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Minnesota Twins players set goals
Twins baseball player talks with class.Parkview Elementary had special visitors from the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.  Players join 7th and 8th grade classes to talk about goal setting and how to achieve success.  The "Your Success Story" program has had ball players visit Parkview since 2010 and the players involved are participants in the Arizona Fall League - a key arena for players to demonstrate their talents before moving up to the majors.

As part of the program, students share their passions and their strategies to make their goals a success.  The conversations highlight how the players have balanced such issues as nervousness, goal setting, and how to prepare for challenges.
Posted : 10/13 | Direct Link
Shadow Ridge counselor receives ACTE Career Guidance Award
Jan Fellow honored with ACTE Career Guidance AwardCongratulations to Jan Fellow, counselor from Shadow Ridge High School.  Ms. Fellow received the Arizona Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Region Five Career Guidance Award.  This award recognizes school counselors who made significant contributions to Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in his/her communities and/or state.

She was honored based on her efforts to raise retention and graduation rates through promoting CTE programs.  Jan expanded participation in both the Business and Marketing and Medical programs through classroom visits and Freshman Family Night.  Ms. Fellow will advance to the national level for the opportunity to receive the ACTE Excellence Award of the Year in December.

The ACTE is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. 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.
Posted : 10/9 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon Speech and Debate wins big
Willow Canyon High School Speech and Debate teamStudents from the Willow Canyon Speech and Debate Club attended the Southwest Speech and Debate Institute Novice Tournament on September 23, 2017 at Hamilton High School.  

This was the first novice tournament of the season.  Students competed in the Lincoln Douglas Debate, Public Forum Debate, Original Oratory, and Program Oral Interpretation events. Tanner Jenson earned top honors in four rounds of the Lincoln Douglas Debate. Gabby Garcia and Braydon Mathis won three rounds of the Public Forum Debate.  The talented team will put their new skills to work during the Jim Fountain Classic Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament at the end of October.

The Southwest Speech and Debate Institute is a not for profit organization thoroughly committed to creating high-quality, competitive, and dedicated educational opportunities for our students.
Posted : 10/3 | Direct Link
Shadow Ridge High School Seniors participate in College Application Day
Shadow Ridge High School students participate in College Admission DayIn partnership with the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education (ACPE), Seniors at Shadow Ridge High School participated in the College Application Day to assist in planning for their postsecondary education. With help from teachers, staff and school counselors, students dedicated two hours researching university, community college, vocational and military options after high school.   A representative from West Maricopa Education Center (West MEC) was on hand to share the various innovative career and technical education programs they offer.  This event was to meant to introduce the students to the somewhat daunting process of applying for college, answer questions, and ease their fears.  This is one of the many opportunities students receive throughout the year to plan their education once they graduate. Students wore their favorite college gear and signed their name on a “I Applied” poster once they completed an application.  

ACPE is dedicated to expanding access and increasing success in postsecondary education for Arizonans.  ACPE not only serves as a forum for all sectors of higher education to come together to address opportunities and challenges, but also to increase student financial assistance, identify and implement strategies to help students' and families plan, enter and succeed in postsecondary education.  Their goal is to provide support from knowledgeable professionals and accurate and timely information to help students and families take the necessary steps to enroll and succeed in a postsecondary institution.  

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Posted : 9/28 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge NEHS steps up to help HALO Animal Rescue
Canyon Ridge NEHS students donate to HALO Rescue ShelterCanyon Ridge School National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) students  recently donated over 220 items to Helping Animals Live On (HALO) Animal Rescue in Phoenix. The NEHS students began the process last year when they voted to assist an animal shelter as part of their community service initiatives for the 2017-2018 school year.  They learned that HALO was in need of assistance. Last April, the lease was up for the rescue and needed to downsize in order to move locations.   They required placement for several animals to find their forever home. The NEHS set a date early this school year to do a supply drive and donate as many items on their wish list to ensure they were prepared for the move.  During the school wide drive, the Canyon Ridge community donated over 220 animal care items.  The HALO Animal Rescue is one of the many organizations that the NEHS students hold near and dear in their hearts.  

The National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) was established in 2008 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals. NEHS recognizes students for their outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated personal responsibility. Through NEHS, students provide meaningful service to the school and community and develop essential leadership skills. NEHS supports these purposes by strengthening the lives of our nation's elementary students and the schools in which they are enrolled.

The HALO Animal Rescue is a safety net for thousands of homeless dogs and cats each year.  HALO is a private, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization founded in 1994 by Michel Herstam and Heather Allen.  HALO provides temporary shelter to abandoned cats and dogs until they can be adopted into a permanent home.
Posted : 9/27 | Direct Link
Canyon Ridge School celebrates U.S. Constitution Day

Canyon Ridge School students and AZ SAR present during Constitution Day

On September 15, 2017, the 7th grade students at Canyon Ridge School, in partnership with members of the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), offered a patriotic program to celebrate United States Constitution Day.

Known as “Meeting the Founders”, this project highlighted the talents of over 121 students and half a dozen members from various chapters of the Arizona SAR.  Middle school learners, dressed in colonial costumes of their own design, portrayed famous founding fathers and mothers and greeted younger grade learners. The founders conveyed important details regarding their colonial life and their contributions to the development of the Constitution.  Learners required a deep understanding of their topic as detailed questions were posed by peers and guests; including Gail Pletnick, superintendent of the Dysart Unified School District.

Each visiting grade level generated notes or formulated responses for graphic organizers from their interactions with the founders. Youngsters returned to class to share information and discuss topics in greater detail. Such inquiries focused on the role of the founders in the American Revolution and the important contributions made in the development of the U.S. Constitution.

In the two weeks prior to U.S. Constitution Day, 7th grade students selected a founder and performed detailed research, established related vocabulary terms, and explored biographical data.  These scaffolding activities enhanced their evaluation of the many talents and experiences of their founder; and their role in creating our seminal American documents. Drawing from primary and secondary sources, students had multiple opportunities for reading, writing, and the interpretation of historical facts. All classes formulated essays and note cards for their performance. Many students opted to increase the realism of their presentation by memorizing their notes.  The AZ SAR Saguaro chapter assisted students with research in their home room classes.

“Our chapter officers really enjoyed the opportunity to offer feedback to students as they researched the founders for this project,” states Mr. Allen Nash, President of the SAR Saguaro chapter, “We have developed a strong working relationship with Canyon Ridge. As part of our Americanism program, our members sponsored the history brochure contest on campus last year and various SAR chapters awarded prizes to student winners.”

During the U.S. Constitution Day event, 7th grade learners, and members from multiple chapters of AZ SAR, fielded a wide range of questions from students in grades first through eighth. The contributions of the SAR also included the Presentation of the Colors and a farewell address by General George Washington, himself.

“The quality of the student questions and their efforts at appearing as the founders was outstanding,” states Arizona SAR president, Mr. Steve Monez, “Each year the performance opportunity at Canyon Ridge School allows us to interact with students and increase the role of patriotism in our public schools.”

This academic year, the opportunities for collaboration between Canyon Ridge and the AZ SAR are increasing.  In addition to student participation in upcoming writing and art contests and classes, SAR members attended the annual 9-11 Remembrance assembly. Recently, the Saguaro chapter presented the Colors at a Dysart Unified School District governing board meeting and Patriot Jan Huber will be working in conjunction with music teacher, Mrs. Amanda Mutai, on a multi-grade presentation regarding the role of musical instruments and songs during the American Revolution. This November, the SAR will be directly involved in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Commemoration on campus.

The Arizona Sons of the American Revolution continues to be a valued partner in the classroom at Canyon Ridge School. Their knowledge and experience serves to enrich curriculum and provides exciting learning opportunities for students and their teachers. The efforts of the SAR support positive citizenship, patriotism and genuine historical awareness in America’s youth.  Photo Gallery

Posted : 9/25 | Direct Link
Valley Vista Choir Bears Down
Photo of Valley Vista Show Choir
The Valley Vista Choir continues to set the bar for quality music programs in Arizona.  Auditioning for the University of Arizona Honor Choir, Isabelle Hunsaker, Megan Lundberg, Lauren Ruff, Mikey Morel ,Sam Brown, Charlie Gray, Todd Horne, Matthew Lundberg, and KJ Kluge were selected for the highly selective choir that will allow the students to participate in an October event and work with collegiate faculty.

Additionally, nearly 150 Valley Vista Show Choir students auditioned for the All-State Show Choir where their professionalism was on full display.  Valley Vista had not previously had female participants for the highly selective group.   Making Monsoon history were Jeanette McNeill, Lauren Ruff, and Ally Provost who were joined by Mikey Morel, Sam Brown, and Todd Horne.  This is the fourth consecutive year for Mikey Morel.  Megan Lundberg, Piper Kidd, Natalie Benton, and Jeremy Costa were selected as alternatives.

With all of the accolades, Valley Vista has the second highest number of participants in the state.
Posted : 9/22 | Direct Link
Countryside students create biography project
Countryside students present pop bottle projects7th grade students at Countryside Elementary School recently completed a cross-curricular research activity.  Students learned and read about various historical figures who faced adversity and accomplished their goals despite setbacks that happened in their lives. Based on the research, students chose an individual and wrote a biography.  Through their writing, students were asked to show how each figure broke through adversity to accomplished their great feat.  Students also included what role technology played in helping their subject be successful. The project included a hands on artistic element in which each student created a “pop bottle” person to represent their chosen figure.  Students submitted their papers to Scholastic for a chance to be featured on “Writing with Writers” highlight of the website.
Posted : 9/21 | Direct Link
Willow Canyon hosts Constitution Day guest panel
Constitution Day guest panelWillow Canyon High School hosted distinguished guests for the third annual Constitution Day panel on September 15, 2017.  City of Surprise Councilman Skip Hall; Catherine Gaudreau, Associate Judge for the City of Surprise; Seth Dyson, Director of the Human Service & Community Vitality Department for the City of Surprise; and Laura Lawless Robertson, partner in employment law at Squire Patton Boggs participated in the discussion to students from U.S. Government and U.S History classes.

Students were given a brief biography of each panelist in class to prepare for the discussion.  Based on the information gleaned from the research,  the students drafted questions for the honored guests.  The panel spoke about how the Constitution pertains to their professions.

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens.
Posted : 9/18 | Direct Link
Shadow Ridge Architecture students host YouthBuild/Friendly House
SRHS students host YouthBuild/Friendly HouseShadow Ridge High School architecture students recently hosted YouthBuild/Friendly House students and faculty members for training on design and drafting skills through Softplan 2018 Pro architectural design software. The Shadow Ridge students served as "company trainers' and the YouthBuild students took on the role of "new company trainees" as they designed and drafted residential floor plans. This community service effort provided authentic workplace skills to both groups of students.

YouthBuild/Friendly House of Phoenix, is a national community service and education non-profit organization that provides youths with academic education, construction and occupational skills, leadership training, and community service learning. With the guidance and benefits provided by this program, youths will obtain their GED/HSE (High School Equivalency), construction certification, and move on to college, an apprenticeship or a career, making them independent, successful individuals.

The award winning Signature Architecture Program at Shadow Ridge High School is one of the many Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities at the Dysart Unified School District that allows students to achieve academic excellence through authentic, hands-on, career focused learning.
Posted : 9/14 | Direct Link
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