Rancho Viejo History

Rancho Viejo was a ranch before it was developed into a school campus.

1967-1977 were important growth years for Rancho Viejo. The 700 wing of portable buildings and later the 900 wing of portables were added as temporary wings to the permanent 800 wing structure. The elementary portion of the site was named Rancho and Viejo School was the home for the 6, 7, and 8 grades. The community became restless during the mid-1970s and school administration was accused of not challenging the junior high students. At this time the school went from K-5/6-8 grade levels to two K-8 schools.

In the mid-1980s Rancho Viejo reached an enrollment of 1800 K-6 students, and it was recognized that it was time for a change. Mr. Thad Jennings was principal at the time, and thanks to his dedication, hard work and amazing staff, Rancho Viejo was selected as the Number One Elementary School in the State of Arizona.

In 1989, a national competition selected Rancho Viejo was selected to receive the Excellence in Education Award as a blue ribbon school.

In 2004, two smaller schools were built behind the older buildings at the site; Rancho Viejo (4–6) and Salida del Sol (K-3). The old buildings were used for various preschools for low income, Migrant and First Things First students. Other adult education and professional development classes were also held in these buildings.

In 2006, Crane School District and Jon Jessen (former Board member and agri-businessman) formed a partnership to provide high achieving Rancho Viejo students with more advanced opportunities to learn, using computers. These students also had the opportunity to visit colleges in the Southwest. The investment in the Gowan Achievement Program (GAP) provided much-needed technology for RV students, and the program was recognized with several awards. The following year, GAP was expanded to the middle school level as students continued their education in other Crane Schools.

Current principal, Cindy Hookstra, continues an established tradition of focusing on assessment, quality curriculum and effective instruction to meet the needs of all the students at Rancho Viejo.
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