Osborn Foundation lauds Teachers of Year
Osborn Educational Foundation has announced the winners of its Teachers of the Year Awards. Winners of the 2015-16 awards are Sean Conway (Clarendon School), Michelle Doherty (Encanto School) and Brendan Stacey (Osborn Middle School).
Teachers will be honored at an event held on Oct. 29. This special evening will take place at the Phoenix Country Club and will feature a silent auction and dinner. Tickets are $75 and sponsorship opportunities are available.
For more information, visit www.osborneducationfoundation.org.
New campuses for small schools
Two new small schools —the Phoenix Coding Academy and Linda Abril Educational Academy—highlight the 2016-17 school year that began Aug. 8 for an estimated 27,500 students at 17 campuses in the Phoenix Union High School District.
The Phoenix Coding Academy, 4445 N. Central Ave., begins with a freshman class, a brand-new building and staff and a unique focus on computer programming and coding in a project-based environment that will integrate technology across the high school curricula. It is the first high school of its kind in the country.
Linda Abril Educational Academy, 3000 N. 19th Ave., now has its first permanent home in 16 years after the opening of its 42,000 square-foot building. The small alternative school, formerly known as the Suns-Diamondbacks Academy, has given credit-deficient students a second chance at graduation. Since 2001, 2,000 students have earned diplomas in a personalized, flexible environment.
Metro Tech, North make ‘best schools’ list
The latest “Best High Schools in the United State” ranking was released by U.S. News and World Report, and five Phoenix Union Schools made the list. Betty Fairfax, Bioscience, Franklin Police and Fire, Metro Tech and North were all ranked as Bronze Schools.
The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 21,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments, their graduation rates and how well they prepare students for college.
There are 500 Gold Schools, 2173 Silver Schools, and 3,545 Bronze Schools. The 2016 report is based on the 2014 cohort of students.
JROTC programs receive gold stars
This summer the district received notification that all PUHSD JROTC programs received a passing grade for the school year 2015-2016 as part of the U.S. Army Cadet Command JROTC Program Accreditation audit.
The JROTC programs at North and Camelback, among others, received the “Honor Unit with Distinction Gold Star” for maintaining exceptionally high standards of training and discipline as determined by the Command Formal Inspection and Unit Report.
This formal inspection conducted by administrators from the 5th ROTC Brigade in Texas occurs every three years in accordance with U.S. Army Regulations and is in support of the national JROTC AdvancEd certification.
Montessori program gets award, kudos
Camelback won a School of the Year award for Innovation at the Opening of Schools Convocation, held Aug. 3. The award was for the Camelback Montessori College Preparatory, which was founded five years ago as Arizona’s first and only Montessori high school.
Students at Camelback Montessori receive a holistic education through Montessori principles of nurturing the head through rigorous, cross-curricular academics, the hands through project-based learning, and the heart through intentional community building. Students at Camelback Montessori engage in a 21st century technology-based curriculum through a one-to-one device program, and each student uses his/her iPad daily. Through digital tools, the students of Camelback Montessori have more autonomy over their education as they transition into productive adult members of society.
From that first class, 16 students are graduating, and all are going to colleges or universities. In fact, 14 students will be able to attend college with tuition fully covered. The Montessori students totaled $1,605,700 in scholarships, not including grants or financial aid.
Camelback alumni return for visit
Camelback High marketing classes held their annual Alumni Day on Aug. 16, and 150 juniors and seniors listened to 35 Camelback alumni who returned to give guidance to the students as they face college, career and life.
Marketing teacher Julia Bourdo and community volunteer Jeff Stephens have been doing this formally for 12 years, although they have been bringing alumni to classes for over 20 years to have them share their experiences. This year, the alumni ranged from the Class of 1988 up to Class of 2015 graduates. The Class of 2005 had the biggest turnout.
Their occupations included a dentist, pilot, two attorneys, law student, counselor, two non-profit, army, three supply chain management, Tesla employee, an entrepreneur, an engineering student, 10 ASU students, mortgage broker, minister, banker, urban designer (city planner), makeup artist, teacher, and an America Express employee.
Stephens, a local architect who has been volunteering with the Camelback DECA program for 30 years, invited the alumni. Eighteen of them went to DECA National competitions when they were students at Camelback.
North High receives award, cash prize
North High has been named the 2015-16 Bill Straus School of Distinction from the Arizona Anti-Defamation League. Straus, the ADL Arizona Regional Director from 2001-2013, was an advocate of ADL Education programs, including the No Place For Hate program, which North has implemented.
This honor comes with a $500 award to support North’s continued work toward creating and maintaining a safe, respectful culture where every student can feel they belong.
American Express donates backpacks
Thanks to a collaborative effort between American Express and The Salvation Army, all 850-plus students at Maryland School received new backpacks Aug. 10 filled with enough supplies for the first few months of the new school year. Pencils, pens, markers, crayons, erasers, notebooks and paper were just some of the supplies included in the new backpacks.
This year alone, American Express has donated roughly 250,000 school items supplies to 16 local school districts. More than 200 American Express employees and their families have spent more than 700 volunteer hours collecting and preparing the supplies for distribution.
“American Express is focused on giving back to the community,” said Lauren Brogie, American Express public affairs manager. “Good citizenship is one of our blue box values and we’ve been proud to partner with the Salvation Army on events like this for the last nine years.”
The Salvation Army provides support for more than 10,000 children locally.
“Many of our families are unable to provide these types of supplies,” said Maryland social worker Britney Villa-Sanchez. “It’s rewarding to see how happy and grateful these kids are. We are so appreciative of The Salvation Army and American Express.”
Local women honored for volunteerism
Rose Howe and Liz Bebo, classroom volunteers at Orangewood School in the Washington Elementary School District, recently were honored for their service to students and teachers by Your Experience Counts.
Your Experience Counts, a program of HandsOn Greater Phoenix, placed nearly 100 volunteers in five school districts, supporting more than 3,500 students during the 2015-16 school year.
The two Orangewood volunteers were among only seven to receive awards at the annual YEC luncheon June 2. Mike Beardslee, YEC program manager, presented Howe with the “Outstanding Service to Students” award. Howe, a former social worker, supported students in kindergarten through third grade with reading interventions at Orangewood. Beardslee praised her for “always exploring more effective strategies to help students.” Orangewood administrators said that she made significant contributions to student achievement and motivation.
Bebo, a retired educator in her second year as a YEC volunteer, was named a District All-Star for her support of fifth grade students at Orangewood. Beardslee said Bebo was recognized for her creativity and enthusiasm that positively contributed to student motivation.
The Washington School District partnership with Your Experience Counts will be expanding to additional schools in 2016-17. For more information, or to apply as a YEC volunteer, contact Beardslee: firstname.lastname@example.org; 602-973-2212, ext. 239; or visit http://handsonphoenix.org/YEC.
Midtown embraces ‘Beyond Textbooks’
This summer, the Midtown Primary School staff did two weeks of professional development with the Beyond Textbooks Program, optimized by the Vail Unified School District.
Beyond Textbooks is not only an effective approach for improving student achievement in Vail, but it is also noteworthy that Vail is now partnering with more than 100 school districts and charter schools across Arizona, California, Idaho, Wyoming, Kentucky, and now Alaska who are currently implementing the Beyond Textbooks program to boost student achievement for their own students.
In practice, Beyond Textbooks, a comprehensive program of curriculum development, instructional improvement, student assessment, and multi-level interventions, is the result of a decade of planning, teaching, and sharing.
Beyond Textbooks’ staff provided training for Midtown teachers on the philosophy and practices of the Beyond Textbooks framework, effective implementation strategies, and the technical facilitation of the Beyond Textbooks electronic delivery system.
Beyond Textbooks now reaches more than 13,000 teachers and 140,000 students who have adopted it as a framework to increase student achievement. Midtown is very excited to be part of that group, said Midtown Vice Principal Belinda Suggs. “Our students will benefit from the alignment of standards, calendar, and materials. We are thrilled to be able to provide them this opportunity.”
Xavier pens agreement with Under Armour
Xavier College Preparatory has entered into a new multi-year partnership with Under Armour and Eastbay. As part of the agreement, the global performance brand will design and outfit Xavier’s coaches, student-athletes, parents, and fans with apparel and footwear.
Xavier, which is the only all-female high school in the Valley, has led the way in advancing girls sports in Arizona and beyond throughout its 73-year history. Xavier’s athletic record is one of the finest in the nation and, in addition to its 125 state championships, 51 state runner-up titles, and 193 region/section championships, the school has received the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s prestigious H.A. Hendrickson Award three times for overall excellence in interscholastic competition, its Tony Komadina Award for Outstanding Girls’ Athletic Program, and its Blue Cup Award for excellence in academics, athletics, and activities.
“The Xavier community has been very impressed with Under Armour’s focus on the female athlete,” said Sister Lynn Winsor, BVM, longtime vice principal for Activities and athletic director at Xavier College Preparatory. “This partnership ensures that the young women on each of our teams will be outfitted in quality apparel that is durable, comfortable, and appropriate to our school’s mission for years to come.
New preschool opens at St. Thomas Apostle
Over the summer, the school campus at Saint Thomas the Apostle underwent a transformation to create a “school within a school.” New spaces for a preschool addition were designed with bright colors and sunlight to inspire imagination and play.
Three classrooms were renovated, four restrooms were added, two new playgrounds were installed, and an additional large outdoor space was created to bring learning outside the classroom.
Under the leadership of Preschool Director Annemarie Mansour, Saint Thomas the Apostle Preschool offers a new 3-year-old program and expanded Pre-K classes.
“Our preschool offers children a unique environment to learn how to do things for themselves and successfully relate with their peers,” Mansour said.
The preschool offers two programs for 2016: a 3-year-old program for children who are 3 years old by Sept. 1, and two Pre-K classes for 4-5 year-olds that meet Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Our curriculum focuses on play and exploration in our 3-year-old program and there is a progression to a more academic program as our students mature through our preschool and into our kindergarten program,” Mansour explained.
Principal Mary Coffman added, “It is the happy realization of a longtime community goal to open this preschool. This spring our generous community came together to raise the funds to create this dedicated space for our youngest students and their parents.”
Saint Thomas the Apostle is located at 4510 N. 24th St. For more information, visit www.staphxschool.org or call the admission office at 602-954-9088.
Dream Bus rolls onto Brophy campus
Students at the Brophy Loyola Academy last month received a visit from the Delivering Dreams Bus, the mobile unit of Operation School Bell, the largest program of the Assistance League of Phoenix.
The bus parked on the campus of Brophy College Prep, where the Loyola Academy is housed, each day from Aug. 2-4, filled with pants, shirts, sweatshirts, tennis shoes, toiletry bags and more, along with private dressing rooms to try clothes and volunteers to help find the right sizes.
Loyola Academy is a college preparatory program for boys entering sixth grade who demonstrate substantial academic promise as well as verified financial need. Students attend the three-year middle school program at no cost to their families (average yearly income is $22,500 for a family of five), with all expenses covered through donations from the community.
The Jesuit middle school opened in 2011 and saw its first graduates in 2014. Some of those graduates, who are now students at Brophy College Prep, also were invited to climb aboard the Delivering Dreams Bus and get outfitted for the new school year.
Each student receives two bottoms, three tops, six pairs of socks, six underwear, one belt, one pair of shoes, one sweatshirt, one book of the child’s choice and a hygiene kit filled with full-size essentials.
The bus visited more than 50 schools and thousands of children in early August. Brenda Sperduti, CEO of ALP, explains, “Each year thousands of children in Phoenix do not have adequate school clothing or the resources to obtain them. Our goal is to increase school success for children growing up in poverty by removing one of the obstacles to success—not enough money for school supplies.”
ALP this year celebrates its 30th year of providing school clothing to children in need.
Weight Room added at MHP
After several months of planning and construction, Madison Highland Prep’s weight conditioning room is open for student training. The weight conditioning room will be used this fall by the football and men’s soccer programs. During the school year, the facility will be used by students in strength and conditioning and weight training courses.
The weight conditioning room is outfitted with dual leg extension/curl, dual lat-pulldown/low row, linear leg press, and elite half rack squat machines. The room is also equipped with a horizontal barbell rack, a horizontal dumbbell rack, and multiple adjustable weight benches. Athletic blue buff puzzle tile with the MHP athletic logo is used for flooring.