Glendale Union High School District

Hard-working band in need of new trailer
The Sunnyslope High School Viking Pride Marching Band has completed another very busy season. The band, now numbering 96 students, plays during Sunnyslope home and away football games, at marching band competitive festivals throughout the month of October, and at the 2017 Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade.

Despite this busy schedule, band members still have time to give back to their community. Every week, several Sunnyslope band students provide free tutoring to middle school band students at Washington and Madison Elementary School District middle schools. In addition, the band provides students from as many as six middle schools a chance to experience high school band night once a year at a Sunnyslope home football game.

The marching band builds an ethic in its members of hard work, commitment and loyalty. The work ethic learned in marching band translates into academic effort and success. This past school year, nearly half of the top-2 percent of the graduating senior class were marching band members. The past two years, the band has qualified to compete in the state festival.

However, the marching band could use some support from the community this coming year. The band needs a new trailer to transport band instruments and equipment safely and securely to football games and competition festivals. A new trailer is needed due to the growing size of the band and age and condition of the current trailer. The value of the marching band’s instruments and equipment approaches over $100,000.

If you would like more information on how you can support the band, contact SHS Band Director Andy LaRusch at or the Sunnyslope Band Boosters parent organization at Donations may be tax deductible; consult your tax advisor.

WHS band makes trip to state festival
The Washington High School Purple Pride Marching Machine, under the direction of Jason Landaiche, received an “Excellent” rating at the 2017 Kellis Classic Marching Band Invitational held Oct. 28. The score qualified the band to go on to the 2017 ABODA State Marching Band Festival. This was the first time since 2010 that a marching band from WHS qualified for state competition.

The Purple Pride Marching Machine went on to claim another “Excellent” rating, in addition to captions for “Music” and “Visual,” at the State Festival, which was held Nov. 4.

Landaiche, who joined Washington as director of Instrumental Music in 2014, said, “It has been a privilege to work with these outstanding students for the last four years. Their commitment to each other and to their passion as young musicians inspires me every day.”

Madison Elementary School District

Open House about gifted programs
Madison School District will host an informal evening to give parents of highly gifted children information about the REACH Program and the admissions process. The Open House & Information Night is set for 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6 in the Madison School District Governing Board Room, 5601 N. 16th St.

This gathering is open to all parents inside and outside of the Madison School District. The open house format will provide parents a sneak peek at the classes and opportunities for students in the REACH Program. Teachers, administrators, and students will be available to answer any questions.

The Rigorous, Enriched, Accelerated Curriculum for the Highly Gifted (REACH) maintains the highest admission standards in the state. REACH offers a tuition-free, top-tier high school and college preparatory education to highly gifted students. For more information, call Casey George, director for Signature Programs, at 602-664-7931.

Ball named Ambassador for Excellence by the AEF
Amy Ball, a kindergarten teacher at Madison Traditional Academy (MTA), was one of five Ambassadors for Excellence honored by the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) at its annual awards luncheon on Nov. 7.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Ball also has served as president of Madison District Classroom Teachers’ Association.

AEF’s annual program is the only statewide program to spotlight and honor Arizona’s public school teachers.

Open enrollment at Madison District
On Dec. 1, Madison Elementary School District will begin accepting applications for enrollment for the 2018-19 school year. Approximately 50 percent of the district’s students coming from outside the district boundaries, which often results in waiting lists.

Open enrollment applications will be approved/denied on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Approval for open enrollment will be based on physical capacity, current attendance, discipline records, and current academic progress.

For new students, or currently enrolled students who are changing schools within the district, applications must be received by no later than Jan. 26. Families will receive notification of approval/denial of open enrollment prior to March 1, 2018.

Families who are currently open enrolled and wish to continue open enrollment at the same school do not need to submit a new application.

Open enrollment applications are available at A separate application is required for each student.

Madison Traditional Academy (MTA) has different timelines and processes for open enrollment. For details, call 602-745-4000.

Osborn School District

Panels produce drinking water
This fall, Osborn Middle School became the first school in the United States to provide drinking water for students, faculty, and staff made from the air. Zero Mass Water recently installed 25 SOURCE panels that make, mineralize, and deliver safe, drinkable water made from only the sunlight and air.

SOURCE hydropanels are off-grid solar panels that extract water vapor from the air to deliver safe drinking water to a tap. Each panel produces an average of 2-5 liters or 4-10 standard bottles of water per day. This partnership ensures that the Osborn Middle School community has a reliable supply of safe drinking water without the waste of bottled or filtered water and provides an exciting learning opportunity for students.

OMS students take elementary music tour
Elementary students recently had the opportunity to see just what awaits them in middle school as OMS Choir Teacher Laura Norman and Band Teacher Julia Georges took OMS band and choir students on the road.

The group visited Encanto-Clarendon, Solano, and Longview for 3 half-hour showcase concerts where the choir and band were able to show what they do. The choir dazzled with beautiful voices and choreographed musical numbers. The band members played tunes they learned at North High School and a beautiful 3-part piece they will showcase in concert coming to the OMS community soon.

Students learned all the instrumental choices they can continue from elementary through middle school.

Phoenix Union High School District

Badminton team finishes strong
The Central High Bobcat Badminton team was the only Phoenix Union team to make the post-season. Central swept through the Metro Section with a 5-0 record, had a 10-4 record overall and advanced to the 16-team Division I playoffs as the 12th-seeded team.

The Bobcats met No. 5 Corona del Sol on Oct. 23 in the first round, but lost to the Aztecs, 5-1.

Students set records in weight lifting
The Metro Tech Weightlifting club hosted a Regional Weightlifting Competition on Oct. 26. Six Metro Tech girls competed, and two, Yuliana Lopez and Lesly Martinez, set state records in Olympic Lifting.

Lopez in the 69-kilogram (152 lbs.) weight class, set the records in Clean Jerk at 63kg (138 lbs) and Snatch at 45kg (99 lbs.).

Martinez competed in the 63-kilogram (138 lbs) weight class and set marks in the Clean and Jerk, 63 kg and Snatch of 35 kg (77 lbs.).
Student speaks about
refugee experience

Central High School’s Oliver Kwete was selected from refugee youth candidates across the country to be one of two youth speakers at the International Rescue committee’s (IRC) Rescue Dinner, held Nov. 2 in New York City.

Kwete, 19, a junior, came to the United States last fall with his family, including six other brothers and sisters. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he grew up in Zimbabwe where he lived for 13 years, much of those years in a refugee camp. His family moved to America thanks to a re-settlement program that connected them with the local IRC branch.

Kwete and his mother spent the week in New York, to participate in coaching and rehearsals, as well as a little sightseeing. He says his speech was about how he emigrated from the Congo to Zimbabwe to the United States, and the difficulties his family encountered.

Kwete found a home at Central High early on, going out for the football team. He was an instant success after playing rugby for many years in Africa. This year he was too old to play, but his younger twin brothers, Cosmos and Eloi, were standouts for the Bobcats.

Kwete speaks seven languages, including his mother’s tribal tongue, Lingala, and his father’s, Kikuba, as well as Swahili. He spent a year in ELL classes, but tested out, and now has his sights set on college, where he wants to study entrepreneurship.

He may be able to play rugby at Lindenwood College in Missouri, otherwise he will attend college locally. His goal is to start an online marketing business.

Bond, M&O override, both pass with voters
Voters approved both a bond and maintenance and operations override in the Nov. 7 election. The $269 million bond passed 64 to 36 percent, while the 15 percent override was approved, 59-41 percent, based on the day-after count.

The override vote was a continuation of the override, which last passed in 2013, and will not result in an increase in property taxes. The bond is the sixth consecutive bond approved for Phoenix Union since 1985. Voters approved a $230 million bond in 2011.

Eldred makes top-10 in cross country finals
There were 11 PUHSD cross country teams at the State Championships on Nov. 4, but it was a girl without a team who had the best showing. Central High’s Kayla Eldred, a junior, placed sixth in the 156-runner Division I race, covering the 5,000-meter course at the Cave Creek Golf Course in 19:40.

She qualified as an individual by winning the Girls Division I Sectional Cross Country race on Oct. 27, beating some 100 other girls.

Washington Elementary School District

Registration begins for full-day Kinder
Registration for free, full-day kindergarten begins Dec. 1 at the WESD Welcome and Registration Center, 3200 W. Cholla Ave.

Children who will be 5 years of age before Sept. 1, 2018 are eligible to register for kindergarten. In order to complete registration for their child, parents or legal guardians must present the following: A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate; immunization records; proof of residence (e.g. lease agreement, escrow papers, recent utility bill); and legal papers regarding custody, if applicable.

For more information, or for registration materials, visit

Private and Charter Schools

Christian prep school receives STEM grant
Phoenix Christian Preparatory School recently received a STEM grant from The National Science Teacher Association and the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program.

The eCybermission Mini-Grant supports educators of sixth- through ninth-graders as they implement the eCybermission curriculum and other STEM initiatives with their students.

Phoenix Christian will receive just over $12,000 in funding for STEM. Kelby Milgrim, STEM Director for Phoenix Christian, received notice of the award on Oct. 18.

The grant will support a team of students as they compete in eCybermission challenges ranging from robotics to environmental science. In addition, part of the grant monies will go to the Phoenix Christian Mathematics, Engineering, & Science Achievement program (MESA). Last year, the school’s junior high and high school teams each placed in the top 10 overall out of 42 Arizona schools at the MESA State Competition at the University of Arizona.

The funds also will allow Phoenix Christian to purchase additional 3-dimensional printers for use in integrated science classes.

Xavier teams score multiple wins
Xavier College Preparatory’s golf team captured its seventh-consecutive Division I state title on Oct. 31 at the Omni Tucson National Resort. Xavier’s Gators defeated Chandler Hamilton by nine strokes, with a final score of 591, to win its 35th-state golf title in school history. The victory was Xavier’s 130th overall state championship.

Xavier sophomore Ashley Menne won the individual state title for the second consecutive year.

Xavier’s volleyball team defeated Corona del Sol in four sets to capture the Division I / 6A state championship title on Nov. 9 at Mesquite High School. The win was Xavier’s 12th state volleyball title and the school’s 131st overall state championship.

In addition, Xavier’s cross country team won state runner-up honors in the championship meet, its badminton Gators placed fourth in the state tournament, and its Pom and Cheer squads both qualified for the upcoming state championship competition in early 2018.

Swim team dedicates win to late coach
Xavier College Preparatory’s swim and dive team captured the Division I state championship on Nov. 4 at the Skyline Aquatic Center, dedicating their victory to their beloved coach, Maureen “Mo” Rankin, who lost her battle with cancer in September. Xavier’s victory was the 28th state swim and dive title in school history.

Two of Xavier’s relay teams placed first: in the 200-yard medley, The third Gator team placed second in the 400-yard freestyle relay. In addition, freshman Mia Rankin, who is Coach Mo’s daughter, finished second in the 500-yard freestyle and third in the 200-yard individual medley.

“Coach of the Year” honors were awarded to the late Coach Mo and accepted by her husband, Mark Rankin, and Jennifer James, who coached the team together after her passing.

Student wins in design, build challenge on Nov. 4
Three Valley middle schoolers took top honors at the first Break out of the Box Challenge, held on Nov. 4. Among the winners was North Central resident Quinn Pruitt, a seventh grader from the Arizona School for the Arts, who took third place with his Abstract Tower.

Thirty-four students entered the design and build challenge, in which they received a box of materials and instructions to build whatever they imagined. CK Valenti Designs of Chandler hosted the event, to inspire kids to create, build and expose them to new career ideas. Pruitt and the other top winners of the challenge received a VIP apprenticeship for a day and home building kits.

Participants had two weeks to design and build something with the materials and return with their creations to the CK Valenti Design Studio for judging. In addition to viewing the participants’ displays, the students and their families enjoyed lunch, tours of the design shop and demonstrations of the fabrication equipment. A lego center kept kids occupied while the judges studied the entries. Winners were selected based on design planning, creativity and craftsmanship.


Hello, North Central neighbor — thank you for visiting!

Sign up to receive our digital issue in your inbox each month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.