Volume 42, No. 5, Feb. 26, 2014

News to use . . .

  • Come to the MPS SciTech Expo from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27
  • See Shepherd's Pay It Forward award on channel 5 at 10 p.m. Feb. 27 and at 5 p.m. March 1
  • Submit Student Services Award nominations by March 10
  • Apply for instruction support jobs by March 14
Karen Miller
Karen Miller, harp specialist, won Arizona's 2014 Excellence in Teaching Music Award. 

Miller wins top music education award

Peers in the Arizona Music Educators Association awarded Karen Miller, Mesa Public Schools harp specialist, the O.M. Hartsell Excellence in Teaching Music Award. 

Miller joined Mesa Public Schools in 1974. While she taught elementary band and general music for the first 11 years, she also built a secondary harp program, starting with one harp and one student at one school. She has almost 80 students at 12 schools now. 

Miller's career includes teaching, performing and playing a leading role in a variety of community and professional association endeavors.

"I'm always proud to say that I teach in Mesa. In my 40 years with Mesa Public Schools, I have always had wonderful support for the Harp Program and for our entire Music Education Program. I work with great teachers, students, parents and administrators.

"I am so pleased that Mesa Public Schools understands that to be a truly educated, well-rounded and balanced person, the arts must be a part of the total curriculum package!"

Full story 

Come to the SciTech Expo

At this year's SciTech Expo, MPS will showcase the theme "Full STEAM Ahead!" Celebrate science, technology, engineering, arts and math at Red Mountain High School from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27.

Apply for instruction support jobs 

Teachers on nonexclusionary contracts may apply for jobs* in the Curriculum and Instruction Division. Apply online by March 14. Under the "Internal Applicants" section, click "View internal positions" for the position information, complete job description and application.


  • Title I school improvement
  • elementary mathematics
  • Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
  • professional development

Instructional Coaches

  • math (fifth- through eighth-grade focus) or (ninth- and 10th-grade focus)

Educational Technology Trainers

* Anticipated openings may change.

Submit Student Services award nominations by March 10

Each spring, Student Services honors: 

  • special education students for outstanding achievement
  • regular education students, teachers, support staff, community members, schools and district departments for exemplary service and contributions to students with disabilities

We are counting on you to nominate people who make a difference! Award winners will be honored in a ceremony May 2 at the Mesa Convention Center.

Nomination forms and guidelines are available online. Nominations are due by March 10. For more information, call Stephanie Nehl, special education secretary, (480) 472-0702.

MPS honors Employees, Volunteer of the Month

Employees of the MonthThe superintendent and school board honored our February Employees of the Month — Carol Rowley, Art Gallardo, Jane Lemon and Brittany Lambert.

The school board honors teachers, support staff and volunteers who contribute greatly to the quality of Mesa Public Schools and make a difference in the lives of students and staff. Click the names to read this month's tributes:

Employees of the Month

Volunteer of the Month

  • Aly Lemons, Crismon Elementary, Parent Teacher Organization president and classroom volunteer

Employees win certificates, tributes and $400 for professional development. Volunteers win certificates, tributes, candy-bouquets tumblers and coasters from MPS. They win $50 gift cards and books titled "Because of You: Celebrating the Difference You Make" from the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Nominate someone where you work. Employee and volunteer nomination forms are available online. 

A dollar makes a difference

Employees may donate a dollar or more to the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence through our A Dollar Makes a Difference payroll-deduction plan. Tax-deductible contributions enhance student achievement and well-being by funding:

  • minigrants for special classroom projects
  • after-school chorus grants
  • Battle of the Books
  • mentor activities
  • shoes
  • dental care
  • head-lice treatment
  • eyeglasses
  • emergency medical care
  • Student of the Month recognition
  • Volunteer of the Month recognition

For more information and to enroll in A Dollar Makes a Difference, visit the Mesa Foundation website.

And the award goes to . . .

. . . State wrestling champs

The Mountain View High team won the Division I state wrestling championship. Individual champions are Ryan Gallo (138 pounds), Mountain View; Blake Monty (145), Mountain View; Brett Kasprzyk (132), Mesa High; and Robert Schrock (285), Mesa High.

. . . MPS Students of the Month

. . . The school board, superintendency, families and friends honored February Students of the Month — Annie Howard of Crossroads, Isaac Valenzuela of Adams Elementary, Johnny Guerrero Fernandez of Holmes Elementary, Rebekah Reed of Robson Elementary, Salvador Verdugo of Taylor Junior High and Tilly Klepinger of Entz Elementary.

Jaylia YanPresidential Scholar candidates

Mountain View High's Jaylia Yan, is a U.S. Presidential Scholar candidate. So is Sterling Pendleton of Red Mountain High. They were selected based on their high college entrance exam scores.

. . . Bookmans School Challenge fan favorite

Dobson High is the top fan favorite in Bookmans School Challenge finalist round, with 32 percent of the votes nationwide, which guarantees the Mustangs at least $3,000. Only three schools remain in the running. After Bookmans visits each campus, one school will win the $15,000 grand prize March 3. 

. . . KNIX-Radio Teachers of the Week

Skyline High's Erin McKelvey, math teacher, Brinton Elementary's Valerie Tallent, kindergarten teacher, and Crismon Elementary's Janece Larson, sixth-grade teacher, won Teacher of the Week awards and $300 from KNIX-Radio 102.5 and Fulton Homes.

. . .  Sports medicine award winner

Megha Patel, Mountain View High senior, won Arizona's Student Athletic Trainer of the Year Award and a $500 scholarship. 

. . . Academic League champions

The Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies took first, and Smith Junior High placed second, in the National Academic League city championship. Both teams will advance to nationals in March.

. . . Grand Canyon State Games writing contest winners

. . . Keller Elementary students won six awards in the Grand Canyon English and Spanish essay contests — a gold, silver, bronze and three honorable mentions. Most of the winners participate in Keller's Dual Language Program.

. . . School Cents shopping partners

Sousa Elementary won $2,200 in the Superstition Springs Center's School Cents partnership. Winners also included Smith Junior High; Mesa Academy; and Irving, Jefferson, Stevenson, Taft, Las Sendas, O'Connor and Bush elementaries.

. . . Pacemaker yearbook

Mountain View High's La Vista yearbook is a Pacemaker Award finalist, the only finalist in Arizona and one of only 54 in the country! Landon Wrather, adviser, and Aliyah Cloud, editor, will be honored at the National Scholastic Press Association's convention in San Diego in April.

. . . Historical fiction writers

Carolina Meza of O'Connor Elementary, Aubrey Boberg of Johnson Elementary and Sophia Hackett of Pomeroy Elementary won the Mesa Historic Preservation Board's Historical Fiction Writing Contest. The City Council will honor them March 3.

Let us entertain you . . .

. . .  "Hello Dolly!"

Mesa High will present "Hello Dolly!" at 7 p.m. March 26, 27 and 28 and April 3 and 4 in the auditorium at 1630 E. Southern Ave., Mesa. Tickets cost $5 in advance or $8 at the door.

. . . Discount movie ticket discounts

Harkins and AMC movie tickets are sold for $6.50 Monday through Friday in the Student Services Center lobby, 1025 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa. See the Web page for hours and payment information. Be sure to call Julie Eck, receptionist, at (480) 472-0500 before you stop by. Times and availability are subject to change.

. . . Theme park discounts

Buy and print discount Six Flags Magic Mountain tickets online. Enter username MPSMM and password SixFlags11. Prices are valid through Sept. 28. See the new flier for details. Log on to the MPS theme park website for Southern California City Pass, Get Away Today, Legoland and Sea World discounts.

You're invited to the . . . 

. . . Steve Rushing Memorial 5K

Registration for the Steve Rushing 5K Memorial Run begins at 7:30 a.m., and the race starts at 8:30 a.m. March 15 at Red Mountain High, 7301 E. Brown Road, Mesa. Sign up online now. Proceeds fund scholarships.

. . . Transition Expo

Families throughout the East Valley are invited to the Transition Expo from 5 to 8 p.m. April 8 at Mountain View High, 2700 E. Brown Road, Mesa. Gather information and talk to experts about how to help students with disabilities succeed in the transition from high school to adulthood. 

. . . Golf tournament

Sign up soon for Skyline's Coyote Pride Golf Outing on April 12 at Viewpoint Golf Resort, 650 N. Hawes Road, Mesa. Proceeds benefit the football program.

Mesa Public Schools is in the news . . .

Robert and Ruben. . . Pay It Forward

See KPHO-TV 5 award $500 to Robert McVey, Hawthorne Elementary fourth-grader. Then see Robert give it to Ruben Lopez. The money will help fund a memorial to Ana Lopez, Robert's friend and Ruben's wife. The beloved office specialist, died Dec. 21. 

. . . Pay It Forward again

Channel 5 returned to MPS to present substitute teacher Chuck Lafferty $500. He handed off the donation to Jeff Ziebell, physical education teacher, for the PE Buddies Program at Shepherd Junior High. See Shepherd's Pay It Forward segment on channel 5 at 10 p.m. Feb. 27 and 5 p.m. March 1.

. . . Beat the Odds

Four elementary schools — Emerson, Edison, Hawthorne and Webster — were labeled silver-level schools by the Beat the Odds program, which teaches principals how to make their schools successful through mentoring and colleague interaction.

. . . Five questions

See what Tom Brennan, Arizona's Science Teacher of the Year, has to say in an Arizona Republic interview about his award, how he generates excitement in his science lessons at Westwood High, the International Baccalaureate program, a recent scientific discovery and his books and magazine articles. 

. . . High School Harp Ensemble

KPHO-TV 5 broadcast a clip of the High School Harp Ensemble concert. Karen Miller's group performed selections from its Chicago tour scheduled in March.

. . . New technology

Teachers on Red Mountain High's Innovative Team are pushing classroom technology limits with Google Chromebooks.

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Send news to 

Lynda Jordan, community relations specialist, lkjordan@mpsaz.org, for
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Communications and Marketing Department


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