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District Office Power Outage
Scheduled Power Outage GraphicDue to a maintenance update, the power at the Dysart District Office will shut down starting at 5pm on Thursday October 21, 2021 for approximately six hours. This outage affects the following district systems:
 
  • All district websites & servers
  • All district phone systems
  • All district intranet or internet connection

Power will only be shut down at the Dysart District Office, but this outage will affect our network at all sites district wide.

Our Information Technology Department is scheduled to have everything operational by 11pm that same evening.  Components that do not power up appropriately may result in additional down time.  Thank you for your patience during this time.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact [email protected]
Posted : 10/20 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon Teacher named Educator of Distinction
Mr. MacDonald honoredLogan MacDonald, Choir Director at Willow Canyon High School, was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).  This honor recognizes exemplary educators whose passion and devotion inspire their students to grow and develop as scholars, leaders and citizens.

Each year student members of the NSHSS are invited to nominate the educator who has made the most significant contribution to their academic career for the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award. 

MacDonald was nominated by Alexa Felix, a Willow Canyon High School senior and NSHSS member who has been in his choir class for all four years of high school. “Mr. Mac has taught me to be confident in who I am and to push forward through anything that comes my way,” said Alexa. “He always shows me that I can break down any limits I place on myself. He has also created a family in our choir program that has made me excited to go to school and grow with everyone around me.”

Mr. MacDonald is in his seventh year teaching and serving as the Choir Director at Willow Canyon. The choir groups have won several accolades under his leadership including Excellent and Superior ratings for concert choir, and top five honors for show choir in competitions throughout the southwest. "I am so lucky to be able to work with such amazing students every single day,” said MacDonald.  “Any recognition really belongs to the kids and the effort they give to make Willow Canyon Choir such an incredible experience!”

The National Society of High School Scholars seeks to advance the goals and aspirations of high-achieving students through unique learning experiences, scholarships, internships, international studies and peer networks.  For more information, visit www.nshss.org.
Posted : 10/15 | Direct Link
AZ Cardinals read to El Mirage students
AZ Cardinals read to El Mirage studentsThe students at El Mirage Elementary School got a very special visit from the Arizona Cardinals Milk and Cookies Program this week. Big Red, the mascot, got the students energized and ready for reading. Big Red was joined by Cardinals alumni Mark Maddox and cheerleaders Emily and Zaryn who read a selection of books to students.  The students were awarded the special assembly for perfect attendance and leadership skills.  After the reading, students enjoyed a yummy snack of milk and cookies, an Arizona Cardinals backpack, and mini football.
 
The Cardinals, SRP, and Albertsons-Safeway have teamed up for 19 years on the Milk and Cookies program, which supports and promotes literacy throughout Valley elementary schools.

Photo Gallery
 
Posted : 10/7 | Direct Link
Cimarron Springs celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Cimarron Springs celebrates Hispanic History MonthStudents, parents, teachers, and community members came together to gather artifacts to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at Cimarron Springs Middle School for Mrs. Trujillo’s Spanish class. Items included a variety of food, clothing, and kitchen items with historical value from different Spanish-speaking countries. Students will be researching a figure from Hispanic history and presenting a small biography on them over the next four weeks. On September 24th, students had the opportunity to view and learn about customs and traditions of Spanish-speaking countries through artifacts brought in by Mrs. Trujillo and Lidia Goodman, a former Cimarron teacher and current district volunteer and substitute.  Mrs. Goodman shared several artifacts from her upbringing in Sonora, Mexico.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Photo Gallery
Posted : 9/27 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon Teacher Nominated for Arts Award
Mr. Wallgren nominated for Tancer awardMr. Steve Wallgren, Willow Canyon High School Theatre Teacher, was named one of five finalists for the 2021 Inaugural Tancer Arts in Education Award by Act One.  The Tancer award recognizes Arizona teachers dedicated to sharing a love of the arts with their students.

Wallgren has been a teacher and educator for 18 years, including eight years teaching students in Dysart Schools, and four as the theatre teacher at Willow Canyon.  He has produced nine shows including Noises Off, Shrek, Sister Act, and the latest production, Mary Poppins.  Tickets available at https://www.onthestage.tickets/willow-canyon-theatre. Wallgren was also a finalist for the Governor’s Arts Award last year. 

The award received its name in memory of Robert "Bob" Tancer, local art advocate extraordinaire, who passed away in March 2020. Bob was an active member of the Act One board, believing in the organization's mission and working on the committee to expand the educational depth of the field trip experience.  Bob saw the tremendous role the teacher played in making the experience rich and educationally rewarding.

Act One is a nonprofit founded in 2011 to provide children in Title 1 schools in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties with the opportunity to experience arts performances and exhibitions through field trips to professional theaters and museums. Act One provides meaningful arts experiences that enhance the academic and creative potential of children and families in Arizona. For more information on Act One, visit www.act1az.org.
Posted : 9/17 | Direct Link
Luke Teacher Takes to the Skies
Luke Elementary School iExplore Teacher, Christina Tormollan flies a cessnaLuke Elementary School iExplore Teacher, Christina Tormollan, recently got a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride in a Cessna 172Nxi aircraft for a discovery flight with the United States Air Force (USAF) Civil Air Patrol as part of the Aerospace Education Member Program.  

“It allowed me to see my school from a different perspective,” said Tormollan.  “This state is no longer just a desert but rather an oasis of opportunities!”

Tormollan flew with Major Ron Marks, a pilot in the Civil Air Patrol since 1989, who also flies as a professional pilot for FedEx.  They traveled at around 150 miles per hour at an altitude between 1,500 and 3,000 feet above the Northwest Valley.

The purpose of the Aerospace Education Member Program is to provide teachers with these opportunities so they can share it with their students and get them interested in aviation and aerospace.  
Luke Elementary School will tie aeronautical opportunities into their iExplore program through a partnership with Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the Civil Air Patrol.  They will provide opportunities for students to be involved in drone technology as well as robotics and coding.  Tormollan and Luke Elementary hope these partnerships for the students will help them transition to high school with the district’s Career and Technical Education programs such as Network Technology, Engineering, and Coding.
Posted : 8/20 | Direct Link
Ken Hicks honored with AASBO award
Ken HicksKenneth Hicks, the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services at Dysart Schools, was recently recognized with the Bill Lovett Memorial Award by the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) for his outstanding contribution to the organization.  

Hicks was honored at the annual conference for his dedication, service, and longevity to AASBO.  He has been an AASBO member for 23 years and continues to be a resource for AASBO and its members.  Hicks presents at annual conferences, served on several committees and boards including: the AASBO Executive Board, Education Finance Reform Group, Trust Alliance Board, Valley Schools Board, Auditor General’s School Finance Advisory Committee, ASBO International, Government Finance Officers Association and Governor’s Classroom First Initiative.  

“He is a positive and approachable advocate for Arizona public education and is a supportive member of AASBO, ” said Francie Wolfe-Baumann, Accounting Coordinator at Dysart Schools. 
 
The award was created in memory of  William “Bill” Lovett who served as the AASBO president from 1974-1975 and was the organization’s first Executive Director. 

AASBO is a professional organization; providing support and professional development opportunities for individuals in the field of education who provide management and services in accounting, finance, budget, food and nutrition, technology, maintenance and facilities, pupil transportation, and other support service operations.  The mission of AASBO is to promote the highest standards of school business management by providing quality training, legislative leadership, and cultivating the professional stature of its members.
Posted : 8/12 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon student shares IB experience
Willow Canyon student shares IB experienceTrevor Tuttle graduated in 2019 from Willow Canyon High School with a standard high school diploma and the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The IB Diploma is a rigorous two-year diploma where students are required to test in six different classes, write an extended essay, complete a course in Theory of Knowledge, and complete 150 hours in creativity, action and service. “Trevor is the typical IB Diploma candidate,” says IB Coordinator, Dr. Jason Ward. “He is the rule, not the exception. Most of our IB Diploma earners enter the university of their choice with plenty of public and private scholarships packaged with up to 24 credits that save students and their parents considerably in tuition dollars.” Dr. Ward took the time during the 2021 graduation week to sit down with Trevor and interview him as to his perceptions of the IB education he received. This interview comes two years after he graduated from high school allowing him to give an accurate and thoughtful reflection of what the IB Diploma really meant to him. 

What is your greatest memory from your International Baccalaureate education at Willow Canyon High School?

In studying for our exams, some of our teachers would hold a group study during class or outside of school. In the event where they did not, students would instead hold something together in order to study. While we were studying, we also realized that we were a little stressed and so we would joke around and try our best to enjoy that time together. The IB Program is small so most everyone is pretty close and everyone knows each other, and this even applies a bit to the relationships with teachers.

What was your favorite aspect of the IB Program? 

Looking back, I believe that the college level courses were the greatest part of the program. I learned high level material that was almost repeated to me in some of my college courses, but I also got experience in writing and taking exams at a college level. For example, the Extended Essay seemed like a huge undertaking but all of my extensive research papers that I have had to write while in college used those same skills, and since I had the experience, this was something that I did with ease.

I think the CAS project was also a great aspect because it makes some of the active and social things that students want to do something that they need to do. While it is not on the same scale as a Capstone Project, it also prepares students for the Capstone Project that they will need to complete. A Capstone is a project that students complete in their junior or senior year which takes everything that they have learned in their courses, and they must apply it. For my Honors Capstone, I am in the middle of shooting a feature length documentary film using state-of-the-art equipment provided to me by the school.

What other activities did you participate in while in the IB Program?

While in the IB Program, I also participated in the National Honors Society, Willow Canyon’s Media Club, and the SkillsUSA chapter. In two of those clubs, I held an officer role. I also was involved in sports broadcasting for football and basketball.

Some may think that to participate in a program like IB, you have to give up everything else. How was your social life impacted as a result of your IB education?

IB feels like a lot of work and can be a little daunting, but while I was in the IB program, I was actually more social than before. I am not a social person but during this time, I hung out with friends a few times throughout the year, I attended both homecoming and prom, and many of the sports games. I had plenty of time to attend all the clubs I went to, and a lot of time to spend playing video games with my closest friends online after school.

Currently, I created and I am running the first SkillsUSA chapter at NAU, working for the NAU Engineering College in Marketing,  all while taking 19-23 credits a semester. I have had plenty of time to go out and hang out with friends or spend time alone playing video games. Through IB, I learned how to manage my own time and workload in high school. 

My grandmother used to say “proof is in the pudding.” How did the IB diploma impact you (whether positively or negative)? In other words, was it worth it? If so, how? If not, how not? 

The IB diploma was worth it both for the credits that you can receive from taking the tests, but also for the ability to do a lot of rigorous coursework. Going into college, I received 19 transfer credits. I received two credits for English, six credits for two film classes that I did not have to take later in college, three credits for psychology, and eight credits for Spanish. As a film student with a minor in psychology, this definitely helped speed up my college career, but I also received plenty of credit for transfer classes. For example, while many people may not be studying a foreign language in college, some colleges require you to take a certain amount of foreign language. In the NAU Honors College, you are required to take two foreign language courses, something that was fulfilled by my IB credit.

Another way in which IB impacted me was in regard to how much I could handle in my coursework. I know at the time, many of us were a little stressed in high school with IB, but once I got into college, my advisor told me that I was going to be taking 6 classes a week for a total of 16 credits. I told my advisor that I wanted to take 19 credits because after being in IB, taking less classes felt like I was getting it too easy. As of now, I have taken 18-19 credits a semester with ease and a 4.0 GPA in Honors. This last spring semester, I took a total of 21 credits, and this fall I will be ending my undergraduate career by taking 23 credits. Through my time in the IB Program, I learned how to manage my time, how to study effectively, and how to deal with stress, letting me take more credits than other college students around me.

At NAU, I did receive the Lumberjack Scholars Award, meaning that my tuition was paid for. However, I still had to pay for housing which costs about $3600 a semester, around $1,000 in fees, plus expenses like food and school supplies. I will be graduating a year and a half earlier than my expected graduation, meaning I am saving at least $14, 000. With that being said, I do not use the meal plans on campus, saving some of the cost as well. NAU offers an IB Scholarship, but since it only covers tuition, I was not eligible since I received the Lumberjack Scholars Award.

Overall, it was extremely worth it. Not only did I feel prepared for college level courses once I began my college classes, I also was told that my writing and other academic skills were a higher level than the level of classes I have taken so far. While writing research papers, I have been told that my writing reflects the 400 level or graduate level writing rather than the writing of a junior. I have also received an Honors Best Paper Award from the NAU Honors College for an essay that I had written in one of my Honors classes. In my film classes, I was with students who were touching cameras for the first time in their lives, while I was able to do everything the professor wanted without listening to the lecture. I was able to pick up important life and academic skills, skills related to specific courses like English and Film, and I was able to save thousands in the cost for my college education.

All things considered, would you do it again? Explain.

There is absolutely no part of me that could say no to this question. Knowing what I know now, I never would have doubted being in the IB Program. For a brief time, I figured that it was not going to help me as much as others talked about, but after entering college, I realized that I was instead helped more than I think most others expected. I do not think that I would have the grades, the social life, the work life, or the academic career that I currently have without that experience and time that I have spent in the IB Program.

What advice do you have for parents and students considering the IB program? 

IB feels like a lot of work and that the end-goal is hard to see at the moment, but it is worth it. You should definitely look at colleges and determine what credits you will get for passing the tests, as well as some of the liberal arts and elective courses that they may also require from students. IB prepares you for college classes in a way that puts you so ahead of the game that it is truly unbelievable. All of my teachers were extremely helpful and people who I respected and got to know a little more on a personal level. The cost can be a little intimidating but nothing compared to the cost of one semester in college. IB was definitely the greatest decision I probably made in high school and is one that has paid off so unbelievably for me.

The International Baccalaureate Program (IB) courses are offered exclusively at Willow Canyon High School and challenges academically talented students to reach high levels of achievement in a broad range of subjects and allow two different participation tracks: IB diploma and IB certificate. The International Baccalaureate Organizations Diploma Program is a demanding pre-university course of study that leads to examinations. IB schools have earned a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world's leading universities. Students can apply for the IB program for their junior and senior years.  If any parent or student has questions regarding the IB Diploma, please reach out to Dr. Ward directly by emailing him at [email protected].
Posted : 7/19 | Direct Link
COVID Relief Funding Survey
We Want Your Feedback
The federal government has provided funding to support districts across Arizona and the nation during the COVID pandemic through the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER). With the most recently approved funding, ESSER III, and a longer timeline for usage, we are seeking input from the Dysart Unified School District community on how the funds should be used. Please take a few moments to respond to this survey to provide valuable feedback and input, which will be used to finalize Dysart’s plan. Please provide your feedback by July 30, 2021.
Posted : 6/29 | Direct Link
Public Hearing, Truth in Taxation

district newsDYSART SCHOOLS — In compliance with §15-905.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, Dysart Unified School District is notifying its property taxpayers of Dysart Unified School District’s intention to raise its primary property taxes over the current level to pay for increased expenditures in those areas where the Governing Board has the authority to increase property taxes for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021. The Dysart Unified School District is proposing an increase in its primary property tax levy of $780,000.

The amount proposed above will cause Dysart Unified School District’s primary property taxes on a $100,000 home to be $4.81. Without the tax increase, the total taxes that would be owed would have been $0.00.

These amounts proposed are above the qualifying tax levies as prescribed by state law, if applicable. The increase is also exclusive of any changes that may occur from property tax levies for voter approved bonded indebtedness or budget and tax overrides.

All interested citizens are invited to attend the public hearing on the proposed tax increase scheduled to be held July 7, 2021 at 6:00 PM at 15802 N. Parkview Place Surprise, AZ 85374.
Posted : 6/23 | Direct Link
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