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Meet the Principal

July 27, 2020
 
Dear Sundown Mountain Parents and Students,
 
I want to start this welcome back letter by hoping everyone is remaining safe and healthy during these very challenging times. My name is Anthony Capuano, Principal of Sundown Mountain. Firstly, I want to welcome back our returning students, parents and our supportive community. Secondly, I want to extend that welcome to our first time students and parents to Sundown Mountain. You are now a part of a very unique, student centered and supportive learning environment. I am personally excited to have this opportunity again to work with an outstanding faculty and staff providing an extraordinary and quality education, in a safe and nurturing environment for your child. I come with over 30 years of public education experience, twelve of which are here in the Dysart Unified School District.
 
I want to share with you some important information, as you all get ready for the start of the 2020- 2021 school year.  I want to first invite you to our Virtual Open House/Meet the Teacher event which will be available for viewing on Monday evening, Aug 4th. This will be an opportunity for students and parents to safely view a brief teacher welcome, introduction and important information with a course overview and expectations. This initial opportunity will help Sundown students and parents get acquainted with our vision, purpose and mission. As current conditions improve Sundown looks forward to getting better acquainted with our students and parents for more meaningful interaction and mutual support.  Although we have been at our current site for a year now, it still bears mentioning that we have moved to our new facility which is located at 12397 W. Thunderbird Rd. El Mirage, AZ. (We are on the corner of W. Thunderbird Rd and 124th Av) 
 
Sundown will be in its 11th year of applying PBIS.  (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support).  The PBIS program provides students essential skills and opportunities to make positive and productive choices, and by recognizing their efforts. This program creates and fosters a school environment rich in trust and support.  We are very proud of the successes and culture it has brought to our campus, and look forward to building on past academic achievements and personal accomplishments with our new and returning students and their parents.
 
I would like to share with you the three primary goals for the 20/21 school year and how we plan to achieve these goals.  
1. Each Sundown Mountain student, through personalized learning, will develop the knowledge, skills and disposition as defined by the Dysart Profile of a Graduate that ensures 21st Century success.
2. Perpetuate an “Extraordinary” culture of shared leadership by fostering student success through open communication, innovation, ownership and empowerment. School staff and students will work hand and hand in an effort to forge a pathway towards student success in an academic, vocational or military career track for their post-secondary pursuits.
3. Campus Safety, within the realm of site safety, a major area of focus will be digital safety while utilizing Dysart’s latest technology advancements. This will encompass the safe and appropriate use of technology within and outside the school setting, with a strong emphasis in digital citizenship while navigating the web.
 
These goals will be a continuing theme throughout the school year and will be monitored  periodically for effectiveness and fidelity.
 
Once current restriction on site learning are lifted the following state statutes and district policies will be in full adherence: Arizona State Statutes and Dysart Unified School District Policy mandate that schools are responsible for students' safety. To insure that we are compliant with all regulations, Sundown Mountain will strictly enforce the following:
  • Once the school day begins, students under the age of 18 must be signed out by legal guardian or the emergency contact listed on the Household Registration Form.  All emergency contacts must be 18 years of age or older.  Legal identification will be required upon signing out of a student.
  • Students who independently chose not to attend school or leave campus before the end of the day is considered truant and will be subject to the discipline matrix for "Unauthorized Absence.” Please refer to the Student and Parent Handbook for further explanation of this procedure.
  • Student's driving to school and parking on campus must adhere to the law and school policy.  If student drivers do not follow legal requirements or school policy, their parking privileges may be revoked without prior notice.
    • Student drivers must meet legal requirements such as; valid driver's license, current registration, proper insurance, etc.  If it becomes known that a student is not compliant to the law, the student's vehicle may be booted and held for the guardian to remove the vehicle from the premises.
    • Students must follow parking lot speed limits, procedures as posted and drive in a manner that is safe for all students and staff.
    • Minor students that drive to school may not leave campus early without the legal guardian or emergency contact signing the student out.  This is a State Law and we are required to uphold the law.  Please consider this when making appointments during the school day as we will still require the guardian to sign the student out of school.
    • Student drivers are not allowed to leave campus with other minor students during the school day.
 
As a reminder Sundown Mountain and the Dysart Unified School District Policy encourages technology in the classroom but the use of personal cell phones for personal calls, texting etc. take away from valuable instructional time.  Students are not permitted to use cell phones for personal use during the class period. Cell phone use is permitted before school, after school, during passing periods and at lunch.
 
Parents are always welcomed at Sundown Mountain.  I encourage all parents to consider volunteering here at our school, the benefits you will receive from this experience will be most rewarding. Please contact our school secretary 623-876-7250 for more information about how to become a volunteer at Sundown Mountain.
Although this school year will begin not like any other the Sundown Mountain faculty, staff and I look forward to a great school year!
Sincerely,
 
Anthony Capuano
Principal
Sundown Mountain Alternative Education Program