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Tucson Unified Curriculum

At Tucson Unified, we recognize the value of multicultural education in supporting student success. Multicultural education acknowledges that the ways in which students learn and think are deeply influenced by their cultural identity and heritage and that to teach culturally diverse students effectively requires educational approaches that value and recognize their cultural backgrounds. In this way, multicultural education aims to improve the learning and success of all students, particularly students from cultural groups that have been historically underrepresented.

In practice, educators modify or eliminate educational policies, programs, materials, lessons, and instructional practices that are either discriminatory toward or insufficiently inclusive of diverse cultural perspectives.Photo of students

Why do we need a Multicultural Curriculm?

  1. To prepare students for diverse workplaces and multicultural environments
  2. To expose biases, stereotypes, and policies that can restrict achievement
  3. To ensure that content is fair, accurate, and inclusive
  4. To accommodate the diverse teaching and learning styles of teachers and students
  5. To help students, faculty, and staff become advocates for multicultural awareness

The district's Multicultural Framework for Student Academic Success is articulated through the district policies and initiatives. Tucson Unified recognizes the growing diversity of cultures in the district and commits itself to ensure that all aspects of policies, curricula, practices, programs, and services promote intercultural understanding and addresses the needs of students who have been historically marginalized or underrepresented.

Tucson Unified's multicultural curriculum uses the Anti-Bias Framework, developed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and culturally responsive teaching as a basis for effective anti-bias education at every grade level. The anti-bias anchor standards provide a set of age-appropriate learning outcomes divided into four domains: identity, diversity, justice and action.

The curriculum, which is inclusive of the histories, cultures, and contributions of diverse groups of people, enriches learning for all students, preparing them to work toward structural equality and equity by engaging them in critical thinking around issues of racism, sexism, classism, linguicism, ageism, genderism, and more.

TUSD Multicultural Framework for Student Academic Success
Curriculum 5.0
Multicultural Content and Resources   Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies
Curriculum 5.0
Multicultural Resources
  • Themes
    • Identity
    • Diversity
    • Justice
    • Action
  • Essential Questions
  • Enduring Understanding
  • Units
Image of Plus Sign
  • Student-centered classrooms
  • Positive learning communities
  • Academic identity development
    through relevant content integration
  • Rigor through critical thinking integration
  • Knowledge co-creation
  • Student engagement through social justice

Optimal Learning Environment

Flow chart: Identity, Diversity, Justice, Action

Adapted from Teaching Tolerance


K-5 Student Outcomes:
Emphasis on Identity and Diversity

Middle School

Middle School Student Outcomes:
Emphasis on Identity, Diversity, and Justice

High School

High School Student Outcomes:
Emphasis on Identity, Diversity, Justice, And Action

Definition of Terms

Culture: the totality of ideas, beliefs, values, knowledge, language, and way of life of a group of people who share a certain historical background.  Manifestations of culture include art, laws, institutions, and customs. 

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: an educational approach that responds to student's social, emotional, and intellectual needs by incorporating student social and cultural assets into the curriculum.

Diversity: the unique characteristics that all persons possess that distinguish them as individuals and that identify them as belonging to a group or groups. 

Intercultural Proficiency: the ability to successfully communicate, understand, and interact among persons with differing assumptions that exist because of ethnic and cultural orientations.

Conducting Research at Tucson Unified

Contact: Dynah Oviedo, M.A., email
Curriculum and Instruction, 102 N Plumer Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719

Conducting Research at Tucson Unified - Print Version (in PDF)

Tucson Unified's governing board policy mandates that our External Research Committee must review all research (including surveys) involving students, parents, or district personnel.

The review process typically takes from 3-4 weeks. However, review time may vary depending on availability of staff. It is your responsibility to submit your proposal enough in advance to avoid problems meeting your deadlines. Please contact with any questions.

Based on TUSD Board policy, the primary criteria that will be used to evaluate external research requests are as follows:

  1. Significance. Preference will be given to studies:
    • improving academic achievement
    • in areas that are of high concern and potential usefulness to the District
    • that show promise of contributing to a scientific knowledge base for education
    • that are the university required Thesis or Dissertation for a Master's or Doctoral Degree
  2. Design.
    • Adequacy of conceptual framework, research questions, instrumentation, and data collection and design.
    • Appropriateness of arrangements to report and explain results of the research to District personnel.
    • Consideration of the rights and feelings of the subjects involved in the research.
    • Confidentiality of information pertaining to individual students or staff
    • Clarity of plans for participation of District students and staff.
  3. Protection of Human Subjects.
    • Adherence to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) regarding family and pupil rights, their privacy and protection.
    • Appropriate parental consent forms and student assent forms when necessary.
  4. Logistics
    • Minimum disruption of District, school and classroom operation.
    • Minimum time required of students and staff.

Make certain that all requested information is provided as incomplete proposals will delay the approval process.  You will be notified when the review process is complete.