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Shadow Ridge graduate honored with leadership award
Shadow Ridge graduate honored with leadership awardShadow Ridge High School graduate, Christian Perez, recently won the Arizona State University (ASU) Gammage Leadership Award at the fifth annual ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards. The award seeks to recognize outstanding students, and their leadership both on and off the stage. There are two recipients of the award each year, one male and one female, in which each receives a $500 scholarship to go towards their education.

Christian has been actively involved in the Shadow Ridge theatre program for the last three years, and has willingly taken on any role required of him in an effort to benefit the program and those around him. This past school year, Christian took on the role of club officer, and worked hard to reach students outside of the arts programs, to ensure they felt they belonged.

“Christian has been an excellent leader and voice for our troupe and has been actively reaching out to our school community and the public to advertise our program.” says Shadow Ridge Theatre Director, Kendra Schroeder. “He is dedicated and determined to ensure the success of not himself, but our program as a whole.”

The ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards consist of fifteen different categories that local schools compete in, each recognizing and celebrating the achievements of local high school students and faculty.
Posted : 6/18 | Direct Link
Gone fishing, Riverview Difference Makers Club
Riverview Dads fishing eventThe Riverview School Difference Makers Dads’ Club was recently invited to a fishing event at Cabela’s Glendale, where students joined their dads, grandpas, and uncles for an afternoon of fishing and bonding, ahead of Fathers Day. The event started with a tour of the facility, and ended with catch and release fishing at the Cabela’s pond behind the store. After the event, each family was gifted with a fishing pole donated by Cabela’s.

“Cabela’s mission is to inspire future generations to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors - the partnership with the Difference Makers Dads’ Club and Man Up was only natural,” said Brittney SantaMaria, Cabela’s Special Events Outfitter.  “It was great to be in the moment with these families enjoying quality time with their kids and strengthening their bond through fishing.”

The Difference Makers Dads’ Club at Riverview exists to provide opportunities to engage children in positive productive activities with male role models in the hope of having an impact on the culture of the community. Activities are planned and scheduled once a month by a volunteer organization called Man-Up Surprise!, led by Kent Guyer and Jeremy Hall. The next event will be in August, as the new school year kicks-off. Plans for the new year include helping to install irrigation for planters in the school courtyard, a camping expedition, and a BBQ cooking competition.

Photo Gallery
Posted : 6/12 | Direct Link
Valley Vista student doodles with Google
Valley Vista student doodles with GoogleElla Kinnersley, 9th grade student at Valley Vista High School, was recently selected as a State and Territory winner for Google’s annual Doodle for Google contest. This contest encourages students from across the country to redesign the Google logo based on what inspires them. This years’ theme was “When I grow up, I hope…” and Ella was selected as the State of Arizona Winner with her doodle titled, “Sloths are Neato”. Ella’s doodle was inspired by her love for sloths, and her passion to one day own a sloth sanctuary. “Since sloths are now classified as an endangered species, I would like to see a world where their habitats aren’t being destroyed,” said Ella.

On June 3rd, Ella was honored with a celebration from Google to congratulate her on being selected as a State Winner. She was then invited to the Phoenix Zoo to meet Arizona’s own, Fernando the Sloth.

The State and Territory Winners were selected by guest judges including Kermit the Frog and Jimmy Fallon, both of which voted for Ella’s doodle. After the State and Territory winners were selected, the public was then invited to vote for their favorites. These votes will determine the five national finalists, one of which will be selected by Google as the National Winner, and have their doodle featured on the Google homepage. The five national finalists will be announced on June 28th.

Ella is an avid artist who hopes to continue her artistic talents through high school and study to become a Graphic Designer in college.
Posted : 6/12 | Direct Link
Dysart staff step it up
Dysart staff step it upThe Dysart Unified School District team received first place and defended their title as champions in the Wellness Council of Arizona 150 Mile Dash for Cash Virtual Challenge. During the four week competition, organizations and individuals competed against each other to complete the 150-mile virtual course (equivalent to 300,000 steps). The purpose of the challenge is to inspire employees all over Arizona to engage in physical activity through friendly competition.

Dysart had 42 participants this year and took home the top prize with a 382,072 team step average and 12,735 daily step average per employee.  Tracy Agnelli, plant manager at Countryside, was in the top ten employee step count.

This challenge is one of the many opportunities the Dysart Wellness department offers to keep our staff healthy and active.

The Wellness Council of Arizona promotes worksite health initiatives in Arizona by collaborating with healthcare providers, community leaders, businesses, and institutions to improve the health of employees and their families and believes that advancing health insights, lifestyles, and supportive cultures are invaluable tools in the workplace.
Posted : 6/5 | Direct Link
Dysart students to attend medical conference
Dysart students to attend medical conferencePeyton Tekulve, a sophomore at Valley Vista High School, and Luis Figueroa, sophomore at Dysart High School, will be delegates at the  Congress of Future Medical Leaders event in Lowell, Massachusetts on June 23-25, 2019.

The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields. The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate, and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be physicians or medical scientists.

During the three day Congress, Peyton and Luis will join students from across the country and hear nobel laureates and National Medal of Science recipients talk about leading medical research; be given advice from Ivy League and medical school deans on what to expect in medical school; witness stories told by patients who are living medical miracles; be inspired by fellow teen medical science prodigies; and learn about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology. Students will also receive guidance and be mentored by physicians and medical students regarding college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, and career opportunities.

“This is a crucial time in America when we need more doctors and medical scientists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” said Richard Rossi, Founder, National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists.

The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists was founded on the belief that we must identify prospective medical talent at the earliest possible age and help these students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of this vital career and to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to the service of humanity as physicians and medical scientists.
Posted : 5/24 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge teacher earns national accolades
Canyon Ridge teacher earns national accoladesChristopher J. Raso, 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Canyon Ridge School, has recently been awarded the National Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) Dr. Tom and Betty Lawrence American History Teacher Award. This is a nationally recognized award that honors elementary, middle, and high school level educators whose curriculum incorporates the teaching of the American Revolution. Raso went through a rigorous application process, including an essay submission, to be considered for the state-level award, and was then nominated by the Arizona Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and the Saguaro SAR Chapter for the national level award.

SAR is a patriotic, historical, and educational non-profit organization that seeks to expand understanding and respect for American history. Their membership consists of citizens who can trace their ancestors to Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War. SAR is a national organization that consists of over 38,000 members, organized into 50 state-level societies with more than 500 local chapters. Arizona is represented by the Arizona Society SAR, which contains 8 local chapters and over 500 members; including the Saguaro SAR Chapter which serves the western part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Mr. Raso has worked closely with the members of the Arizona SAR in an effort to bring new learning opportunities to his students. Every year, he organizes campus-wide learning events to celebrate Patriot’s Day, United States Constitution Day, and Veteran’s Day, that include writing and art contests, performance opportunities, and guest speakers. Most recently, Raso’s students worked with local veterans from AZ SAR and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, to create essays and articles based on veteran experiences that were published in the annual Veterans Heritage Project publication, “Since You Asked".  

“His thoughtful nature, easy-going personality, and precise attention to detail allow him to build meaningful partnerships, which he then leverages to make history come alive for students,” said Jill Hoppe, Canyon Ridge Principal. Mr. Raso will be presented with the prestigious award on September 21, 2019 in Sun City West.
Posted : 5/14 | Direct Link
Kingswood hosts District Math Challenge
Kingswood hosts Math ChallengeStudents in 1st through 8th grade from across the Dysart Unified School District participated in the annual Math Challenge on May 3-4 at Kingswood Elementary School.  All 19 of the district’s elementary schools are invited to participate and each school can enter up to three teams of six students.

There were three rounds in the Math Challenge.  The first round was a speed round containing 30 problems that students must collaborate and solve in a 15 minute timeframe.  The second and third rounds had six questions each that are focused more on problem solving and get more intense as they progress.  The second and third rounds had a time limit of 20 minutes each.

The purpose of the event was to entice, engage, and challenge students to solve math problems while along the way strengthening their math fundamentals.  Collaboration was also a strong focus of the event as teams must work together and strategize to complete the problems to the best of their ability within the time allowed.  Congratulations to all the students that participated! The results are as follows:

1st and 2nd Grades
First Place: Kingswood Team 1
Second Place: Canyon Ridge Team 3
Third Place: Sunset Hills Team 1

3rd and 4th Grades
First Place: Marley Park Team 2
Second Place: Kingswood Team 2
Third Place: Sonoran Heights Team 1

5th and 6th Grades
First Place: Sonoran Heights Team 1
Second Place: Marley Park Team 1
Third Place: Sonoran Heights Team 2

7th and 8th Grades
First Place: Sonoran Heights Team 1
Second Place: Sunset Hills Team 1
Third Place: Sunset Hills Team 3

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Posted : 5/6 | Direct Link
Shadow Ridge wins big in solar-powered go-kart race
Shadow Ridge Engineering Solar CarShadow Ridge High School engineering students took first place in the Speed and Endurance categories of the Racing the Sun solar-powered go-kart competition on April 27. Seventeen go-karts from Arizona high schools participated in the race.

“We had a great group of motivated seniors who worked hard to build a competitive kart.  It was very satisfying to see the kart perform well and to see the excitement of the students as they raced to victory,” said team coach and engineering teacher, Eric Bennett.

Shadow Ridge competed in the Maker Kart category, where they built the kart from the ground up. They had to develop the design, and have it approved before they fabricated the kart to ensure it complied with all competition rules and protocols.

The Shadow Ridge team had nine students on the team this year. Students built the kart with help from a local fabrication company, Bravo Tango, for welding, and parts from a bicycle shop, Build-A-Bike. They also received sponsorships from UofA Tech Parks and Tucson Electric Power to help pay for the entry fees and parts.

The competition was put on by the University of Arizona’s Tech Parks Arizona at the Musselman Honda Circuit in Tucson, Arizona. The Racing the Sun program starts in August, and is designed to introduce students to STEM career pathways. Teams work with industry mentors, participate in a career day and take field trips to high tech companies. As they work on their go-karts, they have the opportunity to solve real-world problems, and apply physics, engineering, math and other critical-thinking skills.
Posted : 5/3 | Direct Link
CTE hosts Community Advisory Board
CTE Advisory BoardThe Dysart Unified School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department hosted the first biannual CTE Advisory Board meeting in April.  Members of the community including the City of Surprise, Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rio Salado, Ottawa University, Benevilla, parents, and students provided guidance and recommendations to gain input on the industry outlook of the Surprise/El Mirage communities.  

The next advisory meeting will be held in the Fall to continue the efforts of providing and maintaining an educated and skilled labor force in the community through our CTE programs. If you would like to be a part of a future Dysart CTE Advisory meeting, please contact Jim Grieshaber, CTE Director, at or 623-876-7991.
Posted : 5/1 | Direct Link
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
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