Paradise Valley Unified School District Celebrates Centennial Year

By Marty Macurak

As we enjoy the modern developments and conveniences that comprise Desert Ridge, it is easy to believe that everything here is as young as the neighborhoods in which we live. Yet, you may be surprised to learn

that the public school district serving Desert Ridge — the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) – is celebrating its centennial this year.

The first organization of what was once known as the Sunnyside School District No. 69 is recorded in the minutes of the Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County for June 30, 1913; On July 1, 1913 School District

No. 69 opened Sunnyside Elementary with 35 students. Today, that school district, having gone through growth, unification and name changes, serves more than 32,000 students.

PV Schools was a one-school district through the 1920s, 30s and 40s. In the late 1940s after area homes and businesses in the district first got electricity, the district began to grow. By 1956 the district had 259 students.

The Paradise Valley High School District formed in 1957, in July of 1976 the high school district unified with the elementary and middle schools districts into PVUSD.

More than eight decades after School District No. 69 opened its first school, PVUSD built Desert Trails Elementary and Explorer Middle School, both built in 1997. Three years later, in 2000, graduating middle school

students had a new high school to attend – Pinnacle. A boomlet of young children prompted design and construction of Wildfire Elementary in 2006, and the district’s newest elementary, Fireside, celebrated a grand opening in 2012.

As the newest school, Fireside was designed as a sustainable facility.Among its features: daylight harvesting, water harvesting and reclaimed water for irrigation; an energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, energy savings through photovoltaics and solar hot water and a color palette to complement the neighborhood.

The Paradise Valley Unified School District has a total of 44 elementary, middle and high schools in a geographical area bounded by 7th Avenue, Pima Road, Jomax Road and Northern Avenue.

The district offers a variety of academic programs including K-12 International Baccalaureate; Core Knowledge; Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Global Geography; Mandarin Immersion; Fine Arts K-12 track; gifted and special education, career and technical education, before- after-school programs, sports and extracurricular activities, and pre-K programs. The PVschools district is the seventh-largest in the state.