Glendale Union

High School District Choirs perform at D-Backs game
On Sept. 17, members of the Sunnyslope High School Choirs had the opportunity to join with other choirs from around the state and perform the National Anthem before the Diamondback game. Choir members, along with their friends and families, got to enjoy a great night out at the ballpark.

WHS adds new CTE electives
Washington High School this school year began to offer Fire Science and Coding courses to students. Glendale Union High School District offers many Career and Technical Education (CTE) electives. These electives along with the other successful and diverse programs already available at Washington provide students with further opportunities to explore various career options.

The Fire Science program is taught by Phoenix firefighters. Students in this program will receive First Aid training, earn CPR certification, learn the principles of fire prevention and suppression, and demonstrate the proper use and maintenance of tools and equipment. Students also develop search and rescue skills and learn about hazardous materials. There are many career options that the students explore including arson investigation, paramedic training, hazardous materials management, and firefighting.

The Coding course provides students with an introduction to software development and computer programming. Students work with both Windows and Mac computers and use Android and iOS platforms. They will understand and use a variety of programming languages, and learn to develop apps for mobile devices and computers. Students who take Coding will also participate in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

High school lauded for top blood drives
Thunderbird High School recently received the Platinum Award from United Blood Services. This is the second year in a row Thunderbird has received this award.

The award is based on the blood drives held during the 2015-16 school year. In addition to the award, Thunderbird had the highest percentage of blood donors than any other school in the district.

The amount of donations collected at the drives will go toward saving the lives of approximately 520 people.

Thunderbird gets on-campus garden
Local business and faith-based organizations joined together on the morning of Oct. 1 for a “Love Our Schools” event to build a community garden for Thunderbird High School. They were able to build two 4-foot by 8-foot raised beds.
Next Step students will maintain the garden as they study a related curriculum. Moon Valley nursery donated the soil and Thunderbird alum Rochelle Raya is donating some starter seeds.

Osborn Elementary School District

OMS students enjoy DigiGirlz Day
Last month, Osborn Middle School Master Teachers Mariah Kelly and Melissa Robinson took 22 girls from the school to the 2016 DigiGirlz “CREATE” event at the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix.

This one-day event was designed to provide girls with a better understanding of careers in technology. During the event, students interacted with Microsoft employees and managers to get an inside look at what it’s like to work at Microsoft. They also got to hear from other successful women in STEM fields including an APS vice president; CEO and president of the Science Center; and Arizona Rep. Michelle Ugenti.

By the end of the day, the OMS girls were far more passionate about technology. They left feeling empowered and excited and are already talking about another girls’ day the Arizona Science Center.

Parents go for day at middle school
Osborn Middle School recently welcomed more than 60 parents to its first Take Our Parents to School (TOPS) day. Parents started the day with Principal Makar and an introduction to OMS.

Then, students picked up their parents and they began their journey of following a middle school class schedule, negotiating lunch time and recess, and participating in classroom activities.

In a post-event survey, 100 percent of the parents said that they would participate in TOPS day again.

Phoenix Union High School District

Peters receives Art Educator Award
North High School Art teacher Julie Peters has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Secondary Art Educator Award, an honor presented by the Arizona Art Education Association. It is the second year in a row that a Phoenix Union teacher has won this award. Roxanna May-Thayer of Central High was last year’s Outstanding Secondary Art Educator.

Peters has been teaching drawing, painting and advanced art for IB for 11 years and is the Visual Arts instructional leader at North. A graduate of Camelback High School, Peters has taught in Las Vegas, Colorado, and Peoria before coming home to Phoenix Union. She earned National Board Certification in 2012, joining Stephanie Grijalva (now at Camelback) as the first PUHSD Art teachers Board Certified.

Last year, Peters was selected by the National Art Education Association to be a part of the Secondary Model Cornerstone Assessment Piloting Team. She will be honored at the Arizona Art Education Association Conference Banquet and Awards Ceremony in Tucson, on Nov. 11.

Diaz discusses how trauma affects the brain
Irene Diaz, Phoenix Union’s director for Student Discipline, Safety & Security, was invited to speak at a community event titled “Guns, Violence & Peace: A Community Conversation,” held Sept. 29.

She presented on Trauma Informed Practices for Schools and how trauma—specifically violence—affects the brain, learning, academic performance and behavior. In addition, she discussed the importance of schools addressing the impact trauma or ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) have on learning in order to ensure all students reach their full academic potential.

Other topics included Black Lives Matter, Mental Health Issues, and Justice & Law Enforcement. The event was sponsored by ASU Project Humanities and the First Congregational UCC.

Leadership institute presents at North High
North High hosted the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) on Oct. 4. USHLI presented to more than 900 students.

Since 1982, USHLI has worked to empower the Latino community and similarly disenfranchised groups by promoting education, leadership development, unity, and non-partisan civic participation. The featured “empowerment speaker” was Ingrid Centurion, a retired Lieutenant Colonel and founder of Centurion Technologies Consultants, as well as a Dobson High School and ASU graduate in Aeronautical Technology.

The focus of the presentation was that despite any obstacles in your life you can achieve your dreams. Centurion’s message was that your circumstances do not define what you are able to achieve, and you can make a conscious effort to dream big and make the choice to pursue your goals because hard work and education will change your life.
The program was brought to North by the GM Foundation.

Ceramics students make bowls for charity
Children’s Action Alliance awarded Camelback High School $250 dollars for donating the most amount of pottery to be auctioned for children’s charities. The Amazon gift cards will be used to purchase ceramic supplies. Sonya Desjardins is the Camelback ceramics teacher.

Twenty-three of the works were up for auction at the “Through the Eyes of a Child” fundraising luncheon, held Oct. 21 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa.

Entertainment was provided by students from Camelback as well as Osborn Middle School.

Open House, party at Bioscience High
Bioscience High School, 512 E. Pierce St., is hosting an Open House for interested students and families, Thursday, Nov. 3. The event runs 4-8 p.m., in conjunction with the school’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration.

The science and math specialty small school is beginning to enroll next year’s 9th, 10th and 11th graders. Students and parents can check out the school, meet the staff and see the opportunities at the school.

The Dia de los Muertos celebration will also feature games, entertainment, face painting, robot driving, DNA extraction and food from Lupita’s Sonoran Hot Dogs. For more information, call the school at 602-764-5606.

Washington Elementary School District

WESD participates in Love Our Schools Day
On Oct. 1, WESD was one of 30 public school districts across Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale and Mesa that participated in Love Our Schools Day. Schools invited teams of volunteers from local churches to team-up on a variety of projects at their sites.

It was a great opportunity to connect with faith-based partners and work toward a common goal—supporting schools. Volunteers from the schools as well as the community worked on various projects, including repainting sports courts at Mountain View Elementary and cleaning up weeds at Royal Palm Middle School.

Sunnyslope School’s Destination Days
The first of four Kids at Hope Destination Days was held at Sunnyslope School on Sept. 30. Kids at Hope’s vision is that every child is afforded the belief, guidance and encouragement that creates a sense of hope and optimism, supported by a course of action needed to experience success at life’s four major destinations.

“Home and Family” was the theme of this first Destination Day, where students invited their parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and grandparents to school. Every classroom in every grade level held activities for students and their families to participate in throughout the day including creating family trees and sharing in family customs and traditions from the school’s diverse background.

“It’s a great opportunity for our school community to come together,” said Student Services Specialist Julio Valenzuela.
The other three destinations are Education and Career, Community and Service and Hobbies and Recreation. For more information on Kids at Hope, visit

Private and Charter Schools

Xavier teams are top scorers
Xavier College Preparatory’s golf team won the first-ever Brophy-Xavier Invitational on Sept. 24 at the newly renovated Grand Canyon University golf course in Phoenix. Xavier captured the title with a score of 595, outpacing Tucson Salpointe Catholic (718), Scottsdale Desert Mountain (720), Scottsdale Notre Dame Preparatory (750), and Chandler Seton Catholic (874).

In addition, Xavier’s swim and dive team captured first place honors at the Brophy/Xavier Invitational on Sept. 24 at the Brophy Aquatic Center. Xavier’s swimmers prevailed over Scottsdale Chaparral and Chandler High School by winning four of 11 events, including two relays, while the Gator divers defeated Mesa Mountain View for the team diving title.

Xavier hosts annual holiday dinner, auction
The Mothers’ Guild of Xavier College Preparatory will host its 44th Annual Holiday Dinner and Auction, 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 on Xavier’s campus. This year’s theme is “Jingle and Mingle.”

Begun as a holiday craft boutique in 1972, this annual event now features both silent and live auctions, a fabulous dinner, and lively entertainment. All proceeds raised will benefit Xavier’s Legacy of Leadership Capital Campaign, which continues to fund the Chapel of Our Lady, Founders Hall, Petznick Field, and Activity Center.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Bobbi Holcomb at 602-240-3147 or, or visit the Xavier Mothers’ Guild website at

PCDS opens new innovation space
In September, Phoenix Country Day School celebrated the official grand opening of the Shin Center for Art, Science & Innovation, the campus’ new state-of-the-art, collaborative academic space.

At the dedication, donors Christopher and Jennifer Mee Cole spoke about the role that educational institutions play in a city’s ability to draw top talent from around the country and globe. Despite not having children at PCDS, the Cole family donated $2.5 million to the THRIVE Campaign as an investment in PCDS and, in turn, the future of Phoenix.

Christopher Cole also explained that the name “Shin Center” was a dedication to his wife’s mother, Shin Hyun Soon. The epitome of graciousness, he and Mee felt that she would be honored to have her name attached to such a facility that will shape the education of the Valley’s brightest minds.

The goal of the Shin Center of Art, Science & Innovation is to foster the creative, collaborative, and investigative approaches in arts, sciences, technology, and engineering.

Xavier and Brophy class of ’66 reunion
Members of the Xavier College Preparatory and Brophy College Preparatory Class of 1966 Reunion Committee met on Xavier’s campus last month to plan their 50th Reunion celebration. The golden festivities are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, beginning at 5 p.m., location TBD.

For additional information, contact Xavier’s Alumnae Relations office at 602-277-3772.

VEX robotics begins competition season
The Madison Highland Prep VEX Robotics team will open the 2016-17 competition season at the Campo Verde High School VRC qualifier on Nov. 12. This year, VEX Robotics will have three teams competing at six state qualifying competitions, including the third-annual MHP state qualifying event on Jan. 7.

The competition game for this season is VEX Starstruck. The object of the game is to place stars and cubes in the near or far scoring zones or hang robots on the hanging bar. Matches consist of two periods: a 15-second autonomous period and a 1 minute, 45 second driver-controlled period.

VEX Robotics Team members for 2016-17 are: Jay-ar Gloria, Dominic Gualtiere, Liam Matthews, Nadine Saliba, Reilly Benn, Cameron Whistler, Wendy Jimenez, Leonardo Ayala, Aurora Griffin, Thomas Najor, Damiann Pacheco, Makayla Yokum, Stone Shallberg, Dodge Flynn, Isabella LeBlanc, Meylin Martinez, Madison Jones, Drake Morris, Miles Kauffman, Claire Smith, Asif Razack, and Dominique Lopez. The team is coached by engineering teacher Nick Bonds.

Villa Montessori opens new campus
A decade-long dream became a reality when the new Villa Montessori Middle School opened its doors to students on Oct. 17.

Villa students, who previously attended classes on two separate Phoenix campuses, are now at one location for the first time. The new state-of-the art campus, which includes six classrooms, an administration building and sports court, is located at 2927 E. Campbell Ave.

“This is a goal we’ve been working toward for at least 10 years,” says Margo S. O’Neill, Head of School at Villa Montessori School, which was founded in 1965. “We’re bringing a jewel of a program to Phoenix’s urban core that approaches teaching the whole child in a safe, collaborative school setting.”

A working garden and greenhouse will soon be added to the campus. These features will serve as the foundation for a student-run business, allowing middle schoolers to experience entrepreneurship and learn real-world skills in the community.

The opening of Villa’s middle school marks the completion of Phase I of the Villa Vision, an ongoing $5.8 million capital campaign to bring new facilities, resources and programs to Villa’s three campuses, which serve a total of 645 students. Funding for the new middle school was secured from a bond issued by the City of Phoenix’s Industrial Development Authority.

5K to support Veritas schools
Veritas Preparatory Academy and Archway Classical Academy present the third-annual Veritas Victory 5K & Fall Festivitus beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, at G. R. Herberger Park, 5802 E. Indian School Road. The race takes place on the adjacent SRP canal.

The all-ages, chip-timed 5K run/walk will support the schools and their students. Awards will be presented to the top male and female runners in each age group.

Registration opens at 7 a.m. and the race sets off at 9 a.m. Fees are $35 for an individual runner, $100 for a family of three or more (three T-shirts provided, additional shirts can be purchased for $12), and $12 for the “Couch Potato,” a non-runner who would still like to support the event and receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Participants will receive a bib number with disposable timing chip, cold refreshments at the finish line and a swag bag of goodies for those who register by Nov. 11. To register and for more information, visit

Veritas is looking for local businesses to sponsor the event; For more information, contact Sarah Marbach at or call 602-489-7341.


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