Madison Elementary School District

Meadows Cross Country teams win conference titles
The Madison Meadows Girls Cross Country Team won first place at the Valley Athletic Conference Meet. In addition, the Meadows Boys Cross Country Team captured second place. David Lederman coaches both teams.

The top seven runners from each school in the Valley Athletic Conference are able to compete at the championship meet, which was held at Trevor Browne High School.

All seven girls on the team finished in the top 20 runners at the championship meet. In the final meet the top runners were sixth-grader Kristen Keeble, who finished in second place overall for the second year in a row, followed by seventh-graders Kayla Eldred, Adela Diaz, Sarah Jacobs, Emma Friese and Taylor Harvey and fifth-grader Aldyn Geer.

Lederman looks forward to having all the girls returning next year.

Two of the seven boys finished in the top 20 runners at the championship meet. They were sixth-grader Spencer Cook and seventh-grader. John Schantz. Other team members include eighth-graders Drew DeBenedetti and Lance Keeble; sixth-graders Calvin Graef and Matthew Ramella; and fifth-grader Zach Hamrich.

The Meadows Girls Cross Country Team last won the conference title in 1999 and the boys last won the title in 2004. The entire team runs in the morning before school on the Murphy Bridle Path on Central Avenue.

Ham named the Superintendent of Year
Tim Ham, Madison School District superintendent, has been selected as Arizona’s Superintendent of the Year and will be the Arizona representative to the American Association of School Administrator’s (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year award selection committee.

The award was presented on Dec. 12 during a luncheon at the Arizona School Boards Association/Arizona School Administrators Annual Conference at the Biltmore Conference Center. The Arizona Superintendent of the Year award is administered by Arizona School Administrators, Inc. and supported by Classworks, a division of Curriculum Advantage, Inc.

Ham’s leadership skills can be articulated best through his actions and results in achievement in the Madison Elementary School District. Madison is comprised of eight schools serving nearly 6,000 students, with 45 percent of its population receiving free and reduced lunch. Madison has earned the distinction of being the only elementary district in Phoenix to be “A” rated by the Department of Education and is the first and only elementary district in Arizona to become “Internationally Accredited” through AdvancED.

Ham initiated a Systems Approach when he joined the district as superintendent in July 2007 to focus on quality assurance and continuous improvement.

Charter school partners with Madison schools
Madison Highland Prep, a new STEM college preparatory high school featuring an Advanced Placement curriculum, has entered a five-year partnership with the Madison School District and will be located at 1431 W. Campbell Ave.

The new charter high school is accepting ninth- and tenth-grade students for the 2014-15 school year and will accept 300 students in its first year, adding a grade level each subsequent year. When fully realized, this partnership will offer a seamless pre-kindergarten through 12th grade STEM education program for Madison families and surrounding communities.

Families interested in enrolling their children at Madison Highland Prep for the 2014-15 school year should contact the school between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The school office number is 602-745-3800. For more information about the school’s programs and enrollment information, visit

Phoenix Union High School District

Marketing club hosts Toastmasters lunch
The Camelback Marketing Club held its annual Toastmasters Luncheon, Dec. 5 at Beckett’s Table. More than 100 students, as well as special guests from the community, school and district staff attended.

Nine students were formal speakers in the Toastmasters format. The annual event is paid for out of profits from the DECA Club store on campus. The annual event was originated by marketing teacher Julia Bourdo and community volunteer Jeff Stephens, a local architect, who has been doing Toastmasters on campus with Camelback students for more than 20 years.

Camelback basketball programs get a boost
Camelback High School’s basketball programs were the first winner to receive a $1,000 grant from the “Team Assist” program, launched late last year by the Phoenix Suns and CenturyLink, Inc. “Team Assist” is a community outreach initiative designed to provide new basketball equipment to one Arizona high school varsity basketball program per month from November 2013 to March 2014.

Camelback’s boys and girls varsity basketball programs were selected as the November recipient, and representatives from the school received the award during a Phoenix Suns home game on Dec. 18.

Camelback Coach Louie Carbajal nominated the school because of the teams’ lack of equipment. The boys team volunteers in the community, providing free basketball clinics for JV and feeder schools within the district.

“This check means so much to our program, you have no idea,” Carbajal said. “Our basketball program is all about great character. When we have great character, we’re going to win a lot of games. Our boys are going to understand discipline and character. And when we get that, that’s when you’re going to see Camelback shine. This check is the first step to everything happening.”

Patrick Bass, Camelback varsity girls head basketball coach, added, “We already have some initiatives set in place where our girls are giving back to the community. This is one of the few things that we’ve ever received so it will certainly be put to good use. Our freshman girls don’t have any white shorts, so we’re looking forward to having matching jerseys.”

High school varsity basketball players and coaches, along with teachers, parents and local community members throughout Arizona are encouraged to log on to to nominate a basketball program based on their teams’ community involvement and equipment need. Entries will be accepted through March 17.

Metro Tech wins D-Backs grant
Metro Tech High School was one of 30 schools to win a grant from The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation’s “D-backs $150,000 School Challenge,” presented by University of Phoenix. There were more than 800 submissions from Arizona schools.

“Once again the Arizona community has shown a great need for funding in our schools and we are proud to partner with University of Phoenix to make an impact on our community and education systems,” said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. “We are excited to see the outcome of how the money is used to help improve the future of Arizona.”

Metro Tech was awarded a $5,000 grant for its submission, “Socrative Themes Using Chromebooks.” Socrative Themes is an online student response system that engages students through debate and critical thinking. The Socrative program is free however, the teacher requested the grant to purchase 32 Lenovo Ideatabs for the students to use not only for the Socrative program, but also for reading topics of interest and to complete research projects at an individual level.

The way to program works is the teacher uploads debatable critical thinking questions for student response using tablets or laptops and students are able to type in their answers or select a multiple choice response. Instantly the student opinions are tabulated both quantitatively and qualitatively in several analytical graphs and written extended responses.

The teacher at Metro Tech plans to use the program at the ninth-grade level with the themes being survival, nutrition, love, journeys and life’s crossroads. At the end of each unit, students will demonstrate their ability to apply the theme to their lives.

Each winning school will be honored and receive a check on the field at a 2014 D-backs game next April and May at Chase Field. The D-backs will donate 1,000 tickets for students, parents, teachers and staff to attend the D-backs’ game in which their school will be honored.

Metro Tech Robotics readies for FIRST
The Metro Tech Robotics Club has received a NASA grant of $6,000, enabling the first-year team to compete in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) regional competitions in the spring.

Math teacher and robotics coach Rodney King will take his team to the Utah Regional March 15-16 and the Arizona Regional in Chandler, March 21-23.

In related news, the new Robotics team at Metro Tech got a crash course in the design process from 29th Drive, a local digital user design studio, on Dec. 4. The students, in preparation for designing a competition robot for FIRST, engaged in brainstorming, sketching, and digital presentations, under the direction of Kevin Goldman, design director and founder of 29th Drive.

The design challenge for student teams was to either design a robot, or tool that a robot could use, to help someone in a nursing home or with a particular disability or design a tool that a robot could use that could help students engage in active learning (inside or outside of the classroom).

Central students get Suns swag
More than 180 Central High students recently were awarded an array of Phoenix Suns swag, including game tickets, as part of “SunsCentral ‘Redeem Day’” on Dec. 10.

Students who completed 10 or more hours of strategic tutoring and demonstrated academic growth from Oct. 14-Dec. 6 received Suns memorabilia, gift cards to Carl’s Jr., and tickets to the Dec. 13 game against the Sacramento Kings; the 188 students collectively reached 6,900 tutoring hours. “Redeem Day” also recognized students for volunteer hours and improved attendance at class and other “SunsCentral” events.

Phoenix Suns Charities launched the “SunsCentral” partnership with Central High School in September 2012. This unique partnership is the result of a $500,000 grant from the Suns over three years, aimed at increasing the school’s student retention rate through four key factors: success in the classroom, attendance at school, mentoring, and individual tutoring support. “Redeem Days” are held each quarter at Central.

Founded in 1988, Phoenix Suns Charities is the non-profit organization and philanthropic cornerstone of the Phoenix Suns.

North using curriculum geared to special needs
Ten Community Based Training (CBT) classrooms in the Phoenix Union District are piloting a new curriculum called Unique Learning Systems, an online, standards-based curriculum specifically designed to meet the needs of students with special needs to accommodate the diversity of learners with significant disabilities.

The curriculum consists of monthly instructional thematic units of study. The topic for the month of November was High School Science Fair. North High students, under the direction of teacher April Wynn, worked on language arts, math, and life skills activities related to the topic. Their culminating activity was a Science Fair, held Nov. 21.

“We had 24 students presenting 11 group science experiments,” Wynn says. “We had great parent, staff, and student involvement. Our students really blew the teachers and teacher assistants away with their independent presentation skills at the fair and the pride in accomplishment that they felt in presenting their projects to the visitors.”

Future high school students invited to expo
Phoenix Union will present a district-wide student recruiting and school and program marketing event, called Experience Phoenix Union High School Expo, Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Phoenix College, 1202 W. Thomas Road.

The Expo will showcase the many opportunities available to thousands of future high school students, including full-service comprehensive campuses and specialized small schools, to Magnet programs, Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, extra-curriculars, clubs, student services and community partners. Every school will have its own interactive booth, as well as specialty programs such as CTE, Magnets, Special Education, AVID, Athletics and JROTC.

There will be non-stop student entertainment, mascots, giveaways, prize drawings, food and fun attractions, such as a kids’ corner. Enrollment stations will be available for those students and parents who want to sign up that day.

Washington Elementary School District

Price honored as an Employee of Month
Cheryl Price was among those honored by the Washington Elementary School District as an Employee of the Month for December.

Price, physical education teacher at Sunnyslope School, was nominated by coworkers who say she is a positive role model both at Sunnyslope and throughout the district.

Price is a volunteer “athletic director” for all sports at Sunnyslope. Her diligence ensures that there are scorekeepers, equipment, referees, etc., so that students can learn the importance of being part of a team.

In addition to supporting her school, Price is a cadre leader for PE teachers throughout the WESD.

Nominations accepted for Lamp of Learning
The Washington Elementary School District is seeking nominations for the 2014 Lamp of Learning Award. The Lamp of Learning Award is presented by WESD to staff, community and business members who have made outstanding contributions to the students of the district.

This one-time honor is the highest recognition given in the Washington district. Its objective is to recognize those who have dedicated themselves to improving the quality of education in the district and in the state while exemplifying the “Vision, Mission and Values” of the district. Nominations may be submitted by any patron or employee no later than 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The nomination form can be found at Nominations should be sent to WESD Communication Services Department, 4650 W. Sweetwater Ave., Glendale, AZ 85304 For more information about the award, contact the Communication Services Department at 602-347-2893. Honorees will be recognized at a ceremony in May 2014.

Private and Charter Schools

Five players make All-State Team
Five players from Phoenix Christian Preparatory School’s volleyball team were selected for the Arizona Republic All-State Division 5. The Cougars ended the season ranked No. 13 in AIA Division 5 and qualified for the state tournament for the third year in a row. The Cougars finished the season with a 23-11 record.

Senior Makenzie Garcia and sophomore Miah Debus Setter were named to the first team. Senior Katie Westbrook, outside hitter, was named to the second team. Senior Shaylee Williams, middle hitter, and junior Kalina Newcomb, outside hitter, received honorable mentions.

Varsity Head Coach Major Williams, in his second year as head coach of the Cougars, emphasizes teamwork. “I’m very proud of each player making the list. It’s a testament to how well they played together this season,” Williams said. “To have this many players recognized by the Arizona Republic is a rare occurrence for us.”

The Cougars are the only team to have two players included on the Division 5 All-State First Team this season. Phoenix Christian is located at 1751 W. Indian School Road.

Succow inducted into Hall of Fame
Brophy Varsity Head Baseball Coach Tom Succow on Dec. 6 was inducted into the National High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Tucson. He is one of three coaches inducted for 2013.

Succow is in his 39th year at Brophy College Preparatory as a teacher and college counselor. He has spent 37 of those years as varsity baseball coach.

Under his tenure, the Broncos have accumulated more than 600 victories, a State Championship in 2006, and State Runners-up in 1982, 2007 and 2012. In the last six years, eight Brophy student athletes have signed and are currently playing professional baseball and numerous others playing at the college level.

Since 2001, the Brophy baseball coaching staff has been honored as Coaching Staff of the Year nine times.

Succow has served on five USA Baseball National Team coaching staffs as Head Coach of 2004 U16 and assistant coach in 2003; Head Coach of the 2006 & 2007 U14 National Team; and most recently as an assistant for the 2010 U18 National Team summer tour.

He was honored in 2007 as National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, and is a member of the Arizona Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame inducted in 2003, and the Brophy Hall of Fame in 2007.

Brophy, Xavier hold entrance exams
Xavier College Preparatory, 4710 N. 5th St., will host its Entrance Exam on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 a.m. Registration is not required.

Xavier also will host a Make-Up Entrance Exam 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, for those students who are unable to take the exam on Jan. 11 and who have not previously tested elsewhere. Registration is required for this exam, and may be arranged by calling Nancy Schissel at 602-277-3772, ext. 3112.

For both exams, a 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. Applications will be distributed at testing. Approximate dismissal time will be 11:30 a.m.

For additional information on Xavier’s testing dates and/or the admissions process, visit

Brophy College Preparatory, 4701 N. Central Ave., also will be administering its entrance examinations for the Class of 2018 on Jan. 11 and again on Jan. 25, from 7:45 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Brophy’s campus.

Interested students should fill out the online application and submit $75 (combined testing and application fees) and a copy of their birth certificate at least three days before testing. All applicants are expected to take part in an interview with a Brophy faculty member in mid-January. Interview scheduling is available online.

If a student takes the High School Placement Test for Catholic Schools (HSPT) elsewhere, he is expected to complete the writing portion of the exam after his personal on-campus interview at Brophy in January.

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

Local author visits SS. Simon & Jude
SS. Simon & Jude Catholic School’s library hosted award-winning children’s author Barbara Gowan on Dec. 3.

Gowan presented her Writer’s Workshop to the fifth and sixth graders in support of the school’s Language Arts curriculum, including sharing her writing process, many visuals, and using scientific vocabulary. Gowan shared her “writer’s toolbox” and “wonder” book where she generates ideas for writing.

The pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students enjoyed Gowan’s reading of her newest story and creating their own “Desert Dictionary.” Students participated in creating a monsoon storm and observed many desert artifacts such as cacti skeletons and fossils along with photos.

Students also had the opportunity to purchase an autographed book during her visit to the school.

Gowan’s awards include the Southwest Children’s Book of the Year in 2002 for her first book, “G Is for Grand Canyon.” “Desert Digits” was nominated for the Grand Canyon Reader Award in the nonfiction category in 2007. Her most recent book, “D Is for Desert,” is a National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book.

Learn more about School Choice
Midtown Primary School invites families to come meet other parents, and get charter school questions answered at its “Celebrate Choice with Cookies and Coffee” event, 8-10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29.

National School Choice Week, Jan. 26-Feb. 1, celebrates the diversity of educational options families now have available to them, from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling. Midtown Primary is a free charter school serving children in grades kindergarten through fourth.

The school is located in the educational wings of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4735 N. 19th Ave., one block south of Camelback Road. For more information, call 602-265-5133 or visit

De La Rosa receives memorial scholarship
St. Francis Xavier eighth-grade student, Guadalupe De La Rosa, has been named the recipient of the Ted Novak Memorial Scholarship. She was awarded a full year tuition scholarship thanks to the generosity of the John F. Long Foundation and the vision of the Novak Family.

Ted Novak was a SFX alumnus who caught the desire to leave the world better than he found it. Kim Cavnar, St. Francis Xavier School principal, said, “Ted was not only our Spanish teacher at St. Francis Xavier, but he loved the Spanish-speaking communities of the world, and traveled and served in global regions.

“When Mr. Novak passed away, his family, friends and the St. Francis Xavier community committed to developing a scholarship for a Spanish-speaking student who exemplified the qualities of humility, kindness and commitment to learning,” Cavnar explained. “Guadalupe is a perfect example of that student.”

St. Francis Xavier School is a preschool through eighth-grade Jesuit elementary school located in North Central Phoenix.


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