Volume 41, No. 12, April 1, 2013

Melanie Openshaw
Melanie Openshaw

Arizona Music Teachers of the Year

Colleagues in the Arizona Music Educators Association chose four Mesa teachers for top awards this year. Walt Temme, Dorene Pool, Kelly Higgins and Melanie Openshaw were honored for their outstanding careers and contributions:

  • Arizona Careers In Music Award Winner of the Year
    Kelly Higgins, general music and band teacher, Franklin East Elementary
  • Arizona Orchestra Teacher of the Year
    Walt Temme, orchestra teacher, Mountain View High
  • Arizona Mentor Teacher of the Year 
    Dorene Pool, orchestra teacher, Franklin West, Sirrine, Pomeroy elementaries
  • Arizona New Music Educator of the Year
    Melanie Openshaw, choral music teacher, Stapley Junior High, Red Mountain High

State Academic Decathlon

Red Mountain High will represent Arizona at national Academic Decathlon competition April 24-27 in Minneapolis, Minn. At state, the team earned 48,408 points in essay, speech, interview, math, science, economics, language and literature, music, art and social science. Brad Kaufman and Rachel Christensen coach our state champs.

Transition Expo

East Valley students and their families are invited to meet experts on programs and services that help students with disabilities succeed in the transition from high school to adulthood. The Transition Expo will be 5 to 8 p.m. April 2 in the Mountain View High School cafeteria, 2700 E. Brown Road, Mesa.

Valley Bike Month: Way to go!

Bike Festival logoCelebrate Valley Bike Month at a variety of events throughout the Valley, including the Great Arizona Bicycle Festival April 5 and 6 in downtown Mesa. 

Volunteers are needed on April 6 at the Mesa Convention Center parking lot. A variety of shifts are available. Volunteers will receive a free lunch and a T-shirt. Send an email to lizda@downtownmesa.com.

Log your trips and enter to win bikes, tune-ups, hotel stays, dining gift certificates and more in the Valley Bike Month Contest

You're invited

Grand Canyon University meetings— GCU will offer informational meetings for MPS employees April 1 at Dobson High, 1501 W. Guadalupe Road, Mesa, and April 10 at Red Mountain High, 7301 E. Brown Road, Mesa. RSVP to attend at either site between 3 and 6 p.m. The focus will be on undergraduate and graduate degree programs, financial aid and loan forgiveness.

Child Abuse Prevention Month kickoff — April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Come to the kickoff from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 6 at Kiwanis Park, 6111 S. All-America Way, Tempe. Family Day features speakers; information booths; fire truck, ambulance and mobile command unit displays; bounce houses; crafts; and lots more fun for kids. All activities are free.

Taylor Junior High family musical — See Taylor Junior High's family musical "Into the Woods, Jr." The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. April 11, 12 and 13 and at 2 p.m. April 13 in the auditorium at 705 S. 32nd St., Mesa. Tickets cost $7 for premium seats and $5 for general admission. 

Young at Art Show — Everyone's invited to the 25th anniversary Young at Art opening night gala from 5 to 10 p.m. April 19 at the Creative and Performing Arts Department, 155 N. Center Street. The evening features students' award-winning artwork; live dance, theater and music performances; and culinary creations. The Young at Art Show continues April 22-25.

Extracurricular activity donations

MPS received $2.1 million in 2012 tax-credit contributions for extracurricular activities and character education. That's an increase of 11 percent compared to last year.

Volunteer of the Month

Joan ParishSuperintendent Mike Cowan presents an MPS mug, key chain and certificate to Joan Parish.

The school board and superintendent honored Joan Parish, MPS Volunteer of the Month for March.

The retired teacher has devoted the past seven years to enhancing student achievement at Madison Elementary. The children respond to her kindness, encouragement and high expectations.

Mesa Foundation awarded Parish a $50 gift card and a book titled "The Heart of a Volunteer." Nominate your volunteer for an award.

National Public School Volunteer Week resources

The National Public School Volunteer Week celebration is April 22-26. For MPS thank-you cards and certificates of appreciation, contact Adrian Lopez, volunteer coordinator. Phone (480) 472-0434, or email allopez@mpsaz.org. Project Appleseed offers additional ideas and activities for volunteer recognition and recruitment.

Classified job openings in summer high school

Applications are being accepted from MPS employees for security and office support positions for senior high summer school. Job descriptions and applications are available online. Submit your application to Community Education by April 12.

Updated Special Education bilingual interpreter list

The updated bilingual interpreter list features names, availability and contact information as a resource for Special Education meetings, phone calls, etc.

Our interpreters are instructed in terminology, confidentiality and protocol. Please contact them directly via phone or email. This service is funded by Special Education. Questions? Call Phyllis Smith, special ed training and compliance secretary, (480) 472-0727.

Student achievements

Regional Sixth-Grade Math Challenge — Ishikawa, Summit Academy, Entz and Hale elementary teams qualified to compete in the Regional Sixth-Grade Math Challenge on April 27 at Arizona State University. Wyatt Appel of the Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies was the overall high scorer at the district challenge.

Voices writing contest — Winning students and staff in this year's Voices competition will receive certificates, ribbons and anthologies featuring their award-winning work at 6 p.m. May 2 in the Franklin Junior High auditorium, 4949 E. Southern Ave., Mesa. Read more about Voices, and see the list of winners.

English-Speaking Union national competition — Benjamin Ellsworth, Mountain View High student, won the Regional Shakespeare Competition and a trip to vie for the national title April 22 on stage at Lincoln Center in New York City, N.Y. 

Dinosaur Petting ZooLincoln and Lehi classes won the city's cardboard recycling contest and a trip to the Dinosaur Petting Zoo at the Mesa Arts Center.

Cardboard Core Challenge — Lincoln collected more than 9,000 cardboard cores to win the city of Mesa's Earth Day recycling competition.

Marlene Warme's kindergartners and Ellen Kowalczk's hearing impaired students at Lehi were named the top classes.

Children in the two winning classrooms received pizza parties and field trips to the Dinosaur Petting Zoo. As the winning school, Lincoln will receive an award from the city's Solid Waste Management Department and a day with John Drury, former Disney designer, who will help the kids create a cardboard core art project for campus display.

Staff achievements

ASPRA*tions Awards — MPS won eight 2013 Awards of Excellence from the Arizona School Public Relations Association, more than any other district. Our prize-winning programs and projects include Common Core Communication, Website, Rebranding, Mesa Literacy Project, Movie Theater Ads, Professional Learning Communities, Celebrating Teaching and Project Civil Discourse. 

Fulbright Award — Amy Swietlik, Washington Elementary music teacher, will research community music groups in Recife, Brazil, in 2014. Her project is titled "Music Education and Social Change Through Community Music Projects."

KNIX-Radio Teacher of the Week — Longfellow Elementary's Becky Elam, kindergarten teacher, won $300 and special prizes from KNIX-Radio and Fulton Homes.

School and community activities

Lowell Elementary — Party time? Order handmade piñatas from the Lowell Parent-Teacher Organization for $15 to $25. Call Carmen Cortez, office specialist, (480) 472-1479. Proceeds will fund shade structures.

Red Mountain Ranch Elementary — The Canadian Open golf tournament at Red Mountain Ranch Country Club netted $6,048.94 to buy interactive white boards for Red Mountain Ranch Elementary classrooms.

Holmes Elementary — Parents in the Family Literacy Program honed their classroom skills in the community. They served food to hungry and homeless people at St. Vincent de Paul. They also attended a fitness class at the Red Mountain Multigenerational Center. 

School Home Adjustment Reinforcement Program — SHARP hosted Oskar Knoblauch, Holocaust survivor, author and speaker. He shared his memories and message of tolerance and respect at an assembly and small-group discussions.

Retirement receptions

Schools and departments are sharing retirement party plans. Everyone's invited to attend and to offer colleagues throughout MPS our thanks, congratulations and best wishes. Check the Web page often for updates. 

Send news for Mesa Agenda, Facebook and Twitter to
Lynda Jordan, community relations specialist, lkjordan@mpsaz.org. 

Mesa Agenda is published by the Communications and Marketing Department 
Archive of all MPS department newsletters 


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