Volume 40, No. 18, April 3, 2012

Mesa Junior High's 60th anniversary celebration, your invitation to special events, school and district highlights, public hearings on proposed calendars, summer jobs, Employees of the Month, mobile device app for MPS Portal, Volunteers of the Month

Celebrate Mesa Junior's 60th anniversary

Mesa Junior cheerleadersMark your calendar. Mesa Junior High's 60th anniversary extravaganza — The Last of the Best — is set for noon to 4 p.m. April 28 on the campus at 828 E. Broadway Road, Mesa. Join the generations of staff, students, parents and friends who will celebrate the learning, campus life and legacy of our town's first junior high. The event features:

  • reunions by the decade on the patio
  • memory lane in the library
  • presentations and performing arts in the auditorium
  • history of athletics in the gym

Please pass it on! For information, to volunteer or to leave a message for Carole Young, Anniversary Planning Committee chair, call (480) 472-1317, or send an email to mjhs.60yrs@gmail.com.

You're invited

Dobson Mustang Cup — Sign up soon for the second-annual Dobson High School Mustang Cup. Registration for the golf tournament is at 7 a.m., and shotgun four-person play begins at 8 a.m. April 21 at Apache Wells, 5601 E. Hermosa Vista Drive, Mesa. Call Ray Perkins, athletic director, at (480) 472-3276. 

Computer Recycle Day — Donate used and obsolete computers and electronics at Mesa High on April 21. Students will refurbish, upgrade them and give them to nonprofit organizations.

How to Become a Guardian — Tom Pickrell, MPS general counsel, will offer a workshop for parents who wish to be appointed guardians when their children with disabilities reach adulthood. How to Become a Guardian is set for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 1 at the Student Services Center. Call Kay Boyer, secretary, at (480) 472-0208 for information and registration.

MPS retirement receptionsRetirement receptions are being scheduled at schools and departments throughout the district. Everyone's welcome. Check the retirement reception page often for additional party plans.

School and district highlights

Gregg BaumgartenPlay ball! — Gregg Baumgarten, a leader in education and sports for the disabled, threw out the first pitch at the Cubs vs. Rockies spring-training game. Baumgarten is principal of the School Home Adjustment Reinforcement Program.

Arizona Academic Decathlon — Mountain View High's Curt Canaday, physics teacher, and Joan Snyder, English teacher, coach this year's Arizona Academic Decathlon champions. They will represent Arizona at the national championship in Albuquerque, N.M., on April 25.

'Choral Directors of Note' — Skyline High's Jeff Medlock is featured among the nation's 11 top teachers in Choral Director magazine's 2012 annual report.

KNIX Teacher of the Week — Dawn Parker, Smith Junior High band director, was named Teacher of the Week by KNIX Country Radio and Fulton Homes.

State pom champions — The Mountain View High pom line, coached by Dannis Zazueta and Sarah Biro, won its ninth state title in a row. 

FIRST Robotics Competition — Red Mountain High's Team Plasma, coached by Brent Kellis, won the Utah regional competition and qualified to vie for the 2012 FRC championship title April 25-28 in St. Louis, Mo.

School PR honors — The Educational Television Department won Awards of Distinction from the Arizona School Public Relations Association. See "Believe" and the "History of Mesa Public Schools." ASPRA presented an Award of Excellence to Mesa Counts on College  for Explore What's in Store

Project Citizen Showcase — Project Citizen teams from Rhodes and Smith junior highs are Legislative District 5 and 6 winners. Social studies students taught by Becky Cryder of Rhodes and Wiley Popovich of Smith will advance to state finals in May.  

Middle School Science Expo — Junior high students competed at the district's first Middle School Science Expo. They also attended presentations on biotechnology by Mesa High's Amanda Grimes, and robotics and engineering with Brent Kellis of Red Mountain High. 

Propane school busClean Air Champion — Ken Bennett, Arizona secretary of state, presented an Arizona Clean Air Champion Award to Ron Latko, transportation director, at the 2012 Legislative Breakfast on the Senate lawn.

The event featured an array of alternative-fuel vehicles, including a new propane bus from MPS. The Clean Air Champion Award acknowledged the district's environmentally responsible and proactive efforts.

Sixth-Grade Elementary Math ChallengeTop district teams will represent MPS at the Regional Math Challenge on April 28 at ASU. The district winners are coached by Hale Elementary's Connie Corea, Ryan Balcik of Taft, Doreen Heitland of the Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies and Jim Barnette of Ishikawa. 

Public hearings focus on calendar adoptions

The school board will host public hearings on calendar proposals for 2013-14 and 2014-15. Share your preferences via the online feedback form. Or attend a hearing at 7 p.m. April 10 or 24 in the Board Room at 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa.

Apply now for Mesa Parks and Rec summer jobs

The city of Mesa's Parks and Recreation Department invites MPS employees to work part time this summer as recreation trainees, aides and assistants. 

School board rewards Employees of the Month

Debbie Harrison

Michelle Udall, school board member, presents an Employee of the Month award to Debbie Harrison, lead night custodian at Mesa High.

The school board honored Educators and Classified Employees of the Month this spring. Read the winners' tributes:

  • Silvie Barillas, autism instructional assistant, Mountain View High
  • Betty Coleman, lead night custodian, School Home Adjustment Reinforcement Program and East Mesa Early Childhood Center
  • Lynn Dillon, fourth-grade teacher, Hermosa Vista Elementary
  • Laura Ramirez, second-grade teacher, Guerrero Elementary
  • Joe Freeman, trainer, Educational Technology Department
  • Debbie Harrison, lead night custodian, Mesa High
  • Kelly Kallman, special education clerical aide, Highland Elementary
  • Roxanne Karges, reading teacher, and family and consumer science teacher, Smith Junior High

They received certificates and $400 for professional development. Nominate your colleagues for their contributions to MPS and the positive difference they make in the lives of students and staff.

Mobile device app available for MPS Portal

PortalParents and students can now access the attendance and grades portion of MPS Portal on smartphones and other mobile devices.

The application is available at the App Store and in the Android Market by searching for ParentVUE or StudentVUE.

When initializing the app, the district URL is https://parent.mpsaz.org. Users must establish an account before accessing the app.

MPS honors Volunteers of the Month

Donna Miller

Mike Nichols, school board clerk, surprises Donna Miller with a Volunteer of the Month award in February. 

Donna Miller of Red Mountain Ranch Elementary was our MPS Volunteer of the Month in February. She works with Laurie Bridges in the Library Resource Center.

The school board honored Ingrid Medlock as Volunteer of the Month in March. She helps out in Skyline High choir classes taught by Jeff Medlock, her son.

Volunteers of the Month receive $50 gift cards and books titled "The Heart of a Volunteer" from the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence

Nominate your volunteer.


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