Our New Web Site is Currently Being Updated: - Questions: Please Contact Ruben Gonzales Sunnyside School District - Where Education Shines

new website coming

The Sunnyside School District will be rolling out a new website at the beginning of the school year. The new site will provide parents, staff and community members a more dynamic website user experience with tools to help you keep up with what is happening in our schools.

Our website address will remain: www.sunnysideschools.org

first day of school: september 4

The first day of the 2012-13 school year will be Tuesday, September 4.

congratulations class of 2012!


The Sunnyside School District wishes to congratulate the Sunnyside High School Class of 2012 for their success!

ssd employee named regional classified employee of the year

David Peterson, a network operations manager for the Sunnyside School District, has been selected as the Educational Service District 105 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year for 2012.

Peterson was presented the award before a gathering of the region’s school superintendents at ESD 105 in Yakima on the morning of Thursday, February 16.

The award recognizes the excellent service that paraprofessionals, custodians, secretaries, cooks, payroll officers, bus drivers, and other classified staff provide to public schools. Candidates are reviewed for their contributions in helping improve student achievement, their leadership and collaboration, and their overall outstanding work performance for their school community. This is the third year for the ESD 105 regional award.

Peterson will now serve as one of nine candidates from throughout the state – one chosen by each regional ESD – who will vie for the title of the 2012 Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year. The statewide award will be announced by OSPI during a special reception in Olympia that will be scheduled for later this spring.

three ssd schools earn washington state achievement awards

It was announced yesterday that three schools in the Sunnyside School District were among the nine schools in the Yakima Valley that were presented Washington Achievement Awards from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Only the top 5% of schools in the state earn the prestigious award. The recipients were chosen based on data from the Washington State Achievement Index, which measures test scores in reading, writing, math and science.

Pioneer Elementary, Washington Elementary and Outlook Elementary were awarded for overall excellence. Washington Elementary also received special recognition for their math scores, and Outlook received special recognition for overall improvement. Chief Kamiakin Elementary was just a few tenths of a point away from also joining the prestigious list.

For a complete list of schools honored,Click Here.

state of the schools address

The following is text of Superintendent Dr. Richard D. Cole's State of the Schools Address delivered at the January 26, 2012 School Board Meeting

In my 13th year as Superintendent of the Sunnyside School District, I have never been more proud of what we have accomplished as a school district, nor as optimistic of where we are going, as I am today.

Over the past few years, our district has undergone significant changes to the work we do educating our students and ensuring each one of them succeeds. With the resources provided by the Summit and MERIT grants, we have developed new tools and strategies to improve teaching and learning. We have developed curriculum guides that align to state standards. Our teachers and administrators are developing a more effective assessment system that will quickly provide them with the data they need to adjust instruction based on their students’ needs. We have also ensured that our district’s administrators and instructional leaders are spending more time in the classroom to support high-quality instructional practice. Most importantly, our academic scores are increasing.

The changes we have implemented throughout our schools have not been easy. In fact, it has been very difficult. It has required that our staff work harder and adapt to more changes than ever before. They have enthusiastically embraced the work necessary to increase academic success across our district, and they have not let us down. They have shown day in and day out that their commitment and dedication to success for every single one of our students is their focus.

We are now beginning to see the positive impact this work is having on our students’ success. In just a five-year period of time, we have seen our district’s graduation rate climb from 41 to 71 percent. In just one year, our ELL graduation rate has gone from 16 to 46 percent, and our Special Education graduation rate has risen from 47 to 93 percent. We are also seeing improvement in test scores at almost every level. Thanks to the hard work of our staff at every level, more students are succeeding than ever before.

To sustain our success and continue improving our graduation rates and test scores, we have developed a District Student Achievement Plan that will focus and lead our work over the next three years. The plan’s four goals (1. Increase student achievement through quality teaching and learning. 2. Developing effective leadership focused on student learning. 3. Supporting system-wide improvement. 4. Strengthening clear and collaborative relationships) have detailed strategies, timelines for implementation and measurements to gauge success. By focusing our work around this plan’s goals and strategies, our students and staff will achieve and succeed at higher levels than ever before.

We are also preparing for the future by ensuring we have a strong financial system to allocate resources where they are needed the most to positively impact student achievement. Our district’s strong fiscal management has allowed us to offer our students and staff high-quality educational programs and support services, all while maintaining the second lowest school tax rate in Yakima County. By keeping the tax rate low and providing our students with every opportunity to succeed, we are continuing to make Sunnyside an attractive place for businesses and families to locate to. We also have an adequate cash reserve and are developing contingency plans to address the possibility of legislature making cuts to K-12 public education.

The safety of our students and staff is also a paramount concern for our district. We are continuing to ensure that our schools are free of gangs, drugs and alcohol by developing partnerships in our community to address these major obstacles to student success. By partnering with the City of Sunnyside to provide commissioned police officers to work in our schools and with Sunnyside’s Promise to provide prevention and intervention strategies, we are working hard to continue making Sunnyside a great place to live and learn.

In closing, I would just like to emphasize how exciting it is to be a part of this district at this moment in time. We have made remarkable gains and are poised to reach even higher levels. Every single employee in our district should be celebrated for the work they’ve done and the work that is to come. They are truly making a difference in the lives of those students who need them the most. And for that, I cannot thank them enough.


The Sunnyside School District Board of Directors have approved placing a four-year $2,040,656 levy on the February 14, 2012 ballot for registered voters to consider. The levy would replace the current levy set to expire on December 31, 2012.

If approved, the school tax rate would average around $1.51 per $1,000 in assessed property value to collect the $2,040,656 per year. Although this rate is an increase over the expiring levy rate of $1.22 per $1,000, it is estimated that Sunnyside would continue to have second lowest school tax rate total in Yakima County.

Based on the current state formula, the local levy in the amount of $2,040,656 per year is necessary for Sunnyside School District to receive the maximum amount of levy equalization funds from the state during four years of the levy. Approving the levy would make Sunnyside School District eligible for up to an additional $7,200,000 in levy equalization funding.

Click here for the complete informational pamphlet.

ssd board of directors honored by their peers

For the third time in four years, the Sunnyside School District (SSD) Board of Directors has been distinguished as an outstanding school board by their peers. The SSD Board of Directors was one of 16 school boards from across the state to be honored with a Board of Distinction Award by the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA). The announcement was made Saturday, November 19 at the WSSDA Annual Conference in Bellevue, WA. Members of the Sunnyside School Board are: Steve Carpenter, Migule Puente, Michelle Perry, Rocky simmons and Lorenzo Garza.

WSSDA’s Boards of Distinction awards program honors school boards that demonstrate effective use of the Washington School Board Standards. The standards promote researched-based governance practices that lead to high levels of student and district performance. Sunnyside School District was required to submit an essay and supporting evidence to demonstrate how they are putting the new standards into practice. This year, applicants were asked to address the following benchmarks (one from each of the five standards):

  • Ensuring school board and district transparency through a process that is open and accountable.

  • Leading the development, articulation and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by schools and community.

  • Employing and supporting quality teachers, administrators and other staff and providing for their professional development.

  • Evaluating the superintendent on clear and focused expectations.

  • Ensuring the board is accountable and open to the public, including seeking divergent perspectives in its decision making process.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have a Board of Directors focused on a vision of success for all students in our district. This award is a testament to the high quality work they engage in as they lead our district toward accomplishing that goal,” said Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole.

“We are very humbled to have been recognized with this award,” said Sunnyside School Board Vice-President Lorenzo Garza. “As a Board, and in collaboration with administrators, we have shown serious focus on improving student achievement by engaging our staff, students and community in support of success for all students. We are honored to have been recognized by our peers for that hard work,” he added.

The Board has been previously recognized by WSSDA as a 2008 School Board of the Year and 2010 School Board of Distinction.

winter weather phone line

Winter weather is now upon us. When weather conditions arise that may require school to be cancelled or delayed, please call our information line at: 836-8404. We will also utilize our automated School Messenger System to send out phone calls and Emails to parents and staff alerting them that school has been cancelled.

***Please note that your phone number and/or email address used to send out School Messenger messages is what is listed in the PowerSchool system. If your contact information has changed, or you are unsure if it is listed correctly in the system, please contact a school secretary at any school your children attend.

annual report to the community now available

The Sunnyside School District's Annual Report to the Community is now available online. The reports shares a lot of useful information about our school district, including: a message from the Board of Directors, academic scores and trends, budget information, and external perception data. Click one of the links below to download the report. If you would like a paper copy of the report, please visit the District Office at 1110 S. Sixth Street.

2011-12 Annual Report (English)

2011-12 Annual Report (Espanol)