Volume 47, No. 4, October 22, 2018

College representative talking to student at 2017 College FairEncourage your students to attend College Fair

College Fair is tonight at Red Mountain High. It's a great opportunity for students, especially juniors and seniors, to learn about future opportunities. Representatives from more than 100 colleges, universities, technical schools and military services will be on hand to answer questions and provide information. Seniors and their parents can come early to get help with their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and college applications. Visit mpsaz.org/collegefair for details.

#oneteam Friday is Nov. 2

Our next #oneteam Friday is Nov. 2. Share your photos that best demonstrate how you build collaborative teams on social media and tag @mpsaz. Don't forget to use the #oneteam or #oneteamfriday hashtag. We'll be sharing your posts on social media throughout the day. 

Learn about the Board candidates and ballot measures

In case you missed it, the district held several community events related to the upcoming general election.

The six comprehensive high schools hosted Meet the Superintendent events, which included an informational presentation about the bond and override. Find the presentation at mpsaz.org/info.

The four candidates for two seats on the Governing Board participated in a Q&A forum Oct. 3 at Kino Junior High. Watch the event on YouTube or at mpsaz.org/info.

Please note these important election dates:

  • Oct. 26: Last day to request an early ballot
  • Nov. 6: Election Day

MPS Edcamp is back!

All teachers are invited to MPS Edcamp Saturday, Nov. 3, at Red Mountain High. The free workshop, hosted by educational technology, is participant-driven and allows educators to share ideas and learn from each other. Edcamp kicks off with an 8 a.m. welcome session, then participants break up into three 45-minute sessions. It concludes at noon. Bring your device, charger and great ideas. Learn more on the EdTech website.

See you at the used surplus open house

Property management has a variety of gently used classroom and office items (ranging from bookshelves and desks to science equipment and globes) available for district schools and offices. Attend the used surplus open house Nov. 14, 6:30 a.m. 9:30 a.m., to find a free, new treasure for your workplace.

Be sure to tell your friends and family about the public open house Dec. 12, 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The community is invited to shop for items at a discount. Both events are at the used surplus building, 7038 E. Adobe Rd.

Customer Service Rockstars

Satisfied customers continue to take time to recognize school and district staff for stellar customer service. The schools and departments that received the most responses in September were:

  • Jefferson Elementary, 13 responses
  • Taft Elementary, 12 responses
  • Lindbergh Elementary, 5 responses

Customers praised fantastic service from staff, including this customer's comment about Pomeroy Elementary. "Whenever I come into Pomeroy, the front office is welcoming and immediate. I never have to wait to be greeted or helped. They always find requested information quickly."

Need more customer service cards at your location? They're free from the warehouse - code: 9135151ESW. An online form is available on the district home page. Consider placing a link on your school or department home page.

MPS in the news

3TV visited MacArthur Elementary last month to celebrate their designation as one of America's Healthiest Schools. See the full list of 2018 district awardees below.

East Valley Tribune talked to Westwood High International Baccalaureate teacher Brian Buck about his creative approach to engaging his history students.

ABC15 visited Heather Heap's classroom at Hermosa Vista Elementary and Karen Gleave's media center at Dobson High to show how they're incorporating the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter into learning.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Did you get an email in September from I.T. asking you to change your password because of a system breach? This was a phishing attempt, and hopefully you deleted it. Cyber criminals use phishing emails to get recipients to reveal personal information, including online account passwords. These emails resemble legitimate messages from banks, stores and even your employer.

Sometimes phishing emails will appear to be from someone you know, and ask for money or gift cards. Always check the return email address. Most likely, it won't match the correct address of the person being impersonated. In fact, 99% of the time, these are phishing scams.

Here's a helpful tutorial from safeworkforce.com that shows how to spot fake or phishing websites. Best practice is to delete the email when you aren't 100% sure who the sender is or if it looks suspicious. Be safe — when in doubt, delete.

A Dollar Makes a Difference in Mesa

District employees may donate a dollar or more to the Mesa Public Schools Foundation through payroll deduction. These tax-deductible contributions benefit students and staff in a variety of ways. Learn more about A Dollar Makes a Difference on the Foundation website.

Use iVisions to access pay stubs, tax information and more

The district's self-service iVisions portal gives employees access to personal information, including pay stubs, W2 forms and employee documents, including contracts and transcripts. Employees can request tax withholding changes and expense reimbursements. It's also a great way to ensure the district has your updated contact information.

Access the portal on the employee resources page or visit ivisions.mpsaz.org/ivisions. Forget your active directory password? Call the I.S. help desk to reset it: 480-472-0044. 

This fall, it's Mesa Public Schools vs Gilbert Public Schools in the Battle for the East Valley! MPS faces GPS in the Move It Maricopa walking challenge. The superintendent of the district with the lowest steps must wear the winning district's shirt for a day. C'mon #oneteam, we can beat GPS! Register now at mps.walkertracker.com, and get movin'! Hurry, the challenge ends Nov. 11!Remember to track your steps

Gilbert Public Schools has challenged Mesa Public Schools in the Move It Maricopa walking challenge. The district whose employees track the most steps wins. The superintendent of the losing district has to wear the winning district's shirt for a day.

Register for the challenge at mps.walkertracker.com and follow directions to track your steps through Nov. 11.

Notify supervisors when you're out sick

Certified employees, administrators and classified supervisors must make a reasonable attempt to notify their immediate supervisors of any absence, and reason for absence, at the earliest opportunity — and no later than two hours before the start of their regular workday. By 3 p.m., these employees must notify their immediate supervisors if they will or will not return to work the next day.

Classified employees must notify their immediate supervisors of an absence at the earliest opportunity — and no later than their scheduled start time. These employees must also indicate the reason for absence and their expected return date. Failure to follow these guidelines may be just cause for disciplinary action, including deduction of salary.

Badge replacement charges

Lose your badge? Find costs, ranging from $5-20, on the badge request form. The form is a payroll deduction authorization to cover the replacement fee, and must be signed by the employee and administrator before it's returned to human resources. Damaged badge replacements and name changes will be reprinted with photos on file at no charge if the old badge is sent to HR with the form. A new photo costs $20. Questions? Contact Christi Chapman, HR director, 480-472-0420.

Learn more about donating sick leave

The Medical Leave Assistance Program allows employees to donate sick leave to eligible employees undergoing a personal or family member's prolonged illness or injury. Find eligibility guidelines, policy and the sick leave donation form on the human resources web page.

Review the district's drug and alcohol policy

Policy GBKB and its regulations 1 and 2 affect all employees. The guidelines are designed to ensure a safe workplace, promote employee health and well-being, and comply with federal and state drug-free workplace mandates. Review the district's drug and alcohol policy, and learn about testing on the human resources web page.

Celebrating success

Katie Garza and Dr. Conley at MPS board meetingFranklin Junior High School and Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies were named National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education, for overall excellence in education. Since 1982, 22 district schools have earned the National Blue Ribbon award.

Congratulations to the 18 district schools recognized with A accountability letter grades by the State Board of Education: Franklin Junior High; Mesa Academy; Summit Academy; and Brinton, Entz, Franklin at Brimhall, Franklin East, Franklin West, Hale, Hermosa Vista, Ishikawa, Las Sendas, MacArthur, Mendoza, Red Mountain Ranch, Taft, Wilson and Zaharis elementary schools. Special kudos to Las Sendas, which earned the highest point percentage of all K-8 schools in the state.

Earlier this year, 18 district schools were named America's Healthiest Schools by Alliance for a Healthier Generation. For the second year in a row, Mesa Public Schools is the only Arizona district to make the list. The 2018 awardees are: Crismon, Field, Hermosa Vista, Holmes, Irving, Johnson, Las Sendas, Lowell, MacArthur, Mendoza, Pomeroy, Robson, Roosevelt, Salk, Sirrine, Taft and Webster elementary schools, and Summit Academy. Last year, 32 district schools made the elite list.

Red Mountain Center for Early Education teacher Maria Barker has been named a 2019 Ambassador for Excellence by Arizona Educational Foundation. She is in the running for 2019 AEF Arizona Teacher of the Year, which will be announced Oct. 25. Best of luck!

Westwood High IB English teacher Katie Garza has been named the 2018 Arizona IB Middle Years Program Teacher of the Year. One teacher in the state is recognized annually. Katie (pictured above with Dr. Ember Conley) received this award for her teaching performance and fidelity to IB principles and practices.

Shepherd Junior High's Larry Johnson has received the 2018 Isidore Starr Distinguished Social Studies Teacher award from the Arizona Council for the Social Studies. Johnson was recognized for his work in and out of the classroom as a teacher and mentor.

Congratulations to Gary Ingle, counselor at Crismon and Mendoza elementary schools. His men's 65 team recently won the world championships in Senior Softball-USA. It's Ingle's fifth championship win since joining Senior Softball-USA at age 50, and he says he hopes to win a few more since teams continue through age 85.

Carson Junior High teacher Tara Bartlett and her students were recognized statewide and nationally for their Project Citizen community project on microchipping dogs. Learn more at the Center for Civic Education website.

alex macdonald receiving flowers from a student

Edison Elementary Principal Alex Macdonald (pictured left) was surprised Oct. 19 when presented with the award for K12 Educational Development STEM Principal of the Month from Grand Canyon University. Macdonald's students and colleagues took part in the on-campus celebration.

Congratulations to the staff recognized during Spotlight Recognitions at the September 25 board meeting. Angela Fatica, fifth and sixth grade SLD teacher at O'Connor Elementary, was named Educator Who Makes a Difference. Employees Who Make a Difference were Webster Elementary family support specialist Teresa Turdo, and athletics and elementary PE secretary Kay Woodbury. Customer Service Champions were creative and performing arts instructional assistants Sharon Burger and Chere McKinney; O'Connor Elementary secretary to the principal Carolyn Henan; and Webster Elementary registrar Anahi Montejano. See all honorees and view spotlight videos on the communications & marketing web page.


Send news to:

Heidi Hurst, communications and marketing supervisor


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