Volume 44, No. 11, Mar. 30, 2016

Thank you

Thank you to all of the district employees who completed the internal communications survey last month. The feedback provided valuable insight into how district communications are received. The communications and marketing department has already begun to implement changes based on suggestions and will continue to improve how we communicate with you.

Achieve SS 16

Achieve is here

The Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Achieve is currently being sent to all mailboxes in Mesa Public Schools boundaries. This issue is all about the arts — chock full of articles about creative and performing arts opportunities across the district.

Copies are on their way to all district schools and departments, along with out-of-boundaries students. Interested in extra copies? Call communications and marketing at 472-0223. Read Achieve online on the district website. 

This community-focused, cost-efficient district publication comes out twice a year. Did you know...

  • With local media coverage of education dwindling each year, Achieve is an opportunity to promote the district's offerings, programs and successes to households across district boundaries?
  • Outside advertisements keep the cost of Achieve low? It is only 18 cents per issue to produce and mail the magazine.
  • Almost 20 percent of Mesa residents are senior citizens? Even if residents do not have school-aged children, they are still stakeholders who vote in elections that pertain to public education. Achieve is a great way to share information about the district with everyone in the community.

New administrative appointments

The school board and superintendency announced five high school, junior high school and elementary principal appointments at the March 29 board meeting. Two director appointments were also announced. More administrative appointments will be announced shortly. Principals will assume their new roles in July. Please welcome:

  • Tom Brennan, Skyline High School. Brennan is currently principal at Fountain Hills High School.
  • Tony Elmer, Carson Junior High. Elmer is currently team leader at Carson.
  • Renea Kennedy, Shepherd Junior High. Kennedy is currently assistant principal at Red Mountain High School.
  • Robert Meldau, Eisenhower Center for Innovation. Meldau is currently a math and science instructor at Espiritu Schools in Phoenix. 
  • Kirk Thomas, Mesa High School. Thomas is currently principal at Rhodes Junior High.
  • Todd Poer, director of operations. Poer is currently director of maintenance and grounds, and acting operations director.
  • Tracy Yslas, director, curriculum and instruction. Yslas is currently principal at ECFI.

Get trained on the new Infinite Visions software

The district offers training on the new financial system Infinite Visions. The four-hour training sessions are held daily at 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. the weeks of March 28, April 11 and April 18. Trainings take place in room 307 in the Student Services Center, unless otherwise noted. Sessions cover the new employee Web portal, general ledger, and purchase and warehouse requisitions. Current OBARS users are encouraged to sign up for a training session via the eSchools Solutions website. Search "Infinite Visions." If you have any questions, contact , director of financial services, at 472-0115.

Ishikawa meets Tuskegee

Ishikawa TuskegeeOn March 21, students at Ishikawa Elementary learned about the Tuskegee Airmen in a very special way — they got to meet them.

Four Tuskegee Airmen visited the school as part of a "living books" lesson. The World War II veterans spoke to students, staff and parents about their life stories. Students who won an essay contest also enjoyed a private luncheon with the Airmen.

As another part of the lesson, Ishikawa students put together 70 Easter baskets and made a handprint flag for the Arizona State Veterans Home.

The special event was coordinated by Ishikawa volunteer extraordinaire Lisa McGee.

Benedictine scholarship update

Employees interested in learning more about the Benedictine University Mesa Partnership Scholarship are invited to attend informational sessions at Benedictine from 4 to 7 p.m. April 6 and 7. Prospective students and parents can pick up informational packets about the college and scholarship at the reception desk, 225 E. Main St. At the informational sessions, advisers will be on hand to answer questions about the scholarship and other financial aid options. The registration fee will be waived for employees who pick up packets. As a reminder, the $3,000 Mesa Partnership Scholarship is offered to district graduates, employees and dependents of employees who will be enrolled full-time at Benedictine in fall 2016.

MPS in the news

Mesa Independent featured Stevenson Elementary's 40th anniversary in the March 15 issue.

ABC15 aired a story about Crismon Elementary students, staff and community coming together to support a student in need.

Mesa Academy's Knight-n-Galz robotics team appeared on Good Morning Arizona last Friday.

Young at Art

The 28th annual district Young at Art show will be 5 to 10 p.m. April 22 at the creative and performing arts building, 155 N. Center St., Mesa. The gala features artwork from junior-high and high-school students, along with live dance, music and theatre performances. District culinary arts students will create delectable treats for attendees. Find more information and additional gallery dates on the creative and performing arts department page. 

Cue the applause

Jo Pittman EOTMCongratulations to the March Employees of the Month, who were recognized at the March 29 board meeting. Patrick Carroll, gifted and talented teacher at Zaharis Elementary, and Jo Pittman, writing instructor at Eagleridge, were named Educators of the Month. Employees of the Month are Holly Franzmeier, Synergy training and technical support specialist at Information Systems, and Ofelia Oharriz-Martinez, secretary to the principal at Longfellow Elementary. Pat Kutzbach, Whittier Elementary, was honored as the March Volunteer of the Month. (Pictured: Jo Pittman is congratulated by Jenny Richardson, Governing Board clerk.)

Education Cities' Education Equality Index identified 44 Arizona schools that are closing the achievement gap for students from low-income families. District schools that made the list are Summit Academy, Skyline High School, and Entz, Franklin West, Sirrine, Taft and Whittier elementary schools.

Red Mountain High School biotechnology teacher Nicki Derryberry is having quite the award-filled year! The 2015-16 Milken Educator award winner has just been honored by National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Derryberry won the 2016 Ron Mardigian Memorial Biotechnology Explorer Award. Congratulations!


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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