Parent advice

This page shares bits of advice from our Thunderbird family members who have been through the Thunderbird High School experience. Several points to consider are below and the most often cited advice is 1. Get involved in the school (both family and students), and 2. Teach your student to advocate for themselves, and engage when they need help.


  • Join a Booster Club! As a booster, you can keep up with the schedule, meet other families, and find ways to make the experience better for your student.
  • Be active! Push your student to participate in activities. There is something for everyone on campus.
  • Go to TPA meetings to hear directly from school administrators
  • Don’t let the fear of not knowing what to do stop you from showing up as a volunteer. None of us really know exactly what we are doing. We work together and figure it out.
  • Schedule time on your calendar now for two weeks before school starts to attend in-person registration and volunteer to help with registration.
  • Go to the TPA FUNdraising events. Fun and Important.
  • Schedule time on your calendar to volunteer on campus as a first-day-of-school volunteer. So fun welcoming the kids to school.
  • Volunteer on campus as a “Fun Fridays” host. Join the volunteer team; it is fun.
  • Swim team is not one of the most well-known sports programs but it is a great competition and a great experience.
  • Check out the Outdoors Club! Fun stuff.
  • The NJROTC program is amazing for young men and young women and it is not just for those going into the military after school; most cadets don’t go into active military duty.
  • Put at least one football game, one basketball game, one theatre performance, and one other Thunderbird event (swim, cross country, dance, cheer, band competition, NJROTC Drill event, on your calendar and go. Bring your family, bring your neighbors and have a small-town high school experience right here in the big city.
  • The games versus other GUHSD schools are a big deal and often include special activities or events.
  • Go to the Greenway games! Greenway is our sister-school (both schools started out in 1972 on the Thunderbird campus, then Greenway students moved to their current campus location. Lots of history, lots of fun. Go to the Greenway games (home and away) to cheer for Thunderbird.
  • Wear your Blue and Orange throughout the school year!
  • The student fan section at games, called “The T-Squad” can be a great student experience. When we go to games the parents and family members sit in our “quiet” section while the students are in the T-Squad.

Parking Lot and Pick up

  • Avoid turning left from east-bound Thunderbird into the Thunderbird entrance at the peak of drop-off or pick-up times. Westbound traffic clogs the parking lot entrance.
  • You don’t need to pick up your kid at the afternoon bell. These are high school students; they should have homework. Have your student go to the Media Center to study for 30 minutes then pick them up when traffic is gone.
  • Watch for pedestrians! These kids wander around the parking lot, mess around on the sidewalks, and are not as careful as they should be so the drivers must be careful for them.
  • Remember that the Thunderbird parking lot has many new drivers. Look twice, look three times, be patient, and expect driver mistakes.
  • Pro Tip: When your kid has zero-hour drop-off is a breeze. When your kid is participating in extracurricular activities after school, pick-up is a breeze.

Homework and grades:

  • Watch ParentVue and talk with teachers to learn their pattern for posting assignment status and grades. Some teachers have different patterns for posting updates so it helps to learn how a teacher works so you can best keep up with the status of assignments and grades before anything gets too far out of whack.
  • Practice using ParentVue early in the school year so that you get the hang of it before midterms.


  • Class schedules and balancing required classes with electives is challenging. Get to know your student’s counselor early in the year. More importantly, require your student to get to know their counselor. Their counselor is critical in helping navigate the scheduling process.
  • Patiently and politely help your student advocate for themselves and engage when your student needs help.

Thunderbird Parent Association

  • Check-in on this website, “Like” or “Follow” the TPA Facebook page if you do social media, and attend the monthly meetings. This group exists to improve the high school experience for everyone. Take advantage of that.
  • Go to the Auction Night, Golf Tournament, and Casino Night. Those events are so much fun and they raise money for our school. Bring people with you!
  • Get your senior tickets to Senior Grad Night activities. Such a great value, such a great experience, hardly any high schools in Arizona offer this.
  • Contact the TPA for reduced-price or fully-sponsored-price Senior Grad Night tickets if cost is the barrier.

Other Advice:

  • The Homecoming Parade is a community event. If you are not part of the parade check with the school for the date, time, and route (or check the TPA Events Calendar) then come out to watch the parade. So much fun!
  • Buy a yearbook at walk-through registration then set a reminder in your phone each month March through May that pops-up and says – “don’t worry, you already bought the yearbook”.
  • Buy your Senior Grad Night event tickets as soon as they go on sale so you have them and that is done and taken care of.
  • Use the TPA Events Calendar to keep up. There are a million things happening during the school year and this is a great resource.
  • Schedule your Senior photos in August. You might want to do the photo session in spring but book it early and get it on the schedule.
  • During Freshman and early in the Sophomore year go to open house sessions for the GUHSD career technical education programs and for West-Mec. They both offer amazing opportunities.
  • Learn how the Career Technical Education Tree works and use that model to explore earning licenses, certificates, and other skills your student may put to work right out of high school (even if they plan to continue studies after high school).