Academic Programs

Tucson Unified School District is committed to improving the academic achievement of all students enrolled at the District by providing equal access to the District’s Advanced Learning Experiences. TUSD offers a range of advanced learning experiences for students which includes Advance Academic Courses, Advanced Placement, Advanced Via Individual Determination, International Baccalaureate,Dual Credit Courses, Gifted and Talented Education, and University High School. Learn more about our ALE programs.

Advanced Academic Courses (AAC) prepare students to take Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, which are a gateway to college readiness and success. These courses provide culturally and personally relevant activities designed to engage students in problem solving, academic discourse, and critical analysis. Advanced Academic Courses taken in grades 6-10 include the following classes: middle school classes offered or high school credit; and all academic classes currently referred to as “Honors,” “Advanced,” or “Accelerated.” For example, these courses include accelerated math in 7th grade, high school algebra in 8th grade, and honors and/or GATE language arts, science, and social studies courses. Talk to the counselor at your school to find out how to become involved in Advanced Academic Courses.


Advanced Placement courses enable high school students to take introductory college-level classes. Students who score well on AP exams are more likely to persist in college and earn a college degree. Students earn college credit for taking an AP class and successfully completing the AP exam for that course, saving tuition costs, saving time, and giving students a head start on their college journey. Talk to the counselor at your school to find out how to become involved in AP courses.

Advancement Via Individual Determination is a school-wide college and career readiness system. AVID is designed to increase the number of students who enroll and succeed in higher education and in their lives beyond high school. The AVID College Readiness System is the only elementary through higher education instructional system (K-12), which allows for regional alignment that strengthens student potential for completion. AVID-trained educators teach students academic and social skills to help them develop the habits and behaviors needed to succeed in rigorous curriculum. The AVID College Readiness System is a catalyst for developing a school culture that closes the achievement, expectation, and opportunity gaps many students face, and it prepares all students for success in a global society. Locate participating schools and talk to the school's AVID coordinator to become involved.

Dual Credit is a process by which a high school junior or senior enrolls in a college course and receives simultaneous academic credit from both the college and the high school. Recent studies prove that dual credit programs can help the transition from high school to college, and improve students’ college attendance and graduation rates. TUSD offers several high school courses in which students receive both high school and college credit. Students have access to college-level professors, develop important time management and  study skills, and improve their chances of being admitted to college! Talk to the counselor at your school to find out how to become involved in dual-credit courses.

At Tucson Unified, we recognize that gifted students have special educational needs that should be met within the context of educating the whole child through a variety of services and options. The role of the Gifted Education program is to:

• Identify the particular abilities and needs of these students.

• Challenge students functioning at the highest level of ability.

• Encourage underachieving students who are capable of the highest performance.

• Promote higher level creative and productive thinking skills throughout the district.

• Promote creative or productive achievement.

The District is committed to providing all students enrolled at the District with equal access to the District’s Gifted and Talented Education program. Locate participating schools to find what services they provide.

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through inter-cultural understanding and respect. To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right. The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students for success at university and life beyond. The programme is taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities. Click here to learn more.

University High School is a nationally recognized, highly ranked, college preparatory high school that offers an advanced and rigorous academic curriculum in a highly supportive environment. UHS offers a full range of academics, fine arts, and athletics, while supporting many school clubs and activities that provide students a balanced and well-rounded high school experience. The vast and varied opportunities at UHS prepare students extremely well for college. Visit UHS website for more information.

Career and Technical Education is a vocational training program that prepares students for workforce success and continuous learning. This program provides premier life experience prior to making any decisions after high school. CTE ensures a dynamic workforce by fully developing every student’s career and academic potential. Learn more about our CTE programs.

Two-Way Dual language incorporates each student’s linguistic and cultural attributes into a total learning experience producing individuals who will be full participants in our global society while continuing to preserve, manifest and enjoy their own cultural uniqueness. Locate participating schools for enrollment.

Tucson Unified School District is committed to recruiting a racially and ethnically diverse student body to its magnet schools and programs to ensure that the schools are integrated to the greatest extent practicable. Magnet Programs are the original public school choice option, providing families with ways to meet the individual learning styles and interests of their children. Tucson Unified School District has a comprehensive magnet school program that offers the Tucson community optimum choices for public school education. Magnet programs are an essential component of the District’s effort to support integration, increase academic achievement, increase graduation rates and increase parent engagement. Click here to learn more.

Opening Minds through the Arts is a student achievement and school improvement program, a homegrown and nationally recognized innovative approach to learning. Our mission is to creatively serve the educational needs of children. It is grounded in brain‐based research, multi‐intelligence theories, and the neurological development of children. Supporters’ resources go directly to student services within our community. Click here to learn more.

TUSD’s School Garden Network in partnership with the University of Arizona Community & School Garden Program supports schools gardens across the district by providing resources to help grow and sustain school gardens as well as use of school gardens as an extension of the classroom to support academic growth and social emotional learning. This support includes garden installation and maintenance, professional development for school garden curricular integration, food literacy education, and school garden interns that provide upwards of 10,000 hours of service a year providing garden enrichment across TUSD schools.