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Students tackle annual Math Challenge
Kingswood students gather around a table to complete a math challenge with pencil and paper.Students from across the district in 1st through 8th grades participated in the annual Math Challenge on May 4-5 at Kingswood Elementary School.  The challenge includes three rounds of team math solving that features speed and accuracy.  The purpose of the event is to entice, engage, and challenge students to solve math problems while along the way strengthening their math fundamentals, critical thinking, problem solving skills, collaboration, and improve overall confidence in math.  The results are as follows:

1st and 2nd Grades
First Place: Thompson Ranch Team 1
Second Place: Marley Park Team 2
Third Place: Sunset Hills Team 1

3rd and 4th Grades
First Place: Mountain View Team 1
Second Place: Kingswood 
Third Place: Sunset Hills Team 1

5th and 6th Grades
First Place: Sonoran Heights Team 1
Second Place: Marley Park Team 2
Third Place: Canyon Ridge Team 3

7th and 8th Grades
First Place: Marley Park Team 1
Second Place: Sonoran Heights Team 2
Third Place: Sonoran Heights Team 1
Posted : 5/7 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge student authors featured in publication
Canyon Ridge student authors featured in publicationA group of middle level learners at Canyon Ridge School recently became published authors when their collective essay was featured in the new book, "Since You Asked: Veterans Share Their Memories", Phoenix Volume 1, 2018, produced by the Veterans Heritage Project (VHP). Founded in 2004, VHP connects students with veterans, while preserving American heritage and fostering respect for those who served. The annual edition is based on the artistic and written contributions of middle and high school students throughout Arizona. In addition to being available to veterans, students and the public, a copy of each volume will be immortalized in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Canyon Ridge School represents the Dysart Unified School District and Northwest Valley in this important patriotic endeavor. The journey to publication began early in the academic year.  Seventh and eighth grade student volunteers joined the new VHP activity group on campus and began the search for a veteran in the community that they would like to feature in their writing. Since Canyon Ridge has enjoyed a long and enriching collaborative relationship with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10695, in Sun City West, their choice was not a difficult one.

“I joined the VHP group to show my appreciation for veterans because of Mr. Dennis Grau,” said eighth grade contributor Seth Nevers, “He is a commander in the VFW and spoke several times to our seventh grade class about his experiences in the Vietnam War. Mr. Grau also appears as a guest speaker at our Veterans Commemoration each year and sponsors the annual essay contest.”

Once the students  secured Dennis Grau’s participation, they began reading previous newspaper articles and speeches that were generated about his military experiences. This included information regarding his years of volunteer service in schools and his recent induction to the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. Learners worked with their staff sponsor to explore the historical events associated with the Vietnam War and to formulate meaningful questions regarding Mr. Grau’s experiences in combat.

Students held various roles throughout the project with Caitlin French as the reporter, Gavin Lump and Brandon Nevers served as writers, and Seth Nevers as the recorder and camera operator. The group conducted a series of interviews with Mr. Grau and a narrative of patriotic service soon emerged. Mr. Grau provided additional documents, artifacts and mementos for the students to examine. His recollections and moral lessons all became a part of the written product. After drafting and revising their work, the students generated a final essay nearly 2,000 words in length and included photographs in the final submission to the VHP.

Students and staff garnered monetary donations with support from the community and assistance from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10695 and the Saguaro Chapter of the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution (AZ SAR) to cover a portion of the publication costs for the VHP volume.  The generous donations in support of the VHP endeavor made the publication of the student essay a reality.

On April 8, 2018, student authors joined Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Grau and their VHP staff sponsor at a community reception and book signing event in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event featured over 50 veterans, Rosie the Riveters members, and included musical performances, recollections of service under fire and lessons learned by our young VHP contributors.  

The cross-generational learning opportunities of this program permeated the afternoon celebration as young authors escorted their veterans to the signing tables. In the case of the Canyon Ridge authors, Mr. Grau insisted that they join him for the inscribing of each book presented by those in attendance. Students signed alongside their veteran hero and a steady stream of well-wishers lasted nearly two hours.

“We never received a welcome home after Vietnam,” said Mr. Dennis Grau, “This event and the work of the children means a great deal to me. So many people wanted to speak with me and to have me sign their books. It has been an incredible day and a moving experience.”

Canyon Ridge School plans to continue the connection with the Veterans Heritage Project in the next academic year and become an official VHP chapter campus with additional staff and students participating in the project in an effort to cultivate new avenues for patriotic service, develop ongoing real world applications of curriculum, and build strong bridges of cooperation and appreciation with the community at large.
Posted : 4/10 | Direct Link
Riverview donates $2,000 to Kids' Cancer Foundation
Riverview donates $2,000 to Southwest Kids' Cancer FoundationThe Riverview School Student Council, in partnership with MidFirst Bank, raised $2,000 during the Hats for Kids with Cancer drive in March to support the Southwest Kids’ Cancer Foundation.  Participating students and staff donated a dollar to wear a hat and support the cause.  Students raised $1,000 in the initial drive and MidFirst Bank made a matching contribution to support the efforts of the student council.  

The Southwest Kids’ Cancer Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization created to preserve and advance Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks programs for pediatric cancer patients, survivors, and their siblings.  The camp supports more than 200 children each year  and is dedicated to improving the quality of life to those affected by pediatric cancer.
Posted : 4/4 | Direct Link
Valley Unified Basketball team earns state title
Members of the Valley Vista Unified Basketball team pose with members of the Dysart Unified Governing Board.The talented Valley Vista High School Unified basketball team  athletes and partners  earned the title of AIA Unified State Champions at the championship game in Prescott against Poston Butte High School.  During the 2017-2018 AIA Unified Basketball season, Valley Vista participated in eight sanctioned practices, two interscholastic games, and a sectional tournament where they earned the title of “West Valley Champions” to then advance to state.

Unified Basketball is an AIA-sanctioned sport supported by and in conjunction with Special Olympics Arizona.  The program was established to foster inclusion, camaraderie, and the development of meaningful relationships between students with intellectual disabilities (Unified Athletes) and students without intellectual disabilities (Unified Partners) as high school athletes, teammates, and training partners.

Both athletes and partners did an amazing job working together and supporting one another on and off the court and was an amazing experience for all involved.   The champions received gold medals and a big banner to display proudly in their gym.
Posted : 3/14 | Direct Link
Arizona Cardinals host Kids Camp at Sunset Hills
Arizona Cardinals Kids CampThe Arizona Cardinals hosted a Kids Camp for eighth grade students at Sunset Hills Elementary School on March 14, 2018.  Cardinals staff, team mascot Big Red, and former players including Ray Perkins and Rick Cunningham taught youth football related skills and conveyed a message of teamwork and reinforced the importance of education and physical activity to students.

The camp consisted of a short motivational speech and an interactive play area comprised of five stations teaching  football skills such as catching and throwing. Students received autographs from the formers players at a meet and greet station at the end of the event.  

Photo Gallery
Posted : 3/14 | Direct Link
MVES scores with robotic basketball
Mountain View students and staff pose with student project that includes small robot and basketball hoop.Mountain View School is ready for March Madness. The Mountain Lions brought the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) to the Arizona State University Sun Devils Arena on March 1, 2018 as part of a competition highlighting student achievement. All teams were tasked with demonstrating their robotics projects that had to meet the goal of making a free throw.

The Mountain View STEAM engineers built and tested their basketball court, 3D printed basketballs, and build and programed a robotic basketball player that could meet their goal for accuracy.   The experience was a unique learning opportunity that capitalized on student in class experiences covering the topics of robotics, coding, and critical thinking.
Posted : 3/12 | Direct Link
WCHS student earns second in poetry contest
WCHS student earns second in poetry contestLuis Antonio Juarez from Willow Canyon High School won second place in the statewide Poetry Out Loud competition on March 2, 2018 hosted at the Arizona Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) studios in Phoenix.

Antonio Juarez performed "Spanglish" by Tato Laviera, "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, and "That Everything's Inevitable" by Katy Lederer. He was scored by several judges including Dr. Rosemarie Dombrowski, an inaugural Poet Laureate from Phoenix.

"Poetry Out Loud is an opportunity for the performer and audience to experience a perspective that is not their own,” Antonio Juarez said “This offers insight into the rest of the world and fosters a respect for difference and diversity. We experience these feelings through various art forms, but I've found poetry to be the most graceful and effective."

He was awarded a scholarship and $200 towards poetry resources at Willow Canyon High School. Tune in to PBS KAET-TV on April 6, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. to watch the full broadcast of the contest.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life.
Posted : 3/8 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge teacher honored by SAR
Canyon Ridge teacher honored by SARChristopher Raso, a Canyon Ridge School seventh grade social studies teacher, was recently honored with two awards by the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Saguaro Chapter. Raso received the Arizona SAR Award for his submission in the the Tom and Betty Lawrence History Teacher Award contest which recognizes educators who distinguish themselves in addressing the history of the American Revolution. His submission will be entered into the National SAR contest.
Raso was also awarded a Silver Good Citizenship Medal and certificate for his ongoing collaboration with SAR to assist with history lessons and the inclusion of the SAR and Color Guard members in school and district events throughout the year.  Mr Raso also encourages his students to participate in various SAR essay contests including the upcoming youth brochure contest in which 100 Canyon Ridge students completed submissions.

The Sons of the American Revolution is a male lineage society that perpetuates the ideals of the War for Independence. The Saguaro SAR Chapter is an active group serving all West Valley cities and communities.
Posted : 3/5 | Direct Link
Zora String Quartet visits Arts Academy
Members of the quartet perform in front of students at West Point Elementary.On Friday, March 2, the Zorá String Quartet performed for students at West Point Elementary School and the Arts Academy as part of the quartet's educational outreach program.  The members hold graduate degrees in performance and chamber music from the Jacobs School of Music in Indiana University and were part of the Jacobs School of Music’s prestigious Chamber Music Performer’s Diploma from 2014-16.  The Zorá String Quartet has performed in U.S., Canada, and Europe, at venues including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Duke’s Hall at Royal Academy of Music in England.
Posted : 3/2 | Direct Link
WCHS Film/TV Students join MLB Spring Training Media Day
WCHS student Morgan Percy-Fine interviews Kansas City Royal Manager Ned Yost.The Willow Canyon High School Film and Television program partnered with High School Nation to cover Major League Baseball's Spring Training Media Day.  Students Isaac Barrio, Morgan Percy-Fine, Trevor Tuttle, and Lexi White interviewed Kansas City Royal’s Manager Ned Yost as part of the media briefing during the morning practice.  

Ms. Percy-Fine was surprised by the level of access provided by the Royal's organization and expressed appreciation to Major League Baseball and the Royal's communication team for providing the opportunity. 
“Everyone on our team was thrilled to be given this chance, and I don’t think anyone would’ve traded it for anything,” said Ms. Percy-Fine. “I had no idea that I would ever meet an MLB team, much less personally interview them, but I can say with certainty that it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”

Surprised by a direct question from the Royal's Manager, Ms. Percy-Fine’s training kicked in as she composed herself well, provided insightful questions about the game of baseball and how to keep Millennials interested in baseball with the latest rule changes.  The highlight though was the feedback local media outlets who expressed positivity in her ability to maintain her composure.

At the Glendale Civic Center, fellow Wildcat Isaac Barrio participated in the Major League Media Day.  Mr. Barrio conducted an interview with current Major League Baseball Executive and former General Manager for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, Joe Torre.  Additionally, Mr. Barrio was able to interview  Los Angeles Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, Seattle Mariners Manager Scott Servais, and Texas Rangers Manager Jeff Banister, about how baseball is working to appeal to a younger audience.

Mr. Barrio shared, "Not only was it amazingly fun, but it was one of the best broadcasting experiences I or any students could ever hope for."

The Willow Canyon High School Film and TV program is lead by Jacob Kindschy and is designed to prepare students for employment in various positions within radio, television, and film industries.  Working with groups like High School Nation for real-world opportunities is key component to Career and Technical Education because students gain authentic experience in their chosen field.  For more information regarding opportunities in Career and Technical Education, please visit
Posted : 3/1 | Direct Link
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