Phoenix Union High School District History
 

Phoenix Union HS Building

For over 100 years, and spanning three centuries, Phoenix Union High School District has served the educational needs of the city. Beginning in 1895 with four classrooms and 90 students, the District has mirrored the mercurial growth of Phoenix. Today, over 27,000 students attend 11 comprehensive high schools three small specialty schools and three alternative schools. The district covers a 220-square mile area, fed by 13 elementary districts, making it one of the largest secondary school districts in the nation.

 

The district’s namesake, Phoenix Union High School, was the only school for several years, finding a permanent downtown home at 7th Street and Van Buren. It becamePHX Union Building  the largest high school west of the Mississippi during the height of its enrollment. 

In 1926, to accommodate the growing number of African-American students, Carver High School opened. It closed in 1954 with the integration of schools. 

Phoenix Union’s Board of Education established Phoenix College in 1920 as a junior college, until the legislature passed an act legalizing the creation and maintenance of junior colleges in Arizona. 

In 1938, with Phoenix Union’s enrollment over 5,000 students, a new high school was built. North Phoenix High School opened its doors to 1,517 students in 1939. The name was changed to North High School in 1959. 

Between 1949 and 1957, the District built an additional five schools—West, Camelback, South Mountain, Central and Carl Hayden. Continued growth led to construction of Alhambra, East and Maryvale in the ‘60s, and Trevor G. Browne in 1972. 

Declining enrollment during the ‘80s forced the closure of four schools- North High closed in 1981, only to reopen in 1983. Phoenix Union ending its glorious reign after 87 years in 1982, along with East and West High Schools. West reopened in 1985 as Metro Tech Vocational Institute of Phoenix, and eventually became the magnet high school, Metro Tech in 1999 with the creation of a 9-12-grade academic and career/technical school. 

Two alternative schools opened in the ‘70s-- Bostrom Alternative Center and the Desiderata program. 

Cesar Chavez was the first new Phoenix Union high school built in 27 years, and the first in the town of Laveen, opening in 1999. 

A unique partnership of businesses and the District created the Suns-Diamondbacks

Academy, an alternative school for at-risk youth, which moved into its new building, in January, 2002. 

A small school initiative ushered in two new specialty schools in 2006—Bioscience High School, featuring a rigorous science and math-focused curriculum, and Cyber High School, a computer-based school. Bioscience moved into its downtown campus in the heart of the biotech community in 2007. Cyber would close in 2010. 

In 2007, Betty H. Fairfax High School became the 11th comprehensive high school, opening its doors to freshmen in Laveen. Franklin Police and Fire High School, a small school featuring public safety career classes such as law enforcement and firefighting, opened the same year at the historically restored Franklin Elementary School. 

A 2011 construction bond built two more campuses, opening in 2016. Sixteen years after Suns-Diamondbacks Education Academy began, its first permanent home was built and the school name was changed to Linda Abril Educational Academy. Another small specialty school, Phoenix Coding Academy opened its doors to its first class for the 2016-17 school year.

 Betty Fairfax
 
 

School Openings 

Phoenix Union High School............................................................................. 1895/1982

Carver High School.......................................................................................... 1919/1954

Phoenix Technical School................................................................................ 1935/1955

Phoenix Flying School..................................................................................... 1947/1960

North High School........................................................................................... 1939

West High School............................................................................................ 1949/1983

Camelback High School................................................................................... 1953

South Mountain High School........................................................................... 1954

Carl Hayden Community High School............................................................ 1957

Central High School......................................................................................... 1957

Alhambra High School..................................................................................... 1962

Maryvale High School..................................................................................... 1963

East High School.............................................................................................. 1964/1982

Cyesis Center ................................................................................................... 1964

Trevor G. Browne High School....................................................................... 1972

Area Vocational Center.................................................................................... 1975/1985

Bostrom Alternative Center for Education....................................................... 1976

Desert Valley High School............................................................................... 1977/1991

Desiderata......................................................................................................... 1977

Phoenix Vocational Academic Center.............................................................. 1980/1985

Metro Tech Vocational Institute of Phoenix..................................................... 1985

Cesar Chavez High School............................................................................... 1999

Cyber High School............................................................................................ 2006/2010

Betty Fairfax High School................................................................................ 2007

*Suns-Diamondbacks Educational Academy................................................... 2001/2016

   (Name change 2016)     

Bioscience High School................................................................................... 2006

Franklin Police and Fire High School.............................................................. 2007

Camelback Montessori..................................................................................... 2012 

*Linda Abril Educational Academy.................................................................  2016

   (Formerly Suns-Diamondbacks) 

Phoenix Coding Academy................................................................................ 2016

Phoenix Union Wilson College Prep................................................................ 2017

Gifted and Talented Academy........................................................................... 2017

 


 
 
 
 
 
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