North Central News

School Briefs

Osborn Elementary School District

Phoenix K9 handlers visit with special kids
Phoenix K9 handlers and search dogs recently had a date with some very special kids. The K9 handlers had Christmas lunch with 35 children in the Student Opportunity for Academic Achievement and Respect (S.O.A.A.R.) Program at Clarendon Elementary School on Dec. 18.

The program supports students whose emotionality influences their ability to be successful in a regular classroom. Academic achievement, community service and relationship building are integrated into each of the student’s unique daily plan.

The luncheon helped the special needs students build relationships with positive mentors in their community.
Phoenix Rotary 100
donates dictionaries

Every Osborn fifth grader received a brand-new dictionary with a personalized nameplate from Rotarians Mike Hoskings, Jeff Winney, Tom Krepitch, Jim Soudriette, Sam Thumma, Steve Goldston, Mo Bronson and Virginia Soudriette.

As they distributed the books, the members of Phoenix Rotary 100 asked students to look for interesting facts and respond to questions, with Soudriette gently nudging students to offer firm handshakes. The partnership with Phoenix Rotary 100 has been both rewarding and enlightening.

Phoenix Union High School District

Former coach passes away
Longtime Central High boys basketball coach Bob Strong, 69, passed away Jan. 6 after a long battle with cancer. He coached the Bobcats for more than 25 years. He also was a history teacher and student government adviser.

Strong began his teaching and coaching career in 1969 at Phoenix Union High School, and moved to Central High in 1983 when Phoenix Union closed its doors. He was perhaps most proud of creating and coordinating “Quest for Excellence,” with APS, a program that hired urban youth for summer jobs at the Palo Verde Generating Station and provided guidance in their education and career development. Over the years, the program benefited several hundred graduates.

Services were held Jan. 24 at the Church of the Beatitudes. Donations in Strong’s name can be made to Hospice of the Valley (www.hov.org) or St. Vincent de Paul (www.stvincentdepaul.net).

Phoenix Suns Charities continues its support
Phoenix Suns Charities awarded more than 200 “SunsCentral” students for collectively reaching 14,848 tutoring hours during “Incentive Day” on Jan. 9 at Central High School. Students that completed 10 or more hours of strategic tutoring and demonstrated academic growth during the fall semester were awarded with Suns autographed memorabilia, Carl’s Jr. gift cards, tickets and more. “Incentive Day” also recognized students for volunteer hours as well as improved attendance in class and at other “SunsCentral” events.

In addition, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Suns hosted a “Dream Big” event for 50 students from the “SunsCentral” program prior to the Suns-Lakers game at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The event was designed to encourage the students to follow their dreams despite setbacks and challenges.

Students heard from a panel of Suns employees and Suns Community Ambassador and alumnus, Steven Hunter, about the various career opportunities in the sports industry. In addition, students were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the arena. The event concluded with free hamburgers, courtesy of Carl’s Jr., tickets to that evening’s game and “Dream Big” t-shirts.

Phoenix Suns Charities is continuing to support the “SunsCentral” program at Central High School for an additional school year, extending the grant to $650,000 over three years (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15). Phoenix Suns Charities launched the “SunsCentral” partnership with Central High School in September 2012. This unique partnership is increasing the graduation rate through four key factors: success in the classroom, attendance at school, mentoring and individual tutoring support.

District to create new small school
Superintendent Kent Scribner announced plans for PUHSD to create a new small school for coding and programming, located adjacent to Central High School in a building being constructed. The school is set to open in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Suns-Diamondbacks Education Academy, which had originally been slated for the new building on Central Avenue, will have a new classroom building constructed on available property on the Metro Tech campus. That school also is slated to be ready for 2016. Currently, Suns-Diamondbacks leases a building on 7th Street.

FBLA students to offer tax help
Metro Tech High School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), in cooperation with the city of Phoenix and the Federal and State Internal Revenue Services, are volunteering to be a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The VITA program offers free tax help to low-to-moderate income individuals and families who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

Metro Tech is the first high school in the state to be a part of this exciting program. FBLA hopes to save many parents and employees the high cost of having their taxes prepared and have the prepared filings sent by E-filing (electronic) for free.

FBLA students and advisors underwent 20 hours of training and testing in January in order to be ready to prepare taxes for PUHSD parents, guardians, and employees making below $56,000. They will be preparing taxes on Saturdays and during the weeks after school until April 15.

This commitment was undertaken by more than 100 students who attended the orientation and dedicated their time to this project.

North football alum makes Sports Illustrated
Former North High student Alan Williams was featured in the Dec. 1 edition of Sports Illustrated.

Williams, now a senior at University of California-Santa Barbara, is arguably the most productive big man in college basketball. At 6-8, 265-pounds, he is not unlike Charles Barkley’s “Round Mound of Rebound” nickname, averaging over 14 rebounds and 25 points per game.

He has acquired almost as many nicknames as Barkley, from “Big Al,” to “Big Sauce” to “Beast Warrior.” The magazine’s headline was “Beast of the Beach.” He has already outplayed a projected top draft pick from Kansas, and he is on the NBA’s radar as a first-rounder himself.

Washington Elementary School District

Orangewood School gets STEM furnishings
Orangewood School is the recipient of new classroom furnishings designed to facilitate and enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) instruction and learning.

MooreCo Inc., a family-owned, Texas-based school and office furniture company, spearheaded a STEM Makeover Project for the art room and gifted program classrooms at Orangewood.

On Dec. 18-19, representatives from MooreCo Inc., installed ergonomically designed desks, tables, chairs and other furnishings that feature unique designs to encourage a multitude of collaborative STEM activities, ranging from STEAM art classes to Robotics Teams.

MooreCo is dedicated to improving STEM learning for students of all ages throughout the southwestern United States. Their uniquely designed desks, tables and other classroom furnishings encourage STEM learning and student collaboration by providing flexibility in placement configurations and out-of-the-box design features.

Employees of Month honored in January
The Washington Elementary School District honored several staff members as the Employees of the Month for January. Among them were: Amy Maiorella, ELL tester, Desert View Elementary School; Erica Smith, health technician, Sunnyslope School; and Indira Frederking, ELL specialist, Washington Elementary School.

The WESD Employee of the Month recognition is bestowed upon employees who have exemplified the vision, mission and values of WESD. These employees serve as an inspiration to others by maintaining high customer service standards and a commitment to student achievement. Honorees enjoyed breakfast with the superintendent and received a plaque commemorating their special recognition.

Private and Charter Schools

Tennis coach named a ‘coach of the year’
Xavier College Preparatory tennis coach Laurie Martin has been named Tennis Industry’s “Champions of Tennis 2014-High School Coach of the Year.”

In addition to leading Xavier’s varsity team to three consecutive Division I state championship titles, she coaches nearly 60 students on Xavier’s freshwomen team.

In the fall, Martin was named to the United States Tennis Association’s “No-Cut Coach All-Star Team” for her commitment to welcoming all interested Xavier students to join their school’s tennis team.

Preschool also educates parents
The UU Co-Op Preschool (UUEEC), 4027 E. Lincoln Drive, not only holds its regular preschool classes for children from ages 1-5, but also holds monthly parent meetings that focus on parent education. The meetings are held at lunchtime and cover topics ranging from handling preschooler fears and parenting, to sharing favorite children’s literature and suggestions for sensory play at home.

This is just one of the many unique features of UUEEC. To learn more, the preschool invites the community to an open house set for 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. The school director, teachers, parents and children will be available to answer any questions and guide you through a typical day. Children are welcome to come and play.

For more information, call 602-840-8400, ext. 233 or visit www.uueec.org.

Xavier to host Mock Trial event
Xavier College Preparatory’s Elias M. Romley Xavier Mock Trial Team will host its 10th Annual Xavier Classic Invitational from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 from on Xavier’s campus.

The competition will draw more than 100 mock trial students and coaches from high schools across the state to scrimmage in preparation for Arizona’s Regional and State Mock Trial championships in March. Maricopa County judges and attorneys will judge each of the competition’s two rounds.

For further information, contact John Cosden at 602-240-3303 or jcosden@xcp.org.

MHP hosts VEX event, advances to semifinals
Madison Highland Prep (MHP) welcomed 36 teams to the first-annual MHP VEX Robotics State Qualifying Competition 2015 on Jan. 10. The charter school hosted the high school VRC competition and middle school VEX IQ competition, with winners earning a berth to the Arizona VEX Robotics State Championships on Feb. 28 at Arizona State University.

The MHP Heat Robotics team advanced to the semifinals of the competition. Heat Robotics finished ninth in the qualification rounds to advance to the eliminations. In the elimination rounds, the Heat Robotics team, coached by Nick Bonds, won its quarterfinal match against Arete Prep and Desert Vista Thunder by a score of 2-1.
In the semifinals, the Heat Robotics forced a third game against Desert Vista Lighting and Cave Creek before falling to the event champions by a score of 2-1.

MHP Heat Robotics team members include Jarod Flores, Asif Razack, Trevor Oakes, Jose Chavez, Storm McCord and Sean Grantham.

ASA music students perform for Senate
Student musicians and singers from public charter Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) performed in the Senate Chambers as the 2015 Arizona State legislative session convened on Jan. 12.

The program consisted of musical and string performances by nearly 40 ASA students and included “Palladio” by Karl Jenkins, followed by singing the U.S. National Anthem while spread out throughout the Senate Chambers. Students concluded their performance with a special song with beautiful harmony during the Senate recess.

This is the second time ASA students have been invited by the Arizona Senate to perform.

“Our students and faculty rehearse and prepare all year long for opportunities to share the gift of music with our broader community, so to be able to perform for our lawmakers is rewarding and validates all of their hard work,” said Arizona School for the Arts Head of School/CEO, Leah Fregulia Roberts.

Snow spotted at Christ Church School
On Wednesday, Jan. 14 and Thursday, Jan. 15, snow ‘drifted’ into the parking lot at Christ Church School as part of its “Snow Days” event.

CCS preschool students made the most of this unusual occurrence and spent those mornings sledding, building snowmen, and making snow angels in the 8 tons of snow.

After a morning in the snow, students were happy to return to their cozy classrooms to change into dry clothes and enjoy warm cocoa.

Theater departments tackle six fairy tales
Xavier/Brophy Theatre will present “The Secret in the Wings” as its spring drama production, March 5-7.

Written by Tony Award and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Mary Zimmerman, the play is a fantastical adaptation of six European fairy tales. Performances are set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, March 7. All performances will be held in the Kemper and Ethel Marley Theater in the Virginia G. Piper Performing Arts Center on Xavier’s campus, 4710 N. 5th St.

Tickets are $7 for all patrons, and may be reserved either by contacting the Jackson Box Office at 602-240-3161 or pacbox@xcp.org, or by purchasing them at the door. There will be general seating for all patrons.

Education adds up at Math Bowl contest
In honor of Phoenix hosting Super Bowl XLIX last month, All Saints’ Episcopal Day School celebrated with its own “game day” on Jan. 23.

A fun middle school Math Bowl was held in the school gymnasium. The Math Bowl is an intense but thrilling math competition between two teams of students representing fifth through eighth grade. A qualifying round kicked off the bowl, by narrowing down the students to two teams of five students: Team Pi, and Team Pythagoras. The two teams competed in a total of eight rounds.

Team members faced off against each other by grade level—fifth grader vs. fifth grader, etc.—and then each team had a chance to answer one general question that any team member could buzz in on. In the end, Team Pi took the Math Bowl champion title.

Hands-on math learning is a regular and instrumental part of All Saints’ approach to math curriculum.

Local school marks 60th anniversary
In 1954, SS. Simon & Jude School was founded in Central Phoenix by five nuns from Navan, Ireland. Sixty years later that same order of nuns, known as the Loreto Sisters, are still the heart and soul of the school.

Nearly 500 students are enjoying this special school year that celebrates 60 years of academic excellence and a commitment to teaching children to become true followers of Jesus Christ.

SS. Simon & Jude’s theme of “60 years of Blessings” has been filled with plenty of special touches and celebrations which have both students and parents feeling just how special the community of SS. Simon & Jude is. Each Wednesday during this celebratory school year, the children wear a colorful 60th Anniversary T-shirt to an all-school assembly to celebrate the accomplishments of its students.

Anniversary touches are everywhere, with commemorative rosaries, books, and most recently a celebration to honor the Loreto Sisters service to the school. Nearly 500 parents, alumni and friends of the school attended a dinner in the school’s gymnasium to reflect on the past 60 years.

During the last 10 years, the school has undergone extensive campus renovations including a complete remodel of all of the classrooms as well as the school library. Additionally, in 2010, the school opened a 22,000-square-foot facility known as Our Lady of Loreto Center, which includes an indoor gymnasium/auditorium, six junior high classrooms and a state-of-the-art science lab.

The school will continue throughout the remainder of the academic year to celebrate. For more information, call the school office at 602-242-1299 or visit www.simonjudeschool.org.

Basketball, soccer teams ranked high
The Madison Highland Prep boys basketball team, led by coach Victor Rodriguez, is currently ranked second in Arizona Division I/II basketball. The girls soccer team, led by coach Alexis Morales, is currently in fourth place in conference and competing for the final berth in the state championships.

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