Employee newsletter, Jan. 19, 2022

Upcoming events

Governing Board officer election

At the Jan. 11 meeting, the Governing Board re-elected Jenny Richardson as board president and elected Dr. Joe O'Reilly as board clerk. Learn more about the Governing Board.

Teaching & learning career opportunities

The teaching & learning department will post 2022-23 job openings throughout the spring semester. The application window varies depending on the position. Visit mpsaz.org/careers to view postings and job descriptions, or to sign up for job alerts. Title I specialist positions are now open through Jan. 26.

Apply to teach summer school

Applications are being accepted to teach community education & outreach tuition-based summer high school at Dobson and Red Mountain high schools. Teachers are needed May 31-July 8, 7:30 a.m. to noon sessions and 12:30 to 5 p.m. sessions. Submit your application before Feb. 25. Please remember to download the form before completing it.

Grant opportunity

Arizona Science Center is offering a limited number of bus transportation grants to Arizona Title I schools. The grants provide free bus transportation to and from Arizona Science Center for K-8 students, up to $1,000. Applications must be submitted by March 18. Learn more and apply online (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Explore retirement options

Mesa Public Schools offers 403(b) and/or 457(b) retirement plans to eligible employees. Review the plan's Meaningful Notice for a brief explanation of the provisions, policies and rules. For more information, visit mpsaz.org/benefits and select 403/457 to see the approved vendor list. It's never too late or too early to start saving for your future.

Yellow and gray circles surrounding the text iCONsortiumRegister now for EdTech's iCONsortium

Join iCONsortium for another exciting learning experience. This quarter's sessions include slow reveals, unGoogleable questions and mastery-based learning, with a keynote by teaching & learning director Erik Von Burg. This personalized learning experience is for all educators who wish to learn practical strategies to implement personalized competency-based learning in the classroom. Learn more and reserve an in-person or virtual seat.

  • Feb. 17, 2022
  • 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • In-person at Mountain View High or online
  • Limited capacity available, so register now!

Important safety reminder from information systems

Once a month as part of ongoing cyber security awareness training, the IS security team sends simulated phishing email scams to all staff. Last month, over 10,000 phishing emails were distributed. Unfortunately over 1,400 employees (15%) clicked on the email link or responded to the scam. The ultimate goal is to have zero clicks (0%).

Email phishing tips:

  • When in doubt, throw it out. Don't forward the email, just delete it.
  • Check the link in the email by hovering over it. The URL will often look suspicious or be misspelled.
  • Look for unsual text or grammar, and don't trust the display name. There are many fake emails misrepresenting companies, such as Amaz0n or FEdex, etc.
  • Always question the email if it asks for district or employee personal information.
  • Most companies don't ask you to change your password unless you have requested it to be changed.
  • Don't fall for "colleagues" asking for help with gift cards.
  • Don't fall for urgent or threatening emails.
  • Don't believe everything you see.
  • Be cautious of unknown text messages and links inside text messages.

Governor's Volunteer Service Awards

The Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family is now accepting nominations for the 19th Annual Governor's Volunteer Service Awards. Categories include Lifetime Community Service, Inspired Adult and Youth Leadership, and Service to Community. Learn more and submit your nomination by Feb. 2.

Valle del Sol mobile clinic

The Valle del Sol mobile clinic visits various district schools the second and fourth week of the month. Available services include COVID testing and vaccines, well-child and well-adult exams, and sick visits. Find the schedule online.

Mesa Public Schools in the news

Justin Wing, assistant superintendent of human resources, spoke with FOX10 about the substitute teacher shortage in Arizona.

Mesa Tribune featured Dr. Andi Fourlis' recent Superintendent to Watch recognition.

Porter Elementary Principal Kathy Ray wrote an article, "Are You a STEM School or an AVID School?" for the national AVID website. 

The January issues of UpClose and Ranchers' Roundup included an article about district bond expenditures.

View our 2021-22 archive of media coverage.

Cue the applause

Deveney Haws with her award, pictured outside Johnson ElementaryCongratulations to Johnson Elementary's Deveney Haws (pictured), who has won the Samuel A. Kirk Special Education Teacher of the Year Award from the Arizona Council for Exceptional Children. Hawes, who was nominated by colleague Ruthee John, was recognized for her significant contributions to the education of exceptional individuals through direct student contact in instruction or a training process.

The district communications & engagement and visual communications teams won seven Awards of Excellence and four Awards of Merit from the Arizona School Public Relations Association. Award-winning projects included Spanish-language social media and outreach, the 2021-22 enrollment marketing campaign, the Ask the Experts kindergarten video series and more.

Congratulations to Lincoln Elementary nurse Tammy Franklin, Bush/Crismon/Mendoza counselor Gary Ingle and Redbird/Whittier nurse Laura Weinbrenner. All have been named 2021-22 National LifeChanger of the Year nominees. LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program recognizing K-12 educators and school employees across the country. Learn more and nominate a colleague for the 2022-23 program.

Left to right: Lauren Cluff, Amethyst Hinton Sainz, Aminah Abdelhaq

Congratulations to our new and renewed National Board Certified Teachers. New National Board Certified Teachers are Carrie Carstens, special education department; Lydia Donahue, K-2 resource teacher at Edison Elementary; McKaye Hancock, English language acquisition teacher at Porter Elementary; Johnna Pascador, special education department; Kizzy Tanner, special education teacher at Dobson High; Abby Wheatfill, special education department; and Dana White, orchestra teacher at Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies.

Teachers with renewed certification are Aminah Abdelhaq, science teacher at Franklin Junior High (pictured, right, with Lauren Cluff, left, and Amethyst Hinton Sainz, center); Maria Barker, special education department and dean at Longfellow Elementary; Rebecca Cryder, social studies teacher at Skyline High; Lauren Cluff, second-grade teacher at Hughes Elementary; Rachel DeChristina, kindergarten teacher at Porter Elementary; Amethyst Hinton Sainz, academic interventionist at Westwood High; and Nicole Powell, fifth-grade teacher at Las Sendas Elementary.

National Board Certification is the highest level of certification a teacher can earn. District teachers who achieve certification receive a financial incentive and become part of a close-knit, talented community of educators. Learn more about National Board Certification at Mesa Public Schools.

Send your news to:

Heidi Hurst, communications & engagement director

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