Volume 41, No. 13, April 23, 2013

Jeff Bridges at Zaharis
Zaharis first-graders made Jeff Bridges an honorary Soaring Eagle for life!

Zaharis welcomes Jeff Bridges

The Academy Award winner, author and musician visited Zaharis Elementary to commemorate the first-grade Lemonade Club's $414 contribution to No Kid Hungry.

By selling lemonade at special school events and on Fridays after school, students have raised $1,100 for the Phoenix Zoo, United Food Bank and No Kid Hungry.

Bridges talked with students about child hunger. He led them in a chorus of "What a Little Bit of Love Can Do." And he left a remarkable message on the school's signing wall.

Bridges thanked the youngsters for making him an honorary Zaharis Soaring Eagle for life. And, that evening, he dedicated his concert at the Mesa Arts Center to the kids of Zaharis.

Mesa High honored as national AVID model

As a National Demonstration School for Advancement Via Individual Determination, Mesa High sets the benchmark for excellence in the college-readiness system. Mike Garcia, coordinates AVID at Mesa High.

Chamber names Mesa Teacher, Student of the Year

At its annual Leadership Awards on April 26, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce will honor Ken Sorensen, Skyline High English teacher, as Teacher of the Year and Morgan Schneck of Mountain View High as Student of the Year.

Exceptional Student Services Awards set for May 10

See the winning students, staff and residents who will be honored for outstanding achievement during the Exceptional Student Services Awards presentation at 7 p.m. May 10 in the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St., Mesa. Everyone's welcome. 

In memoriam: Red Mountain mourns the loss of Steve Rushing

Beloved math teacher Steve Rushing died in his sleep March 30. Known for his contagious smile and quirky sense of humor, Rushing was one of the original team of charter teachers who started at Red Mountain when it opened in fall 1988. He was due to retire at the end of this school year.

“Steve was loyal beyond words to friends, colleagues and especially students,” said long-time friend and retired Red Mountain charter teacher Valerie Foster.

Come to retirement receptions

Lots of new retirement party plans are posted for schools and departments. Everyone's invited to attend and to celebrate with colleagues throughout MPS. 

Delia SaucedoMPS honors four Employees of the Month

Delia Saucedo, Lowell Elementary health assistant, was honored at the school board meeting.

The school board and superintendency honored Employees of the Month at the April 9 meeting. Winners received framed certificates of appreciation, copies of their tributes and $400 for professional development.

Families, friends and co-workers joined district officials in applauding the winners:

Nominate your colleague for contributions to the quality of MPS and for making a difference in the lives of students and staff. 

Employees are in the spotlight

Colonial Williamsburg — Donna Tuttle, Jordan Elementary gifted and talented teacher, and Christine Oliver, second-grade teacher at Franklin at Brimhall, received full scholarships to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in Virginia. They are among the nine teachers chosen to represent Arizona this summer.

Next Generation Science Standards — Vicki Massey, secondary science specialist, presented our plans for implementing K-12 Next Generation Science Standards as a panelist at the National Science Teacher Association's conference in San Antonio, Texas.

Science institute — Highland Elementary's Amy DeLong and Pam Robedeau are among a select group of top-notch teachers invited to attend this summer's Teaching Inquiry-Based Science Institute, sponsored by Arizona State University and Salt River Project. 

Rest and unplug this summer

Thanks to the MPS Wellness Program, health and fitness expert Richard Morris will present a workshop on how to rest and unplug this summer. The presentation is 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 15 in Room 303 at the Administrative Services Center, 63 E. Main St., Mesa. Registration is open.

Count on the MPS Print Shop  

If you need help wrapping up this school year and preparing for the next, think of the Print Shop first. The MPS Printing and Publishing Department offers a wealth of services, ranging from brochures, business cards, folders, fliers, forms and handbooks to letterhead, logo design, posters, sports programs and tickets.

But did you know that the Print Shop will also help you with mailings, signage, large-format laminating, coil binding, foiling, die cutting, perforating, numbering, T-shirts, hats, pens, awards, key chains, engraving, mouse pads, magnets, mugs and more?

The Print Shop provides an array of best-cost services, with in-house resources and a selective group of preferred vendors. Get the most for your money. Call on MPS Printing and Publishing for the best product at the best price.

Suzanne Goldstein and Mike CowanSchool board honors Suzanne Goldstein, Volunteer of the Month 

Roosevelt Elementary's Suzanne Goldstein is the MPS Volunteer of the Month for April. She's in the library resource center all morning each day.

She received a certificate, school board script, key chain and mug from MPS. She won a $50 gift card and a book titled "The Heart of a Volunteer" from the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence.

MPS is celebrating National Public School Volunteer Week. See the school board proclamation.

You're invited to nominate a prospective MPS Volunteer of the Month. 

Student achievement abounds in MPS

T-shirt design — Johnson Elementary's Katelyn Ulmschneider won the national grand prize in P.S. Aéropostale's T-shirt design contest. Johnson won $1,000. Katelyn won a $500 shopping spree. Classmates won award-winning T-shirts, which will be available in stores nationwide.

Yearbook design — Red Mountain High's 2012 Pinnacle yearbook has been honored for excellence and featured in the national 2013 Gotcha Covered Look Book, Volume 11. It celebrates the best of the best in yearbook design and coverage. Rebecca Adams and Alyssa Ferguson were 2012 co-editors. Jan Saquella teaches yearbook.

Pom squad — Mountain View High's pom squad, coached by Dannis Zazueta, won its 10th state championship in a row.

U.S. State Department — Ten Westwood, Red Mountain and Mesa high school students were chosen competitively to represent Arizona in a U.S. State Department cultural and educational exchange with the Republic of Azerbaijan for three weeks in July.

Scholar-athlete — Ishikawa Elementary's John Butler is among 35 fifth-graders nationwide to be named a First Team All-American Scholar. John will be honored for academic excellence by Pop Warner Scholastics on May 24 and 25 in Boston, Mass.

All-State Music Festival of Honor — After competitive statewide auditions, MPS fielded 23 percent of the students selected for the high school All-State Music Festival of Honor at NAU. The top young musicians in Arizona include 92 of Mesa's choir, band and orchestra students.

Zack ClarkMPS alumni honor teachers, coaches

Zack Clark, Dobson High grad, whose music video will debut April 23, invites you to attend his concert April 26.

Music performance — MPS graduate Zack Clark, professional cellist, composer and arranger, thanks his MPS music teachers Richard Worcester, Washington retiree, Claire Sievers of Rhodes and Rob Nichols of Dobson High.

Clark's new music video debuts April 23. He will perform at Arizona State University on April 26.

Athletic excellence — Champion wrestler and writer Anthony Robles thanks Mesa High coaches Bobby Williams and Dave DiDomenico for helping him go from underdog to undefeated.

You're invited

Young at Art Show — See the district's best secondary student artwork through April 25 at the Creative and Performing Arts Department, 155 N. Center St., Mesa. 

Throughout the Decades — Mendoza Elementary will present a dance concert featuring numbers from the '20s to the '90s, from the Lindy Hop to hip-hop. The event is set for 6 p.m. May 13 in the Red Mountain High auditorium, 7301 E. Brown Road.

Swing dance and dinner — Come to the Moonlight Serenade Swing Dance and Dinner, catered by Moki's Hawaiian Grill, from 6 to 9 p.m. May 18 in the Mesa High cafeteria, 1630 E. Southern Ave, Mesa. Presale tickets, for $12, are available online or by calling Jana Shelley, band booster, (480) 892-7010. Admission is $15 at the door.

Hospice of the Valley — Hospice of the Valley offers a variety of volunteer opportunities and training tailored to your time and talent, ranging from companionship, pet therapy, veterans, bereavement phone support and music to Spanish language, sewing, quilting, clerical, public speaking, special events and more.

Vacation discounts — Save up to 50 percent on lodging and attractions through Get-Away Today. Mention the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence, and it will receive a donation from the company when you book your accommodations.

Employees win Trip Reduction Program prizes   

Employees who use alternate transportation to and from work at least two days a month are eligible for prize drawings. Carpool, take the bus, walk or ride your bike to work, and join the MPS Trip Reduction Program. February winners:

$20 Target gift cards for continuing members

  • Debra Toya, home-school liaison, Native American Program, Westwood High
  • Kris Churchman, reading intervention specialist, Longfellow Elementary
  • Flori Roman, cafeteria cashier, Rhodes Junior High
  • Mary Jane Strickland, curriculum editor, Science and Social Sciences Resource Center
  • John Shepherd, music teacher, Wilson Elementary
  • Constance Hawkins, special education clerk, Sirrine Elementary
  • Warren Schapiro, math teacher, Shepherd Junior High
  • Sue Zuber, library resource aide, Emerson Elementary
  • Corinne Montgomery, library resource specialist, Jordan Elementary
  • Doris Jackson, office specialist, Hale Elementary

$5 Cold Stone Creamery gift cards for new members

  • Vanessa Eckman, special education preschool teacher, Johnson Elementary
  • Doug Walters, production coordinator, Educational Television
  • George Fairfield, fifth-grade teacher, Washington Elementary
  • Karen Fleetwood, procurement supervisor, Purchasing
  • Brian Kahover, math teacher, Shepherd Junior High
  • Ryan MacLay, second-grade teacher, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary
  • Jen Huelster, physical education teacher, Sirrine Elementary
  • Jennifer Peak, instructional assistant, Taft Elementary
  • Melinda Layton, kindergarten teacher, Roosevelt Elementary

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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