About the Oracle School District
The Oracle School District is one of 19 public school Districts located in Pinal County, Arizona. The Oracle Elementary School District was organized in 1905. The Oracle School District is the second oldest District in Pinal County. The District encompasses 314 square miles including Eagle Crest Ranch a family residential development, SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch retirement communities, the unincorporated town of Oracle and the outlying areas of Willow Springs and Falcon Valley. The Oracle School District provides a program of public instruction from preschool to grade eight with an estimated enrollment of over 400 students. The District operates a community schools program providing a wide range of student activities including, Teens Sew Cool, Horsemanship, A full range of athletics, morning, afternoon, and evening tutoring.
The District and the town of Oracle have its roots in the mining industry. The community began to grow in the late 1870’s when gold and silver were discovered and the Christmas and New Year mines were opened. In 1952 the Magma Copper Company developed its first mining production shafts kicking off the era of the San Manuel Magma Copper mine. In its hay day the Magma copper mine employed over 1200 people and produced more than 700 million tons of copper until finally closing in 2003. Most of the residents from the communities of Oracle, Mammoth and San Manuel were employed by the mine. The closing of the mine precipitated an almost immediate rapid decline in enrollment for the Oracle School District. The transition from a mining town to a bedroom community consisting of retirees and commuters has been a major challenge for the District and the local economy.
In the past few years the District has slowly increased in enrollment due to a combination of the growth of service industries and some housing development in the area. The families that enroll their children in the Oracle School District are largely blue collar households that work in either the Tucson area or commute to the Asarco copper mine located between Winkleman and Kearny. Over 60% of the students in the Oracle School District qualify for free and reduced fee lunch. More than 70% of District students enter kindergarten severely lacking early literacy skills and are at high risk for not reading at grade level. To combat this huge issue the District has put in place many innovative reading and academic intervention programs including a comprehensive phonics based early childhood literacy program that will begin this school year. All teachers and teachers’ aides received extensive training in this program during the summer.
To help its students get a leg up in their crucial beginning educational years the District operates a tuition based preschool program for three and four year olds. Full day kindergarten and Preschool is not funded in Arizona unless a child is identified as having a developmental delay. The District is very hopeful that the newly formed Oracle Schools Foundation will help provide important resources that will help fill some of the learning gaps that impede academic progress for children.
P.O. Box 8863, Tucson, AZ 85623