Volume 45, No. 2, Sept. 1, 2016

United Way thank youUnited Way campaign kicks off Sept. 6

Help Mesa families this year by participating in the district United Way campaign. It's easy! Just return your United Way form to your community connector before Sept. 22. Visit the United Way's website to see where your donations are going. Absolutely 100 percent of money donated via the Mesa Public Schools United Way campaign goes directly to charitable organizations that use your money to help families in Mesa. Contact Miguel Flores, 480-472-0223, if you have any questions. Thank you for helping.

November Governing Board election

On Nov. 8, our community will vote to fill three seats on the district Governing Board. The candidates are Dan Hink, Elaine Miner, Mike Nichols, Steven Peterson and Kiana Sears. Please refresh yourself on policy GBG - District and Staff Participation in Political Activities and its regulation. We'll tell you more about the candidates in a future issue. In the meantime, here are three important reminders:

  • Any distribution of materials about candidates or the election must come through Communications and Marketing.
  • Schools may not permit candidates or their representatives to announce their candidacy or advocate their election or the defeat of their opponents in district buildings and facilities, except when the candidate or representative is participating in a public forum.
  • If you receive a request for information from a candidate, please direct them to Communications and Marketing.

Hey, look at those buses!

spirit wrap bus team 2016

The six comprehensive high schools received a special treat the morning of Aug. 29. Their custom-wrapped spirit buses were unveiled at the Curriculum Services Center. Principals were presented bus keys and rode back to campus with a district bus driver or bus-certified assistant principal. The buses will be used to transport students for academic and athletic events.

Thanks to vehicle maintenance supervisor Bruce Bingham, district graphic designer Kyle Myers, transportation director Jeanne Vandemark, purchasing director Michelle Hamilton and purchasing supervisor Patty Northey (pictured) for making the project happen.

Gold Cards are available

Seniors 62 and over who live in Mesa Public Schools boundaries are eligible for a free Gold Card. This card provides free or discounted admission to school plays, concerts, musical theater and sports, but is not eligible for Arizona Interscholastic Association playoffs. Gold Cards can be picked up in the Administrative Services Center lobby or Curriculum Services Center's building two lobby.

Your road to retirement starts here

Looking for more information about Arizona State Retirement? Attend meetings Dec. 21, 2016. Register early to save your spot. Space is limited. You'll receive a confirmation email reminder. Employees who do not have access to a computer may use the work stations in the Human Resources lobby or seek assistance at their work site. Available Dec. meetings are:

  • Route 3 - Destination in Sight: If you're within three years of retirement, you will learn about pension benefits, retirement calculations, annuity options and more.
  • Route 4 - Next Exit: If you're within one year of retirement, you'll get help preparing for decisions you will make when applying for retirement, such as selecting your pension option and enrolling in health insurance. You'll leave with a personal benefit estimate and instructions for completing your retirement application.

Johnson elementary choirApply for an elementary after-school choir stipend

Would you like to start an after-school choir at your elementary school? Apply for a stipend from Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence. To qualify, choirs must be scheduled for at least 18 continuous weeks. Return your application to Ruth Argabright in Creative and Performing Arts, 480-308-7350. Hurry, the deadline is Sept. 16!

Free classes for district parents

Did you know Mesa Public Schools offers FREE parent-focused classes every year at various schools and district offices? These Parent University classes are open to all parents and guardians, whether or not they live in Mesa. Please encourage families at your school to participate in these excellent courses.

Class topics range from positive parenting life skills to academics and technology. Class lengths vary from one evening to six weeks, depending on the subject. 

Look for discounts

Did you know several local and national businesses offer discounts for district employees? Keep an eye on the employee discounts page for ways to save money at businesses you love. Discounts on movie ticketstheme parksKids Corner and gym memberships are also available.

GCU scholarship opportunity

Grand Canyon University offers a special scholarship opportunity for evening courses at GCU's main campus: a 30-percent tuition scholarship for the Doctor of Education in organizational leadership (EdD), Doctor of Philosophy in general psychology (PhD), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).  Learn more online or call Luis Barnett, 520-792-7817.

Save the date!

The 36th annual district College Fair will be 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at Mountain View High School. Encourage your students to come out and meet representatives from more than 120 colleges, universities, technical schools, military services and businesses. It will be a great time for all!

Did you know?

This year, approximately 108 student teachers are working throughout the school district. These educators are from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon University, Montana State University, University of Arizona and Rio Salado Community College. Also, about 150 teaching interns are doing observations this semester. Welcome to the Mesa Public Schools family!

Cue the applause...

A whopping 17 district schools have been named 2016 National Healthy Schools Award winners by Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Silver award winners are Irving and Salk elementary schools. Bronze award winners are Crismon, Field, Hermosa Vista, Holmes, Jefferson, Johnson, Mendoza, Pomeroy, Robson, Roosevelt, Sirrine, Stevenson, Taft and Webster elementary schools, along with Summit Academy. Awardees were recognized for excellence in nutrition and fitness, and empowering school leaders to be healthy role models. All National Healthy Schools Award winners also received National Awards from Let's Move! Active Schools. 

Erik Von Burg gifted and talented specialist

Congratulations to Lourdes Mejia, fourth-grade dual language teacher at Keller Elementary, and Erik Von Burg, elementary gifted curriculum specialist (pictured). They have been named state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching by the National Science Foundation. The President of the United States announces the recipients of the National Presidential Award for each state in summer 2018. Von Burg was formerly a gifted and talented teacher at Johnson Elementary. Congratulations and good luck!

This summer Reta Yanik, Westwood High School agricultural science teacher, joined 345 teachers from across the country to participate in the 14th annual DuPont National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy (NATAA) in Des Moines, Iowa. Attendees explored state-of-the-art teaching concepts to implement in the classroom. They also visited DuPont Pioneer headquarters. Yanik became an Agriscience Ambassador upon completing the program.

Jenny Goode, gifted and talented teacher at Johnson Elementary, has been named a 2016 Javits-Frasier Scholar by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). Goode will work with a mentor and have the opportunity to participate in extensive professional development. She is also invited to attend the 63rd annual NAGC convention in Florida this November. Goode previously taught at Bush Elementary.

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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