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Important Safety Reminders from the Superintendent
Dysart SafeDysart Parents and Guardians,

As we near the end of the school year, I am writing to ask you to partner with us to keep our Dysart students and campuses safe and secure. Historically, as students eagerly anticipate the approach of summer, the number of school threats increases. Dysart is hoping to stem this issue with your help.

As a fellow community member, I ask you to please:

1. Have a discussion with your child(ren) about the importance of immediately sharing information that could be considered threatening to our community with a responsible adult. This could be a parent, teacher or school staff member.
2. Make it clear to your child(ren) that online threats and rumors should not be forwarded or shared, because doing so impedes police investigations.
3. Discuss with your child(ren) the seriousness of making threats toward schools, and remind them that there are a number of charges that can be filed against students – including felony offenses.

If you become aware of an immediate threat, please call 911.  Otherwise, call law enforcement non-emergency lines to report potential threats towards our schools or the community in Surprise (623-222-4000), El Mirage (623-933-1341) or Maricopa County (602-876-1602).

Another option for reporting school safety issues or concerns is through our Safe Schools Hotline (623-876-7009) or online via Dysart Safe Report at Additional information, resources, and school safety tips can be found on our website at

Dysart is proud of our relationships with local law enforcement agencies, and works collaboratively with them to ensure the safety of our students and staff.  We all have a responsibility to be vigilant and should strive to prioritize the well-being of our community. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure our campuses are always a safe place for our students.


Quinn R. Kellis, Ed.D.
Dysart Unified School District
Posted : 4/17 | Direct Link
VVHS counselor recognized with Career Guidance Award
 Valley Vista counselor recognized with Career Guidance AwardLori Luzier, counselor at Valley Vista High School, was recently awarded the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Region Five Career Guidance Award. This award recognizes school counselors and career development professionals who have demonstrated commitment to connecting students with opportunities for success, shown innovation in career exploration and development, and have advocated for CTE as a viable option for all students.

ACTE Region Five is comprised of 17 states and five territories, and recognizes educational professionals in eight different categories. With the regional recognition, Ms. Luzier is now eligible for the national level award.

ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance, and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities, in an effort to provide all students with high quality CTE programs that position them for career success.
Posted : 4/16 | Direct Link
Valley Vista dance student honored with prestigious award
Valley Vista dance student honored with prestigious awardAshley Reafleng, a senior from Valley Vista High School, was recently awarded the Arizona Dance Education Organization (AzDEO) Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award.

Arizona’s affiliate, AzDEO, and its committee of adjudicators, selected Ashley based on her score in the top 15%, as well as her dedication to the dance program, individual achievements, and the quality of the Valley Vista dance program as a whole.

This prestigious award is open to applicants who have been inducted into the National Honor Society of Dance Arts, and are members of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). Applicants go through a rigorous application process in which they are judged based on their strengths in the categories of technical and artistic merit, leadership, and academic achievement.

The Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award is one of the highest dance honors in the nation, and is awarded to those who show exceptional excellence in their dance and educational journey. For consideration of this award, students must submit a video of a self-choreographed dance, essay responses, a resume, a recommendation letter, and must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The top two applicants from each state are then eligible for the national level award.  

AzDEO is dedicated to supporting and advancing dance education centered in the arts, as well as promoting the achievements of individual dancers across Arizona.
Posted : 4/11 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge students honor veterans in new publication
Canyon Ridge Veterans projectFor the second year in a row, students at Canyon Ridge School worked in conjunction with members of Arizona Sons of the American Revolution (AZ SAR), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 10695 in Sun City West, to promote the remembrance of Veterans in our community.

Seventh and Eighth grade students joined the Veterans Heritage Project (VHP) activity group on campus, formulated questions, wrote articles, and selected photos that told the story of a local American Veteran.  The VHP is an Arizona based organization dedicated to bringing students and Veterans together for the purposes of recording their experiences and expanding their understanding of history. By promoting a better understanding of the sacrifices and accomplishments of those who served, members of the VHP activity group at Canyon Ridge, had the unique opportunity to learn about American history from those who lived through it.

The multiple interviews and article drafts generated by students culminated in final drafts that appeared in the annual VHP publication, Since You Asked. By dedicating their time and skills to the promotion of Veteran’s experiences, the students of Canyon Ridge became published authors and had their work memorialized in print and by the Library of Congress.

Harvey Johnson and David Thompson, of the AZ SAR Saguaro Chapter, and Don Burnett of VFW Post 10695 in Sun City West, offered detailed accounts of their experiences in the Armed Forces and discussed the feelings and reactions related to the impact of combat experiences. In addition to the published articles, the recollections and wisdom of our Veterans, recorded as video interviews, will be immortalized by the national Veterans Oral History Project. “It is important to tell the stories of our Veterans. I want civilians to know what war is really like. We want to make sure that the message is shared for all to see and understand,” said Navy and Coast Guard Veteran Don Burnett.

An undertaking of this magnitude would not have been possible without the generous support of AZ SAR, VFW Post 10695 and the Canyon Ridge PTA. Financial donations, moral support, and all of the valuable input of our Veterans proved instrumental to the success of this patriotic endeavor. The students, teachers and leadership of Canyon Ridge School are looking forward to expanding their VHP efforts in the next academic year to come.
Posted : 4/4 | Direct Link
Rancho Gabriela science lesson soars
Rancho Gabriela science lessonRancho Gabriela 8th Grade Science Teacher Thomas Macarle created an interesting way for his students to learn the physics of flight.  The students first learned about the Wright Brothers, Leonardo da Vinci, Chuck Yeager, and Amelia Earhart.  Mr. Macarle then brought in a hang glider to demonstrate the forces acting on it.  Several students got into the cockpit and learned about how to control the hang glider by weight shifting.  A few brave souls even picked up the glider into the launch position and learned how to do a mock mountain launch.  The lesson was one of many hands-on experiences the students get in the class where the real world application of sciences helps illustrate how they work.
Posted : 4/4 | Direct Link
Surprise Elementary honored at Science Olympiad
Surprise Elementary honored at Science Olympiad competitionSurprise Elementary School students recently competed in the Science Olympiad Competition held at Estrella Mountain Elementary School in Goodyear. The students placed fourth out of 15 teams in this rigorous Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) competition that challenges the students’ knowledge as it relates to STEM objectives.

The students will have the opportunity to showcase their STEM knowledge at the Arizona Science Olympiad State Tournament held at Arizona State University in April.

Science Olympiad is a national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math program that allows students to apply what they know in a competitive setting. The Arizona Olympiad offers three different divisions based on grade level, and provides educators with the tools needed to effectively integrate STEM education into the classroom.
Posted : 4/1 | Direct Link
West Point student contributes art to safety calendar
West Point student honored for art Anthony Robbins from West Point Elementary School was honored for his artistic contribution to the Kids Safe Online Arizona Cybersecurity Calendar Contest.  Robbins was selected as one of 13 state winners out of 1,200 entries in the elementary category for his original design that encourages kindness.  The artwork will be showcased in the 2019-2020 Arizona Security Awareness calendar. Students were asked to demonstrate their understanding through the arts of online safety concepts including: cyber bullying, cybersecurity, cyber safety and phishing, malicious code, social networking, mobile media devices, texting, online materials for kids, and safe use of the internet.

The contest was sponsored by the Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology (ASET) Office and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) with the goal of encouraging young people to use the internet safely and securely and to craft messages and images that will best resonate with their peers across the country to stay safe online.
Posted : 3/29 | Direct Link
SRHS students earn SkillsUSA accolades
SRHS students earn SkillsUSA accoladesShadow Ridge High School Computer Animation students recently competed in the SkillsUSA Region 5 3D Animation and Visualization competition, held at Thunderbird High School in Phoenix. During this competition, teams of two students each worked together to design, model, and render an animation based on a set of parameters. The students were tasked with creating a 20-30 second advertisement for an eco-friendly product, in which Shadow Ridge students took home honors in first, second, and third place. The students honored include:

First place: Hannah Redwood and Sean Enouen
Second place: Brelynne Montee and Ethan Tri
Third place: Anthony Salamanca and Cooper Bolton

The students will now move onto the SkillsUSA State competition held at the Phoenix Convention Center, April 12-13, 2019.

SkillsUSA provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development by building and reinforcing self-confidence, work attitudes and communications skills. SkillsUSA emphasizes total quality at work: high ethical standards, superior work skills, lifelong education and pride in dignity of work.

Computer Animation is a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program offered at Shadow Ridge and Valley Vista High Schools, that utilizes state of the art digital animation and visual effects software and provides students the opportunity to explore career options and opportunities in the digital animation field. CTE programs prepare students to enter the workforce with the academic and vocational skills needed to compete successfully in the job market. To learn more about CTE programs offered in the Dysart Unified School District, visit
Posted : 3/28 | Direct Link
Friends of Surprise Libraries book donation
Book donationThe Friends of Surprise Libraries donated more than 300 books to English Language Arts (ELA) classrooms at Western Peaks Elementary School and Riverview School.  The book donation made possible by a grant written by Ami Grant, Dysart 21st Century Specialist, to benefit middle school classrooms.

"During one of our professional development Learning Walks, we learned that classrooms were in need of rich literature resources," said Grant.

Learning Walks are a tool that transforms professional development into actual implementation. Teachers share, collaborate, and support each other in implementation of curriculum resources and instructional practices.

The Friends of Surprise Libraries filled this need with hundreds of books including “The Outsiders” and “Out of the Dust.”  The Friends of the Surprise Libraries is a nonprofit, independent organization. The group supports literacy and programs at the Northwest Regional Library, the Hollyhock Branch Library, and local schools. Members include local citizens who volunteer their time to promote libraries, literacy, and reading programs.
Posted : 3/15 | Direct Link
Sports360AZ All-Academic Team Athletes
Student-athletes selected to Sports360AZ All-Academic TeamsStudent athletes from all four district high schools were selected to the Sports360AZ All-Academic Basketball, Soccer, and Wrestling Teams. Teams were selected based on nominations submitted by coaches, players, athletic directors, and parents. The student-athletes selected are as follows.

All-Academic Girls Basketball

First Team
Mikela Cooper, Valley Vista – 4.67 weighted GPA
Ava Ferraro, Valley Vista – 4.60 weighted GPA
Jenna Isai, Valley Vista – 4.42 weighted GPA
Alanis Delgado, Valley Vista – 4.22 weighted GPA
Elise Horbaczewski, Valley Vista – 4.12 weighted GPA

Honorable Mention
Marisa Davis, Valley Vista – 3.56 unweighted GPA

All-Academic Boys Basketball

First Team
Daryian Matthews, Dysart – 4.6 weighted GPA

Honorable Mention
Riley Fornerette, Dysart – 3.6 weighted GPA
Allan Escobar, Willow Canyon – 3.05 unweighted GPA
Benjamin Carter, Willow Canyon – 3.59 weighted GPA
Jason Hayes, Willow Canyon – 3.94 weighted GPA
Jason Knaggs, Willow Canyon – 3.84 weighted GPA
Joevanni Larcia, Willow Canyon – 3.6 weighted GPA
KJ Patrick, Willow Canyon – 3.4 unweighted GPA
Pike Tancil, Willow Canyon – 3.84 weighted GPA
Sunday John, Willow Canyon – 3.1 unweighted GPA
Tyler Shelt, Willow Canyon – 3.77 weighted GPA

All-Academic Girls Soccer

First Team
Paige Garcia, Willow Canyon – 4.0 unweighted GPA
Mollie Konieczny, Shadow Ridge – 4.59 weighted GPA
Haley Hansen, Shadow Ridge – 4.53 weighted GPA
Cassie Sheerin, Shadow Ridge – 4.47 weighted GPA
Emily Garrett, Shadow Ridge – 4.44 weighted GPA
Rachel Young, Shadow Ridge – 4.3 weighted GPA
Hailey Myers, Shadow Ridge – 4.26 weighted GPA
Alyssa Francia, Shadow Ridge – 4.2 weighted GPA
Gretchen Kuffel, Shadow Ridge – 4.13 weighted GPA
Piper Stone, Shadow Ridge – 4.1 weighted GPA
Kaleigh McDowell, Shadow Ridge – 4.06 weighted GPA
Morgan Sweeney, Shadow Ridge – 4.0 weighted GPA

Honorable Mention
Alyssa Reyes, Willow Canyon – 3.8 unweighted GPA
Amber Krey, Willow Canyon – 3.8 unweighted GPA
Breanna Gonzalez, Willow Canyon – 3.6 unweighted GPA
Haley Sherwood, Willow Canyon – 3.1 unweighted GPA
Jade Lobmeyer, Willow Canyon – 3.7 unweighted GPA
Kailyn Smith, Willow Canyon – 3.0 unweighted GPA
Lexi Williams, Willow Canyon – 3.8 unweighted GPA
Megan Tracey, Willow Canyon – 3.3 unweighted GPA
Meranda Applebee, Willow Canyon – 3.1 unweighted GPA
Olivia De La Torre, Willow Canyon – 3.1 unweighted GPA

All-Academic Wrestling

First Team
Tanner Jenson, Willow Canyon – 4.9 weighted GPA
Nevin Turner-Elsbry, Willow Canyon – 4.8 weighted GPA
Diego Avila, Shadow Ridge – 4.56 weighted GPA

Honorable Mention
Brandon Cook, Willow Canyon – 3.0 weighted GPA
Madelynn Savage, Willow Canyon – 3.6 weighted GPA
Marisa Alvarez, Willow Canyon – 3.9 weighted GPA
Matthew McClure, Willow Canyon – 3.8 weighted GPA
Melody Mumpower, Willow Canyon – 3.5 weighted GPA
Phoenix Pough, Willow Canyon – 3.5 weighted GPA
Tristen Dains, Willow Canyon – 3.1 weighted GPA

Sports360Az is committed to recognizing student-athletes for their excellence not only on the court, field, and mat, but in the classroom as well.
Posted : 3/13 | Direct Link
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