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Glendale Union High School District

District launches new social media campaign
This year, the Glendale Union High School District Community Relations Department launched #WeAreGUHSD, a social media marketing campaign.

Incorporating an environment that celebrates GUHSD—its students, families, teachers and the community at large—is at the heart of the #WeAreGUHSD campaign.

#WeAreGUHSD highlights students, district employees, families, businesses, community leaders and more. It’s a tribute to the community as a whole. It also gives current and former students, staff and Viking families a chance to stay connected.

Visit http://hashtag.guhsdaz.org to learn more about this campaign and how you can participate. You also can connect with the district, as many of the individual schools, on Facebook and Twitter.

Madison Elementary School District

Football viewing party benefits foundation
All Madison school district alumni, parents, and supporters are invited to enjoy an Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions Football Party on Sunday, Oct. 11, starting at 12:30 p.m. This is the first televised afternoon (starting at 1:05 p.m.) away game of the season. The fun will take place at the home of long-time Madison Governing Board member Scott Holcomb.

Attendees can network and share memories and good times while cheering on the Cardinals and playing pool. Food and beverages will be provided. Children are welcome.

The event is being held to benefit the Madison Education Foundation’s “Madison 125” campaign. Coinciding with the district’s 125th Anniversary, Madison 125 aims to provide an endowment to permanently sustain arts education in Madison schools.

To receive the home’s address and directions, RSVP to MEF@madisoned.org. Include your name, contact information, number of guests and when you attended Madison schools.

Families invited to ‘Discover Madison’
Madison School District hosts its annual Discover Madison Tour on Friday, October 23, for families interested in learning more about the kindergarten programs at Madison Camelview, Madison Simis, Madison Rose Lane, Madison Heights, and Madison Traditional Academy.

The tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Madison District Office, 5601 N. 16th St. Attendees will board the school bus and visit each of Madison’s elementary schools to receive a guided tour by the principal and learn more about each school. The tour includes a luncheon at the District Office and will conclude by noon.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit madisonaz.org/tour-kindergarten-2015 or call the Madison District Office at 602-664-7900.

Phoenix Union High School District

Students prep for new civics exam
Phoenix Union used the new state-required U.S. Citizenship Civics test as an opportunity to celebrate Civics Week, culminating with a Naturalization Ceremony on Constitution Day, Sept. 17 at Camelback High School.

All students enrolled in U.S./Arizona History, primarily juniors, took the 100-question exam Sept. 14-15 during their class period. The Social Studies students prepared through a mini-unit and targeted review that district teachers embedded into the curriculum during Civics Week. More than 4,500 students were tested in Phoenix Union.

This is the first year the test is being administered. Passage is now a high school graduation requirement for Arizona students. Students must correctly answer at least 60 on the 100-question test.

“We wanted to take a holistic approach to the test that would be more meaningful for our students,” said Social Studies Content Specialist Katie Parod-Hansen. “Creating Civics Week at the schools, preparing for and taking the exam and celebrating our newest citizens at one of our schools is a wonderful learning experience.”

Marketing students benefit from grant
The Camelback High Marketing department was awarded a $20,000 grant to participate in the ASU/Verizon Innovation through Design Thinking (iDT) Program for the second year. The program works with teachers to create a novel educational experience for students that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship through interdisciplinary and hands-on projects.

This year, students will connect with local small businesses and work to create a mobile application for these small business partners. The Verizon Foundation would like the students to create functioning mobile applications by the end of the year.

Teachers Maria Abrams, Julia Bourdo and Arnie Edwards will be taught app development tools at the institute and four additional face-to-face professional development sessions throughout the year. ASU’s focus is ensuring that teachers feel supported through the entire process—especially in terms of coding basics and mobile app development since it will be new to most participants.

“This is really exciting news for our marketing and entrepreneurship students at Camelback, marketing teacher Julia Bourdo said. “There are four schools throughout the U.S. that received this grant last year and they are funding additional schools for the 2015 year. They are adding additional tablets to be used by students for this project.”

Students hear from ‘The Strength Coach’
The disabled motivational speaker known as “The Strength Coach” spoke to more than 100 juniors and seniors from various Phoenix Union high schools on Sept. 16 in Mustang Hall at North High School.

Greg Smith, “The Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude,” delivered a presentation for the Diversity Leadership Alliance (DLA) Youth Leadership Program. The DLA is the premier diversity education organization in Arizona, providing thought-provoking diversity training, leadership guidance and continued support to help cultivate an inclusive community. The Youth Leadership Program develops future leaders from diverse backgrounds. Selected students were from a number of Phoenix area high schools and are diversity conscious, with a desire to take on a leadership role in their schools and communities.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my perspective as both an African American and a person with a disability,” said Smith in advance of the presentation. “I’ll speak about resilience, determination and inner strength and how those characteristics are important for success in college and in the workforce.”

Smith weighs 65 pounds and gets around in a power wheelchair. A 1986 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, he created On A Roll – Talk Radio on Life & Disability, a program that became nationally syndicated and established him as a thought provoking leader on disability issues and self-determination. He is the author of On A Roll: Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude. For more information, visit www.TheStrengthCoach.com.

Principal sought for new school
Phoenix Union High School District is seeking a small school principal for its new Phoenix Coding Academy, which will open in August 2016. The position will begin in the 2016 spring semester in preparation for the opening.

The school will focus on computer coding and technological skills such as software development, networking, information security, IT support and other STEM-related fields in a student-centered, inquiry-based environment. For more information or to apply, go to www.phoenixunion.org/jobs.

Governor visits Metro Tech High
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey visited Metro Tech High School Aug. 17 to promote financial literacy for Arizona students. He spoke to junior and senior banking, business management and sports marketing students of teachers Jeff Howard, Francis Bidleman, Debbie Cross and Chris Liebelt-Garcia. These classes take the online EverFi Financial Literacy course that covers such topics such as saving, investing, and financing higher education.

Ducey toured the campus, visiting Auto Tech, the START ESS program at the cafeteria, Culinary Arts, Cosmetology, Floral Design and Business Operations, and the student-run campus Canyon State Credit Union.

Ducey shared his work background with the students, beginning as a bus boy in Ohio, emphasizing the concept of “paying yourself first,” when you begin to earn an income. The idea of living within your means and planning for the future applies to individuals, small businesses and government.

He congratulated the teachers and students for Metro Tech’s success, and presented Principal Bryan Reynoso with a $500 donation that will go towards a matching fund when freshmen students open up a savings account with the school’s credit union. Besides learning to manage money, the account can grow to cover expenses such as yearbook purchases, prom tickets and graduation cap and gowns.

Approximately 200 Metro Tech students completed and passed a financial literacy program last year. Business teachers implemented the financial literacy program to sophomores in their Metro Career Connections class with the goal of producing financially literate citizens before leaving high school. The self-paced online course takes six to eight hours to complete, and students must score 70 percent or higher to pass.

Four seniors receive national honors
Four seniors from North High School have been named 2015 National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars: Acacia Anaya, Spring Arehard, Victor Vazquez and Matthew Ramirez. The program, sponsored by the College Board, identifies approximately 5,000 outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students, from the 250,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors based on highest scores received on the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) taken as juniors.

To be eligible for recognition, students must take the PSAT as juniors, achieve the qualifying score per state, and have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher by the middle of their junior year.

“Our students are eligible for the highest dollar amount merit scholarship at any of our three in-state universities and may be eligible for large scholarships at out-of-state universities based on their National Scholar status,” counselor Abigail Dolin said.

Washington Elementary School District

Hicks honored by HOPE campaign
Jill Hicks, director of Marketing and Community Engagement for the Washington Elementary School District (WESD), has been designated a local Hero of Public Education (HOPE) as part of the Arizona School Boards Association’s (ASBA) statewide HOPE campaign.

Heroes of Public Education represent public figures who advocate to meet the many needs and challenges in Arizona’s local public schools. According to the ASBA, Heroes of Public Education possess super-powers in their own way that positively impact the lives of students.

Hicks has been designated a local Hero of Public Education for possessing the super-power to mobilize an army of businesses, faith-based groups and community leaders through the WESD Business Advisory Team (BAT) program. She will be honored at the ASBA Maricopa County meeting on Oct. 19.

Hicks was hired by the district in 2009 as Community Outreach specialist. She was named director of Marketing and Community Engagement in 2015. Hicks facilitates community collaborations and business/school partnerships, and she coordinates WESD’s Business Advisory Team.

The HOPE campaign was created and launched by the Arizona School Boards Association as the annual theme to kick off 2015. The intent of the campaign is to spotlight educators, parents, legislators, business partners and community members who inspire and unconditionally influence students throughout Arizona. HOPE recipients will be showcased on the Arizona School Board Association’s website, Facebook and Twitter sites and in various print publications.

New award honors teachers, staff
Mountain View School has begun an awards program to recognize deserving staff members. Each week a staff member will receive the “Extra Mile Award” for going above and beyond the call of duty. The action recognized must be clearly “outside of the normal” job description.

Runner’s Den, located at 6505 N. 16th St., offered to provide each winner with a coupon good for a discount at its store. The “Extra Mile Award” will be given a total of nine times during the school year.

Private and Charter Schools

Midtown to take classwork outside
Midtown Primary School doesn’t think that small classrooms are the right place for all instruction in science or art or engineering. “Kids need room to explore in a safe environment that encourages creativity,” said Bobbie Stelling, Midtown’s second-grade Lead Teacher.

In an effort to give them more room and more freedom, Midtown’s board approved building open classroom space in the “backyard.” A 13-foot-wide shade structure will cover the 100-foot sidewalk complete with shades, misters and fans. Classroom doors open onto the outdoor classroom so children can work inside and out.

“We are all very excited about being able to give the students the space they really need to enthusiastically pursue science, art, and engineering in an encouraging, hands-on area,” Principal Judy White said. “Confidence and experience in these fields of study will give them the edge they need to succeed.”

Construction was expected to start late September.

Xavier welcomes future students
Xavier College Preparatory will host its annual 8th Grade Day 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, and its Open House from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1. Both events are free and will take place on Xavier’s campus, 4710 N. 5th St.; use the entrance at 7th Street and Highland Avenue.

8th Grade Day is an opportunity for eighth grade students to experience Xavier on a school day. Scheduled activities will include a welcome assembly, student-led classroom visits, an all-school pep rally, and lunch. Participation is free, but interested students are asked to register online by visiting www.xcp.org, clicking “Admissions,” then “8th Grade Day.” Please note that this is a student event, so there will not be any planned activities for parents.

Open House is an opportunity for students of all ages and their parents to attend a Xavier information session, tour the school, and meet the faculty and coaches. Information sessions begin at 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. in the Virginia G. Piper Performing Arts Center, and student-led campus tours will be available throughout the day. Registration is not necessary.

Additionally, 8th grade students may schedule a visit to Xavier’s campus for a full school day and attend classes with a student ambassador on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from November through February by visiting www.xcp.org, clicking “Admissions,” then “Shadow Program,” and submitting an online request form.

Brophy teacher tapped to be a national judge
Brophy teacher Beth Clarke was hand-selected from 3,500 coaches to be an adjudicator in the final round of the National Speech and Debate Association competition.

Clarke has a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Illinois State University, a Master’s Degree in Secondary English Education from Northern Arizona University, and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has taught in Brophy’s English department since 2002, and in Brophy’s Religion department since 2012.

Clarke is the head coach of the Brophy Speech and Debate team and she moderates Brophy’s Youth and Government program.

MHP Girls Volleyball starts season strong
The Madison Highland Prep girls volleyball team is ranked 5-0 in the North Central Division, Section 2, with an overall record of 5-2.

Led by coach Nallely Morales, the team captains are freshman Quirynn Slater and sophomore Cece German.

Madison Highland Prep is a college prep charter high school that opened on the campus of Madison Park Middle School, 1431 E. Campbell Ave., during the 2014-15 school year. The school offers several athletic programs including football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, and tennis. For more information, visit www.Madison HighlandPrep.org.

Xavier golfers continue to dominate playing field
Xavier College Preparatory’s defending state champion golf team won the Antigua Invitational in Scottsdale on Sept. 5, the Nighthawk Invitational in Tucson on Sept. 12, and the Aguila Invitational in Laveen on Sept. 17. The team is also undefeated in dual-match play thus far this season.

Xavier’s golf team broke its own nine-hole record by shooting a 131 in its first match of the season on Aug. 26 at the Phoenix Country Club. The victory over Pinnacle High School was Xavier’s 205th straight win without a loss. The team’s previous record of 132 was set on Sept. 30, 2013, at Lone Tree Golf Club versus Basha and McClintock high schools.

The team’s overall record is 430 wins and 25 losses since Sister Lynn Winsor, BVM, took over the coaching reins in 1974.

Sister Lynn and co-coach Tui Selvaratnam, who have coached the team together for the past 10 years, both said that they are “in awe” of what this year’s team has accomplished in just two months.

The Xavier team won its 32nd state championship title last fall by shooting the lowest score ever in an Arizona state high school girls’ championship match, beating its own four-person state record score by three strokes with a 567.

Afro-Brazilian dancers visit All Saints’ campus
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, The All Saints’ Episcopal Day School Committee for Inclusion and Multicultural Education (CIMCE) welcomed Axé Capoeira Arizona to campus on Sept.18. Students in both the lower and middle schools had the opportunity to attend this special presentation.

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music, and dance. Axé Capoeira of Arizona is well known for sharing the cultural richness of capoeira, and sharing a positive message of respect, diversity, and community. The performance included capoeira solos and/or duplas (pairs) done within a capoeira roda (ring), which delighted the audience with their dazzling movements.

“Experiencing various art forms the students of All Saints’ may not be familiar with broadens their knowledge of the world,” shares All Saints’ religion teacher and member of CIMCE, Jennifer Sprague. “Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time not only to showcase the capoeira style of dance, but to take the opportunity to learn the history and culture of Brazil and South America.”

Grupo Axé Capoeira Arizona has conducted countless workshops, performances, and residency programs for Arizona elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, corporations, sport teams, churches and charity organizations. You can learn more about coming performances by visiting www.axecapoeira-az.com.

For more information, visit www.aseds.org.

Local girl honored for sports artwork
North Central youth Sophia Alameddin, a seventh-grade student at St. Francis Xavier student, had her artwork selected and published by Sports Illustrated Kids in the magazine’s August 2015 issue.

Sports Illustrated Kids has an End Zone section where kids can submit their artwork featuring their favorite sports figures. The artwork Sophia submitted was part of an assignment in her art class using the technique pointillism. Pointillism uses tiny dots of primary colors to create pictures in which secondary colors can be seen.

Sophia explained, “I drew Terrell Davis because he was one of the best running backs in the NFL and he played for my favorite team, the Denver Broncos.”

For more information, visit www.school.sfxphx.org.

MHP students exceed AIMS science standards
Biology students at Madison Highland Prep earned high scores on the 2015 Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS). About 33 percent of freshman and 25 percent of sophomores exceeded the standard in science.

Meanwhile, Taylor Spillman, now a sophomore, earned a perfect score on the examination.

Overall, MHP performed 46 percent above the state mean score on AIMS Science, with 97 percent of all students scoring above the state mean score.

Madison Highland Prep is a college prep charter high school that opened on the campus of Madison Park Middle School, 1431 E. Campbell Ave., during the 2014-15 school year. The mission of the school is to offer families a high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education that features a rigorous curriculum with an emphasis on critical thinking and inquiry learning. For more information about the school’s programs and enrollment information, visit www.MadisonHighlandPrep.org.

CCS students help children of Haiti
Christ Church School (CCS) students and families donated 45 hygiene kits, 375 pairs of underwear, and 400 pairs of socks to help children at the Zanmi Beni orphanage in Cange, Haiti.

This area of Haiti was devastated in the earthquake of January 2010, and many children were left without families. Zanmi Beni, meaning “blessed friend” in Creole, is home to more than 50 children, many of whom have physical and emotional needs. These children are provided with a permanent home, nutritional and medical necessities, and ongoing emotional, educational, and psychosocial support so they can flourish and grow to have safe and happy lives.

The CCS collection for Zanmi Beni received a blessing from CCS Chaplain Erin Cox Oney during an all-school chapel before being shipped to Haiti. This is the third year in a row Christ Church School families have worked together to make a difference in the lives of the children of Zanmi Beni.

If you would like to help the orphanage, you can make an online donation at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/friendsofzb. Include “Christ Church School” in the dedication section.

Five at PCDS named Merit Semifinalists
Five of the 64 members of the PCDS Class of 2016 have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship competition. As semifinalists, these PCDS seniors will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for one of three possible scholarships, including National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, corporate-sponsored merit scholarships, or college-sponsored merit scholarships.

The five Phoenix Country Day School Semifinalists are: Daniel Bashir, Tara Dugel, Philip Lewis, Anita Sheih, and Gaby Walton. They earned the designation of semifinalist after placing in the top 1 percent of testers in last October’s PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. These five students are among the top scorers in the state of Arizona and nationally.

Since its founding in 1961, PCDS has been recognized by colleges and universities throughout the country for producing high-academic, well-rounded, and especially prepared graduates. In a given year, 100 percent of PCDS graduates are accepted to a four-year college or university, with approximately 75 percent of those graduates matriculating out-of-state.

PCDS marks first week with traditions
Phoenix Country Day School capped off its first week of classes with a few favorite annual traditions. It convened as an entire school community, filling its gymnasium with all of its 750 students, grades pre-kindergarten through high school, along with more than 130 faculty/staff, and the PCDS Board of Trustees. The all-school assembly was highlighted by speeches from three students and Headmaster Andrew Rodin.

The event began with the traditional procession of Senior-Kindergarten Buddies. Each year, the members of the PCDS senior class walk their Kindergarten “Buddies”—members of the PCDS kindergarten whom each senior will mentor throughout the school year—into the gym. Following the procession, Rodin introduced the newest members of the Phoenix Country Day School community, the pre-kindergarten classes that make up the PCDS Class of 2029.

The assembly is an annual tradition that spans over two decades. “As the only pre-kindergarten through grade 12 independent school in the Valley, experiences like this are invaluable for our students and faculty,” Rodin said.

“They represent the school’s commitment to students through every stage of their learning experience, from early childhood to college preparedness, and beyond. It is through traditions like First Friday and the Senior-Kindergarten Buddies that PCDS warmly embraces its strong sense of community across the generations.”

For more information, visit www.pcds.org.

Xavier senior named Merit Semifinalist
Xavier College Preparatory senior and North Central resident Isabella McClelland was one of seven Xavier students to be named a semifinalist in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Competition.

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in its 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Nationwide, approximately 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Next spring, these semifinalists—who represent the top one-half of one percent of students who take the PSAT and who comprise less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors—will have the opportunity to compete for 7,400 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $32 million.

In order to advance to the finalist level of the competition, McClelland must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by her high school principal, earn SAT scores that confirm her earlier performance on the qualifying test, and submit a detailed scholarship application that includes a student essay and information regarding her participation and leadership in community and school activities.

Bennett Academy celebrates 20 years
Bennett Academy, one of the first 43 charter schools approved in Arizona in 1995, is celebrating 20 years of successful academic achievement. The original founders, Dr. Nancy Bennett and Lt. Col. Fred Bennett, are still at the helm of the original Bennett Academy, which now serves K-8 students as well as a second successful campus, Venture Site, which serves kindergarten though fourth grade.

Initially the school opened at 7000 N. Central Ave. on the second floor of what was then the First Baptist Church, with 47 students in grades 7-8.

The school grew rapidly to extend to K-8 and eventually moved from that facility to an established central west side church school facility. Over the year Bennett Academy has grown in student size, programs offered, and number of staff.

This year Bennett Academy, 2930 W. Bethany Home Road, celebrates its 20th year in operation beginning on Oct. 16 with two athletic events and continuing to Oct. 17 for a full campus celebration including skits presented by Jim Hyte, a Wax Museum presented by the seventh grade students, displays, fun activities for children, food trucks, a reunion with graduate students and staff from previous years, and more.

If you are a friend of the school, or if you have ever set foot on either campus you are invited to join the celebration. The Oct. 16 athletic events begin at 4:30 p.m. On Oct. 17, all celebration events will be from 5 to 9 p.m., with food trucks from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Past teachers and graduates eat free by e-mailing an RSVP by Oct. 9 to ventureacademysecretary@gmail.com.

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