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School Briefs

Glendale Union High School District

Librarian encourages reading over quarantine

When they were home during the quarantine, some Sunnyslope High School students still had their heads in books.

In order to encourage students to keep reading even when schools around the state were closed for in-person learning, Sunnyslope High teacher and librarian Patty Jimenez started the SHS QuaranTeens Read Program. It gave students and staff members a chance to share what they were reading and have the opportunity to win new books. Every week during the quarantine, 10 names were drawn among the readers with each winner receiving two new books. The idea was to keep one book and give another one to a friend. These prizes will be given when classes resume on campus.

During the first week of the program, participants revealed they were reading more than 80 books. The titles of the books were added to a virtual bulletin board. The program continued through July 31. Remote learning for the 2020-21 school year starts Monday, Aug. 10 for Sunnyslope High and the other schools in the Glendale Union High School District. To learn more about Sunnyslope, visit


Osborn Elementary School District

Early learners have many options

Give your young children a jump-start on learning by enrolling them in one of the Osborn Elementary School District’s early childhood programs.

The district offers several early childhood options including the Osborn Montessori Program, which educates kids in self-paced, student-led classrooms at Montecito Community School. Applications are being accepted for students who will turn 3 years old on or before Monday, Aug. 3 or turn 4 or 5 years old by Tuesday, Sept. 1. There will be after-care options for students.

Tuition for the Osborn Montessori Preschool is $4,500 a year for 3-year-olds and $6,500 a year for 4-year-olds. If you are interested in learning more about this program, contact Romina Flores at 602-707-2014 or

The Osborn Dual Language Community Preschool is a bilingual early childhood program that aims to help children and their families prepare for kindergarten by developing their literacy in two languages and familiarizing them with school routines. This program is held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays with after-care offered. Priority is given to students who will turn 4 years old by Aug. 31 but children who will turn 4 anytime from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 will be considered for the program if openings exist and they are potty trained. Tuition for 4-year-olds is $5,500 a year. The program is held at Encanto, Longview and Solano elementary schools. To learn more about this option, contact Flores.

Osborn district’s Developmental Preschool educates children ages 3 and 4 who have been determined to qualify for special education services. It is provided at Encanto, Longview and Solano schools from either 8:45 to 11:45 a.m. or 12:45 to 3:45 p.m. weekdays but every other Wednesday classes are not held.

Southwest Human Development offers Head Start, Early Head Start and Early Head Start Childcare Partnerships in different school districts to try to ensure all children in the state have the same opportunity for success. Children from birth to 5 years old are eligible. To learn more, call 602-468-3431 or visit

As of press time, the Osborn district planned to start distance/online classes Monday, Aug. 3 and to reopen schools for in-person learning no earlier than Sept. 8. To learn more, visit


Private and Charter Schools

Fun run raises money for families in need

Families in need will have food and help with rent, utilities and other costs thanks to three local students.

Charlie Fallon and Jackson Moran, incoming juniors at Brophy College Preparatory, and Jamie Stelnik, an incoming junior at Xavier College Preparatory, organized a virtual fun run to assist The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The run raised more than $6,000 in a month. Walkers and runners contributed money to assist the fund, which pays for St. Vincent de Paul’s charity dining rooms and food boxes, as well as help with rent and utility costs for those who have missed paychecks. The money also provides for the costs of telemedicine and to purchase hygiene kits and provide shelter for those struggling financially.


Midtown Primary School hires reading specialist

There is good news for children at Midtown Primary School who need a little extra help with reading.

The primary school on the campus of Westminster Presbyterian Church at 4735 N. 19th Ave. has hired another reading specialist to help first through fourth-graders, Principal Judy White said. She said the specialist will join several other reading specialists on campus. White said she and her staff members have been concerned about the time students lost in the physical classroom when schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The specialists can help students catch-up with reading.

White added 98-percent of her school’s families live in poverty, making it difficult for them to take extra time to read with their children.


School to provide dinners for families

There is a new service for families that need help feeding their children.

Midtown Primary School wll begin serving free dinners from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, starting Wednesday, Aug. 5, on its campus at 4735 N. 19th Ave. Any children 18 years old and younger may eat the dinners there in this federally sponsored program.

The school also will offer dinners during the week from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. at Proper Play at 9617 N. Metro Parkway West.


Margo O’Neill, head of school at Villa Montessori School, stands by a rendering that shows the new Armstrong Center for Entrepreneurship (A.C.E.), which will open on the middle school campus (photo by Athena Moskoyes).

Montessori school opens entrepreneurship center

Students will get a taste of entrepreneurial life in a modern, new center at Villa Montessori School this fall.

The not-for-profit public charter school will house the Armstrong Center for Entrepreneurship (A.C.E.) on its middle school campus at 2925 E. Campbell Ave. This building will foster the spirit of entrepreneurship via learning about key business principles and by setting up a student-run enterprise. The center will encourage collaboration, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial activities to help the larger community via partnerships with area entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit organizations and adjunct advisors. There are 12 garden beds and various gardening elements including vertical planters, hydroponic towers and window boxes adjacent to the building. The center also will serve as the Halle Foundation Retail Center storefront, where Villa Montessori students can display and sell their own products.

Villa Montessori’s middle school curriculum includes teaching and encouraging many aspects of entrepreneurship while developing, growing and selling students’ own products. The Armstrong Center for Entrepreneurship and the Halle Foundation Retail Center will open officially when in-person classes resume for middle school students. Villa’s Entrepreneurship Center indoor and outdoor spaces are privately supported by donations the Armstrong Foundation, the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation, parents and community members have made.


Xavier student Kaori Robertson raised money to purchase portable hand-washing stations, which she and her parents delivered to the Navajo Nation (submitted photo).

Local teen raises money, delivers water stations

Xavier College Preparatory incoming senior Kaori Robertson has not forgotten her roots as she helps people in need during this Coronavirus pandemic.

The teen, who plays on Xavier’s volleyball team and was chosen for the “Navajo Times” All-Star List in 2019, recently took a three-day trip with her parents to Bashas’ supermarkets in Window Rock, Pinon, Tuba City, Dilkon, Crownpoint and Sanders in the Navajo Nation to deliver hand-washing stations and touchless soap dispensers. She had launched a GoFundMe account to raise money for the project. The water stations are intended to decrease the transmission of germs and viruses often associated with touching standard sink faucets and knobs.

The Navajo Nation has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Kaori said the handwashing stations will offer comfort to people of the Navajo Nation. The portable washing stations can hold five gallons of water and are powered by water pressure from a foot pump at the bottom. The water stations normally cost from $115 to $250 but Robertson was able to get a 20-percent discount with free shipping by using a promotional code from the Tido Home company.

Robertson lived in the Navajo Nation when she was a baby and has many relatives who still live there.


Xavier alumnae petition for changes to curriculum

A group of Xavier College Prep alumnae are calling on their alma mater to adapt the school’s curriculum and culture in response to the changes demanded by recent societal events.

Alumni For Change has submitted a petition to the school hoping that a strong show of support from alumni, students, families and the community will resonate with the administration.

The group seeks five directives, based on feedback from Xavier graduates, along with research about the benefits of a diverse environment for students. The directives include creating a more diverse curriculum for all students; allowing racial and ethnic affinity groups to form on campus; bringing in more diverse speakers to speak on social justice issues at assemblies; hosting a third-party review of all equity and inclusion practices including hiring; and creating avenues for dialogue and collaboration between current students, past students, administration, and faculty

Mia Rankin, pictured here with her father, Mark Rankin, recently committed to swim for The Ohio State University after she graduates from Xavier College Preparatory (submitted photo).

Organizers are collecting signatures and working to educate the community about the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in classrooms. To learn more, visit


Xavier senior to swim for Ohio State University

Mia Rankin, who will be a senior this fall at Xavier, recently committed to The Ohio State University, where she will swim for the Buckeyes as part of the university’s class of 2025.

Rankin has been swimming since she was 6 years old. She is a distance freestyler who swims for Xavier’s team and the Phoenix Swim Club. She recently completed a pair of top-18 finishes at Arizona Seniors after competing in five events at the Toyota U.S. Open.


Serena Turner, who will be a senior at Xavier College Preparatory, has accepted a scholarship to play beach volleyball at Stanford University (submitted photo).

Volleyball player scores scholarship to Stanford

Incoming Xavier senior Serena Turner has accepted a scholarship to attend Stanford University next fall and play on its beach volleyball team. Turner has played beach and indoor volleyball at Xavier, helping the school win three state titles. She also has been playing for a club team in the summer.

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