Education Echoes


Technolochicas Lift Conference

On Monday, March 2nd, Santa Cruz County celebrated the second Technolochicas Lift South 32 Santa Cruz County Conference at the Santa Cruz Center in Nogales.  Approximately 200 students, teachers, school governing board members and dignitaries interacted with a panel of Technolochicas moderated by Sonia Sanchez from the Circles of Peace.  The Technolochicas, six Latinas from different areas of the world and prominent in STEM related fields: (Adrea Chaves Acelia Castaneda, Claudia Varela, and Eliana Calderon) shared their experiences studying and achieving a career in STEM related fields as Latina Women.  Along with the hour-long panel discussion, the Technolochicas facilitated two, one-hour long workshops to the middle school girls.   

During the conference, Pat Risner, President for the Hermosa Project at South32, spoke about the employment opportunities for young women in the mining industry.  South 32 is a global metals and mining company that spans the globe including the Hermosa Project in Patagonia.  Alfredo I. Velásquez, Santa Cruz County School Superintendent, also spoke and thanked everyone for their hard work and encouraged the young women to follow their dreams.    

In collaboration with the Televisa Foundation and the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office, South 32 is sponsoring the TECHNOLOchicas LiFT program in seven of Santa Cruz County middle schools: Desert Shadows Middle School, Wade Carpenter Middle School, Calabasas School, Coatimundi Middle School, Lourdes Catholic School, Patagonia Elementary, and Santa Cruz Elementary.   

TECHNOLOchicas LiFT was developed by the Televisa Foundation to increase the number of girls in Hispanic communities pursuing technology-related studies by the time they reach high school. A curriculum designed to empower, excite, encourage, and engage girls in computer programming, coding, and robotics is being implemented by site facilitators and assistants on each campus for 2-3 hours a week.   The program was facilitated by Chris Young from the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office.   


2020 Read Across America Read on Santa Cruz County Week

Once again, the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent's Office and School Superintendent Alfredo I. Velasquez,

celebrated, along with 30 Private Schools, Charter Schools and Public Elementary Schools within our county, National

Read across America/Read on Santa Cruz County Week from March 2, 2020 through March 06, 2020.

With the coordination of Ms. Patricia Barraza-Preciado (Santa Cruz County School Superintendent's Office,) they

had close to 100 volunteers from all across Santa Cruz County, read to every classroom in our educational community.

The main goal of this event is to encourage our children to read and to love reading at an early age. It's one of the most

important things we can do as parents and as a community.

It sets the foundation for a lifetime of success.

The Santa Cruz County School Superintendent's Office, would like to thank everyone who volunteered a couple of

hours of their busy day to participate in this wonderful event.

The children of Santa Cruz County, THANK YOU as well.


Spelling Bee 2020

The Santa Cruz County Superintendent’s Office hosted the 2020 Spelling Bee. The event was held on Friday, February 7, 2020. The event coordinators were Marisol Chiquete-Bolaina, and Adrian Chamberlain. It was held at the Santa Cruz County Complex. The entrance of the courtroom had a large decorative bouquet of yellow and black balloons with styrofoam bees. The inside of the courtroom was beautifully decorated with big colorful paper flowers and paper bees. The Spelling Bee began with a pledge of allegiance followed with a warm welcome by the Santa Cruz County Superintendent  Alfredo I. Velasquez. The event was well attended by students, parents, teachers, and judges who enjoyed a fun filled day of suspense, and surprises. Larry Frederick from Lincoln Elementary School was the pronouncer of the Spelling Bee. This year the Spelling Bee judges included State Representative Rosanna Gabaldon, Santa Cruz County Attorney George Silva, Treasurer Elizabeth Gutfahr, and Jovanna Lopez a State Farm Insurance Agent. Special thanks to the Rio Rico Rotary Club for their support on registering the contestants the day of the event. The Spelling Bee had approximately 26 students participate in the Spelling Bee.  This year’s 2020 Santa Cruz County Spelling Bee Champion was, 6th grader Daniel Woodburn from Fco. Vasquez de Coronado Elementary School.  The runner-up was 8th grader Liam Morgan from Elgin Middle School.


Borderlands Film Festival: Gear Up Showcase


On November 8th, the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office in conjunction with Gear Up and the Borderland Film Festival hosted a student film festival at Oasis Theater. The group of 8th graders created 1-minute films all centered around the theme of life on the border. All 8th graders had been given workshops about the different aspects of filmmaking by Arts Coordinator, Nick Mansfield.  

Fifty kids from Desert Shadows, Wade Carpenter, Coatimundi, Calabasas, Lourdes, and Little Red took part in the film festival. At the event, there was a red carpet, photo booth, interviews from various journalists and all the fanfare expected at any movie premiere. Approximately 100 people attended the event. Along with students, principals, parents and other spectators were in attendance.  

The goal of this event was to give students an opportunity to creatively express how they feel about their community, culture, and lives in a creative and introspective way. Following the success of this event, the Superintendent’s Office would love to continue with the possibility of more workshops or summer camps centered on film making and storytelling.  


2019 National Gear Up Week

Thank you Santa Cruz County, for celebrating National Gear Up Week!
Mr. Alfredo I. Velásquez and the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office would like to thank all who participated in the festivities during National Gear Up Week~ September 23-27, 2019. 8th grade Gear Up students engaged in college and career readiness activities, and pledged to “Believe in the Power of YET” and incorporate a Growth Mindset into their post-secondary plan. 

Gear Up, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Under-graduate Programs, is a federally funded grant program in place since 1999. The Superintendent’s Office was awarded the grant in October of 2018, and will continue supporting students until 2025. 

The Santa Cruz County C-CREO Gear Up Program provides services centered around career exploration, academic preparation, building perseverance, and developing a post-secondary plan on all middle school campuses through the work of success coaches. A college and career Liaison at the C-CREO Hub and Arts Coordinator at the Imagination Center, both located in the Santa Cruz Center, are available to work with the community in conjunction with Gear Up and the Santa Cruz County Arts for Learning Initiative in partnership with Young Audiences. 

For more information about the C-CREO Gear Up Program, please contact Program Director Maya Donnelly at

Thank you to our Partners

Educational Communities

NUSD #1: Wade Carpenter Middle School, 

Desert Shadows Middle School

SCVUSD #35: Calabasas School, Coatimundi Middle School

Patagonia Elementary School

Elgin School

Little Red School

Mexicayotl Charter School

Lourdes Catholic School

Sacred Heart of Jesus School


Santa Cruz Center       Dandy’s Creative Graphics                 Lead Local

Bordergráfico               Vib’n Certified                                      Borderlands Film Festival


Creating Supportive Learning Environments

On Wednesday, August 28th, the Santa Cruz County Superintendent’s Office held its first consortium meeting of the school year at the Santa Cruz County Complex at 10:00 a.m. The theme of the consortium is Career Technical Training with presentations from NUSD #1, SCVUSD #35, PUHS #20, Santa Cruz County Provisional Community College, Pima Community College, JTED, and Cochise Technical Educational District. It was a great forum to learn about what local school districts and community colleges are doing to prepare our students for the workforce.

The meeting initiated with a welcome from the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent, Mr. Alfredo I. Velásquez.  The goal of this consortium is to create and support learning environments for all students in Santa Cruz County. Several educators from different educational sectors were in attendance.  

Mr.  Velásquez plays a critical role in supporting the creation of safe and supportive learning environments for all students. He has achieved this by working closely with school district superintendents, universities, Arizona@Work, training programs, and college educators to set the overarching academic goals for the county’s K-12 public education system while supporting specific efforts to help students achieve those aims. Alfredo I. Velásquez is committed to partnering with districts and other organizations to create a network of support that propel our students to achieve and thrive. For more information please contact the Santa Cruz County School Superintendent’s Office at: (520) 375-7952