Madison Elementary School District

Open enrollment begins next month

The Madison Elementary School District will begin taking applications on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to enroll students.

Families who live within the district’s boundaries can enroll a child in a school in the elementary or middle school in the attendance area in which the family lives online by accessing

Parents who live within the district’s boundaries but who want their student to go to a Madison school that is not part of their attendance area must fill out an open enrollment application that also is available through

Madison Traditional Academy offers only open enrollment and does not have any specific attendance areas.

Those who live outside of the Madison district boundaries who want to sign up their child for a school in the district also need to complete an open enrollment application, which can be found at

Several documents are required to register students, including a copy of each child’s birth certificate, custody/court papers (if applicable) and immunization records, among other paperwork.

To learn more, visit


Students exchange letters with older adults

Older adults are finding ways to keep connecting with children in the Madison Elementary School District despite the COVID-19 pandemic with help from the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program.

In this program, mature adults are paired with students in grades kindergarten through third to work one-on-one every week as their tutors, friends and mentors. Oasis follows a six-step approach to literacy that educators designed that emphasizes improved reading, writing, speaking and listening.

The tutoring program has had to move away from the usual way tutors connect with children for safety reasons due to the Coronavirus crisis. Students in the Madison schools now are participating in the Oasis Postal Pen Pal Program, which kicked off last month. In this program students and Oasis tutors exchange letters with each other, which helps improve students’ reading and writing skills, foster relationships with the tutors and make the writing meaningful. More than 100 tutors take part in the Oasis program in the Madison district.


Madison district receives financial reporting honor

The Madison Elementary School District is receiving recognition for its financial reporting to the community.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) recently awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the district for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. An impartial panel judged the report to ensure it met the program’s high standards, which include demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly convey its financial story and to motivate possible users and user groups to read the document.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of honor in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Receiving it represents a major accomplishment by a government, as well as its effective management.


Osborn Elementary School District

Students celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day

First-graders at Longview Elementary School recently celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day with their librarian.

The students explored Hopi items that librarian Dorinda Montoya shared with them online/virtually and saw a slide presentation that included music, dances and videos. These first-graders learned some Hopi words and listened as a Hopi story was read to them. Several students shared Native American materials they had in their homes and one made her own version of a Hopi rattle.


Students’ health is focus of district’s collaboration

The Osborn Elementary School District is striving to enhance the quality and sustainability of physical and mental health services for students.

It recently joined the second cohort of school districts that are in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN), after an invitation from the Arizona Department of Education’s School Safety and Social Wellness Unit. Participating schools will work to boost the quality and ability to continue delivering health services to students, as well as to expand access to these offerings to a larger number of students. The goal of the participants also is to work with state leaders to further policies and programs that promote quality, sustainability and growth of physical and mental health services based in schools.

A team at Longview Elementary School will be formed to apply the learning to their social-emotional wellbeing programs. The district’s director of School Services, Ginni Shuss, and district social worker Judy O’Brien will lead the efforts. As well as the Arizona Department of Education, the district will work in collaboration with the CoIIN Network and the National Center for School Mental Health.


Solano principal picked for Valley educators group

Lisa Norwood

Solano Elementary School Principal Lisa Norwood is not only guiding staff and students on campus but also heading an executive board to advocate for educational needs around the Valley.

She recently was elected as president-elect of the newly formed Phoenix Association of Black School Educators. The PhoenixABSE is an affiliate of the Arizona Association of Black School Educators, which is a branch of the national organization. This local organization will focus on the educational needs of Valley students and families.

Norwood is a graduate of the iLead program, which is an intensive principal training and certification graduate education program at Arizona State University. She also has worked as a principal in many other school districts in the Valley. Norwood has been invited to work as an academic associate teaching two courses to the new master’s degree cohort of aspiring administrators in the iLead program this school year.


Private And Charter Schools

Midtown Primary students successfully start on campus

Second-grade students work on projects at Midtown Primary School, where in-person classes recently resumed (photo courtesy of Midtown Primary School).

Students at Midtown Primary School are on back on campus for this academic year. The school has taught students in person since Sept. 1 while families also have had the choice of keeping their children home for online learning. As of press time, 65-percent of students were taking classes on campus.

The school set clear rules, including requiring face masks to be worn and providing daily health screenings and temperature checks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. There also are different entrances on campus for kindergartners. The kindergartners eat breakfast and lunch in their own area of the campus. A staff safety manager cleans and disinfects all day, including on the playground equipment after each class uses it. Students who are sick with any type of illness are sent home quickly and asked to remain at home until they no longer have symptoms.

The goal of the new protocols has been to provide a safe environment for children to study and play.

“We did NOT sacrifice warmth, or friendliness, or fun – we are still a warm, cozy, family-like school,” said Judy White, principal at the school.


Brophy students engage in mock election

While most Brophy College Preparatory students are too young to vote, they still are immersed in the excitement of the 2020 election.

The school has declared Election Day, Nov. 3, a “Day of Democracy,” when the campus will serve as a Maricopa County polling location and classes will be dismissed for the day. It is part of the Brophy Votes initiative, which has offered many ways for students to learn more about the political process and candidate platforms over the last month. This initiative aims to instill the importance of voting in the students, once they are old enough to do so and steers them toward civil, respectful conversations.

Brophy students have been engaged in activities and events including a “Democracy and Hope” art installation, the Young Democrats Club and the Teenage Republicans Club giving presentations, a group viewing of the presidential debates, mock student voter registration and a mock election. Brophy teens also took part in the AZ Jesuits Vote – Voter Engagement Event last month. The Jesuits West Province held these virtual events focused on working for justice and racial equity. Members of the Arizona Jesuit community told stories and CORAZÓN (Congregations Rising Arizona Organizing Neighborhoods) provided a training session and time to connect with potential voters. CORAZÓN is a multi-faith, member-led grassroots organization that organizes congregations, schools and individuals with shared core values.

Brophy Principal Bob Ryan said in a letter to parents  that the Brophy Votes campaign “will not only engage students in an examination of the issues, it will also provide them a specific and countercultural experience of civic engagement.”


Two Xavier seniors earn National Merit titles

Two Xavier College Preparatory seniors are being recognized for their academic strength and potential to succeed in difficult college studies.

Camille Kerber and Alexandra Scott were recently named Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. Officials with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently announced the names of about 16,000 Semifinalists in the 66th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically strong high school seniors have the chance to keep advancing in the competition for one of the 7,600 National Merit Scholarships that are worth more than $30 million, which will be provided next spring.

The Semifinalists represent less than one-percent of U.S. high school seniors, including the highest scoring applicants in each state. Officials select the number of Semifinalists in a state in proportion to that state’s percentage of the total number of graduating seniors in the country.

Kerber describes herself as a bookworm but also is heavily involved in drama. This school year she is public relator and project planner of the Drama Club, as well as being a member of the National Thespian Society (an honors organization), council member of Arizona Theatre Company’s teen program and stage manager for Brophy Student Theatre. She has performed in the cast and worked as a crew member for many plays and musicals. Kerber also is a jumper for Arizona Adaptive Water Sports, a non-profit organization that assists people with disabilities in playing water sports.

Scott is a champion archer, captain of the archery team and she earned her place at the nationals this year. She also is arts editor of Xavier’s literary magazine, vice-president of the National Art Honors Society and a member of the Calculus Club. Outside of Xavier, Scott trains with fellow black belt holders, as well as teaches youths in karate. To learn more about the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, visit


Xavier students named Commended Scholars

Several Xavier College Preparatory students are demonstrating their academic strength already this school year.

Principal Sister Joan Nuckols, BVM, recently announced eight seniors at the school were recently selected as Commended Students in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are Bethany C. Barnwell, Kathy T. Chen, Bianca Victoria M. Feix, Linnea M. Kerber, Emma M. McCarthy, Natalina J. Putrino, Rishita M. Shah and Regan M. Williamson.

About 34,000 Commended Students around the country are being honored for their tremendous academic promise. They will not participate in the 2021 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards but they rank among the top 50,000 of the 1.5 million students who entered the contest by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

The Commended Students have shown great potential for academic success, according to a National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) spokesperson. Nuckols was expected to provide a Letter of Commendation from Xavier and the NMSC to the students.


Theater students receive national awards

Xavier College Preparatory students (from left): Ava Chaffee, now a junior; Sara Watson, who was a senior and graduated in the spring; Kyra Klonoski, also a 2020 graduate and Grace Dimond, another 2020 graduate, perform in “Little Women” last school year. Ava was nominated for an honor and Sara, Kyra and Grace received distinctions through the 15th Annual National Youth Arts Awards (photo courtesy of Xavier College Preparatory).

Several Xavier College Preparatory students are stars when it comes to their talent and hard work on stage and behind the scenes of musicals and plays.

These students recently were recognized as winners of the 15th Annual National Youth Arts Awards, which distinguish actors in educational and professional theaters.

The winner for “Lead Performance in a Musical” was Grace Dimond, who played Jo March in Xavier and Brophy College Preparatory’s production of “Little Women.” She graduated from Xavier in the spring. Another Xavier graduate, Sara Watson, also received an award for “Lead Performance in a Musical” for her part as Marian Paroo in “The Music Man” last school year. Kyra Klonoski, who graduated from Xavier in the spring, was awarded for “Supporting Performance in a Musical” for her role as Marmee March in “Little Women.” Brophy senior Andy Wissink also won an award for “Supporting Performance in a Musical” for his acting as Laurie Laurence in “Little Women.”

The cast of “Little Women” at Xavier last academic year also received the “Ensemble” award. Kate Brink, who is now a junior at Xavier, received the “Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play” honor for her part as Kalypso in “My Father, Odysseus,” a Xavier and Brophy production last school year. Jordan Baker, now a senior at Xavier, was distinguished with the “Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play” award for her roles as Muse and Anticlea in “My Father, Odysseus.” Another Xavier student, Alisha Waheed, now a junior, also took home the “Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play” award for her role as Athena in “My Father, Odysseus.”

Several Xavier and Brophy students also were nominated for the accolades. Ava Chaffee, now a junior at Xavier, and Talia Novack, now a senior at Xavier, were nominated for “Supporting Performance in a Musical” honors, for their acting as Beth March and Amy March respectively in “Little Women.” Lauren Vickers, who is now a senior at Xavier, was nominated for the “Featured Performance in a Musical” award for her part as Aunt March/Hag in “Little Women.”

Jessica Vining, theater teacher and director at Xavier, was nominated for a “Direction” award, one of the laurels given to adults involved in theater. Other adults nominated for awards through the program were Laurena Ketzel-Kerber, a Xavier parent, member of the Mother’s Guild and guest artist for “Costume Design” for “Little Women” and “The Music Man;” Jonah Nelson, Xavier theater manager, for “Lighting Design” for “Little Women;” Thomas Lytle, Xavier stagecraft teacher, for “Set Design” for “Little Women” and Joshua Condon, guest artist and musical director for St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church for “Musical Direction” for “Little Women.”

A panel of more than 50 judges and reviewers selected the winners of the awards. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic there was not a live awards ceremony. National Youth Arts is a membership-based program that recognizes excellent work by youths in the arts, as well as adults who help with youths’ productions.

To learn more, visit



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