Glendale Union High School District

WHS gets Gold, named a ‘Beat the Odds’ school
A North Central high school with a minority-intensive, low-income student population received a gold award and has been named “Beat the Odds Schools” by Beat the Odds Institute, an initiative of the Center for the Future of Arizona.

A Gold Award went to Washington High School, as well as former Principal Carol Lippert and current Principal Tami Strege.

Only schools that attain gold-medal status—the highest level of achievement in the Beat the Odds program—are conferred the title of a Beat the Odds School.

Based upon methodology from best-selling author Jim Collins, Beat the Odds is a rigorous, multi-year school improvement program providing mentoring and training for principals. It focuses on K-12 schools where at least 50 percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch and at least 50 percent are minority, primarily Latino.
A total of six schools earned Gold, eight schools earned Silver and 12 earned Bronze awards.

Marjorie Kaplan, executive director of Beat the Odds Institute, said, “Our award winners demonstrate that demography is not destiny. They have overcome obstacles and improved academic performance through their commitment to our Six Keys to Success.”

Based upon research, the six keys are 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.

“Successful schools do things differently and don’t make excuses,” Kaplan said.

Additional information is available at

Madison Elementary School District

Student records will be destroyed in May
Following the microfilming of these records, all original permanent cumulative records of students born in 1997 who have withdrawn from the Madison School District will be destroyed. In addition, all permanent cumulative records of students who promoted out of Madison schools in 2011 will be destroyed.

Before any records are destroyed, parents have the right to review and obtain copies of their child’s records. Contact Madison School District, Student Records Department at 602-664-7958 before May 16.

Osborn Elementary School District

Third graders work on Sea Creature Projects
One of the projects in the third-grade English Language Arts (ELA) Unit 2 is to choose a sea animal, conduct research and write an informative paragraph using a variety of resources. Students in the two Spanish Dual Language classrooms at Encanto School took the project further, creating Google slide presentations and research displays with illustrations, images, models and paintings.

They used Chromebooks (laptop computers) to develop their presentations, wrote using Spanish symbols, translated entire websites using Google translate, and designed their displays. All displays were constructed at home with the help of family members.

Encanto’s third-grade teachers integrated the ELA Unit 2 theme exploring how animals and places in the ocean inspire people to do great things with the science concepts students of animal adaptation and lifecycles.

Longview students complete interviews
Longview Elementary sixth graders recently interviewed for positions in the upcoming Junior Achievement BizTown. JA BizTown will offer students hands-on experiences in a student-sized town built just for them.

To prepare for this real-world career simulation event, students interview for desired jobs they felt best fit their skill set. As they prepare for BizTown, students will create business plans, calculate operating costs and design marketing campaigns.

Longview teachers make their classroom Language Arts and Social Studies lessons relevant to college and career.

Community members Graham Tubbs, Leonard Kahl, Daniel Chavarria, Brian Kemp-Schlemmer, Jenny Poon and Katie Paetz, and staff Nora O’Connell and Elaine Marxer helped with the interviews.

Phoenix Union High School District

Banuelos moves up in scholarship contest
Camelback High senior Nataly Banuelos has been selected from an initial pool of 102,600 applicants as a Semifinalist in the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. She will now continue through the selection process with an opportunity to receive a $20,000 scholarship.

Byun receives his citizenship
Metro Tech math teacher Sunghwan Byun on Jan. 9 was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. Byun earned his first degree in South Korea, but became interested in the United States as an international exchange student at the University of Hawaii.

He came to Oregon State University where he received his M.S. in Mathematics Education. Byun has taught for seven years, four at Metro Tech teaching AP Calculus and Pre-Calculus classes. Last year he became a National Board Certified Teacher.

Washington Elementary School District

Health, Safety Fair coming March 5
Moon Mountain Elementary School invites parents and community members to the third-annual Health and Safety Fair, set for 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5. Moon Mountain Elementary School is located at 13425 N. 19th Ave.

The event will provide attendees the opportunity to visit informational booths with free health and safety information and resources to access in the community. The event is a combined effort of school staff, Student Council and the Parent/Teacher/Student Association. For more information, contact the school social worker, Adriana Lopez, at 602-896-6076.

Employees of the month honored
WESD congratulates Ashley Klein, sixth grade Teacher, Royal Palm Middle School; and Renee Morrison, library technician, Richard E. Miller Elementary School on being named Employees of the Month for February.

The WESD Employee of the Month recognition is bestowed upon employees who have exemplified the Vision, Mission and Values of the district. These employees serve as an inspiration to others by maintaining high customer service standards and a commitment to student achievement. Honorees enjoyed breakfast with the superintendent and received a commemorative plaque.

Private and Charter Schools

Two XCP Gators named All-Americans
Xavier College Preparatory seniors Molly Scheel and Kate Even were both named First Team Volleyball All-Americans by the Dairy Council of Arizona and the Arizona Coaches Association for their academic and athletic achievements. Both young ladies are from North Central Phoenix.

Each year coaches from high school sports departments are invited to nominate players for these awards, which recognize the students for their community service, grade point average, and athletic performance in their particular sport.

Judging is done by a committee of members from both sponsor organizations, and awards are given out each year and a luncheon in the students athletes’ honor.

MHP VEX team advances to robotics championships
The Madison Highland Prep (MHP) robotics team won the Imagine Prep Superstition State Qualifying Tournament on Jan. 31, qualifying for the VEX IQ State Championship.

After one loss and two semifinal finishes, the team closely beat out the first and second seat teams in the semifinals to move into the finals, winning the tie-breaking final match of the tournament.

The MHP team, coached by Nicholas Bonds, consists of Jarod Flores, Asif Razack, Trevor Oakes, Jose Chavez, Storm McCord, Taylor Spillman and Sean Grantham. MHP was set to compete in VEX IQ State Championship Event at Arizona State University in Tempe on Feb. 28.

Xavier hosts annual ‘Girls Have IT Day’
Xavier College Preparatory will host its seventh-annual “Girls Have IT Day!” on Friday, March 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Xavier’s campus.

“Girls Have IT Day!” promotes young women’s involvement in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). The event will be part of this year’s Arizona SciTech Festival and is made possible through the support of the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

More than 1,000 middle school girls from around the Phoenix metropolitan area are registered to participate in this free event at Xavier, and approximately 500 Xavier students will mentor the younger students throughout the day. After an assembly that features Xavier alumna, entrepreneur, and author Stacey Ferreira as its guest speaker, the students will participate in a hands-on, STEAM-focused activity fair hosted by members of many of Xavier’s 75 student clubs.

“Xavier hosts ‘Girls Have IT Day!’ each year to engage and inspire the younger girls in our community to embrace science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM),” said Xavier Principal Sister Joan Fitzgerald, BVM. “It is a wonderful event that ignites a great deal of interest in STEAM learning.”

Grade schoolers perform in NYC
All Saints’ Episcopal Day School Choristers traveled to New York City for a special concert at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 15. The Choristers were invited to the cross-cultural event, which featured youth choirs from each the United States, as well as China. The festival choral performance took place during the Chinese New Year.

Arizona native and renowned pianist and music director, Scott Youngs, is led the All Saints’ Choristers and spent many weeks rehearsing with them before the big trip.

Youngs began his life in music with the Tucson Boys Chorus and later took his studies to France and Switzerland. Youngs has toured with his choirs in England, Wales, Ireland and Russia.

“Carnegie Hall was amazing; the acoustics are really good and the sound is great,” says Andrew Chong, sixth grade student at All Saints’. “It was really neat to meet new kids who are just like me. They are talented and can give advice [about performing and singing]. I made a lot of new friends.”

“I am so glad we could be a part of the performance at Carnegie Hall; it’s an experience I’ll never forget,” says Channing Kehoe, sixth grade student at All Saints’. “We had the opportunity to combine our talents with other youth choirs, which helped us become a better choir and we were able to improve ourselves from the experience.”

SFX students focus on acts of kindness
St. Francis Xavier students participated in the Great Kindness Challenge during Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 26-30. The Great Kindness Challenge is part of a national campaign, that stresses performing kind acts: child to child, teacher to child, teacher to teacher.

Kim Cavner, St. Francis Xavier principal, explained, “The Great Kindness Challenge was a perfect complement to our school motto of being Kids for Others. Kindness is a way of caring for others with intention and consideration for the wellbeing of someone other than oneself. The connection with Dignity Health allowed our kids to imagine what they might say to someone hurting or healing in the hospital. What a great use of their imagination and compassion.”

The school hosted different activities throughout the week. On Monday the students took the kindness challenge. Student Council members greeted students on their way into school, and each student was given the kindness challenge checklist, that had over 50 acts of kindness to complete throughout the week.

There was a kindness station set up before and after school, where students wrote an act of kindness on a piece of construction paper, these links were then joined together to create a kindness chain that wrapped around the courtyard of the school.

On Tuesday students wore ties to school to show “kindness ties us together.” The week ended with a dance-a-thon in the courtyard, the annual teachers versus eighth grade students volleyball game, and an all-school photo of every student and teacher forming a heart in the schools courtyard.

Fitness is fun at Christ Church School
As part of Christ Church School’s commitment to health and fitness, CCS elementary students recently competed in a marathon.

Running Club students trained before school and during recess, logging 25.2 miles prior to race day. To complete the full marathon, participants then walked, jogged, or ran the 1-mile KiDS ROCK Arizona fun run course on Saturday, Jan. 17. Each runner received a T-shirt, goodie bag and medal.

PCDS celebrates start of new athletic complex
The Phoenix Country Day School (PCDS) community on Jan. 23 celebrated the groundbreaking of an Indoor Athletic Complex with all-day festivities including a morning shovel ceremony; multiple sports events from all grade levels; food trucks; and a special appearance by the Phoenix Suns Gorilla.

The existing gym has served the school community for almost 30 years. The new, 20,709-square-foot space will feature one performance court and two full-size practice courts; bleachers to accommodate 750+ fans; team locker rooms with flat screen televisions to analyze team film/play-backs; state-of-the-art LED court lighting; a video board and sound system; and a concession area.

Additionally, an 8,000-square-foot outdoor Walk of Champions Plaza plans to showcase Athletics Hall of Fame members from the school’s 54-year history, as well as provide an outdoor event and performance space.

Creating a new space for these activities became a priority of the $20-million THRIVE Capital Campaign. In addition to supporting PE, recreational, and team sports activities, the new gym will become the only spot on campus that can hold all members of the PCDS community.

Boys basketball team makes state playoffs
The Madison Highland Prep boys’ basketball team, which finished second in the West Conference and is ranked fifth in the Arizona, advanced to the Division I/II JV state playoffs Feb. 13.

The Heat played Gilbert Early College in the first round of the state playoffs but lost the game 50-13, ending their run.

The MHP boys’ basketball team, coached by Victor Rodriguez, was led by Robert Burgess, who averaged of 20 points per game and Kevin Anderson, who averaged 16.5 points per game.

Tesseract named a top AFS school
Tesseract School has been selected as a 2015 Top AFS School by AFS-USA, a leading intercultural learning provider. Schools recognized for this award have excelled in promoting global competency and working to prepare students to engage in an increasingly interconnected world.

Each year the organization honors high schools across the nation that are exceptional in incorporating intercultural learning in the curriculum, facilitating the hosting of international students, and introducing the life-long benefits of study abroad.

“Tesseract has not only hosted 11 AFS students but generously waived their tuition,” says Mary McLeod-Ali, Area Team Development specialist. “This demonstrates a remarkable commitment to provide the student body and their families the opportunity to learn about people from other parts of the world. AFS is proud to partner with this exceptional school and hopes to continue collaborating on intercultural education for many years to come.”


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