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Student ready to start high school

8th Graders Invited to Future Freshman Nights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/28/22


DYSART SCHOOLS - Students entering high school in the 2023-2024 academic year, and their parents, are invited to attend an incoming freshman meeting on Monday, December 5 to learn about high school expectations, unique programs, and the process for registration and class selection. These meetings are designed to provide incoming freshmen with an overview of the academic programs available at Dysart Unified School District’s four high schools and explain the process of registering for ninth-grade classes.  


Future Freshman Nights are scheduled as follows on Monday, December 5:  

  • Dysart High School - 5:30 PM at 11425 N. Dysart Road, El Mirage 
  • Shadow Ridge High School - 6:00 PM at 10909 N. Perryville Road, Surprise 
  • Valley Vista High School - 5:30 PM at 15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise 
  • Willow Canyon High School - 5:00 PM at 17901 W. Lundberg Street, Surprise 


Students and parents will learn about high school classes, course selection, unique and career-related programs, core curriculum, and graduation requirements. Attending Future Freshman Night motivates eighth graders to remain focused on their true academic goal – completing high school and beyond.    


Dysart offers four top-rated high schools to the community and is home to two top 50 high schools in Arizona. Three of our four high schools are “A” rated, and two out-rank all local counterparts. Visit Dysart.org to learn more about our high schools academics, arts and athletics. To view school locations and residential attendance boundaries, visit Dysart.org/Boundaries

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/28/2022 Direct Link

Student raising hand in class

Dysart to Begin Open Enrollment December 6

For Immediate Release 11/16/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - With the top-rated schools in the area, the Dysart Unified School District is proud to offer our community a choice in school enrollment. Dysart will begin accepting open enrollment applications for the 2023-2024 school year on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.  Parents or guardians who would like their child to attend a school outside of their residential attendance boundary for the 2023-2024 school year, must apply for open enrollment online at Dysart.org/OE.   


Dysart schools are among the top-rated in the state of Arizona in the most recent accountability labels issued, and is home to the #8 K-8 school in Arizona (Freedom Traditional Academy), three top 100 K-8 schools and two top 50 high schools in Arizona. Overall, the district has 12 “A” rated and 10 “B” rated schools based on state accountability labels, 11 of which out-rank our local counterparts. Additionally, Freedom Traditional Academy has the highest test scores of any school in the cities of Surprise and El Mirage. Dysart Schools have been recognized both nationally and internationally with AdvancED Accreditation, and are dedicated to serving the needs of all children with high quality academic coursework, before-and after-school programs, and services for the entire community.   


Open enrollment allows parents the opportunity to request that their children attend a Dysart school outside of their residential boundary area. This includes all Dysart K-8 and K-4 elementary schools, 5-8th grade middle schools, Freedom Traditional Academy, and high schools. Information about Dysart Schools academics, arts and athletic programs can be found at Dysart.org. Open enrollment applications can be submitted online at Dysart.org/OE beginning Tuesday, December 6.     

Parents whose students are currently open enrolled at the school of their choice will not need to reapply. The priority open enrollment period ends January 8, 2023. After this priority period, submitted applications will continue to be accepted and will be reviewed on a monthly basis as capacity becomes available.  Parents needing access to a computer to complete the open enrollment application may visit any district school or the front lobby of the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374, during regular business hours.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/16/2022 Direct Link

A stack of books and a computer

Curriculum Available for Review

For Immediate Release - 11/14/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - Members of Dysart Unified School District’s Textbook Adoption Committee will evaluate textbooks for grades 4-6 English Language Arts (ELA) and high school Advanced Placement (AP) Economics. The materials will be made available for review online and will be on display November 14, 2022 through January 13, 2023 at Freedom Traditional Academy, 16066 N Parkview Place Surprise, Arizona 85374. Parents and community members are invited to view the materials before and after school, from 7:15-8:00 AM and 3:00-3:45 PM. Two evening dates will also be available on December 7, 2022 and January 10, 2023 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.  To view the materials online, visit Dysart.org/CurriculumReview


All Dysart curriculum is aligned to state standards and current legislative mandates. To learn more about Dysart’s curriculum and adoption process visit Dysart.org/Curriculum, or contact the Dysart Schools Educational Services Department at 623-876-7173 for more information. 

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/14/2022 Direct Link

Star with district logo in the background

Dysart Doubles Number of A-Rated Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/01/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District has received 12 A-rated and 10 B-rated schools in the 2022 state accountability labels. This more than doubles the number of “A” schools in the district from 2019, the last year the state issued labels.  


“What an outstanding showing for Dysart Schools! We are so proud of the hard work that our schools have been doing to improve and excel in academics and achievement. These labels help provide a glimpse into many areas of proficiency and growth for a school, and can help us see what’s working well, and where further improvement is needed to do even better,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Dean. 


Dysart schools that received an A-rating include Canyon Ridge School; El Mirage School; Freedom Traditional Academy; Luke Elementary School; Marley Park Elementary School; Rancho Gabriela Elementary School; Shadow Ridge High School; Sonoran Heights Middle School; Sunset Hills Elementary School; Valley Vista High School; Western Peaks Elementary School; and Willow Canyon High School. B-rated schools include Asante Preparatory Academy; Ashton Ranch Middle School; Cimarron Spring Middle School; Countryside Elementary School; Dysart High School; Kingswood Elementary Schools; Mountain View School; Riverview School; Surprise Elementary School; and West Point Elementary School.  


Dysart had zero “D” or “F” schools, and only two schools with a “C”. 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. 


Highlights of this year’s Dysart Schools scores include: 

  • Dysart Schools more than doubled the number of “A” schools from 5 (in 2018-19) to 12
  • Dysart Schools increased number of “A” or “B” rated schools from 17 (in 2018-19) to 22 
  • 3 of 4 district high schools have an A-rating 
  • Willow Canyon scored in the top 25 of all large, comprehensive high schools across the state
  • In its first year of receiving a letter grade, Freedom Traditional Academy easily earned an “A” with over 100 points
  • Freedom Traditional Academy scored 5th highest in the state among district K-8 schools and 8th among overall K-8 schools
  • Asante received a “B” in its first year of receiving a letter grade 
  • Zero “D” or “F” schools in Dysart 
  • Luke Elementary jumped two grades from a “C” to an “A” 
  • Kingswood, Riverview, and West Point improved from a “C” to a “B” 

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.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/01/2022 Direct Link

Governing Board with Superintendent Dr. Dean

DUSD Board Hires New Superintendent

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/28/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board voted unanimously on October 27, 2022 to hire Dr. Jim Dean to serve as the next Dysart Schools Superintendent.


Dean has been with Dysart since 2005, previously serving as Acting Superintendent, Principal, Director of Public Relations, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Assistant Superintendent for Support Services. He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Acacia University, Masters in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix and a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University.  


"Dr. Dean is a proven leader with a wealth of excellent leadership experience which he has demonstrated throughout his seventeen years of employment with Dysart,” said Governing Board President, Christine A.K. Pritchard. “In the six months that he has served in his interim role, Dr. Dean has revitalized the district's commitment to academic accountability and school safety, while building an atmosphere of trust and collaboration with the Board, staff, and community. His expertise and professionalism during the recent transition in leadership helped to instill a sense of hope and confidence within the district and community, which was critical for Dysart's continued success and stability. Dr. Dean is an asset to our district, and I look forward to the multitude of accomplishments that Dysart will experience under his leadership."


The Board entered into contract negotiations with Dr. Jim Dean after the October 6, 2022 Governing Board meeting. At the October 27, 2022 meeting, the Board met privately in Executive Session to discuss the contract of employment, and voted 4-0, with one member absent, when the regular meeting resumed to approve the contract. 


Dr. Dean, who has been in the Acting Superintendent role for the district said, “It has been my greatest honor to serve this district for over seventeen years now, and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to lead and work with our outstanding students, staff and community. I look forward to carrying on the amazing work being done in our district.” 


The Governing Board began a national search for a new Superintendent in July, 2022. A timeline and details about the full superintendent search process can be viewed on the district website at Dysart.org/SuperSearch.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/28/2022 Direct Link

Front of Dysart building

DUSD Board Enters Superintendent Contract Negotiations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  - 10/7/22


DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board voted 5-0 on October 6, 2022 to enter into contract negotiations with Dr. Jim Dean to serve as the next Dysart Schools superintendent.  


Dr. Jim Dean has been serving in the Acting Superintendent role for Dysart Schools since May, 2022. Dean holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Acacia University, Masters in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix and a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University. He has been with Dysart since 2005, previously serving as a Principal, Director of Public Relations, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Assistant Superintendent for Support Services. 


The Governing Board began the national search in July, 2022, which produced seven applicants. In August, the Board requested feedback from the community, parents, students, and staff regarding characteristics they desire in a new superintendent, for use in the selection process. Three finalists were invited to participate in interviews with the Governing Board and a panel of constituents on September 22, 2022. The Board met privately in Executive Session during the October 6, 2022 board meeting to discuss the finalists, and announced their decision when the regular meeting resumed. Pending upcoming contract negotiations, the Governing Board is expected to officially approve Dr. Jim Dean as the next superintendent. A search timeline and details can be viewed on the district website at Dysart.org/SuperSearch.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/07/2022 Direct Link

Valley Vista National Merit Commended Students

Dysart Students Receive National Merit Commendation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/5/2022

DYSART SCHOOLS - Four outstanding Dysart students have been named Commended Students in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program. Students receiving the Letter of Commendation include Marissa Le’Levier from Shadow Ridge High School, and Andrea Cosio, Fatem Kadhem and Aiden Pinuelas, from Valley Vista High School.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise this year through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Commended students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2023 competition by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

“We are so proud of these students for their outstanding work. They have demonstrated their exceptional academic abilities and success, and we are honored that we have had the opportunity to help them hone their skills and advance their education,” said Dr. Jim Dean, Interim Superintendent. “We look forward to seeing what the future brings for these bright young minds.”

Andrea Cosio hopes to attend Harvard or ASU and major in chemical engineering with a goal to pursue the study of alternative fuels. She enjoys using her imagination and likes to paint, write, read and has an interest in avant garde music/musicians and art museums.

Fatem Kadhem plans to make the most of senior year by establishing a garden on campus. After graduation, the hope is to attend Arizona State University, major in mechanical engineering and minor in French. Fatem enjoys reading and crocheting.

Marissa Le’Levier plans to go to a university and pursue becoming a neonatologist. In her free time she enjoys playing softball and golf, drawing and hanging out with friends.

Aiden Pinuelas has a goal of majoring in history and becoming a professor. He loves playing board games, and has collected over 150 of them. His hobbies include reading, playing the piano and violin and drawing.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/05/2022 Direct Link

Student looking at her future with binoculars

Dysart to Host Career and College Expo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/04/22


DYSART SCHOOLS - 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


Businesses and organizations interested in hosting a booth at the event to highlight a college or career pathway can call 623-876-7987, email [email protected] or register online


About Dysart CTE Programs

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


Dysart Schools CTE is currently working with Sun Health, Banner Health, Subaru Superstore of Surprise, Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and the City of Surprise through partnerships and to provide students with extended learning opportunities and internships.  Businesses and organizations interested in partnering with the district should call 623-876-7991 or email [email protected]

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/04/2022 Direct Link

Sabrina Lara with her National Hispanic Recognition Award

Valley Vista Student Awarded with Academic Honors from College Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 09/28/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS – Valley Vista High School student, Sabrina Lara, has earned the National Hispanic Recognition Award from the College Board National Recognition Programs for excelling in College Board assessments and school work. Sabrina, who is a senior this year, received the academic award, which honors Hispanic American students who have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more Advanced Placement Exams. 


Sabrina Lara is a senior in the top one percent of her class. She is a member of the National Honor Society (NHS), and is the president of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) campus club. After graduation, she aspires to attend a university in California and major in business management, attend culinary school and become a pastry chef. Sabrina enjoys giving back to the community through volunteering when she has time. Her love for baking has even inspired her to create a social media account to share her creations. 


The College Board National Recognition Program grants underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country, helping them meaningfully connect to colleges and stand out during the admissions process.    


“We want to honor the hard work of these students through the College Board National Recognition Programs. This program creates a way for colleges and scholarship programs to connect directly with underrepresented students who they are hoping to reach,” said Tarlin Ray, College Board senior vice president of BigFuture. “We hope the award winners and their families celebrate this prestigious honor and it helps them plan for their big future.”

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/28/2022 Direct Link

Financial Excellence awards

Dysart Honored for Excellence in Financial Reporting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9/7/22


DYSART SCHOOLS - Dysart Unified School District has once again received awards for meeting high standards on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This is the 27th consecutive year Dysart has received the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) award, and 18th consecutive year that Dysart has achieved the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) award.  


“We take great care to ensure the fidelity of our financial reports,” said Ken Hicks, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations. “It is an honor to receive these awards that reflect Dysart’s dedication to transparency and accountability to our local taxpayers.” 


ASBO awarded Dysart Schools with the Certificate of Excellence (COE) in Financial Reporting, for meeting high standards for financial reporting and transparency. By participating in the ASBO COE program, school districts demonstrate their commitment to financial transparency and excellence in financial reporting. The CAFR must inform stakeholders about the financial and economic state of the district, and be a communications tool to engage with the community. 


Additionally, Dysart received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the GFOA. The GFOA Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by an organization and its management. In order to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, an organization must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This report must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements.  


The awards were presented to the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board at the August 25 board meeting. Dysart budget and financial reports are always available for viewing at Dysart.org/Budget.   


About ASBO International 

Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. ASBO International is committed to providing programs, services, and a global network that promote the highest standards in school business. Its members support student achievement through effective resource management in various areas ranging from finance and operations to food services and transportation. Learn more at asbointl.org. 


About GFOA

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources, and practical research for more than 21,000 members and the communities they serve.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/07/2022 Direct Link

Push pin marking a date on the calendar

Dysart to Host Meeting on Child Find Services and Procedures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 9/6/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District is hosting a meeting on Wednesday, September 21 to discuss Child Find procedures and the types of services the district is able to provide through Proportionate Share to families who have chosen to attend a private school within our district boundaries whose students have been determined eligible for and are in need of services. Proportionate Share is a set of funds set aside specifically to offer private and homeschool students some special education supports through the public school district.  


Families of students in private and homeschool settings, private school administrators, and private childcare providers within our district boundaries are invited to the meeting hosted by the Dysart Exceptional Student Services Department. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, from 5-6pm in training room three of the Dysart Unified School District Support Services Facility located at 13825 North Desert Cove Road, Surprise. 


About Child Find Services in Dysart Schools 

The Dysart Unified School District abides by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which requires that public school agencies ensure all children (from birth through age 21) with delays or developmental disabilities are identified, located, and evaluated to receive the supports and services they need. This includes all children living within the geographic boundaries of the school district – those who are homeless or wards of the state, are attending private schools, or are home schooled.  


Dysart Unified School District offers Child Find screenings for students aged 2 years 9 months through 5 years old who may have developmental delays. Suspected delays may be evidenced in the areas of communication, cognition, behavior, as well as in physical, auditory, visual and sensory development. Parents of a preschool child (aged 2 years 9 months through 5 years old) with suspected developmental delays that resides within the boundaries of the Dysart Unified School District, should call (623) 876-7022 (Select option #2) to schedule a free Child Find screening.  For additional information about Child Find for children younger than 2 years 9 months, please contact the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) at 602-532-9960, 888-352-4558, [email protected]

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/06/2022 Direct Link

District office building

Dysart Board Names Three Finalists in Superintendent Search

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 8/26/22


DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board named three finalists in the superintendent search at the August 25, 2022 Governing Board meeting. The finalists were selected from a pool of seven applicants, and were invited to participate in in-person interviews for the position on September 22, 2022 with the Governing Board as well as a panel of constituents representing the district. 


The three selected finalists include: 

  • Jim Dean - Dean holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Acacia University, Masters in Educational Leadership from University of Phoenix and a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University. He has served as Acting Superintendent as well as Assistant Superintendent for Support Services and Human Resources in the Dysart Unified School District. 
  • Kelvin Stroy - Stroy holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas at Arlington, Masters in Education, and Bachelors in Sociology from Louisiana Tech University. He has served as Chief Student Services Officer at Rockwall Independent School District as well as Director of Student Services at Mansfield Independent School District, and Director of Academic Programs and Schools at Cedar Hill Independent School District, all in Texas. 
  • Nicolas Wade - Wade holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University - Schaumburg, Masters in Leadership and Administration from Benedictine University and a Bachelors in Secondary Education from Bradley University. He has served as Superintendent of Lexington County School District Two in South Carolina and Elmwood Park CUSD #401 in Illinois.  


Earlier this month the Governing Board sought feedback from the community, parents, students, and staff regarding characteristics they desire in a new superintendent, which is being used in the selection process. It is anticipated that the Governing Board will complete the selection process in October, 2022, with a July 1, 2023 start date. A search timeline and details can be viewed on the district website at Dysart.org/SuperSearch.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise
www.dysart.org/SuperSearch

08/26/2022 Direct Link

Volunteer helping a student with schoolwork

Dysart Seeks Community Volunteers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 08/11/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District invites parents, grandparents, and community members 18 years of age or older to volunteer their time in one of 26 local schools.  


Volunteers play a critical role in schools by assisting the campus in enriching student learning opportunities to ensure they are providing a high-quality education to each and every student. Help is needed in a variety of areas, including classroom and teacher support, one-on-one student assistance, tutoring, front office and event help, assisting staff with non-instructional tasks, and guest speakers.  


Interested individuals should visit Dysart.org/Volunteer to learn more or to submit an application. Anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of children and support educators is encouraged to apply.  


No previous experience is required. Any person who volunteers more than five hours must be an approved district volunteer and be fingerprinted, or present a current Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card. Dysart Schools will cover the fingerprinting fee for volunteer applicants. Fingerprint clearance and background checks are valid for five years. Volunteer athletic coaches have a separate hiring process that must be completed. 

08/11/2022 Direct Link

Image of district office building

Dysart Board Seeks Community Input on Superintendent Search

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/8/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board is seeking feedback from parents, students, staff and the community to aid in the selection of a new district superintendent. The deadline to submit feedback is August 22, 2022. 


A brief, three-question survey is available at Dysart.org/SuperFeedback where the community can share their input on the characteristics they desire in a new superintendent. There is also an opportunity for submissions to note anything the new superintendent should be aware of for a successful start.  The district is sharing similar surveys directly with students, staff and parents via email to ensure everyone has an opportunity to provide input that will be used in the selection process. 


Interviews for Superintendent finalists with the Governing Board as well as a panel of constituents representing the district are scheduled to take place in September. It is anticipated that the process will be completed in October, 2022 with a July 1, 2023 start date.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

08/08/2022 Direct Link

fruits and vegetables in the lunch line

Dysart Participates in National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 07/27/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS — Dysart Unified School District will be participating in the National School Lunch Program. As part of this program, Dysart Schools will offer healthy meals every school day. Breakfast will cost $1.25; Elementary/Middle lunch will cost $2.60 and High School lunch $2.85. Your child(ren) may qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Reduced-price meals cost $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. 


Qualifications for children to receive free or reduced-price meals include: belonging to a household whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, belonging to a household that receives public assistance, or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster, or participates in a Head Start or Even Start pre-Kindergarten program. 


Household size and income criteria are used to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits if the household does not receive assistance or the children are not in the other categories mentioned above. Children can get free or reduced-price meals if the household’s gross income falls at or below the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guideline chart


To apply for free or reduced-price meals we highly recommend using SchoolCafe at www.schoolcafe.com. Paper applications are available in each school office and can be returned to the school once completed unless the household has already received notification that their children are approved for free meals this year. Applications include a letter informing households of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for their children and what is required to complete on the application. 


Only one application is required for all children in the household and the information provided on the appli­ca­tion will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verification of data.  Applications may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials. An application for free or reduced-price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. In the operation of child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability. 


Families can apply for benefits at any time. If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the Federal Guidelines. Contact Claudia Zamora at any time to request an application. 


Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, Nutrition Liaison will review applications and determine eligibility.  Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to: Kenneth Hicks, 13825 W Desert Cove Rd., Surprise, AZ 85379. 


When known to Dysart District households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free meals if they are members of households receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), if the State program meets Federal standards. 


An application is not required for free meal benefits for Assistance Program participants and all of the children in the household are eligible for free meal benefits. If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, or if a household does not receive a notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school to have free meal benefits extended to them. Participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, but they will need to turn in an application including household size and total income. 


When known to Dysart Unified households will also be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is considered “Other Source Categorically Eligible”, because the child is categorized, as defined by law as: Foster, Homeless, Migrant, Runaway, Enrolled in an eligible Head Start, or  an eligible pre-kindergarten class. 


If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school about their eligibility through the list above, or should submit an income application. Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if the household chooses to decline the free meal benefits. For more information, you may call Claudia Zamora at 623-876-7989 or e-mail at [email protected]



In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.


Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.


To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by: mail to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or fax at (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or email at [email protected]


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/27/2022 Direct Link

New website image

Website and Logo Updated to Better Serve Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/7/2022

DYSART SCHOOLS - Dysart Unified School District has launched a new website (Dysart.org) and refreshed its logo just in time for the 2022-2023 school year. The goal with the projects was to better serve the community through updated and improved resources, and refresh the logo to reflect the community focus. 

The new website increases functionality and accessibility for users, and improves mobile navigation through responsive design. It features easy to use pages for parents, students, and the community, designed specifically for quick access to frequently-used links. The new School Finder (Dysart.org/SchoolFinder) makes it easy for the community to search for schools based on interests, programs or offerings to find the best match for their child, and the general search feature was improved to get users where they need to be faster. 

The new district logo holds on to some familiar elements, but better reflects a community focus, increases usability, and includes a more modern design. It incorporates softer colors and more rounded shapes for a more modern,  welcoming and friendly design. The size and shape of the figures are varied to reflect the range of ages and uniqueness of the community that Dysart serves. A graduation cap was maintained in the layout to represent the end goal of graduating students, and an additional educational element was included in the form of a book to further visualize Dysart’s purpose.

The new district logo holds on to some familiar elements, but better reflects a community focus, increases usability, and includes a more modern design. It incorporates softer colors and more rounded shapes for a more modern,  welcoming and friendly design. The size and shape of the figures are varied to reflect the range of ages and uniqueness of the community that Dysart serves. A graduation cap was maintained in the layout to represent the end goal of graduating students, and an additional educational element was included in the form of a book to further visualize Dysart’s purpose.

About Dysart Schools:  Dysart has been serving the Northwest Phoenix Metropolitan community since 1920, and now serves nearly 24,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students.  The district encompasses 140 square miles, serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County.  The district is home to four K-4 elementary schools, four middle schools serving grades 5-8, 12 K-8 elementary schools, four comprehensive high schools, a preschool, and one alternative program.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/07/2022 Direct Link

District office building

Board Launches Superintendent Search

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/5/2022


The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board is seeking applicants for Superintendent. Applications will be accepted through August 8, 2022 at Dysart.org/Careers


Candidates must have the background, skills and abilities essential for excellence in educational leadership. Requirements include three (3) years of experience as a District Superintendent, and/or Assistant or Associate Superintendent of a rapidly growing urban or suburban unified school district; a doctorate from an accredited institution; possession of or ability to obtain Arizona Superintendent certification; and ability to obtain or maintain a valid Arizona Identity Verified Prints Fingerprint Clearance Card (AZ IVP FPCC). 


The Governing Board will be seeking input from parents, staff and the community on desired characteristics in early August, and plans to select finalists in late August. Finalist interviews with the Board as well as a panel of constituents representing the district are scheduled to take place in September. It is anticipated that the process will be completed in October, 2022 with a July 1, 2023 start date. Applicants may view a district profile for more information about the district, timeline and desired attributes. 


About Dysart Schools: 

Dysart has been serving the Northwest Phoenix Metropolitan community since 1920, and now serves nearly 24,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students.  The district encompasses 140 square miles, serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County.  The district is home to four K-4 elementary schools, four middle schools serving grades 5-8, 12 K-8 elementary schools, four comprehensive high schools, a preschool, and one alternative program.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/05/2022 Direct Link

Student with backpack ready to enroll in school

New Student Enrollment Available for 22-23 School Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 06/15/2022


DYSART SCHOOLS - Dysart Unified School District is accepting new student enrollment applications for the 2022-2023 school year. Parents and guardians can complete the necessary registration information online at Dysart.org/enroll at any time.  


Within the enrollment application, parents are able to select their home school, or request their child attend another school outside of their boundary school, including Freedom Traditional Academy, through Open Enrollment. Additionally, to keep up with their child’s academic progress, parents are encouraged to sign up for the Parent Portal at Dysart.org/parentportal or via the Campus Parent app, available as early as 24 hours after registration is finalized. 


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 may contact their local school beginning July 6.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

06/15/2022 Direct Link

Willow Canyon softball team holds trophy

Dysart Celebrates 9 Athletic State Championships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 6/02/22

DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District ended the 2021-2022 school year with nine state championships in high school athletics, up from six the previous year. The year’s State Championships for Dysart Schools include: 

  •  6A Girls Basketball - Valley Vista High School (VVHS) 
  •  5A Softball - Willow Canyon High School (WCHS) 
  •  Division I-II Coed Cheer - Shadow Ridge High School (SRHS) 
  •  Unified Athlete Track and Field - VVHS 
  •  Division I Decathlon - Kaden Passey, SRHS 
  •  Division I Track, 100 meter - Blaise Nelson, VVHS 
  •  Division I Track, 200 meter - Blaise Nelson, VVHS 
  •  Division I Boys Tennis - Kai (Cassius) Mills, SRHS 
  •  Unified Badminton - VVHS 


 “Athletics are absolutely on the rise in Dysart Schools,” said Dr. Jim Dean, Acting Superintendent. “While academics is always our primary focus as a school district, we know that extracurricular opportunities, like athletics, are often a driving force in keeping students fully engaged in school. We have made a focused effort to prioritize our athletic opportunities for our students, and it’s outstanding to see the progress we’ve made in just a few short years.”  


Dysart launched competitive athletics classes in the 2019-2020 school year, for high school students participating in after-school sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, spiritline, volleyball) to help students hone their athletic skills and abilities during the school day. This year’s wins are repeats for three of the titles - girls basketball, softball and decathlon. It is the third year in a row that Valley Vista High School girls basketball has won the state championship, and the fifth time in six years. In the 2019-2020 school year Dysart had one state championship, which grew to six last year and nine this year. 


Nationally, Willow Canyon High School won the USA Spirit Nationals for CoEd Small Varsity Show Cheer Advanced, and came in second for the Small Intermediate Song Pom Division. The school’s girls soccer team was honored with an AIA Sportsmanship Award, along with the Dysart High School boys volleyball team. 


Individual player accolades also abound, with multiple conference and region players of the years in various sports, a unified athlete of the year, along with the highly coveted Gatorade Player of the Year for Valley Vista High School Girls Basketball’s Jennah Isai. This is the second year in a row that Dysart has boasted this honor. Coaches were also highly recognized this year, with several region and section Coaches of the Year, as well as a rare High School Coach Hall of Fame Inductee for Valley Vista High School’s Girls basketball coach Rachel Matakas. 


Aside from high school athletics, Dysart’s middle schools competed in the Valley Junior High Athletics Conference and won three championships in the league, all with undefeated seasons. Dysart Middle School won the Boys Soccer Championship, and Sonoran Heights Middle School took the Boys Basketball and Baseball Championships.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

06/02/2022 Direct Link

Front of Dysart building

Dysart Seeks Employee Benefits Trustee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/31/2022


The Dysart Unified School District is seeking individuals that live within the Dysart Unified School District boundaries who are interested in becoming a Trustee for the Employee Benefits Trust.  One position is available for a three-year term. The deadline to apply is June 23, 2022. 


The purpose of the district’s Trust is to provide guidance and support on the district's benefits that are provided to employees. The Employee Benefits Trust has the following powers and duties: Receiving Contributions Paid to the Trust; Providing Benefits and Determining Coverage; Responsible for the Administration of All; and Employee Benefits. 


The Board consists of five member Trustees and meets four times a year. All Trustees are appointed by the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board. Interested individuals should review the Trustee Position Summary and submit a completed application at https://forms.gle/guy8goNuvJ1Rc5aH9.  


For more information, please contact the Dysart Business Services office at 623-876-7018.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/31/2022 Direct Link

Thanksgiving lunch at Countryside Elementary School

Dysart to Provide Summer Meals to Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/23/2022

Dysart Unified School District will host the annual Summer Feeding Program with free breakfast and lunch for children ages 18 and under from May 23 through June 16. 

Breakfast and lunch will be served Monday through Thursday, at El Mirage Elementary School, which is located at 13500 North El Mirage, AZ 85335. Breakfast will be served from 8:00 am through 9:00 am and lunch will be served from 10:30am through 11:30am. All meals must be picked up in the cafeteria, but do not have to be consumed on site.

Meals for adults over the age of 18 are $1.75 for breakfast and $3.50 for lunch. 

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/23/2022 Direct Link

Students perform at the annual Festival of the Arts

Dysart Doubles Number of Students Earning State Seal of Arts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/16/2022

The Dysart Unified School District had 100 students earn the Arizona State Seal of Arts Proficiency this year, up from 51 last year, and earning the second most seals in the state of Arizona. The arts seal is awarded to high school students who meet rigorous standards, and have demonstrated artistic literacy and high levels of competency in media arts, visual arts, dance, theatre, or music.    

Students must meet certain requirements to qualify, which include achieving a minimum “B” average on all approved arts courses, completing a minimum of 4 credit hours of approved arts courses, completing 80 hours of arts-related extracurricular activities, and a senior capstone project.  Each of Dysart’s high schools, including Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, Valley Vista High School, and Willow Canyon High School had students earn the seal. 

Dysart Unified School District was one of 41 school districts across Arizona that participated this year.  A total of 146 Arizona schools participated, and 1,001 students earned the Arts Seal, 100 of those were from Dysart for a total of 107 seals earned. Seven Dysart students earned double-seals for completing the requirements in two different disciplines, a feat accomplished by only 27 students across the state.

“We are tremendously proud of the hard work, dedication, and extraordinary amount of hours our students and teachers have dedicated to their discipline.  Earning this seal requires students to develop an end-goal, determine the plan to attain their goal, create a timeline with check points, deliver a presentation/performance and then write a reflection.  The art seal process alone is providing our students the soft skills that will lead into whatever path they take beyond high school. These students are fine examples of how the arts enriches our lives,” said Danae Marinelli, Director of Arts.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/16/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Board Commissions Investigation into Confidentiality Breach

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/12/2022

Each Governing Board member has taken an oath of office that specifically requires the Board member to support and uphold the laws of the State of Arizona in the execution of their roles. This includes compliance with all aspects of the Arizona Open Meeting Law.

During this past spring, the Board has met in a closed, executive session regarding contract negotiations with the District’s chief executive officer, Dr. Quinn Kellis, as is permitted by the Open Meeting Law. The Open Meeting Law expressly forbids parties who attend the executive session or who receive confidential information as part of their duties from disseminating the confidential information discussed in executive session. The Arizona Attorney General’s office has the ability to seek penalties for violation of this confidentiality provision.

The news of the agenda item that the Board considered on May 11, 2022 appears to have been leaked to the general public from the Board’s discussions in executive sessions prior to the publication of the agenda on May 10, 2022. This violated the Board’s trust and was not authorized. Further, it generated reckless speculation as to what the Board might or might not do. This breach is a potential violation of the Open Meeting law and has been extremely detrimental to the Board’s ability to conduct its business.

Governing Board members are limited by law in their ability to comment regarding executive session discussions and are limited in their ability to respond on social media or to requests by the media for information. The breach that occurred hampered the Board’s ability to reach a fair and reasonable resolution with its superintendent. The Board respectfully requests all those interested in the potential resolution between the Board and Dr. Kellis maintain all professional courtesies due to all of the parties involved and understand the constraints imposed by the law.

The Board has requested that the Board as a whole consider the commissioning an investigation into the breach that occurred.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/12/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Board Accepts the Resignation of Dr. Quinn Kellis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/12/2022

On May 11, 2022, the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board voted to accept the voluntary resignation of Superintendent Quinn Kellis, which will become effective June 30, 2022. The Board and Dr. Kellis also entered into a Resignation Agreement and Release, whereby Dr. Kellis will receive a lump sum severance payment for the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Dr. Kellis has served as Superintendent of the District since July 1, 2018, and had one year left on his current contract of employment. Effective immediately, Dr. Kellis will work remotely on assigned special projects until the effective date of his resignation.

The Board has appointed Dr. Jim Dean to serve as Acting Superintendent. Dr. Dean is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Support Services of the District and has worked in various leadership roles in the District since 2005. The Board will meet in the near future to determine its next steps to permanently fill the superintendent position.

About Dysart Schools:

The Dysart Unified School District serves nearly 24,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Northwest Phoenix Metropolitan area. As the ninth largest district in Arizona, Dysart is home to nine A+ Schools of Excellence, numerous state and national academic, arts and athletics honors, and boasts a 92% graduation rate. The district encompasses 140 square miles, serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County, and is home to four K-4 elementary schools, four middle schools serving grades 5-8, twelve K-8 elementary schools, four comprehensive high schools, a preschool, and one alternative program.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/12/2022 Direct Link

graduates

Dysart’s 2022 High School Graduations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/3/2022

DYSART SCHOOLS - Dysart Unified School District will host high school graduation ceremonies for the 2022 senior class on Wednesday, May 18.  The four graduation ceremonies will take place at the State Farm Stadium located at 1 Cardinals Drive in Glendale, Arizona.  Ceremonies will begin at the following times:

10:00 a.m. – Dysart High School

12:30 p.m. – Shadow Ridge High School

3:00 p.m. – Willow Canyon High School

5:30 p.m. – Valley Vista High School

All graduation ceremonies will be live-streamed by Dysart Student Broadcasting Live (DSB Live) students at Vimeo.com/DSBlive. DSB Live is a program to provide high school students with the opportunity for hands-on, real-world experience in broadcasting.  The live stream is free of charge, and will allow anyone to watch the ceremony live. The video recording will also be available to view or download after the event.

Graduation ceremonies are open to the public. There is no charge for admission or parking and tickets are not required.

Media inquiries should be directed to the Communications and Public Relations Office at [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/03/2022 Direct Link

Textbooks and computer

Curriculum Available for Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 05/02/22

Members of Dysart Unified School District’s curriculum team will evaluate 5th Grade Social Studies textbooks and online materials. The curriculum has been updated to align with the current Arizona History and Social Science Standards. The materials will be made available for review and will be on display May 9th, 2022 through July 7th, 2022 at the Dysart Schools district office located at the Nathaniel Dysart Education Center, 15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374. Parents and community members are invited to view the materials during working hours, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Please note that the district office will be closed on Fridays, starting May 27 and during the months of June and July. For more information, please contact Dysart Schools Educational Services Department at 623-876-7173.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/02/2022 Direct Link

Dysart Hero recipient is congratulated at the event

Dysart Honors 55 Staff Members as Heroes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/22/2022

Dysart Unified School District annually names staff members as Heroes to recognize outstanding service to the district and the community. This year, 55 extraordinary staff members received the honor of being named a Dysart Hero, after being selected through a peer nomination process.  The number of nominations received doubled this year, truly demonstrating the hard work and dedication of Dysart’s staff. Heroes were surprised with the awards by the Dysart Hero Prize Patrol, made up of district administrators and Governing Board members, over the course of several days in March.

In lieu of the usual ceremony and dinner this year, Dysart Heroes were honored during a ceremony on April 20, 2022 at The Vista Center for the Arts. Dr. Jim Dean, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services, was the Master of Ceremonies and read excerpts from the nomination letters. A commemorative Hero plaque, sponsored by the Dysart Education Foundation, was presented by Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis and members of the Dysart Governing Board. The Shadow Ridge High School choir provided a brief performance onstage. A take home meal was provided for each Hero from Sharkos Catering, so they could enjoy it with their families.

2022 Dysart Heroes:

Certified / Classified: 

Asante Preparatory Academy : Marissa Grahlman, Debra Jones 

Ashton Ranch Middle School : Allison Mooney, Michael King 

Canyon Ridge School : Jennifer Klein, Kristin Binazeski 

Cimarron Springs Middle School : Virginia Trujillo, Coleen Welborn 

Countryside Elementary School :Natasha Fallon, Natalie Cole 

Dysart Middle School : Hillary Bond, Holly Morris 

Dysart High School : Ashley Mette, Robert Romero 

El Mirage Elementary School : Allison Carnes, Guillermina Munoz  

Freedom Traditional Academy : Katrina McCloud, Traci Henderson 

Kingswood Elementary School : Jaime Payne, Britny Kraft 

Luke Elementary School : Megan Harshman, Amber McKendrick 

Marley Park Elementary School : Renee Best, Nichole Courcey 

Mountain View School : Laurie Swanson Puddicombe, Tricia Schooler 

Rancho Gabriela Elementary School : Carrie Jasinski, Carina Gonzalez Bravo 

Riverview School : Kacee Bock, Sarah Hernandez 

Shadow Ridge High School : Amanda Norton, Linda Martinez 

Sonoran Heights Elementary School : Laura Lundy, Kelly Davidson 

Sundown Mountain Alternative Education Program: Cathi Miller, Heidi Lindemann 

Sunset Hills Elementary School : Jackie Older, Kimberly Baker 

Surprise Elementary School: Monica Puentes, Lisa Sikorski 

Thompson Ranch Elementary School: Aida Chacon, Leticia Vigilant 

Valley Vista High School:  Holly Bejarano, Tracy Sargent 

West Point Elementary School : Keri Crowther, Bryce Flink 

Western Peaks Elementary School : Erin Ireland, Kaitlyn Knize 

Willow Canyon High School : Al Titkemeyer Lisa Hounsell 

District Departments: Christina Bergeron, iSchool & Rogelio Hipolito, Maintenance

Volunteer: Annette Ahlemeyer, Luke Elementary School 

Administrators: Kathy Hill, Director of Federal Projects Hannah Pacheco, Dysart High School 

The Dysart Hero Awards were sponsored this year by generous community partners including: 

 Diamond Sponsors: MP BAS, Valley Schools 

 Platinum Sponsors: 1GPA, CHASSE Building Team 

 Gold Sponsors: AG Parts World Wide, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, Cox Communications and Wholesale Floors   Silver Sponsors: Bel-Aire Mechanical, Biddle and Brown Fence Co., Blumm 

 Bronze Sponsors: Delta Dental, Sun Life and Teledoc 

 A special thanks to the Dysart Education Foundation for sponsoring our Dysart Hero plaques.

To view photos of the event please visit: https://www.dysart.org/PhotoGallery/Galleries/1966

 Media inquiries or future sponsorship questions should be directed to the Communications and Public Relations Office at [email protected] or 623-876-7196.   

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/22/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart to Host College 101 Night for Parents

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 3/24/2022

The Dysart Unified School District will host a College 101 Night for parents of 5th through 11th grade students interested in learning about the college acceptance and financial aid process for their children on Thursday, April 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Valley Vista High School, located at 15550 N. Parkview Place in Surprise, Arizona. 

“In Dysart Schools, we are focused on preparing students with the knowledge and skills needed for college and career success,” said Superintendent Dr. Quinn R. Kellis.  “College 101 Night is a great opportunity for parents and students to understand how to prepare for college.”

The event will begin at 5:30pm with a welcome from Dysart Schools Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis, followed by time to browse the college booths. Two informational sessions will be held at 6:25pm and again at 7:00pm where parents can choose to hear about a variety of topics. Participating parents will have the opportunity to learn about FAFSA, dual enrollment, athletics in college, studying abroad, honors colleges, military academies, saving for college, financial planning, and much more. Over thirty-five colleges will be in attendance along with military representatives to meet with parents and answer questions. Food trucks will also be on site during the event.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

03/24/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Willow Canyon Students Receive Cambridge Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 3/9/2022

Four students from the Dysart School’s Willow Canyon High School have received prestigious awards from Cambridge Assessment International Education, part of the University of Cambridge, to acknowledge their outstanding performance on Cambridge coursework and examinations

Johanna Delgado received the Top in Country (USA) award for having the highest score in the United States of America for English. Jacob Treat, Kennedy Ochs, and Paul Petersen earned a Scholar Award of Merit, which honors those who have passed at least three exams with a score of B or higher on the Cambridge IGCSE exams. The Cambridge Awards celebrate the success of students taking Cambridge examinations around the world.  More than a million students study Cambridge International programs in over 160 countries. This year, Willow Canyon had 45 sophomores take 69 Cambridge exams, and current juniors have passed 313 tests over the course of two school years. Of the current juniors, 23 qualify for the Grand Canyon Diploma, 22 have earned Scholar awards and 11 have earned Merit awards.

“At Willow Canyon, we are focused on having a ‘Winning Culture’ each and every day. These awards recognize the amazing talent, dedication and commitment of our students and staff towards this goal,” said Principal Dr. Adam Schwartz. “What an honor to have students excelling at such a high level both nationally and internationally!”

Willow Canyon has seen great success in student passing rates, with the majority of Cambridge students going on to take International Baccalaureate (IB) and/or Advanced Placement (AP) courses and graduating in the top ranks of their class.

“Our Cambridge program is a perfect foundation for our IB and AP students, whether they are working towards a full IB Diploma or just taking certain IB classes,” said Wendy Goetchius, Willow Canyon’s Cambridge Coordinator.

Mark Cavone, Cambridge International Regional Director, North America said: “It is extremely rewarding to congratulate Cambridge students and teachers at Willow Canyon High School who have worked so hard to achieve tremendous success in Cambridge courses and examinations. The results reflect the enormous talent in Dysart Schools, not only amongst students, but also within the teaching profession. Students from Dysart Schools have a bright future ahead of them, and I wish them every success in the future”

About Willow Canyon High School’s Cambridge Program

The Willow Canyon High School Cambridge Program began in 2012, and is the only high school in the district offering Cambridge courses. Each year over 200 students at the school are enrolled in Cambridge classes.  Many Willow Canyon Cambridge students qualify for the Grand Canyon Diploma. While many of these qualifiers choose to stay in high school and work on their academic goals before moving on to college, since 2012 four students have chosen to graduate early with the Grand Canyon Diploma.  In 2021, 12 students earned the full IB Diploma.

About Cambridge Assessment International Education

As a global organization with a 160-year history and part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Assessment International Education partners with schools and districts around the world with a shared goal of making education transformation a reality. High schools across the U.S. now utilize the Cambridge Advanced program. This program is part of an internationally benchmarked program that allows students to earn college-level credit in high school. Cambridge International uniquely provides an instructional system across four stages (Primary through Advanced) aligning rigorous curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment for all students in grades K-12.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

03/09/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Festival of the Arts Returns March 26

  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 3/4/2022

The Dysart Unified School District will host the Dysart Festival of the Arts on Saturday, March 26, 2022.  The festival will take place from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Valley Vista High School, 15550 N Parkview Place, Surprise. The festival is free to attend and is open to the public.  

The festival will showcase the visual and performing arts programs from sixteen elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools, in the Dysart Unified School District.  The day will be packed with performances on eight stages, to include various band, choir, dance and theatre troops.   The elementary, middle school, and high school visual arts programs will be hosting two showcases to include both 2D and 3D pieces.  In addition to all the wonderful performances, arts vendors, local artists and food trucks will be on site.  

This year’s presenting sponsor is McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. Some of the event highlights include an instrument petting zoo, WHAM Recycled Arts Make and Take Art Project, a Community Mural in which everyone can paint a part of the mural, as well as a Chalk Exhibition on the sidewalk.  There will be a table for an Instrument Drive for new or used instrument donations for Dysart Schools. There will also be an Arts and Crafts Vendor Fair, where local artisans will have their products on display for purchase.  Visit www.Dysart.org/ArtsFest for more details or a list of performances, vendors and food trucks.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

03/04/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Schools Recognized with Cognia Accreditation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 3/1/2022

Dysart Unified School District has completed an extensive review process and earned system accreditation by Cognia, a nonprofit organization that provides quality assurance for schools, districts and education service providers.

Cognia, formerly AdvancED, recognizes districts and schools, nationally and internationally, that meet rigorous standards focused on productive learning environments, equitable resource allocation that meets the needs of learners, and effective leadership. Earning accreditation from the Cognia Global Accreditation Commission means that the district and all of its schools are accredited, and that Dysart Unified School District is recognized across the nation and the world as a school district that meets Cognia Standards of Quality and maintains a commitment to continuous improvement. 

“Dysart is proud to receive Cognia Accreditation. The rigorous process thoroughly evaluates the entire district and reflects Dysart’s commitment to provide an extraordinary learning experience to students,” said Superintendent Dr. Quinn R. Kellis. “The results and feedback speak to the hard work that our staff does, and gives us valuable insight as we seek continuous improvement.”  

To earn accreditation from Cognia, a school district also must implement a continuous process of improvement, and submit to internal and external review. Schools in good standing maintain their accreditation for five years.

Of note from the review team in the final report were five themes: 

- The district has created and nurtured a collaborative, welcoming, supportive, cohesive culture and community. 

- The district acts together as a focused system to provide pathways and support for students’ success. 

- Dysart Unified School District has made exceptional progress and is on-track to continue to utilize assessment and evaluation to ensure efficacy. 

- The district has created, and both systemically and systematically aligned all actions with its stated goals, mission, and purpose, which are updated as indicated. 

- The relationships and respect established between the Dysart Unified School Board, the superintendent and cabinet, the schools, and the community have established trust and maintained efficacy through changes and challenges.

About Cognia

Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement services to institutions and other education providers. The result of the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, Cognia was formed to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, our 36,000 institutions serve and support nearly 25 million students and five million educators every day. Cognia serves as a trusted partner in advancing learning for all. Cognia is the parent organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). Learn more at cognia.org.  


For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

03/01/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Summer School Options Continue for Dysart Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 2/14/2022

Dysart Unified School District offers Summer School options to keep students on track, and to provide opportunities for them to remediate their grades or advance the accumulation of high school credits.  Courses are available for students from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and will be offered two ways, including online through Dysart’s iSchool program, or in person on various campuses. 

Online iSchool Summer School (Grades: Current 8-12 students):  

iSchool Summer School registration will begin Monday, February 14, 2022 for current and incoming high school students.  Courses are online and students may choose to take up to two classes, depending on when they begin their coursework. The deadline to register is Thursday, May 26, 2022.  The cost will be $100 per 0.5 credit, or $50 for those on free and reduced lunch or Dysart employees.

Dysart iSchool Summer School will run April 11 through June 23, 2022. Students who choose to begin on April 11 could possibly complete 1.0 credit during Summer School if they sign up for two courses. Students who begin courses at the end of the 2021-22 school year will only be able to complete one course for .5 credit.

All offered courses meet graduation requirements and are taught by certified teachers. While coursework is online, students will have access to in-person instructors for additional support, if needed. Students are required to take an in person final exam before noon on June 23 to complete the course.  For the sake of academic integrity, students must pass the final exam with a 60% to earn the credit, regardless of their grade going into the final.

Dysart iSchool Summer School is open to students from the four Dysart high schools, as well as students from other districts and charter schools. Current Dysart students that are interested can register with their school counselors, and current eighth graders may contact the iSchool office.  For additional information, visit Dysart.org/summerschool or call 623-876-7872.

In Person Summer Learning (Grades: Current K-8 Students):

Limited in-person summer learning opportunities are available for K-8 students. Programs offered vary by site and grade level and will run May 23 - June 16. Classes will take place Monday through Thursday, with the exception of May 31-June 3, where classes will be Tuesday through Friday.  Specific details and offerings will be shared by each school for current families. For additional information, contact your school front office. 

In Person Summer School (Grades: Current 9-12 Students):   Current high school students will have limited in-person Summer School opportunities as well. Programs offered vary by site and grade level and will run May 23 - June 9. Classes will take place Monday through Thursday, with the exception of May 31-June 3, where classes will be Tuesday through Friday.  Specific details and offerings will be shared by each school for current families. For additional information, contact your high school counselor.   

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/14/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart to Showcase Free Full-Day Kindergarten

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 2/9/2022

Dysart Schools will host Kindergarten Showcase events on Tuesday, March 8 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. so that families can learn more about the free, full-day program. The Showcase is a great opportunity for parents of future Kindergartners to tour the school, meet the teachers, and register your child.  Information on before and after school programs available through Dysart's Community Education Department will be available as well. 

Dysart Schools provide a FREE, FULL-DAY Kindergarten program in a safe, caring environment. The Dysart Kindergarten program follows Arizona state standards, and offers hands-on, real-life activities in the areas of cognitive, social, and physical development. Parents can learn more about Dysart School’s Kindergarten program at Dysart.org/Kindergarten.

Dysart schools offering full-day kindergarten include Asante Preparatory Academy, Canyon Ridge, Countryside, El Mirage, Freedom Traditional Academy, Kingswood, Luke, Marley Park, Mountain View, Rancho Gabriela, Riverview, Sunset Hills, Surprise Elementary, Thompson Ranch, West Point, and Western Peaks.

Registration for the 2022-2023 school year is now open for Dysart Schools. Parents may register their child online at Dysart.org/Registration or visit their local school.  In order to register for school, parents must provide a birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency.  To determine the school boundary for your residence, please visit Dysart.org/Boundaries. Open enrollment is available for parents who would like their child to attend a school other than their home school. Information on Open Enrollment is available at Dysart.org/OpenEnrollment.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/09/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Schools Receive Workplace Health Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 2/7/2022

The Dysart Unified School District was recently recognized by the American Heart Association and the Wellness Council of Arizona for efforts in workplace and employee health and wellness. Dysart received the Gold Level Workplace Health Achievement Index Recognition on December 2, 2021 from the American Heart Association and the Official Gold Seal of Good Health Keeping Renewal Award from the Wellness Council of Arizona on December 16, 2021.

The American Heart Association has defined best practices for employers to use to build a culture of health for their employees in the workplace. The American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index measures the extent to which the company has implemented those workplace health best practices. Companies recognized at the Gold level have achieved an Index score of 175 - 217 out of a maximum 217 points. 

Dysart was presented with the Wellness Council of Arizona’s Official Gold Seal of Good Health Keeping Renewal Award at the 35th annual meeting on December 16, 2021. The renewal shows Dysart School’s continued focus on employee health through an established relationship between the wellness program and health plan engagement with built-in components such as incentives for annual exams, blood work, and screenings among other things. 

Dysart’s Benefits and Wellness Manager, Janis Peel, received the awards on behalf of the district and the Governing Board recognized the district for these achievements at their January 26 meeting. 

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/07/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Cheer Teams Sweep Top Spots

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 2/3/2022

Three Dysart Unified School District schools swept the top three spots to qualify for the state championships in the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Spirit Line State Qualifier on Saturday, January 29, 2022. In the Coed Cheer Division 1/2, Willow Canyon High School placed first, Shadow Ridge High School second, and Valley Vista High School third. Additionally, Shadow Ridge placed first in Partner Stunt.

Specialty awards were also given to Willow Canyon for Synchronized Tumbling, Dynamic Dance, Solid Stunt Sequence, and Creative Pyramid Transitions. All three schools will compete in the state finals on March 12, 2022.

Specialty awards were also given to Willow Canyon for Synchronized Tumbling, Dynamic Dance, Solid Stunt Sequence, and Creative Pyramid Transitions. All three schools will compete in the state finals on March 12, 2022.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/03/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Celebrates National Board Certified Teachers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 1/13/2022

Dysart Schools is proud to announce that Kim Piranio from Luke Elementary School is among the newest National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Arizona.  She earned the certification in December, bringing the total count of National Board Certified  employees in Dysart to 57.

Additionally, four Dysart teachers attained renewal of their certificate.  Those include: Kristin Barnett, a special education teacher at Kingswood Elementary School, Kallie Cashatt from Marley Park Elementary School, Molly Davis from El Mirage Elementary School, and Danielle Edgerton, an English Language Arts Curriculum Specialist.

National Board Certification is the highest certificate an educator can achieve in the United  States. Administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Board certification is a rigorous and reflective process that requires teachers to showcase the National  Board Standards in their practice. Teachers often take up to three years of continual work to achieve certification. Research shows that students of NBCTs have improved learning outcomes, and only 3% of teachers nationwide achieve this certification. 

Since 1996, teachers throughout Arizona have been seeking and achieving National Board  Certification. The Arizona K12 Center provides support and resources for teachers to pursue  National Board Certification. Dysart supports staff members interested in the certification through cohort meetings and substitute coverage for two professional days for preparation, and offers a stipend equal to 5% of the base salary to teachers who are National Board Certified. According to the  National Board, there are more than 128,000 NBCTs across the U.S. Learn more about National Board Certification at nbpts.org or azk12.org.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/13/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Education Foundation Awards Fall Mini-Grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 1/5/2022

- Roxanne Lopez, an iExplore teacher from Mountain View School, will purchase tablets to allow students to solve real world problems using robotics in upcoming competitions.   


- Michele Gillespie, and Nicole Shelley, both Special Education Teachers from Dysart Middle School, will utilize the grant to provide a variety of sensory tools in order to assist special needs students with hands-on experiences to improve focus and learning. 


- Tracy Smith, a Social Worker from Luke Elementary School received funds for a reset room to support students and their emotional needs.     


- Ashley Meyer, a Special Education Teacher at Rancho Gabriela Elementary School received a mini-grant to provide materials and equipment for the resource and general education classrooms to help support students in all environments.   


- Heather Maddox, a 7th Grade Math Teacher at West Point Elementary School, will provide her students math comprehension supports including the website IXL to help fill the gaps for math standards.   


- Theresa Malone, a Third Grade Teacher at West Point Elementary School, will purchase flexible seating including wobble stools that allow for increased focus.    


- Sunny Watson, a Special Education Teacher from Sonoran Heights Middle School, will purchase sensory items to assist with calming strategies.  


 - Niki Trezzo, a Kindergarten Teacher from El Mirage Elementary School, will utilize the grant to purchase additional curriculum sets of Kindermusik materials in order to integrate Kindermusik songs and activities in the students’ daily routines maximizing language skills and social development. 


 - Kurwin Forest, a Band Teacher from Shadow Ridge High School, will purchase upgraded mouthpieces for student instruments which will allow for greater flexibility in sound production. 


 - Nicole Truitt, a Music Teacher from West Point Elementary School, received the grant to replace keyboards and headphones for students to utilize in music class. 


 -Heather Featherstone, a Music Teacher from Mountain View School, will purchase specialty microphones and a Soundtrap website license to allow students to create, record and edit their podcasts. 


 -Taylor Ingro, a Music Teacher from El Mirage Elementary School, will utilize grant funds for FlipFORMS furniture for seating, risers, and room dividers, for class and stage performances. 


 - Sara Mendoza, an Art Teacher from Rancho Gabriela Elementary School, received funds for art paper supplies and a paper cutter to be utilized to prepare art projects. -Reagan Hofeling, a Band Teacher at Mountain View School, will use the grant for Pneumo Pro, a visual aid for flute students to utilize in order to improve overall tone for our student musicians. 

 - Diana Richardson, a Music Teacher at Surprise Elementary School, will purchase additional guitars so students can take Guitar as an elective and learn the fundamentals of the instrument.   


 - Freddy Bedolla, a Music Teacher at Riverview School, will use grant funds for musical instruments including ukuleles, silver bells, and pan flutes to be utilized during class, for school and district programs, and during community events.

The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) is a non-profit organization supporting students and teachers in the Dysart Unified School District. For more information about DEF or to make a donation, please visit www.defweb.org.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/05/2022 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart to begin open enrollment Dec. 10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/23/2021

The Dysart Unified School District is proud to offer our community a choice in school enrollment. Dysart will begin accepting open enrollment applications for the 2022-2023 school year on Friday, December 10, 2021.  Parents or guardians who would like their child to attend a school outside of their residential attendance boundary for the 2022-2023 school year, must apply for open enrollment online at www.dysart.org/oe.

Parents whose students are currently open enrolled at the school of their choice will not need to reapply. However, open enrollment status is evaluated annually based on capacity, student’s grades, discipline, and attendance.

Open enrollment allows parents the opportunity to request that their children attend a Dysart school outside of their residential boundary area. This includes all Dysart Schools, including 12 K-8 elementary schools, 4 K-4 schools, 4 middle schools, Freedom Traditional Academy, and four high schools. Information on K-8 signature programs and academies may be found by visiting www.dysart.org/signature. Details about high school focuses and Career and Technical Education programs offered are available at www.Dysart.org/highschool. 

The priority open enrollment period ends January 14, 2022. After this priority period, submitted applications will continue to be accepted and will be reviewed on a monthly basis as capacity becomes available.

Parents needing access to a computer to complete the open enrollment application may visit any district school or the front lobby of the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374, during regular business hours.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/23/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Curriculum available for review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/22/2021

Members of Dysart Unified School District’s Textbook Adoption Committee will evaluate K-12 Mathematics textbooks and online materials. The materials will be made available for review and will be on display November 29, 2021 through February 10, 2022 at Freedom Traditional Academy, 16066 N Parkview Place Surprise, Arizona 85374. Parents and community members are invited to view the materials before and after school, from 7:15-8:00 AM and 3:00-3:45 PM. Two evening dates will also be available on January 6, 2022 and January 25th, 2022 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.  For more information, please contact Dysart Schools Educational Services Department at 623-876-7173.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/22/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

8th Graders Invited to Future Freshman Nights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/8/2021

Students entering high school in the 2022-23 academic year, and their parents, are invited to attend an incoming freshman meeting to learn about high school expectations, unique programs, and the process for registration and class selection. These meetings are designed to provide incoming freshmen with an overview of the academic programs available at Dysart Unified School District’s four high schools and explain the process of registering for ninth-grade classes. 

Future Freshman Nights are scheduled as follows:  


  • Valley Vista High School - Monday, November 15 from 6:00-7:30 PM at 15550 N. Parkview  Place, Surprise 
  • Shadow Ridge High School - Tuesday, November 16 from 6:00-7:30 PM at 10909 N. Perryville Road, Surprise 
  • Dysart High School - Thursday, November 18 from 5:30-7:00 PM at 11425 N. Dysart Road, El Mirage 
  • Willow Canyon High School - Thursday, December 2 from 6:00-7:30 PM at 17901 W. Lundberg Street, Surprise

Students and parents will learn about high school classes, course selection, unique and career-related programs, core curriculum, and graduation requirements. Attending Future Freshman Night motivates eighth graders to remain focused on their true academic goal – completing high school and beyond. 

A school boundary map is available at Dysart.org/Boundaries.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/18/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Seeks Input on Capital Needs and Potential Bond

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/18/2021

The Dysart Unified School District is seeking community input to address the capital needs of the district. The input will be used to help determine how the district will address capital challenges that it will be facing in the near future. Individuals may provide their feedback through an online survey available at www.dysart.org/survey or in Spanish at www.dysart.org/encuesta through December 5, 2021.

The survey lists potential bond projects with their expected costs and a brief description that could go to voters for their consideration, if the Governing Board were to approve a bond election. Items range from school design and construction, to a land purchase for a future high school, safety and security and transportation.

Dysart Schools serves nearly 24,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Northwest Phoenix Metropolitan area.  The district encompasses 140 square miles, serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County.  The district is home to four K-4 elementary schools, four middle schools serving grades 5-8, 12 K-8 elementary schools, four comprehensive high schools, a preschool, and one alternative program. The last voter-approved bond for Dysart was in 2006. District budget details, including the most recent override and bond information is always available at Dysart.org/Budget.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/18/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Awarded $450,000 AZ Transportation Grant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/16/2021

The Dysart Unified School District was awarded a $450,000 grant from A for Arizona through the Arizona Transportation Modernization Grant Program. The funding will allow Dysart Schools to create a shuttle system, through the purchase of busses, for district Career and Technical Education (CTE) students that attend the Northwest Campus of West-MEC. 

Dysart Unified School District covers 140 square miles and serves over 8,000 high school students at its four high schools - Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, Valley Vista High School, and Willow Canyon High School. Dysart offers 19 CTE programs on its campuses,  and partners with West-MEC to provide additional opportunities to students. Currently, over 5,000 Dysart students take CTE classes, and over 250 students attend West-MEC. Career and Technical Education programs have been proven to keep students engaged in school, and promote focus, higher levels of achievement, and high school completion. Dysart CTE students have a 96% graduation rate and have earned over 600 industry certifications.

“Dysart Schools is pleased to be able to support students pursuing Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes at West-MEC with bus transportation through this grant,” said Dysart Schools Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis. “This grant will allow us to expand the accessibility of extraordinary CTE classes for Dysart students, provide a safe commute between the high school and West-MEC, and leverage funds from outside the Dysart district.”

Dysart applied for the grant to address the transportation challenges that create a barrier to access for students who desire to enroll in CTE programs, but lack the transportation to participate. The grant-funded pilot program will serve as a model for other schools to use in enhancing access for students who choose CTE programs. The plan is to have a soft start in the second half of the 21-22 school year, as soon as the new busses are available, with full implementation in the 22-23 school year.

Grant applications were reviewed by a committee of local and national industry, philanthropic and community leaders. In the first cycle, more than $18 million was awarded to support 24 proposals across Arizona. The Arizona Transportation Modernization Grants Program was established by the Arizona State Legislature to provide resources to incubate and advance ideas to improve access to reliable and safe transportation for students, and to accelerate innovation and efficiency solutions in all systems. 

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/16/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Surprise Schools Open Fields to Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/1/2021

Dysart Unified School District is excited to open school fields in the City of Surprise to the community after school and on weekends. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on October 29 to officially open the fields. 

Participating Dysart schools located within the City of Surprise include Asante Preparatory, Ashton Ranch, Canyon Ridge, Cimarron Springs, Countryside, Freedom Traditional, Kingswood, Marley Park, Rancho Gabriela, Sonoran Heights, Sunset Hills, Western Peaks, and West Point. Hours of availability are after school until dusk on weekdays, and 6:00 a.m. to dusk on holidays and weekends, and on non-school days during the summer. Hours may vary based on school activities and schedules. 

“We appreciate how supportive Surprise residents are of education and Dysart Schools,” said Dysart Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis. “Dysart is excited to open up our school fields to the community to increase the recreational spaces that are available to our families.”

The Surprise school field opening expands on the field openings Dysart did last school year at its’ El Mirage schools. The latest opening brings the total number of Dysart school fields open to the community to 18 out of the 20 elementary schools in the district.

Rules and regulations regarding the use of the Dysart school sites include: 

- Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and vaping products are prohibited on school     grounds/buildings and parking lots. 

- No firearms allowed within 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public school 

- No pets allowed, exception for service animals only (Please clean up after service animals) - Golfing, Archery and Remote Control Aircraft prohibited 

- Glass containers are prohibited - Defacing, vandalizing or removal of school equipment is   prohibited - No overnight parking or camping allowed 

- Motorized vehicles in designated parking areas only, exception for motorized wheelchairs

- Individuals or organizations with a reservation get the first right of the use of the fields. To   reserve this facility, please call 623-876-7056 

- Vandalism, broken equipment, water leaks, damaged surfaces, unsafe conditions or   maintenance concerns should be reported to 866-463-8738.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/04/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart to Host Career and College Expo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/19/2021

Dysart Unified School District invites parents and students to a Career and College Expo on Thursday, October 28 from 5:30 - 7:30pm at the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N. Parkview Place in Surprise. 

The expo will showcase Dysart's Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, local colleges, military, and West-MEC. This is a great opportunity for 6th through 11th grade students and their parents to get hands-on with all of the career pathway classes and programs offered at Dysart Schools. This is a free event and all are invited to attend. Details can be found at www.dysart.org/cte.

Dysart Schools offer nineteen CTE programs at four high schools (Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, Valley Vista High School, and Willow Canyon High School.) Programs include Graphic Design, Digital Communications, Digital Photography, Computer Animation, Film and TV Production, Engineering, Software and Coding, Computer Maintenance, Network Security, Law Enforcement, Fire Science, Education Professions, Sports Medicine, Lab Assisting, Nursing Professions, Stagecraft Design and Production, Business and Marketing, Automotive Technology, and Culinary Arts.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/19/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart High School Remodels Auto Shop Facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/14/2021

The Dysart Unified School District recently completed a remodel of the Dysart High School Auto Shop building. The facility provides classroom and shop space for over 125 Career and Technical Education (CTE) students in the Automotive Technology program. The school hosted a re-opening ceremony to celebrate the facelift on Thursday, October 14.

The Dysart Auto Shop building was first built in 1970, and while equipment in the shop has been updated over the years, the infrastructure needed improvements in order to ensure students are prepared to enter the workforce. The building was expanded by 1,200 square feet by adding storage space. A new simulation lab and entrance were added along with bathrooms, a new eye and hand-washing station, and classroom updates to include windows into the shop area. New systems such as evaporative coolers, a heat pump, Car-Mon exhaust fans, fire alarm and IT were installed. Additionally, the building received new roofing, insulation, wiring, interior and exterior paint, doors, hardware and garage door openers and the concrete floors were ground and polished.

“This facility is a valuable, hands-on learning lab for students in the community,” said Jim Grieshaber, Career and Technical Education Director. “This newly remodeled building will provide critical industry training that will prepare students to be valuable assets in the automotive technology industry.”

The complete project cost $893,173, and was funded through a West-MEC grant as well as district CTE funds. McCarthy Building Companies managed the construction project and One! Architecture designed the remodel/expansion. 

“Being part of this team, collaborating with the District, West-MEC, One! Architecture, consultants and our trade partners to deliver this important and valuable project to serve the students of DUSD in a new way has been incredibly rewarding,” said Jared Storms, Project Director at McCarthy.  “I know I speak for everyone at McCarthy and each person who was fortunate to be part of making this project a reality. Thank you and congratulations!”

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/14/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Boosts Bus Driver Pay, Adds Referral Bonus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 9/23/2021

The Dysart Unified School District made a significant increase in bus driver pay, and added an employee referral bonus in an effort to hire and retain hard-to-fill positions. 

The starting pay for a Dysart bus driver increased from $16.81 an hour to a tiered pay scale that starts at $20.00 an hour for those with zero to three years of experience. The rate increases to $21.00 for four to six years of experience, $22.00 for seven to ten years of experience and $23.00 for ten or more years of experience. These rates are one of the highest in the Valley.

Additionally, an Employee Referral Program was approved that incentivizes current employees to recruit new staff members to any position in Dysart. The program pays current employees $500 for recommending new employees that are hired and maintain their employment.

“Staffing is a critical component in operating our schools efficiently and providing our families with an extraordinary experience,” said Dr. John Croteau, Assistant Superintendent for Human Relations. “The impact of a bus driver on the school experience should not go unnoticed, as they are often the first and last person a student sees each day. Their interactions and friendly faces can make such a difference.”

Currently, Dysart has 106 bus driver positions, with 18 of them currently unfilled. The driver shortage is a nationwide problem that has been further magnified since the COVID pandemic began. When there aren’t enough drivers to cover all routes, buses must do turnaround runs, which can impact a students’ ability to get to school on time. Shortages also impact the availability of transportation for field trips and off campus athletic competitions. 

The Dysart Governing Board approved the new bus driver compensation package and employee referral program at the September 22 board meeting, and they will go into effect on October 4, 2021.  All current employees in the roles will receive pay that is commensurate with their years of service in the district, and new employees will be placed at the hourly rate of the tier corresponding to their years of experience in a similar position. Positions impacted include bus drivers, dispatchers, routers, trainers, safety training specialists and transportation technicians.

Benefits of being a Dysart Schools bus driver include full medical benefits, state retirement, holidays, weekends and summers off, and the ability to select additional shifts, when available. Drivers receive paid CDL training at their full hourly rate. The Dysart Unified School District employs nearly 3,000 staff members at 26 schools and two support facilities. Positions range from teachers, to office workers, bus drivers and maintenance staff. High need areas in addition to bus drivers include bus, preschool and classroom aides (paraprofessionals), crossing guards, instructional assistants, and substitute teachers. All current Dysart job openings may be viewed at Dysart.org/Careers.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/23/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

Dysart Partners with Ottawa University for Employee Scholarships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 9/13/2021

Dysart Unified School District employees are now eligible for a scholarship in partnership with Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ).  The Dysart Employee Scholarship will reduce tuition to $250 per credit hour for any undergraduate courses offered in person at the Surprise location or online. 

To be eligible, individuals must maintain their employment with Dysart Unified School District throughout their enrollment at OUAZ and for one year post graduation. Additional benefits to the scholarship recipients include the opportunity to earn stipends based on the employee’s work attendance, which range from $500 for employees with six or less absences, to $1,500 for perfect attendance. After graduation, scholarship recipients that maintain employment with Dysart over a three-year period will receive a $3,000 stipend. These stipends will be available and provided by Dysart Unified School District based on funding availability.

“Dysart and Ottawa’s primary purpose is educating our community. It is perfectly appropriate to cooperatively offer scholarships to advance employees' education. This is an exciting and valuable partnership, and it is an honor to work with Ottawa University Arizona,” said Dr. Quinn Kellis, Dysart Schools Superintendent.  

As neighbors in the Surprise community, Dysart and Ottawa partnered previously, with Dysart providing access to athletic fields and classroom laboratory space while Ottawa facilities were still being constructed. The Dysart Employee Scholarship program supports a long term and impactful partnership.

“We value education, and believe this is a great opportunity to provide education to those people who, for whatever reason in their lifetime, didn’t have the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate degree. We’re delighted to provide this opportunity,” said Dr. Dennis Tyner, Ottawa University Arizona President.

The Dysart Unified School District employs nearly 3,000 staff members at 26 schools and two support facilities. Positions range from teachers, to office workers, bus drivers and maintenance staff. All current Dysart job openings may be viewed at Dysart.org/Careers.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/13/2021 Direct Link

Front of the Dysart district office

The Vista Center for the Arts Launches 21-22 Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 9/8/2021

The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374, is set to launch its 21/22 season with an impressive lineup of shows for the community. Tickets are on sale now at TheVistaAZ.com or by phone at (623) 523-8888.

The season kicks off on September 10 and 11 with a two-day Country Music Festival paying tribute to our heroes for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. With a stellar lineup including Shooter Jennings, Chase Bryant, Lee Rocker, Austin Burke, and Jerrod Niemann, the festival has something for everyone. The rest of the season touts a wide variety of acts ranging from comedians, magicians, plays, orchestras and other musical acts, and the holiday season offers a Christmas concert with country superstar Sara Evans.

Built in 2008, The Vista is a state-of-the-art performing arts center operated by Dysart Unified School District. This venue offers a spacious lobby with 1,300 plush seats in the house, and theatrical sound/lighting. In 2020, Dysart Unified School District opened The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374 as a regional entertainment venue serving the entire West Valley. Annual memberships and business/corporate sponsorship packages are available. Shows, showtimes and artists are subject to change. For more information on shows, to purchase tickets or become a member, visit TheVistaAZ.com, email [email protected] or call (623) 523-8888.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected], 623-876 7196, [email protected], or 623-300-8315.

The Vista 21/22 Schedule:

  • September 10-11, 2021 - Country Music Festival: Remembering our heroes on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with Shooter Jennings, Lee Rocker, Kendell Marvel, Buddy Jewell, Chase Bryant, Jerod Niemann, Austin Burke, and Gabe Lee. 
  • September 24, 2021 - Generation Radio (Formerly The Rise Above): Made up of musical legends - two-time Grammy Award winning Jay Demarcus of Rascal Flatts, former lead singer and drummer of Journey, Deen Castronovo, and former lead vocalist and bass player of the multi-platinum band Chicago for over 30 years, the band brings 80’s rock and classic music back to life. 
  • October 1, 2021 - Lorrie Morgan: Lorrie Morgan has sold over 8 million records, including 14 top ten hits, and has received multiple CMA awards. She was one of the youngest performers to be named a member of the Grand Ole Opry! 
  • October 16, 2021 - Wicked Divas: A concert of Diva showstoppers starring Glinda and Elphaba from the Broadway production of Wicked and featuring selections from Wicked, Gypsy, Ragtime, Titanic, Phantom of the Opera and many others!  
  • October 24, 2021 - Doo Wop Project: Featuring stars of Broadway’s smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, the Doo Wop Project brings unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate—and in some cases entirely reimagine—some of the greatest music in American pop and rock history! 
  • Oct. 30, Dec. 18, 2021, Jan. 8, Jan. 30, Apr. 1, 2022 - AZ Philharmonic: Arizona Philharmonic is a professional orchestra from Prescott, AZ with leading musicians from across the state, representing Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson, and Arizona Opera orchestras. Select from five varied and compelling performances coming to The Vista.
  • November 13-14, 2021 - Count Basie Orchestra: The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy Awards, performed for kings, queens, and other world royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world. 
  • Nov. 21, Dec. 19, 2021, Jan. 16, Feb. 13, Mar. 6, Apr. 3, 2022 - West Valley Symphony: Now in its 53rd season, the West Valley Symphony’s 70-plus professional musicians perform 6 concerts each season at The Vista under the baton of Maestro Cal Stewart Kellogg for patrons from throughout the valley.  
  • November 27, 2021 - Sara Evans, At Christmas: Over the last two decades, Evans has carved a successful career anchored by her insightful songwriting and warm, evocative voice. As the fifth most played female artist at country radio, Evans continues to be a force on the road with tour dates criss-crossing the country. Ring in the holidays with songs such as “Silent Night,” “Winter Wonderland,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” 
  • December 3, 2021 - Nochebuena: A Christmas Eve in Mexico: Celebrate the holidays at home with this vibrant evening of music and dance featuring two of L.A.’s most acclaimed performance ensembles: Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar. Christmas in Mexico isn’t just a single day; it's a whole season of Christmas-related celebrations enriched by indigenous culture, Spanish heritage, and other influences.  
  • December 22-23, 2021 - A Christmas Carol: Celebrate the true Spirit of Christmas with this brand new, original production. A Christmas Carol is delightful and thoroughly entertaining, it is the perfect family holiday event. 
  • January 15, 2022 - LaKisha Jones: Join American Idol Finalist LaKisha Jones in a celebration of the great ladies of soul from Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, the legendary Aretha Franklin and the one and only Whitney Houston. “...from sound stages and concert halls across the country and around the world, she’s got them standing in the aisles!" 
  • January 22, 2022 - Ambrosia: In 1970, four young musicians from the South Bay of Los Angeles, came together to create a new invigorating style of music. With three of the original members intact plus the addition of guitar ace Doug Jackson on electric guitar and backing vocals, Mary Harris contributing amazing keyboards and vocals, and the powerful and contemporary lead vocals and acoustic guitar of Ken Stacey. 
  • January 29, 2022 - Louie Anderson: Iconic comedian Louie Anderson, the three-time Emmy Award® winner, is one of the country’s most recognized and adored comics; named by Comedy Central as “One of 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time.” 
  • February 19, 2022 - Xavier Mortimer - The Dream Maker: The most-followed magician on the Las Vegas Strip, with numerous appearances on TV shows such as America's Got Talent, Masters of Illusion and Penn and Teller Fool Us, Xavier will be incorporating many of his viral online videos in the new show so people can see them live, up close and personal. Xavier’s “The Dream Maker,” delivers a dynamic and visual, family-friendly production. 
  • February 27, 2022 - Dinosaur World Live: Using stunning puppetry to bring remarkably life-like dinosaurs to the stage, dare to experience the dangers and delights of Dinosaur World Live in this roarsome interactive show for the whole family! • March 5, 2022 - BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble: Combining ethnic traditions with exquisite costuming, Brigham Young University’s International Folk Dance Ensemble showcases the dance styles of the world. 
  • March 9, 2022 - The Hot Sardines: Fueled by the belief that classic jazz feeds the heart and soul, The Hot Sardines are on a mission to make old sounds new again and prove that joyful music can bring people together in a disconnected world. The eight-piece ensemble has toured more than 250 cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. 
  • March 12, 2022 - Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass: The Rodney Marsalis Philadelphia Big Brass is America’s premier large brass ensemble. A group that always reflects the diverse makeup of men and women in the American culture, RMPBB is dedicated to the notion that music is a gift to be enjoyed by everyone. Performances range from solo trumpet, to brass quintet, to the full eleven-piece ensemble with percussion. 
  • June 26, 2022 - Madagascar The Musical: Join Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they bound out of the zoo and onto the stage in this live musical spectacular. This smash hit musical features all of your favorite crack-a-lackin' friends as they escape from their home in New York's Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien's Madagascar.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/08/2021 Direct Link

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Acclaimed George Washington Exhibit to Open at Canyon Ridge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/31/2021

“The Many Faces of George Washington,” a national traveling exhibition that examines the multi-dimensional, real-life man behind the myth, opens at Canyon Ridge School on Friday, September 17, 2021.

Free exhibit tours are open to the public from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. Canyon Ridge School is located at 17359 W. Surprise Farms Loop N., Surprise AZ 85388, and will have costumed student performers, representing an array of multicultural colonial figures, and Arizona Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution patriots, will serve as guides and presenters. 

Produced by curators and researchers at George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, in conjunction with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, this exhibition presents the many different facets of Washington’s leadership through dazzling color graphics of paintings, photographs, and iconic objects. “The Many Faces of George Washington” looks at Washington’s leadership in the exhibition’s seven sections: Virginia Childhood, Risk Taker, Realistic Visionary, Wise Decision Maker, Impassioned Learner, Visionary Entrepreneur, and At Home at Mount Vernon. The exhibition has been made possible by a generous grant from the F.M. Kirby Foundation. The financial support of our local patriotic partners in the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Arizona Daughters of the American Revolution, have made this single Arizona appearance of the exhibit a reality. For more details, project coordinator Mr. Christopher J. Raso can be reached at [email protected]

About Canyon Ridge School in Surprise, Arizona

 Established in 2007, Canyon Ridge School is a kindergarten through eighth grade campus, in the Dysart Unified School District, and serves the needs of nearly one thousand students. This concept school offers a 21st century education based on scientific inquiry, collaborative activities and cross curricular STEM learning opportunities. In 2017, Canyon Ridge became the first Arizona school to earn AdvancED STEM certification. This site also earned an “A” label from the Arizona Department of Education for six consecutive years and is proud to have a number of national and state award winning teachers, as members of the staff. Canyon Ridge School also fosters balanced historical awareness, positive citizenship, and presents a number of annual Social Studies events: 9-11 Remembrance, U.S. Constitution Day program, and Veterans Day Commemoration. The school participates in a variety of local civic projects and has long standing partnerships with seventeen patriotic organizations including: National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Arizona Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Veterans Heritage Project.

About George Washington’s Mount Vernon

 Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America. Through historic tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate, and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. A picturesque drive along the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located 16 miles from the nation’s capital.

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History promotes the study and love of American history. The Institute serves teachers, students, scholars, and the general public. It helps create history-centered schools, organizes seminars and programs for educators, produces print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions, sponsors lectures by eminent historians, and administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state through its partnership with Preserve America. The Institute also conducts the Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and George Washington Book Prizes, and offers fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection. The Institute maintains two websites, http://www.gilderlehrman.org and the journal http://www.historynow.com

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

08/31/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart Offers Guest Teacher Incentives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/27/2021

Dysart Unified School District’s Governing Board approved a Guest Teacher Incentive Program to begin September 1 and run through December 3, 2021. Guest teachers can earn up to $3,100, in addition to their daily rate of pay, if they work 44-55 days within the designated time period and $2,050 if they work 29-43 days. 

Guest teachers, also referred to as “substitutes”, have always been needed, but the COVID pandemic has further magnified that need.  The goal with the incentive is to increase the amount of substitute teachers working in the district. Currently only about 65% of openings in Dysart are being filled on a daily basis, so schools must find alternative ways to provide coverage for classes - often needing to call on office staff to assist, have teachers work during their prep periods, or combine classes.

“Guest teachers play a critical role in education,” said Dr. John Croteau, Assistant Superintendent for Human Relations. “Schools can’t operate efficiently without the continuity they bring to the learning process when there are staff absences.”

Last school year, the district ran a similar incentive program, and found it to be highly successful in increasing the number of guest teachers working in the district, as well as the number of days those guest teachers worked. Additionally, Dysart added permanent guest teacher positions last year to help combat the challenge, with one assigned to each elementary school and two assigned to each high school.

Last school year, the district ran a similar incentive program, and found it to be highly successful in increasing the number of guest teachers working in the district, as well as the number of days those guest teachers worked. Additionally, Dysart added permanent guest teacher positions last year to help combat the challenge, with one assigned to each elementary school and two assigned to each high school.

Last school year, the district ran a similar incentive program, and found it to be highly successful in increasing the number of guest teachers working in the district, as well as the number of days those guest teachers worked. Additionally, Dysart added permanent guest teacher positions last year to help combat the challenge, with one assigned to each elementary school and two assigned to each high school.

About Dysart Schools 

Dysart Unified School District serves nearly 24,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Northwest Phoenix Metropolitan area, encompassing 140 square miles, and serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County.  The district is home to four K-4 elementary schools, four middle schools serving grades 5-8, 12 K-8 elementary schools, four comprehensive high schools, a preschool, and one alternative program.   

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

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Dysart Installs Devices to Improve Air Quality

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/24/2021

With health and safety as a priority, Dysart Unified School District installed 2,700 air scrubbers to improve air quality for the nearly 24,000 students and 3,000 staff that returned to Dysart’s 26 schools this month. 

With health and safety as a priority, Dysart Unified School District installed 2,700 air scrubbers to improve air quality for the nearly 24,000 students and 3,000 staff that returned to Dysart’s 26 schools this month. 

With health and safety as a priority, Dysart Unified School District installed 2,700 air scrubbers to improve air quality for the nearly 24,000 students and 3,000 staff that returned to Dysart’s 26 schools this month. 

The air scrubbers were installed over the summer at all Dysart Schools facilities, including 26 school sites as well as the district support services and district office buildings by Midstate Energy. The 2,700 devices cost a total of $2.875 million to buy and install, and were purchased through Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) COVID funds that Dysart Schools received.  In addition to the air scrubber installations, Dysart has taken additional steps to further improve indoor air quality. This includes purging the air each morning, bringing in fresh outside air throughout the day, and monitoring the air intake through automated systems. Dysart is ensuring air filters are changed at regular intervals, and each campus has a sanitizing wand to spray surfaces with. Personal Protective Equipment such as face coverings and cleaning supplies continue to be readily available at all sites, and handwashing and good hygiene are always encouraged.

Photos of the devices and installation can be found here.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

About Dysart Schools Dysart Unified School District serves nearly 24,000 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Northwest Phoenix Metropolitan area, encompassing 140 square miles, and serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County.  The district is home to four K-4 elementary schools, four middle schools serving grades 5-8, 12 K-8 elementary schools, four comprehensive high schools, a preschool, and one alternative program.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

08/24/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart Receives Two Financial Reporting Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/16/2021

Dysart Unified School District has received two awards for meeting high standards on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020. 

The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) awarded Dysart Schools with the Certificate of Excellence (COE) in Financial Reporting, indicating that Dysart meets high standards for financial reporting and transparency. Additionally, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded Dysart with a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. This is the 26th consecutive year Dysart has received the ASBO award, and 17th consecutive year that Dysart has achieved the GFOA awards. 

“This award reflects the Dysart Unified School District’s commitment to financial transparency,” said Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis. “We are honored to serve our community, and dedicated to being good stewards of taxpayer funds.” 

The GFOA Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by an organization and its management. In order to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, an organization must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This report must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements.  By participating in the ASBO COE program, school districts demonstrate their commitment to financial transparency and excellence in financial reporting. The CAFR must inform stakeholders about the financial and economic state of the district, and be a communications tool to engage with the community.

The awards were presented to the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board at the August 11 board meeting. Dysart budget and financial reports may be viewed at Dysart.org/Budget.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

# # #

About ASBO International 

Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. ASBO International is committed to providing programs, services, and a global network that promote the highest standards in school business. Its members support student achievement through effective resource management in various areas ranging from finance and operations to food services and transportation. Learn more at asbointl.org.

About GFOA 

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources, and practical research for more than 21,000 members and the communities they serve.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

08/16/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart to Provide Free Meals for Children Throughout 21-22 School Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/29/2021

Dysart Unified School District will be offering healthy meals to all students at no cost every school day in the 2021-2022 school year as part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program. All child(ren) will receive free breakfast and lunch meals every school day regardless of household’s income. Curbside service is also available for community members 18 and under, Monday - Friday between 11 - 11:30am at the following sites: Dysart High School, 11425 N. Dysart Rd., El Mirage, AZ 85335; Valley Vista High School (Served in The Vista Center for the Arts parking lot), 15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374; and Willow Canyon High School, 17901 W. Lundberg St., Surprise, AZ 85388.

We encourage all families to apply for free or reduced meals even though all students receive free meals this school year. Qualifications for children to receive free or reduced price meal eligibility include: belonging to a household whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, belonging to a household that receives public assistance, or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster, or participates in a Head Start or Even Start pre-Kindergarten program.

Household size and income criteria are used to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits if the household does not receive assistance or the children are not in the other categories mentioned above. Children can get free or reduced-price meals if the household’s gross income falls at or below the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guideline chart: www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/income-eligibility-guidelines 

To apply for free or reduced-price meals we highly recommend using SchoolCafe at www.schoolcafe.com. Paper applications are available in each school office and can be returned to the school once completed unless the household has already received notification that their children are approved for free meals this year. Applications include a letter informing households of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for their children and what is required to complete on the application.

Only one application is required for all children in the household and the information provided on the appli­ca­tion will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verification of data.  Applications may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials. An application for free or reduced-price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. In the operation of child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability.

Families can apply for benefits at any time. If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the Federal Guidelines. Contact Claudia Zamora at any time to request an application.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, Nutrition Liaison will review applications and determine eligibility.  Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to: Kenneth Hicks, 13825 W Desert Cove Rd., Surprise, AZ 85379.

When known to Dysart District households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free meals if they are members of households receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), if the State program meets Federal standards.

An application is not required for free meal benefits for Assistance Program participants and all of the children in the household are eligible for free meal benefits. If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, or if a household does not receive a notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school to have free meal benefits extended to them. Participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, but they will need to turn in an application including household size and total income.

When known to Dysart Unified households will also be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is considered “Other Source Categorically Eligible”, because the child is categorized, as defined by law as: Foster, Homeless, Migrant, Runaway, Enrolled in an eligible Head Start, or  an eligible pre-kindergarten class.

If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school about their eligibility through the list above, or should submit an income application.

Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if the household chooses to decline the free meal benefits. For more information, you may call Claudia Zamora at 623-876-7989 or e-mail at [email protected] 

The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information requested in order to verify your children’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. If you do not provide the information or provide incomplete information, your children may no longer receive free or reduced-price meals. 


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 


Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. 


To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: [email protected] 


 This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/29/2021 Direct Link

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Artists Sought for September 11 Tribute Exhibit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/21/2021

The Dysart Unified School District and The Vista Center for the Arts are seeking artists in partnership with the City of Surprise, the West Valley Arts Council and Ground Floor Artists for a 9/11 tribute art exhibit. 

The inaugural Surprise Mayor’s Exhibit: A Tribute To Our Heroes, marks the 20th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11 and aims to reflect on how the heroes of this day have shaped, and continue to shape, our nation into one of support, togetherness, and collective endurance. Individual artists are invited to submit works thematically tied to the events of September 11, 2001 and/or works remembering and celebrating those who gave their lives through heroic acts.

The Mayor’s Exhibit will be juried by a panel of partners and community members, along with City of Surprise Mayor Skip Hall. Student submissions (ages 13-17) are free, and adult artist (18+) fees are $20-25.  The deadline to apply is 11:59pm on July 30, 2021 and artists can submit up to three individual pieces for consideration. Entry details and requirements can be found on the West Valley Arts website. Questions regarding entries can be directed to [email protected]

Mayor’s Exhibit: A Tribute To Our Heroes opens September 3, 2021 at The Vista Center for the Arts, 15660 N. Parkview Place in Surprise, and will coincide with performances to be held at this location through November 11, 2021. Artists will be notified by August 9.

Entry Details and Requirements

About The Vista Center for the Arts Built in 2008, The Vista is a state-of-the-art performing arts center operated by the Dysart Unified School District. This venue brings a variety of events and shows to the community, and offers a spacious lobby, 1,300 seats, and theatrical sound/lighting. The Vista Center for the Arts is located at 15660 N. Parkview Place in Surprise. The Vista operates through the Community Education department, which offers a variety of services to the community, including Growing Minds Preschool, sports and enrichment programs, driver's education courses, facility rentals, The Vista Center for the Arts and more! All programs within Community Education, including The Vista, are self-funded and proceeds support and help to keep all programs affordable. For more information or to purchase tickets to an upcoming event, visit TheVistaAZ.com or call (623) 523-8888.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/21/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart to Host Kindergarten Experience

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/15/2021

Dysart Unified School District invites prospective kindergarten families to a Kindergarten Experience on July 26 from 3 to 5pm to take a tour of their neighborhood school and meet the teachers.

Dysart’s kindergarten program is one of the few full-day programs in the area that is offered at no cost to the community thanks to approved override funding. Curriculum follows Arizona state standards, and offers hands-on, real-life activities in the areas of cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Before and after school program opportunities are available as well.

Dysart schools offering kindergarten include Asante Preparatory Academy, Canyon Ridge, Countryside, El Mirage, Freedom Traditional Academy, Kingswood, Luke, Marley Park, Mountain View, Rancho Gabriela, Riverview, Sunset Hills, Surprise Elementary, Thompson Ranch, West Point, and Western Peaks.

Families that cannot attend the Kindergarten Experience can watch online videos to learn more about each school’s kindergarten program at Dysart.org/KinderShowcase, and parents may contact the campus(es) of interest to learn more. 

Parents ready to enroll their child may do so online anytime at Dysart.org/Enroll. To finalize enrollment, parents will need to provide a birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/15/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart Schools Centennial Year in Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 6/30/2021

Dysart Unified School District’s 100th school year has been completed. The district of 26 schools and nearly 24,000 pre-k through high school students had a highly successful year, despite the challenges of operating during a pandemic. 

The 2020-2021 school year was Dysart’s first ever remote start for classes, but Dysart was committed to opening schools for in-person learning as soon as it was safe, and was one of the first districts to return to in-person instruction in mid-September. While 80% of families chose to send their children for in-person instruction, full-time online classes remained an option for those who preferred a remote experience. 

Dysart Schools saw great success this year. Dysart High School and Sonoran Heights Elementary Schools were named A+ Schools of Excellence by the Arizona Educational Foundation, making nine schools over the past ten years with that designation.  With a nationally competitive graduation rate of 93%, Dysart graduates have a great start after high school. This year Dysart saw increases in the passing rate for Advanced Placement and Cambridge Exams, and over 1,600 high school students received college credits. Additionally, Dysart saw a boost in scholarships earned by nearly 1,800 graduates to $53 million. A significant jump from the $30 million received in 2019.  

Dysart athletics are excelling, with state championships in girls basketball, softball, cheer partner stunt, javelin, decathlon, and hurdles, as well as a national championships for Show Cheer. Numerous others qualified for and placed well in state competitions. Many Dysart athletes were named to all-american teams and top player lists, or received scholar athlete awards. Seven coaches were named Coach of the Year for their region or conference. 

Arts continue to be a focus, and this year Dysart held the first combined district theatre show, with the advanced student production of Guys and Dolls. In its second year, 54 students earned the Arizona Seal of Arts Proficiency, with three students earning double-seals. Additionally, the district Winterguard colorguard and indoor drumline were named state champions. 

As the largest employer in the cities of Surprise and El Mirage, Dysart employs over 3,000 teachers and support staff. This year Dysart had an impressive 95% retention rate for teachers, and 54 National Board Certified staff members. Accolades abound with five nominees for the Governor’s Art in Education Award, a Lifetime Achievement in School Social Work award winner, Distinguished Administrators from the ASA, a Career Guidance Award, and last but not least, Exemplary Principal and Superintendent of the Year honors. Dysart Schools are always hiring, and openings are posted at Dysart.org/Careers.

Dysart takes fiscal responsibility seriously, having earned the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for 25 years in a row. Administrative costs (8.7%) are lower than the state average (10.1%), and those of peer districts. Dysart has been diligent in submitting much needed repair projects to the Arizona School Facilities Board, and were able to get approval and funding for over $2.3 million for building repairs such as roofs, air handling equipment and fire alarm panels. By installing LED light bulbs and a utility management program, Dysart has reduced electric costs, even though electric rates continue to increase. Budget details are always available at Dysart.org/Budget.

This Centennial year brought some new and exciting programs to the community, including the launch of DSB Live, which provided livestream coverage for 215 athletic contests and other school events throughout the year. Although already in the works prior to the pandemic, it was a timely launch as the community had limited opportunities to attend in person events for much of the year.  Additionally, Dysart partnered with the City of El Mirage to open up the playgrounds of K-8 schools in El Mirage for community use after school and on weekends. In response to the COVID pandemic, and to ensure a healthier indoor environment, Dysart installed air scrubbers at every facility to reduce the amount of particulates in the air and improve air quality.

Looking forward to the 2021-2022 school year, and in response to community requests, Dysart will be offering four middle school options in August (Ashton Ranch Middle School, Cimarron Springs Middle School, Dysart Middle School, and Sonoran Heights Middle School). The 2021-2022 school year begins on Tuesday, August 3. Enrollment can be completed online at Dysart.org/Enroll, and Open Enrollment is available for those that want to attend a school outside of their boundaries at Dysart.org/OE.

In honor of the Centennial anniversary, Dysart Schools created a video and time capsule to commemorate and preserve the past and present: 

• VIDEO: Dysart Schools Centennial State of the District 

• PHOTOS: Centennial Time Capsule Closing Ceremony

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

06/30/2021 Direct Link

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New Student Enrollment Opens for 21-22 School Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/26/2021

Dysart Unified School District is accepting new student enrollment applications for the 2021-2022 school year. Parents and guardians can complete necessary registration information at Dysart.org/registration. 

From June 2 - July 1, registration support is available at the District Office. The District Office is located at 15802 N. Parkview Place in Surprise, Arizona. Parents may call (623) 876-7151 for assistance Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  School campuses will reopen on July 6.

Parents interested in enrolling children in Freedom Traditional Academy or a school outside of their boundary school, are invited to complete an open enrollment application at Dysart.org/oe. 

New for the 21-22 school year, Dysart will have middle school options for 5-8 grade students that will allow them to participate in unique academic, elective and extracurricular opportunities that will help prepare them for high school. Learn more at Dysart.org/MiddleSchool.

Dysart also offers full-time online classes for students.  The Dysart K-8 Online program allows students to learn from anywhere. Students are required to attend a morning huddle, a live lesson and a check in after lunch, and small groups support individual needs. To learn more about the K-8 Online program and enrollment criteria, or to complete a Request for Enrollment, please visit Dysart.org/K8online. Enrollment requests must be received by July 12th to be considered for K-8 Online enrollment for the first semester of the 21-22 school year.

Dysart iSchool is a full-time tuition-free online school option for high school students where they can advance at their own pace. iSchool provides online lessons, independent activities, and virtual interaction with teachers and classmates. Courses offered include Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and Honors options, in addition to mandatory graduation requirements for English, Math, Science, Social Studies, PE, Fine Arts and electives options.  Parents can indicate their interest in iSchool during the online registration process and will be contacted for further details.

To keep up with their child’s academic progress, parents are encouraged to sign up for the Parent Portal at Dysart.org/parentportal or via the Campus Parent app, available as early as 24 hours after registration is finalized.

Dysart looks forward to providing all students with an extraordinary school experience in the 2021-2022 school year. For assistance with student registration, please call (623) 876-7151 or email [email protected]

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 More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/26/2021 Direct Link

Front of district office

Dysart Provides Summer Meal Service to Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/24/2021

Dysart Unified School District is providing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meal service for the summer from June 7 through June 24 and again from July 6 through July 22. Breakfast and lunch are provided for community members 18 and under at no cost, and are served Monday - Thursday between 11:30am and 12:30pm. 

Sites for community grab-and-go meal distribution include: 

 

- Dysart High School - 11425 N. Dysart Rd., El Mirage, AZ 85335 

- Valley Vista High School - 15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374 

- Willow Canyon High School - 17901 W. Lundberg St., Surprise, AZ 85388

Meal service will also be provided to all students attending summer school sessions at any Dysart school. Menus and nutritional information can be found at Dysart.Nutrislice.com. Please note menus are subject to change based on demand and availability.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; fax: (202) 690-7442; or email: [email protected] This institution is an equal opportunity provider.    

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/24/2021 Direct Link

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VVHS Counselor Receives Career Guidance Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/17/2021

Valley Vista High School Counselor Heather Webb received the Region V Arizona Career and Technical Education (ACTEAZ) Career Guidance Award at the organization’s annual conference.  The award recognizes school counselors who make significant contributions to Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in his/her communities and/or state. Webb is now eligible for the National ACTE Awards which will be announced at the National ACTE Vision Conference in December.

“Heather is an extraordinary counselor who puts kids first. Her work with CTE, ACTE and ACTEAZ shows that she is willing to extend herself outside the school and grow personally and professionally,” said Jim Grieshaber, Career and Technical Education Director.

Webb was honored for being a true advocate for CTE and for her efforts to provide opportunities for students. Heather coordinates eighth grade CTE program tours, freshman transition visits, and Camp Monsoon, an event where freshman students can experience CTE Programs first hand.  Webb is a mentor to CTE colleagues and shares her expertise at region and state CTE conferences on best practices, works as a co-coordinator with ACTEAZ Leadership Fellows, and met with U.S. Congress Representatives in Washington DC regarding CTE. 

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.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/17/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart Education Foundation Awards Spring Mini-Grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/14/2021

The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) recently announced seven recipients for the 2021 Spring mini-grants.  This opportunity was made possible by sponsorships from Cox Charities and Southwest Foodservice Excellence.  Submissions were awarded based on projects that incorporate arts, STEM education, student need, and creativity in student learning, and winners include:

- Molly Davis, a Reading Interventionist from El Mirage Elementary School, will purchase Kindermusik® research-based curriculum for kindergarten and first grade students who are learning to read. The curriculum is built around music and focuses on language, literacy, and social skills. In addition to classroom activities, students and their families will receive online access to download songs and a storybook each month and will be able to sing and read with their children at home.

- Andrea Zunigha, a Social Worker at Kingswood Elementary School, will move forward with her "Souper Swag Sacks" project, which will provide meals for families over the weekend who are in need. Students can privately check out a backpack with food on Friday and return the backpack during the school week.

- Kristie Crane, an Art Teacher from Canyon Ridge School, received a mini-grant that will allow 350 students the opportunity to experience virtual tours of the Phoenix Art Museum with docents leading the virtual tours, and hands-on activities to reinforce learning.

- Jean Vogel, a Kindergarten Teacher at Asante Elementary School, will provide her students with the ability to explore, build, create, and imagine in a safe and encouraging environment with building materials such as blocks, interlocking plastic disks, magnets, straw connectors, puzzle pieces, pattern blocks, wheels, geoboards, 3D shapes, suction cups, and mini Legos.

- Christina Tormollan, a K-8 iExplore Teacher at Luke Elementary School, will purchase materials for her "Engineers in the Making" project. In a Makerspace environment, students will collaborate with others as they focus on an idea and use materials such as beams, brackets, nuts and bolts to design and solve problems.

- Elizabeth Maki and Haley Ruebsamen, both Science Teachers at Shadow Ridge High School, will purchase science probeware for their science labs. The probeware will assist with the changes in science standards and ensure that students are ready for post secondary science fieldwork as probeware is a staple of college and research labs.

The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) is a non-profit organization supporting students and teachers in the Dysart Unified School District. For more information about DEF or to make a donation, please visit www.defweb.org.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/14/2021 Direct Link

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Partnership with El Mirage Opens School Fields to Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/13/2021

Dysart Unified School District is excited to partner with the City of El Mirage to open El Mirage school fields to the community after school and on weekends. A ceremony was held on May 13 to launch the partnership and officially open the fields. 

Participating Dysart schools located within the City of El Mirage include Dysart Elementary School, El Mirage Elementary School, Riverview School, Surprise Elementary School, and Thompson Ranch Elementary School. Hours of availability are after school until dusk on weekdays, and 6:00 a.m. to dusk on holidays and weekends, and on non-school days during the summer. Hours may vary based on school activities and schedules.

“I appreciate the strong support residents of El Mirage give to the children in Dysart schools. Dysart is pleased to share our fields with our neighbors and provide additional recreational space for the City of El Mirage,” said Dysart Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis.

“The City of El Mirage is thrilled to offer expanded services to our residents through this important partnership with the Dysart School District,” said El Mirage Mayor Alexis Hermosillo. “Open space, recreational opportunities and neighborhood play areas are so important to the quality of life for our children and families.”

Rules and regulations regarding the use of the Dysart school sites include: 

- Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and vaping products are prohibited on school grounds/buildings and         parking lots 

- No firearms allowed within 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public school 

- No pets allowed, exception for service animals only (Please clean up after service animals) 

- Golfing, Archery and Remote Control Aircraft prohibited 

- Glass containers are prohibited - Defacing, vandalizing or removal of school equipment is prohibited - ---- No overnight parking or camping allowed 

- Motorized vehicles in designated parking areas only, exception for motorized wheelchairs 

- Individuals or organizations with a reservation get the first right of the use of the fields. To reserve this      facility, please call 623-876-7056. 

- Vandalism, broken equipment, water leaks, damaged surfaces, unsafe conditions or maintenance     concerns should be reported to 866-463-8738.

Photos of the event can be found here.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.

For More Information

renee.ryon@dysart.org
15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/13/2021 Direct Link

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Hartjen Surprised with Exemplary Principal Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/12/2021

Dysart High School Principal, Amy Hartjen, received the prestigious Exemplary Principal Award from Steve Watson, Maricopa County School Superintendent.  Hartjen was surprised with the award during the school’s senior awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.

“Amy Hartjen has done an extraordinary job in Dysart! Under her leadership, Dysart High School became an A+ School of Excellence, and the campus has truly thrived. We’re so proud of Amy’s accomplishments, and we’re honored to have her serving Dysart students each day,” shared Dr. Quinn Kellis, Superintendent of the Dysart Unified School District. 

The Exemplary Principal Award recognizes leaders who understand the connection between a thriving school culture and high levels of student achievement and teacher retention. These leaders intentionally and strategically nurture school environments where teacher and student voices set and realize the school's vision. They lead schools where students achieve academically and emotionally, and teachers are inspired to remain at the school and in the profession. 

"It is an honor to recognize Amy Hartjen as an Exemplary Principal,” said Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson. “She has a strong vision for student academic and social success and has created a culture reflective of both high expectations and unwavering support. Amy has students at the center of all decision-making and her leadership, compassion and commitment inspire everyone around her to be the best they can be."

Award recipients undergo a rigorous evaluation that involves a superintendent nomination, application, teacher survey, video interview, site visit and extensive data review.  Criteria for selection includes the ability to: actively engage staff, parents and community members in developing an effective school culture; utilize data to guide instruction and decisions regarding staff development; consistently demonstrate high teacher retention; and successfully develop and inspire others.

“It has been an honor to serve the students, staff and community of Dysart High School for the past ten years. I am so proud of the progress we have made as a campus. It is a testament to what can be accomplished with a dedicated staff and amazing students,” said Amy Hartjen.

Hartjen has served in the Dysart Unified School District for 21 years. She has been at Dysart High School for the last 10 years, eight as principal and two years as assistant principal. Other schools in the district that Hartjen has served at include Willow Canyon High School and Dysart Elementary School, where she was a social studies teacher.

Media inquiries should be directed to [email protected] or 623-876-7196.  Photos of the awards presentation may be viewed here.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/12/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart’s 2021 High School Graduations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/5/2021

Dysart Unified School District will host high school graduation ceremonies for the 2021 senior class on Wednesday, May 19.  The four graduation ceremonies will take place at the State Farm Stadium located at 1 Cardinals Drive in Glendale, Arizona.  Ceremonies will begin at the following times:

10:00 a.m. – Shadow Ridge High School 

1:00 p.m. – Willow Canyon High School 

4:00 p.m. – Valley Vista High School 

7:00 p.m. – Dysart High School

All graduation ceremonies will be live-streamed by Dysart Student Broadcasting Live (DSB Live) students at Vimeo.com/DSBlive. DSB Live is a program to provide high school students with the opportunity for hands-on, real-world experience in broadcasting.  The live stream is free of charge, and will allow anyone to watch the ceremony live or the recorded video later at their convenience.

Per State Farm Stadium’s event restrictions, this year attendees must present a ticket for entrance. A limited number of tickets have been distributed through the schools and there is no charge for admission or parking. Attendees must follow State Farm Stadium policies and procedures, including wearing a face covering. Seating is limited to facilitate physical distancing.

Media inquiries should be directed to the Communications and Public Relations Office at [email protected] or 623-876-7196.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/05/2021 Direct Link

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54 Dysart Students Earn State Seal of Arts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/3/2021

The Dysart Unified School District had 54 students earn the Arizona State Seal of Arts Proficiency this year.  The arts seal is awarded to high school students who meet rigorous standards, and have demonstrated artistic literacy and high levels of competency in media arts, visual arts, dance, theatre, or music.    

Students must meet certain requirements to qualify, which include achieving a minimum “B” average on all approved arts courses, completing a minimum of 4 credit hours of approved arts courses, completing 80 hours of arts-related extracurricular activities, and a senior capstone project.  Each of Dysart’s high schools, including Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, Valley Vista High School, and Willow Canyon High School had students earn the seal. 

Dysart Unified School District was one of 31 school districts across Arizona that participated this year.  A total of 81 Arizona schools participated, and 665 students earned the Arts Seal, 54 of those were from Dysart for a total of 57 seals earned. Three of only 13 students across the state that earned double-seals for completing the requirements in two different disciplines were in Dysart.

“We are extremely proud of the hard work, dedication, and extraordinary amount of hours our students and teachers have dedicated to their craft. These 54 students persevered through the tremendous challenges we have faced in the past year, and amid the pandemic. The arts teach self-expression, empathy and creativity, as well as problem solving, all which lead to a more well rounded citizen.  These students are fine examples of how the arts enriches our lives,” said Danae Marinelli, Director of Arts.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/03/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart Seeks Employee Benefit Trustee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 4/30/2021

The Dysart Unified School District is seeking individuals that live within the Dysart Unified School District boundaries who are interested in becoming a Trustee for the Employee Benefits Trust. Two positions are available, with a three-year term. The deadline to apply is May 14, 2021.

The purpose of the district’s Trust is to provide guidance and support on the district's benefits that are provided to employees. The Trust has the following powers and duties: Receiving Contributions Paid to the Trust; Providing Benefits and Determining Coverage; Responsible for the Administration of All; and Employee Benefits.

The Board consists of five member Trustees and meets four times a year. All Trustees are appointed by the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board. Interested individuals should review the Trustee Position Summary and submit a completed application at https://forms.gle/P3rFNQwqd5YqVecf6. 

For more information, please contact the Dysart Business Services office at 623-876-7018.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/30/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart Honors 55 Staff Members as Heroes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 4/30/2021

Dysart Unified School District annually names staff members as Heroes to recognize outstanding service to the district and the community. This year, 55 extraordinary staff members received the honor of being named a Dysart Hero, after being selected through a peer nomination process.  The number of nominations received doubled this year, truly demonstrating the hard work and dedication of Dysart’s staff. Heroes were surprised with the awards by the Dysart Hero Prize Patrol, made up of district administrators and Governing Board members, over the course of several days in March and April. 

In lieu of the usual ceremony and dinner this year, Dysart Heroes were honored during a private ceremony on April 21, 2021 at The Vista Center for the Arts. Dr. Jim Dean, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services, was the Master of Ceremonies and read excerpts from the nomination letters. A commemorative Hero plaque, sponsored by the Dysart Education Foundation, was presented by Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis and members of the Dysart Governing Board. The Shadow Ridge High School drumline provided a brief performance onstage and led the Hero procession to a line of district leadership and administrators cheering their recipients on as they exited the ceremony. A take home meal was provided for each Hero from Sharkos Catering, so they could enjoy it with their family while they watched the recorded ceremony later that evening. 

2021 Dysart Heroes:

Certified/Classified

Asante Preparatory Academy - Tracy Anderson, Ruby Sotelo 

Ashton Ranch Elementary School - Carla Gutierrez, Arthur Frazier 

Canyon Ridge School - Lacey Merritt, Matthew Davis 

Cimarron Springs Elementary School - Heide Cline, David Montano 

Countryside Elementary School - Jacqueline Banks, Diane Varming

Dysart Elementary School - Michele Gillespie, Angela Schreifels 

Dysart High School - Samantha Jones, Michelle Dabney 

El Mirage Elementary School - Brandi Tshivhase, Mayra Garcia 

Freedom Traditional Academy - Yesenia Fierro, Jaime Stanley 

Kingswood Elementary School - Jessica Novalesi, Barbara Louis Nieto 

Luke Elementary School - Marissa Mulvey, Tom Piniewski 

Marley Park Elementary School - Kathryn Voss, Jeri Metcalf 

Mountain View School - Christina Brown, Chawna Anderson 

Rancho Gabriela Elementary School - Sheri Morey, Marteen Maffai 

Riverview School - Delbertta Smolinski, Randolph Pinner 

Shadow Ridge High School - Michelle Bohon, Michele Falandys 

Sonoran Heights Elementary School - Brian Koch, Jeffrey Salamone 

Sundown Mountain Alternative Education Program - Dawn Gorosics, Joshua Reish 

Sunset Hills Elementary School - Lisa Moberg, Michelle Paxman 

Surprise Elementary School - Christine Kenneme, Antonieta Trevino 

Thompson Ranch Elementary School - Ramona Arizmendez, Chris Johansen 

Valley Vista High School - Nicole Bauer, Mary Gonzales 

West Point Elementary School - Sarah Sartor, Jane Smith 

Western Peaks Elementary School - Kristen Roemer, Melissa Tanquary 

Willow Canyon High School - Alicia Vitacco, Frederick Parra 

District Department- Michelle Castro, Human Relations

Volunteer

James Gillespie, Dysart Elementary School

Administrators

Stacie Brown, Western Peaks Elementary School 

Brad Larremore, Valley Vista High School 

Marydel Speidell, Finance Director 


The Dysart Hero Awards were sponsored this year by the Dysart Education Foundation, as well as generous community partners including: 


Centennial Diamond Sponsor: Valley Schools

Platinum Sponsors: 1GPA, CHASSE Building Team, and CORE Construction 

Gold Sponsors: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, and Wholesale Floors 

Silver Sponsors: Bel-Aire Mechanical, Magellan, Roadrunner Paving, and Trox & ViewSonic 

Bronze Sponsors: Biddle and Brown Fence Co., Sun Life and Symetra Life 

General Sponsors: Turboscape 


To view the recorded ceremony visit: https://vimeo.com/536470158.

To view a video of the Hero Squad surprises, please visit: https://youtu.be/-M7LAzXw9Qk 


Media inquiries or future sponsorship questions should be directed to the Communications and Public Relations Office at [email protected] or 623-876-7196.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/22/2021 Direct Link

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Sawyer-Sinkbeil Appointed to Education Advisory Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 4/13/2021

Dysart Unified School District Governing Board Member Traci Sawyer-Sinkbeil has been appointed to the Professional Practices Advisory Committee (PPAC) by the Arizona State Board of Education. Her term will expire July 31, 2023.

The PPAC serves as the advisory committee in regards to educator certification or recertification matters related to immoral conduct and/or unprofessional conduct. Sawyer-Sinkbeil will complete the remaining term for a departing member, at which time she may be reappointed for a full four-year term.

"I am honored to have been appointed to this position on the Professional Practices Advisory Committee. I strongly believe in the importance of public education and the certificated teachers and administrators that lead the charge,” said Traci Sawyer-Sinkbeil. “It is important that we have the right educators in place, teaching our children on all levels. While serving on this committee, I welcome the opportunity to ensure its compliance in disciplinary matters of certificated individuals and applicants of certification and to protect all of Arizona’s students from incidents of professional misconduct. We all share a passion for great education and I welcome the opportunity to serve in this capacity."

Sawyer-Sinkbeil has been a Dysart board member for 11 years and previously served on the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners Social Work Committee. She holds a Masters of Business Administration and Bachelors in Business and Public Administration, both from Ottawa University, and has many years of human resource experience in education.

About the Professional Practices Advisory Committee: The Professional Practices Advisory Committee (PPAC), a Committee of the Arizona State Board of Education, is responsible for conducting hearings on certificated individuals to which allegations of immoral and/or unprofessional conduct have been made. The PPAC is comprised of two alternating groups of seven members: one elementary classroom teacher, one secondary classroom teacher, one principal, one superintendent or assistant/associate superintendent, two lay members (one of which is a parent of a student in an Arizona public school) and one district board member.  At each PPAC meeting, the Committee may review applications for initial certification, renewals of certification, and conduct hearings on complaints filed against existing certified individuals. After each case is heard, members make findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a recommendation to the Board to approve or deny an application for certification; or in the case of a complaint hearing, make a recommendation regarding whether the Board should impose discipline on a certificate.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/13/2021 Direct Link

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Preschool Curriculum Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 3/30/2021

Members of Dysart Unified School District’s Textbook Adoption Committee are currently evaluating preschool curriculum. Parents and community members are invited to view the textbooks and online materials and provide feedback by appointment from March 31 through May 31, 2021 at the Dysart Support Services Building, 13825 N Desert Cove Road, Surprise, AZ 85379.  For more information, or to request an appointment please email or call Shara Rose at 623-876-7352 or [email protected]

For More Information

shara.rose@dysart.org
15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

03/30/2021 Direct Link

Front of district office

Dysart Offers Kindergarten Registration and Tours

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 2/19/2021

Dysart Unified School District invites prospective kindergarten families to schedule campus tours beginning February 22, 2021. Families are invited to watch videos to learn more about each school’s kindergarten program at Dysart.org/KinderShowcase, and parents may contact the campus(es) of interest to schedule a tour to see the campus and learn more. 

Dysart’s kindergarten program is one of the few full-day programs in the area that is offered at no cost to the community. Curriculum follows Arizona state standards, and offers hands-on, real-life activities in the areas of cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Before and after school program opportunities are available as well. Extensive protocols are in place to keep our campuses clean, safe and healthy. 

Dysart schools offering full-day kindergarten include Asante Preparatory Academy, Canyon Ridge, Countryside, El Mirage, Freedom Traditional Academy, Kingswood, Luke, Marley Park, Mountain View, Rancho Gabriela, Riverview, Sunset Hills, Surprise Elementary, Thompson Ranch, West Point, and Western Peaks.

Parents may register their child online at Dysart.org/Registration. To finalize enrollment, parents will need to provide a birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency.  To determine the school boundary for your residence, please visit www.dysart.org/boundaries. Open enrollment is also available for those that want their child to attend a school outside of their boundaries.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/19/2021 Direct Link

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Summer School Options Expanded for Dysart Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 2/22/2021

Dysart Unified School District is expanding Summer School options this year to keep students on track, and to provide opportunities for them to remediate their grades or advance the accumulation of their high school credits.  Courses are available for K-12th graders, and will be offered in a variety of ways, including online through Dysart’s iSchool program, or in person on various campuses. All Dysart Summer School options are being offered at no cost.

Online iSchool Summer School (Grades: Current 8-12):  iSchool Summer School registration will begin Tuesday, February 16, 2021 for current and incoming high school students.  Courses are online and students may choose to take up to two classes, depending on when they begin their coursework. The deadline to register is Thursday, May 27, 2021.

Dysart iSchool Summer School will run April 12 through June 24 at no cost. Current high school students who choose to begin on April 12 could possibly complete 1.0 credit during Summer School if they sign up for two courses. Students who begin courses at the end of the 2020-2021 school year will only be able to complete one course for .5 credit.

Dysart iSchool Summer School is open to students from the four Dysart high schools, as well as students from other districts and charter schools. Current Dysart students that are interested can register with their school counselors, and current eighth graders may contact the iSchool office.  For additional information, visit Dysart.org/summerschool or call 623-876-7872.

In Person Summer School (Grades: Current K-12):  Limited in-person Summer School opportunities are available for K-12th grade students during two sessions. The first session will run June 7-24, 2021 and the second session is July 5-22. Programs offered vary by site and grade level. Specific details will be shared by schools for students that qualify. For additional information, contact your school front office or high school counselor.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/11/2021 Direct Link

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SPED Records Available for Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 2/5/2021

DYSART SCHOOLS - The Dysart Unified School District is preparing to destroy archived special education records from the 2016-2017 school year and will begin this process in July 2021. Special Education records, including placement records, referrals, evaluations, testing data, etc. are maintained for four fiscal years after a student’s final enrollment in a special education program.  Final enrollment in a special education program is defined as the last day a student is enrolled in a special education program and is no longer receiving services. Parents, guardians, or eligible students have the right to review and/or receive a copy of these records before July 2021. Please contact [email protected] or 623-876-7198 prior to July 2021 to review records. 

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/05/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart to Add Middle Schools in 2021-2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 1/26/2021


The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board has approved the offering of middle school options for the 2021-2022 school year. Middle schools will allow 5-8 grade students to participate in unique academic, elective and extracurricular opportunities that will help prepare them for high school.

Ashton Ranch, Cimarron Springs, Dysart Elementary, and Sonoran Heights will transition to grade 5-8 middle schools for the upcoming school year, and will be paired with K-4 elementary schools at Countryside, Western Peaks, El Mirage Elementary and Rancho Gabriela. Middle school students will study a foreign language, take introductory Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, and have the opportunity to choose electives and earn high school credit. Details about middle schools may be found at dysart.org/middleschool.

Students living within an area impacted by a middle school boundary change that affects their home school will automatically be enrolled in the correct home school for the 2021-2022 school year. For students that do not live within a middle school attendance boundary, Open Enrollment is always an option as long as space is available. 

As a result of this change for the 2021-2022 school year, Dysart will have a wider variety of grade configurations for parents to choose from, including Preschool, K-4, K-8, 5-8, and 9-12. Additionally, parents may choose a school that best meets their child’s needs based on specific programs or focus.  Parents may apply for Open Enrollment for any Dysart school that is outside of their regular attendance zone at dysart.org/oe.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/26/2021 Direct Link

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Dysart Celebrates Three New National Board Certified Teachers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 1/20/2021

Dysart Unified School District is proud to announce that three Dysart teachers are among the newest National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Arizona.  Kelly Gragg (Surprise Elementary School), Jesica Roehm (Surprise Elementary School), and Jean Vogel (Asante Preparatory Academy) all earned the certification in December, bringing the total count of NBCTs in Dysart to 54.  

National Board Certification is the highest certificate an educator can achieve in the United  States. Administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Board certification is a rigorous and reflective process that requires teachers to showcase the National  Board Standards in their practice. Teachers often take up to three years of continual work to achieve certification. Research shows that students of NBCTs have improved learning outcomes, and only 3% of teachers nationwide achieve this certification. 

Since 1996, teachers throughout Arizona have been seeking and achieving National Board  Certification. The Arizona K12 Center provides support and resources for teachers to pursue  National Board Certification. Dysart supports staff members interested in the certification through cohort meetings and substitute coverage for two professional days for preparation, and offers a stipend equal to 5% of the base salary to teachers who are National Board Certified. 

This year, 48 Arizona teachers achieved certification. Altogether, Arizona is home to 1,576 NBCTs with 660 teachers currently pursuing National Board Certification. According to the  National Board, there are 127,781 NBCTs across the U.S. Learn more about National Board Certification at nbpts.org or azk12.org.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/20/2021 Direct Link

district office

DUSD Receives Two Awards for Workplace Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 1/14/2021

The Dysart Unified School District was recently recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal and the American Heart Association for efforts in workplace and employee health and wellness. 

Dysart was named a top 20 Healthiest Employer by the Phoenix Business Journal, placing #6 in the Largest category for businesses with over 1,500 employees in the Phoenix area. The award takes into account all of the healthy options that the district currently offers employees, including flu shot clinics, monthly wellness webinars, fitness challenges and more to enhance individual wellness, productivity, and well-being. In 2019, Dysart ranked #17 on the list. 

Additionally, the American Heart Association awarded the Dysart Unified School District for achieving the Gold Level on the 2020 Workplace Health Achievement Index. Placement on the index indicates the extent to which a company has implemented best practices for employers to use to build a culture of health for their employees, as defined by the American Heart Association. There are 55 individual best practices, organized into seven categories of organizational best practices (leadership, engagement, programs, policies and environment, partnerships, communications, and reporting outcomes). To achieve a Gold Level, Dysart scored between 175-217 out of a maximum of 217 on the index.

The Governing Board recognized the district for these achievements at meetings in October and November of 2020.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/14/2021 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Middle School Options Begin in 2021-2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 12/17/2020

The Dysart Unified School District will be launching four middle school options in the 2021-2022 school year for 5-8 graders. Middle schools will be located at the following sites: Ashton Ranch Elementary School, Cimarron Springs Elementary School, Dysart Elementary School and Sonoran Heights Elementary School. 

The middle school model will allow Dysart to provide unique academic, elective and extracurricular opportunities for 5-8 grade students, and better prepare them for the high school experience. Students attending Dysart middle schools will be able to select from several elective class options, including Career and Technical Education (CTE) introductory courses as well as PE, art, music and band. Additionally, a Spanish course will be included in each student’s schedule. Students will also have opportunities to earn high school credit, giving them a head start when they begin high school.

In conjunction with the middle school changes, paired schools that will be shifted to K-4 schools include Countryside Elementary School, El Mirage Elementary School, Rancho Gabriela Elementary School, and Western Peaks Elementary School. The Governing Board approved the change at the December 9, 2020 meeting, along with the accompanying boundary and name changes for the middle schools. 

Parents that do not live within a middle school attendance boundary but would like their student(s) to attend a Dysart middle school or other school of choice may apply for Open Enrollment at Dysart.org/OE. The priority Open Enrollment period ends January 10, 2021, but applications will continue to be accepted after this date, and approved based on space availability. Information on Dysart middle schools is available at Dysart.org/MiddleSchool.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

12/17/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Education Foundation Awards Mini-Grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 12/15/2020

 The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) recently announced seven recipients for the 2020 fall teacher mini-grants totaling $10,504.  This opportunity was made possible by donations from the Estelle Russo Trust.  Submissions were awarded based on projects that incorporate arts education and creativity in student learning, and winners include:

  • Physical Education teacher Chuck Molett and Music teacher Randall Badsgard at Sunset Hills Elementary School received a grant to refit and update performance arts space in their gymnasium. Sunset Hills is expanding and enhancing performance opportunities for students by updating the equipment and modifying the existing infrastructure, which will streamline the processes and practices associated with larger performance events.  

  • Jack Broughton, Band teacher at Marley Park Elementary School will use the funds to purchase Wind Instrument Try-Out Kits. The kits contain plastic versions of six different instrument mouthpieces which can be easily disinfected between uses and will help guide students toward finding the instrument that is the best fit for the student.  

  • Jordan Mooney, Band teacher at Dysart High School received funds to purchase music holders and lyres, called “flip folders”, that attach to the students’ instruments. Until now, the band had to memorize every piece of marching band music. The flip folders will allow students to spend more time on making music and less time memorizing.  

  • Laurel Ruff, Music teacher at Marley Park Elementary School will use the grant to purchase soprano ukuleles, half-size guitars, hand drums and jingle bell clusters.  Students in grades K-8 will engage in learning music from diverse regions of the world, their languages, instrumentation and heritage.

  • Mario Hiter, Art teacher at Shadow Ridge High School received a grant for Native American inspired ceramic rainsticks.  Students will study the cultural significance of rainsticks around the world as used by Native American Huichol tribe and the African tribes Togo and Pangwe. Students will create their own version of rainsticks using extruded hollow forms with an extruder purchased with the grant funds.  Students will design motives and imagery discussed from tribes, while adding their own artistic flair with three-dimensional sculpting and two-dimensional carving.  

  • Nora Torres, Dance teacher at West Point Elementary School will use the grant to purchase a portable stage, wireless headsets and a soundboard. Students are working towards their end-of-year Theater Production and Dance Recital. 

  • Matthew Aragon, Art teacher at Willow Canyon High School received funding for Wheels for Willow. Throwing on a pottery wheel is one of the most challenging and rewarding ceramics techniques.  An addition of one more pottery wheel to the two already in the classroom will allow students a greater opportunity to learn and master the process.

The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) is a non-profit organization supporting students and teachers in the Dysart Unified School District. For more information about DEF or to make a donation, please visit www.defweb.org.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

12/15/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart to begin open enrollment Dec. 11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 12/2/2020

The Dysart Unified School District is proud to offer our community a choice in school enrollment. Dysart will begin accepting open enrollment applications for the 2021-2022 school year on Friday, December 11, 2020.  Parents or guardians who would like their child to attend a school outside of their residential attendance boundary for the 2021-2022 school year, must apply for open enrollment online at www.dysart.org/oe.  

Parents whose students are currently open enrolled at the school of their choice will not need to reapply. However, open enrollment status is evaluated annually based on capacity, student’s grades, discipline, and attendance.

Open enrollment allows parents the opportunity to request that their children attend a Dysart school outside of their residential boundary area. This includes all 20 Dysart elementary schools, including Freedom Traditional Academy, and four high schools. Information on K-8 signature programs and academies may be found by visiting www.dysart.org/signature. Details about high school focuses and Career and Technical Education programs offered are available at www.Dysart.org/highschool. 

The priority open enrollment period ends January 10, 2021. After this priority period, submitted applications will continue to be accepted and will be reviewed on a monthly basis as capacity becomes available.

Parents needing access to a computer to complete the open enrollment application may visit any district school or the front lobby of the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374, during regular business hours.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

12/02/2020 Direct Link

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Superintendent Honored for Contributions to Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/30/2020

Dysart Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis was named the Arizona School Public Relations Association 2020 Superintendent of the Year for his contributions to education. The award recognizes a superintendent for their leadership and high ideals of professionalism; commitment to good communications; support of public relations planning and strategies; and the ability to work with staff, parents and the community for the benefit of students.

Excerpts from his nomination include: 

  • “Dr. Kellis easily balances the leadership demands with approachability, collaboration and a regular focus on communications. He makes himself available to all stakeholders in a variety of ways, and is unusually responsive to emails and phone calls for a superintendent of a district this size.” 
  • “Dr. Kellis strives for transparency and accountability in everything.  He conducts countless meetings with various stakeholders to ensure their voices are heard. And he genuinely listens and takes into consideration what he hears. Over the last two years, he visited every school in the district at least once a month, among attending many other Arts events and Athletic competitions. He is highly visible and extremely approachable to all.” 
  • “When it comes to superintendents that contribute to and support public relations and communications efforts, Dr. Quinn Kellis goes to the top of the list. Simply put, he is extraordinary.”

The Dysart Office of Communications and Public Relations also won several awards for their publications, including Excellence awards for the College and Career CTE Expo multimedia campaign, CTE photos, Mock Crash Prelude video, and a Dysart Breaking Barriers article. Merit awards were received for the Community Connect magazine, Super in 60 video series, Drive-thru Promotion Celebration photos, and Veteran Celebrations photos.

The Arizona School Public Relations Association (ASPRA) annually recognizes standards of excellence in school public relations through its ASPRA*tions Awards. Professionals in communications and public relations outside of the state serve as judges. This year, entries were judged by the Washington Schools Public Relations Association based on industry standards.

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About the Arizona School Public Relations Association 

The Arizona School Public Relations Association is a professional organization that provides support to educators involved in school public relations, as well as professional development activities for school public relations specialists. ASPRA is dedicated to improving the public’s understanding and support of and commitment to public education.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

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Dysart Teacher Named History Teacher of Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/12/2020

Social Studies teacher Christopher Raso, from Canyon Ridge School, was named the 2020 Outstanding History Teacher of the Year. The award honors full-time 5-12 grade teachers of American history and related fields and is given out by the Arizona State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (AZDAR).

Mary Lou Fellman, Honorary State Regent of AZDAR, presented the award to Mr. Raso at a Dysart Unified School District Governing Meeting in October, stating “one of the signs of an excellent teacher is someone who can spark a flame in a student’s mind and heart to learn and treasure our American history, and to become a responsible citizen. Mr. Raso, you’re that teacher... your innovative approach to education ensures that no child is left behind when it comes to American history.”

Christopher Raso has twenty-five years of experience teaching middle school Social Studies, and has taught in the Dysart Unified School District for fifteen years. Currently, Raso teaches seventh grade at Canyon Ridge School. He was previously named Arizona History Teacher of the Year in 2018 by the Arizona Department of Education and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He is also the recipient of the 2019 National American History Teacher Award, presented by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR).

Mr. Raso was nominated for this current recognition by the Agua Fria chapter of the Arizona State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. AZDAR is a state chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, which is a non-profit, non-political, volunteer women's service organization founded in 1890 by a small group of patriotic American women. Today, the NSDAR is one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country. The DAR is dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/12/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Superintendent Named Honorary LAFB Commander

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/10/2020

Dysart Unified School District is proud to announce that Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis was appointed as a member of the Honorary Commander Program by Brigadier General Gregory Kreuder, Commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base (Luke AFB).

As an Honorary Commander for the 2020-2022 term, Dr. Quinn Kellis is recognized as an outstanding community leader and enthusiastic supporter of the mission of Luke AFB. Through this unique position, Dr. Kellis has committed to investing his time and resources into projects that will enhance the quality of life for Luke AFB personnel and their families.  

“I am humbled and honored to serve as an Honorary Commander,” said Dr. Quinn Kellis. “Having grown up and raised my own family in the West Valley, I truly value Luke Air Force Base and what it brings to our community. I look forward to learning even more about the base and how our local Dysart school district can support our military families.”

The Honorary Commander Program enables members of the community to understand the importance of Luke Air Force Base, the Air Force, Department of Defense, and their military mission. It also enables military commanders and their units to learn more about the community in which they live.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/10/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Override Continuation Approved by Voters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/9/2020

Dysart Unified School District’s Override Continuation was approved in the November, 2020 general election with 55% of votes being “yes.” Dysart is thankful to everyone in the community that took the time to vote in this election, showing their support and commitment to our community and students. The vote extends Dysart’s override funding through the 2025-2026 school year. If not continued again, funding would begin phasing out by one-third each year, starting in the 2026-2027 school year.

The continuation keeps funding in place so that Dysart can retain highly qualified teachers and staff, continue to provide math and reading support, continue manageable class sizes, and continue funding for arts, Physical Education, athletic programs and full-day kindergarten. 

“We are extremely fortunate to have such dedicated parents, staff, and neighbors who have worked hard to share information about the educational needs of this community,” said Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis. “Thank you for supporting the override continuation, and for exercising your civic duty, regardless of how you voted. This funding is important. It will help ensure children are well-prepared for their future.”

The Dysart Unified School District (DUSD) is committed to being transparent and fiscally responsible by saving money and keeping expenses down whenever possible. Dysart has received the Arizona Association of School Business Officials Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for 25 years in a row and the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 16 consecutive years. DUSD schools have shown great success - with a 93% graduation rate, nine A+ Schools of Excellence, and 17 schools with an A or B rating from the Arizona Department of Education. 

Maintenance and Operations (M&O) override elections ask residents to approve additional funding for basic operational expenses (i.e., teacher and staff salaries, coaches, supplies, etc.) not adequately funded by state allocations. Dysart has had an override in place for 20 years.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/09/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Proposes Middle Schools and Boundary Changes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/4/2020

The Dysart Unified School District will hold a public hearing on November 18, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. to obtain public comment regarding proposed middle schools and boundary changes. If approved, the new boundaries would be in effect starting with the 2021-2022 school year. 

Information and maps about the proposed changes are available at Dysart.org/updates. The proposed changes are being considered for the following reasons:

  • To establish primary and middle school options that provide academic, programming, and extracurricular opportunities; 
  • To effectively position the district for the incoming and projected growth; 
  • To maximize the use of all available facilities; 
  • To use resources efficiently;  
  • To provide the shortest bus routes possible while balancing academic and program options; and  
  • To better align neighborhoods with schools.

Proposed boundary changes related to creating 5-8th grade middle schools include Ashton Ranch Elementary School, Cimarron Springs Elementary School, Dysart Elementary School, and Sonoran Heights Elementary School. In conjunction with the middle school changes, schools that would be shifted to K-4 include Countryside Elementary School, El Mirage Elementary School, Rancho Gabriela Elementary School, and Western Peaks Elementary School. 

Additionally, general boundary changes for Luke Elementary School, Marley Park Elementary School, Mountain View School, Riverview School, and Sunset Hills Elementary School are being considered to better align neighborhoods with schools, position the district for projected growth, and use resources efficiently.

At this public hearing, attending members of the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board will hear reasons for or against the proposed boundary changes.  The public hearing shall not exceed sixty (60) minutes.  During the public hearing, proposed attendance boundary changes including maps will be visually presented. Time shall be granted for public comments regarding the proposed attendance boundary changes. Speakers will be limited to three (3) minutes.  

The hearing will be held prior to the scheduled Governing Board meeting at 15802 N. Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374. It will be limited to fifty (50) people, which includes Governing Board members, Administration, presenters and members of the public (per Governor’s Executive Order 2020-43).

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/04/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart to Host Military Family Education Forum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/29/2020

The Dysart Unified School District (DUSD), in partnership with Luke Air Force Base (LAFB), is hosting a Military Family Education Forum on Thursday, November 5 at 4:30 p.m. Information will be shared about how DUSD supports military families and about new partnerships between the district and LAFB. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide input to the district about how local schools can better support military families. 

The forum will be held on base in the LAFB Youth Center, located at 13722 West Lightening St, Building #1143, Luke AFB, AZ 85309. Masks are required, temperature checks will take place, and chairs will be spaced out for social distancing.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/29/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Launches Student Broadcast Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/23/2020

Dysart Unified School District is now providing live stream broadcasts of school events free of charge to the community through Dysart Student Broadcasting Live (DSB Live). In its inaugural year, DSB Live is focused on providing students with hands-on, real-world experience in broadcasting, and allows the community to virtually participate in events. 

DSB Live is student-driven and student-produced. Students in grades 9-12 at Dysart’s four high schools (Dysart HS, Shadow Ridge HS, Valley Vista HS, and Willow Canyon HS) learn, develop and run every aspect of the show, including operating state-of-the-art cameras and TriCasters, creating commercials, being sound technicians, producers, graphic operators, on-field reporters, and color commentators during sports broadcasts. DSB Live’s network compliments the media pathways in Dysart’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, but is open to any student, regardless of if they are enrolled in CTE classes or not. Students interested in participating should contact their high school broadcasting instructor or email [email protected]  

Currently, in light of restricted attendance numbers due to COVID-19 precautions, DSB Live is covering all home football and volleyball games this year for Dysart’s high schools. DSB Live will also cover other academic, arts and athletic events throughout the year. A full schedule of DSB Live events is available at Dysart.org/DSBlive. 

The DSB Live program will be sustained through sponsorship and donations.  Currently, DSB Live is supported by an award from the City of Surprise Community Outreach Program, as well as through partnerships with Dysart Education Foundation and Huntington University. Sponsorship packages are available for purchase. For more information on sponsorship or donation opportunities, please contact Brian Yoder at 623-256-5062 or [email protected]

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/23/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Awarded Certificate of Achievement for Annual Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/19/2020

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Dysart Unified School District for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019. This was the 16th consecutive year that Dysart has achieved this prestigious award. 

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by an organization and its management. In order to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement, an organization must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. This report must satisfy both generally accepted accounting principles and applicable legal requirements. 

“It is quite an honor and accomplishment for a district to receive this recognition for sixteen years in a row,” said Ken Hicks, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations. “It is a testament to the value we place on the financial transparency we strive to provide to our community. We want taxpayers to know how our funding is being spent, and take great strides to make it as easy and clear as possible.” 

The award will be presented to the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board at the October 28 board meeting.

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About GFOA 

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources, and practical research for more than 21,000 members and the communities they serve.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/19/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Dash 5K Going Virtual

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/14/2020

The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) will host the annual Dysart Dash 5K and Kids Challenge virtually this year. The virtual race will take place October 26 through November 30, and participants can choose to walk, run, bike or hike. 

This annual fundraiser supports DEF’s efforts to provide teacher mini-grants and college scholarships for Dysart Unified School District teachers and students. This year’s sponsors include McCarthy Building Companies, Saguaro Screen Printing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Total Dental Administrators, and Delta Dental of Arizona.

Participants may sign up by visiting Dysart.org/DysartDash. There is a $30 registration fee in order to participate and receive a tech shirt, performance mask, finisher medal and digital race bib. Paid participants should sign up by November 1 to ensure receipt of materials. There are also no-cost options to participate. 

The Dysart Education Foundation is composed of volunteers who are passionate about supporting education in our community. The foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to raising funds for the purpose of enriching student learning in the Dysart Unified School District and supporting continued education for high school graduates. More information about DEF is available at www.defweb.org.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/14/2020 Direct Link

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Two Dysart schools named A+ Schools of Excellence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/7/2020

Dysart High School and Sonoran Heights Elementary School have been named A+ Schools of Excellence by the Arizona Education Foundation.  The A+ School of Excellence is a comprehensive school assessment program that celebrates outstanding schools and helps to identify, celebrate, and recognize educational excellence in PreK-12th grade schools throughout Arizona. 

Dysart has had nine schools named A+ Schools of Excellence over the last ten years.  Sonoran Heights’ previously received the A+ award, which is valid for four years, in 2015. Dysart High School is the third high school in Dysart to receive this award in two years.

“Every student deserves an extraordinary learning experience in Dysart,” said Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis.  “The A+ award recognizes the exceptional work of all staff to provide that experience. Dysart High School and Sonoran Heights Elementary are, indeed, A+ schools!” 

A+ School of Excellence recipients are evaluated on many areas, including student focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data. Selected schools must demonstrate high student academic achievement or growth over time, participate in site visits by state education leaders, and document in detail the school’s leadership and commitment to excellence, equity, and service. The application process is collaborative, and involves all stakeholders - students, staff, and the community. Winning schools receive $500 and a banner designating them as an A+ School of Excellence winner. 

“The A+ School of Excellence Award shines a spotlight on the positive stories and successes occurring in public schools,” said AEF Executive Director, Kim Graham. “The application and evaluation process for this program is comprehensive and rigorous. We applaud these schools for exceeding expectations to meet their students’ needs and for achieving overall success despite the many challenges that face the education community statewide.”

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/07/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Awarded for 25 Years of Excellence in Financial Reporting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/6/2020

The Dysart Unified School District has received the Certificate of Excellence (COE) in Financial Reporting by the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The certificate was earned for the district’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year 2019 and recognizes that Dysart has met high standards for financial reporting and transparency. 

“The COE’s mission is to promote and recognize excellence in financial reporting, specifically through a district’s CAFR,” ASBO International Executive Director David Lewis said. “The CAFR informs stakeholders about the financial and economic state of the district, making it an important communications tool for building trust and engaging with the school community.”

By participating in the COE program, school districts demonstrate their commitment to financial transparency. This award represents the 25th consecutive year that Dysart has received this valuable recognition.

“Dysart Unified School District values our community and the trust they place in us to not only educate students, but to be good stewards of our taxpayer funds. We are honored to receive this award, and strive to continue our focus on financial transparency and fiscal responsibility,” said Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis.

The award will be presented to the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board at the October 28 board meeting.  Dysart budget and financial reports may be viewed at Dysart.org/Budget.

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About ASBO International 

Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide. ASBO International is committed to providing programs, services, and a global network that promote the highest standards in school business. Its members support student achievement through effective resource management in various areas ranging from finance and operations to food services and transportation. Learn more at asbointl.org.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/06/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart to Hold Virtual Career Expos for Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 9/21/2020

Dysart Unified School District is holding the annual Career Expo virtually this year on Facebook Live at Facebook.com/DysartUSD. The Career Expo gives parents and students the opportunity to explore all the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that Dysart schools offer, ask questions, and experience virtual tours of the classrooms.  

Each high school will have their own night to showcase their programs. This event is recommended for 5-11th grade students and parents, but all are welcome to join in. Open enrollment is available, so parents and students should attend one or more events based on student interests rather than their home school.

VIRTUAL CAREER EXPO SCHEDULE:

Dysart High School - September 29, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. 

CTE Programs featured: Business & Marketing, Graphic Design, Network Technologies, Digital Photography, Film & TV Production, Automotive Technology, Sports Medicine, Internships

Shadow Ridge High School - October 1, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. 

CTE Programs featured: Business & Marketing, Software & App Design, Digital Communications, Graphic Design, Computer Animation, Education Professions, Engineering, Architecture, Sports Medicine, Internships

Valley Vista High School - October 6, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. 

CTE Programs featured: Business & Marketing, Graphic Design, Computer Maintenance, Computer Animation, Film & TV Production, Law & Public Safety, Fire Science, Culinary Arts, Sports Medicine, Stagecraft Design (New!), Internships

Willow Canyon High School - October 8, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. 

CTE Programs featured:  Business & Marketing, Software & App Design, Graphic Design, Film & TV Production, Sports Medicine, Laboratory Assisting, Stagecraft Design (New!), Nursing Professions (New!), Internships

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/21/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

DUSD Override Informational Meeting Sept. 28

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 9/17/2020

Dysart Unified School District invites the community to participate in a virtual event to learn facts about the Override Continuation Election on Monday, September 28 at 5:30 p.m. The event will be virtual and take place on Facebook Live at Facebook.com/DysartUSD. The meeting will begin with a brief presentation by district leadership and participants will then be able to comment with questions for panelists to answer. 

The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board called for an Override Continuation Election on November 3, 2020. In Dysart, a Maintenance & Operations override has been in place since 2000. The override would maintain funding for programs currently serving Dysart students such as Arts, PE and Athletics as well as academic support programs for Math and Reading.  Funding to retain highly qualified teachers and staff, maintain manageable class sizes and offer all-day Kindergarten for the community would also continue with the override renewal.

WHAT: Override Informational Meeting 

WHERE: Virtually on Facebook.com/DysartUSD 

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. on Monday, September 28, 2020

WHO: Dysart Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Ken Hicks, Assistant Superintendent for Education Services Dr. Stephen Poling, Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Jim Dean, and Assistant Superintendent for Human Relations John Croteau

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/17/2020 Direct Link

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VVHS Dance Receives Program of Excellence Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 9/10/2020

The Valley Vista High School (VVHS) dance program was awarded the 2020 K-12 Dance Program of Excellence award by the Arizona Dance Education Organization (AzDEO). The award was announced at the AzDEO annual meeting, and the school was presented with a plaque and $500 donation for the program. Valley Vista is the first high school to receive this award.

In order to receive the award, dance programs must exhibit growth and inclusiveness; a comprehensive, rigorous curriculum based on artistic processes that supports a well-rounded education; address the needs of all students; be student-centered; have parent and community support and engagement; and provide access to professional development.

In the award letter from AzDEO President, Andrea Downing states “the Valley Vista dance program under the leadership of Amy Crow exemplifies these principles. Arizona has many fine dance programs, but Valley Vista’s embodies the best in dance education.”

Amy Crow has been the dance teacher at Valley Vista High School since the school opened in 2006, building the program from the ground up. There are currently nine dance classes serving 280 students at Valley Vista High School. Among the many accolades the dance program has received are superior, distinction and proficient awards at the AzDEO High School Dance Festival; 20 students inducted into the National Honor Society of Dance Arts; and student recipients of the AzDEO Student Leadership Award, state level Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Award, and guiDANCE Mentor Program. 

“We are very blessed to have so many dance educators in Arizona who felt the Valley Vista Dance Program exhibits the education that students deserve,” said dance teacher Amy Crow.

“The Valley Vista Dance Program is a top notch program that is still continuing to grow and move forward under the leadership and guidance of Ms. Crow,” said Dysart’s Director of Arts Education, Danae Marinelli. “Her students continue on in life with the skills and mindset that allow them to be successful in their endeavors whether it be becoming a dance professional or some other path. Valley Vista Dance program is an exemplar program.”

The Dysart Unified School District values arts education and was one of the first districts to participate in the inaugural Arizona State Seal of Arts Proficiency program which was launched last year. Dysart schools had 47 graduates earn the seal in its first year. 

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

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USDA Approves Dysart to Extend Summer Meal Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 9/4/2020

Dysart Unified School District was approved by the USDA to extend our Summer Meal Service through December 31 or until the Federal funding for this program is depleted. Beginning immediately, all children 18 and younger can receive free breakfast and lunch at any Dysart school. Breakfast and lunch meal service is available Monday-Friday through drive-thru curbside pickup, or in the school cafeterias for those attending Learning Labs or in-person classes. 

To view curbside meal service times, please visit Dysart.org/meals. Menus and nutritional information can be found at Dysart.Nutrislice.com. Please note menus are subject to change based on demand and availability.

Parents may pick up the meals. Children do not need to be present, and children do not need to be enrolled in a Dysart school to participate.

###

The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information requested in order to verify your children’s eligibility for free/reduced-price meals. If you do not provide the information or provide incomplete information, your children may no longer receive free/reduced-price meals.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found at ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or write a letter to USDA and provide all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: [email protected]

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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Dysart to Begin In-person Classes on September 14 and 21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 9/1/2020

Health benchmark data for the Dysart Unified School District is trending in the right direction, and if the trend continues, Dysart schools will reopen to in-person classes in two phases. On September 14, Kindergarten through fourth, and ninth grade students will return to campus. The following week, September 21, fifth through eighth, and tenth through twelfth graders will return. Students participating in full-time online Dysart iSchool will continue their independent lessons online as long as they are enrolled in iSchool. 

Dysart welcomed preschoolers to campus earlier this week. Since mid-August, Learning Labs have been in place as an on-site location for students to participate in remote learning, and Dysart has been providing on-site supports for Exceptional Student Services students as well. 

The health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority. Dysart has implemented a number of safety protocols to provide a safe and clean environment when in-person classes resume. This includes:

  • Asking parents to screen their children for symptoms before school, and keep children home if they exhibit specific symptoms 
  • Requiring face coverings for all staff and students except while eating, or during recess or outdoor activities 
  • Daily temperature checks for all students and staff 
  • Regular cleaning and disinfecting, especially on high touch surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations and cleaning supplies will be readily available. 
  • Each school will develop routines for traffic in hallways, seating assignments in classrooms and the cafeteria, and distancing on playgrounds.

To view full details about health screenings, cleaning and disinfecting practices, and safety protocols, visit Dysart.org/BacktoSchool. 

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/01/2020 Direct Link

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Shadow Ridge Teacher Named Outstanding Biology Educator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 8/17/2020

Zachary Zimmerman, a teacher at Shadow Ridge High School, was honored with the 2020 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award (OBTA) for advancing biology education in the state of Arizona. The award was presented to Mr. Zimmerman by The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) in conjunction with Carolina Biological Supply Company.

The award recognizes a teacher who has made invaluable contributions to the profession, enhancing the teaching of biology. Considerations for the award include teaching ability, experience, innovation, initiative, positive student-teacher interactions, and collaboration in the school and community. The award is given annually to a teacher from each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, US Territories, and Canada. 

“By approaching education as a builder, I am able to equip young people with critical thinking and interpersonal skills, as well as a solid grasp of the scientific method so that they can become problem solvers that change the world,” wrote Mr. Zimmerman of his teaching philosophy. "I am honored to receive this recognition. It is my pleasure to empower students to become tomorrow's innovators."

Mr. Zimmerman has 15 years of experience teaching science education, the last five at Shadow Ridge, where he teaches Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors biology, as well as anatomy and physiology. He also co-developed the state-aligned biology curriculum for the Dysart Unified School District, leads the Professional Learning Community of biology teachers for his school, and regularly partners with local scientists to provide students with practical lab experience and career advice. Mr. Zimmerman’s dedication to student success is especially exemplified by the extra hours he spends tutoring students on weekends and evenings, resulting in establishment of the leading AP biology program in the district.

“Mr. Zimmerman’s commitment to the success, well-being, and personal growth of his students is an asset to his community and to advancing science education in Arizona. We are pleased to recognize his service with this award,” said Dr. Daryn Stover, Arizona’s OBTA Director.

A special presentation to OBTA winners will be given by the NABT at its national conference, which will be held virtually this year in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the award, Mr. Zimmerman will be presented with a gift certificate from Carolina Biological Supply Company and a complimentary one-year membership to the NABT.

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Dysart Participates in National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/31/2020

Dysart Unified School District will be participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. As part of this program, Dysart Unified School District will offer healthy meals every school day. Breakfast will cost $1.25; lunch will cost $2.60 for elementary and $2.85 for high school. Children may qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Reduced-price meals cost $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. 

As part of this program, El Mirage Elementary School will offer healthy meals every school day at NO COST to the students due to the implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision 2 Base Year for school year 20/21. Students will be able to participate in these meal programs without having to pay a fee, but households must fill out the free or reduced meal application to requalify for Provision 2 for the next five years. 

Qualifications for children to receive free or reduced price meals include: belonging to a household whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, belonging to a household that receives public assistance, or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster, or participates in a Head Start or Even Start preschool program.

Household size and income criteria are used to determine eligibility for free/reduced-price benefits if the household does not receive assistance or the children are not in the other categories mentioned above. Children can get free/reduced-price meals if the household’s gross income falls at or below the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guideline.  

To apply for free/reduced-price meals, house­holds can fill out the application and return it to the school. Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing households of the availability of free/reduced-price meals for their children and what is required to complete the application. Applications also are avail­able at schoolcafe.com or in the schools front office.

Families can apply for benefits at any time. If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the Federal Guidelines. Call Nutrition Services at 623-876-7075 to request an application.

Under the provisions of the free/reduced-price policy, the Nutrition Liaison will review applications and determine eligibility.  Parents/guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Nutrition Services 13825 W. Desert Cove Rd. Surprise, AZ 85379.

When known to Dysart Unified households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free meals if they are members of households receiving assistance from the: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), if the State program meets Federal standards.

An application is not required for free meal benefits for Assistance Program participants and all of the children in the household are eligible for free meal benefits. If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, or if a household does not receive a notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school to have free meal benefits extended to them. Participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, but they will need to turn in an application including household size and total income.

When known to Dysart Unified households will also be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is considered “Other Source Categorically Eligible”, because the child is categorized, as defined by law as: Foster, Homeless, Migrant, Runaway, Enrolled in an eligible Head Start, or  an eligible pre-kindergarten class.

If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school about their eligibility through the list above, or should submit an income application. Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if the household chooses to decline the free meal benefits.

For more information, call Nutrition Services at 623-876-7075 or e-mail [email protected]

----

The Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act requires the information requested in order to verify your children’s eligibility for free/reduced-price meals. If you do not provide the information or provide incomplete information, your children may no longer receive free/reduced-price meals.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found at ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or write a letter to USDA and provide all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: [email protected]

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

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Dysart Offers Child Find Developmental Screenings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/28/2020

Dysart Unified School District is offering Child Find screenings for students aged 2 years 9 months through 5 years old who may have developmental delays. Children with special needs benefit from early intervention, and many of Arizona’s preschool children with special needs do not receive services because school districts do not know who they are. 

The Dysart Unified School District abides by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which requires that public school agencies ensure all children (from birth through age 21) with delays or developmental disabilities are identified, located, and evaluated to receive the supports and services they need. This includes all children living within the geographic boundaries of the school district – those who are homeless or wards of the state, are attending private schools, or are home schooled. 

Suspected delays may be evidenced in the areas of communication, cognition, behavior, as well as in physical, auditory, visual and sensory development. Free screenings and/or diagnostic evaluations are provided by the Dysart Unified School District to help determine those children who may be eligible for special education services - all of which are free of charge to families. 

If you are the parent of a preschool child (aged 2 years 9 months through 5 years old) or know of a preschool child with suspected developmental delays that resides within the boundaries of the Dysart Unified School District, please call (623) 876-7022 (Select option #2) to schedule a free child find screening. Screenings take place monthly throughout the school year.  

For additional information about Child Find for children younger than 2 years 9 months, please contact the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) at 602-532-9960 or 888-352-4558. Email: [email protected]

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Dysart Seeks Employee Benefit Trustee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/27/2020

The Dysart Unified School District is seeking individuals that live within the Dysart Unified School District boundaries who are interested in becoming a Trustee for the Employee Benefits Trust. Two positions are available, with a three-year term. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2020.

The purpose of the district’s Trust is to provide guidance and support on the district's benefits that are provided to employees. The Trust has the following powers and duties: Receiving Contributions Paid to the Trust; Providing Benefits and Determining Coverage; Responsible for the Administration of All; and Employee Benefits.

The Board consists of five member Trustees and meets four times a year. All Trustees are appointed by the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board. Interested individuals should review the Trustee Position Summary and submit a completed application at https://forms.gle/Wqz1QEcmu5HGodCa8. For more information, please contact the Dysart Business Services office at 623-876-7018.

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Dysart to Offer Three School Options for 20-21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/6/2020

Dysart Unified School District is proud to offer three school options to parents for the 20-21 school year:

  • Full-time Classroom (K-12) - Classes will take place on the campus for this in-person option, and will incorporate health, safety and social distancing protocols, where feasible. Note: This option will begin with remote learning on August 4 and transition to full-time in-person classes, when allowable.
  • Full-time Online through Dysart iSchool (K-12) - Students will take online classes through Dysart iSchool, a fully-accredited learning platform. Chromebook laptops may be checked-out, as needed.
  • Split-time Hybrid (K-8 only) - This option combines in-person and remote education and will have fewer students in the classroom. Students will be taking classes in-person two days a week, and remote learning two days a week. Mondays will be reserved for teachers to provide additional assistance. Chromebook laptops may be checked-out, as needed. Note: The availability of this option is dependent on sufficient numbers of students selecting this option in each grade level at each school. It will begin with remote learning only on August 4 and transition to splitting in-person and remote learning, when allowable.

Parents are asked to consider the three options and make a selection of their choice for each student through the Parent Portal from July 8-15, so that the district can appropriately plan for staffing needs. All school models will begin with remote learning on August 4 and families that select to attend an in-person option will transition to campus when it is allowable by Governor Ducey. 

It is important to note that although the start of the school year will begin with remote learning for all students, it will look very different from the emergency remote learning that took place at the end of last school year. Remote learning during this initial transition period will take place virtually during regular school day hours, using Schoology, and laptops will be available for check-out, if needed. Teachers will teach during regular school hours from their classroom, and use a consistent learning platform in each school model this year, so that at any point during the school year, students and teachers will be able to seamlessly transition back to remote learning, should school closures become necessary again.

Dysart is proud to provide a high-quality education to our community and is excited to welcome our students back to school remotely on Tuesday, August 4. The most current details about the various options and health and safety protocols being implemented can be found at Dysart.org/BackToSchool.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/06/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart to Maintain August 4 Start Date

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/1/2020

In the Dysart Unified School District, all students will start school remotely on Tuesday, August 4 for the 2020-2021 school year. While Governor Ducey delayed the start of in-person classes statewide, starting remotely is still allowable. As a result, all Dysart PreK-12 classes will begin remotely on August 4, and families that select to attend an in-person option will transition to campus when it is allowable.

Dysart has already announced in-person and full-time online options for students, and continues to consider the feasibility of other models.  The district expects to finalize class options and release specific details regarding each option and health and safety measures that will be implemented on July 6, 2020. Parents will be asked to select the option that best fits the needs of their student(s) and families by a specific date so that the district can appropriately plan for staffing needs.

Dysart Unified School District is proud to be entrusted with the education of our community, and we’re excited to welcome back our students remotely on August 4. Dysart will continue implementing enhanced health, safety and cleaning measures, evaluating protocols and processes, and providing additional training for staff. We will continue to follow the COVID-19 situation, and are in close communication with state, health and education agencies, taking direction from them in order to ensure a safe, yet productive and flexible school experience for all students. 

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

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Dysart Graduation Ceremonies Cancelled Due to Health Concerns

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 6/22/2020

The Dysart Unified School District regretfully announces that the in-person graduation ceremony, originally planned for June 30, is now cancelled. It was determined that holding an in-person ceremony, even with added health and safety precautions and social distancing, would not be in the best interest of our students, families, staff and general public. Additionally, with the added emergency declarations within each city and county, and extra precautions and attendance limitations by State Farm Stadium, we did not feel that the ceremony would truly provide the celebratory atmosphere that our graduates deserve.

Dysart is still determined to celebrate and honor each and every 2020 graduate, and each school will be holding a drive-through celebration on June 30 where students will receive their diplomas. Students, parents and guardians will receive further details about these alternative plans from their school very soon. Additionally, we will be releasing a virtual graduation ceremony video for each high school at 11:00 a.m. on June 29. 

Safety is our top priority, and we have the social responsibility to avoid holding gatherings of this magnitude at this time. We have heavy hearts about this decision, but we know it is in the best interest of our students, families, staff and the larger community. 

The Dysart Unified School District wishes the Class of 2020 the very best. We are honored to have had the opportunity to educate each and every Dysart graduate. 

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

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Board calls for override election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 6/11/2020

The Dysart Unified School District Governing Board called for a November 3, 2020 override election at the June 10 board meeting. This action adds a question on the November 3, 2020 election ballot to ask for continued support of the current 15% maintenance and operation override that has been in place since 2000. A continuation of this override would not result in a tax increase.

A committee of community members representing all areas of the district began meeting in February to evaluate needs and supports for the 25 schools. They made a recommendation to the Governing Board at the April 8, 2020 meeting, indicating that all committee members were supportive in recommending that the Governing Board call for a continuation of the 15% maintenance and operations (M&O) override. The committee also recommended to keep the same areas of support as the current override.

The 15% M&O override would maintain funding to retain highly qualified teachers and staff and provide academic support programs for Math and Reading. Additionally, it would allow Dysart to maintain manageable class sizes, and continue funding for programs currently serving students such as Arts, Physical Education and Athletics, and all-day Kindergarten for the community.

“I appreciate the work of the citizen committee in evaluating school needs,” said Dr. Quinn Kellis, Superintendent.  “The Dysart Unified School District strives each day to train our future workforce, protect local property values, and drive economic development through quality education. 

I know that these are difficult and challenging times, and education is a critical piece that will allow children to learn, improve, excel, and find solutions to many of these challenges. Strong schools make strong communities. It is my hope that Dysart can continue providing an extraordinary education to this community with the same resources currently funded by the Override.”

A community bond committee also met to consider a bond initiative. That committee agreed that a bond question should not be placed on the ballot this year, but should instead be reconsidered next year.

“We heard our community say that now is not the time for a tax increase,” said Dr. Kellis. “There are great capital needs in Dysart, but those needs will have to be addressed later.”

Any persons wishing to submit an argument "for" or "against" the override question (not to exceed 200 words) may do so by mail or hand delivery of the argument to the Maricopa County School Superintendent's office, County School Superintendent, School Elections Office 4041 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1200, Phoenix, AZ 85012. The deadline for submitting arguments “for'' or “against” the M&O Override to the Maricopa County School Superintendent is August 7, 2020 at 5:00 P.M.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

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New student enrollment open for 20-21 school year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 6/1/2020

Dysart Unified School District is accepting new student enrollment applications for the 2020-2021 school year. Parents and guardians can complete necessary registration information at www.dysart.org/registration. Upon completion, an appointment will be scheduled to finalize the registration.

From June 3 - July 1, registration support is available at the District Office by appointment only.  The District Office is located at 15802 N. Parkview Place in Surprise, Arizona. Parents may call (623) 876-7151 to make an appointment Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  School campuses will reopen on July 8.

Parents interested in enrolling children in Freedom Traditional Academy or a school outside of their boundary school, are invited to complete an open enrollment application at www.dysart.org/oe. 

Dysart also offers iSchool, a full-time tuition-free online school option for K-12 students. iSchool provides online lessons, independent activities, and virtual interaction with teachers and classmates. Students are still able to take advantage of before and after school activities at their home school, and students in grades 6-12 have the opportunity to advance at their own pace.  Interested parents and students are invited to participate in a Virtual Facebook Live Parent Meeting on Tuesday, June 16 at 5:00pm at Facebook.com/DysartUSD, to learn more and get their questions answered. Parents can indicate their interest in iSchool during the online registration process and will be contacted for further details.

To keep up with their child’s academic progress, parents are encouraged to sign up for the Parent Portal at www.dysart.org/parentportal or via the Campus Parent app, available as early as 24 hours after registration is finalized.

Dysart looks forward to providing each student an extraordinary school experience in the 2020-2021 school year. For assistance with student registration, please call (623) 876-7151 or email [email protected]

Please note that in order to finalize registration the following documents will be required: a government issued photo identification; birth certificate; proof of residency; and immunization records.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

06/01/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart's Year In Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/28/2020

The 2019-2020 school year has come to a close for the Dysart Unified School District’s 26 schools and more than 24,000 students. While it was a challenging year, there are numerous things to celebrate across the district.

Dysart continues to provide extraordinary education for families in the community. This year, Shadow Ridge High School was named a 2020 Best High School by U.S. News and World Report, and they also became Dysart’s first A-rated high school since the state’s accountability labels launched. Additionally, Dysart gained several more A-rated schools, with 17 schools receiving either an A or B rating. Over the past ten years, eight of Dysart’s schools have earned an A+ School of Excellence designation from the Arizona Educational Foundation. 

Dysart takes fiscal responsibility seriously, having earned the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for 23 years in a row. In addition, the district’s 8.7% administrative cost per pupil is significantly lower than the state average. In the spirit of financial transparency, budget details are always available on the district website at Dysart.org/Budget.

This year more than 1,800 seniors graduated from Dysart’s four high schools and earned nearly $40 million in college scholarships. Seniors are planning to attend schools all over the country, including West Point Military Academy, UC Davis, University of Southern California, Wheaton, Columbia, and Texas A & M, as well as local schools like Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona. Forty-seven Dysart students also earned the Arizona State Seal of Arts Proficiency in its inaugural year.

Dysart has strong programs that prepare students, our future workforce, for college, career and life. Dysart was named to the Advanced Placement (AP) District Honor Roll, which recognizes districts for increasing access to Advanced Placement course work while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Willow Canyon High School became one of only 24 schools in the country to be named a Model of Excellence - the highest award bestowed by SkillsUSA to recognize schools for exceptional integration and application of personal, workplace, and technical skills. Additionally, Shadow Ridge High School won first place in the Secondary Degree programs architecture category of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) student competition.

Two new schools were added to Dysart’s school choice options - Asante Preparatory Academy and Freedom Traditional Academy, and unique and innovative Signature Programs were developed at each school. Growing Minds Preschool launched, and continues to grow and expand to additional sites. Over the next year, Dysart will be in the planning phase for integrating middle schools into the district structure, to provide even more choices to the community.

Dysart is proud to support the local communities that it serves, employing over 2,400 staff members. Our students and staff volunteer throughout the community in many ways - whether it is cleaning up someone’s yard, or performing for an event. This year, when the COVID crisis hit, Dysart fired up its 3D printers to print ear guards for healthcare workers needing to wear masks for hours on end - donating 2,714 ear guards to nearly 30 local health facilities. Additionally, Dysart kept an emergency daycare option open for those on the front lines that still required childcare after all the school closures. Dysart opened the Vista Center for the Arts, a professional stage for popular traveling shows. Another great season kicks off this fall. 

This year Dysart began offering competitive athletics classes for high school students participating in after-school sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, spiritline, volleyball) to help students hone their athletic skills and abilities during the school day. Teams had another successful year with six regional champions and 25 state playoff qualifiers. Dysart is also home to a state champion. Valley Vista Girls Basketball earned their third state title in four years with Marisa Davis named 6A Player of the Year. Willow Canyon Pom squad also earned the highest recognition, a national championship. Additionally, many of our student athletes have received college athletic scholarships from schools across the country. Not surprisingly, four of our coaches were named region coaches of the year, and Valley Vista Girls Basketball coach Rachel Matakas was named AZ Preps 365 Conference Coach of the Year.

Dysart is proud of all the extraordinary accomplishments our students and staff achieved over the year, and we are looking forward to what the next school year, our 100th school year, will bring. The 2020-2021 school year begins on Tuesday, August 4. Students that need to register may do so online at Dysart.org/Enrollment throughout the summer.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/28/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart provides summer meal service through June

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/26/2020

Dysart Unified School District is providing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meal service for the summer from June 1 through June 25. Breakfast and lunch are provided for community members 18 and under at no cost, and are served Monday - Thursday between 10:00am and 12:00pm. 

Sites for meal distribution include:  
  • Ashton Ranch Elementary School - 14898 W Acoma Dr, Surprise, AZ 85379 
  • El Mirage Elementary School - 13500 North El Mirage Road, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Kingswood Elementary School - 15150 W Mondell Rd, Surprise, AZ 85374 
  • Riverview School - 12701 N Main St, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Surprise Elementary School - 12907 W Greenway Rd, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Willow Canyon High School - 17901 W Lundberg St, Surprise, AZ 85388

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: MAIL: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 FAX: (202) 690-7442 EMAIL: [email protected] This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/26/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart launches online option for K-8 students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/22/2020

The Dysart Unified School District is excited to announce that in addition to our traditional face-to-face instruction, iSchool, our free full-time online school, will now be available to K-8 students beginning in August, 2020.  This will be offered in addition to Dysart’s already robust high school iSchool program. This experience offers students flexibility in learning with all of the benefits of being a Dysart student!

A full-time iSchool students’ day includes: 

  • Online lessons, as well as some independent activities not on the computer 
  • Virtual interaction with teachers and classmates 
  • Virtual lessons with teachers and students to provide clarification and extended tutoring. 
  • Access to before and after school activities at student’s home school (i.e. clubs and  athletics) 
  • Students in grades 6-8 have the opportunity to advance at their own pace.

Interested parents and students are invited to participate in a Virtual Facebook Live Parent Meeting on Tuesday, June 16 at 5:00pm at Facebook.com/DysartUSD, to learn more and get their questions answered. 

Spaces are limited and registration will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call 623-271-0112 or email [email protected] with questions or to express interest in enrolling.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/22/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

47 Dysart Students Earn Arts Seal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/19/2020

The Dysart Unified School District proudly celebrates 47 students who have earned the Arizona State Seal of Arts Proficiency in its inaugural year.  The arts seal is awarded to high school students who have demonstrated high levels of competency in media arts, visual arts, dance, theatre, or music.    

The Arizona State Seal of Arts Proficiency was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey last year for all students that meet rigorous standards and demonstrate artistic literacy. Requirements include achieving a minimum “B” average on all approved arts courses, completing a minimum of 4 credit hours of approved arts courses, completing 30 hours of arts-related extracurricular activities, and a senior capstone project.  

“We are extremely proud of the hard work, dedication, and extraordinary amount of hours our students and teachers have dedicated to their craft. These 47 students persevered through the tremendous challenges we have faced in the past few months, and amid school closures. The arts teach self-expression, empathy and creativity, which is something that is very much needed right now.  These students are fine examples of how art enriches our lives,” said Danae Marinelli, Director of Arts.

Dysart Unified School District was one of 19 school districts across Arizona that participated this year.  A total of 58 Arizona schools participated, and 585 students earned the Arts Seal, 47 of those were from Dysart.  

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/19/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Honors 54 Staff Members as Heroes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 5/7/2020

Dysart Unified School District annually names staff members as Heroes to recognize outstanding service to the district and community. This year 54 extraordinary staff members received the honor of being named a Dysart Hero, after being selected through a peer nomination process.

The Dysart Hero Squad, made up of district administrators and Governing Board members, surprised recipients over the course of several days in March and April with the award. Typically the honor is bestowed in front of students and co-workers, gifting them with a certificate and a balloon during the surprise visit. This year’s announcements were interrupted by the COVID closures, so some of the Heroes were instead surprised at their homes by administrators. 

In lieu of the usual Hero Awards Dinner this year, a prepared meal catered by Sharkos Catering was provided to each Hero to take home and enjoy with their family. The drive-through meal pick-up was lined with administrators holding signs and cheering for each Hero as they came through. All Heroes will be presented with a commemorative plaque, donated by the Dysart Education Foundation, by their administrator at the beginning of the next school year. 

2020 Dysart Heroes:

Certified / Classified 

Mary Anne Joy - Asante 

Lon Shears - Asante 

Randy Maville - Ashton Ranch 

Christina Banda - Ashton Ranch 

Michelle Boehlert - Canyon Ridge 

Amy Foote - Canyon Ridge 

Alyssa Moon Dyke - Cimarron Springs 

Mitchell Spindler - Cimarron Springs 

Jennifer Smith - Countryside 

Artis Miller - Countryside 

Amanda Gowans - Dysart Elementary  

Arnold Sanchez - Dysart Elementary 

Tammy Neese - El Mirage 

Dell Clark - El Mirage 

Amber Brink - Freedom  

Manuel Nunez - Freedom 

Alicia McEvoy - Kingswood 

Alix Nicolosi - Kingswood 

Jessica Haug - Luke 

Annette Jackson  - Luke  

Lauren Setola - Marley Park 

Sylvia Quinones - Marley Park  

Roxanne Lopez - Mountain View 

Amy Pitard - Mountain View 

Duane Kelso - Rancho Gabriela 

Heather Maxwell - Rancho Gabriela 

Jeffrey Wiley - Riverview 

Patricia Flanagan - Riverview  

Sarah Monnet - Sonoran Heights 

Lindsay Smith - Sonoran Heights 

Tracy Sacher - Sunset Hills 

Ashley Walkenbach - Sunset Hills 

Heather Polk - Surprise 

Kimberly Corallo - Surprise  

Yelena Fischer - Thompson Ranch 

Kathleen Dombrowski - Thompson Ranch 

Lisa Silva - West Point  

George Laborin - West Point  

Curtis Jones - Western Peaks 

Olga Vera - Western Peaks 

Maryssa Siegle - Dysart High 

Cristina Cisneros - Dysart High 

Theron Frazer - Shadow Ridge  

Jeanette Landis - Shadow Ridge  

Lori Luzier - Valley Vista 

Britney Huddleston - Valley Vista  

Kimberly Warnas - Willow Canyon 

Juan Izaguirre - Willow Canyon 

Melissa England - Sundown Mountain 

Heidi Lindemann - Sundown Mountain 

Jessica Robbins - Student Information Systems


Volunteer 

Mary Thomas - Canyon Ridge


Administrators 

Rick Haney - El Mirage 

Stephanie Lawrence - Riverview

The Dysart Hero Awards were sponsored this year by Dysart Education Foundation, as well as generous community partners including: 

Platinum Sponsors: 1GPA, Chasse, Core Construction, Valley Schools 

Gold Sponsors: Dell, Wholesale Floors 

Silver Sponsors: CHWP Expos 

Bronze Sponsors: Symetra Life 

General Sponsors: Delta Dental, Jorgeson Brooks, Teledoc, Troxell and Turboscape

To view excerpts from our Hero nomination letters visit: https://spark.adobe.com/page/w13zV8mcu1waS/ 

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

05/07/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Provides Free Summer School Options

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/30/2020

Dysart Unified School District is expanding summer school and offering free course options for electives and credit recovery for high schoolers as well as remediation English Language Arts and Math courses for students in 6-8th grades. Courses are online and each student may take one free class for .5 credit. 

The deadline for high school course registration is May 21, 2020, and free courses run from May 26 - June 25, 2020. Core classes for advancement will continue to be offered for a $150 fee. Students may take up to a total of two courses, depending on when they start. All offered courses meet graduation requirements and are taught by certified teachers. While coursework is online, students will have access to instructors for additional support. 

Funding for the free summer school courses is provided by the state, and as a community service, summer school for high school is open to students from the four Dysart District high schools, as well as students from other districts and charter schools. Students in grades 6-8 will be contacted by their school for enrollment in remediation courses, if needed. Current Dysart District high school students that are interested can register with their school counselors.  Students from a district other than Dysart should email the iSchool Office at [email protected] to register.  

Elective options for high school include Archaeology, Astronomy, Concepts in Engineering, Creative Writing, Gothic Literature, Intro to Forestry, Intro to Military Careers, Intro to Philosophy, Intro to Psychology, Intro to Renewable Technologies, Music Appreciation, Mythology and Folklore, Personal Psychology, Principles of Public Services, Reading for College Success, Real World Parenting, Social Media, Sociology, Sports Marketing and World Religions. Courses offered for high school credit recovery are English, Algebra, Geometry, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Government, World History and US/AZ History. 

For additional information, visit www.dysart.org/summerschool or contact your counselor or school site.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/30/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Growing Minds Preschool Launches 20-21 Enrollment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/29/2020

Growing Minds Preschool enrollment has begun for the 2020-2021 school year, and new enrollment options are available to provide maximum flexibility for parents. The 2020-2021 calendar begins July 29, 2020 and runs through May 28, 2021, and applications are accepted at GrowingMindsPreschool.org. Space is limited.

Since the beginning of the COVID closures, Growing Minds has been offering emergency daycare services camps, and has implemented additional health and safety measures, which will continue indefinitely. This includes health screenings prior to building entry, cleaning and sanitizing measures, and smaller class sizes. 

Growing Minds Preschool’s main campus is located at 17999 W Surprise Farms Loop S Surprise, AZ 85388. Satellite campuses are also available at Asante (23251 N 166th Dr, Surprise, AZ 85387), Freedom Traditional (16066 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374), and Marley Park (15042 W Sweetwater Ave., Surprise, AZ 85379). Hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., with academic time taking place from 8:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Visit GrowingMindsPreschool.org to learn more, view rates, a student handbook, or to enroll. 

For Preschool students transitioning to Kindergarten next year, a Sprout into Kinder 4-day program is being offered in July to give children a taste of what Kindergarten will be like.  Additionally, Dysart Summer Camp is also being offered from June 1 - July 24 on a week-to-week basis during the summer at two locations: Western Peaks Elementary School located at 18063 W Surprise Farms Loop S, Surprise, AZ 85388; and Ashton Ranch Elementary School located at 14898 W Acoma Dr, Surprise, AZ 85379.  Details are available at Dysart.org/CommunityEducation.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/29/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Foundation Awards 20-21 Scholarships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/28/2020

The Dysart Education Foundation announced 2020-2021 scholarship awards for Dysart Unified School District students. A total of $62,500 was awarded to fifteen students out of seventy-five applications. The winners of each scholarship are listed below along with their generous donors. 

Dysart Education Foundation Scholarship Awards - $6,000 (renewable four years, $750/semester)

  • Kelly Munoz, Dysart High School 
  • Ethan Berger, Shadow Ridge High School 
  • Calvin Henggeler, Willow Canyon High School 
  • Sawyer Boehlert, Valley Vista High School

Grand Opportunity Scholarship - $5,000 (two-year scholarship, $1,250/semester)

  • A private donation to support Dysart graduates 
  • Kathleen Swenson, Valley Vista High School

Dr. Gail Pletnick Education Award - $3,000 (two-year scholarship, $750/semester)

  • A scholarship opportunity made possible by a donation from Dr. Gail Pletnick
  • Grace Macior, Shadow Ridge High School

Southwest Foodservice Excellence Scholarship - $2,000 (one-year scholarship, $1,000/semester)

  • A scholarship opportunity made possible by a donation from Southwest Foodservice Excellence
  • Lorraine Olson, Valley Vista High School

CORE Scholarship - $2,000 (one-year scholarship, $1,000/semester)

  • A scholarship opportunity made possible by a donation from CORE Construction
  • Aaliyah Esquivel, Willow Canyon High School

McCarthy Scholarship - $2,000 (one-year scholarship, $1,000/semester)

  • A scholarship opportunity made possible by a donation from McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
  • Abigail Brown, Shadow Ridge High School

Richard and Elsie Valentine Memorial Scholarship - $1,500 (one-year scholarship, $750/semester)

  • A scholarship opportunity in memory of Richard and Elsie Valentine, who demonstrated what can be achieved in life through education and hard work.
  • Austin Adelman, Valley Vista High School

Sun City Concert Band Society, Inc. Music Scholarship - $3,000 (two-year scholarship, $750/semester)

  • Music scholarship opportunity made possible by a donation from the Sun City Concert Band Society, Inc.
  • Rachael Geiger, Dysart High School

Dysart HS Alumni Scholarship - $5,000 (two-year scholarship, $1,250/semester)

  • A scholarship opportunity made possible by donations from Dysart High School Alumni. 
  • Adriana Chavez, Dysart High School 
  • Yuritzy Saavedra, Dysart High School 
  • Emiliano Espinoza, Dysart High School
  • Brandon Zamora, Dysart High School

The Dysart Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established for the purpose of raising, receiving, and disbursing funds to enrich the education and activities of students, teachers, and staff in the Dysart Unified School District. Dysart Education Foundation accepts donations of all sizes throughout the year from individuals or organizations. For more information, please visit www.defweb.org.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/28/2020 Direct Link

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Change to Luke and El Mirage Boundaries Approved

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/23/2020

The Dysart Governing Board approved a change to the boundaries of Luke Elementary School and El Mirage Elementary School at the April 22, 2020 board meeting. The change goes into effect for the 2020-2021 school year. The district made the change in order to reduce transportation costs, maximize the use of all available facilities and to effectively position the district for the incoming and projected growth.

The boundary change impacts those living between 127th Avenue and Dysart Road, south of Waddell to Dreyfus Drive. Students living in this area were previously within the Luke Elementary School boundaries, and will now be assigned to the El Mirage Elementary School attendance boundaries. Details and a map of the impacted area may be found at Dysart.org/Updates.

Dysart always offers Open Enrollment to students that want to apply to attend a school outside of their attendance boundary. The same would apply for current Luke students that would like to remain at Luke for the 2020-2021 school year, however, they will be given priority status. Students may apply for Open Enrollment at Dysart.org/OpenEnrollment.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/23/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Seeks Input on Middle Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/21/2020

Dysart Unified School District is considering converting some schools into middle schools for the 2021-2022 school year. A Virtual Town Hall will be conducted on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. to share details about a possible timeline and process. The district is considering this change to provide additional educational options for our community, and in response to community requests for a middle school model. 

The Virtual Town Hall will be posted on district social media sites (@DysartUSD on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), as well as online at Dysart.org/MiddleSchool at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. Dysart requests community feedback be sent to [email protected] after the town hall.  

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/21/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Summer Camp Registration Begins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/20/2020

Dysart Summer Camp registration is now open.  Families interested in signing up their children for camp during the summer should do so early, as space is limited.  Registration is completed exclusively online at Dysart.org/communityeducation. The camp is open to all children in the community. Students do not need to attend a Dysart school in order to participate.

The fully-supervised and licensed Dysart Summer Camp will be held June 1 through July 24 at two locations: Western Peaks Elementary School located at 18063 W Surprise Farms Loop S, Surprise, AZ 85388; and Ashton Ranch Elementary School located at 14898 W Acoma Dr, Surprise, AZ 85379.  Hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and participation is flexible for family convenience. In light of the current health and safety guidelines, we will be implementing additional sanitizing and safety measures, such as smaller group sizes, frequent room sanitizing and handwashing.  

The weekly camp costs $136 for four days or $155 for five days and is available for children between the ages of 5 and 14.  Students will enjoy a wide variety of fun-filled, educational and physical activities which may include: swimming, movies, arts & crafts, science projects, game trucks, bowling, field trips, and more.  This year we will also offer additional enrichment opportunities, and will share more details once they are available.

To register for Dysart Summer Camp 2020 visit Dysart.org/communityeducation. Current Den Club families can log in to their account and register using the existing accounts link. Parents who are new to Den Club and Dysart camps will need to create a new account.

For more information, please contact 623-876-7056 or [email protected]

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/20/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart Donates Mask Guards to Health Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/9/2020

The Dysart Unified School District asked schools to use their 3D printers to create Surgical Mask Ear Guards for healthcare workers this week. The initial goal was to make 1,000 of them to donate to local medical workers that must wear masks in light of COVID-19. After seeing how well-received the idea was, the goal was doubled to over 2,000 in just a couple of days in order to better meet the community demand.  

Inspired by Quinn Callander’s Boy Scout service project in Canada, there has been a recent push on social media for those with 3D printers to step up and help produce the Surgical Mask Ear Guards, and Dysart Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis did just that. Dr. Kellis called on all 26 Dysart schools to put all available 3D printers to work to produce the ear guards. The Surgical Mask Ear Guards help alleviate the strain of ear straps while wearing face masks for hours on end, by separating the straps from the ears. 

“If there is anything Dysart can do to further support our local community and first responders during this difficult time, we are more than happy to do so,” said Superintendent Quinn Kellis. When we heard the call for help, we mobilized staff to get their school’s 3D printers going at full speed. With students engaged in remote learning, we had a lot of 3D printers sitting idle. Healthcare workers are on the front lines each day fighting this virus, and if creating these items helps ease even a small bit of the strain they are feeling, then it is worth the effort.” 

Dysart nurses and health service assistants are working with local healthcare facilities to coordinate delivery of the donations for their staff and in some cases, immunocompromised patients. Organizations that have requested ear guards include local hospitals, a military base, senior living facilities, pediatric offices, urgent care and rehabilitation centers in the northwest valley. Superintendent Kellis is challenging others with 3D printers to join Dysart in filling this unique need.

In March, Dysart’s Career and Technical Education department donated class medical supplies, including gloves, masks and wipes to the El Mirage and City of Surprise fire departments to help assist with the shortages of those items.  Additionally, Dysart is offering emergency daycare service for healthcare providers who are on call and need childcare. Priority enrollment is given to essential medical, public safety and military personnel, and health screenings for students and staff take place twice a day.

Media Contact: Renee Ryon, [email protected], 480-322-9537 / Multimedia assets (interviews, B-roll and photos) available by request.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/09/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart expands grab-and-go meal distribution

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 4/3/2020

Dysart Unified School District is adding eight new sites for grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meal service, beginning Monday, April 6. Breakfast and lunch are provided for community members 18 and under at no cost, and are served Monday - Friday between 11:00am and 1:00pm.

Sites for meal distribution include:  
  • Asante Preparatory Academy - 23251 N 166th Dr, Surprise, AZ 85387 
  • Ashton Ranch Elementary School - 14898 W Acoma Dr, Surprise, AZ 85379 
  • El Mirage Elementary School - 13500 North El Mirage Road, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Dysart High School - 11425 N Dysart Rd, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Kingswood Elementary School - 15150 W Mondell Rd, Surprise, AZ 85374 
  • Luke Elementary School - 7300 N Dysart Rd, Glendale, AZ 85307 
  • Riverview School - 12701 N Main St, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Shadow Ridge High School - 10909 N Perryville Road, Surprise, AZ 85388 
  • Sonoran Heights Elementary School - 11405 N Greer Ranch Parkway, Surprise, AZ 85379 
  • Sunset Hills Elementary School - 17825 W Sierra Montana Loop, Surprise, AZ 85388 
  • Surprise Elementary School - 12907 W Greenway Rd, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Thompson Ranch Elementary School - 11800 W Thompson Ranch Rd, El Mirage, AZ 85335 
  • Willow Canyon High School - 17901 W Lundberg St, Surprise, AZ 85388

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: MAIL: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 FAX: (202) 690-7442 EMAIL: [email protected] This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

04/03/2020 Direct Link

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Dysart to provide meals for kids and child care options

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 3/19/2020

As announced last week, the Dysart Unified School District will remain closed through April 3, 2020, after careful consideration of the health and safety of our students, families, staff, and general community. We will be providing some resources to the community during the closure. 

Beginning Monday, March 23, we will begin providing meals to community members 18 and under Monday - Friday, throughout the closure. Grab-and-go breakfast and lunch will be provided from 11am - 1pm at the following sites: El Mirage Elementary School; Kingswood Elementary School; Dysart High School; Willow Canyon High School; and Shadow Ridge High School. Children must be present to receive meals, per ADE regulations. 

At the request of the Governor for additional child care options, we are once again offering our Spring Camp and Growing Minds Preschool. Priority for these programs will first be given to essential medical, public safety and military personnel, second to current Den Club participants, and then to the general public. Limited space is available, and will be based on staffing capacity. Please note that we are taking additional precautions to ensure the health and safety of the children and staff in these programs. Health screenings for students and staff will take place twice a day, additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures will be followed, and class sizes will be reduced to ensure space for social distancing. Parents can enroll or get more information online at dysart.org/communityeducation.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

03/19/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart to host Festival of the Arts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 3/9/2020

The Dysart Unified School District will host the Dysart Festival of the Arts on Saturday, March 28, 2020.  This year’s presenting sponsor is McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Valley Vista High School, 15550 N Parkview Place, Surprise. The festival is free to attend and is open to the public.  

The Festival will showcase the visual and performing arts programs from all 20 elementary schools, four high schools and Growing Minds Preschool in the Dysart district. Performances will take place on multiple stages, and will include various dance groups, theatre troupes, choirs, and bands.  In addition, preschool, elementary and high school visual arts programs will have 2D and 3D artwork on display.  

Some of the event highlights include an instrument petting zoo, WHAM Recycled Arts Fashion Show, a Make and Take craft area hosted by the Dysart Education Foundation as well as a Chalk Exhibition on the sidewalk, and an Instrument Drive for new or used instrument donations for our schools. There will also be an Arts and Crafts Vendor Fair hosted by the Dysart Education Foundation where local artists will have their creations on display for purchase, and food trucks will be available.

Visit www.Dysart.org/ArtsFest for more details.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

03/09/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Spring Camp registration now open

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 2/11/2020

The Dysart Unified School District is excited to announce registration is now open for the annual Dysart Spring Camp.  Families interested in signing up their children for camp during Spring Break should do so early, as space is limited. Registration is completed exclusively online.

The fully supervised and licensed Spring Camp will be held March 16 through March 20 at Sonoran Heights Elementary School, 11405 N Greer Ranch Parkway in Surprise, AZ 85379.  Hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and participation is flexible for family convenience. The camp costs $141 for five days and is available for children between the ages of 5 and 14. The students will spend the week enjoying the beautiful Spring weather with outdoor field trips including a day at the White Tank Regional Park, a barbeque, and an on-site field day.  Additionally, Spring Camp will feature a virtual reality game truck, Mad Science STEM activities, arts and crafts, and more. Sign up today for a week full of fun!

To register for Spring Camp 2020 visit dysart.org/communityeducation.  Current Den Club families can log in to their account and register using the existing accounts link. 

For more information, please contact 623-876-7056 or [email protected]

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/11/2020 Direct Link

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SRHS Architecture wins NAHB competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 2/4/2020

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Student Chapter at Shadow Ridge High School won first place in the Secondary Degree programs architecture category of the NAHB Student Competition held during the 2020 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas, Jan. 21-23. 

Sixty teams representing universities, community colleges, high schools and career technical schools across the U.S. participated in the annual competition.

“Congratulations to the NAHB Student Chapter at Shadow Ridge High School for all their hard work,” said NAHB CEO Jerry Howard. “It is really encouraging to see the great talent and creativity this next generation of the housing industry brings to the table.”

During the competition, students solve real-life construction management problems and present their solutions to a judging panel of residential construction industry experts.

“2020 marks the third consecutive year that the NAHB Student Chapter Team from Shadow Ridge High School’s Signature Architecture Program has won the Architecture Track NAHB Student Design Championship in the secondary contest level. We are proud to set a new standard of excellence and to be demonstrating industry-level workplace and employability skills,” said SRHS’s NAHB Advisor, Scott Thomas, M.E.d, MCCTE, CD.

“The NAHB Student Advisory Board is proud that the competition continues to be a significant and highly competitive event for the participants, their schools and the building industry,” said Heather Gay, faculty member at Dunwoody College of Technology and chairwoman of the NAHB Student Chapters Advisory Board.

“Students put in a tremendous amount of time and energy preparing for the competition. The judges were very impressed with this year’s group, and we expect once again that the participants will be highly sought after when it comes to job offers,” said competition consultant, Kerry Slattery, Ph.D., Slattery Consulting.

###

ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 140,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, and building product manufacturing.  NAHB is affiliated with 700 state and local home builders associations around the country and more than 150 student chapters. 

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/04/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

High School Summer School registration opens Feb. 10

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 2/3/2020

Dysart Unified School District Summer School registration will begin Monday, February 10, 2020 for current and incoming high school students.  Courses are online and students may choose to take up to two classes, depending on when they begin their coursework. The deadline to register is Wednesday, May 28, 2020.

Summer School is a great opportunity for students that need additional credits to graduate on time, remediate grades, or who wish to advance accumulation of their credits. As a community service, Dysart Summer School is open to students from the four Dysart high schools, as well as students from other districts and charter schools.

Dysart Summer School will run April 13 through June 25. The cost for each course is $150. A reduced rate is available for those who qualify for free and reduced meals. Current high school students who choose to begin on April 13 could possibly complete 1.0 credit during Summer School if they sign up for two courses. Students who begin summer school at the end of the 2019-2020 school year will only be able to complete one course for .5 credit.

All offered courses meet graduation requirements and are taught by certified teachers. While coursework is online, students will have access to in-person instructors for additional support. Students are required to take an in person final exam before noon on June 25 to complete the course. Current Dysart students that are interested can register with their school counselors.  Students attending outside schools should call the iSchool Office at 623-876-7872 to register.  

For additional information, visit www.dysart.org/summerschool or call 623-876-7872.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

02/03/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart to form override and bond committees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 1/31/2020

The Dysart Unified School District is seeking parents and community members that are interested in serving on override and bond committees for the purpose of evaluating the district’s needs and making recommendations to the Governing Board. Interested individuals should complete the interest form at www.dysart.org/committees by February 6. 

Those selected will be notified by February 7th and meetings are expected to begin the week of February 10, 2020 and run through March. Meetings will take place weekly on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons. The district is committed to ensuring that there is representation from all areas of the district on each committee. Final committee recommendations are expected to be presented to the Governing Board at a public meeting in April.

The Dysart Unified School District serves over 24,000 Preschool through 12th grade students on 26 campuses.  The district encompasses 140 square miles, serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County.  

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/31/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

SPED records available for review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 1/23/2020

The Dysart Unified School District is preparing to destroy archived special education records from the 2015-16 school year and will begin this process in July 2020. Special Education records, including placement records, referrals, evaluations, testing data, etc. are maintained for four fiscal years after a student’s final enrollment in a special education program.  Final enrollment in a special education program is defined as the last day a student is enrolled in a special education program and is no longer receiving services. Parents, guardians, or eligible students have the right to review and/or receive a copy of these records before July 2020. Please contact [email protected] or 623-876-7198 prior to July 2020 to review records.  

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/23/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Kindergarten Showcase dates announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 1/16/2020

Dysart schools will host Kindergarten Showcase events from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on March 3-4. Prospective families are invited to tour the campus, meet the teachers, and learn more about the full-day kindergarten program.  The Dysart kindergarten program is one of the few full-day programs in the area that is offered at no cost.

The Dysart kindergarten program follows Arizona state standards, and offers hands-on, real-life activities in the areas of cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Information on before and after school program opportunities will be available at the event as well.

On Tuesday, March 3, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Asante Preparatory Academy, Canyon Ridge, Dysart Elementary, El Mirage, Luke, Marley Park, Riverview, Surprise Elementary, Thompson Ranch, and West Point will hold their showcases.

Ashton Ranch, Cimarron Springs, Countryside, Freedom Traditional Academy, Kingswood, Mountain View, Rancho Gabriela, Sonoran Heights, Sunset Hills, and Western Peaks will hold their showcases from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4.

Parents will be able to register their child at the event, or finalize enrollment if they’ve already submitted an online application. To finalize enrollment, parents should bring a birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency.  

To determine the school boundary for your residence, please visit www.dysart.org/boundaries. Families enrolling new students in the Dysart Unified School District for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year can now register online.  For more information about kindergarten, please visit www.dysart.org/kindergarten.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/16/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

DEF scholarships available

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 1/15/2020

 The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) is pleased to announce the college scholarship application is open now through March 15, 2020. Graduating seniors from Dysart, Shadow Ridge, Valley Vista and Willow Canyon High Schools are invited to apply. Eleven scholarships in excess of $50,000 are made possible through private donations, business sponsors, alumni organizations and community support through DEF events and campaigns.

Application information and qualifications may be found at www.defweb.org/scholarships.

  • DEF Scholarship - $6,000 (One student will be selected from each of the four Dysart Unified School District High Schools) 
  • Grand Opportunity Scholarship - $5,000 (Female, 2-year community college) 
  • Dr. Gail Pletnick Education Award - $3,000 (2-year scholarship towards teaching degree) 
  • Southwest Foodservice Excellence Scholarship - $2,000 
  • CORE Scholarship - $2,000 
  • McCarthy Scholarship - $2,000 
  • Dysart High School Alumni (various award denominations available for Dysart High School students) 
  • Richard and Elsie Valentine Memorial Scholarship - $1,500 (Valley Vista High School students)

Each applicant need only submit one application. The DEF scholarship committee will then determine which applicants meet the criteria for each scholarship. Completed applications must be emailed or postmarked by March 15, 2020. Winners will be notified in early April and invited along with their parents and guardians to receive their award at the annual DEF Awards Dinner on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

The Dysart Education Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting students and teachers in the Dysart Unified School District. For more information about DEF or to make a donation, please visit www.defweb.org.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/15/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Future Freshman Nights taking place next week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 1/7/2020

Students entering high school in the 2020-21 academic year, and their parents, are invited to attend an incoming freshman meeting to learn about high school expectations, program options, and the process for registration and class selection. These meetings are designed to provide incoming freshmen with an overview of the academic programs available at Dysart Unified School District’s four high schools and explain the process of registering for ninth-grade classes. 

Future Freshman Nights are scheduled as follows:  

  • Willow Canyon High School - Monday, January 13th (5:30-7:00 PM) at 17901 W. Lundberg Street, Surprise 
  • Dysart High School - Tuesday, January 14th (5:30-7:00 PM) at 11425 N. Dysart Road, El Mirage 
  • Valley Vista High School - Tuesday, January 14th (5:30-7:00 PM) at 15550 N. Parkview Place, Surprise 
  • Shadow Ridge High School - Wednesday, January 15th (6:00-7:30 PM ) at 10909 N. Perryville Road, Surprise

Students and parents will learn about high school classes, course selection, signature and career-related programs, core curriculum, and graduation requirements. Attending Future Freshman Night motivates eighth graders to remain focused on their true academic goal – completing high school and beyond. 

A school boundary map is available at www.dysart.org. 

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

01/07/2020 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

DEF awards mini grants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 12/20/2019

The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) recently announced teacher recipients for the 2019-2020 mini grants.  Focused on projects to enhance learning in the Dysart Unified School District, the competitive mini grants application process is based on originality, professionalism, and how the project benefits students through involvement. This opportunity was made possible by funds from the district United Way campaign, community contributions, and donations from the Estelle Russo Trust. 

Dr. John Hammitt, Band Director at Dysart and Luke Elementary schools received funds to purchase band equipment and sheet music to build the band libraries at both schools and allow the students to perform different styles of music and compositions for upcoming performances.

Sara Mendoza, Art teacher at Rancho Gabriela Elementary School will utilize the grant to purchase clay and materials.  Students will have the opportunity to explore various cultures and traditions through artistic expression including: creating Navajo-inspired jewelry, carving personal tiki’s, and learning about Polynesian culture and ancient Maori mythology.

Suzanne Putman, Art teacher at Sunset Hills Elementary School received the grant to purchase digital cameras.  This will allow students to learn photography techniques and understand how various types of media are created as they learn art techniques. 

Rachel Kelley, iExplore teacher at Asante Preparatory Academy received funds to purchase Galaxy tablets. Students will have multiple opportunities, through personalized learning and the Design Thinking Process, to use coding and robotics to solve problems. There will be a variety of learning opportunities in the areas of graphic design and media production.

Michele Gillespie, Exceptional Services teacher of 3rd-5th grades at Dysart Elementary School will use funds to purchase new Chromebooks. Special Education students will be able to access curriculum in a modified and differentiated way, building not only academic foundations but life skills needed in the real world.

Sixth Grade Teachers Rebekah Mach, Julia Marshall, and Tamarro Washington at Kingswood Elementary School will use the grant to coordinate a Science Camp field trip to Chapel Rock in Prescott, AZ for 6th graders to participate in the hands-on application of science.

Kathryn Voss, iExplore teacher at Marley Park Elementary School received funds to purchase a traveling project cart and materials to support the school’s signature program “Young Entrepreneurs”.

Brandi Moore, Art teacher at Shadow Ridge High School will use funds to purchase Chromebooks which will be utilized for research for AP Art portfolios and for students in other art classes. 

Lora McFarland, Preschool teacher at Mountain View Elementary received the grant to purchase materials that will encourage collaboration and cooperation to build, create, and discover as preschoolers are introduced to science, art, math, and engineering concepts such as gravity, magnetism, shapes, patterns, heavy vs. light, and early math skills.

Emma Horlick, 9-12th American Sign Language teacher at Willow Canyon High School will use funds to give students learning American Sign Language the opportunity to learn to read and write Braille letters and numbers.

Delbertta A. Smolinski, 4-5th grade teacher at Riverview School received funds for students in 4th-5th grades to attend a field trip to Lake Pleasant Desert Outdoor Center. This hands-on learning opportunity is aligned to the standards in science, social studies, physical activity, art, and workplace skills development. 

Lisa Moberg, teacher at Sunset Hills Elementary School received the grant for the Bobcat Garden Club, allowing K-8 students to collaborate and mentor through the Seed Project which teaches the importance of growing plants from seed, nurturing their maturation into flower and fruit, and thus creating seeds as an end result.

In addition to funding mini grants, DEF funds scholarships for graduating Dysart district seniors.  Pictures and information about current scholarship recipients are available on the DEF Facebook page.

DEF is currently reaching out to the community for their annual scholarship drive.  Businesses and individuals can now donate funds for a designated, named scholarship for deserving students who demonstrate excellence, community involvement, and are in need of financial assistance. Please visit www.defweb.org for more information regarding scholarships and mini grants.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

12/20/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Curriculum available for review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 12/10/2019

Members of Dysart’s Textbook Adoption Committee will evaluate K-3 Reading and Career and Technical Education Software Development textbooks and online materials. The materials will be made available for review and will be on display January 6, 2020 through March 11, 2020 at Freedom Traditional Academy, 16066 N Parkview Place Surprise, Arizona 85374. Parents and community members are invited to view the materials before and after school. For more information, please contact the Educational Services Department at 623.876.7173.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

12/10/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Community Invited to Donate on Tax Credit Tuesday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/21/2019

The Dysart Unified School District invites the community to drop off their tax credit donations on “Tax Credit Tuesday”.  The event will take place on Tuesday, December 3 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. at the Nathaniel Dysart Education Center, 15802 North Parkview Place, Surprise, and free tacos will be available for those that donate.  Staff will be on hand to explain the program and share how tax credit donations are used. Donations will be accepted on-site via check, or computers will be available to make online donations using credit or debit cards. 

Arizona Law (ARS 43-1089.01) allows married couples filing jointly a tax credit of up to $400 and individual taxpayers a tax credit of up to $200 when they contribute to public schools. This tax credit is available to anyone who resides in Arizona.  Donations may be submitted through April 15 annually.

Contributions are donated directly to the schools, and all donations are used to support extracurricular activities for students or approved capital expenditures at the Dysart school of your choice.  Donors may designate where their donation will go by selecting from four categories - Athletics, Fine Arts, Enrichment Programs, or School May Designate. We appreciate the support of our schools and students through the tax credit program.

For more information, or to give online at anytime, visit Dysart.org/TaxCredit or call 623-876-7056.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/21/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart hosting support services job fair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/19/2019

Dysart Unified School District will host a job fair for non-teaching positions on Tuesday, December 3, from 11 am until 3 pm at the Support Services Facility located at 13825 West Desert Cove Road in Surprise, Arizona.  The event will feature employment options that support students throughout the district. Available positions include paraprofessionals, bus drivers, bus aides, child care, and preschool aide positions, among others.

Interested candidates can apply at dysart.org/careers prior to or at the job fair.  Qualified candidates will be able to interview on December 3. Attendees will also be able to meet with multiple departments to learn more about job opportunities and visit with the Human Relations staff.  Prospective applicants should bring their current resume and be ready for an interview.

“Dysart is proud to offer competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits to our staff, and we are excited to highlight the many positions we have available that support education and learning,” shared John Croteau, Assistant Superintendent for Human Relations.  “Filling these support positions is critical in providing our students and families with an extraordinary learning experience.”

The Dysart Unified School District employs over 2,700 staff members at 26 schools and two support sites.  Dysart has been recognized as one of the Best Companies to work for by both Zippia and TalentDesk. Additionally, Dysart offers a competitive benefits package, has won many awards for its wellness program, and was named a 2019 Healthiest Employer by the Phoenix Business Journal.

For more information about available positions in the Dysart Unified School District, please visit dysart.org/careers. 

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/19/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart to begin open enrollment Dec. 3

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/8/2019

The Dysart Unified School District is proud to offer our community a choice in school enrollment. Dysart will begin accepting open enrollment applications for the 2020-2021 school year on Tuesday, December 3, 2019.  Parents or guardians who would like their child to attend a school outside of their residential attendance boundary for the 2020-2021 school year, must apply for open enrollment online at www.dysart.org/oe.

Parents whose students are currently open enrolled at the school of their choice will not need to reapply. However, open enrollment status is evaluated annually based on capacity and the student’s grades, discipline, and attendance.

Open enrollment allows parents the opportunity to request that their children attend a Dysart school outside of their residential boundary area. This includes all 20 Dysart elementary schools, including the new Freedom Traditional Academy, and four high schools. Information on K-8 signature programs and academies may be found by visiting www.dysart.org/signature. Details about high school focuses and Career and Technical Education programs offered are available at www.Dysart.org/highschool. 

Open enrollment applications are due on or before January 5, 2020.  After this priority period, submitted applications will continue to be accepted and will be reviewed on a monthly basis as capacity becomes available.

Parents needing access to a computer to complete the open enrollment application may visit any district school or the front lobby of the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise, AZ 85374.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/08/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

November 5 Election Results

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 11/6/2019

The Dysart Unified School District is extremely fortunate to have dedicated parents, staff, and community members who have worked hard to inform the community about the educational needs of our Dysart schools. Unfortunately, both the bond and override measures on the ballot were not approved. 

The override measure would have secured continued funding for many programs already in place. The funding would have ensured that Dysart can continue to recruit and retain highly qualified staff to maintain manageable class sizes; continue to offer a free full-day Kindergarten; maintain our arts, athletics and physical education programs; and provide math and reading support to students.

The override funding currently in place for these programs from a 2015 override election is still in place at 100% through the 2020-2021 school year. If funding is not approved prior to the 2021-2022 school year, the override funding will begin phasing out, and cuts will need to be made to balance the budget.  

The bond funding would have helped ensure the safety and security of our schools, and provided much-needed school and site improvements. We will continue to maintain our fleet of busses, but will not be able to replace our oldest vehicles at this time. Despite anticipated growth, we must delay the construction of two new elementary schools and will not yet be able to purchase land for a high school. 

We will not be dissuaded by the low voter turnout, and believe that there is more support for the bond and override than the vote reflects. We will be back next year to again seek community support for these much needed funds.

We appreciate our community and will continue to provide extraordinary opportunities at each of our schools.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

11/06/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

DUSD to host College 101 Parent Night

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/28/2019

The Dysart Unified School District will host a College 101 Parent Night for parents of 7th through 12th grade students interested in learning about the college acceptance and financial aid process for their children on Tuesday, November 12 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Valley Vista High School Performing Arts Center located at 15550 N. Parkview Place in Surprise, Arizona.  Participating parents will have the opportunity to learn about FAFSA, ACT/SAT testing, AP vs Dual Enrollment classes, scholarship opportunities, academic eligibility, CTE pathways, visit with college reps and learn how their children can use their high school experience to successfully bridge to higher education.

“This event is a great way for our families to learn about preparing for college, including learning about planning for the college enrollment process,” said Assistant Superintendent for Education Services Dr. Stephen Poling.

The evening will be broken up into sections where parents will attend specified sessions lasting 20 minutes with specific topics personalized to family interests.  Additionally, representatives from Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University, Ottawa University, and many others will be available for questions.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/28/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart to Host Veterans Appreciation Kickoff Celebration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/21/2019

The Dysart Unified School District invites all veterans and the community to a Veterans Appreciation Kickoff Celebration on Monday, November 4 at 4:00 pm at Kingswood Elementary School’s outdoor amphitheater at 15150 W. Mondell Rd., Surprise, AZ 85374. The event will feature Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis, Mayor Skip Hall, Kingswood teacher and retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Boyd R. Bryant, Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard, and Kingswood Elementary and Valley Vista High School students. We will be honoring all veterans in attendance.

The Dysart Unified School District is proud to honor our veterans and will be paying tribute to veterans throughout the week of Veterans Day at various events around the district. The Dysart Education Foundation’s Dysart Dash launches our Veterans Appreciation events on November 2, followed by the El Mirage Salute to Veterans Celebration.  Schools are holding assemblies, breakfasts, and events for their communities. Students are working on special projects to learn about and commemorate the day such as essays, artwork and memorial chains. The culmination of the week will be at the Surprise Veterans Day Parade, where many of our schools and groups will be participating.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/21/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Seeks Memorabilia and Stories for Centennial Celebration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/14/2019

The Dysart Unified School District will be celebrating its 100th year of educating the community in the 2020-2021 school year. The district was established as a one-room schoolhouse in 1920 by Nathanial Martin Dysart. Today, Dysart employs more than 2,700 staff members, and has more than 24,000 students at 26 schools. The district encompasses 140 square miles, serving parts of El Mirage, Glendale, Surprise, Youngtown, and Maricopa County. With more than 100 years of history, we know that there are many stories and memories that exemplify the extraordinary experiences students, staff, parents, and community members have had over the past century.  

Dysart Unified School District is looking for people to share their memories and stories to be used as part of the centennial celebration. District alumni, staff, students and the community are also invited to help plan the centennial celebrations for the 2020-2021 school year. Help is needed to plan events, research history, collect memorabilia, fundraise, and volunteer at events. Anyone that would like to share a story, memorabilia, or sign up to participate may do so at Dysart.org/Centennial. Dysart looks forward to many more years of providing extraordinary experiences to our community.

Dysart schools past and present are listed below:

  • Asante Preparatory Academy (2019) 
  • Ashton Ranch Elementary School (2003) 
  • Canyon Ridge School (2007) 
  • Cimarron Springs Elementary School (2003) 
  • Countryside Elementary School (2002) 
  • Desert Moon School (2008-2013) 
  • Dysart Elementary School (1920) 
  • Dysart High School (1963) 
  • El Mirage Elementary School (1958) 
  • Freedom Traditional Academy (2019) 
  • Growing Minds Preschool (2019) 
  • Kingswood Elementary School (1989) 
  • Luke Elementary School (1958) 
  • Marley Park Elementary School (2004) 
  • Mountain View School (2007) 
  • Parkview Elementary School (2006 - 2019) 
  • Rancho Gabriela Elementary School (2005) 
  • Riverview School (2008) 
  • Shadow Ridge High School (2009) 
  • Sonoran Heights Elementary School (2006) 
  • Sundown Mountain Alternative Center 
  • Sunset Hills Elementary School (2005) 
  • Surprise Elementary School (1976) 
  • Thompson Ranch Elementary School (2004) 
  • Valley Vista High School (2006) 
  • West Point Elementary School (2001) 
  • Western Peaks Elementary School (2006) 
  • Willow Canyon High School (2003)

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/14/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Schools to Participate in Surprise Day of Service/Love Our Schools Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/11/2019

Dysart Unified School District is partnering with the City of Surprise and School Connect on their respective volunteer service events. Both the City of Surprise Day of Service and School Connect Love Our Schools Day will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 beginning at 8:00 am. 

This joint effort is poised to provide much needed volunteer support for projects on our school campuses. Projects range from campus beautification, to painting and planting. Volunteers of all ages from across our community are welcome to participate. Those interested in participating in Love Our Schools Day events on our school campuses may register and view available projects at https://app.schoolconnectaz.com/.

Dysart schools that are participating include Ashton Ranch Elementary, Canyon Ridge School, Dysart Elementary, El Mirage Elementary, Freedom Traditional, Growing Minds Preschool, Mountain View School, Sonoran Heights Elementary, Sunset Hills Elementary, and Valley Vista High School.

Volunteers interested in participating exclusively in the City of Surprise Day of Service event should contact Ervin Cutwright at 623-222-3241 or [email protected]

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/11/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Career and College Expo Set for October 24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/4/2019

Plan and explore your student’s future at the Dysart Unified School District Career and College Expo on Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 5:30-8pm at the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N. Parkview Place in Surprise. 

The expo will feature Dysart's Career and Technical Education programs, local colleges, businesses, and West-MEC. This is a great opportunity for 6th through 12th grade students and their parents to get hands-on with all of the career pathway classes and programs offered through the district. This is a free event and all are invited to attend.

For more information, please visit: www.dysart.org/cte

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

10/04/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Schools Tout New Signature Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 9/20/2019

The Dysart Unified School District unveiled new Signature Programs at each of its elementary schools this year. High schools identified a school-wide focus to connect each of their existing Signature Programs to the campus-wide culture. 

"Dysart's Signature Programs will provide unique learning experiences for students, create additional opportunities to apply academic learning in a real-world context, and build a shared sense of community and school ownership in each neighborhood," said Dr. Michelle Benham, Director of Innovation.

The Signature Programs were developed in partnership with the community, after receiving input on the learning experiences that would be of interest and value to their students. A list of Signature Programs is below. More information and details about each program can be found at Dysart.org/Signature.

Elementary Schools

Accelerated Learning - Asante Preparatory Academy 

Active Mind & Body - Sonoran Heights Elementary School 

Arts - Sunset Hills Elementary School 

Arts Academy - West Point Elementary School 

Civic Duty & Service Leadership - Luke Elementary School 

Civic-Minded Leadership - Riverview Elementary School 

Coding & Robotics - Kingswood Elementary School 

College & Career Exploration Academy - Rancho Gabriela Elementary School 

Community Leadership - Dysart Elementary School 

Design - Ashton Ranch Elementary School 

Health & Wellness Academy - El Mirage Elementary School 

Innovation - Western Peaks Elementary School 

Mass Communications - Countryside Elementary School 

Science & Technology - Surprise Elementary School 

S.T.E.A.M. - Mountain View School and Thompson Ranch Elementary School 

STEM - Canyon Ridge School 

Sustainable Engineering - Cimarron Springs Elementary School 

Traditional - Freedom Traditional School 

Young Entrepreneurs - Marley Park Elementary School

High School

Future-Focused - Dysart High School 

H.O.M.E. - Shadow Ridge High School 

Winning Culture - Willow Canyon High School 

Your Place. Your Purpose. - Valley Vista High School

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/20/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

DEF announces 5K Run

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 9/13/2019

The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) in partnership with the City of El Mirage will host the Dysart Dash 5K Salute to Veterans Celebration on Saturday, November 2, 2019. The 5K race will begin at 7:30 a.m. followed by a kids fun dash for ages 8 and under. Registration for the race in El Mirage, Arizona, is now available.  The fundraising event helps support students and teachers in the Dysart Unified School District through the foundation’s ongoing contributions. 

Participants will receive an event t-shirt, participation medal, custom race bib and access to real time results.  Medals will be available for the top three finishers in various age groups and top three overall. Discounts are available for early registration with additional discounts for veterans, group registration, and for all DUSD students and staff. Interested participants can register online at www.dysart.org/dysartdash.  Prices will increase after October 15 and November 1.

Stay after the race for the City of El Mirage Salute to Veterans Celebration. This free event features a giant kid’s zone with inflatables, arts and crafts, face painting, live entertainment, food trucks, vendors, military displays and other attractions. The El Mirage Salute to Veterans Celebration is from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

DEF is composed of volunteers who are passionate about supporting education in our community. The foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to raising funds for the purpose of enriching student learning in the Dysart Unified School District and supporting continued education for high school graduates. More information about DEF is available at www.defweb.org.

Media inquiries may be directed to Kara Poling at [email protected]

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

09/13/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Offers Child Find Developmental Screenings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/30/2019

Dysart Unified School District is offering Child Find screenings for students aged 2 years 9 months through 5 years old who may have developmental delays. Children with special needs benefit from early intervention, and many of Arizona’s preschool children with special needs do not receive services because school districts do not know who they are. 

The Dysart Unified School District abides by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which requires that public school agencies ensure all children (from birth through age 21) with delays or developmental disabilities are identified, located, and evaluated to receive the supports and services they need. This includes all children living within the geographic boundaries of the school district – those who are homeless or wards of the state, are attending private schools, or are home schooled. 

Suspected delays may be evidenced in the areas of communication, cognition, behavior, as well as in physical, auditory, visual and sensory development. Free screenings and/or diagnostic evaluations are provided by the Dysart Unified School District to help determine those children who may be eligible for special education services - all of which are free of charge to families. 

If you are the parent of a preschool child (aged 2 years 9 months through 5 years old) or know of a preschool child with suspected developmental delays that resides within the boundaries of the Dysart Unified School District, please call (623) 876-7022 (Select option #2) to schedule a free child find screening. Screenings take place at 13825 W. Desert Cove Drive, Surprise, AZ 85379, and are scheduled for the following dates: August 14, 21, September 11, 25, October 9, 23, December 4, January 15, 29, February 12, 26, March 11, 25, May 6, 13, and June 8.  

For additional information about Child Find for children younger than 2 years 9 months, please contact the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) at 602-532-9960 or 888-352-4558.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/30/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Participates in National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/23/2019

Dysart Unified School District will be participating in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. As part of this program, Dysart Unified School District will offer healthy meals every school day. Breakfast will cost $1.25; lunch will cost $2.60 for elementary and $2.85 for high school. Your children may qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Reduced-price meals cost $.30 for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. 

As part of this program, breakfast in the classroom is provided at no cost to students at Thompson Ranch, Riverview School, Surprise Elementary, Dysart Elementary and El Mirage Elementary School.  Additionally, lunch meals served at El Mirage Elementary School are provided at no cost to all students. Qualifications for children to receive free or reduced price meals include: belonging to a household whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, belonging to a household that receives public assistance, or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster, or participates in a Head Start or Even Start pre-Kindergarten program. Free or reduced lunch forms are provided by the school during registration.  If you would like an additional form, please visit https://www.schoolcafe.com/ to complete the online form. 

Household size and income criteria are used to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits if the household does not receive assistance or the children are not in the other categories mentioned above. Children can get free or reduced-price meals if the household’s gross income falls at or below the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guideline chart.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/23/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart welcomes new administrators

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/16/2019

The Dysart Unified School District is set to start the new school year with several new administrators. For the 2019-2020 school year, new school principals are as follows:

Angela Allen, Principal, Ashton Ranch Elementary School - Angela Allen has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Washington and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Arizona State University. Allen has worked at Dysart since 2006 as a Teacher, Academic Interventionist and Assistant Principal.

Emily Dean, Principal, Asante Preparatory Academy - Emily Dean has a Bachelor of Science from Indiana State University and a Master of Arts from the University of Phoenix. Dean started with the Dysart Unified School District in 2006 as an Assistant Principal, and became a Principal in 2008. Dean moved to Asante from Ashton Ranch Elementary School. 

Molly Gillett, Principal, Luke Elementary School - Molly Gillett joins the district from the Eugene School District in Oregon, where she previously served as Principal. Gillett holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon and a Master of Arts from Pacific University.

Ashley Longoria, Principal, Dysart Elementary School - Ashley Longoria has been with Dysart since she started her teaching career in 2010, and is moving to Dysart Elementary from Dysart High School. Longoria is an alumnus of Dysart Elementary and Dysart High, and holds a Bachelor of Arts for Arizona State University, a Master of Arts and a Doctorate in Education from Grand Canyon University.

Adam Schwartz, Principal, Willow Canyon High School - Adam Schwartz has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and a Doctorate in Education from Northern Arizona University. Schwartz began his career as a science teacher, and has been an Assistant Principal in the Agua Fria High School District since 2009.

Connie Wolford, Principal, Freedom Traditional Academy - Connie Wolford has served in Dysart since 2008. She became an Assistant Principal in the district in 2015. Wolford holds a Bachelor of Elementary Education from Central Washington University and a Master of Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. Wolford moved to Freedom Traditional Academy from Mountain View School.

In addition to new principals, Dysart also has a new Assistant Superintendent for Human Relations. John Croteau took over this role beginning in July when longtime employee, Patricia Buck, retired after over 30 years in the District. Croteau has a Bachelor of Science from Colorado State University and a Master of Education from the University of Phoenix. He began his teaching career in 1995, and has held the positions of Assistant Principal, Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Executive Director. Most recently, he was the Chief Operations Officer in the Peoria Unified School District. 

Dysart employs more than 2,500 staff members at 25 schools and numerous departments.  With competitive salaries and benefits, Dysart attracts highly qualified staff. This year, the district was pleased to give certified staff 5% raises, and support staff and administrators 3%. According to Zippia.com, Dysart Unified School District tops the list as the “Best Company to Work for in Surprise, AZ”. Additionally, the Phoenix Business Journal named Dysart as a top 20 “Healthiest Employer” in the largest/extra category. Dysart is always hiring highly qualified staff. Interested candidates may view job openings at www.dysart.org/careers.

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/16/2019 Direct Link

Front of Dysart Unified School District Building

Dysart Schools to Host Meet the Teacher, Freshman Camps and Open Houses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/11/2019

Dysart Unified School District schools are hosting Meet the Teacher events at elementary schools, and Open Houses and Freshman Camps at the high schools. Dates and times are listed below. 

We encourage our students and families to join us for these events to learn more about the campus, see the facilities and meet our staff. Incoming freshman should plan to attend Freshman Camp to get a jump start on high school, familiarize themselves with the campus, meet the teachers and pick up their schedule. We look forward to an extraordinary 2019-2020 school year.

High Schools

Dysart High School - dysart.org/DHS  

Freshman Camp: July 29, 8:00 - 10:30am 

Open House: August 5, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Shadow Ridge High School - dysart.org/SRHS  

Freshman Camp: July 29, 8:00am - 12:00pm  

Open House: August 5, 4:00 - 5:30pm  


Valley Vista High School - dysart.org/VVHS  

Freshman Camp: July 29, 7:00am - 12:30pm  

Open House: August 5, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Willow Canyon High School - dysart.org/WCHS  

iWillow Freshman Camp: July 23, 7:15am - 2:15pm (Register by July 15 at Dysart.org/WCHS) Willow Canyon 101 (for parents): July 31, 6:00 - 7:00pm  

Open House: August 5, 5:30 - 7:00pm 

Elementary Schools

Asante Preparatory Academy - dysart.org/Asante  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Ashton Ranch Elementary - dysart.org/AshtonRanch  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Canyon Ridge School - dysart.org/CanyonRidge  

August 2, 5:00 - 6:30pm  


Cimarron Springs Elementary - dysart.org/CimarronSprings  

August 2, 5:00 - 6:30pm  


Countryside Elementary - dysart.org/Countryside  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Dysart Elementary - dysart.org/DysartElementary  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


El Mirage Elementary - dysart.org/ElMirage  

August 2, 4:30 - 6:00pm  


Freedom Traditional Academy - dysart.org/Freedom  

August 2, 5:30 - 6:30pm  


Kingswood Elementary - dysart.org/Kingswood  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Luke Elementary - dysart.org/Luke  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Marley Park Elementary - dysart.org/MarleyPark  

August 2, 5:00 - 6:30pm  


Mountain View School - dysart.org/MountainView  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Rancho Gabriela Elementary - dysart.org/RanchoGabriela  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Riverview School - dysart.org/Riverview  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Sonoran Heights Elementary - dysart.org/SonoranHeights  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Sunset Hills Elementary - dysart.org/SunsetHills  

August 2, 5:00 - 6:30pm  


Surprise Elementary - dysart.org/Surprise  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Thompson Ranch Elementary - dysart.org/ThompsonRanch  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


West Point Elementary - dysart.org/WestPoint  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Western Peaks Elementary - dysart.org/WesternPeaks 

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm 

Special Programs

Sundown Mountain - dysart.org/Sundown  

August 2, 5:30 - 7:00pm  


Growing Minds Preschool - dysart.org/GrowingMinds  

Tours by appointment  

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15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/11/2019 Direct Link

front of Dysart District Office Building

Dysart Schools Open for Student Registration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/9/2019

As summer is starting to wind down, Dysart would like to remind our community that our schools are now open for student registration. Families are welcome to visit the school offices for assistance with registration, open enrollment, and other services.

Summer is a great time for our students and staff to connect with family and friends and to take a break, but for Dysart schools it is also a time that we use for training, reviewing procedures, and working on projects and improvement of facilities.  All of this is to prepare for the exciting year ahead, as school starts on August 6 for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Dysart Unified School District has 25 schools - 20 K-8 elementary schools, four high schools, an alternative school, and preschool program options. There are several exciting new additions to Dysart this year - a new Growing Minds Preschool and two new elementary schools - Asante Preparatory Academy and Freedom Traditional Academy. Also new this year, every school is developing a Signature Program with community input. More details about these new programs will be unveiled in August.

Dysart serves over 24,000 students with a variety of Pre-K through high school offerings.  The District has extensive opportunities to meet each and every student’s needs and interests. There are Career and Technical Education programs, Special Education and student support services, arts, athletics, extracurricular activities, and more.

Parents interested in enrolling in a school outside of their boundary school, or at the new Freedom Traditional Academy, are invited to complete an open enrollment application at www.dysart.org/oe. Open enrollment gives students an opportunity to apply to attend any one of our schools, regardless of where they live.    

Continuing Dysart students are automatically re-enrolled each year. New students can register online at www.dysart.org/registration, or visit the school of their choice. Dysart looks forward to providing each student with an extraordinary school experience in the 2019-2020 school year.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/09/2019 Direct Link

A Growing Minds preschool child smiles for the camera in the play area.

Growing Minds Preschool to Celebrate Grand Opening

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 7/3/2019

The Dysart Unified School District’s new Growing Minds Preschool program will be hosting a grand opening celebration and family fest on Monday, July 8. The day will start with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house at 8:00 a.m. Later in the day from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., there will be a family fest featuring facility tours, games, raffles, and more. Guests will be able to meet the teachers, get details about the program, and register on site.

Growing Minds Preschool classes begin on July 15.  Half-day and full-day options are available with year-round hours of operation, including school breaks, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to accommodate working families. Available for children ages 2-5, the preschool will focus on core academic areas as well as the arts and athletics. Creative expression and physical play will be embedded in all activities, with a hands-on learning experience that ensures children will love to learn and grow.

Growing Minds Preschool will not only guide the cognitive development, but offer positive exposure in an environment that is fun and exciting.  The Growing Minds Preschool experience will advance cognitive development and cultivate social and emotional development, building respect, resilience, teamwork, optimism, innovation, and self-esteem through positive interaction with classmates and teachers.  The Creative Curriculum will follow the Arizona Early Learning State Standards, allowing a child to initiate his or her own learning experience.

Growing Minds Preschool is located at 17999 W. Surprise Farms Loop S Surprise, AZ 85388, adjacent to Western Peaks Elementary School, and currently has satellite campuses at Freedom Traditional Academy and Asante Preparatory Academy. Visit GrowingMindsPreschool.org or call 623-876-7350 for more information, including details on tuition and registration.

For More Information

15802 N Parkview Place, Surprise

07/03/2019 Direct Link

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