Glendale Union High School District

Cardinals recognize Sunnyslope quarterback

The Arizona Cardinals recently chose Sunnyslope High School senior quarterback Niko Haen as the High School Player of the Week. He received the honor during a special presentation, where Arizona Cardinals representatives, cheerleaders and mascot Big Red interacted with him. Niko completed 16 of 24 passes for 366 yards and five touchdowns in his outstanding performance against Agua Fria recently.


Thunderbird Key Club helps community

Thunderbird High School’s Key Club is keeping busy off-campus trying to build a better community. It recently helped initiate a clean-up project at Mountain Sky Jr. High in honor of “Love Our Schools Day” and took part in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, through which it raised more than $700 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Club members also visited Andre House, a hospitality center, to help feed homeless people.


Sunnyslope senior earns national honor

Sunnyslope High School senior Abraham Rubinov is the second student from the school to receive a Congressional Award from the United States Congress. The Congressional Award Program provides multi-tiered awards at the certificate and medal levels.

All participating students have to accomplish goals in four separate areas: physical fitness, voluntary public service, personal development and expeditions/exploration. Abraham began the program in August and worked hard to earn his bronze level certificate within the first six weeks of classes. For more news out of Sunnyslope High, visit


Madison Elementary School District

Students helping families in need

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and some district schools are  gathering canned food to help students and families on their campuses and in the community.

Rose Lane fourth-graders are organizing the school’s annual Food Drive and Turkey Trot, which feeds Rose Lane families and families from a nearby church who are in need. The fourth-graders use it as a service project, planning meals and filling boxes for families.

To wrap up the food drive, a one-mile, fun run, or Turkey Trot, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the school at 1155 E. Rose Lane. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. that day. Little turkeys (kindergarten through second grade) will run at 10 a.m. and the big turkeys, grades three and higher and adults, will run at 10:30 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Simis will host a Book Fair and Turkey Trot from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. Students and families can “trot” around a one-mile course on campus and the donated food will help families in need. Runners are asked to donate either two cans of food or $5 to participate. This Turkey Trot is not open to the public.

Madison Heights is sponsoring its annual canned food drive to help St. Mary’s Food Bank. Students and the public can bring non-perishable food to the school’s cafeteria, located at 7150 N. 22nd St., through Thursday, Nov. 21. Typically the school is able to donate 1,600 to 1,800 pounds of food.


Osborn Elementary School District

Parents play students at Cougar Connect

Clarendon Parents had a chance to play the roles of students during the school’s Cougar Connect family fun festivities that included learning workshops in different grade levels, taste tests with the Osborn Nutrition Department, sessions on Conscious Discipline and other activities. Afterwards families were treated to a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the Clarendon PTO.


Osborn teachers receive recognition

Two outstanding Osborn district educators are getting recognized for their work.

Solano music teacher Amy Swietlik was recently chosen as a finalist for the Mayor’s Arts Awards. Finalists are selected based on their innovation, impact and collaboration. In addition to her instructor duties, Swietlik has coordinated the Merriment in Melrose event in December for the last couple years. She also volunteered to teach music in Tanzania.

Encanto behavior intervention specialist Melinda Riddle gave a presentation at the “Accessing Behavioral Health in School” forum hosted by AHCCCS and Helios Educational Foundation. She discussed the partnership the Osborn district has with Valle del Sol and the support and achievements that have come out of it. Riddle leads the school’s efforts to support social-emotional learning in the school, offering professional development to staff members on mindfulness and Conscious Discipline.


Middle school students cook for families

Some students at Osborn Middle School have been showing off their culinary skills.

Members of the OMS Culinary Club made taco dinners for parents and anyone else who came to the parent-teacher conferences at the school just before fall break. The club got help from the Child Nutrition Department, which, in turn, received assistance from two renowned Valley chefs, Gallo Blanco and Otro Café’s Doug Robson and James Beard Foundation Award Winner Charleen Badman from FnB Restaurant. The students fed carne asada and calabacitas to their families, teachers and friends.

The conferences gave parents a chance to find out how their children were doing in the first semester.


Phoenix Union High School District

Metro Tech hosts Best Buddies training

Metro Tech High School is helping to spread the word about the importance of inclusiveness on campuses.

The school recently hosted a Best Buddies Leadership training experience and won first place in a Disney-themed costume contest at the event. Best Buddies at Metro Tech is a local chapter of Best Buddies Arizona, part of Best Buddies International, which creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It brings together traditional students and students who have special needs for friendship and fun.

At the event, officers of each Best Buddies Chapter from dozens of high, elementary and middle schools and colleges came together to hear keynote speaker Jevin Hodge and listen to presentations from Camp Civitan, Miracle League and Absolute HCBS. Students and staff members participated in breakout sessions to focus on best practices and solving leadership challenges at each school.


Washington Elementary School District

City official to discuss economy

Learn about the ways in which economic development is tied to the Washington Elementary School District at a meeting in November.

`The district’s Business Advisory Team will host Christine Mackay, director of community and economic development for the city of Phoenix, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13, in the district’s administrative center at 4650 W. Sweetwater Ave. in Glendale.

For details, visit


Private And Charter Schools

Phoenix Christian Prep hosts open house

Phoenix Christian Preparatory School will host an open house from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, for students, families and community members who would like to take a tour of the school’s new elementary campus and to learn more about PCP’s schools.

To RSVP for the open house call 602-265-4707. To learn more about the school, visit The Phoenix Christian elementary campus is at 4002 N. 18th Ave. and the middle and high school campus is just across 18th Avenue at 1751 W. Indian School Road.


MHP students learn about colleges

Madison Highland Prep juniors and seniors are looking to the future.

The students are getting information about financial aid, admissions and scholarships during the school year from visiting colleges and universities. In order to encourage students to aspire to higher education and celebrate their success, MHP announces college acceptances and scholarship awards to students and faculty members each week.

Last school year, thanks to the presentations and quarterly college counseling, MHP graduates received $3.9 million in scholarships.


Xavier art teacher earns state honor

A Xavier College Preparatory teacher has been recognized for her teaching skills and inspiring students.

Alison K. Dunn recently received the annual 2019 Secondary Division Outstanding Art Educator award from the Arizona Art Education Association. This honor demonstrates Dunn’s dedication to quality art education in Arizona. Dunn has taught at Xavier since 2008 and currently teaches Intermediate and Advanced Drawing and Painting, Oil Painting I & II, AP Art History and AP Studio. She also moderates an Honors Independent Study class and chairs the Studio Arts Department.

Dunn specializes in oil painting and abstract art in her personal artwork and has shown her pieces in galleries around the country. She previously taught at Arizona State University, Trinity University, and Mesa Community College.


Gateway Academy holds talent expo

Students at Gateway Academy, which serves twice exceptional students who have Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning autism, will host Student Fall Talent Expo on Friday, Nov. 8, on the campus at 3939 E. Shea Blvd. at 9:30 a.m.

The event, which is designed to highlight students’ unique talents and passions in a variety of performances, is organized by the Gateway Parent Organization and is open to the public.

Gateway Academy offers private education for students in kindergarten through 12th grades. For details, visit


Phoenix Christian Prep student honored

Phoenix Christian Preparatory School student Tianwei “Alice” Zhao was recently recognized as a Commended Student in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. About 34,000 Commended Students around the country are being honored for their excellent academic promise. They placed among the top 50,000 scorers who took the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).


St. Francis Xavier stimulates with STEM

It was easy to see how excited and curious preschool students were when they scooped soil, chose a rainforest frog and sheltered their prized terrarium inhabitant with vegetation in a recent STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) lab at St. Francis Xavier School.

The students piled ice onto the lid of their habitat and watched as small drops of “rain” gathered on it. Some of them said “It’s Raining!” STEM lab at the school typically starts with a story and then discussion. Students move to learning stations where they observe, engage, record and label scientific things. On one recent morning students walked into their main classroom and saw hanging paper vines and spiders, and a blue paper river to tie into the “B for Brazil” theme.

St. Francis Xavier has an unusual STEM program in which a designated space is aligned to meet the National Research Council’s Framework for students in K-12 grades to be proficient in science. Units are divided into Earth and space science; physical science, life science and engineering and learning stations around the room and in the outdoor environment feature content related to the featured unit.

All students at St. Francis Xavier participate in the STEM lab but there is a program geared towards children in preschool through second grades. The school educates students in grades preschool through eighth. To learn more, visit


Brophy seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

Brophy College Preparatory is home to 15 seniors who have been selected as 2020 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists and 16 seniors who have earned the titles of 2020 National Merit Commended Scholars.

Students qualify for National Merit recognition based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT), which about 1.6 million students from about 22,000 schools around the country take. The number of students who receive awards in each state is based on the number of graduating seniors. Brophy’s National Merit Semifinalists are: Aman Agarwal, Wyatt Ashton, Connor Camunez, Nicholas Hulston, Dean Kobs, Ari Mehta, Jack Munhall, Kris Noori, Liam Richardson, Diego Rivera, Aarin Shah, Justin Smith, Lukas Villalba, Zeyn Waheed and Kevin Yin.

The Brophy seniors who were distinguished as National Merit Commended Scholars are Zack Amstutz, Ryan Coury, Gray Cuevas, Thomas Derr, Daniel Donahue, Christopher Dorado, Graham Earnest, Hunter Gruler, Alex Izmailov, Dylan Krueger, Sebastian Magri, Tony Mattalino, Daniel Noon, Patrick Nowlen, Jake Powers and Calvin Tyler.

If they choose to advance with the application process, the semifinalists can possibly qualify for a National Merit scholarship. The commended scholars do not go forward in the scholarship competition.


Xavier College Prep students named scholars

Five Xavier College Preparatory students have been named 2019 National Merit Scholar Semifinalists.

The young women who received this prestigious honor are Abigail Converse, Grace Haak, Katherine Tanner, Veronica Tanner and Katherine Yuh. They were judged to have a strong combination of academic skills and achievements, as well as extracurricular accomplishments and the potential to succeed in rigorous university studies.

Students around the country qualify for National Merit recognition based on their scores on the Preliminary SAT (PSAT), which is taken by about 1.6 million students in the United States.


Diverse teachers inspire students at Empower

The faculty at Empower College Prep brings diverse talents to their classrooms, which helps students broaden and expand their horizons.

Claire Lee is new to Empower this year but she first experienced the community while doing practicum hours when she was a student at Grand Canyon University. Now a geometry teacher, Lee said she used to wear her mother’s cardigan sweater when she was a little girl, glasses frames without a lens and half-inch heels to pretend to be a teacher.

Third-grade teacher Penny Roubison, who joined the school this year, has been a teacher for nearly 30 years. She is leading the charge to try to close the literacy gap many Empower students face when they start third grade.

Jessy Aceituno has looped with her students for three years and, like Roubison, she is passionate to prepare scholars to succeed in college regardless of their income status or temporary gap they might have in academic achievement. She was born in Honduras and grew up in New York and taught for nearly a decade elsewhere in Arizona before coming to Empower in 2015.

For more information about the school, visit


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.