Employee newsletter, March 5, 2020

Upcoming events

Superintendent search update

At the March 4 special meeting, search firm McPherson & Jacobson presented feedback from the Feb. 25-27 stakeholder meetings. Dr. Robert Carlisle, director of research, also presented results and comments from the community survey

DonorsChoose matched contributions

This week, DonorsChoose is matching contributions to book-related classroom projects. Find eligible district projects.

Stay healthy this spring

As coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, concerns spread throughout the nation, be proactive in preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Find helpful employee safety tips from the Society for Human Resource Management, and learn more at mpsaz.org/beprepared.

Opt in to texting

Text messages are a great way to receive important news and updates from the district. To opt in to receiving texts, text YES to 67587. 

To successfully receive text messages, your cell phone number must be on file in the iVisions employee self-service web portal. Access the portal using your active directory login information. Need to update your password? Call the help desk at 480-472-0044. Passwords cannot be reset via email.

Census video contest deadline extended to March 20

Mesa Public Schools and the City of Mesa 2020 Census Task Force have partnered to present a video contest for Mesa Public Schools students. The top three videos will earn cash prizes for their school, ranging from $1,500 to $4,000. Additionally, the top videos will be shown on the City of Mesa's TV channel, and shared via district and City of Mesa social media.

The contest is open to ALL students, and videos will be judged on creativity, originality and clarity of messaging. Each video should clearly convey the importance of participating in the 2020 Census. The video submission deadline is Friday, March 20. Learn more at mpsaz.org/census.

Cards for deployed service members

Thank you to all who provided valentines for veterans last month. U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton's office is now looking to send handmade student cards to deployed service members. If your students are interested in making Easter or other spring cards, please send them to the communications & engagement office by Thursday, March 26.

Board approves 2021-22 school year calendar

At the Feb. 25 meeting, the Governing Board approved the 2021-22 school year calendar. This calendar continues the current model, which was based on staff, parent, student and community feedback received in April 2018. The Board's rationale to maintain consistency included:

  • Future alignment with the strategic plan
  • Address the needs of the master plan
  • New superintendent of schools
  • Recent changes to daily start and end times
  • Recent change to Wednesday schedule

Calling all Coyotes!

Did you or someone you know graduate from or work at Skyline High in 2000-2005? You're invited to celebrate 120 years of high schools in Mesa at the March 24 Governing Board meeting. We're inviting alumni to lead the Pledge of Allegiance and be recognized at the meeting. RSVP and learn more at mpsaz.org/120, where you can also watch videos celebrating the history of Dobson, Mesa, Mountain View, Red Mountain and Westwood high schools.

Early Career Learning Lab for new teachers

Mesa Education Association along with NEA will be offering another opportunity for new teachers to receive additional and personalized support in teaching. The Early Career Learning Lab will offer free weekly support through online virtual coaching in a small group setting for teachers in their first five years of teaching. Join us for an informational meeting and dinner March 18, 2020, at Dobson High School. All participants who complete the nine-week ECLL program will receive $50. Register with Kelly Berg at kmberg@mpsaz.org. Spots are limited.

Free movie screening and discussion

Join the Mesa National Board Certified Teacher Network in partnership with the Mesa Education Association for a free screening and discussion of clips from the documentary America to Me. The discussion will be moderated by Kareem Neal, 2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year. The event is Monday, March 23, 4:30 to 6 p.m., in the Hughes Elementary media center, 630 N. Hunt Dr., Mesa, AZ 85203. Learn more and RSVP

Apply to present at the i.CON conference

i.CON is an immersive, hands-on experience that aims to inspire and influence innovation. All i.CON sessions will be facilitated by classroom teachers, and participants will be inspired to develop innovative ideas that can be directly applied to influence students and peers.

What gets you excited about being an educator? We need presenters with high energy who want to share the exciting things happening in their classrooms. i.CON is May 28, 2020, from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Dobson High. Watch the i.CON promo video.

Apply to be a presenter by March 31. Questions? Contact your school's EdTech coach to learn more.

Mesa Public Schools in the news

Scott Thompson, assistant superintendent of business & support services, talked to ABC15 about the district's master planning process.

The East Valley Tribune included an article about the student liaisons to the Governing Board.

Media communications specialist Laurie Struna wrote about the district's proactive approach to student health in the Mesa Tribune.

Cue the applause

Nelsene Alford classroom surpriseLast week, Westwood High science teacher Nelsene Alford (pictured, center) received an incredible surprise after a special act of bravery. Guests including City of Mesa Fire Chief Mary Cameli and Vice Mayor Mark Freeman showed up to Nelsene's classroom to present her with a certificate of appreciation, after saving a person's life using an AED kit. When an individual collapsed while umpiring at a baseball game, Nelsene located the AED kit at the field and delivered two electrical shocks to the individual before emergency responders arrived, saving the person's life.

Staff from Hermosa Vista and Longfellow elementary schools were honored during the spotlight recognitions program at the Feb. 25 Governing Board meeting. Longfellow Elementary kindergarten teacher Ashley Hilton was named Educator Who Makes a Difference. Hermosa Vista Elementary instructional assistant Charlotte Schenck was named Employee Who Makes a Difference. Customer Service Champions were Hermosa Vista Elementary secretary Stacy Murphy and Longfellow Elementary special education clerk Estela Valenzuela. See all honorees and view spotlight videos on the communications & engagement webpage.

View some of the district's recent accomplishments in the Feb. 25 celebrations video.


Send your news to:

Heidi Hurst, communications & engagement director

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