North Central News

School Briefs

Glendale Union High School District

Dominguez gets ballet scholarship

Performance Company Dancer and Thunderbird High School Game Dancers lead choreographer, Lexi Dominguez, was awarded a ballet scholarship while taking a ballet workshop earlier this year at a dance convention 24/7. This is only awarded to a select few.

Dominguez, an incoming senior, has shown great dedication to the dance program for the past three years.

GUHSD sets walk-through registration

Glendale Union High School District is gearing up for the 2019-20 school year with its student walk-through registration sessions July 22-26, which will offer information about academics, extracurricular activities, clubs, sports and more at each campus. Students also will receive their schedules.

Visit your school’s website for specific event details. Students’ first day of school is on Monday, Aug. 5.

Hatch recognized by Junior Achievement

Sunnyslope High student Alexis Hatch was among those honored at the 2019 Junior Achievement (JA) 18 Under 18 awards program.

When Sunnyslope’s speech and debate program was in danger of going extinct, Hatch made it her goal to save the program. She got 10 students to join for her sophomore year, and 50 to show up to the first meeting for the club in her junior year. The team took second place in a tournament this past school year.

Now a senior, Hatch also is involved in bringing a TED-Ed chapter to Sunnyslope. These student talks, similar to TED Talks, encourage students to develop ideas and gain confidence in public speaking.

Zlystra earns perfect score on ACT exam

Incoming Thunderbird High School senior Jessica Zlystra has earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36. This achievement is significant and rare with only about two-tenths of one percent of all test takers earning the top score.

Scores earned on the ACT exam, taken by high school juniors around the country each year, are accepted by all major colleges and universities throughout the nation.

Madison Elementary School District

Teaching kids about ‘rules of the road’

The Phoenix Fire Department and Phoenix Police Department hosted a “Bike Rodeo” on the campus of Madison Rose Lane to teach children—and their parents—the importance of being safe while riding their bicycles.

Bikes for toddlers up to young adults were provided for use, including some with training wheels for the “still learning” riders, and a skills course was drawn out in chalk under the large covered area next to the basketball court. At the start of the course, children were fitted with free bike helmets, then give instructions from Officer Bob Corveil with the Phoenix PD’s Traffic Education Safety Unit. There were reminded to always come to a full stop when at a stop sign, to look left, then right, then left again before proceeding.

Halfway through the course they met Officer Eric VanHook of the Traffic Education Safety Unit, who took them through the drill again. And before reaching the end of the course, Anthony Mustacchio of the Phoenix Fire Department manned the last stop sign. Mustacchio said parents play a crucial role in not only reminding children to be careful of traffic, but also making sure then never ride a bike, scooter or other wheeled vehicle in public without wearing a proper safety helmet.

Madison Rose Lane Kindergarten Teacher Melissa Mersch rode her own bike to school that day and also participated in the Bike Rodeo, but admitted she forgot to wear her helmet that morning. She received a free helmet at the event, agreeing how important it was for adults to model proper “rules of the road” and safety precautions for the younger generations.

Osborn Elementary School District

Solano Elementary gets STEM grant from SRP

Students across Arizona will explore how to use drones, virtual reality and energy-efficient architecture to learn more about math and science thanks to Learning Grants by SRP. The grant program, which awarded a record $147,855 to 33 schools—including Solano Elementary—provides an  opportunity for schools and teachers to develop projects and programs that improve student performance objectives in math, science and engineering.

Solano Elementary received a grant of $5,000 for the 2019-20 school year. The grant will be spent on purchasing 27 microscopes to provide high-quality science-learning experiences. While investigating different sciences such as biology, anatomy, geology and environmental science, students will be exposed to math concepts as they graph their findings, technology as they record their data and writing as they express what they figure out through qualitative and quantitative observation.

Phoenix Union High School District

Students, alumni honored at banquet

Over 200 student-athletes and coaches were honored at the third annual All-Phoenix Union Sports Awards, May 14, at Central High School. Team and individual awards were presented for each sport.

All-Academic Athletes of the Year for a boy and girl on each campus were recognized, and the top Male and Female Athletes of the Year for each campus received $500 scholarships. One of the two Phoenix Union Athletes of the Year was Central High’s Cosmas Kwete, who also received a $1,000 scholarship from the Phoenix Union Foundation and Phoenix Union Sports Hall of Fame.

Kwete was a dominating defensive end for Central, playing with his twin brother, Eloi.  He came to the U.S. four years ago from Zimbabwe, and is on his way to Washington State University on a football scholarship.

Central’s Eli Fuentes won the Joseph Grant Community Outreach Award. The football player was Youth of the Year at his Boys and girls Club branch, and completed over 1700 hours of community service, and continues to work with nonprofits that serve the homeless, refugees and children.

Joseph Grant was a Camelback High athlete who gave his Make-a-Wish wish back to his school for a campus project before his passing. His mother presented the award to Fuentes.

Students selected for Harvard-related programs

Eight Metro Tech juniors were accepted into the Harvard Academies this summer, attending the pre-med or business programs. In addition, one Metro Tech sophomore was accepted into the Harvard Pre-College Program. These are two-week programs.

The junior students were Maria Vargas, Angel Palazuelos Ortiz, Katherine Velazquez, Brian Zepeda, Jesus Gomez, Anahy Rascon, Brittney Perez-Montoya, and Lesli Arreaza. The sophomore was Lorena Calderon.

All the students are in honors and Advanced Placement classes and several are involved in MEChA and/or other community organizations.

Teacher honored with Silver Apple

Metro Tech’s Computer Networking teacher Don Sheldon received a surprise visit from an entourage of fans on May 10, led by Channel 3’s Gina Maravilla, who came to present the Silver Apple Award, along with a $500 check, sponsored by the Dairy Council of Arizona.

Sheldon was nominated by Liliana Vasquez, a senior who, through Sheldon’s efforts, will continue to college and work with the Year-Up Organization. In her nomination, Vasquez wrote: “Mr. Sheldon pushes us to do our best and take every good opportunity life throws at us. He introduced me to a program called ‘Year-Up,’ and without him, the thought of going to college wouldn’t even cross my mind.”

Franklin adds forensics classes to school offerings

Franklin Police and Fire is expanding its Forensic Science offerings next year to include Forensics Chemistry 3-4, teaching students how to apply chemistry to forensics. There are currently three sections of Forensics 1-2.

The mostly junior and senior Honor classes fulfill a required science credit and students can receive dual enrollment credit with Phoenix College. Forensics 1-2 covers the fundamentals of investigation, including hair and fiber analysis, handwriting and document analysis, fingerprinting, DNA, and toxicology covering blood, drugs, poisons and other toxins,

Washington Elementary School District

WESD to host job fair on July 19

The Washington Elementary School District (WESD) will host a Classified Job Fair 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, July 19, to hire support staff for the 2019-20 school year. It will take place at the WESD Administrative Center, 4650 West Sweetwater Ave.

The WESD is hiring: Special Education assistants; bus drivers and assistants; Food Service assistants; substitute health technicians; substitute teachers; office technicians and managers; Food Service managers; translators; and after-school support.

Candidates are encouraged to come prepared to interview. Successful candidates may be recommended for a 2019-20 contract. Apply online prior to the Classified Job Fair at http://jobs.wesdschools.org. Human Resources will contact qualified applicants directly to preschedule an interview. For more information, contact the WESD Recruitment Office at 602-347-2668 or e-mail Jennifer.Deckwa@wesdschools.org.

Private and Charter Schools

Brophy competes in National Quiz Bowl

Some of the brightest minds in the Phoenix area competed in one of the most challenging academic activities in the country: the NAQT quiz bowl 2019 High School National Championship Tournament (HSNCT), held in Atlanta May 24-26.

Among the Valley schools that competed was a team from Brophy College Prep, which finished 97th out of 336 teams.

The NAQT quiz bowl is a fast-paced game that tests students’ knowledge on subjects ranging from sports and pop culture to classic literature and biology.

Quiz bowl has served as the launch-pad for thousands of high-achievers across the globe who have often gone on to attend prestigious universities, where they (usually!) continue competing in quiz bowl, and later pursue impactful, innovative careers. Quiz bowl alumni have gained national recognition and set records on TV shows like Jeopardy! (Ken Jennings, Larissa Kelly) and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Kevin Olmstead).

Student a candidate for QuestBridge Scholarship

Madison Highland Prep student Jay-ar Gloria, who will be a senior in August, was selected as a 2019 College Prep Scholar by QuestBridge Scholarships. He is one of 3,123 students selected from more than 10,800 high school juniors throughout the United States based on his academic record and personal qualities.

As a College Prep Scholar, Gloria is recognized as a strong candidate for the 2020 QuestBridge National College Match, offering full four-year scholarships to one of the nation’s best colleges of his choice.

Additionally, he has been invited to participate in the National College Admissions Conference in June. This conference provides a unique opportunity for Gloria to receive expert advice from admissions officers from QuestBridge college partners.

Curriculum addition helps ‘navigate’ life

At Metropolitan Arts Institute, students are learning not just academics, but how to be good people, and how to find balance in their lives and education.

Among MetroArts’ school community, this approach has long been referred to as “the invisible curriculum.” But this past school year, thanks to an organization called Project Wayfinder, that curriculum has been made visible.

Project Wayfinder is an educational organization developed at the Stanford University School focused on a wayfinding metaphor. The curriculum equips students and teachers with tools and skills they need to create purposeful lives.

MetroArts incorporated the Project Wayfinder for the 2018-19 school year, with more than 50 seniors experiencing the curriculum.

Head of School, Matt Baker. says he brought Project Wayfinder to MetroArts to help young adults figure out what they want to do—or don’t want to do—early on.

“Our current education system focuses solely building knowledge and skills without any sense of why except to get into college. And that’s just kicking the can down the road,” Baker ponts out. “Conversely, helping students cultivate their own unique sense of purpose is invaluable.”

When Wayfinder comes out with a program for a younger cohort, Baker says he will be eager to bring it to the school’s 8th or 9th graders. “Because the fact is, when it comes to inquiring deeply into what makes a meaningful life, the time is always now.”

Making specialized schools affordable

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), introduced in Arizona in 2011, have not gone away and they can be an important resource for families with kids with disabilities. But many families still aren’t aware of them.

ESAs are a key but often untapped resource for parents. They can cover 100 percent of costs for students with Autism to attend innovative and elite schools such as Gateway Academy, a K-12 school specializing in academically bright children with Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism. Gateway’s annual tuition of $26,800, all of which can be paid for by the state.

Approximately 5,000 families currently use the ESA program to pay for private and other schools.

ESAs give the parent 90 percent of what the state would pay to the school for that individual child. For a neurotypical child who does not require any services, that number is around $5,000. However, since Gateway’s students have an autism diagnosis and require additional services, aids, classrooms, etc. the state pays a significant amount more. Most families are receiving approximately $28,000 per year.

Voters turned down an expansion of ESAs in 2018 but the program benefitting kids with disabilities as well as Native Americans, military families, foster children and students living near underperforming schools has not gone away.

Gateway Academy accepts enrollment year round. For more information, call 480-998-1071 or visit https://www.gatewayacademy.us/.

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