North Central News

School Briefs, July 2022

Glendale Union High School District

Enrollment open at GUHSD schools

Glendale Union High School District (GUHSD) offers nine nationally recognized high schools right in your own backyard. All schools are ranked among America’s best high schools by U.S. News & World Report. GUHSD provides championship athletics, extracurricular activities, cutting-edge STEM opportunities, career and technical education options and more.

The new school year begins on Aug. 8. It is not too late for new students to enroll for the 2022–23 school year.

For additional information, call 623-435-6000 or visit www.guhsdaz.org.

Students earn perfect ACT score

Houston Hull

Abby Wolf

Marcus Giorza

Sunnyslope students Abby Wolf and Marcus Giorza, and Thunderbird High School student Houston Hull, all earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36. Fewer than half of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score. In the U.S. high school graduation class of 2021, only 4,055 out of 1.29 million students who took the ACT earned a top composite score. The ACT consists of English, mathematics, reading and science tests.

In addition, Abby was awarded with a Congressional Award Gold Medal. The recognition is the most prestigious award the United States Congress bestows upon a youth civilian. Abby is the first student at Sunnyslope High School to achieve a Gold Medal. In 2022, only eight candidates in Arizona were awarded a gold medal and only 518 youth received a gold medal nationwide.

Washington grad receives prestigious award

Recent Washington High School graduate Kiara Smith is the Maricopa County student recipient of the Black Alliance Georgie and Calvin Goode Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to students of Black or African descent who have shown a commitment to service to others and plan to further their education at an accredited post-secondary institution.

Madison Elementary School District

Madison Simis Elementary is just one of the district schools to receive “gold” status for their Smarter Lunchrooms Assessment (submitted photo).

Food and Nutrition receives ‘Gold’ status

The Arizona Department of Education Health and Nutrition Services recently announced the 2022 Farm Fresh Challenge awardees and Madison School District met the Gold Criteria.

The Farm Fresh Challenge encourages child nutrition operators to serve locally sourced ingredients and involves the community to engage in activities to learn about Arizona agriculture.

Challenge participants served 23 different local ingredients, hosted 10 educational activities that students learned about and made nine announcements about their challenge activities.

Additionally, Madison Camelview, Simis, Rose Lane, Park and Heights received gold status for the Smarter Lunchrooms Assessment. The Smarter Lunchrooms Assessment aims to increase participation, decrease food waste and assist students in selecting and consuming healthy food. This is done through low-cost/ no-cost strategies. The assessment is graded in the area of fruit, vegetables, salad offerings, reimbursable meals, lunchroom atmosphere, student involvement, school and community involvement.

To learn more, visit www.madisonaz.org/foodandnutrition.

MAC leader Kacie Burns and students at Madison Park Middle School enjoy after-school activities (submitted photo).

After-school program seeks leaders

Kacie Burns is an after-school club leader at Madison Park Middle School working with fifth- through eighth-grade students. She has been with the Madison Adventure Club (MAC) program for almost a year.

“My favorite part about working at MAC is creating meaningful connections with the students,” Burns said. “I want to be able to be a support system for any student that needs it. After school care is so important because it gives kids an opportunity to decompress after the school day and have fun playing outside, doing arts and crafts, and participating in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects.”

For those who are looking to make a difference in students’ lives, the MAC program is now hiring. Visit www.madisonaz.org/jobs or contact the district at 602-664-7900.

Osborn Elementary School District

Osborn summer learning and beyond

Osborn School District’s Native American Summer Program encompasses culture, identity, movement and the beauty of learning all while focusing on the Common Core Standards in math, literacy and the arts.

Through the program, Native American students learn the importance of physical, mental and emotional well-being through the spiritual lessons of the Medicine Wheel. Students apply ideas and concepts about the sacred elements they have learned throughout their lives and bring their ancestors to life while experiencing the pottery making process. Using the Medicine Wheel as a symbol and tool for creating healthy habits for continuity in life and weaving mathematical and literacy concepts through culturally responsive teaching, is a critical part of Osborn’s Native American Summer Program. Field trips to the Heard Museum and Traditional Native Health Gardens will bring student learning to real life

Approximately 50 kindergarten through fourth grade students enrolled in Dual Language participated in the SPARK Spanish Immersion Summer Program. Students were provided SPANISH academic, language and cultural instruction to develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing and participated in ballet folklorico twice a week.

At the conclusion of summer programming, the 21st Century program will continue serving students through its before and after school programs during the 2022–23 school year. During the 2021–22 school year, more than 1,100 students participated in the program enjoying a wide array of activities ranging from academic interventions, sports, dance, STEM, arts, leadership, fish and wildlife, cultural awareness and robotics.

Work is currently underway to offer additional opportunities for family engagement and developing community partnerships to enhance program offerings and a more robust afterschool program for students in the 2022–23 school year.

For information on these or other offerings, visit www.osbornnet.org or call 602-707-2000.

Student receives full-ride scholarship

Phoenix Union High School District

Student Tori Hernandez was surprised during the school day with the news that she had been awarded a full-ride scholarship to NAU (submitted photo).

Student receives full-ride scholarship

Alatorre “Tori” Hernandez from North High School, part of the Phoenix Union High School District, received a full-ride scholarship to NAU (Northern Arizona University), courtesy of the Phoenix Suns and Helios Foundation. Her story was covered by all local news outlets and she and her family were surprised with the news during the school day.

District leadership shared, “We are so proud of Tori and cannot wait to see what she accomplishes with her scholarship.”

Learn more about Phoenix Union High School District at www.pxu.org or call 602-764-1100.

Washington Elementary School District

Library technicians selected for grants

In June, Washington Elementary School District (WESD) congratulated the seven WESD library technicians who were selected as winners of the 2022 Barbara Park Memorial Grant in May.

The librarians include Marci Dunn, Arroyo School; Stacey Kilcran, Ironwood Elementary School; Heidi Birt, Richard E. Miller Elementary School; Lizzie Post, Royal Palm Middle School; Holly Hanson, Shaw Butte Elementary; Rebekah Clark, Sunset Elementary; and Nicole Gonzalez, Sweetwater School.

Sponsored by GBS Books, the grant allows winners to select up to $500 worth of books for their school library.

Private and Charter Schools

Rising Brophy sophomores tutor kindergarten through fourth-grade students from underserved schools as part of the school’s Loyola Project (photo courtesy of Brophy College Preparatory).

Loyola Project helps underserved students

In June, Brophy Prep began its summer Loyola Project, an annual service experience for rising sophomores where they tutor kindergarten through fourth-grade students from underserved schools. The students come from local Catholic and public elementary schools that Brophy has strong relationships with, as well as the children of Brophy faculty.

Brophy students complete their service by accompanying, mentoring, coaching and tutoring the children on campus. The program is run by Brophy’s Office of Faith and Justice, who believes that working with children in an educational setting helps Brophy sophomores foster a sense of responsibility to be there for a young child and a joy in sharing their Brophy education with another person.

The program began June 6 and runs through July 1. Learn more about Brophy College Preparatory at www.brophyprep.org or by calling 602-264-5291.

Brophy students return to Peru

A group of Brophy students and chaperones left for Peru May 28 for almost four weeks of learning, service, reflection and growth. It is their first time returning after a two-year pandemic hiatus. They will visit Lima, Arequipa and Cusco, as well as the countryside. Along the way, they’ll explore issues of poverty, migration, climate change and fair trade.

The school shared that it is grateful to the students and their families for making this commitment of time and resources in order to fully experience lives different from their own and learn how they can facilitate positive change in the world.

For more information on Brophy immersion trips, visit www.brophyprep.org/faith-and-justice/magis and click on the “Immersions, Exchanges & Pilgrimages” link.

Enrollment is open at Gateway Academy

Gateway Academy, a school serving students in grades six through 12 diagnosed with high functioning autism, announced its first day of school and open enrollment for the upcoming year.

Faculty will be returning July 5, with an open house and a “Meet the Teacher Night” scheduled for July 8, and the first day for students is set for July 11. Students will dive into STAR Assessment sessions at the end of July and beginning of August, and Curriculum Night is scheduled for Aug. 18.

Gateway’s curriculum supports academic, social and emotional development, and they strive to help students improve their executive functioning skills while also providing opportunities to participate in activities such as student council, National Honor Society, multimedia art, world language, Gateway NASA, virtual reality labs, instrumental and digital music and more.

Prospective parents can check out the calendar for the upcoming year here and schedule a tour now by calling 480-998-1071. For additional information, visit www.gatewayacademy.us.

Student places in Congressional competition

Contest Judge Oscar de las Salas and Mrs. Stanton (Rep. Greg Stanton’s wife) presented the second place Congressional Art award to Kathryn Nilssen in May.

Kathryn Nilssen, a junior at Xavier College Preparatory, won second place in the Congressional Art Competition for District 9 (CD-9) on May 6. Nilssen submitted a mixed media piece titled “School Daze.” The work includes actual notes from her Xavier classes. She made it for her AP Studio Portfolio, which focused on transitions and belonging.

Alison Dunn, chair of Xavier’s Studio Arts Department, said of Nilssen, “She is an outstanding student who takes her work seriously and is willing to dig deep.”

STEM teacher recognized by Diamondbacks

Chris Pfaff

The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation honored Xavier teacher Chris Pfaff as a D-backs “Most Valuable Teacher in STEM” in April. He received a $1,000 grant for classroom supplies and took part in an on-field pregame recognition.

Pfaff was nominated by a parent of one of his students, who said, “My youngest daughter, a sophomore, resisted all my attempts to get her remotely interested in Computer Science. She hated the thought of taking a class in CS, let alone a computer programming class in Java. Mr. Pfaff changed all that this year, she loves it, has a ‘A’ in the class, mentors other students, loves programming, and now has expressed in interest in pursuing CS as a career.”

Teaching at Xavier for almost 25 years, Pfaff was on the forefront of Xavier’s Programming Essentials class. All sophomores are required to take the class.

Incoming Xavier senior Layla Torres received journalistic recognition for her article about the struggles of being bilingual (photo by Lisa Zuba).

Student wins journalism award

Incoming senior Layla Torres was selected to attend the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference this summer.

One student from each state in the country was chosen for the conference. As a delegate, Layla was awarded a $1,000 college scholarship. She has completed two years of journalism at Xavier.

Xavier’s news site, EXPRESS, was just awarded a national first-place award for design and writing by ASPA (American Scholastic Press Association). EXPRESS also received a Distinguished Site award from School Newspapers Online (SNO), a online publishing solution for scholastic news programs.

Qualifying for SNO’s Distinguished Site Award required that three articles receive a “Best of SNO” designation. Layla’s winning article, “What they don’t tell you: The rewarding struggles of being bilingual,” was published on Xavier’s news site. She was editor-in-chief of the news site during the 2021–22 school year.

In addition to Layla’s article, two other articles received Best of SNO Awards. They were written by Campbell Linaman, who wrote about flag football, and Ellie Pompay, who wrote a story about Kylie Rogers, an Xavier student who passed away from cancer.

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