Volume 44, No. 1, August 13, 2015

Welcome back; How to submit news and events; Watch school board meetings online; United Way community connectors needed; Educator Preview Night at Mesa Arts Center; MPS Trip Reduction Program; Spanish interpreters needed; Employee and Volunteer of the Month nominations wanted; Awards and recognitions

Welcome back!

Taylor first dayThank you for helping to ensure yesterday was a successful first day of school. We'd like to welcome our new employees and welcome back our returning employees. Whether you worked all summer to prepare for the new year or if you enjoyed some well-deserved rest and relaxation, we appreciate everything you do for our students.

It's another great year at Mesa Public Schools and another year of Mesa Agenda, your employee e-newsletter. Incredible things are happening in our district, and we want to share them with our internal and external communities.

That's where you come in. Help us let the district and community know about all of the wonderful things happening at Mesa Public Schools. If you have an award or recognition to submit, or if you'd like to tell us about a special event, please complete our good news form. We will consider submissions to feature in an upcoming Mesa Agenda, through the district news feed or on district social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). If you have questions about submitting information, feel free to email Heidi Hurst or call 480-472-0224. 

Watch school board meetings and stay informed

The educational television department broadcasts school board meetings live and makes them available later through EdTV99's on-demand feature. The next meeting begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 in the board room, located in the Curriculum Services Center building, 549 N. Stapley Dr. Agendas, videos, highlights and minutes are posted on the MPS website.

Wanted: enthusiastic supporters with great ideas

United Way Are you a "people person"? Do you enjoy helping others and giving back to the community? If so, we want YOU to be a Community Connector for this year's United Way campaign!

Communications and Marketing is seeking two people from each site or department to work together to design and conduct their United Way campaign, raising money that goes right back to help our own MPS families in the Mesa community. We'll give you tools and ideas and offer you all the support you need. You'll be required to attend a one-hour pre-campaign training session in late August.

To become a Community Connector, please contact Kathy Easter at 480-472-0223 or kjeaster@mpsaz.org no later than Wednesday, Aug. 19. She can tell you if your site still needs a Community Connector and can sign you up for a training session.

Mesa Arts Center hosts annual free Educator Preview Night

Explore arts and culture offerings for elementary, junior high and high school students at Mesa Arts Center's Educator Preview Night Thursday, Aug. 20, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Enjoy drinks and desserts, goodie bags, door prizes, giveaways and entertainment, plus get a sneak peek at this season's shows and museum displays.

Space is limited, so reserve your spot today by emailing outreach@mesaartscenter.com or by calling 480-644-6540. The Mesa Arts Center is located at 1 E. Main St., immediately west of the MPS Administrative Services Center.

Win prizes in the MPS Trip Reduction Program

Save on fuel and vehicle maintenance, minimize air pollution and win prizes to boot when you participate in the district's Trip Reduction Program. Mandated by Maricopa County, the Trip Reduction Program promotes carpooling, taking the bus, walking or biking to work. You will automatically be entered in a prize drawing when you join and when you track your alternate transportation to and from work at least two days each month.

Thank you for doing your part to help clean the valley's air.

For more information about the program, contact Kathy Easter at 480-472-0223 or kjeaster@mpsaz.org.

Special education department needs Spanish interpreters

The special education department has an ongoing need for Spanish speakers to serve as interpreters for meetings across the district. Interpretation requires a high level of skill in English and Spanish. In addition, interpreters must have the flexibility to work hours before and after the typical school day and be willing to interpret at schools other than their home base.

Due to wage and hour restrictions, only classified employees working less than 29 hours may apply. Certified staff may also apply. The department does not pay any overtime.

Interpreters must take and pass a short oral interpreting test and complete a training session.

If you are interested, please print, complete and interoffice mail the Bilingual Interpreter Application to the special education department at the SSC. You can also fax your application to 480-472-0705. Applications are accepted throughout the school year.

Nominate a colleague for Employee of the Month

Jon Jeffery EOTM

Each month throughout the school year, four employees are celebrated as Employees and Educators of the Month. Along with the glow of the spotlight and thunderous applause at a Governing Board meeting, the winning employees receive a plaque, certificate and $400 toward professional development. 

Each nomination form must include at least three employee nominators, as well as the endorsement of the site principal or department director. Administrators, supervisors and previous winners are ineligible. Nominate an employee today and show your appreciation. While you're at it, if you have a can't-live-without-'em volunteer, nominate them as Volunteer of the Month. They win cool stuff, too!

(Pictured: Jon Jeffery from Mountain View High School, April 2015 Educator of the Month, and Ben Smith, Governing Board member.)

And the awards go to...

Kudos to 16 district schools for being named 2014-15 Arizona Civic Engagement Schools by Arizona Department of Education. The designation supports schools in their efforts to prepare their students to be active and responsible citizens. 2014-15 Schools of Excellence are Rhodes Junior High and Skyline High School. Schools of Distinction are Dobson High School, Mountain View High School, Red Mountain High School, Shepherd Junior High, Smith Junior High and Westwood High School. Schools of Merit are Carson Junior High, East Valley Academy, Franklin Junior High, Kino Junior High, Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies, Mesa High School, Stapley Junior High and Taylor Junior High.

Kevin Hicks Bridget GoodnerCongratulations to CTE teachers who were recognized during the ACTEAZ summer conference. Stephanie Thiel, Westwood High School, was named Outstanding Marketing Teacher of the Year by Arizona Marketing Educators. Red Mountain High School's Kevin Hicks and Bridget Goodner were named Superstition District Teacher of the Year and New Teacher of the Year, respectively, by Arizona Agriculture Teachers Association (pictured).

Michelle Hamilton, director of purchasing, won a Pinnacle of Achievement Award from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The award recognizes practices and ideas that result in significant contributions for school districts. Hamilton was recognized for her work in expanding the use of technology in classrooms.

Congratulations to Skyline High School history and government teacher Nancie Lindblom. She was named a Lowell Milken Center Fellow. This summer, Lindblom was at LMC headquarters in Fort Scott, Kansas, collaborating with peers across the U.S. and Europe. In 2013, Lindblom was named Arizona Teacher of the Year. In 2014, she was named National American History Teacher of the Year by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Send news to:

Heidi Hurst, district communications supervisor

Submit an award or recognition or tell us about a special event via our good news form.


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