vail’s Mission Statement reads: We seek to provide parents with safe and nurturing school communities, where their children can obtain a quality education. As we plan for next school year, it is our deep desire to execute all three of these core values.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this uncharted territory together.


John Carruth

May 20, 2020 RE: Opening School Survey

May 20, 2020

Dear Parents,

I’d like to speak with you today about our upcoming school year, but before I do so, I’d like to pause and take a moment to simply say thank you. So much has occurred since we closed schools in March, and frankly, you have been our partners in that process in unprecedented ways. In a very short period of time, we pivoted to provide high-quality educational opportunities to home for you and your children; together we have served almost 200,000 meals to young people in our community, and we have found meaningful ways to honor our graduating seniors. We say that education is a partnership with you, and we know that we have leaned on that partnership in unusual ways over this time. So simply, thank you.

Like you, I think we’re all looking to the future and some semblance of normal. As we look to the future, we intend to use our time-honored Vail values to guide our path. We are a place “where education is a community effort,” and we seek to provide you, parents, with safe nurturing school communities where your children can receive a high-quality education.

Opening school in July is now our primary focus. We recognize, however, that public health restrictions at that time may alter our plans or restrict us from doing so. However, we must be prepared, and we must have a plan. Our primary goal is to return to school as normal as possible given the health restrictions at that time. We know how to do traditional school really well, and we’re proud of that. To that end, we are working on implementing precautions at our schools that will allow the safe return for students and staff.

We also understand that restrictions may prevent us from doing this for a period of time, or simply, that this model won’t work for you or your family for a period of time. Therefore, we are working on a hybrid option that will allow your child to remain connected to their school, their teachers, and their friends. We are also expanding our current virtual option that is offered through our Vail Innovation Center and delivered by our Vail teachers if you feel that that might be a better option to meet your needs.

As we look to next year, we also are looking to you for guidance to help in our planning. Attached to this video is a short, three question survey that when you fill it out, it will give us information that will help us better meet your family’s needs.

Help guide our planning for the next school year!

We recognize that this is an unprecedented time for everyone, and we long for the day when we can all be together again. Education, after all, is a social endeavor, and we really miss your kids.

I know in a short video, I’m not able to answer all your questions or address all of your concerns. To that end, we have created an email address that you can reach out to at NewSchoolYear@VailSchoolDistrict.org, or simply reach out to me, and I’ll do my best to address your concerns. Thank you for your time, and take care.

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 30, 2020 RE: School Closures through the Remainder of the School Year

March 30, 2020

Dear Parents,

This morning Governor Doug Ducey announced the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. You can read the full announcement here.

While schools may be closed, we will continue to provide educational opportunities much like the ones we saw last week. You can also expect ongoing communication from myself, your child’s principal, and teachers as we work through questions that remain for our students and families for the remainder of the year.

To parents of seniors, rest assured that one of our highest priorities is to make sure that your children graduate and also have an opportunity to be properly celebrated as they mark the completion of their K-12 career. We are also discussing plans to celebrate other significant milestones such as promotion ceremonies, etc. We will be in contact with specific details as they are finalized.

We have been tremendously encouraged by the outpouring of support for the hard work in which our teachers and staff are engaged. We are deeply appreciative of the high level of parent engagement as we work together to support educational opportunities for your child.

It has been a wonderful example of our motto “Where education is a community effort!”

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 18, 2020 RE: School Closure Update

March 18, 2020

Dear Parents,

We have been spending considerable time crafting plans to offer support to you and your children while our schools are closed as part of the state’s plan to slow the spread of COVID-19.

We are preparing to return to school on March 30th while simultaneously preparing for the reality that school closures could be extended.

You will be receiving notice from your child’s principal soon regarding the specifics of those plans over the course of the remainder of the closures. Should the closures be extended, we will continue to communicate with you regarding the implications and our plans to move forward.

If you have specific questions regarding plans or the impact of the closures on certain events, please consult with your child’s principal or with me. Events around COVID-19 are changing rapidly. We will do our best to answer your questions with the information that we have at that time.

Our community is a very special place. Our children are our most precious gift. While we plan and adjust to this unprecedented time, we lean on time tested “Vail values” to guide us:

  • We are a place where education is a community effort.
  • We are reminded how to ACT.
  • And as a staff, we seek to provide you, parents, with a safe place where your children can obtain a quality education.

These values don’t prevent us from making mistakes, but they do call us all to work together, to extend grace to each other when we stumble, and simply, to do the best we can while educating our children and serving our community- regardless of the circumstances.


John Carruth – Superintendent

March 15, 2020 RE: School Closures

March 15, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Governor Doug Ducey has just announced statewide school closures to take effect March 16th through March 27th.

Please review the announcement from the Governor and the State Superintendent to parents here.

This means that Vail students will have an extended Spring Break through March 30th. We are making plans to provide learning opportunities for the week of March 23rd through March 27th and beyond if necessary.

The Governor’s announcement encourages the continuation of childcare options. As of now, our Community Services and VIP childcare will remain open.

Please be on the lookout for further communication before school resumes on March 30th.

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 12, 2020 RE: COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Dear Parents,

I want to provide an update to the message that I sent out yesterday as the issues surrounding COVID-19 are evolving rapidly.

Earlier today, we participated in a conference call with Governor Ducey, Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, and Kathy Hoffman, Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Their collective recommendation is that schools remain open at this time.

Fortunately, our students are on spring break until March 23. Our plan is to return to school as usual at that time.

Our district webpage has up to date information on prevention strategies and preparations parents should be considering related to the COVID-19 virus.  You can find that information at: www.vailschooldistrict.org or https://vailschooldistrict.org/health-update/

We are continuing with a thorough cleaning of all schools and high touch areas.  We are also finalizing contingency plans for further restrictions if they are recommended by county or state health officials.

You can expect a communication from me or from your school principal prior to school resuming on the 23rd that will include any updates or adjustments needed to our regular school routine.

In the meantime, we hope you all are enjoying Spring break.

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 11, 2020 RE: COVID-19

March 11, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We continue to closely monitor events surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), and we wish to keep you informed as it relates to students, staff, and parents in the Vail community.

Yesterday, I attended a meeting for superintendents hosted by the Pima County Health Department (PCHD). Dr. Francisco Garcia, the Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Bob English, the Director of PCHD presented the current state of COVID-19 in our area.

Based on the information they have at this time about the virus and its spread, they are making the strong recommendation to keep schools open and operating with the following reminders:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

District leadership met yesterday to discuss, plan, and prepare for the return of students on March 23rd.

We anticipate learning and business as usual upon our return from break. As precautionary measures, all sites as well as buses are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected during the break to ensure a clean slate on the first day back. Plans for increased disinfecting of high touch surfaces are also in the works.

We are also preparing should the situation escalate in Vail. We will keep you posted should any changes occur.

If you have specific questions about your child’s school, I encourage you to contact your child’s principal about preparations and plans at their respective school.

Rest assured that your child’s safety, and that of our staff and community, is of paramount importance. Please be on the lookout for further communication before school resumes, and enjoy the rest of your break.

John Carruth – Superintendent

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Curriculum and Assessment

In the Vail School District we have clearly identified what students will learn at each grade level. These topics of study are aligned with both the State standards and the State assessments. Testing does not exist as an isolated event. Rather, it provides teachers with valuable information to inform and guide instruction and provides students with an opportunity to show all that they have learned.

Assessment Calendars

Megan Cloud's Chimes

Professional Development

Vail is known throughout Southern Arizona both for the comprehensiveness as well as the quality of its staff development programs. Indeed, ongoing staff development is endemic to the culture of Vail, which takes pride in never settling for the status quo in educational practices.

Support Systems for Teachers New in Vail

First year teachers receive New Teacher Induction (NTI) along with Cognitive, Literacy, and Math Coaching. Second year teachers receive continued NTI and Cognitive Coaching.

New Teacher Induction Program
The New Teacher Induction Program includes a five-day orientation prior to the start of the school year and three ½ day inservices throughout the school year. The purpose of the induction program is to provide new teachers with information and support during their first year in the district. The program is also designed to introduce new teachers to the philosophy and mission of the district, as well as the people, policies, resources, and culture.

For more information about the New Teacher Induction Program, contact Megan Cloud at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Cognitive, Literacy, and Math Coaching
Cognitive Coaching All new K-12 teachers are assigned a Cognitive Coach. The Cognitive Coaching Program consists of three classroom observations each year for two years. Cognitive Coaching is intended to enhance intellectual skills, which contribute to educationally sound decision-making. Math Coaching All K-8 teachers and some 9-12 math teachers are assigned a Math Coach. The purpose of the Math Coaching Program is to provide support to teachers as they implement the balanced math structure into their classrooms. The Math Coaching Program consists of three observations in the classroom. Literacy Coaching All K-8 teachers are assigned a Literacy Coach.

For more information about Cognitive, Literacy, or Math Coaching, please contact Megan Cloud, Director of Professional Development, at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Leader Development

Leadership positions available for teachers include: Instructional Team Leaders; Cognitive Coaches; Literacy and Math Coaches; Curriculum Management Team; District Formative Assessment Team; Technology Advisory Team; Science Fair Coordinators; Art, Music, and P.E. Coordinators; Benchmark Review Team, and Curriculum Committees.

Teachers are also eligible for Educational Enrichment Plans (EEP’s) where they can create new programs to enrich students’ experiences. Further, teachers who are interested in pursuing a principal’s certification may do so through the NAU Vail Cohort.

Employee Educational Program (EEPs)

Certified staff members have the option of submitting Employee Educational Plans each year.

In order to be eligible for the program, participants must have been a teacher for 1 year in the district OR have at least 3 years of teaching experience.

The EEP process is as follows:

      1. Teacher submits EEP plan to principal at his/her school site in May.
      2. Principal approves EEP plan and sends on to the school site council OR rejects the plan and discusses modifications with the teacher.
      3. Site Council approves EEP plan and forwards to the Vail School District Governing Board.
      4. The Governing Board approves the EEP plan.
      5. A scoring committee that consists of 1 high school teacher, 1 K-8 teacher, 1 board member, and 1 administrator meets to score plans using a rubric.
      6. Teacher can receive up to 20 points for his/her EEP plan. [If a teacher has been in the district for five years, he/she may submit multiple EEP plans for a combined maximum total of 24 points.]
      7. Teacher receives $165.00 in Vail Voucher currency for every point awarded. Vail Vouchers can be used for any items related to the teacher’s job: conferences, classroom supplies, electronic equipment, and tuition for college degree programs are prime examples. Items purchased with Vail Vouchers are property of the Vail School District.
      8. Teacher can choose to opt-out of the “Vail Voucher program and take cash instead: $110 for every point awarded.

Full criteria and details about the EEP program can be found in the Vail School District Incentive Pay Packet.

In May 2007, 266 EEP plans were submitted by certified staff members in the Vail School District.

For more information about EEP Plans, refer to the Teacher Incentive Pay Packet or contact Connie Erickson at ericksonc@vailschooldistrict.org.

NAU Cohort

Certified staff members who work in the Vail School District can opt to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership and a Principals certification through Northern Arizona University. A cohort begins every year in August and classes take place at one of the school sites within the district. The degree consists of 10 classes. To help offset the cost, the district will pay for one class per year.

Staff members interested in the NAU Cohort should contact Debbie Hedgepeth, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, at hedgepethd@vailschooldistrit.org

Ongoing Support Systems

      • Half Day In-Services at the Sites
      • District Level In-Services
      • Site Approved and Site-Funded Conferences

Opportunities for Classified Staff

Back-to-School provides opportunities for non-degree seeking staff to take classes for professional development. Classes are offered at Cienega High School and Empire High School. The Vail School District pays ½ the tuition.

For more information about the Back-to-School program, contact Megan Cloud, Director of Professional Development, at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Vail Classified Academy
Vail Classified Academy provides employees an opportunity to pursue an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts (AA). Classes are offered at Cienega High School. The Vail School District pays the tuition.

For more information about the Vail Classified Academy, contact Megan Cloud at cloudm@vailschooldistrict.org.

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

To learn all about Career and Technical Education according to the Arizona Department of Education, please click here.

Joint Technical Education District (JTED)

JTED LogoJTED Mission Statement:

We deliver premier career and technical education in partnership with business, industry and community stakeholders.


Guiding Educational Philosophy:
Upgrading and enhancing existing courses and programs in participating districts.
Expanding the options and rigor of courses available to students.
Providing innovative training for students to enter the Southern Arizona workforce.
Providing a community resource to enhance career skills and improve employability options.

JTED courses are open to all public, charter, private, and home school students who are eligible to attend high school. You’ll find many opportunities to pursue your career and college goals at satellite locations on high school campuses throughout Pima County, at Pima Community College, and the Central Campus Learning Facilities, Programs & Classes.

Courses are available at little or no cost to students at various locations around Pima County including schools in our district:

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Cienega High School
Empire High School
Vail Academy and High Schoo

To learn more about the Pima County JTED, visit their website at http://pimajted.org

In the Vail School District, contact Noreen Hutchison, at (520) 879 – 2043 or email hutchisonn@vailschooldistrict.org

CTE Vision and Mission


Ensure a dynamic workforce by fully developing every student’s career and academic potential.


Prepare Arizona students for workforce success and continuous learning.

College and Career Readiness

College and Career Readiness provides a graduating high school student the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the education and/or postsecondary job training needed for his/her chosen career (i.e. community college, university, tech/vocational program, apprenticeship, or significant on-the-job training). An essential component of this outcome is for students to learn about their own interests and skills, career options, finances, and post-secondary learning options.

Thus, students should select a rigorous course load consisting of core as well as elective and/or Career and Technical Education subjects that are part of a well-rounded education. Students should also be engaging in multiple community and work opportunities which expand on their interests and allow them opportunities to acquire experiences that will guide them towards selecting a career.

At each of our high schools, VSD provides access to the courses, experiences, and supports needed for our students to succeed in their chosen career.

Print the Vail School District College Handbook.

Read more about Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.

School Contacts for College and Career Readiness

Andrada Polytechnic High School
Aaryn Townsend

Cienega High School
Colette Alvardo

Visit our website at: https://chs.vailschooldistrict.org/Counseling/

Empire High School
Amanda Cook

Pantano High School
Monica Wright

Vail Academy and High School
Michael Gutman

Visit our website at: http://class.vail.k12.az.us/vahs-counseling/

Vail Digital Learning Program
Carrie Wrona

What We Do

Under the leadership of CIO Matt Federoff, Vail’s IT Department has grown from a handful of technologists to 28 full-time staff. Site technology coordinators provide technical and instructional support at each of our schools. Our district repair team keeps the thousands of devices on our network up and running led by supervisor Steve Lee. At the District Office, our Student Data Team protects the integrity of our student information and ensures that Vail gets full funding from the state for every enrollment. Our district web-master, Robbin Klinger-McGee works closely with multiple departments to keep our internet presence relevant, up-to-date, and beautiful.

Leader in Education Technology

Vail’s Technology Department has established a tradition of excellence that stretches across multiple decades. The number of ed-tech firsts that were created in Vail include:

1999 – Grades and Attendance online in real time (first in Arizona)

2003 – Wireless networking at all schools (first in Arizona)

2005 – Empire High School, Arizona’s first “1-1” laptop high school, and the first textbook-free high school in the US.

2008 – Beyond Textbooks Digital Content Initiative

2009 – Arizona’s first Bring Your Own Device initiative

2010 – WiFi Equipped school buses (first public school district in the world to do so)

2010, 2012 – Second and third 1-1 high schools opened

2013 – All Vail high schools provide 1-1 laptop for every student

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Vail’s Worldwide Technology Headlines

Vail technology has made the front page of the New Times not just once, but twice. Thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world have come to learn about Vail’s IT processes and leadership philosophy.

Countless articles have been written in various ed-tech journals regarding various Vail technology initiatives:

Digital Content and Curriculum Awards Announced

VUSD is Awarded the 2011 Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology

As Classrooms Go Digital, Textbooks May Become History

WI-FI Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall

School Buses Now Take Wireless Internet For A Ride

Left To Their Own Devices

Free At Last

Students’ Prayers Answered: No Books

US school swaps books for bytes

About Us

The Vail Transportation Department consists of: professional drivers, caring bus monitors, certified mechanics, friendly office staff, and supportive administrative leadership. Each member of our team is dedicated to excellence and to providing safe and dependable transportation for students.

Our well-trained drivers and monitors work with routers and dispatchers to create and maintain a safe driving experience for each passenger. They understand that encouraging students through positive reinforcement, and providing a safe and consistent social environment on each bus, not only fosters trust, but also helps to provide a successful riding experience for students.

In Vail Transportation, we focus on making connections with our students to help them understand that we are an important extension of their community.  We are proud to be an integral part of a school district that has earned a distinct reputation for excellence. We embrace our support role in this shared effort to provide unparalleled service to the Vail community.

School buses are designed to be highly visible and are among the most safe vehicles on the road today. School buses have numerous safety features such as flashing lights, crossview mirrors, stop sign arms, and protective seating for passengers. School buses must pass rigorous crash standards and provide rollover protection features.

As the Vail community continues to grow, so will the Transportation Department. It will remain our mission to always provide safe and reliable transportation service to Vail students in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Parent Information, Bus Rider Expectations, and Out of Zone Bus Riders

Parent Letter from Director of Transportation - June 18, 2021

June 18, 2021

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As we prepare for the 2021/2022 school year, I would like to provide some  transportation-related information that may be helpful to you.

Students who are eligible for transportation are assigned to a single bus route that is based on their home address. There are different procedures in place for students with special needs.

In accordance with Governing Board Policy, students who reside within a school attendance area are eligible for transportation when they meet the following criteria:

  • Kindergarten through 5th grade students residing beyond a one-mile radius from school of residence.
  • Grades six (6) through twelve (12) students residing  beyond a 1.5-mile radius from school of residence.
  • Students with disabilities who require transportation, as indicated in their respective IEPs.
  • Students living within a one-mile radius of the school where hazardous or difficult routes exist and where other arrangements cannot be provided.

EXCEPTIONS: There are few exceptions to the home address policy. Parents/Guardians would need to contact the Transportation Department to request an exception for a student to ride a route other than their assigned route. For example: A split household with both parents living in the district.

We are unable to make exceptions to transport students to alternate sites such as a grandparent’s  home, daycare, a babysitter or a friend’s home.

Any exceptions that were in place for last school year are no longer in effect. If you wish to request an exception for this year, please call the Transportation Department. Out-of-district students must have an exception prior to riding a bus route, even if they rode last year.

All exceptions for SY 2021/2022 will expire on the last day of the school year which is May 27, 2022.  

The new bus routes should be in place by July 9, 2021. Please call after this date and speak with either Gloria Stauff, 520-879-2056; or Leslie Incontrera,  520-879-2479.

Once the route updates have been completed, route information for your student(s) can be found at: infofinderi.com. Please note: the times listed for bus stops is the bus departure time and not bus arrival time. You may also access information from the Vail School District website. To find your bus stop, enter your street address, grade, school of attendance, and zip code. You will be given the bus route number and the departure and drop off times for the route.

We value your trust in us as well as your support in helping our drivers and department ensure the safety of our students. We wish all Vail parents and students a happy and successful school year.


Jerry Brown
Transportation Director

Frequently Asked Questions About Riding School Buses

What time should my student arrive at the bus stop?
Students should be at their designated bus stop location at least five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled bus departure time, and be ready to board the bus when it arrives.

What if my student’s bus is running late,  morning or afternoon?
Due to unforeseen circumstances, buses will run late on occasion. Parents are always welcome to call Transportation at 520-879-2475. Vail buses have been equipped with GPS trackers. Parents will soon be able to access real-time bus location information through a free parent app.

How are bus stop locations determined?
Stops are assigned by general locations of students and must meet specific State regulations for safety. Stops are often located within subdivisions near parks, common walls and retention areas, and must be at least 50 feet from an intersection and 100 feet from a lighted intersection.

I am not happy with my child’s bus stop. Can my child go to another stop?
No. For accountability purposes, your child must be picked up and dropped off at their assigned stop, thereby maintaining the safety of your child.

Is the driver allowed to leave small children at a bus stop if no adult is there to meet the child?
Yes. The parent is responsible for making sure someone meets the child every day. If a child is afraid or unwilling to be left at the stop, the driver will keep the child on the bus and continue on the route. The parent will be contacted and if necessary, the child will be returned to school.

My child is a kindergarten student. Must I be at the stop every time my child is dropped off?
Yes. For student safety, bus drivers are instructed to not let kindergarten students exit the bus without a parent or another listed guardian present. If no one is at the stop, the bus driver will take the kindergarten student back to school. With an approved transportation waiver form, another adult or an older sibling can be allowed to meet your kindergarten student at the bus stop.

My child splits time between both parents’ homes. How is transportation handled in this case?
Split households are accommodated when both parents reside within district boundaries and existing routes are in place. Both parents’ addresses must be on file in PowerSchool and Transportation should be contacted to request an exception.

On which occasions will the school issue a bus pass for my student?
Bus passes are issued by the school when you have a change of residence and your student is riding a new route; when your student comes in after the school year has already started; or when your student is getting off the bus at a different bus stop on their home route.

Is transportation available for my open-enrolled student?
To find the nearest available route for an open-enrolled student, please contact Transportation for assistance and to request an exception.

My child is assigned to a bus but I plan to drive my child to school every day. Should I tell anyone?
Yes. Please notify the Transportation Department at 520-879-2475.

Can students invite friends to ride the bus with them?
Only eligible students are permitted to ride the bus.

Can my student ride home on another bus?
Students are permitted to ride only their assigned bus. Any exceptions must be requested in writing by the student’s parent or legal guardian and approved by Transportation.

Can my child ride the bus to a babysitter’s home?
Transportation cannot take children to any type of daycare, babysitter, or grandparents’ homes.

If my child has a conflict on the bus with another rider, what should I do?
Let the bus driver know about the conflict as well as the school, so that they can work together to resolve the issue. Parents are always welcomed to call Transportation at 520-879-2475.

What are the qualifications for a bus driver?
A school bus driver must be at least 21 years of age, maintain a clean driving record, undergo drug and alcohol testing, pass a physical performance test, and obtain a Class B Commercial Driver License and Arizona school bus driver certification.

What training programs do bus drivers attend?
Vail bus drivers meet or exceed the minimum training requirements of the State of Arizona, which consist of classroom training, behind the wheel training, and first aid/CPR. They must also attend post-certification training, annual refresher training in a variety of relevant topics, and maintain minimum refresher training hours established by the State.

Why doesn’t the bus have seatbelts?
Large school buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than passenger cars do. The buses are designed with safety compartments that protect children by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs. All Vail School District buses meet all federal and state safety standards.

What kinds of safety checks are done on school buses?
Bus drivers perform thorough pre-trip inspections each morning and mechanics perform ongoing preventative maintenance in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. Vail school buses are regularly inspected by our own certified mechanics and annually by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Does the bus have special equipment on board?
Yes. All Vail buses have two-way radios which help drivers maintain contact with the transportation dispatcher in the event there are emergency situations or incidents on the bus. Additionally, all buses have camera systems that are used to monitor safety and security on buses. Buses also have real-time GPS systems that also allow for monitoring of bus locations, safe operations, and security. Parents will soon be able to access real-time bus location information through a free parent app.

Are there seating assignments on the bus?
Yes. Bus drivers create seating charts for all buses. Students are assigned to seats for safety and security purposes. Additionally, seating charts help with accountability and routing and also help familiarize drivers with their students.

Can my child bring food and drinks on the bus?
Students may not eat food on the bus. They may drink water while on the bus but other drinks are not permitted. No straws or glass containers are allowed on the bus.

Can my child bring a pet on the bus?
No animals of any kind, whether dead or alive, are permitted on the bus. This includes insects, reptiles, and classroom pets. Exceptions are made only for certified service animals that assist  passengers with disabilities.

What if my child leaves something behind on the bus?
In some cases, your child can retrieve the lost item from the bus driver the next time he or she rides the bus. Parents may also come to the Transportation Office to claim an item found on our buses. Contact Transportation at 520-879-2475 to report a lost item.

The Transportation Department is located at 13192 E. Mary Ann Cleveland Way, in Vail. The office is open to parents  from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Bus Rider Expectations

  1. Obey the bus driver at all times and follow all instructions given by the bus driver.
  2. Always be courteous to the driver and other bus passengers.
  3. Students are permitted to use only their designated bus stops. Any changes require a parent/legal guardian’s written request, counter-signed by a school official.
  4. Students are permitted to ride only their assigned bus. Any exceptions must be requested in writing by the student’s parent/legal guardian and approved by a school official.
  5. Students are asked to be at the bus stop 5 minutes prior to the scheduled pick-up time. Students are to be on time to the bus in the afternoon.
  6. When crossing a street by a school bus, always cross 10 feet in front of the bus.
  7. Students should stand a safe distance from the curb or roadway while waiting for a bus.
  8. School buses and bus stops are school “safety zones.”
  9. Always use the steps and handrails when boarding and leaving the bus.
  10. Sit quickly and quietly in the assigned seat and remain seated facing forward while the bus is moving. Do not get out of your seat until the bus has come to a complete stop.
  11. Students must not obstruct the aisle or emergency exits with objects at any time.
  12. Keep hands, head, arms, and all objects inside the bus at all times.
  13. Talk in normal tones; screaming, shouting, rude, vulgar, obscene or threatening language is not permitted.
  14. No eating, drinking (except water in plastic bottles), smoking, vaping, chewing gum, or spitting inside the bus.
  15. Keep the bus clean and free of damage. Parents/legal guardians may be held financially responsible for any damage or destruction to the bus caused by their student(s).
  16. Always identify yourself when asked by the driver. Secondary students are required to show their student ID card to the bus driver upon request.
  17. Skateboards, scooters, roller blades, balloons, and lasers are not allowed on the school bus.
  18. State law prohibits the following items on school buses:
    Alcoholic beverages
    Dangerous or narcotic drugs
    Glass items
    Legally prohibited substances
    Smoke or stink bombs
    Animals, insects, or reptiles
    Other dangerous objects

These expectations are taken from various regulatory sources including federal regulations and laws, Arizona state laws and regulations, DPS regulations, and Vail Unified School District policies.

Violations to the Expected Student Behavior-Bus Transportation Rules will have consequences that correspond to the severity of the misconduct. Consequences may range from written referrals to possible permanent suspensions from the school bus.Thank you for your cooperation in helping us to maintain a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment for all students.

Information for Out-of-Zone Bus Riders

Parents retain the opportunity to request attendance at any high school in the Vail School District.

The following information is solely for parents of students who wish to use school bus transportation to attend a high school outside their assigned transportation zone.

When parents elects to have their student attend a high school in a transportation zone, not in their home area, bus transportation is not automatically provided. In this case, riding a school bus is subject to qualification terms as described below:

  1. Parents agree to contact the transportation department to request and receive an exception prior to their students riding a school bus. Requesting the exception does not guarantee that transportation services can be provided.
  2.   Parents acknowledge that exceptions may take a day or two to review and process, and can be granted only if there are seats available on the bus.
  3.   Parents agree to be responsible for transporting their students to and from an assigned bus stop in the transportation zone for the school they attend.
  4.   Vail Transportation does not assume any liability for students once the bus has dropped them off at their bus stop.
  5.   Parents acknowledge that an exception can be revocable when the bus becomes full and no longer has capacity for students riding to a transportation zone not in their home area.
  6.   Vail Transportation will give preference to students who live within a transportation zone and attend the high school in that same zone.
  7.   Parents acknowledge that when an exception must be revoked, Vail Transportation will give as much advance notice as possible and make all reasonable efforts to find an alternate bus stop for a bus that has room for out-of-zone riders.
  8.   Parents agree to notify Vail Transportation if bus transportation services are no longer needed.

The transportation department will track and record all exceptions as part of route planning and execution, rider safety, and for State reporting purposes.

This Transportation Contract ensures that the following objectives can be met for all out-of-zone bus riders:

  •     Riders are committed to a single bus route and stop.
  •     Riders are accounted for on the bus driver’s student list.
  •     Accurate rider counts are done for state reporting and reimbursement procedures.
  •     Riders are reflected on seating charts, which are needed for behavior management, traffic accidents involving the bus, and contact tracing during COVID-19 exposures.
  •     Riders become familiar to new or substitute drivers.

Parents are asked to review and discuss with their children the Bus Rider Rules and Expectations found on the Vail School District Website, in the Transportation tab located in District Services. Additional bus rider information is available on the school district’s website in the Transportation tab that appears in the COVID-19 Information section.

School, Bus Route, and Attendance Boundaries

InfoFinder Logo

Kindergarten Roundup FAQs

Fun Facts about Transportation

  • There are approximately 120 staff in the transportation department.
  • Our drivers and buses cover over 8,200 miles a day.
  • We operate 50 regular routes and 18 special needs routes each day.
  • There are almost 1,900 bus stops in use throughout the school district.
  • We transport almost 4,000 students to and from school.
  • With seven certified mechanics, we maintain 90 school buses and dozens of school district vehicles.
  • We use over 300 new tires for our buses each year, and 260 tires a year for other district vehicles.
  • We have an in-house bus driver training program that can prepare trainees to become certified school bus drivers within 30 days.

High School Transportation Zones

Letter from the Assistant Superintendent - January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

Dear Vail Families,

We believe in providing parents with choices. We have intentionally created high schools that are similar in quality but different in size and offerings. We also believe in being fiscally responsible. As we expand the number of high schools, we must take steps to control the increasing costs of transportation.

The purpose of this letter is to remind you of our 2021-2022 plan for Transportation Zones in order to continue to allow for high school choice while working to be fiscally responsible.

The Transportation Zone Plan:

Parents retain the opportunity to request attendance at any high school.

Students attending Andrada, Empire, Pantano, and Vail Academy and High School will NOT be impacted by the changes. In addition, students living in the “flex zone” and attending either Cienega or Mica Mountain will NOT be impacted by the changes.

Students living outside the flex zone and attending Cienega or Mica Mountain will be impacted. (Note attached map.)

  • A student living in the Cienega Zone and attending Cienega will be provided transportation. However, a student living in the Cienega Zone and attending Mica Mountain will not be provided transportation.
  • Similarly, a student living in the Mica Mountain Zone and attending Mica Mountain will be provided transportation. However, a student living in the Mica Mountain Zone and attending Cienega will not be provided transportation.

Transportation Zones will play a role in preference for high school choice. For example, a student who lives in the Cienega Zone will be given preference to Cienega over a student who lives in the Mica Mountain Zone and requests Cienega.

If parents are able to get their student to a Transportation Zone that will transport them to and from the school they attend, they will be provided transportation to Cienega or Mica Mountain.

If you would like to check your home address, and see which Transportation Zone you live in, please click on one of the links below.

Zone 1 – Cienega

Zone 2 – Mica Mountain 

Zone 3 – Flex Zone

In closing, thank you for selecting the Vail School District as the choice for your student’s high school experience. Please contact our Transportation Department (520-879-2475) or myself if you have any questions.

Kevin Carney
Assistant Superintendent

High School Transportation Zones

If you would like to check your home address, and see which Transportation Zone you live in, please click on one of the links below.

Zone 1 – Cienega

Zone 2 – Mica Mountain 

Zone 3 – Flex Zone

Contact Us

For a full listing of our staff and contact information, click here.

Board Meeting Notices

Physical notices of upcoming Board meetings will be posted at least 24 hours in advance and will be located in the window of the front office at the District office and of each school site. Electronic notices of Board meetings can be found here.