Volume 44, No. 3, Oct. 1, 2015

Law & Order: Rhodes Junior High

Rhodes ConstitutionJeannine Kuropatkin's eighth-grade social studies students at Rhodes Junior High learned about the law with a fun, interactive lesson during Constitution Week. Maricopa County Legal Defender Maria Schaffer, a Rhodes alumna, was the special guest. 

Schaffer talked to students about Constitutional amendments that protect individual rights relating to court cases. Using creative role play, she acted out a scenario using a plush Hello Kitty as the plaintiff and Minions Dave and Bob as the defendants. Carl the Minion was the arresting officer. Students learned key points including search and seizure, pleading the fifth, burden of proof, Miranda Rights, right to a court-appointed attorney and due process.

seth Holmes WashingtonSpeaking of Constitution Week, over at Irving Elementary students were surprised by a blast from the past. Third-grade teacher Seth Holmes dressed as George Washington for the day. Student activities included meeting Washington, studying amendments and making a mosaic American flag.

Grants Galore

Highland Arts Elementary gifted and talented teacher Janet Millar-Haskell has received a grant from Tyler Allen Law Firm in Phoenix as part of their Giving Back to Schools program. The $2,500 grant will be used to purchase classroom devices to access the Internet, Google Drive and Docs, and online research sites.

Heads up! The deadline to apply for a $1,000 minigrant from the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence is Oct. 23. See the foundation site for more information and how to apply.

Learn about additional grant opportunities on the Grant Support page. 

Going the extra yard for teachers

Join the College Football Playoff Foundation for a half-day celebration of teachers Jan. 9, 2016, at Phoenix Convention Center. Enjoy high-energy talks and performances, and opportunities to network with other teachers. All Arizona educators are invited to register for their free ticket now. Last year's speakers included Google Education Evangelist Jaime Casap and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. 

Achieve is on its way

The fall issue of Achieve will be hitting local mailboxes the week of Oct. 19. The district magazine is chock full of information about AVID, Title I and AzMERIT. You'll also find heartwarming profiles of students and staff. 

Save the date

Mesa Public Schools is partnering with Mesa Arts Center for a special Dia De Los Muertos concert. From 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, numerous student musicians will take the stage. See Chris Donlon's home page for more information.

Governing Board members out and about

Jenny Richardson RMHS CTE

Board members Jenny Richardson and Ben Smith have been getting to know the staff and students of Mesa Public Schools since being elected last fall.

Recently Richardson visited CTE classes at Red Mountain High School to learn more about the program. She also dropped in on students at Skyline High School to see how the 1:1 technology initiative was going.

In early September, Smith attended Lincoln Elementary's Curriculum Night, where he met families, showed off his own elementary yearbook photo and took a selfie with the audience. 

Help the planet and win a prize

Now that the weather is getting nicer, you may want to take advantage of public transportation. Why not enjoy a good book while someone else drives you to work? Even better, when you enroll in the district's Trip Reduction Program, you'll be entered for the chance to win prizes.

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.

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

Text4Teachers is back

Wish you had more time for professional learning? Now you can get it on the go with Maricopa County Education Service Agency's Text4Teachers. This initiative sends teachers a text message giving short advice related to the Learning Observation Instrument. Register now to start receiving these valuable tidbits wherever you are.

Don't miss a special day

Afraid you'll miss out on a special day to recognize a colleague? Bookmark the special days calendar and you'll never miss the chance to celebrate!

Cue the applause

EOTM SeptemberAt the Sept. 22 Governing Board meeting, the first Employees of the Month for 2015-16 were recognized. Educator of the Month honors went to Michelle Noe, special education teacher at Johnson Elementary, and Lindsay Linoff, social studies and AVID teacher at Dobson High School. Employee of the Month awards went to Shelley Martinez, instructional assistant at SHARP School, and Norman Rogers, gardener at Grounds and Edison Elementary. Congrats to all! Nominate a colleague today for Employee of the Month.

Lindsay Linoff is surprised by her JV Dobson cheerleaders as Dr. Ben Whiting names her Educator of the Month. Fellow Educator of the Month Michelle Noe is also pictured.

Taylor Junior High guardian angel Julie Spilsbury was named Volunteer of the Month at the Sept. 22 board meeting. Know a deserving volunteer? Nominate them and share the love!

Congratulations to the district's 2016 Rodel Exemplary Teacher semifinalists, Meredith Hey (Irving Elementary), Alison Johnson (Whitman Elementary), Jennifer Ruiz (Hawthorne Elementary), Amy Schaumburg (Salk Elementary) and Dianne Sonive (Redbird Elementary). In the next few weeks, Rodel will interview the semifinalists and visit schools to conduct classroom observations. In November, selected semifinalists will move to the next level as Rodel finalists. 2016 Exemplary Teachers will be announced Thanksgiving weekend.

For the 28th year in a row, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has issued a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Mesa Public Schools for its comprehensive annual financial report. The certificate was awarded to George Zeigler, district chief financial officer, on behalf of everyone in the Financial Services Department.

Nine Mesa seniors have been named National Merit semifinalists. Less than one percent of high school seniors nationwide are eligible for this honor. Congratulations to Cody R. Gillespie, Benjamin J. Meek and Angelica Pangan from Mesa High; Bryan J. Allred, Tyler J. Ludlow and Cassandra M. Thompson from Mountain View High; Cayman R. Williams from Red Mountain High; and Clayton H. Hui and Andrew J. Roberts from Westwood High.

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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