Glendale Union High School District

Singers perform in all-state choir
Two GUHSD recently had the honor of being selected to perform in the All-State Festival.
Olivia Waters, who just finished her junior year at Sunnyslope High School, was a second-year member of the varsity level choir.

Senior Brenna Ellington is a student at Thunderbird High School. As a soprano, this was her third year to make the All-State Choir.

Arizona is divided into nine regions and students tried out in January for their regional honor band, choir and orchestra. Each regional choir is comprised of the top 100 singers, and those students are then qualified to audition for all-state. Students sing solos and go through a rigorous sight-reading audition to be considered for this ensemble. More than 1,000 students auditioned for the prestigious choir.

Both Waters and Ellington participated in the All-State Festival on April 16-18 at the University of Arizona.

Madison Elementary School District

Four Madison schools honored
Four Madison schools received 2015 PBISaz Achievement Awards in March. Madison Simis earned the Silver Award, Madison Camelview earned the Bronze Award, and Madison Rose Lane and Madison Park were presented with Merit Awards for high fidelity implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and program related student outcomes.

Daniel Gulchak of KOI Education presented the awards to the Madison Governing Board on behalf of PBISaz at the April 7 board meeting.

PBIS is a tiered, proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional, and academic success.

The purpose of the award is to recognize schools for successful implementation and outcomes of school-wide PBIS systems. Criteria are based in part on measurable student outcomes.

Osborn Elementary School District

Music field study at Phoenix Symphony
Osborn partner Valerie Bontrager of the Phoenix Symphony arranged for 200 Clarendon School students to attend the symphony’s performance of “Uzu and Muzu from Kakaruzu” free of charge.

The story focuses on the importance of communication to keep healthy relationships with other people, showing how the negative effect that bullying can have on all involved.

The performance also included two selections by Ludwig van Beethoven, who faced and overcame many conflicts in his life, producing music that is still performed and loved to this day.

Osborn ELL Program auditors impressed
Program auditors were impressed by the Osborn School District’s “beautiful schools” and “supportive teachers, responsive to student needs in the classrooms,” shared a summary of these and many other outstanding observations at their Exit Interview.

Most notable was the “wonderful teaching they saw in classroom after classroom.” Although they only observed in Structured English Immersion and Dual Language classrooms, their description of engaging instruction, student-to-student interaction, visuals, interactive technology, and small group and individualized instruction is evident throughout Osborn classrooms.

Many teachers, para-pros, master teachers, principals and administrators worked overtime to assure that all files and lesson plans were complete and available for review.

Phoenix Union High School District

North High rowers get their Dragon Boat on
The North High Dragon Boat team raced at The Dragon Boat Festival at Tempe Town Lake March 28-29 for the sixth straight year. The Mustangs have been the only high school team to participate … until this year.

This year, Rancho Solano Scottsdale school entered, but North beat the new competition. North rowed in four races both days, including competition against collegiate teams from UCLA, UC Irvine and UC San Diego.

North’s team is made up of Future Business Leaders of America club members. There are 20 rowers and one drummer on a boat. The cost to race each year is $350, which North FBLA usually pays from fundraiser activities but this year a corporate team from The Mayo Clinic had three teams and if a group has three teams they are given an additional team at no cost. The Mayo Clinic offered its fourth “free” team to North High School so the Mustangs would not have to pay the entry fee.

The Arizona Dragon Boat Association and North’s team hope that more high schools will start participating so that a High School Division can be created instead of the youth teams having to compete against college teams.

The race is one of many community service events the North FBLA chapter supports throughout the school year.

Students do well at championships
Metro Tech had several students medal at the SkillsUSA State Championships, April 7-8. Juan Iscoa won a gold medal in Related Technical Math, and has earned a trip to Louisville, Ky., later this spring.

Silver medalists were Arly Melendrez, Norma Avila and David Camorgo in Automated Manufacturing Technology, Rudolph Ponce in Information and Technology Services, and Jazmin Chairez in Culinary Arts.

Bronze medalists were Liliana Gutierrez in Job Interviewing; Cesar Carrasco, Francisco Nieves and Gaberyl Osborne in Automated Manufacturing Technolgy; David Haro Hernandez in Information and Technology Services, and Cesar Gaiton in Auto Refinishing.

Ortega receives service award
North High School student Kerrigan McDonald Ortega has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The award, which recognizes middle level and high school students across America for outstanding volunteer service, was granted by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on behalf of President Barack Obama.

North High School nominated Ortega for national honors last fall in recognition of her volunteer service. Ortega has volunteered with the Salvation Army, and worked summer camps for youth at risk.

Washington Elementary School District

Registration available throughout summer
Student registration for the 2015-16 school year is underway and will continue through the summer. Students who need to be registered include those new to the district; students who move from one WESD school’s boundaries to another WESD school’s boundaries; and kindergarten students.

Parents and guardians may register their child at the Welcome and Registration Center, 3200 West Cholla St., immediately west of Cholla Middle School. The center is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m.-5: p.m. On Wednesdays, the center is closed from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. For more information, call 602-896-6950.

Employees of the month honored
WESD congratulates Jeanne Farnham, Nutrition Services Unit leader, Sunnyslope School and Holly Weiner, Student Services specialist, Royal Palm Middle School, as Employees of the Month for May.

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.

Private and Charter Schools

Xavier students receive honors
Xavier College Preparatory senior Madison Clarke of North Central Phoenix captured the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Division I high school girls state tennis singles title for the third consecutive year by defeating Corinne Prost of Liberty High School (Peoria) in the May 1 championship match. She also was one of only 38 young women nationwide to be named a 2015 All-American by the National High School Tennis All-American Foundation, an honor that she received last year as well. She graduated from Xavier on May 16 and will attend Santa Clara University in the fall.

North Central resident and Xavier College Preparatory senior Carmel McCullough was named 2015 recipients of the Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Merit Award by the Arizona Dance Education Organization (AzDEO). The AzDEO award is the highest state dance honor awarded to high school students, and the NDEO award is the highest national dance honor possible.

Xavier College Prep senior Samantha Bennett of North Central was one of four students honored by the Kiwanis Club of Phoenix with a $500 college scholarship award for outstanding service to the community. She will attend Santa Clara University in the fall.

Phoenix Christian Prep celebrates diversity
Phoenix Christian Preparatory School celebrated its cultural diversity at graduation ceremonies on May 29. Opening prayers were offered in English, Korean and Mandarin by some of its 40 international students.
The class of 2015 is the 64th class of graduating seniors. The 39 graduates combined to earn more than $1 million in scholarships.

The valedictory address was given by Sarah Mungillo. Stephen Condon gave the salutary address and Caichen ”Karol” Zhong spoke as the school’s international honor student.

A year of service at all Saints’ school
All Saints’ Episcopal Day School pre-k students operated a lemonade stand on April 24 to collect canned food donations for St. Mary’s Food Bank. Students had the opportunity to exchange canned food goods for a glass of lemonade. The students received 228 pounds of food and $86.72 in cash donations for the food bank.

This unique canned food drive was started eight years ago by pre-kindergarten teacher Paula Marinos. All Saints’ has made community service an integral part of school life all year long.

PC student signed to Suns’ front office
Phoenix Christian Preparatory student-athlete, Jared Ornoski, last month was “signed” as an honorary member of the Phoenix Suns front office. Jared, a 17 year-old point-guard for the boys’ basketball team, is currently in a battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Jared was surprised by Suns president of basketball operations, Lon Babby, during a school assembly with classmates and friends. After signing a contract with Babby, Jared and his father, Mike, hopped into a limousine to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, where they boarded a plane bound for New York City to join Suns center Alex Len for the NBA Draft Lottery on May 19.

Upon his return to Phoenix following the lottery, Jared will participate in a number of activities with the Suns front office in advance of the NBA Draft on June 25.

To donate to Jared during his ongoing battle with cancer, visit

Students win artwork contest
Six students at St. Francis Xavier School were honored on April 28 at the Cherishing Arts Initiative Gala and fundraiser benefiting the Crisis Nursery. The Cherishing Arts Initiative program ArtWork Contest is a unique project focusing on raising awareness for neglected, abused and homeless children. The artwork, for the contest, is submitted by students in grades 4-12 from throughout Arizona.

SFX Art Teacher Abby Aspen said, “I think it is an amazing opportunity for our students to get involved from the standpoint that they are doing something that is going to help these kids that really need it.”

St. Francis Xavier students in fourth and fifth grades created artwork to donate to the cause. First place was awarded to North Central resident Kerrigan Douglas, fourth grade, and second place went to Tristan Sweiss, fifth grade.

Students Riley Dowdall, Max Laborin, Caroline Beggs and Madison Ferren also were selected to have their artwork on display.

Reading event gives nod to Loreto Sisters
SS. Simon & Jude Cathedral School held its annual Accelerated Reader Promotion April 20-27. This year’s theme, “60 Years of Blessings,” honored the Loreto Sisters coming from Ireland to start the school.

Fifth grade student Emily Thu Nguyen won the logo contest with her illustration of the beloved Loreto Sisters. Emily also was the spokesperson for the entire event.

During the week plus one day, students would read, then head to the library to take the test on the book they just read—and then run back to their classrooms to read some more.

The students from kindergarten through 5th grade read a grand total of 452,633 pages, while the students in 6th-8th grades earned 8,191 points. That is more than 30,000 more pages and 3,000 more points than last year, and a new school record. Certificates and prizes were awarded to the top three students in each class and overall winners.


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