Glendale Union High School District

Future Freshman Night to be held virtually

The Glendale Union High School District will hold its signature event, Future Freshman Night, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, online/virtually. Eighth-grade students and their families will learn about the nationally recognized academics, championship sports teams, as well as fine and performing arts classes and resources for college and career opportunities.

Each high school in the district will host its own Future Freshman Night online presentation. To find your teen’s designated school, check out the map at


Sunnyslope seniors receive scholarships to universities

Three Sunnyslope High School seniors recently received full, four-year college scholarships.

Ashley Noriega Galvan, Dawnelle Heatherly and Kelly Labastida Medina each received the scholarships worth more than $200,000 through the QuestBridge National College Match, which pays for tuition and fees, as well as room and board, books, supplies and travel expenses.

Ashley is headed to Notre Dame, Kelly plans to attend Northwestern University and Dawnelle plans to go to the University of Chicago.

To be eligible for these scholarships, students must have earned primarily A letter grades, rank in the top 5 to 10-percent of their graduating class and earn high scores on the SAT and ACT standardized exams. To learn more, visit


Make donation to schools to receive tax credit

Support students in the Glendale Union High School District while reducing your state income taxes at the same time.

The Arizona State Public School Tax Credit Law gives taxpayers who donate to a public school a tax credit of up to $400 when they file personal taxes as “married filing jointly” or up to $200 if they file as “head of household” or “single.” You must make your tax credit contribution by April 15 to claim a credit on your 2020 tax year return, according to the Arizona Department of Revenue.

To learn more, visit


Voters pass bond initiative to support GUHSD

Voters in the November special election approved a $130 million bond measure for the Glendale Union High School District. The election authorized the sale and issuance of a maximum of $130 million principal amount of ad valorem property tax bonds of the district in the form of class B general obligation bonds and related matters.

The funding will help renovate existing district buildings, provide new construction on school sites, strategic replacement of aging transportation fleet vehicles and to supply district centers with furniture, equipment and technology.


Madison Elementary School District

Three teachers receive Golden Gator Awards

Three Madison Traditional Academy teachers are among those nominated by students at Xavier College Preparatory for Xavier’s  Golden Gator Awards, which recognizes teachers who have made a positive impact on them.

Brittany Marshall, an eighth-grade math teacher; Jessica Sexton, a seventh-grade math teacher and John Williams, a seventh/eighth-grade social studies teacher at Madison Traditional Academy, received the honors. Marshall has taught in the district for eight years, Williams for 15 years and Sexton for 11 years.

Every freshman student at Xavier could nominate a seventh- or eighth-grade teacher who had inspired her.

Brittany Marshall

Brittany Marshall

Jessica Sexton

Jessica Sexton

John Williams

John Williams

Eighth graders explore high schools virtually

Eighth-graders in the Madison district are gearing up for high school after exploring campuses virtually.

The district held a Virtual High School Night on Dec. 15, when students and their families had the opportunity to interact with officials from 19 high schools and 21 programs. The event included high schools from the Phoenix Union High School, Glendale Union High School and Paradise Valley Unified school districts; six private high schools and one charter school.

The schools gave presentations and offered Madison families time to ask questions. The event was held in an online format because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


District to hold virtual job fair for many positions

Looking for a job? The Madison Elementary School District will hold a virtual job fair next month.

The event will start at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 online. The district will hire employees for positions including teachers, paraprofessionals and bus drivers. To learn more visit


Osborn Elementary School District

Marlena McCormac, a volunteer with Gabriel’s Angels, has been teaching students at Montecito Community School life lessons virtually with her dog, Socks, during this COVID-19 pandemic (photo by Marlena McCormac).

Volunteer and dog teach students life lessons

A volunteer with Gabriel’s Angels and her dog are teaching students life skills in creative ways.

Marlena McCormac wanted to keep supporting students during this COVID-19 pandemic as classes have been held virtually/online. She developed lessons featuring her dog Socks that aligned with the focus on social skills in the Montecito Community School that she teaches online. McCormac’s virtual lessons teach students about health and safety, as well as tattling vs. reporting, a growth mindset and other life habits for success. She works with students in grades kindergarten through fourth with behavioral and social-emotional needs. Volunteers such as McCormac help students form relationships.

Gabriel’s Angels visits facilities serving at-risk children in the Valley, Prescott and Tucson. Registered teams, consisting of a person and a pet, provide unconditional love while teaching respect, confidence and empathy. To learn more, visit


Phoenix Union High School District

Schools will stick with virtual learning for now

Classes in the Phoenix Union High School District will remain online this month because of the recent surge of COVID-19 in the community.

Superintendent Chad Gestson, in a video posted on the district’s website, said the district will “always prioritize the health, safety and wellness” of students, staff members and the community. While the district wants to bring students back to campuses for in-person learning, “the spread of COVID” has been at dangerous levels, Gestson said. However, students can visit campuses for tutoring certain days.

Gestson said if the spread of COVID-19 is decreasing in the community at the end of this month then the district will bring staff members back to campuses Feb. 1 and allow up to 40-percent of students to come back for in-person classes on Feb. 16. If by the end of this month it is still unsafe to resume learning on campuses, then the district will aim to start in-person classes on March 15. Gestson said if many students want to come back in person March 15 they would pick “A” and “B” days for learning in person.

For more updates, visit


Matthew Rouhani, 16, a junior at Brophy College Preparatory, recently sewed 54 masks and made 181 blessing cards for clients of St. Vincent de Paul (photo courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul).

Private And Charter Schools

Brophy junior makes face masks, blessing cards

Community service is the fabric of life for a Brophy College Preparatory junior, who has been sewing face masks for clients of St. Vincent de Paul.

Matthew Rouhani, 16, recently used his grandmother’s sewing machine to create 54 masks that will be given to residents who need them. He also made 181 blessing cards with inspirational messages for those who seek help from St. Vincent de Paul.

Ordinarily Matthew would volunteer in person at St. Vincent de Paul in its Family Dining Room or Dream Center but he shifted his outreach to home projects amid this COVID-19 pandemic. He used a variety of fabrics and supplies including basketball and unicorn prints for the masks. Matthew told St. Vincent de Paul he watched a YouTube tutorial and his mother provided some tips on how to create the accordion-style masks with loops that go around the ears.


Brophy’s Math Club recently demonstrated its academic prowess at a preliminary math competition and advanced to the state event. Pictured here are some members of the club, (from left): Benjamin Jackson, a sophomore; Carson Lauer, a sophomore; Doer He, a freshman; and Amit Das, a senior (photo courtesy of Brophy College Preparatory).

Brophy Math Club advances to state

Several Brophy College Preparatory students have the equation for success, as they recently participated in a preliminary math competition.

The nine participants who are in the school’s Math Club were scheduled to advance to the state event, as of press time. At the recent preliminary event Shaan Keole, a freshman, and Doer He, also a freshman, won first and second places respectively in the ninth-grade category. The faculty moderator for the club is Jason Svedin.


MHP students earn awards for AP test scores

Nine Madison Highland Prep students are in the spotlight for scoring high on an exam that allows teens to earn college credit while still in high school.

The students all received the AP Scholar Award, given to those who earn an average score of 3.00 on three AP or Advanced Placement exams last academic year. John Hubert and Mckenzie Steele were the seniors at Madison Highland Prep who received the AP Scholar Awards. Madison Highland Prep saw two students receive the AP Scholar with Distinction Awards, which are awarded to students with an average score of 3.25 on four AP exams.

This academic year, Madison Highland Prep is providing 11 school-day AP classes with more than 100 students engaging with the AP College Board curriculum. Students also come to the school for socially distanced AP Spanish Language and Culture classes for their fifth hour of the academic day, on a voluntary basis to earn credit and prepare for the AP Spanish exam. The last time the AP Spanish exam was administered, Madison Highland had nine students achieve a score of 4 or higher.

Students who receive a score of at least 3 in difficult subjects and those who earn a 4 or 5 in other subjects on the AP exams earn college credit. A 5 is the highest a student can receive on the AP exams.


Midtown Primary School students enjoy gifts

Midtown Primary School students are able to enjoy stuffed animals this New Year thanks to community “angels” who adopted them.

There were 30 community members who adopted the children at the school for the winter holiday season. These “angels” were teachers, individuals and the Camelback Community Bible Study church group, who ensured students had gifts for Christmas last month. In order to keep the magic of Santa Claus alive for the season, parents picked up the gifts from the school to put under their holiday trees at home. Santa flew in from the North Pole to meet with every Midtown student to give them a stuffed animal.


School receives grant for leadership, innovation

Strong leadership and innovation at Madison Highland Prep have earned the school a grant.

A is For Arizona recently awarded a 2020 Expansion and Innovation Fund Grant to the school for its leadership and excellence with remote, live instruction and learning. Madison Highland Prep boosted its virtual learning environment by increasing bandwidth to offer reliable live stream instruction for each classroom during this COVID-19 pandemic. The school bought a virtual server to guarantee predictable software access for its diverse science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

This Innovation Grant assisted Madison Highland Prep with buying technology that helps teachers in using the Zoom platform for video communication, as well as modern Swivl technology for live streaming instruction for all classes.

The school’s teachers also utilize wireless Mimeo tablets to send information directly to every student’s home computer, as well as to the classroom’s LCD projector simultaneously. This educational technique has proven to be engaging and allows the school to deliver the richness of its curriculum while using modern technology.

A for Arizona is a non-profit organization that aims to build an educational system in Arizona that prepares all students to succeed in the competitive global economy and contribute to their area communities.


Xavier students help people hit hard by pandemic

Xavier College Preparatory students are rolling up their sleeves to help people who are struggling during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly Scott, a senior at the school, created Swim for the Light, a virtual fundraising swim, with proceeds going to Valleywise Health Foundation, which offers inpatient psychiatric services. Anyone could swim and students from Xavier, Brophy College Preparatory and other Valley schools, as well as former Olympian swimmers, participated.

Xavier’s National Honor Society held its annual canned food drive recently to assist St. Vincent de Paul. Students, faculty members and other school employees contributed more than 280,000 cans of food.

Caroline Purtill, a Xavier junior, as well as her friends, initially raised more than $11,000 to help the Navajo Nation several months ago and then it raised another $10,000.

Xavier sophomore Nina Rawal created a website, Caring for Seniors and she and her friends sent 1,000 letters and provided 850 masks to senior citizens, as of press time.

Kaori Robertson, a Xavier senior, and her friends, raised money and worked with a manufacturer to bring hand-washing stations and touch-less soap dispensers to the Navajo Nation.

Xavier’s Key Club donated books, school supplies, toys and clothes to fill 166 boxes, which were delivered to children in need around the world. That club and the Student Council bought and decorated Christmas trees, which were donated to St. Vincent de Paul.


Two Xavier teachers receive college honors

Two Xavier College Preparatory teachers are making the grade for their accomplishments instructing students.

Rio Salado College named Alison K. Dunn, who is chairwoman of Xavier’s Studio Arts Department, and Jennifer L. Weiland, who teaches AP, honors and college prep biology at Xavier, as Outstanding Adjunct Faculty. Dunn, who has taught at Xavier since 2008, received the Rio Salado distinction for last academic year. She teaches AP Art History, as well as advanced and intermediate drawing and painting. Through Rio Salado online, Dunn teaches Art History 101.

Weiland was awarded the faculty honor for the 2018-19 school year at Rio Salado. She started teaching at Xavier in 1997 and has been teaching Biology 100 at Rio Salado for six years.

Xavier College Prep and Rio Salado College are partners in a Dual Enrollment program, which offers the chance for high school students to earn high school and college credits simultaneously during regular school hours.


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.