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SRHS and WCHS DECA earn Gold
SRHS and WCHS DECA earn GoldShadow Ridge and Willow Canyon High School DECA Clubs have earned Chapter Certifications through DECA’s school-based enterprise (SBE) program. To become DECA-Certified, SBEs complete a written project detailing how their business adheres to select model business standards. Shadow Ridge DECA was amongst six other high schools in Arizona to earn Gold Level Certification, and Willow Canyon was among ten Arizona high schools to become recertified Gold. Both schools earned the honor in the Food Service Operations category for the management of their school stores.

With their Gold Certifications, both schools have qualified to participate in the SBE Academy and competition held at the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Florida, in April.

DECA is a premier student organization that supports the development of marketing and management skills in career areas such as hospitality, finance, sales and service, business administration, and entrepreneurship.  DECA is one of the many Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities offered to prepare students for the academic and vocational skills necessary to successfully enter the workforce. Learn more at
Posted : yesterday | Direct Link
WCHS Key Club shines bright
WCHS Key Club shines brightWillow Canyon High School Key Club students volunteered at Tim Tebow’s “A Night to Shine” held at Radiant Church on Friday, February 8, 2019. “A Night to Shine” is an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs aged 14 and older. The evening is filled with excitement including limo rides, a red carpet entry, photos, lights, music, dancing, food, and fun for all involved. Willow Canyon Key Club students volunteered at the event to take photos as the “paparazzi” and spent time with the honored guests.

The Tim Tebow Foundation is committed to celebrating the uniqueness of people with special needs by organizing “Night to Shine” events all over the country, in an effort to provide an unforgettable night where guest are welcomed, valued, and loved.

Key Club is an international, student-led organization that provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character, and develop leadership.
Posted : 2/19 | Direct Link
NFHS Coach of the Year
NFHS Coach of the YearRachel Matakas, Valley Vista High School teacher and coach, was named the 2017-2018 Arizona Coach of the Year for Girls Basketball by the National Federation of State and High School Associations (NFHS).  Matakas was nominated by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) for her leadership abilities, role in shaping student athletes, and positive contributions to the community.

Matakas began her journey as math teacher and girls basketball coach at Valley Vista High School in 2006.

“Coach Matakas has brought respect to athletics in the Northwest Valley,” said Principal Bobbie Lockhart. “She works endlessly for the betterment of not only her program, but Valley Vista High School and the Dysart Unified School District.”

Coach Matakas led her team to back-to-back 6A state championships in 2017 and 2018 and the team is currently ranked #1 in the Southwest bracket for 2019.  
“Coach Matakas is 100% devoted to her team and their development as a team of character and honor,” said athletic director, Brad Larremore.  “She cares about each individual player and their future. Her energy and commitment are unrivaled.”

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) serves its members by providing leadership for the administration of education-based high school athletics and activities through the writing of playing rules that emphasize health and safety, educational programs that develop leaders, and administrative support to increase opportunities and promote sportsmanship.

The AIA is a voluntary association of public and private high schools which was established by and is responsible to its members. The mission of the AIA is to create and sustain an ethical culture through activities that encourages maximum student participation by providing AIA member schools with an even playing field to ensure fair and equitable competition in interscholastic activities.
Posted : 2/8 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon hosts Poetry Out Loud
Willow Canyon students compete in Poetry Out LoudWillow Canyon High School hosted the fifth annual Poetry Out Loud recitation competition on Thursday, January 31.  Speech and Debate co-captains Braydon Mathis and Lauren Tancil emceed the event that featured  more than 30 competitors.  Poetry Out Loud invites the dynamic aspects of slam poetry, spoken word, and theater into the English class. Through Poetry Out Loud, high school students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage.

Zoey Plytas received first place with her performance of "Bleeding Heart" by Carmen Giménez Smith. Alexis Covarrubio placed second with her rendition of  "I Have a Time Machine" by Brenda Shaughnessy.  Amanda Haynes  performed "The Lamb" by Linda Gregg and won the third place honor.  

Zoey will move on to compete in the Central Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition on Saturday, February 9th, 2019  at  ASU West.

Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Posted : 2/1 | Direct Link
DHS hosts HOSA blood drive
Student giving bloodThe Dysart High School Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club hosted a blood drive on Friday, January 25 as part of the Vitalant (formerly United Blood Service) High School Challenge. The drive is one of four throughout the year which helps Arizona’s youngest blood donors make their mark on the community by supporting lifesaving blood donations.

Dysart HOSA hosts quarterly drives to support local hospital needs. The Vitalant High School Blood Drive Challenge emphasizes community service with a focus on lifesaving activities. Students develop leadership skills as they coordinate blood drives at their school. Each school is assigned to one of eight divisions based on the school’s senior class size and geographic location and can earn awards based on the number of donations. In addition, students who serve on their blood drive committee can earn a $1,000 scholarship.

HOSA has taken on this initiative since 2015, earning awards ranging from Silver to Platinum. The students have had a successful year thus far, with the addition of over 30 donations at their most recent drive, and a goal to win a division title. The fourth and final drive will be held at Dysart High School on April 19, 2019 from 7:30am-12:00pm.

HOSA is a student-led Career and Technical Student Organization whose mission is to promote career opportunities in the healthcare industry. HOSA provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation and recognition exclusively for secondary, postsecondary, and collegiate students interested in a career in health care. HOSA helps build the confidence of students by providing opportunities and responsibilities that lead to realistic choices of careers and successful employment in the healthcare field.

Vitalant is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers and supplies comprehensive transfusion medicine services to nearly 1,000 hospitals and health care partners for patients in need across 40 states.
Posted : 1/29 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge presents Heroes of the Progressive Era
Canyon Ridge presents Heroes of the Progressive EraThe Canyon Ridge School seventh grade team presented a special program entitled, Heroes of the Progressive Era. This interactive learning experience offered the community  the opportunity to tour a traveling exhibit, listen to samples of early recorded music, view clips of silent films, and respond to students as they presented technology-based learning stations of their own design.

Dedicated to the great inventors and social reformers of turn-of-the-century America, the program offered presentations that highlighted the accomplishments of a wide range of important historical figures including: Thomas Edison, Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony, George Washington Carver, Theodore Roosevelt, Nikola Tesla, W.E.B. Dubois, and the Wright Brothers. Biographical information was combined with graphics, photos, and diagrams that described the contributions of each luminary of the Progressive Era.

The student learning stations were supported with additional visual and written historical details displayed on a twelve-foot long traveling exhibit created by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (GLI).

In the days leading up to the program, seventh grade classes presented their learning stations and served as tour guides for the exhibit to younger learners in multiple grades.  Primary level students asked detailed questions and recorded pertinent information on graphic organizers and interactive notebooks. More than 400 students participated in the tours and obtained many historical facts to bring back to their classes for further discussion and learning. Greater emphasis was placed on connecting the accomplishments of the early twentieth century with the technology and conveniences of modern America.

The Progressive Era event was attended by parents, students, teachers, district leaders, and a variety of community service based organizations. Volunteer groups and  valued partners including the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10695 in Sun City West, and the American Association of University Women, have been instrumental by providing the expertise and resources needed for expanding the scope of real world applications of social studies at Canyon Ridge School.

GLI is a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of history education in America’s schools. Their collection of primary resources is offered online for educators and a series of traveling America history exhibits are provided to public organizations across the nation. Canyon Ridge is the only school in the state to present the exhibit this year. Gilder Lehrman also sponsors various student essay contests and teacher recognition programs.

Posted : 1/25 | Direct Link
Sonoran Heights students spread kindness
Sonoran Heights students spread kindnessStudents in the Friends of Rachel (FOR) Club at Sonoran Heights Elementary School, are going above and beyond to bring a positive impact to their campus. The FOR Club is continually looking for opportunities to promote kindness on their campus. In the past, students in the club have painted rocks and handed them out to their teachers and friends in an effort to spread kindness. This year, they wanted to have a greater impact by inviting the entire school take part in creating the rock garden. The hope was for every student in the school to paint a rock and add it to the garden.

With the help of donations from local businesses as well as the school’s PTA, the club was able to gather enough supplies for the entire school to participate.

Friends of Rachel Club  is designed to inspire, equip, and empower people to create a positive culture change in their school and community by starting a chain reaction of respect, kindness and compassion.
Posted : 1/18 | Direct Link
DECA students earn accolades at Region 8 Competition
DECA students earn accolades at Region 8 CompetitionThe Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapters from Dysart Unified School District’s four high schools competed in the Region 8 Career Development Competition on January 15 at Estrella Mountain Community College.  The competition allows students to compete in various business and marketing events and are aligned with national curriculum standards and industry validated.

Dysart High School received more than ten medals. The students recognized include: Jaiona Head, Khaliyah Kelly, Angel Sanchez, Azucena Nunez, Yuritzy Sarmiento, Derek Christleb, Maurice Policarpio, Vincent Randol, and Horacio Mendoza.

Shadow Ridge High School received more than twenty medals between the following fourteen students: Lydia Brown, Tanner Smith, Cole Summers, Aidan Volkman, Caitlin Walton, Bryan Rivas, Sloane McFarland, Ryan Miller, Kiara Nelson, Michael Link, Cody Kobus, Skylar Edwards, Alyssa Cucci, and Cole Callister.  

Valley Vista High School took home more than twenty medals between the following fifteen students: Anthony Albee, Caroline Dors, Chris Garcia, Audrey Jimenez, Megan Leddy, Stevan Plascencia- Gutierrez, Ava Mobarak, Katia Rodarte, Janelle Juarez, Serena Rodarte, Alyssa Trujillo, Victoria Rodriguez, Ireland Luttrell, Harley Zubia, and Kloe Goode.

The following students from Willow Canyon High School received more than ten medals: Zach Taylor, Meranda Applebee, Roberto Cerillo, Tatiana Angel, Paige Martin, Josh Tunac, Gio Miranda, Sebastian Nassif, and Addison Enhelder.

DECA is a premier student organization that supports the development of marketing and management skills in career areas such as hospitality, finance, sales and service, business administration, and entrepreneurship.  DECA is one of the many Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities offered to prepare students for the academic and vocational skills necessary to successfully enter the workforce. Learn more at

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Posted : 1/17 | Direct Link
Luke Elementary student wins district spelling bee
Luke student wins spelling bee.Seth Ray, a seventh grade student from Luke Elementary School, won the 2018-2019 Dysart Unified School District spelling bee with the correct spelling of the word “etymology”. Each of the 19 elementary schools sent a student to represent and showcase their spelling talents at the event.

Seth, along with the other top four contestants including: Xavier Lamme from Countryside, Lena Mercado from Ashton Ranch,  Calvin Timbrooks from Marley Park, and Che’ Jones representing Dysart Elementary School will compete at the regional spelling bee taking place on February 23, 2019 at 9:00am, in the Youngker High School Auditorium located at 3000 South Apache Road, Buckeye, AZ.
Posted : 1/10 | Direct Link
VFW honors Kingswood teachers
Kingswood Teachers honored by VFWMiranda Linzey and Chelsea Hain from Kingswood Elementary School both received Teacher of the Year region awards from the Veterans of Foreign War Post 10695. This award honors teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and Patriotism to their students.

Linzey, who has taught kindergarten at Kingswood for the past 13 years, was nominated for her leadership and dedication to her students and the community.  “She focuses on putting the students first,” said principal, Jeremy St. Germain. She has made a lasting impact on the students at Kingswood and many eighth graders seek her out a promotion because she was their teacher in kindergarten and has stayed in contact with them since.  Mrs. Linzey also established valuable partnerships with the community by working to bring City of Surprise employees to the school to share their professional work experience with students.

Hain is a special education resource teacher who holds a leadership role as a model and mentor for teachers across the district who work to find interventions for students that are struggling.  “Her lessons focus on building pride in the school and developing a sense of belongingness for each and every student,” said St. Germain. Hain is always looking for new learning opportunities and will take her students to see a play at Arizona State University this year.

Both Linzey and Hain will have an opportunity to be recognized at the district, state, and national level.
Posted : 1/3 | Direct Link
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