Creighton Elementary School District

Playworks impact students at Biltmore
Students at Biltmore Preparatory Academy are using Playworks to re-discover the many benefits of recess and improve their academic day.

Playworks sends program coordinators called “coaches” into schools who create options for children to engage in healthy, inclusive play, and give them important opportunities to learn to deal with both winning and losing with grace. Using basic democratic principles, the coach teaches the games, ensures no one is left out, and encourages teamwork.

Everyone gets a say and students work together to organize recess games and learn to play by commonly agreed upon rules.

Playworks has only been at Biltmore Prep since August, but the results are noticeable. Participating in Playworks has given second grade teacher Vanessa Fitch “the opportunity to learn new strategies and tools to implement in the classroom.”

The students enjoy Playworks so much that third grade teacher Amanda Stewart provides her students “with an extra Playworks session as their classroom reward for positive behavior.”

According to Stewart, “Playworks at recess is an event that the entire class looks forward to. The organization of the games guides the students to work as a team toward a common goal, encourages quick and appropriate problem solving, and is all around a ton of fun. Because the outcomes are consistently positive, every student always ends up a winner at the end of the game.”

The school paid for the Playworks program via PTO fundraising and other efforts.

Glendale Union High School DistrictSunnyslope creating Athletic Hall of Fame
Sunnyslope High School is creating a Hall of Fame to honor achievements by Sunnyslope Alumni over the past 60 years. The showcase will include athletic trophies, team and individual achievements, outstanding coaches and athletic memorabilia. SHS Hall of Fame will be located inside The Dan Mannix Gymnasium.

The graduating Class of 2013 and Viking Parent Club have already donated the seed money to start the project. They are now asking for help from the community and alumni.

Fundraising kicked off at Sunnyslope’s Homecoming last month and continues with a goal of $10,000. In addition to funds, organizers also seek memorabilia including uniforms, letter jackets and photographs.

For more information, contact Melinda Hawkins at melinda Check them out on Facebook at “SHS Hall of Fame.”

Parker a finalist for Teacher of the Year
The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) announced its 2014 Arizona Teacher of the Year Ambassadors for Excellence. Among them was Jonathan Parker, 11th grade AP U.S. History teacher at Thunderbird High School.
Of these five Ambassadors, one will receive the title of AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year at the Nov. 14 awards luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.

The annual Teacher of the Year program is the premier event of the AEF, a statewide organization that promotes and awards the exceptional efforts being made in Arizona’s public schools.

During the awards luncheon on Nov. 14, the 2014 AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year, four Ambassadors for Excellence (runners-up) and five semi-finalists will be honored before more than 500 attendees including Arizona educators, elected officials and business leaders. All 10 teachers will march in and be honored at the 2013 Fiesta Bowl Parade, and Blue Bell Ice Cream will present each of the top 10 teachers with a school-wide ice cream party.

After being recognized on Nov. 14, the AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year will receive a host of awards and recognitions including a $15,000 cash award and an opportunity to meet the President of the United States.
The AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year and four Ambassadors for Excellence will serve as spokespersons for their profession, advocating for excellence in the classroom by making presentations statewide to education, civic, government and professional organizations. Each ambassador will receive a $5,000 cash award, professional speech training and a scholarship from Argosy University for 50 percent of the cost of tuition toward a master’s or doctorate in education and more.

To learn more or purchase seats for the awards luncheon, visit or call 480-421-9376.

Phoenix Union High School District

Negrete attends summit on ‘Education Nation’
Helios Education Foundation, in partnership with Be a Leader Foundation, sent five Arizona student delegates to participate in NBC News’ “Education Nation” Summit at the New York City Library in early October. Among them was Epimenio Negrete Jr. of North High School.

The national summit was a culmination of the 2013 Education Nation Tour that stopped in Phoenix in May 2013. At the event in Phoenix, policymakers, education leaders, teachers and students came together to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing education in Arizona. Key topics such as early literacy, school funding, workforce preparedness, teacher training and student engagement were discussed.

The student delegates from Arizona participated in the “Student Town Hall” moderated by Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC host, on Oct. 6. They are all sophomores in high school and participate in Be a Leader Foundation.

Chee’s art will decorate T-shirts
A Teen Dating Violence Awareness Art contest exclusively for Phoenix Union students was held last month in partnership with the city’s Domestic Violence Youth Education Taskforce. Twenty-six students submitted artwork representing six campuses. The Task Force and members of the Phoenix Center for the Arts judged the works.
Rolando Chee, a senior from Camelback won first place and $300. Submitted student artwork is being displayed at the City Hall atrium area. Chee will have his poster design printed on T-shirts for the February National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month campaign.

Gomez travels to nation’s capital
Monika Gomez of Metro Tech spent a week in Washington, D.C., at the SkillsUSA Conference to network, meet with politicians and refine her leadership skills. Gomez, a senior who is enrolled in construction technologies at Metro, along with honors classes for calculus, physics and economics, is the Region 2 President for SkillsUSA.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.

The message to legislators was to share the impact of vocational programs in today’s schools as students prepare for the 21st Century workplace. Gomez conferenced with aides to members of Arizona’ Congressional delegation including Sen. John McCain and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Rep. Ed Pastor and Rep. Raul Grijalva. Her message was designed to bring awareness of Metro Tech’s Career and Technical Education programs and specifically hers, Construction Technologies.

Gomez encourages students to get involved in Career and Technical Student Organizations programs.

Washington Elementary School District

VFW donates flags to Maryland
Maryland School has two new American flags thanks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9400 and the Ladies Auxiliary.

Representatives of the organization removed the old flag and replaced it with a new one during a ceremony held on Oct. 4. Students watched respectfully as the old, tattered flag was folded up and the new one unfurled. A representative of the VFW shared the history or the flag and everyone recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Maryland School will host a Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:45 a.m. Parents and community members are invited to honor and remember all armed forces personnel past and present. Additionally, all veterans and active duty military are invited to attend and be recognized.

For more information, contact Maryland School at 602-347-2300.

Bonney receives OfficeMax award
OfficeMax made a day better for one WESD teacher on Oct. 1. Dianna Bonney, teacher of gifted at Orangewood Elementary, was one of 1,000 teachers nationwide who received the “A Day Made Better Award” from OfficeMax.
Bonney was presented with the award after her Orangewood colleagues arranged for some of her gifted students to surprise her in the library along with the OfficeMax representatives. In addition to flowers and a certificate, Bonney received a new desk chair and a huge box of supplies including a Kindle Fire and a Cannon Powershot camera.

Bonney was nominated for the award by Orangewood office manager Ima Jean Dolan, who wrote, “It is inspirational to witness her (Dianna’s) dedication to children. The sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face when she talks about her students and the exciting projects they are working on is something special to behold. She is the last person to expect any recognition for making a difference in the life of children… teaching is her passion and her life.”

This was the seventh year of the A Day Made Better program, in which OfficeMax associates surprise 1,000 teachers in their classrooms with $1,000 each worth of school supplies.

Private and Charter Schools

All Saints’ sets Open Houses
All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, 6300 N. Central Ave., has scheduled its annual series of fall and winter Admission Open Houses: Nov. 13, Dec. 11, and Jan. 22, 2014. All Open Houses begin at 9 a.m. in Manning Hall.
Each event features campus tours lead by Parent Ambassadors with an opportunity to meet with admission officers, and faculty. Reservations are suggested, but not required. RSVP online at

If your schedule does not permit you to attend an Open House, call to schedule an individual tour. Application materials for the 2013-14 school year are now available at
All Saints’ Episcopal Day School is a private, independent school in North Central Phoenix for children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Serving families of all faiths, All Saints’ is known for its rigorous and well-rounded liberal arts curriculum and its family-centered community. For more information, call 602-274-4866.

Currier joins coaching staff at Veritas Prep
Steve Currier, a four-time state championship coach, has been hired as the Veritas Preparatory Academy’s men’s varsity basketball coach for the 2013-14 school year.

Currier brings to Veritas Prep a wealth of coaching experience and success. Under his instruction and leadership, his teams have won four state championships in three different sports—including two basketball championships in Arizona. In 2007, Currier guided Surrey Garden High School to the 1A Basketball State Championship and in 2011 he led Gilbert Christian High School to both a championship and a perfect 32-0 undefeated season, tying an Arizona state record. Currier also has coached teams in Ohio to championships in cross country and football.

Currier’s addition to the coaching ranks at Veritas Prep builds on the accelerating momentum of the athletics program at the school. Student participation in fall 2013 Veritas athletics activities has increased by more than 18 percent.

Brophy to host Open House
Brophy College Preparatory, 4701 N. Central Ave., hosts its annual Open House for prospective students and their families from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 3. Brophy is a Catholic, Jesuit all-male college preparatory high school educating 1,250 students from all over the Valley.

Campus tours and information about academic programs, co-curricular activities, financial aid, transportation and the admissions process will all be available.

There will be an opportunity to meet and talk with students, faculty, administrators, coaches and parents. Reservations are not needed. Applications for the Class of 2018 are available online through the Brophy website:

For more information about the application process, consult the Brophy Admissions Office web page at, e-mail, or call 602-264-5291, ext. 6233.

Two PCHS students receive scholar awards
Two students at Phoenix Christian High School have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams.

The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP Exams. Phoenix Christian senior Megan Sluga and 2013 graduate Mackenzie Hummel qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams.

Xavier garners high recognitions
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced in September Xavier College Preparatory’s selection as a National Blue Ribbon School, based upon its overall academic excellence. It is the highest national accolade possible for an educational institution and the third time in school history that Xavier has received this recognition.

Xavier is the only high school in the Phoenix area—private, public or charter—to earn the National Blue Ribbon School distinction this year, and one of only 53 high schools selected from across the nation.

The U.S. Department of Education selected Xavier in the National Blue Ribbon Schools’ “Exemplary High Performing” category, which recognizes Xavier among the nation’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments and/or national tests. The Department of Education will honor Xavier along with 236 public and 49 private elementary, middle, and high schools at a recognition ceremony on Nov.18 and 19th in Washington, D.C.

This wasn’t the only national recognition received by the private, all-girls Catholic school this year. Michelle Staples, Projects and Operations administrator of the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), presented Xavier College Preparatory with the AIA’s Tony Komadina Award for advocacy and progress in girls’ athletics.

The school also received the AIA’s H. A. Hendrickson Award for overall excellence as the Division 5A high school to win the most state championships, state runners-up honors and section championships in 2012-13. Division 5A is comprised of the largest public and private high schools in Arizona, most of which are coed.

Phoenix Country Day plans Open House
Phoenix Country Day School invites the community to an Admissions Open House, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3. Families interested in enrollment information for fall 2014 may take advantage of this opportunity to have a comprehensive tour of the campus and facilities.

Faculty and administrators will be available to explain the school’s programs and answer questions. No reservations required and children are welcome.

The school is located at 3901 E. Stanford Drive. For further information, call the admissions office at 602-955-8200 or visit


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