Glendale Union High School District

SHS takes volleyball championship–again
By Phillip Roberts

Aces, kills, and spikes abounded as the Viking volleyball team from Sunnyslope High School captured the 2013 state title.

The tournament finals were held at Mesquite High School on Nov. 12. The team consisted of seniors Jenny Thompson, Evanne Gilbert, Allison Spencer and Piper Sperduti, along with juniors Kali Romley Cass, Molly Fleury and Felicity Gesina.

Joining them on the court were sophomores Emma Wright, Emily Spencer, Libby Fleury, Katie Oleksak, Sarah Martinez, and Skylar Wine. The team is coached by Amber LeTarte.

“We decided on keeping our game plan primarily offensive and put as much pressure on the opponents in the first set as we could,” LeTarte said. “Offensive game strategies worked for us all year so we didn’t want to change now.”

The Vikings squad was matched up against Campo Verde High School in the final round. Both Sunnyslope and Campo Verde were undefeated in their rounds at the state tourney.

As a team, the girls were able to end the first set with a 25-23 score, and the second and third sets with 25-12 and 25-8, respectively. Along with winning the state championship title for Division II, the team ranked fourth overall in the entire state.

“This year has been the most exciting and fun season of my career,” Thompson said. “I am grateful for being a part of the team for my final year of high school.”

The green team had reached the finals after a 16-1 season, boasting 3-0 set shutout games with the only loss being a 2-3 close game.

The players entered the state competition with again all 3-0 set shutout games all the way up to the finals.
“We were able to play the game while staying on target and playing as a team and that resulted in our victory this year,” LeTarte said.

This season was a good improvement from last year’s season when the team went 11-6 overall and got eliminated in the first round of the state tournament. This year’s state championship win was the fifth in six years for the Vikings girls volleyball team, with 2012-13 being the only loss.

Editor’s note: Phillip Roberts is co-editor-in-chief of Viking Views, the student newspaper at Sunnyslope High School.

Madison Elementary School District

Meadows student meets state senator
Madison Meadows fifth-grader Jake Grunewald recently got an invitation to the state capitol thanks to his involvement in a First Lego League group project. Jake is the only student from the Madison School District on the team, and has been involved in the First Lego League group since this past fall.

His team won its regional competition and went on to compete in the state finals at Arizona State University. The team placed 10th in the Robotics competition for the state and received a trophy for its research on their project.

Each team developed a safety-related invention as part of the competition as well as their entry into the Robotics competition. Jake’s team came up with the idea of a triangle-shaped warning light that could be placed on a motorist’s car during a dust storm. Team members researched the types of light that could be visible in a dust storm. Jake created the PowerPoint for the project, with some edits from his father. He also credits his computer teacher, John Murphy, for teaching him how to use the software presentation program.

Arizona State Sen. Steve Farley from Tucson saw the team’s project at the competition at ASU and asked the team members to come down to meet with him at the capitol, where the students also were given a tour of the senate and the capitol building. Sen. Farley was interested in their project and encouraged them to keep working in the area of dust storms.

Learn more about kindergarten classes
The Madison School District hosts a Kindergarten Roundup 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 at all five Madison schools that offer kindergarten: Madison Camelview, Madison Heights, Madison Rose Lane, Madison Simis, and Madison Traditional Academy (MTA).

Tours and information will be provided and prospective parents can receive information about the enrollment process. No RSVP is required. For more information, call the office of the school you are interested in: Camelview, 602-664-7200; Heights, 602-664-7800; Rose Lane, 602-664-7400; Simis, 602-664-7300; and MTA, 602-745-4000.

Tour day set for prospective students
Madison School District presents its annual REACH Shadow Day, Wednesday, Feb. 26.

REACH is the program for highly gifted children at Madison Heights, 7150 N. 22nd St., and Madison No. 1, 5525 N. 16th St. Prospective students shadow an existing student while parents receive tours and other information.

RSVP required. Call Rosalinda Cruz-Flores at 602-664-7934 or e-mail her at

Phoenix Union High School District

Two honored in video contest
Two students from Metro Tech High School were finalists of My Message, a Valley-wide contest to create a 25-second video public service announcement (PSA) that encourages teens to avoid behaviors that can lead to criminal activity.

A panel of judges selected five finalists, including Angie Ibanez and Daniel Omar Gomez, out of 130 entries; the finalists each received a $500 gift card. The Fall 2013 winners were announced on Dec. 18. This is the second year in a row that Metro Tech had two students among the top-five finalists.

The twice-yearly competition is open to all Maricopa County residents 13 to 18 years of age. Eligible topics include illegal drug use, underage drinking, prescription drug abuse, bullying, and truancy. Winning entries are available for viewing at

Central teens win Rotary awards
Central High School students Clarissa Duran, Esperanza Loya, Kristalyn Mitchell, Boweh Momoh, Carmen Moreno, and Betsy Rodriguez have won Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).

The students attended the RYLA Conference in Prescott Jan.17-20, where they honed their leadership skills. Topics explored at the conference include: Fundamentals of Leadership; Ethics and Leadership; Communication Skills in Effective Leadership; Problem-Solving and Conflict Management; Building Self Confidence and Self-Esteem; and Elements of Community and Global Citizenship.

Their all-expenses-paid participation was sponsored by Phoenix Rotary 100, the club that sponsors Central High’s Interact Club.

International teachers visit PUHSD schools
Phoenix Union will partner with the ASU International Leaders in Education Program again this spring semester, bringing in 16 international teachers to work with host teachers at five campuses.

In the North Central community, Metro Tech will have seven teachers, North High will welcome four, and Central High will host one. The teachers are from Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines and Tanzania.

The teachers will intern for 80-90 hours with their host teachers in the classroom. The international teachers met their host teachers and attended an orientation and cultural workshop on Jan. 24.

Robotics teams meet at Central
Central High hosted the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Kickoff event, Jan. 3-4, for 50 high school robotics teams and some 700 students.

The teams were involved in workshops and also watched—along with 70,000 high-school students around the world—a webcast from FIRST headquarters in New Hampshire, introducing this year’s task and regulations. Once the students were briefed, they picked up their parts kit, and began the six-week construction of their robots.

This year’s challenge, Aerial Assist, is played by two Alliances of three teams each. Alliances compete by trying to score as many balls in goals as possible during a two and a half minute match. Robots work together to score goals, and throwing and catching balls over a truss suspended 5 feet above the floor.

“This is more than a game,” said John M. Grusfeld of NASA. “This experience highlights what you will do in your career. Experience in this competition is similar in many ways to how we design, build and test NASA robots.”

IB students meet with Albright
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met with North High International Baccalaureate (IB) juniors to discuss the importance of international diplomacy and respond to their questions during a visit to Phoenix Jan. 10.

This event was held in conjunction with an exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum of her collection of pins, often worn to send subtle diplomatic signals in the course of her work.

North High was one of a select group of schools invited to identify a total of 50 students to participate in an hour-long program with Albright in the museum’s Whiteman Lecture Hall. IB student Yohan Sivakumar shared the stage with Albright and after participating in a question-and-answer session, presented her with a silver Mustang pin to add to her collection.

Washington Elementary School District

Two teachers earn board certification
Two teachers from Mountain View School, 801 W. Peoria Ave., were among five teachers in the Washington Elementary School District to earn National Board Certification (NBC), an advanced teaching credential that is the highest level of distinction a classroom teacher can achieve.
Kristin Roberts, eighth grade Language Arts teacher, and Jessica Looper, sixth grade Language Arts teacher, received their certifications in Early Adolescence English Language Arts

These teachers were among 122 in Arizona to receive certification this year and among more than 4,000 teachers nationwide. Arizona is ranked 12th in the nation in the number of teachers who received certification in 2013.

To earn National Board Certification, teachers demonstrate their knowledge and skills through a year-long series of performance-based assessments, including a portfolio of lessons and samples of student work, videotapes, and rigorous analysis of their classroom teaching. Teachers also complete a formal written evaluation that probes the depth of their teaching knowledge.

Register now for free kindergarten
Registration for free, full-day kindergarten for the 2014-15 school year in the Washington Elementary School District begins Feb. 3 and continues through the summer.

Parents and guardians are invited to register their kindergartner at the WESD Welcome and Registration Center, located just west of Cholla Middle School at 3200 W. Cholla St. Free, full-day kindergarten will be held at all 27 elementary and K-8 schools in the Washington District.

Children must be 5 years old before Sept. 1, 2014 to be registered for kindergarten. Parents should remember to bring with them: A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate; immunization records; proof of residence (e.g. lease agreement, recent utility bill); and legal papers regarding custody, if applicable.

The Welcome and Registration Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the center is closed from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Call 602-896-6950 for more information.

Private and Charter Schools

Primary students get digging in the dirt
Midtown Primary’s third and fourth graders went on an overnight science field trip to the Desert Outdoor Center (DOC) at Lake Pleasant in early January. They had classes on ecosystems and desert survival, went on nature hikes, became Dinosaur Detectives, and played Desert Jeopardy.
During their Aquatic Life class they used microscopes to examine lake water to search out and identify creatures they had no idea were there. The enthusiastic group was amazed and readily shared each other’s finds. The rangers are very animated in their teaching approach; it is very hands-on.

Students who took the overnight trip unanimously agreed that it is “an amazing place to go to learn stuff,” and a “really good science field trip.”

Jordan accepted into national scholars group
North Central resident Emily Jordan, a senior at Xavier College Preparatory, has been selected to become a member of the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). The society recognizes top scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship, and community commitment.

Membership in NSHSS entitles qualified students to enjoy a wide variety of benefits, including scholarship opportunities, academic competitions, free events, members-only resources, publications, participation in programs offered by educational partners, and more. For more information about the society, visit

Awards given for ‘Christian Service’
St. Francis Xavier School eighth grade students Alex Fessler, Allison Scardello, Maddie Reinhart, Patrick Schramm and Tatiana Rosales recently were awarded the Catholic Community Foundation Christian Service Award.

The CCF Christian Service Awards recognize practicing Catholic eighth grade students who demonstrate Christ-centered behavior through volunteer service to parish, school, and community. These prestigious awards are accompanied by an $8,000 grant to the Catholic High School the student will attend.

ASA students talk shop with Albright
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited the Phoenix Art Museum on Jan. 10 for a book signing and special tour of her “Read My Pins” exhibit. Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) was invited to select 50 students to attend the special assembly and prepare questions for Albright.

The ASA String Quartet opened the one-hour program, during which the six-student panel offered questions ranging from Albright’s experience as the first woman U.S. Secretary of State to her thoughts on the handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The experience was a once-in-a-lifetime event, bringing ASA students in direct contact with one of the most influential women in history. At the conclusion of the program, Albright commented that the caliber of questions and student engagement was the finest she had seen in a long time.

Xavier College Prep hosts Mock Trial tournament
Xavier College Preparatory’s Elias M. Romley Xavier Mock Trial Team will host its 9th Annual Xavier Classic Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 15. The Mock Trial tournament will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Xavier’s campus, 4710 N. 5th St.

The competition will draw more than 20 mock trial teams 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 details, contact John Cosden at 602-240-3303 or


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