Glendale Union High School District

District hires 50 new teachers
Glendale Union High School District’s annual New Teacher Dinner recently welcomed 50 new teachers for the 2018-19 school year. The gathering provided the opportunity for new teachers to meet co-workers and learn about the GUHSD mission and culture.

Of the 50 new teachers hired, 13 are GUHSD graduates while eight of them have completed their student teaching within the district. In addition, 17 new hires are first-year teachers. GUHSD also reported that 24 of the new teachers hold a master’s degree.

Link Crews greet Class of 2022
The Link Crew is a program designed to provide a welcoming environment to the freshman class on their first day of high school and to provide additional support throughout the school year.

The program trains a select group of high school juniors and seniors to be Link Crew Leaders, who act as mentors and positive role models that will guide the freshmen to discover what it takes to be successful during the transition to high school.

The program has been in place for multiple years and continues to be successful in supporting freshman for their high school experience.

Students’ artwork was on display at Beatitudes
An art show featuring the work of AP students and art teachers from Sunnyslope and Washington High Schools was held at The Church of the Beatitudes.

The featured artwork was on display all summer and a public reception was held on Aug. 16. This is the second year in a row that the Beatitudes Art Council has hosted the artwork of these two high schools.

Madison Elementary School District

Rodriguez returns to Madison Park to lead
Educational leader Margaret Rodriguez was named the new principal of Madison Park Middle School several months ago, and is loving the opportunity to be back at school with her students this August.

An educator for more than 15 years, Rodriguez served as assistant principal for three years at Madison Park, and as district literary coach and a third-grade teacher at Camelview Elementary School. Rodriguez plans to build on Park’s signature STEAM program to empower students to learn and innovate. The school provides extensive STEAM electives and after-school clubs that provide experience in coding, robotics, engineering and digital music.

“We have high expectations for all students in academics and with our STEAM program,” Rodriguez said. “We want them to exceed academically and be able to grow in math, reading and science. We want students to grow and achieve at their highest potential.”

Rodriguez adds that in addition to the rich academic emphasis, Madison Park is one big family.

“When I taught at Camelview, I taught students in the third grade,” Rodriguez said. “Those kids (and their families) made it to Park Middle School and have known me as an assistant principal for the last few years. They are now in the eighth grade. We have grown together.”

Osborn Elementary School District

Osborn Teachers of the Year named
The Osborn District has announced its selections in the third-annual Osborn School District Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year recognition program. Among those being honored are Clarendon School sixth-grade teacher Brendan Mann, Encanto School third-grade teacher Maria Garcia, and Longview School first-grade teacher Rodi Vehr.

These exceptional educators, along with “You Make A Difference” and “Point of Pride” awardees, will be recognized 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20 at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Metrocenter, 10220 N. Metro Parkway E. For tickets and more information about the celebration, visit and click on “Teacher of the Year.”

Finding new flavors in summer school
Osborn’s summer school wrapped up another year featuring fun and educational programs, from academic curriculum to OMS Career Camps, keeping students busy and engaged the entire four weeks.

OMS Career Camps presented an opportunity for students to participate in activities related to careers in health and medical, culinary arts, police and fire, zoology and veterinary medicine. There were six classes for students in grades 1-5, with a theme of Traveling through Books. The program concluded with a showcase of student work shared with the nearly 100 parents in attendance.

Parent Academy was also offered again this year and provided an opportunity for parents to attend several workshops at no cost.

Phoenix Union High School District

Football season starts with some changes
Football season began on Aug. 17 for all 10 Phoenix Union teams. The 10-game regular season schedule includes a bye week during fall break, Oct. 12, and ends Oct. 26.

Five PUHSD schools—Alhambra, Cesar Chavez, Maryvale, North and Trevor Browne—play in the 6A Metro Region, along with Tucson High. Camelback, Central, Betty Fairfax, Carl Hayden and South Mountain play in the 5A Union Region, along with Sierra Linda. Games are Friday evenings at 7 p.m.

Two campuses named top district schools
North High School was named the Phoenix Union School of the Year for Post-Secondary Achievement at the Opening of Schools Convocation, held July 31. This school has one of the top three graduation rates in the district at 88.7 percent.

Over the past four years, its dropout rate has decreased by more than 2 percent, and is the lowest dropout rate for a comprehensive campus. Approximately 61 percent of its seniors completed a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and 64 percent of its seniors enroll in college during the first year after high school.

North’s graduating class earned $16 million in scholarships.

Camelback Montessori College Prep was named the Small School of the Year for Academics. This small school has a graduation rate of 100 percent. Its ACT scores and AzMERIT scores are above the district average and competitive with state and national levels. The school is in its sixth year, and is the only Montessori high school program in Arizona.

First group from Sister Cities visits
Central High School’s Global Studies program welcomed students and a teacher-chaperone from its sister-school in Himeji, Japan.

The Kotogaoka High School students visited Central on Aug. 22, hosted by Central families.

There will be other visits this year from China, Costa Rica and France, and Central’s magnet students also will have the opportunity to travel to those countries.

Martinez to intern at Obama Foundation
Daisy Martinez, who graduated from Camelback High in 2014, has been chosen to be an Obama Foundation intern. Martinez was in AVID all four years in high school, and is currently finishing at ASU, majoring in business and communication, and a minor in marketing.

According to her AVID teacher, Josh Rosenbaum, she plans to join Teach for America after college. Interns at the Obama Foundation provide administrative, logistical and operational assistance at offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Martinez’ project with the Foundation is to help solve the problem of the high cost of higher education and the cost of materials. The Obama Foundation’s mission is to empower active citizens, build stronger communities and create lasting change at the local, national and global level.

Washington Elementary School District

District welcomes new school leaders
The start of the school year brought some new—and some familiar—faces to various WESD campuses.

Shalini McCarthy joined Mountain View School as assistant principal. McCarthy has a background in English Language Learners, including coaching teachers. She has also been an Induction/Retention, PD Specialist, an ELL teacher and a fifth grade teacher in the East Valley.

Jennifer Griggs is the Washington Elementary interim principal. Griggs began her career in WESD in 2001. She has taught extensively in multiple grade levels and campuses within the district. Most recently, she served as the program coach at Chaparral and the WESD K-8 athletic director. Griggs is a district CPI trainer and a 2016 Lamp of Learning recipient.

Michelle Hall joins the district as the new Washington Elementary assistant principal. Hall holds a master’s of education, educational leadership degree and has experience as a Title I school improvement specialist. She also has been a third grade and kindergarten teacher.

Private and Charter Schools

Students report for PBS NewsHour
Xavier College Prep students will have the opportunity to once again participate in the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program, a national journalism initiative by the PBS NewsHour to connect middle and high school students with public media stations to produce original, youth-focused news reports.

For the second year, students will create content for the national NewsHour site and the nightly broadcast, which reaches over one million viewers each night.

Teachers will help program leaders develop curriculum to engage young people in news and public affairs, and ensure that the youth voice is active in the conversations about the critical issues facing the nation.
“Every year we discover new ways to expand and improve SRL,” said program founder Leah Clapman, “with the most innovative and effective ideas coming straight from the teachers on the front lines.”

Students who participated last year are looking forward to a second year of producing stories for PBS Student Reporting Labs.“Last year was the first year I participated in Student Reporting Labs for PBS,” said Xavier senior Helen Innes. “But simply saying ‘participated’ does not account for the amount of learning that PBS offers to students. Not only are students granted the opportunity to interview experts in the STEM field, but by simply being in affiliation with PBS SRL I was able to gather B-roll of a Mars rover, record the sounds of a multi-colored printing press, and interview naturally curious individuals that have a special interest in their field.”

MHP wins bronze medal
Madison Highland Prep won a bronze medal from the U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best High Schools 2018, for its academic performance.

MHP was among the elite schools that scored high enough to earn a gold, silver,or bronze Best High Schools badge. According to U.S. News & World Report, “less than 30 percent of the schools earned the right to display a badge and to be called Best High Schools. U.S. News & World Report badges are widely recognized as symbols of excellence in education.”

Data from MHP’s 2018 award were based on the 2015-2016 school year, which was MHP’s second year in operation. Madison Highland Prep also earned a bronze medal in 2017 based on the school’s first year of operation.

Schools are ranked based on their performance on state-required tests and how well they prepare students for college. Now that MHP has a full graduation class and college acceptance statistics, the school can qualify for silver and gold status by as early as 2020.

Since 1983, U.S. News & World Report has been providing education rankings and helping parents and students find the perfect school. The U.S. News & World Report rankings include data on more than 22,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Training kids to be ‘play coaches’ at recess
Studies show that recess matters; a thoughtful approach to recess improves children’s physical health and social and emotional learning. Children also tend to do better in class.

For more than 20 years, Playworks has helped schools figure out what works well on their playgrounds. Midtown Primary School has worked to create play environments to help its students be their very best. At a great recess, all students have real choices in how they play. They feel included in games or in imaginative play. They also feel empowered to play on their own or to start activities with other students. Older students can make a big difference.

The natural leaders on the playground are kids, not adults. Kids want to be acknowledged for their leadership abilities, and they want to grow. A little encouragement is all kids need to lead games, pass out equipment, and set a positive, playful tone.

The Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program puts the recess culture into the hands of capable upper-elementary students. In Midtown’s case, that is the school’s third and fourth graders. Playworks trained Midtown’s key staff on the Junior Coach Leadership Program.

In May of this year, third-grade students applied and were interviewed for 2019’s Junior Coach Program.

This is Midtown Primary’s second year working with Playworks.

Junior high students invited to game
Valley students in grades 5-8 graders are invited to join Bourgade Catholic High School, 4602 N. 31st Ave., for Junior High Night on Friday, Sept. 28, at a Golden Eagle varsity football game. Students will receive free admission into the game, a BCHS swag bag, and a voucher for a free hamburger or hotdog meal from the BC Grill snack bar.

Check-in for Junior High Night will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the game at 7 pm. The presence of a parent or guardian is required for junior high students to be admitted into the game.

To RSVP for Junior High Night, visit


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