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School Briefs

Glendale Union High School District

GUHSD Board honors WHS Achievers
Washington High School’s best of the best were honored Nov. 1 during the annual Achievement Above All awards ceremony. Principal Kevin Cashatt introduced the guests of honor.

The Achievement Above All Teacher Recipient was Amanda Humphrey, who teaches English and serves as a mentor for new teachers joining the district, coaches tennis, works with the Link Crew, and formed the new student group, College Club.

The Student of the Year was Alexandra McWatters, who is in the top 3 percent of her class at Washington with a weighted GPA of 4.55. Besides being an excellent student, McWatters is involved on campus and in the community, serving as the co-president of Interact, part of the Youth Arts and Culture Council for the City of Phoenix, part of Link Crew, Swim Team, Dance, National Honor Society, and St. Joseph’s Junior Volunteer Program.

The Student Group Award Recipient was Washington Dance, with more than 220 members. Throughout the year, students participate in several performances and other special events, as well as at least two community service projects each year.

Washington’s Support Staff Employee of the Year was Kelly Barnes. She joined the Ram family in 2015 and is the athletics secretary.

The Volunteer of the Year Award went to the Wilfong family. Cristina and Warren Wilfong had two sons graduate from Washington, but they continue to serve at the school as volunteers with the swim and dive teams.

Future freshmen invited to tour schools
The GUHSD will hold its annual Future Freshman Night on Jan. 18. Families will have an opportunity to tour campuses, meet teachers and learn more about the traditions of the Glendale Union High School District.

Learn why more than 15,700 students are proud to attend GUHSD schools and enroll in Advanced Placement and honors courses, work toward an Advanced Placement International Diploma, participate in championship athletic programs and extracurricular activities, and more.

Future Freshman Night is held on each high school campus starting at 6:30 p.m. Contact the school of your interest (information found at www.guhsdaz.org) for specific details.

Start the new year with top colleges
Glendale Union High School District presents the Pathway to America’s Top Colleges and Universities, on Jan. 11, 2018. This informational evening will introduce students and their families to prestigious college and university opportunities.

Representatives from some of the country’s top schools, including Brown, Princeton, Yale and Harvard will be on site for families to investigate higher education opportunities. The evening will also present information on financial aid as well as student scholarships.

The event begins at 6 p.m. in the Moon Valley High School Auditorium, 3625 W. Cactus Road. Call the District Office at 623-435-6000 for more information.

Madison Elementary School District

Madison teachers receive mini-grants
The Madison Education Foundation (MEF), the nonprofit supporting additional arts and music education for the students of the Madison Elementary School District, in November distributed $8,000 in grants to 11 teachers, helping them supplement arts programming in their classrooms.

Nearly 20 teachers submitted grant applications, which were reviewed by a panel of community members, retired teachers, and MEF board members using a metric-based evaluation system. Those receiving awards are:

  • Jessie McKinley, music teacher at Camelview, who will develop future bass instrument players by using pBuzz instruments.
  • Heights art teacher Katherine O’Connor will work with her third grade students to create totem animals based on Navajo and Zuni cultures.
  • Madison Traditional Academy music teacher Ken Giordano will receive a digital keyboard for his classroom.
  • Madison No. 1 art teacher Michelle Lindsay will work with students to photograph their self-portrait and use Aurasma (augmented reality app), and dance teacher, Cassandra Gray, will purchase dance costumes for her students.
  • Park Middle School art teacher Sara Daffe will help her students create a recycled arts lighting STEAM Project, and music teacher Julie Thibodeaux will create Claymation films with her students.
  • First grade teachers at Madison Simis will come together as a collective group and create a site-specific art installation using paint and paper to be displayed in the school hallway.

Three teachers at Madison Meadows were awarded grants. Among them were art teacher Mariah Starkey, who will work with her eighth-grade students to create self-portraits of children living in an orphanage. In addition, Kim Thomas, digital design teacher, will purchase three Green Screens for students to create green screen videos, and Christy Schwalenberg, math teacher, will create a project with her students using art and math concepts.

For more information about the program or to make a donation, visit www.madisoneducationfoundation.org or call 602-664-7964.

Parking lot makes way for garage
As the new Madison Center for the Arts building nears completion, construction will begin on the accompanying parking garage. The garage will be located in the current parking lot shared by the District Office and Madison No. 1 Middle School.

Families will no longer be able to drop-off or pick-up students on 16th Street. A one-way drop off lane, on the north side of the property, can be accessed off 16th Street, however, the lane will not be opened until 8 a.m. each weekday morning. The lane will wrap around the east side of the school, near the I-51, and cars will exit west onto Missouri Avenue.

There will be an afternoon satellite bus available to transport students from Madison No. 1 to North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 N. Central Ave., where parents may pick them up. Additional parking for student drop-off and pick-up will also be available at the LDS church on 18th Street and Missouri Avenue.

These changes will go into effect Jan. 8, 2018 when Madison No. 1 returns from winter break. The projected completion date is December 2018. If you have any questions, contact the District Office at 602-664-7900. For a map of the new drop-off route, visit http://madisonaz.org/no1-middle-school/home/.

Osborn Elementary School District

Argentine teachers visit Osborn district
Osborn recently participated in an exchange program of Argentine teachers that presented an opportunity for both educators and students. For three weeks, 25 teachers from Argentina were involved in 60 hours of in-classroom internships and 40 hours of professional development. Their visit was in cooperation with the ASU Center for Advanced Studies in Global Education.

The experience was memorable for the Argentine cohort, the 12 mentor Osborn teachers who welcomed these scholars, and 350-plus Osborn students who learned from and interacted with the scholars in English and Spanish.

Osborn teachers and administrators taught professional development sessions in the evenings in Spanish, allowing the Argentine educators to experience in the classrooms what they were learning as part of their professional development.

D-backs grant aids ‘mobile’ learning
The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation recently awarded Clarendon Elementary School a grant through its annual School Challenge program. The grant money will be used to support the school’s Walking Classroom, first launched in early 2016.

Thanks to The Walking Classroom, Clarendon’s fourth-graders are learning while they walk. Lessons on everything from history to wellness to English come easier during their 20-minute walks around campus.

Material comes pre-loaded on special audio players that students began using early in 2016. The classes stride around the school while listening to the lesson, after which they return to the classroom to discuss and write about what they learned. Best of all, the material is aligned to current standards, so teachers can keep their kids moving while they’re learning critical material.

One major benefit for English language learners is that the audio players have a dial to adjust speed, which enables students to slow the diction to a pace that they can break down and better understand.

Each winning school will receive a check at a 2018 D-backs game in April ot May at Chase Field. The D-backs will donate more than 400 tickets for students, parents, teachers and staff from each school to attend the game in which their school will be honored.

Phoenix Union High School District

Innovation Lab coming to Camelback
Students from Camelback’s entrepreneurship class have been working toward opening an Innovation lab on campus—a place where students can see their visions become a reality. Working with ASU’s EPIC program and Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, these entrepreneurship students have been studying design thinking, and needed a place where they could prototype their ideas.

Teacher Maria Abrams has been working with career exploration teacher Debora Fox to have students not only explore careers but to build projects that require 21st Century skills. Eric Ose, a volunteer from Heatsync, a makerspace in Mesa, has been working with the teachers and students designing working desktop pinball machines made from cardboard. These students will learn skills incorporating design, 3D printing, construction, soldering, electronics and  circuits and coding.

Abrams has written several grants to support this Innovation Lab and to date has received funding from the Verizon Foundation, SRP, The United Way and Fiesta Bowl Charities.

Students honored for leadership
Three Metro Tech students were recipients of the Phoenix Regional Hispanic Heritage (HHF) Youth Awards, honored for their leadership in the classroom and community. The ceremony took place Nov. 30 at the Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix Campus.

Receiving Silver Awards were students Estephanie Marie Torres for Business & Entrepreneurship; Cecy Abigail Mendoza for Technology, and Gisselle Beltran for Healthcare & Science.

The Phoenix event is one of 10 regional events in the United States. Youth Awardees will receive grants for their education or to fund an idea or community project. Regional Youth Awardees will be narrowed to one National Youth Award recipient for each of the seven categories.

Students speak at Toastmasters event
Camelback Entrepreneurship held its Toastmasters Brunch, Dec. 8 at the Bluewater Grill, which was organized by volunteers Jeff Stephens and Doug Ullrich of Toastmasters.

Seven finalists gave 5-minute speeches, which were judged according to Toastmaster rules. Jowun Ben took first place, Nichole Segay placed second and Alec Karsten was third. The brunch drew over 60 students, staff, some parents and community members.

Central cheer team captures first place
Central High’s varsity cheerleaders took first place in the Co-ed Varsity Show Cheer Novice division at the USA Regionals at Deer Valley High School, Dec. 9.

Scoring an 89.9 out of 100, the team also qualified for Nationals in Anaheim in February, where they will compete against other schools from around the country.

The cheerleaders are coached by  photography teacher Cecily Frutos.

Washington Elementary School District

WESD receives grades from ADE
The Arizona Department of Education has released its A-F school labels. Of the 32 schools in the Washington Elementary School District, one school received an A, 17 received a B, 13 received a C and one school received a D.

The new A-F letter grades system uses a variety of measures including: Percentage of proficient students on the AzMERIT grade level or end of course assessment; EL language proficiency and growth; and indicators to measure students’ ability to accelerate beyond elementary or high school.

Desert View Elementary received the District’s only D. Lori Mora, assistant superintendent of Academic Services, said that a plan is in place to provide assistance to the school.

To view all the WESD schools and their corresponding letter grades, visit www.wesdschools.org.

Royal Palm lauded for after-school offerings
Royal Palm Middle School was recognized for best practices in after-school programming at a 21st Century Community Learning Center Unit  Middle and High School Networking Meeting in Flagstaff on Dec. 1.

Royal Palm offers robotics, health & fitness, homework help, film editing, math, reading, yearbook and community service/leadership. The program also offers the Grand Canyon University Learning Lounge, which provides math tutoring for Royal Palm students in partnership with college students from GCU.

Private and Charter Schools

MHP hosts high school VRC qualifying event
Madison Highland Prep will expand its 4th-annual VEX Robotics Competition State Qualifying tournament from 24 teams to 38 teams this school year. The tournament, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, will include three competition fields in the gymnasium and two practice fields along with the pits in the student commons.

With the increase in teams, MHP will look to recruit additional corporate sponsors along with up to 100 volunteers to conduct the event.

The competition game for this season is VRC in the Zone. The object of the game is to obtain points by stacking cones on goals, moving mobile goals into goal zones, having the highest stack on goals and parking robots in goal zones. Matches consist of two periods, a fifteen second autonomous period and a one minute and 45 second driver controlled period. MHP VEX Robotics looks to earn its second consecutive berth to the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) state championships in March. The team is coached by Nick Bonds, an engineering teacher.

To participate as a sponsor or volunteer, call 602-745-3800.

Students participate in street clean-up
AmeriSchools Academy had more than 40 students, staff and family members turn out on Nov. 18 for the Camelback Corridor clean up. The school’s National Junior Honor Society members, along with many student athletes, were among the volunteers who are fully engaged in giving back to the community.

The clean up, sponsored by Local First, The International Rescue Committee, The Neighborhood Services Department and Councilwoman Laura Pastor’s District 4 office, tackled the area from 7th to 23rd avenues.

Entrance exam, financial aid info
Xavier College Preparatory will host its High School Placement Test (HSPT) Entrance Exam for eighth grade applicants on two upcoming dates in January: Saturday, Jan. 20 at and Saturday, Jan. 27. Both exams will take place at 7:30 a.m. Approximate dismissal time will be 11:30 a.m. on both exam dates.

Online registration as well as additional information regarding Xavier’s testing dates and admissions process may be found on the school’s website at www.xcp.org.

An exam fee of $50 will be collected at the beginning of the exam, and either cash or a check made payable to Xavier College Preparatory will be accepted. On both dates, Financial Aid Workshops will be held for interested parents during the exam.

School club seeks mobility devices

Bourgade Catholic High School (BCHS) offers a variety of student extracurriculars and clubs, including one that focuses efforts on collecting mobility devices to those in need in Africa, where the accessibility of such devices is virtually non-existent.

The Interact Club at Bourgade Catholic is an international organization that develops leadership skills and service to others. This holiday season, the BCHS Interact Club chose Crutches 4 Africa as its service project initiative

“We collect used and surplus mobility devices, ship them to developing countries, and distribute them free of cost, to individuals with physical challenges regardless of their race, gender, tribe, age, or religion,” says Interact Club moderator, Amber Christenberry.

The club’s motto is “service above self.” “That really resonated with me and led me to join,“ says Jaiden Gatson, Interact Club president.

Crutches 4 Africa will accept any used mobility device such as crutches, walkers, canes, wheelchairs, etc. The school will accept any mobility device donations in their front office, 4602 N. 31st Ave., until Feb. 24. For more information or to make a donation, contact Bourgade Catholic High School at 602-973-4000.

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