Volume 39, Number 15, May 3, 2011

Debi Shook

A+ School of Excellence

During the application and judging process, Debi Shook and her colleagues collected and compiled artifacts and documentation of their school's outstanding accomplishments. Shook teaches kindergarten.

Salk Elementary earned an A+ School of Excellence award from the Arizona Educational Foundation.

Criteria include school organization and culture, student focus and support, professional learning communities, active teaching and learning, challenging curriculum, leadership and educational vitality, and family and community involvement.

Prizes include A+ status for three years, $500 and an A+ banner. Employees receive scholarships from Argosy University. "Don't miss out on something just because it is hard," advises Karla Carlson, principal. "Salk is so happy we didn't miss out, because being A+ is great!"

Teacher Appreciation Week

Great teachers make great public schools! The school board proclaimed May 1-7 as Teacher Appreciation Week and today as Teacher Day in MPS. The document celebrates the lasting impact teachers make on our lives, our community and our country. Read the proclamation.

Exceptional Student Services Awards

Join Student Services in honoring students, staff and residents for outstanding achievement and exemplary service in special education, guidance and health services. You're invited to attend at 7 p.m. May 13 in Building C at the Mesa Convention Center, 201 N. Center St., Mesa. See the list of winners.

National research award

The American Educational Research Association honored the Research and Evaluation Department and the Educational Technology Department. The district's Acuity assessment training materials won the association's Outstanding Publication Award. Read more.

Gabe Marquez, Educator of the Month

Employees of the Month

Nominate a co-worker

MPS honored Employees of the Month at the April 26 school board meeting. Winners received certificates and $400 for professional development. Read their tributes:

  • Regina Blalack, library resource center specialist, Hawthorne Elementary
  • Jan Glover, secretary, Crismon Elementary
  • Gabe Marquez, Advanced Placement psychology teacher, and assistant football and track coach, Red Mountain High
  • Kathy Ray, Title I school improvement specialist, Taft Elementary

Professional Development Library summer hours

The Professional Development library will be open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday this summer. Stop by Building 2 at the Curriculum Services Center, 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa.

Do you need a CD, DVD or book to enhance your Summer Institute course work? Save time and money at the Professional Development Library. For information, call (480) 472-0386. Or logon to the website.

STEM Showcase

Come to the MPS Secondary STEM Showcase to see the great things students are doing in science, technology, engineering and math. Exhibits are on display from 3 to 8 p.m. May 3, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 4 and 5 at Historic Irving, 155 N. Center St., Mesa. Read more.


This is Physical Education and Sports Week and Child Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week. School Nurse Day is May 11. Educational Bosses Week is May 15-21. Remember that you're invited to lots of retirement receptions. Celebrate!

Print Shop cover story

Print Shop staffThe April issue of In-Plant Graphics magazine features an in-depth article about the MPS Printing and Publishing Department.

The story focuses on how the staff uplifts students and district employees through eco-friendly, education-driven operations.

"The department is passionate about product quality, in regard to both aesthetics and content. A school district's in-plant has to reflect its administration's and educators' high standards," said Bill King, supervisor.

King credits his staff for keeping the in-plant at the head of the class. "I work with great, extremely loyal individuals," he said. "I've been here for 10 years, and I'm still one of the new guys!" Read more.

New Mesa Public Library branch

The Mesa Express Library will open May 17 at Power Square Mall, 2055 S. Power Road., Suite 1031. The 3,430 square-foot storefront is the first library to open in 24 years. MEL will be open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Two full-time librarians will be on hand. MEL will be fully stocked with 11,406 items that include popular novels, DVDs and audio books. An automated book return will be available during mall hours. There will be free WiFi and 10 computers to access the Internet and the databases available through the library’s website. As an express library, MEL will not offer programs or events.

School highlights

Jackie JohnsonVolunteer of the Month

Jackie Johnson of Falcon Hill Elementary is the April 2011 MPS Volunteer of the Month. "Voluntarism offers great rewards. It's one of the greatest joys of my life," Johnson said.

Falcon Hill Elementary's Jackie Johnson has volunteered in Ronald Skon's fourth-grade classroom for more than 20 years. She helps with reading, the computer lab, bulletin boards, field trips and special events.

The Mesa Foundation awarded Johnson a $50 gift card and a book titled "The Heart of a Volunteer." MPS presented the winner a certificate, tribute, mug and key chain.

Watch the video to see Mike Hughes, school board member, honor Johnson (forward to 52:00). Read Falcon Hill's tribute. Logon to nominate a volunteer where you work.

Promise Grant

Robson Elementary's Vicky Rivera, first-grade teacher, was honored for her innovations in teaching. She received a $1,000 Promise Grant from the Arizona Education Association's Foundation for Teaching and Learning for her classroom workshop titled Look Who Lives in the Desert.

Maricopa County Bar Association essay contest

Franklin South Elementary's Jonattan Alarcon placed second in the Bar Association's essay contest on "The Legacy of John Adams: From Boston to Guantanamo." Jonattan, a sixth-grader in Vaunee Lewis' sixth-grade class was honored by the chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court.

Silent auction and BOGO book fair

The Zaharis Elementary PTO will raise money with a theme-basket silent auction and a buy-one-get-one-free book fair May 9-13. Both events will be open to everyone. Proceeds will benefit the Library Resource Center. Read more.

Mesa Agenda is published by the Community Relations Department.


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