Glendale Union High School District

Darrow honored as a ‘Teacher of the Year’
Washington High School teacher Daniel Darrow was presented with the “FEA Teacher of the Year” award at the Arizona Future Educators Association (FEA) State Conference on March 4.

Darrow works to inspire future educators and provide them with opportunities to pursue their passion for teaching. He spends countless hours outside of the normal school day to take students to conferences, fundraisers, community events, and to assist them with preparing for competitive events.

Darrow holds each student to his high expectations, and for this reason, his students rise to the occasion and achieve more because of his influence.

Outside of teaching, advising FEA, and involvement in community service activities, Darrow mentors new teachers and advisors to share his expertise and ensure that they have the tools they need to be successful inside and outside of the classroom.

Madison Elementary School District

Rose Lane singers perform in public
Students from Madison Rose Lane participated in the March 4 celebration to rename the Viad Corporate Center to Central Arts Plaza. Members of the Rose Lane Choir sung the National Anthem, and later participated in a Beatles medley.

After their performances the students were able to do a meet-and-greet with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who was on hand to celebrate the new arts-focused hub.

Built in 1991 as the Dial Corporation headquarters and still the headquarters for Dial Corp.’s successor, Viad Corp., Central Arts Plaza totals 500,000 square feet in 24 stories at 1850 N. Central Ave. The project anchors the newly created Central Arts District, an area bounded by Roosevelt Street, Virginia Avenue, 7th Street and 7th Avenue.

It is also directly adjacent to the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Theatre and Arizona Opera, and is a short walk to the Heard Museum and Phoenix Metro Light Rail.

MTA students make special cards
Tina Day Brucato thought it would be nice for patients at the hospital where she works to receive Valentine’s Day cards from members of the community—something that would cheer them up during a difficult time.

She reached out to area schools and churches to see if anyone wanted to participate. But it was her own children’s school that ultimately responded.

Madison Traditional Academy (MTA) art teacher Lindsey Krassner not only responded, but provided Brucato with around 75 beautiful student-created valentines/cards.

The cards were handed out and also displayed at St. Joe’s Westgate Hospital, with mention of MTA’s students as the artists. Patients and staff were truly touched by the students’ efforts.

Osborn Elementary School District

District receives Award of Distinction
Officials from the Osborn School District were surprised last month with the TAP Award of Distinction. The award honors an organization for its commitment to the implementation of TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement in order to improve educator effectiveness.

It was presented at the 15th National TAP Conference in Los Angeles, before more than 1,200 educators, policymakers and influential leaders in business and education.

The honor comes with a $10,000 prize to be used toward the implementation of the TAP System. Osborn School District Superintendent Patricia Tate accepted the award on the district’s behalf.

The TAP System is America’s leading comprehensive educator effectiveness model that aligns teacher leadership, job-embedded professional development, meaningful evaluation and support, and opportunities for competitive, performance-based compensation. TAP has been on the ground for more than a decade supporting schools, districts and the states in their missions to strengthen instruction and student achievement. It is managed and supported by the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET).

In 2010, Osborn School District began implementing TAP district-wide as part of a federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant in partnership with Arizona State University and NIET. As part of the grant, Osborn assumed an ever-increasing share of costs so that this current school year, TAP is being funded by virtually all local dollars.

Every school has met or exceeded value-added growth targets every year it has been in the TAP System. The Arizona Department of Education recently highlighted the Osborn School District on this impressive growth, and spotlighted Encanto Elementary School. The campus increased its score by 43 points and earned the highest grade of A under the state’s accountability system.

Phoenix Union High School District

Service dogs visit with special students
Camelback High School’s Exceptional Student teacher, Valerie Newman, has partnered with K9 Lifeline, a Phoenix-based service dog organization to bring the benefits of animal assisted therapy to the classroom.

On a recent visit to a Community Based Training (CBT) exceptional student classroom, the students engaged in animal-assisted art therapy. Students interacted with Axel, Snipe and Ziva, practicing vocabulary and fine motor skills by creating paw print paintings. Students that typically do not speak openly engaged their “furry friends” by giving commands. These highly trained dogs offer sensory input, a lot of love and a chance for the students to practice many skills in an interesting new way.

Students advance in DECA competition
Forty-six Camelback Marketing and Entrepreneurship students competed with more than 2,000 students at the DECA State Career Development Conference, and 19 are heading to the next round of competition: the International Career Development Conference.

That event, set for April 24-29, will host 27,000 students from around the world. The Camelback students won in areas of written events, research, and presentation to businessmen and women.

The students and their events include Angelina Luangphone, Entrepreneurship, 11-page written event; Jessica Ulloa and Alejandra Lugo, five-page Innovation Project; Katherine Hill, five-page Innovation Project; Taciara Vega and Evelyn Vazquez, 30-page Entrepreneurship Project; Gilbert Lopez, Alejandro and Fernando Mata, 30-page Entrepreneurship Project; Miriam Ornelas, Julia Ortiz and Miguel Palamares, 30-page Growing your Business; Juan Aguilar, Roberto Garcia and Leslie Cisneros, 30-page Sports and Entertainment Research Project; Ana Craft and Vanessa Castandea, 30-page Hospitality and Tourism Research Project; Veronica Meza and Cecilia Mendez, 30-page Business Operation Research Project.

Tennis team clinches METT Championship
The Camelback Varsity Girls Tennis Team clinched the METT Girls Team Championship Title, Feb. 28. Elizabeth Roman and Gloria Lujan received medals for going undefeated in singles matches, and as a doubles team.

Natalie (Mercedez) Fuentes also received medals for going undefeated in singles and in doubles with her partner, Gabriella Reyes.

The tournament MVP went to Roman, who won all of her matches in straight sets.

Students compete in Japanese speech event
Six students from the Central High School Japanese class participated in 17th-annual Japanese Speech Contest at the ASU Foreign Language Fair, March 4, and they all scored very high.

Jesus Achutegue won first place and Sydney McLamb placed second in the highest level (Advanced Level) competition. Catherine Cutter, Gaja Alexander, Giselle Chavez and Clarissa Duran also competed. Shigeko Toyota is Central’s Japanese language teacher.

Bobcats finish season strong
A season-ending loss is never fun, but the Central High Boys Basketball team concluded a great season with a valiant effort on Feb. 25 in the State Quarterfinals against one of the best teams in the nation.

For the second time that month, the Bobcats took three-time defending state champion Corona del Sol down to the buzzer, before the Aztecs won at the end. Central fell behind 25-10 to start the game, but outscored and outplayed Corona the next three quarters. They pulled to within one point halfway through the fourth quarter, and closed to within two points with 56 seconds left.

The Bobcats were led by senior Famoun Miller, with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Obi Megwa had 19 points. Central ended the season with a 25-6 record.

Washington Elementary School District

Special guests read to students
The Read Across America “Seuss-abrations” took place across the Washington District on March 2, as guest readers read to students, classrooms decorated doors, and students dressed as their favorite book character to celebrate reading and of the country’s favorite children’s book authors—Dr. Seuss.

The day saw the kick-off of the SAG Foundation BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) new national literacy campaign entitled “Read to Me,” sponsored by SAG Foundation BookPALS and Rise Up Foundation. “Read to Me” encourages everyone to play a part in reading aloud to children, whether you are a parent or grandparent, sibling or neighbor, educator or friend. Research shows that reading aloud to children improves language, literacy and academic outcomes.

WESD Board members and guests including Arizona broadcasters, local authors and performers who volunteer on a regular basis with BookPALS traveled to various schools that morning and afternoon to read to students. Schools had many readers in their classrooms including elected officials, police officers, military personnel, WESD Administrative Center employees, parents, grandparents and volunteers.

Many schools expanded their celebrations and included a family reading night full of games and prizes like free books.

WESD honors its Employees of Month
WESD congratulates its Employees of the Month who were recognized in March: Tiffany Hill, special education teacher, Royal Palm Middle School; and Frank Mariscal, ELL testing specialist, Washington Elementary School.

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 plaque commemorating their special recognition.

Private and Charter Schools

Lady Cougars are Division IV Champs
The Lady Cougars from Phoenix Christian Preparatory finished their basketball season with a 30-5 record and a Division IV State Championship title. It was the first girls’ basketball state championship in Phoenix Christian history. Phoenix Christian did reach the championship game in the 1986-87 season, but fell to Thatcher.

In their first playoff game against #9 seed Scottsdale Prep, the #8 seed Lady Cougars got off to a poor start and fell behind by 14 points early in the second quarter. But the second half belong to the Cougars as they rallied for a 48-42 win.

The next game was against the #1 seed Gilbert Christian in the quarterfinals. GC was the favorite to defend their 2013-14 State Championship and had defeated Phoenix Christian in the regular season, 65-22, and in the sectional finals, 56-36. Phoenix Christian came out strong and trailed at half by only one, 20-19. The third quarter was all Phoenix Christian as they outscored GC 18-7 to take a 37-29 lead in to the fourth quarter. But the defending champs would not go away and at the 2:27 mark had taken the lead 42-41.

In the end, the night belonged to the Cougars as they got a rebound off a missed free-throw with 10 second left and held on to the ball for a 48-47 win.

The next day in the semifinals PC played #4 Phoenix Country Day and led from the tip off to the finish. The game was close throughout and the Lady Cougars won 42-36 to advance into the State Championship.

In the championship game, Phoenix Christian faced the #3 seed Valley Sanders. Valley Sanders had defeated their opponents in the state tournament by the scores of 68-24, 81-55 and 51-34. The championship game was fast paced and the Lady Cougars lead throughout the game to defeat Valley Sanders 67-61 for title.

The team is coached by Phoenix Christian Athletic Director Bruce Consier.

All Saints’ delivers hope to Haitian kids
All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, 6300 N. Central Ave., recently completed its Hope 4 Haiti supply drive to collect school and art supplies for children attending All Saints’ sister school, St. Paul’s, in Gascogne, Haiti. The two schools joined forces in late 2010.

In February, a 19-person delegation comprised of students, parents and teachers, delivered the donations to St. Paul’s in Haiti. The trip emphasized Haitian art and culture. Volunteers also helped build a clean water supply and other sustainability projects.

The faculty at All Saints’ knows that their relationship with St. Paul’s school will give their students a better understanding of the world around them and the strength of those who have faced adversity.

Former student a guest reader
Bethany Vu, a SS. Simon & Jude Cathedral School alumna who was a Flinn Scholar, came to read to three classes of students at SS. Simon & Jude on Feb. 24.

Vu has a degree from Arizona State University in Biology with an emphasis on the history of medicine and neuroscience and its applications to education. Vu read from the book, “I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat: History’s Strangest Cures” by Carlyn Beccia, an interactive book that encourages critical thinking and scientific theory.

SSJ’s Guest Reader Program’s goal is to promote reading and show its importance to people in all professions. Vu’s additional goal was to show the children that it’s good “to be well-rounded” since that helped her win the Flinn Scholarship. She equated it to having “lots of tools in your toolbox. If you only have a hammer,” you won’t be able to do very much. Vu also told the children, “Don’t be afraid to explore.”

Vu was impressed with the students’ attention and questions after her presentation. One student asked, “Who encouraged you to be a biologist?” Vu answered Mrs. Hill, the SSJ science teacher, and her high school teachers. Another student asked, “Why do you like books?” Vu answered that she likes to learn about things, and also fiction books are great to use your imagination.

Two students given service awards
Two North Central students attending St. Francis Xavier School received the 2015 Christian Service Awards.

Talle Donley and Aidan Sanford were named winners, while Holly Burns and April Lopez were finalists.

Each year the Catholic Community Foundation recognizes outstanding eighth-grade students from throughout the Diocese who display a love and understanding of their Catholic faith and articulate a commitment, not only to performing acts of service, but to living a service focused life. Recipients of the prestigious Christian Service Award are honored by the Bishop at a special ceremony and receive an $8,000 Catholic high school tuition scholarship.

A new Christian Service Award was created through the generosity of the Schramm family to further the mission of the CCF as well as honor SFX’s pastor, Fr. Dan Sullivan. Talle Donley received the inaugural Fr. Sullivan Ignatian Spirit Award, and Aidan Sanford for received the Anne and Vincent Cannella Award.

St. Francis Xavier School is a Jesuit Elementary School located at 4715 N. Central Ave. For more information, call 602-266-5364 or visit

Students perform, present at the MIM
Twenty-five Tesseract Middle School students will present their comprehensive research project on April 15 during Tesseract Night at MIM (Musical Instrumental Museum).

The evening will feature seventh-grade students presenting group projects focusing on world cultures in each of the MIM’s geographical galleries.

Since early February, the MIM has functioned as the classroom for these students as they tour the exhibits and work in collaborative groups to accomplish a complete business cycle: initial assignments, timeline expectations, task delegation, research, creative writing, copyediting, graphic design, text production, speech preparation, marketing infomercials, oral presentation and audience interaction.

Taking the information that they’ve researched, students will also design and build an original music instrument. Each component of the project takes approximately 2-3 weeks to complete, with all elements being on display at the final Tesseract Night at MIM.

The evening also includes performances from Tesseract bands and choirs as well as food and refreshments. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. At only $12, anyone is welcome to attend Tesseract at MIM Night. Regular MIM admission is $18. Tickets can be purchased at

Broadening horizons with a trip abroad
Ten Xavier College Preparatory students traveled to Aachen, Germany, in February as part of the school’s International Studies Program.

While abroad, the students attended classes, immersed themselves in the culture, embraced unique experiences such as the renowned Aachen Carnival parade and the Roman Museum in Cologne, and enjoyed Germany with the families of the Aachen students who traveled to Xavier in the fall.

Renovations complete on Xavier Activity Center
Renovations are complete on Xavier College Preparatory’s Activity Center. Originally built in 1981, the building underwent safety upgrades and a second-floor addition that augments Xavier’s performing arts, health, and wellness curricular offerings.

The center’s newly refurbished gym hosted the Division I state badminton tournament, which Xavier’s team won for the second consecutive season.

MHP presents a 1st Families BBQ
Madison Highland Prep will sponsor a cookout for enrolled students and their families this month.
The 1st Families BBQ, which will feature free hot dogs, snacks and beverages, will take place 12-3 p.m. April 11 at 1431 E. Campbell Ave. The dunk tank and other attractions will cost $1.

The event is sponsored by the MHP administration and parent booster club. All proceeds from attractions will benefit student activities. For more information, call 602-745-3800.


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