Volume 44, No. 9, Mar. 4, 2016

SciTech Expo 2016SciTech Expo is here!

Celebrate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) with students from across the district at the annual SciTech Expo, and science and engineering fair. The free event begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 5, at Skyline High School. Visit the SciTech Expo site for more information.

Submit Student Service Award nominations

Each spring, Student Services honors:

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

We count on you to nominate people who make a difference. Award winners will be honored in a ceremony April 29 at Mountain View High School.

Nomination forms and guidelines are available on the Student Services site. Nominations are due by March 11. For more information call Mindy Herbert, special education secretary, 480-472-0702.

MPS policy covers political activities

The May special election will enable voters to make a decision that impacts Mesa Public Schools. However, employees must remember that election or campaign activities are generally not permitted at schools and district departments. Here are some important guidelines.


Employees may not engage in election or campaign activities when on duty or otherwise carrying out official duties. Examples of activities include:

• distributing or displaying campaign literature
• soliciting campaign contributions
• advocating for a particular candidate or ballot proposition
• wearing campaign T-shirts, hats or buttons while at school
• using school mailboxes, telephones and email accounts for election or campaign communications

Employees may advocate for candidates or ballot propositions when they are off duty or acting in their private capacity.

It is also against policy to place campaign signs on school property, including fences. But displaying campaign bumper stickers on a personal car while parked at school is permitted, and election and campaign literature may be distributed at school events to which the public is invited, such as football games.

If your school is a polling place, different rules are in place on the day of the election. On that day, people may engage in electioneering activities and post campaign signs on school grounds, near the polling place but outside a 75-foot limit. Campaign workers and volunteers are not allowed to wander around the school or disrupt traffic.

For more information, see Administrative Regulation GBG-R in the MPS Policies and Regulations Manual.

The pianos are here!

Dobson street piano

Enjoy fresh air and art appreciation by checking out the Street Pianos Mesa Play Me, I'm Yours exhibit. The unique project turned 24 playable pianos into works of art. The pianos, seven of which were painted by MPS students, will be on display throughout Mesa until April 9. And yes, you can play them, so if you know how, wow your friends and family with a tune! Find more information on the Mesa Arts Center website.

Here's where you can find the street pianos painted by district students until April 9:

  • Robson and Main Street: Dobson High School (pictured)
  • Macdonald and Main Street: Mesa High
  • Mesa Drive and Main Street: Westwood High School
  • Hohokam Stadium: Lowell Elementary
  • Sloan Park: Mountain View High School
  • Red Mountain Multigenerational Center: Red Mountain High School
  • Rogue piano: Crossroads. The rogue piano regularly changes locations throughout the exhibit, so keep an eye on twitter.com/RoguePianoMesa to find its location.

MPS in the news

East Valley Tribune stopped by Sirrine Elementary to chat with students in the garden club. 

After he received her card at the hospital, Vietnam War veteran Rick Blackard surprised a Madison Elementary fifth-grader at her school assembly. Fox 10, Channel 3 and CBS 5 all covered the sweet story.

O'Connor third-grader Tatum Rasmussen is cooking up a storm. East Valley Tribune got the scoop.

12 News featured the street piano painted by Lowell Elementary students.

Meet Your Colleague!

In each issue of Mesa Agenda, we'll be spotlighting an employee from various departments and schools throughout the district. In a district our size, the diversity of positions is incredible. Here's your chance to learn something new about Mesa Public Schools.

Christina Sweador 2This issue, meet Christina Sweador, district professional development specialist. 

MA: What do you do at Mesa Public Schools?
Sweador: I am a professional development instructional support specialist, serving Mesa High School, Smith Junior High, and Hermosa Vista and Highland Arts elementary schools. While supporting new teachers is my primary focus, I truly value the work of all teachers and the challenges they face in terms of ensuring students are ready for college or a career.

MA: How does your department contribute to student success? 
Sweador: Professional Development supports all teachers, probationary and continuing, in the tremendous tasks of teaching and learning by enhancing pedagogy through coaching, coursework and classroom teacher rounds.

MA: What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you? 
Sweador: I am a HUGE Jimmie Johnson (#48) fan!

Is there a department, school or position you'd like to learn more about? Suggest a future Meet Your Colleague interview subject by emailing Heidi Hurst, district communications supervisor.

Apply for instructional support jobs

Teachers on non-exclusionary contracts are eligible to apply. To be considered for a position, you must complete an online application no later than March 6. Under the Internal Applicants section, click "View internal positions" for position information, complete job description and the online application.


  • Mathematics (elementary and secondary)
  • Reading (elementary)
  • Social studies/science (elementary)
  • Credit recovery (high school)
  • Gifted & Talented
  • Professional development
  • Instructional intervention (Focus- and Priority-designated Title I schools)
  • Title I School Improvement (school-based positions - elementary & junior high)

Educational technology trainer
Gifted-endorsed teacher (elementary)
vAcademy teacher (mathematics)

Please note: These are anticipated openings and they may change.

Classified opportunities available

Did you know Mesa Public Schools offers a variety of specialized positions? For example, Community Education is hiring summer high school security. Operations is currently looking for an experienced construction inspector. Transportation is on the lookout for part-time bus drivers, and Food & Nutrition is hiring child nutrition assistants. See these and more opportunities on Applitrack now.

April is Valley Bike Month

Enter to win prizes when you bicycle and log your trips during Valley Bike Month. Register for free, log trips and enter to win prizes at sharetheride.com. You could win cool stuff including a new bike and a one-night staycation at the Clarendon Hotel and Spa. Good luck!

Cue the applause

Dan Christian Feb EOTMCongratulations to our February Employees of the Month: Daniel Christian, electronic technician, journey lead at Operations Electronics Shop; Gabriele Fajardo, science teacher at Red Mountain High School; Susan Mason, records clerk at Matériel Distribution Center; and Michael Roelofs, PE teacher at Patterson Elementary. They were honored at the Feb. 23 board meeting along with the Volunteer of the Month, Porter Elementary's Deanna Milligan. Christian is pictured on the right with board member Dr. Ben Whiting.

For the second year in a row, Porter Elementary was selected as an AVID National Showcase School. Principal Paula Warren explained Porter's AVID journey and highlighted the school's successes to an audience of principals, superintendents, directors and teachers from schools across Arizona and Utah. 

Johnson Elementary robotics team Improper Fractions took first place at the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation's VEX IQ Challenge Feb. 20. The team went on to compete at the state VEX IQ tournament Feb. 27, where they took second place in the elementary division (only missing first place by nine points). Great job, team members Jack Timothy and Rylynn Dixon, as well as coach Erik Von Burg.

The Mesa High boys basketball team are the Division I state champions. The Jackrabbits beat Sunnyslope High School 51-48 to take the crown Feb. 29. Carry on!


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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