Glendale Union High School District

WHS wins Silver award for education
Washington High School and its principal, Carol Lippert, have received a Silver award from the Beat the Odds Institute, an initiative of the Center for the Future of Arizona. WHS was one of only nine schools in the state to earn silver in 2013.

Beat the Odds Silver Level schools must have a “C” or better from the Arizona Department of Education, must have ongoing assessment data demonstrating achievement in the majority of grade levels, plus other criteria.

Beat the Odds is a rigorous, multi-year school improvement program providing mentoring and training for principals. It focuses on K-12 schools in which at least 50 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch and at least 50 percent are minority, primarily Latino.

According to Marjorie Kaplan, executive director of Beat the Odds Institute, award winners have overcome obstacles and improved academic performance through their commitment to six keys to success that include a strong and steady principal, a clear bottom line, ongoing assessment, collaborative solutions, a program built on individual student needs and a commitment to stick with the program.

Participation in Beat the Odds is open to K-12 public, charter and tribal schools throughout the state. Visit

Madison Elementary School District

Community invited to April 5 ‘Madison Bash’
The Madison Education Foundation presents The Madison Bash from 12-4 p.m. Saturday, April 5, on the campus of Madison No. 1 Middle School, 5525 N. 16th St.

The festival is a free community event featuring the Aspiring Young Artists Art Show, which showcases selected works from each school in drawing, sculpture, pastels and more.

Works of art from classes at each Madison school also will be on display. An exhibit highlighting one of the foundation’s signature programs, Art Masterpiece, will also include live demonstrations of the long-running art appreciation program.

More than a dozen student groups and performers will provide live music and entertainment on two stages including student choirs, bands, jazz bands, musical theater and drama teams. An Art Walk area will offer participants the opportunity to engage in free hands-on art activities.

A Silent Auction will offer a selection of items including vacation packages, entertainment outings, autographed sports memorabilia, vouchers for summer camps and children’s programs, gift baskets and gift certificates for local restaurants.

The Madison Bash includes a used musical instrument drive. Bring your dusty old clarinet, trumpet, guitar or other instrument and give it new life for a deserving Madison student.

Several gourmet food trucks from the Phoenix Street Food Coalition will be on hand, along with a variety of vendor booths will offer crafts, accessories, services, coupons for a wide selection of local companies and more.

For more information, visit or call 602-664-7964.

Osborn Elementary School District

Mini-grants fund diverse projects
The Osborn Education Foundation (OEF) recently awarded 12 mini-grants to teachers totaling approximately $3,600. The mission of the foundation is to support programs that improve students’ physical and mental health; enhance literacy, math, science and the arts; and promote innovation and enhancement in education.

Longview second-grade teacher Anne Marie Aveni’s project involves purchasing a CD Player, headphones, CDs & batteries that her students will use to increase reading fluency. Also at Longview, Rebecca Freauff’s project will provide headphones with microphones for her second-grade students to use with her Reading A to Z program. Longview Master Teacher Ana Gutierrez will purchase five Nook simple touch readers so that sixth-grade students will be able to access grade-level literary text through an electronic reader. And Counselor Nora O’Connell will purchase various small group games and puzzles to enhance her students’ emotional and social growth.

Solano teacher Cathy Bowman’s project uses the funds to purchase Smart Talk devices and cards so that her kindergarten students can practice listening, speaking, and answering questions to introduce and reinforce essential vocabulary. Solano teacher Kathleen Colburn’s project will utilize a CD/cassette tape player, junction box, and a set of headphones so that her kindergarten students can increase reading fluency. Sammi Miller’s project uses magnetic letters, tub o’letter tiles and cards so that her kindergarten students at Solano can build words.

Osborn Middle School Art Teacher Anna Feria’s project, “Media Empowerment: Spoof Ads,” uses a Meme Wars Kit and various visual culture books so her seventh- and eighth-grade students can learn how to critically analyze advertisements and create their own spoof ad.

Encanto P.E. Teacher Debra Fields’ project involves using Luna Sticks so that kindergarten through third-grade students can learn coordination and create team juggling routines. Encanto Art Teacher Barbara Middleton will purchase yarns, carpet warp, and craft needles so that her third-grade students can weave simple shapes using tapestry method. And Dual Language Teacher Luis Valencia will purchase wireless headphones to provide multi‐sensory experiences with interactive books for his third graders.

Clarendon & OMS Counselor Latonya Whitaker’s project will provide therapy supplies to engage students in discovering solutions to experiences and situations they face.

Teacher mini grants are made possible through direct donations to the Osborn Educational Foundation.

In addition, Bill Boyd, current president of OEF and a CPA with Price Kong, has announced that the 10th Annual Price Kong Charity Golf Tournament will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 30 at Troon North. Proceeds from the tournament support OEF programs For details, call Connie Lucero at 602-776-6305.

Phoenix Union High School District

Teachers earn national certification
Sunghwan Byun, a math teacher at Metro Tech, and Joyce A. Donaldson, an English teacher at North High school, earned their National Board Certifications this past fall.

National Board Certification is considered the teaching profession’s highest honor. It is presented by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to teachers who demonstrate, through a performance assessment, that they meet the high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do.

There are now 31 current NBC teachers in the Phoenix Union district.

Bourdo wins prestigious award
Camelback High Marketing teacher and DECA advisor Julia Bourdo was awarded the Teacher Leavey Award for her project that dealt with teaching the Free Enterprise System and incorporating “Conscious Capitalism.”

The special award ceremony will be May 1-4 in Philadelphia, with a cash award of $7,500 and a plaque.

There are eight teachers throughout the country who were selected by the panel that recognized educators for their innovative efforts to help young people better understand the function and benefits of America’s private enterprise system. The Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge has an entire weekend planned for the educators, paid for by the Leavey Foundation.

Washington Elementary School District

Mountain View celebrates Seuss

Mountain View School celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday in a big way this year. Festivities started on Feb. 24 and lasted through Feb. 28. Throughout the week, the students listened to Dr. Seuss stories during the Early Morning Story Time in the library.

Friday brought guest readers to Mountain View Elementary including Tim Kempton, Phoenix Suns alumni and Suns sportscaster; Howler, the Coyotes’ mascot; and two Arizona Rattlers’ Sidewinders dance team members.

Jonathon Lowe of CBS Channel 5 and Marty Manning of KESZ-FM visited classes and read as well. Students enjoyed author presentations by Conrad Storad, Leslie and Brian Miller, and Linda Pressma.

Students received books to take home to add to their own libraries. Kindergartners through third graders received books from the Metro Lions organization and fourth through eighth grade students received books from Discover Books and Fry’s.

Cardinals team members visit Cardinals Academy
Students from the Arizona Cardinals Preparatory Academy, located on the Royal Palm Middle School campus, enjoyed an afternoon of reading and fun on March 6 thanks to special visitors from the Arizona Cardinals organization.

Team mascot Big Red and two cheerleaders were joined by Spanish broadcaster Gabriel Trujillo and the manager of international business ventures, Rolando Cantu. In addition to dancing and prizes from Big Red and the cheerleaders, Trujillo and Cantu read the Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” as part of the school’s Read Across America celebration.

WESD students collect food for Desert Mission
Once again WESD students have proven they are worth their weight—in canned food items. Students, with the assistance of staff and community members, joined together in February during the district-wide “We Can End Hunger” Food Drive, to collect more than 56,300 pounds of nonperishable food items to benefit to the Desert Mission Food Bank.

This was the second year for the district-wide drive that included all schools and administrative offices as well as several members of the WESD Business Advisory team.

Shaw Butte students collected 13,382 pounds of food items; that’s nearly 12.5 pounds per student. Coming in second was John Jacobs Elementary School with 9.43 pounds collected per students. Richard E. Miller Elementary students collected 6.74 pounds per students, earning them third place. Sunburst Elementary took fourth with 6.07 pounds per student, and Mountain View School, last year’s winner, collected 3.94 pounds per students.

Last year’s drive brought in just under 25,000 pounds of food. The goal for 2014 was 35,000 pounds, which was exceeded by more than 21,000 pounds of nonperishable food items.

Private and Charter Schools

Palivathukal named a Flinn Scholar
Brophy senior Coby Palivathukal of North Central Phoenix has been named a 2014 Flinn Scholar. Coby is among 20 scholars chosen from a pool of more than 600 high-achieving students from 160 high schools in Arizona.

The Flinn Scholarship is a merit-based educational package at an Arizona university. Each Flinn Scholarship has a total value over $100,000. Read more at www.flinn

High schoolers join Beatles tribute show
When the touring show “In My Life–A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” comes to the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts on April 17, be on the lookout for two quartets—not just the “Fab Four.”

The Arizona School for the Arts string quartet has the privilege of joining the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.

Arizona School for the Arts seniors Kaylee Cumpston, Jasmin Lee, Tristan Garcia and sophomore Yulee Kim will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.”

The producers of “In My Life” approached Arizona School for the Arts Orchestra Director Cindy Blandino, looking for a talented ensemble that could hold its own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.

North Central young men named Merit Finalists
Students across the United States enter the National Merit Scholarship Program each year—1.5 million students from 22,000 high schools, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

In February, some 15,000 Semifinalists were notified by mail that they have advanced to Finalist standing, 26 of them from Brophy College Preparatory. Among those 26 Finalists are five young men from North Central Phoenix who will graduate this spring. They are: Jeremiah J. Johnson, Kyle G. Chapman, Ryan Q. B. McCoy, Cory D. Pitt, and John W. Travis.

Midtown teachers win special awards
Two of Midtown Primary School’s teachers recently won awards. Bobbie Stelling received the 99.9 KEZ Excellence in Education Award in the fall. Stelling was nominated by one of her students because she teaches the value of community service, philanthropy, conservation and good morals with an adventurous spirit. She has been with the Midtown team for 15 years.

Amanda Mitchell was named a 2014 Rodel Exemplary Teacher semi-finalist and was awarded a certificate of excellence by the Rodel Foundation of Arizona. Mitchell was one of 40 teachers chosen from the 50,000 teachers in Arizona. The recognition comes as a result of her outstanding student achievement results in this high-need school. She was nominated by the administrator for displaying traits that she would like to see in the next generation of teachers. Mitchell, who has been with Midtown for 11 years, is an exemplary leader in the classroom and among her co-workers.

Matthew Meacham

Matthew Meacham

Meacham attends leadership academy
Honeywell awarded scholarships to 304 students from 38 countries and 33 U.S. states to attend the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy (HLCA) program, held Feb. 21-March 7 at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Among them was Phoenix resident and Veritas Preparatory Academy student Matthew Meacham.

Designed in partnership with the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy provides students with a unique opportunity to engage in sessions addressing current issues in science, technology and engineering (STEM). Each weeklong program is designed to develop their capacities through hands on challenges and build their leadership skills.

Students engaged in interactive activities and workshops created to enhance their leadership fundamentals. They also got to meet with top scientists, engineers, and former astronauts to reinforce core leadership competencies and provide them with first-hand accounts of professional experiences.

News anchor is a guest reader
Stacia Naquin, reporter and news anchor from Channel 12 Morning News, came to SS. Simon and Jude School as a guest reader for the fourth and fifth graders on March 3.

Naquin read “What Was I Scared Of?” by Dr. Seuss to celebrate Read Across America, a celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Naquin talked about what was needed to be a good reporter, explaining why you need to be a good reader, writer, speaker and listener, obviously great skills for students as well.

She fielded students’ questions, including “What was your saddest story?” “Is it hard being a news anchor?” “I’m going to be a News Anchor in Bizztown. Do you have any tips for me?”

Then Naquin took a video of the kids, and the next morning did a shout out on the morning news, showing the video of the students.

Kaplan wins award in poetry contest
Out of nearly 13,000 Arizona high school competitors, North Central resident Matthew Kaplan, a junior at Tesseract School, was selected as the Arizona Poetry Out Loud State Champion at the finals event held on March 15 in Tucson. Kaplan will represent Arizona at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals competition in April.

As the Arizona Poetry Out Loud state champion, Kaplan receives a $200 cash award and an all-expenses-paid trip to the national finals. His school also receives $500 to purchase poetry books for its library.

Students have breakfast with Phoenix mayor
Ten members of AmeriSchools Academy’s National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) were invited to Ollie Vaughn’s Restaurant to have breakfast with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Laura Pastor.

Students were able to present key questions or concerns they have about their community. Alex Booth’s question on infrastructure and the need for more bicycle lanes was addressed by both the councilwoman and the mayor.

NJHS President Amos Ramirez was able to share the school’s appreciation for all the programs the city of Phoenix has sponsored in the past at AmeriSchools, most notably the Afterschool PAC program. Afterwards, four NJHS students were asked to pose questions on the Arizona Republic’s website via video format for the mayor to consider.

All of the students represented their school and their families with impeccable character and leadership.

Xavier teams win competitions
Xavier College Preparatory’s tennis team celebrated a first-place finish in the 65th Kiwanis High School Invitational on March 7. Senior Maggie Cohen captured the singles title, and juniors Madison Clarke and Annie Collins won the doubles competition by defeating their Xavier teammates, junior Scarlet Rush and freshwoman Lena Sweiss, in the championship match.

In addition, Xavier’s track and field team won the Rattler Booster Invitational on March 8 at North Canyon High School. After 12 hours of running, jumping, throwing, hurdling, and vaulting, the Gators emerged victorious.

Senior Shelby Brown placed first in the 800-meter competition; sophomore Shannan Higgins, junior Shannon Molvin, junior Lauren Kinzle, and senior Savannah Gaffney won the 4×800 relay; junior Jenna Fitzgerald placed second in pole vault; and junior Sierra Brown placed second in the 2-mile race.

Exceptional amount of community service
Seven members of Xavier College Preparatory’s National Honor Society chapter have each dedicated more than 200 hours of service to the community while maintaining a grade point average of 3.6 or higher. They are seniors Lexie Alaine Hernandez, Lauren Krumholz, Madeline Mittelstaedt, Rebecca Wierman and Claire Woodrow, and juniors Kelsey Hushek and Phoebe Jones.

Fifty-nine members of Xavier’s National Honor Society, including the seven mentioned above, have each dedicated more than 100 hours of community service while maintaining a grade point average of 3.6 or higher. They are:

Senior Members: Maha Ahmed, Karen Angulo Gutierrez, Zoe Berk, Gabrielle Bovaird, Courtney Burns, Madison Cisiewski, Kristine Clawson, Lauren D’Souza, Vanessa Duran Lozano, Sierra Fullmer, Elizabeth Goldstein, Maeher Grewal, Kelly Gullett, Kassandra Haro, Lexie Alaine Hernandez, Molly Johnston, Valerie Jordan, Elizabeth Klein, Lauren Krumholz, Jacqueline Martinez, Madeline Mittelstaedt, Lauren Murphy, Demi Ocano, Stephanie Perez, Carlie Wagner, Rebecca Wierman, Roxana Wolfson, and Claire Woodrow.

Junior Members: Jennifer Allen, Tianna Bengtson, Samantha Bennett, Kaitlin Coltin, Rebekah Farag, Julia Grehan, Meghan Grewal, Katherine Hall, Brooke Hintze, Hannah Hudson, Kelsey Hushek, Rachel Isla, Savannah Jones, Phoebe Jones, Emily Jordan, Dena Kalamchi, Tina Kinnerup, Meghan Moroney, Mary Nowlen, Kasey O’Brien, Shana Ofori, Monika Patel, Jessica Sallurday, Katherine Stein, Shirly Tam, Monica Tibajia, Madison Wagner, Carly White, Casey Xuereb, Annika Yandell, and Tessa Zaccagnio.


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