Canyon Ridge News
Donate Paper Without Leaving Your Car!!
National Elementary Honor Society is holding a paper drive staring January 30th. NEHS students will be outside during drop off and pick up to collect reams of copy paper directly from the parents/guardians in the cars! Parents will receive a coupon for a free Culver's ice cream for each ream of paper donated. NEHS is asking for both white & color copy paper. The students will distribute the paper to all the teachers throughout the school.
The paper drive will run through February 17th!
CRS Receives "Gearing Towards the Future" Awards
We are so thankful for our partnership with AzScitech! Today our students received awards for their submissions to the "Gearing Toward the Future" creations. @AZSciTechFest
CRS Celebrates 100 Days of School
The Canyon Ridge Staff and Students celebrated 100 days of school with activities and some games. Mrs. Benton's class dressed as 100-year-olds, popped 100 balloons and counted 100 dots. First grade students stacked 100 cups and made pictures with 100 items. Students and staff wore various "I survived 100 days" shirts. It was a great day on campus!
Q & U Get Married at Canyon Ridge
Mrs. Benton hosted a wedding for the Letter Q & the Letter U in her kindergarten classroom. Students were invited to dress as a character that started with the Letter Q. There were Quarterbacks, Queens and even a Question Mark walking around campus. The students were treated to a lesson on joining Q & U and what sound the couple makes. After the ceremony, students enjoyed treats and juice.
PTA's Family Bingo Night
Canyon Ridge PTA is Hosting Family Bingo Night on January 19th from 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm in the cafeteria. Bring the kids and join us for a great family event.
Canyon Ridge Students Explore History with Rosie the Riveters
As an important element of global historical studies, and an exploration of America during the Second World War, the seventh grade team at Canyon Ridge School participated in an assembly with members of the American Rosie the Riveters Association (ARRA) Sun City Chapter.
Florence Cook, who served as a Rosie the Riveter in the California defense industry in 1944, shared her recollections of the early days of World War Two and her work on aircraft components for the Boeing company.
"The attack on Pearl Harbor was a shocking thing and young ladies wanted to do their part to support our country. I started work as a Rosie at the age of 18; right out of high school. You didn’t think about the broader war too much, you just kept doing your job.”
Over six million Rosie the Riveters served on the home front during the war. In factories across the country, they collectively produced over three hundred thousand aircraft, one hundred thousand tanks, fifteen million guns and over forty-one million rounds of ammunition. Their efforts were key to the American and Allied victory in the conflict.
“Rosies came from all walks of life and did so much more than just rivets,” states ARRA Vice President Linda Lundberg. “Some Rosies were mechanics, electricians, welders, trainers and inspectors. They even became pilots and flew many types of aircraft from the factory to transport points that shipped war materials overseas.”
The students at Canyon Ridge School prepared detailed questions with follow up comments for all of the presenters. Students offered facts regarding the Second World War that they had learned in Social Studies class through reading, discussion, and internet research. They applied this knowledge to the real world scenarios, experiences, and the recollections of the presenters. This established strong community connections and a baseline for the historical context of events. Students came to recognize how major trends in history affect individual lives; as well as the fate of nations.
“The contribution of the Rosie the Riveters was one of the main reasons we won the war,” declared ARRA Sun City Chapter President, Barbara Cook. “Our Rosies had to do their best with every machine or component they built as American lives were at stake. Rosies were never considered Veterans by the Armed Forces but they managed to win the war without ever firing a gun. They built over fifteen million of them instead.”
Winter Break at Canyon Ridge
Have a fun and safe winter break. We will see you back in class on January 5th.
December 21st - January 4th.
Canyon Ridge Raises $17,210.21 for Kids Heart Challenge
Canyon Ridge hosted a pizza party sponsored by the American Heart Association for the top 10 student donors and the 55 students who completed Finn's Mission. In addition to pizza and juice, the students received a certificate from the American Heart Association. Way to go Canyon!!
Canyon Ridge XC Takes Home 7 Medals on Saturday
Under the direction of Coach Benton, Canyon Ridge athletes did an amazing job on Saturday at the cross country meet. Several students finished with times that were their personal best! Canyon Ridge had 7 students medal in the event. Way to go Canyon Ridge XC!
3-4 Girls Division
1st Place - Bella
2nd Place - Brooklyn
3-4 Boys Division
2nd Place - Troy
5-6 Girls Division
2nd Place - Blair
5-6 Boys Division
1st Place - Peter
3rd Place - Christian
7-8 Girls Division
3rd Place - Angelina
12 Days of Holiday Cheer is in Full Swing
Canyon Ridge is counting down to the last day of school before break with 12 Days of Holiday Cheer. The first week was a huge success with both staff and students dressing up on themed days. There were a couple sightings of Cindy Lou Who on Favorite Holiday Movie Character Day and the campus was ringing with cheer in every room on Jingle Bell Day!
Check out the calendar and help us count down to the Holiday Break.
December 12th - Tree Topper Day (Wear a Holiday Hat)
December 13rd - Holiday Stockings Day (Wear Holiday Socks)
December 14th - Ugly Sweater Day (Wear an Ugly Holiday Sweater)
December 15th - Silent Night Day (Wear Holiday Jammies - No Slippers)
December 16th - Holiday Shirt Day (Wear Your Favorite Holiday Shirt and Accessories)
December 19th - K-4 - Canyon Spirit Shirts - 5th-8th Grade - Dress like a Reindeer
December 20th - K-4 - Dress Like a Reindeer - 5th-8th Grade - Canyon Spirit Shirt
Mrs. Hoppe Serves Up Berry Smoothies
On Monday, Mrs. Hoppe jumped on the Dysart Blender Bike to make smoothies in the cafeteria. The smoothies were delicious!! Students can't wait for the next Blender Bike day!!
Canyon Ridge Student Places 3rd in Dysart District Spelling Bee
Congratulations to our 7th grade student, Jade for placing 3rd in the Dysart District Spelling Bee. Jade will go on to represent Dysart in the Regional Spelling Bee in March! Way to go Jade!!
Polar Express Night at Canyon Ridge - December 1st
Join Us for a Free event for the entire family!!
Thursday, December 1st 5:00-6:30pm
Join us for STEM activities, treats and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Food trucks and the Holiday Shop will also be available to purchase items.
Doors open at 5:00pm!
Students Go 18 Rounds in the Scripps Spelling Bee
A group of amazing students competed in the Scripps Canyon Ridge School Wide Spelling Bee. The Bee went 18 rounds to find the CRS district spelling bee representative. Nolan Norrell and Jade Arguello survived several rounds together before Jade Arguello was crowned the winner after spelling the word "pioneered".
Jade will represent Canyon Ridge in the District Spelling Bee. Congratulations to our winner and runner up!
Movie Night at Canyon Ridge
The Canyon Ridge PTA treated students and family to a free movie night on the back field. Attendees bundled up and settled in to watch the movie "The Bad Guys". Soda Rush Food Truck & V-Dawgs Hotdog Cart were on hand to serve up snacks and dinner. It was a great night! Thank you to the CRS PTA for arranging such a fun event for the students!
CRS Student Farmer's Market
Dysart's Food and Nutrition Services introduced our students to several fresh fruits and vegetables during a lunch time Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market program was introduced this year to give your student a hands-on nutrition education.
Canyon Ridge students were offered Carnival Cauliflower, Sugar Snap Peas, Mango, Jicama and Heirloom Grape Tomatoes.
Thank you Food and Nutrition for providing a fun way to learn about and try new foods!
Canyon Ridge STEM Cross Grade Collaboration Day
On Friday, October 28th Canyon Ridge students participated in a STEM day. Older students were assigned a younger student to work with on different projects. The students used a design process before testing their product for the first time. After the first test, students made modifications to improve on their designs and re-tested the products.
8th grade students worked with 1st grade students to design a Monster Trap. 6th grade students collaborated with 2nd grade students to make Safety Goggles to use during their Candy Experiment. 7th grade students buddied up with 3rd graders to create small parachutes and 4th grade students worked with Kindergarten students on several STEM activities. Our 5th graders were challenged to a few STEM activities with help from our special guests from A World In Motion (AWIM).
It was an amazing day filled with a ton of learning!
Canyon Ridge Earns an “A” Rating
Canyon Ridge School is excited to announce that we have received an A-rating from the newly-released 2022 State of Arizona accountability labels. This letter grade provides us a glimpse into many areas of proficiency and growth for our school, including information about student achievement, college and career readiness, student growth, and other key areas of interest. We appreciate our hardworking students, staff and parents for their contributions in making our school an A-rated school!
This is the first time the state has issued new labels since 2018-2019, due to House Bill’s 2910 and 2402, which temporarily paused the issuing of A-F letter grades. It is important to note that this year the state used the same cut marks as they did in 2019 for K-8 schools, the last year they issued letter grades. However, this year's K-8 growth score is only based on growth percentile and does not include growth-to-target.
About School Letter Grades: Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-241 requires the Arizona Department of Education, subject to final adoption by the State Board of Education, to develop an annual achievement profile for every public school in the state based on an A through F scale. The system measures year to year student academic growth, proficiency on English language arts, math and science, the proficiency and academic growth of English language learners, indicators that an elementary student is ready for success in high school and that high school students are ready to succeed in a career or higher education and high school graduation rates.
PTA brings Be Kind Assembly to Canyon Ridge
The Be Kind Crew presented to the entire student body on Tuesday the 25th. Their presentation was high energy with a ton of audience participation. The Canyon Ridge Students will be focusing on being... encouraging, supportive, positive and helpful!
Thank you to our PTA for gifting us with a great assembly!
Career and College Expo
Dysart Unified School District invites parents and students to a Career and College Expo on Wednesday, October 26 from 5:30 - 7:30pm at the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N. Parkview Place in Surprise.
The expo showcases Dysart's Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, West-MEC, colleges and universities, and military representatives so families can explore opportunities to pursue in and after high school. This is a great way for 5th through 11th grade students and their parents to get hands-on with all of the career pathway classes and programs offered at Dysart Schools. The event is free and open to the public. Details can be found at www.dysart.org/CTEexpo.
Dysart Schools currently offer 17 CTE programs at four high schools (Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, Valley Vista High School, and Willow Canyon High School.) Program options include Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, Digital Animation, Digital Photography, Education Professions, Engineering, Film and TV Production, Fire Science, Graphic Design, Laboratory Assisting, Law and Public Safety, Marketing, Nursing Services, Software and App Design, Sports Medicine, Stagecraft Design and Production and Technology Device Maintenance. Learn more at www.dysart.org/CTE.
CRS Students Practice Yoga
At Canyon Ridge School, our 5th through 8th grade students get to pick what special area classes they would like to take during each semester. Our teachers and staff work hard to offer diverse electives. We are excited to offer Yoga as a class this quarter. What a great way for students to decompress while getting in some healthy exercise.
Scarecrow Day at Canyon Ridge
Mrs. Benton's class celebrated the beginning of fall break with a Scarecrow Day! The class learned all about the purpose of scarecrows and how they help farmers. Students also decorated scarecrow cupcakes and colored pumpkin pages. It was so fun to see all the little scarecrows around campus.
Gibby Parra Speaks to Canyon Ridge 8th Graders
Gibby Parra is a photojournalist, reporter and on-air personality. He spoke to the 8th grade about opportunities in broadcasting and his love for the job. As a native of Arizona, Gibby has been Arizona's Family for 25 years and is a "go to" guy for Good Morning Arizona. The students were able to ask questions and several expressed interest in a career as a photojournalist.
CRS Students Study Chicken Feet
Mrs. Merritt's 7th grade science classes investigated chicken feet to discover how the body systems interact.
Kindergarten Apple Tasting
Mrs. Wiedeke's kindergarten students experienced apple tasting today. After tasting a red, green and yellow apple, the class favorite is Red!
The students discussed, shared and compared many different adjectives to describe how the apples taste. Yummm!
Canyon Ridge Baseball & Softball Have a Great Start to the Season!
Canyon Ridge started the season off with a win in both softball and baseball. It was a great day for our teams! The Baseball team won 12-0 and the Softball team ended with a 18-7 score. Way to go Cougars!
CRS Teachers Love Learning!
Teachers are learning how to co-construction knowledge by observing the phenomenon when ice is added to rubbing alcohol the ice floats in the middle of the glass.
Walmart Donates School Supplies to CRS
Canyon Ridge was happy accepting a large donation of student supplies from Surprise Neighborhood Walmart.
Canyon Ridge Students Become Published Authors
Our latest young authors join the nearly 50 Canyon Ridge School students who have been published with the Veterans Heritage Project and memorialized the service and recollections of eight Veterans since 2017. The middle level contributors to the current VHP writing group were: Evan Friedrich, Alexander Galindo, Andrew Galindo and Christine Ubochi. Their months of planning, reading, writing and editing were focused on Vietnam War Veteran, Patrick Richard Alley.
Patrick Richard Alley served as a helicopter crew chief in the United States Army, with many combat missions to his credit in Southeast Asia. He assisted in maintaining the Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” aircraft and managed operations while airborne. His crew was called upon to deliver troops, evacuate soldiers and civilians, and replenish supplies for Americans fighting on the front lines. Recollections of those experiences were enlightening for students at Canyon Ridge.
“I wanted to soak up the words and understand the challenges and hardships that determined Americans faced,” said student writer Evan Friedrich. “It is very important that the stories of our Veterans be preserved for generations to come.”
While conveying his memories of combat to our learners, Pat stressed that wars are not the only way to display heroism. “I define the word ‘hero’ as someone who forgets themselves and helps other people. You don’t have to participate in any way to achieve such a thing. In any moment when you are willing to forget yourself and put the needs of others first, then you become a hero.”
After his service in Vietnam, Mr. Alley taught science and mathematics for 33 years in Virginia Beach, Virginia. His real world teaching techniques, sense of humor, and genuine compassion for learners, inspired many of his students to later pursue professional endeavors in science, education or the Armed Forces.
“Pat Alley was the greatest teacher a student could ever ask for,” states Canyon Ridge School Social Studies educator Christopher J. Raso.
“He was my sixth grade teacher many years ago and has been a lifelong friend. So much of what I have accomplished as an educator is due to his example and guidance. With each passing year that my learners participated in the Veterans Heritage Project, I knew I wanted to find a way to tell Pat’s story of service to our nation.”
For 18 years, the Veterans Heritage Project has built bridges of cooperation between young citizens and Veterans. Their network of sponsors and publishers support cross-generational learning and patriotism while recording the experience of our service members for future generations. The volume became part of the collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Related student interviews, with those who served, are immortalized in the National Veterans History Project and are available as an online resource. Complimentary copies of the book are provided to the student writers, teacher sponsors, and their Veteran subject. Additional copies are sold to the public and inscribed by writers and Veterans at a VHP book signing event in Scottsdale, Arizona.
PTA Donates A Bag Of Playground Equipment To Each Grade!
The Canyon Ridge PTA donated a large bag of playground equipment to each grade level. The students in each grade are responsible for bringing out the bag of equipment for recess and making sure it is all accounted for before returning to class. It has been so awesome to watch the students enjoy all the extra items at recess but more than that, it has been amazing to see the pride they have in maintaining the equipment and gathering up each item after recess.
Thank you Canyon Ridge PTA and thanks to Onyx, one of our therapy dogs, for accepting the 6th grade bag of equipment!!!
Canyon Ridge had a successful first day of school! We were so excited to welcome back our students and families for another great year. Please continue to check our website and social media to learn more about all the great activities and events planned, as well as updates on our academic progress! We hope you have a great year, and please reach out if you need anything to help make your student successful!
Check out the photo gallery from the first day below!
Meet The Teacher Night
Join us Monday, August 1st for our Annual Meet The Teacher Night.
This night will be filled with information.
Den's Club -- Meet the Den's Club Staff, Fill out & turn in paperwork
Food Services -- Pay for Student Lunches
PTA -- Meet our PTA Board Members, Join PTA, Purchase CRS swag items
Fingerprinting -- We love our volunteers! Start the process to get approved to volunteer.
Last Name A - L -- 4:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Last Name M - Z -- 5:45 pm - 6:30 pm
We can't wait to see everyone back for the first day of school on Wednesday, August 3! Make sure you mark your calendars for event and activity dates and keep an eye on our new website for important information as the start of school approaches.
Our Meet the Teacher night will be on Monday, August 1, 2022. We will have two sessions. Families with last names A-L 4:45-5:30 and families with last names M-Z 5:45-6:30. Please join us to see the campus, meet your child's teachers, and get information on what to expect this year.
Still need to enroll? There's still time to get your children enrolled for the 2022-2023 school year! Parents and guardians can complete the necessary registration information online at Dysart.org/enroll at any time. Please note that in order to finalize registration the following documents will be required: government issued photo identification; birth certificate; proof of residency; and immunization records. For additional assistance with student registration, families are welcome to contact our front office.
Dysart Schools have many opportunities for the community to assist schools in providing an amazing educational experience to each and every student. Volunteers help to enrich children’s learning opportunities, provide individual attention to children who need one-on-one assistance, promote a school-home-community partnership for quality education, provide staff members with more time to work with students, and assist staff members and support personnel with non-instructional tasks.
Where is Help Needed?
- Classroom and teacher support
- One-on-one student assistance
- Event help (preparations, setup, operations, tear-down)
- Guest speakers (experts or retirees in various fields)
- Front office assistance
How to Become a Volunteer:
- Review the volunteer handbook and complete the volunteer application at Dysart.org/Volunteer
- Make an appointment for your volunteer orientation
- Coordinate your schedule through the school office
- Put on your volunteer badge and have fun!
Who Should Apply to Volunteer?
Anyone who cares about children and education is a potential volunteer. Parents, grandparents and community members 18 years of age or older who want to make a difference in the lives of children and support educators are encouraged to apply to become a volunteer with Dysart Unified School District. Volunteers are welcome in all of our schools and prior teaching experience is not necessary.
Learn more or apply here.
School Breakfast and Lunch
Dysart Nutrition Services ensures that students at all schools have fresh, wholesome and nutritious breakfast and lunch options to support their education and focus in class. Learn more about Nutrition Services at Dysart.org/Nutrition. Menus and nutritional information may be viewed at Dysart.Nutrislice.com.
Apply for Free and Reduced Meals
Beginning July 1, 2022 the USDA is returning to income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced meals. All families should complete a Free and Reduced Lunch Application at SchoolCafe.com to help maintain school funding and make sure that qualified families receive this and other benefits. Only one application is required per family, and may be completed at SchoolCafe.com.
How to Add Meal Funds to an Account
Cash and checks are accepted for meal purchases, or families may utilize SchoolCafe.com to prepay for meals online, view their balances, or place restrictions on purchases. Online payments take 24 hours to post to student accounts.
- Elementary Lunch $2.60, Reduced $.40, Adult $3.50
- Elementary Breakfast $1.25, Reduced $.30, Adult $1.75 High School Lunch $2.85, Reduced $.40, Adult $3.50
- High School Breakfast $1.25, Reduced $.30, Adult $1.75
A la carte and snack items are available for purchase on each campus, and additional meals are available for an added charge. Parents are always welcome to dine with their child, but please be sure to call in advance and check-in at the school office. Adult meals may be purchased for $1.75 for breakfast or $3.50 for lunch.
Employment Opportunities in Dysart
Dysart is the largest employer in both the cities of Surprise and El Mirage with over 2,700 employees. Dysart Schools offer highly competitive salaries, full benefits and an inviting school-year calendar with holidays and weekends off for most positions.
With a wide-variety of positions ranging from groundskeeper, to mechanic, to office staff, and teachers, we’re always looking for great people to join our Dysart team!
Current High Need Areas:
- Bus Drivers and Aides
- Childcare and Preschool Aides
- Behavioral Technicians
- Speech and Language Pathologists
- Special Education Teachers
- Math Teachers
- Science Teachers
- ASL Teachers
- Health Services Assistants
- Crossing Guards
- Maintenance Workers and Plant Managers
- Social Workers
Check out our current openings at Dysart.org/Careers and apply today!
Stay Informed on the Parent Portal
The Parent Portal is a great tool to stay informed 24/7 about your child’s academic progress. Grades, attendance, assignments and more are viewable in real time online or via the app, Campus Parent. A single login allows parents with multiple students to access information for all of their children in one place. Learn more at Dysart.org/ParentPortal.
Update Your Communication Preferences and Contact Info
To make sure that we can keep you informed in emergency situations, please ensure that your contact information is current in the Parent Portal. You are also able to adjust your communication preferences (phone, text, and/or email) at Dysart.org/ParentPortal or on the Campus Parent app to ensure you are getting the various message types in the way that you would like. Remember that if you select more than one type of communication per category, you will receive the message multiple times via each of those avenues.
Three Educators honored by the Arizona Diamondbacks
Three Dysart Schools teachers were recently named D-backs Most Valuable Teachers in STEM by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Huda Clemens from Western Peaks Elementary School received the honor along with Canyon Ridge School teachers Stefanie Lump and Lacey Merritt.
This recognition supports ten outstanding educators monthly from April through August and provides an opportunity to showcase the state's teachers and acknowledge their commitment to students for going above and beyond.
Below are excerpts from each nomination letter.
Huda Clemons was nominated by Lisa Garon. “She certainly deserves to be recognized for all her extra time, patience and desire to help students become better in the area of STEM,” shared Garon.
“Mrs. Clemens is our iExplore teacher and also runs an after-school Robotics Club. Since she designs and records the morning announcements for our building, she engages our students in those so they can be a part of the process.”
Stefanie Lump was nominated by Justean Palmer. “Mrs. Lump inspires students on a daily basis as she teaches STEM to her 5th graders,” said Palmer.
“She supports all the teachers at Canyon Ridge with their Scientific Process, giving them ideas for STEM buckets with kindergarten classrooms and unique STEM projects with the upper grade levels. Her students build STEM projects monthly and she is our main contact for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE): A World in Motion program where retired engineers from General Motors provide valuable presentations to our students.
Lacey Merritt was nominated by Justean Palmer. “Lacey Merritt is a remarkable STEM educator and leader,” shared Palmer.
“Being the Instructional Coach on campus, I see the dedication she has put into building our STEM program from attending workshops to teaching what STEM truly means, supporting teachers in the Engineering Design Process and challenging the students' thinking at Canyon Ridge. Her students thrive through her hands-on STEM projects that push their understanding of the human body to building structures that withstand a hurricane, all while being able to utilize the design and redesign process.”
The educators received a $1,000 classroom grant courtesy of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and Honeywell. Additionally, the educators received tickets to a recent Diamondbacks game and on-field recognition. They will be considered for the Most Valuable Teacher of the Year, which includes a $5,000 classroom grant and on-field recognition.
Canyon Ridge Students Receive Awards from Arizona DAR
Canyon Ridge School, in partnership with the Arizona Daughters of the American Revolution (Arizona DAR) - Agua Fria chapter, recently recognized the seventh grade team for participating in the 2021-2022 National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) History Essay Contest. Middle level learners, their teachers, and community guests recently gathered for an awards assembly and to honor student Charles Riley III who won first place in the contest on the chapter level. He received a special award and a prize. His outstanding work will now advance to the Arizona DAR state level competition. More than 100 additional learners that submitted a contest entry were presented with a certificate of participation for their efforts.
The theme of the annual contest involved the one-hundredth anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Each student generated a thought provoking historical essay of 600 words or more that highlighted the importance of the national monument. The essay prompt required a combination of historical facts, patriotic perspectives, and fictional characters. Learners performed internet research to determine the design, construction and purpose of the tomb. They also included facts from their study of the First World War in social studies class and the creative writing techniques and conventions provided during Language Arts instruction.
“The students did wonderful work and were so creative,” stated Arizona DAR - Agua Fria member Shirley Staggs. “They really had a great grasp of the prompt and the importance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”
“Each year our collaboration with Canyon Ridge School gets better and better,” stated Arizona DAR - Agua Fria Regent Twila Lobitz. “The seventh grade team has demonstrated great creativity and a genuine sense of patriotism.”
DAR Awards First Place to Canyon Ridge Student
Congratulations to Christina Ubochi, seventh grade student at Canyon Ridge School, for winning first place in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) 2020-2021 American History Essay Contest. Sponsored by multiple local groups of the Arizona DAR, including the Agua Fria and White Tanks chapters, the contest offers middle level students the opportunity to explore a historical topic related to the Revolutionary War; while promoting creativity with the inclusion of fictional elements.
This year all contest entries highlighted the pivotal role of the Boston Massacre in the outbreak of hostilities between England and the thirteen colonies. Students were asked to imagine that they were living in Boston at the time and witnessed the protests and deadly response of March 5, 1770. The prompt required learners to include genuine historical details based on research; combined with creative elements and quotations. Learners formulated a family discussion that focused on the organization of the colonists for a coming push for independence. Each essay was required to be 600 words in length and was judged based on multiple criteria including: historical accuracy, originality, and writing conventions.
“The contest allows students to think creatively regarding social studies,” states Canyon Ridge School social studies teacher Christopher Raso. “By promoting elements of fact and fiction in each essay, our learners are combining curricular elements of both social studies and language arts in their work while personalizing their understanding of American history.”
Christina Ubochi received a first place certificate, a DAR medal, and a gift card for her accomplishment. Her essay will now advance to the state level DAR competition for further consideration. For the third consecutive year, Canyon Ridge School submitted more than 50 essays for the contest and continues to work closely with Arizona Daughter of the American Revolution on a variety of endeavors designed to promote patriotism, character development, and creativity in our young citizens.
Canyon Ridge School Student Recognized in National Contest
Emilia Escobar, an eighth-grade student at Canyon Ridge School was selected for an Honorable Mention in the national finals of the 2020 National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Sergeant Moses Adams Middle School History Brochure Contest. Sponsored locally by the members of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Saguaro Chapter, the brochure contest provides middle level learners with an opportunity to formulate a creative brochure regarding a seminal document from American history.
Learners perform research and formulate an artistic hand-drawn brochure that balances factual information, historical perspectives and colorful illustrations. Seventh and eighth grade social studies classes incorporate the contest into the parameters of their curriculum and lessons. Learners evaluate the meaning and significance of: the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers. Students then pick one of these foundational documents as the topic of their brochure. Class research is combined with many hours of effort spent outside of school on the layout design and decorating process.
For the third consecutive year, seventh and eighth grade teams generated over one hundred entries for the contest. Members of the Arizona SAR judged each brochure and three winners were selected by each participating SAR group; Saguaro, Prescott and Barry M. Goldwater chapters.
Emilia Escobar’s brochure advanced from the state level and to the national level of the contest. Her Honorable Mention award was the result of being selected from a field of hundreds of entries in the combined local, state, and national contest. For all of her hard work on this patriotic endeavor, Emilia received a certificate of merit, cash prizes on the state and local levels, a gift card and a medal achievement from the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
In preparation for the 2021 Arizona SAR brochure contest, the current middle level teams at Canyon Ridge School have prepared 120 entries for the competition.
Canyon Ridge Spreads Kindness Through Music
The fifth through eighth grade music students at Canyon Ridge School created a special YouTube mix of positive songs to express their gratitude for the commitment and support healthcare and emergency professionals provide to our communities during these difficult times. This gift of music was created with healthcare providers in mind as a thank you with the main goal of lifting their spirits. Students researched and assembled a collection of songs that have a positive, upbeat, or moving message.
In addition to the compilation of songs, students created 100 cards to celebrate the Centennial year of Dysart with their notes of gratitude. The cards and songs were shared with district school nurses and healthcare heroes around the Valley at locations including Banner Del E. Webb, Boswell, Destiny Springs, and Hospice. Newly graduating nurses at Chamberlain University will also be recipients of the music and cards.
“We know that these students are studying hard and getting ready to step into the nursing field at an unusually challenging time, so we are hoping to provide them with some encouragement along the way, ” said Amanda Mutai, Canyon Ridge School Music Educator and Choral Director.
During the delivery of the gift, nurses were moved to tears when accepting the appreciation.
“We really need to take this time to show our health care workers just how much they mean to us. They are tired, I'm seeing this first hand within my own family who work in healthcare. I was moved to make sure that they knew we are here to support them, too,” said Mutai.
Canyon Ridge Schools invites anyone in the community to join in and listen to the songs available on the link below.
VFW Presents Flag to District Leader
In celebration of Veterans Day 2020, Canyon Ridge School, in conjunction with Veterans of Foreign War Post 10695 in Sun City West, offered a flag folding ceremony and presentation to honor a longtime supporter of Veterans programs in the Dysart Unified School District; Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean.
The event took place at the Dysart Unified School District office in Surprise, Arizona and was attended by community members, principals, teachers, superintendents and many members of the district office staff. The ceremony was aired live on Facebook and the flag folding was conducted by Vietnam Veterans and heroes, Mr. Dennis Grau, United States Navy and Mr. Don Burnett, United States Army. The narration and symbolic meaning of each fold of the flag was presented by Mrs. Harriett Grau of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary.
“This symbol of our country is presented to Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean for his many years of dedication to the Veterans program in this district,” states Mr. Grau.
Mr. Dean, current Assistant Superintendent of Support Services, operated for many years as a principal in the Dysart district and served at Sunset Hills Elementary School and Canyon Ridge School, during the formative years of both schools. His affiliation and support of VFW causes, such as Veterans in the Classroom, has been consistent for over a decade.
“The ceremony today is an extension of the annual Veterans Commemoration event that we have performed at Canyon Ridge School for over ten years,” said Christopher Raso, seventh grade Social Studies Teacher. “The current pandemic does not allow us to proceed with our school-wide assembly but we could not let the day pass without honoring our Veterans, presenting them with cards and letters of gratitude from students, and providing an opportunity for the presentation of this well-deserved award to Mr. Dean.”
Mrs. Jill Hoppe, principal of Canyon Ridge School stated, “Our Veterans have given so much of themselves to our country and continue to foster patriotism in us all.”
Canyon Ridge Veterans Heritage Project Partnership
On September 9, 2020 middle level learners from Canyon Ridge School offered a presentation of patriotic challenge coins and newly published books during the September 9, 2020 governing board meeting.
For nearly four years, students from Canyon Ridge School have actively participated as authors and members in the Veterans Heritage Project (VHP). This patriotic program, which brings young people and Veterans together to share the experiences of those who have served our nation, allows learners to interview Veterans, formulate essays and articles, and publish the results in an annual hardbound publication entitled, “Since You Asked.” Volumes are then purchased by community members and all stakeholders join for a book signing and patriotic celebration each spring. To immortalize the important work of Veterans and students, the volume becomes a part of the Library of Congress in Washington DC and recorded interviews are archived for the national Veterans History Project.
“The partnership between our school and the VHP has resulted in ten documented Veteran interviews and eight published accounts of combat experiences over a four year period,” states Canyon Ridge School VHP Chapter Advisor Christopher Raso.
“As a Social Studies teacher, I have been deeply impressed by the dedication of the VHP organization and the loyalty our students have towards our Veterans and the archiving process. This program brings history alive for students and offers deeper insight into our civil liberties and those who defend them.”
Over fifty middle level learners have applied their talents, time and heart to the VHP effort at Canyon Ridge. Each year, they present challenge coins to the district governing board and copies of the latest VHP book to the leadership team. The event also celebrates the contributions of various community based organizations that support the school with financial donations to cover the cost of publishing. Among these outstanding groups are the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10695 in Sun City West, and the Arizona Daughters of the American Revolution.
“Our goal has been to remember how important American Veterans really are and all that they have done for us,” said Canyon Ridge alumni Grace Ferencik.
“We owe them so much more than we could ever repay and the Veterans Heritage Project at Canyon Ridge has provided us a way to give something back to our heroes.”
Canyon Ridge student recognized in National SAR Contest
Congratulations to Canyon Ridge School student, Kevin Sykes for winning 5th place in the National Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) Poster Contest. Kevin completed his entry, regarding the Articles of Confederation, last year in Mrs. Melissa Bennett’s fifth grade social studies class. Each student in the grade level generated a poster for the annual campus wide celebration of United States Constitution Day. These well researched, hand drawn examples of American history were displayed alongside the Gilder Lehrman Institute Freedom exhibit in the campus media center. After the event, all posters were submitted to the local chapter of the SAR for contest consideration.
The rules of the competition allowed for the formulation of a poster that addressed an important event that took place during the American Revolution. Posters were judged based on historical accuracy, creativity, and overall presentation. Kevin Sykes won first place at the local level; in the SAR Saguaro Chapter contest and his teammates, Frida Santana and Ashley Meyer, secured second and third place. Students received special certificates of achievement and prizes from Arizona SAR; via a Canyon Ridge Zoom awards presentation.
Kevin Sykes then advanced to the state level contest and secured first place in Arizona, Kevin’s poster advanced for national consideration in the Spring. He won fifth place, an honorable mention, in the nationals; while competing against many other student posters from across the United States.
“We are very proud of Kevin Sykes,” states SAR Saguaro Chapter President, Mike Fisch, “He is the first student in the state of Arizona to ever win a place in a national SAR contest. His work was superb and he deserves this recognition.”
For all his efforts, Kevin Sykes received a certificate and personalized letter from representatives of the National Society of Sons of the American Revolution. He also was provided with a monetary award, a gift card, an SAR commemorative medal, and various SAR publications; including a pocket edition of the Declaration of Independence and a book regarding proper American flag etiquette.
Students celebrate Women’s Suffrage
In celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, district students recently participated in a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Open House hosted at the Surprise City Hall on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The event featured a performance by the Willow Canyon High School Choir, book displays, a traveling exhibit, and suffragist reenactors from Canyon Ridge School.
The Roving Suffragist reenactment featured nine middle level students from Canyon Ridge, performing as “roaming suffragists,” dressed in costume and greeting guests in the City Hall Courtyard. The students shared experiences from their lives in the early twentieth century and elaborated in the historical contributions they made in securing the right to vote for American women. The students portrayed a wide range of suffragists from Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Frederick Douglass and Alice Paul. In addition to presenting information based on research and primary documents, the students also fielded a number of detailed questions from members of the public. Some of these inquiries came from local leaders such as City of Surprise Mayor Skip Hall and members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and League of Women Voters.
The event also featured a multi-panel traveling exhibit created by the nonprofit organization, Arizona Questers. The purpose of the exhibit is to trace the historical and cultural realities that shaped the struggle of women’s civil rights, and to highlight the civic involvement of women throughout American history.
Continuing in the celebration, the exhibit also made a stop at Canyon Ridge School where students of all grade levels were able to experience the exhibit and learn the importance of Women’s Suffrage. Students had the opportunity to serve as tour guides, presenters, as well as create bulletin boards featuring letters to the editor in support of suffrage, drawings, buttons and sashes, which were displayed and offered as keepsakes for visitors.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary, the exhibit will continue its tour with stops at several libraries, museums, schools, cities, and events around the state, some of which include Sunset Hills Elementary School, the Dysart District Office, Shadow Ridge High School, and Surprise Elementary School.
The Questers Organization seeks to keep history alive by supporting preservation, restoration and education. There are currently 28 Questers chapters in Arizona, and over 600 across the country.
Canyon Ridge student hosts blanket drive
For the past four years, Canyon Ridge School student Ollie McNeil has coordinated Buddy Blankets, an effort to collect blankets for those in need. This school year, with support from both the Canyon Ridge and Kingswood Elementary School communities, Ollie collected more than 550 blankets and exceeded the initial goal of 500.
Ollie was struck by the idea when his mom was tucking him into bed at night. “I was originally inspired to start Buddy Blankets after talking to my mom and learning that some people don’t have a home to sleep in at night, or even one blanket to keep them warm.” He thought he could provide a gift of comfort and warmth to those in need. The inaugural drive provided 150 blankets and the effort has grown each and every year. “To see how it’s grown with the support and encouragement of the adults Ollie has reached out to is just amazing,” said Ollie’s mom and Canyon Ridge teacher, Brooke McNeil.
To drum up support, a friendly competition was proposed this year. The school that collected the most blankets provided school spirit gear to the losing principal to wear on spirit Friday. Kingswood collected 358 blankets and Canyon Ridge came in at 297 total. Jill Hoppe, Canyon Ridge principal, and Ollie had to represent the Kingswood Knights donned in purple at morning drop off on December 13.
Ollie was recognized for his selfless efforts with a Dysart Extraordinary pin presented by Dr. Quinn Kellis, Dysart Unified School District superintendent on Friday, December 13. Superintendent Kellis honors individuals who demonstrate extraordinary acts of kindness to others by passing out the pins. “Hundreds of people will be warmer this holiday season because of Ollie’s work,” said Kellis.
With additional community support through donations bins at the City of Surprise Police Department and AZ Ice Peoria, where Ollie plays hockey, a total of 875 blankets were collected this year. The blankets were distributed among local charities that work with the Surprise Police Department. “Each year, I am inspired to start another blanket drive knowing that each blanket we collect keeps one more person warm at night,” said Ollie.