Employee newsletter, Sept. 15, 2021

Upcoming events

Mesa United Way campaign ends tomorrow

Mesa United Way helps our community in various ways. Learn how supporting the Mesa United Way employee campaign specifically helps our own students, staff and families. Hurry, the campaign ends tomorrow, Sept. 16. See your site community connector or visit mesaunitedway.org/mpsgiving for more information.

Plan ahead for fall break

School is not in session Oct. 4-8. Certified and classified employees whose contract or regular work term is less than 12 months will not work during fall break. Administrators, supervisors and 12-month contract classified employees will work Oct. 4-8, unless an absence request is approved in advance. If requests are approved, employees must use accruals to cover their absences.

Short-term classified employees have two paid holidays during fall break, Oct. 7-8. Oct. 4-6 are unpaid. Learn more on the employee calendars page.

Grant opportunities now available

The Mesa Public Schools Foundation 2021-22 innovation grant cycle is now open. Apply before Oct.15 to be eligible to win one of several grants up to $2,000. Apply now on the Foundation website

On Thursday, Sept. 23, teachers at schools with over 90% free & reduced lunch rates will qualify for a one-day-only 2X match on DonorsChoose.org. To be eligible for the Strongest Start match, teachers at eligible schools must have a live, approved project on the website before Sept. 23 at 7 a.m. ET. For the best chance at approval, submit your project by Sept. 16. Eligible teachers will see a yellow banner indicating they qualify for the match when they log on. Learn more about the match and eligibility on DonorsChoose.org.

Horace Mann is hosting a $10,000 DonorsChoose.org contest. Enter a project now through Oct. 8 for a chance to win. Horace Mann will draw winners daily Oct. 4-8. Learn more and enter at horacemann.com.

Vote for MPS to win trees through a new Circle K promotion

Next time you stop at one of the Circle K Conserve locations in east Mesa or Apache Junction, you can vote for Mesa Public Schools to win a competition running now through Oct. 15. In partnership with Arizona Sustainability Alliance, Circle K will fund the winning community sustainability project, which would include new trees for district campuses. Find participating locations on the Circle K Conserve website.

Social media spotlight

We are highlighting posts from our official school and department social media pages creatively incorporating the Portrait of a Graduate and strategic goals.

Las Sendas Elementary shared a tweet about students using their Creative Thinker & Innovator essential skills in the classroom.

Have a post to submit for consideration in a future issue? Send the link to communications@mpsaz.org.

Review board policies GCPD and GDPD

Governing Board policies GCPD and GDPD contain references to misconduct and procedures for administering appropriate discipline to employees engaged in misconduct. Action ranges from a written warning or letter of reprimand to dismissal. Find more information on page 11 of the employee handbook.

Medical Leave Bank Program

Per board policy GBBD-R(2), the district will administer a Medical Leave Bank. The bank provides additional sick leave days to bank members in the event of a prolonged illness/injury of their own or a family member if they have depleted their accrued sick or personal leave and/or vacation days (if earned). For this purpose, a "family member" is defined in the Family Medical Leave Act as a spouse, child or parent. Learn more on the benefits website.

Mesa Public Schools in the news

Did you know one of the creators of the famous ASU pitchfork hand sign is a district employee? Read a State Press article featuring Mark Carlino, a marketing teacher and basketball coach at Westwood High. 

12News aired an interview with Bill Meek, Franklin Junior High Spanish teacher, and Renee Parker, director of certificated personnel.

ABC15 featured a 9/11 memorial created by Westwood High student council. 

ABC15 aired a profile of Red Mountain High freshman Alexis Kelley, who is a finalist in the Broadcom MASTERS national competition.

azfamily featured a story about Fremont Junior High students collecting 1 million bottle caps for charity.

ABC15 featured district art teacher Christopher Roche in a segment about his ASU-themed artwork. Roche teaches at Adams, Emerson, Field and Lowell elementary schools.

View our 2021-22 archive of media coverage.

Cue the applause

Photo of Taryn Tidwell, Shepherd Junior High music teacher, in front of a blue wall featuring white musical notes. Tidwell is in a black and white striped shirt and has blonde hair.

Taryn Tidwell, choir and drama teacher at Shepherd Junior High (pictured), has won the inaugural Tancer Arts in Education award from Act One. Dobson High photography teacher Michael De Alba was named a runner-up for the award.

Adult education records clerk Patty Magdaleno has received the AALL Support Staff of the Year Award from the Arizona Association for Lifelong Learning.

Kino Junior High STEM and CTE teacher Nancy Parra-Quinlan has moved on to the next round of the 2022 Arizona Teacher of the Year competition. She is now a top 5 nominee for the award. The winner will be announced in October.

View the September 14 Celebrating Success video.


Send your news to:

Heidi Hurst, communications & engagement director

Follow Mesa Public Schools on social media

Facebook | Facebook en Español | Instagram | Instagram en Español | Twitter | YouTube


Current Issue | All Past Issues