Volume 42, No. 1, Aug. 26, 2013

Nancie Lindblom in the Oval OfficeNancie Lindblom, 2013 Arizona Teacher of the Year, visited with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. Lindblom teaches social studies at Skyline High.

Request up to $1,000 from Mesa Foundation 

The Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence will award up to $1,000 to MPS employees to fund innovative projects that enhance student achievement at any grade level or in any subject area.

Proposals will be accepted now through Oct. 4. Download the minigrant application guidelines and cover sheet. 

For more information, visit the foundation's website or contact Darlene Brinkerhoff, executive director. Phone (480) 472-0220, or email darbrink@cox.net.

Send news, photos for MPS Facebook

Student assists with surgery at Vet Camp

MPS Facebook features summer Vet Camp in Monument Valley. Andrew Noonan, a student in Jesse Roth's veterinary science program at Dobson High, assists with surgery.

MPS employeesparent organizations and booster clubs are invited to submit information and photos for MPS Facebook and TwitterOur followers are eager to see every school represented.

  • Parents and the public care about what and how kids learn. Please share your curriculum and classroom news.
  • Other ideas? We'd love to know more about student and staff achievements, volunteers, guest speakers, assemblies, after-school activities, fundraisers, gifts and grants, clubs, competitions, charitable drives and celebrations.
  • Don't forget special events, academic and athletic teams, television and newspaper coverage, community involvement, school-business partnerships, performing arts, professional development, field trips and more. 

Do good and tell about it! Contact Communications and Marketing. Email news and photos to Lynda Jordan, community relations specialist, at lkjordan@mpsaz.org. Questions? Call her at (480) 472-0224.

Click the link to online employee resources

You'll find lots of useful links on the Employee Resources Web page — from award nomination forms, discounts, department overviews and locations, a districtwide newsletter archive, MPS maps, policies, paychecks and planning calendars to curriculum, conference room bookings, chemical safety training, a searchable telephone directory, textbooks, trip reduction and much more.

Bookmark the Employee Resources link for easy reference. Or access it from the lower right corner of the main page under More Resources.

Nominate employees, volunteers

The employee recognition program honors school- and district-based staff members every month at a school board meeting. Nominate colleagues who contribute greatly to the quality of MPS and make a difference in the lives of students and staff. 

Volunteers who provide outstanding service to students and staff in schools or departments are also honored monthly. Nominate a volunteer today.

Career Ladder offers reciprocity placement

Are you new to Mesa Public Schools? Did you successfully complete the Career Ladder application process in another district last school year? Call Brenda Griego, career ladder specialist, to discuss theMPS reciprocity placement process. Phone (480) 472-0354.

Please act quickly. Career Ladder application materials from your previous district are due by Sept. 3. Additional MPS application materials are due by Sept. 23. 

Stephanie Estfan, in memoriam

Stephanie EstfanStephanie Estfan taught physical education at Barbara Bush Elementary. The Bush community was a part of her family. She loved teaching, and she loved her students.

Stephanie's passion and energy came through every day. I don't know that I ever saw her without her infectious smile. Stephanie co-sponsored Student Council and worked on the Christmas Angel Committee. She organized and supervised lunch-time activities, the Turkey Trot, and Track and Field Day.

Stephanie helped everyone in need. She was loved dearly by the staff, the community and others she encountered on her journey through this life. She was an incredible person. Her passing has left a void in the hearts of all who knew her. — Tracy Olson, principal  

MPS Grant Support Office is here to help you

The Grant Support Office, a division of the Research and Evaluation Department, offers information, tips and tools to help you apply for a little or a lot. Check out the grants website. The section on Common Grant Application Questions and Answers provides information funders often request. Short training videos explain:

  • how to navigate the grant support website
  • if a grant is right for you
  • what funders are looking for  

Interested in getting started? Request individual grant alerts via email, and subscribe to the Grant Opportunities newsletter. See the latest newsletter for fall funding opportunities, including:

  • Diamondbacks School Challenge — up to $5,000
  • Kids in Need — $100 to $500
  • Lowes Toolbox for Education — up to $5,000
  • Target Field Trips — up to $700
  • Westinghouse N-Vision a Brighter Future — $1,000 to $3,000
  • US Airways Field Trips — $500
  • Fuel Up to Play 60 — up to $4,000
  • Pets in the Classroom — $100 to $150
  • Sundt — $1,000 to $10,000
  • Using Music to Teach Math — $3,000

For more information, or to request help with grant writing or editing, email Joe O'Reilly, executive director of student achievement support, at joreilly@mpsaz.org. 

Gifts, grants awarded to MPS

Dobson High — Dobson has a new basketball court, football field and scoreboard, thanks to a $105,000 grant from the Neighborhood Heroes program sponsored by the Arizona Cardinals and Walmart. The football field dedication is set for Aug. 30 before the season opener vs. Mesa High. 

Everyone's welcome. The football box office opens at 5:30 p.m. on the campus at 1501 W. Guadalupe Road. The dedication begins at 6 p.m. Game time is 7 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students 8 years of age and older.

Ofelia from Longfellow

Ofelia Oharriz-Martinez, Longfellow Elementary secretary, was among the employees and volunteers who stopped by The Boeing Company to pick up backpacks for students.

Boeing Books and Backpacks — Boeing employees donated 358 backpacks, filled with books and school supplies, to students at Adams, Guerrero, Lehi, Longfellow and Stevenson elementaries; and at Carson and Smith junior highs.

Wilson Elementary — Blue Cross Blue Shield presented Daniel Velazquez, Wilson Elementary physical education teacher, a $5,000 grant to fund electronic pedometers for students in Walk On, a fifth-grade fitness program. See the video.

Library Services — Target Foundation awarded MPS $50,000 to fund ebooks and other online resources for the third year in a row.

Mesa Foundation — The Library Services Department received a $4,000 grant from the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence to help fund this year's Battle of the Books program.

Join the MPS Trip Reduction Program, win prizes

All employees are invited to participate in Trip Reduction. Instead of driving alone, consider an alternative. Carpool, ride the bus, bike or walk to and from work. You'll save money, and you'll minimize air pollution and traffic congestion. 

New Trip Reduction members are eligible for $5 gift-card drawings. Continuing members, who log at least two days of alternative transportation a month, are eligible for $20 gift-card drawings.

Good news abounds in MPS

Civic Engagement awards — Our six high schools were among the 20 schools statewide to be named Arizona Civic Engagement Schools by the Arizona Department of Education. Dobson, Mesa, Red Mountain, Skyline and Westwood won School of Distinction awards. Mountain View earned the School of Merit designation. Representative students, teachers and administrators from all six schools will be honored at a Constitution Day award ceremony Sept. 17.

Red Mountain High — After winning four state softball championships in a row, the Lady Lions were named No. 1 nationwide in the FAB 50 rankings by Student Sports.

Financial Services — MPS earned a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United State and Canada. Financial Services also received the Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Association of School Business Officials International.

Communications and Marketing — Mesa Agenda, your MPS employee newsletter, won the Award of Excellence for Distinguished Achievement in Publications and Electronic Media from the National School Public Relations Association.

MPS Transportation buses

"This year alone, we'll cut greenhouse gas emission by 2,789 tons," Ron Latko, transportation director, told USA TODAY. His price for propane fuel is 62.5 cents a gallon.

Transportation — USA TODAY highlights the MPS Transportation Department for cutting costs and greenhouse gas emissions, noting, "More school districts are going green with eco-friendly propane fuel."

The shift from diesel fuel is stretching strained budgets and promoting cleaner air. 

Fremont Junior High — Jessica Hickey, Fremont art teacher, will present Vessels of Hope: Connecting With the Community Through Art at the 2014 convention of the National Art Education Association in San Diego, Calif., in March.

By the Numbers — What's so special about MPS? By the Numbers features a 2013-14 district fact sheet and an overview of 2012-13 district accomplishments.

Final scholarships and grants — Last summer, Ann Rogers, research and evaluation technician, tallied the final amounts. Graduates in the MPS class of 2013 were offered a record-breaking $86 million in scholarships and grants. That's over $7 million more than the previous year.

Log on to Ed-TV 99 for football webcasts

Visit the Educational Television website at 7 p.m. to watch four high school football games broadcast live: 

Aug. 30: Mesa at Dobson  •  Sept. 27: North at Westwood  •  Oct. 25: Red Mountain at Mountain View  •  Nov. 1: Red Mountain at Skyline

 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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