Student placements at Borton are determined in an open lottery. Applications for the following year’s enrollment are accepted in the late fall of first semester. A lottery drawing is held in early January. If student seats are not filled in the first lottery drawing, subsequent drawings are held until all open spaces are filled. Placements that are not filled by in-district magnet students can be made available to Open Enrollment students from other districts. For more information on the application process, please visit the School Community Services Department pages on the TUSD website.
We make student classroom assignments in a committee process. We strive to balance all classrooms by gender, ethnicity, race, language needs, and other special needs. In multi-age classrooms, we aim to place a fairly equal number of students in each grade. If we can meet these criteria and still honor parent requests, we may do so. The final placement is at the discretion of the committee, based on the aforementioned criteria and teacher recommendations, before any parent requests are considered.
Borton does not use a basal reading program of anthologies and workbooks. Instead, we offer students a balanced literacy approach in which teachers make decisions about the next best steps for students based on their daily observations of students’ progress and their knowledge about literacy acquisition. All students have daily opportunities to listen to someone read, read with others, read independently, write, and learn more about language. In the early grades, guided reading groups conducted by teachers with small groups of students at a similar level are a common practice. In the older elementary grades, these may resemble book clubs, when students, with or without an adult, group to read a novel or other text of interest to them. Reading and writing also occur throughout the curriculum as students engage in learning content material and develop their classroom projects. We strive to support students in acquiring understandings about reading and writing in the context of their meaningful use to as great an extent as possible.
Borton uses the Engage New York/Eureka Math Program, an online resource for teachers, and some components from the Investigations math program, from Pearson Publishing. This program focuses heavily on number sense, place value, and algebraic thinking from kindergarten throughout the grades. Children have many hands-on, minds-on experiences with math at a concrete level and in application to real world problems. When children have acquired solid understandings of concepts about quantity, place value and operations, and after they have developed a range of strategies for solving problems, they are introduced to the standard algorithms. We also require students to learn basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts at an appropriate grade level. We want all our students to become accurate, flexible, and fluent in their problem solving. Students also develop concepts in the other strands of mathematics – geometry, pattern and function, data collection and analysis, probability and measurement.
Borton has a full time art teacher. All students have art every week for 50 minutes, enough time for a lesson and studio work. Our music teacher is also full time and offers music to all students every week for 45 minutes. We also have a full time PE teacher, so all students have PE once a week for 45 minutes. Cross country and soccer for all students, and softball for intermediate students, are offered in the after-school enrichment program. An orchestra teacher comes twice a week to work with interested fifth graders. Borton’s PBL Support Teacher and Magnet Site Coordinator support the implementation of the school’s dual magnet focus – project-based learning and systems thinking. They work with all the teachers and students over the course of the year. Our school does not have enough students to qualify for a full-time librarian. We have half-time library assistants to support teachers, students, and parents in their quest for books. We also have a part time counselor who gives lessons in classrooms, meets with small groups and individual students, and provides resource support for parents.
In the summer of 2014 Borton received a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant to fund an after school program, free of charge to Borton Students. This program is a mixture of academic and enrichment classes, running four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), from dismissal until 4:30. Academic classes are designed to supplement school-day instruction, while enrichment classes offer options that students might not have out of school. In the past, enrichment classes have included art, sports, music, dancing, etc. Students who stay for the after school program receive a snack.
The program is intended mainly for students with academic needs, though there will be space for other students. However, in the past we have not had space for all applicants, and some have ended up on the waiting list for a session.
To address this, in 2017 we started a Community Schools program, a paid after school program with a number of enrichment classes being offered.
If parents need after school care on Wednesdays, teacher planning days, or after 4:15, the City of Tucson offers a KIDCO program at our site. Enrollment for KIDCO takes place through the city Parks and Recreation Department. Enrollment opens in mid-July, and it usually fills up quickly.
In-district magnet students who attend Borton or any other magnet school in TUSD are eligible for bus transportation. These arrangements are made through the district’s transportation department. There is one bus run in the morning before school and two in the afternoon, one immediately following dismissal and another at the end of the after-school program. TUSD does not provide transportation for Open Enrollment students.
Parents of Borton students are always welcome in the school and classrooms. If parents enjoy working directly with children, our teachers will be happy to have your support working with small groups of students on classwork, or perhaps taking groups to work in the gardens or BELL, the Borton Environmental Learning Lab. We also welcome parent volunteers in the library, art studio, and any other area around the school where you might like to contribute your talents and interests. We often invite parents to the classrooms as experts on topics that classes might be studying. We have an active PTA that carries out fundraising events and other celebrations for the school community. Parents serve on the Site Council and other school committees. We take advantage of regular, district conference days with parents, but our teachers also hold conferences with parents whenever the need arises. Parents receive weekly communication in English and often in Spanish about classroom activities through newsletters, email, and our school’s website. At Borton, we recognize that parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. We want you to be part of the team of people who share an interest in your child’s education.
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