A to Z Reference Guide

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A     B    C    D    E    F    G    H   I    J    K    L    M  

N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z




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Student photoAcademic Decathlon: In this high school class, teams compete at local, regional, state and national levels in 10 academic areas.


Academic Skills: Curriculum overviews explain what every student should know and be able to do in kindergarten through sixth grade.


Acronyms: The alphabet soup of educational abbreviations can be quite confusing. See this quick reference guide to break the code!

ACT: This entrance exam is required for admission to some colleges and universities. For information, contact a school counselor.

Acuity: Acuity is the district's learning-based assessment system that helps teachers focus on strategies that most effectively impact student achievement..

Adult Basic Education: Free ABE classes are offered through Community Education to individuals age 16 and over whose reading proficiency is generally at a sixth-grade level or lower. For information, call (480) 472-7259.


Advanced Placement: High schools offer AP courses in a variety of subject areas. In a rigorous program of study, students can earn advanced placement in college and/or college credit.

Aeronautical Centers for Exploration: In this Boeing-MPS partnership, fifth-graders apply their knowledge of the scientific principals of aviation in hands-on fixed-wing airplane and helicopter simulators.

Architeck: The Web content management system is based on Web Policies and Best Practices developed by Web Services, Educational Technology and Community Relations departments.


Arizona Department of Education: ADE, the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education regulate and oversee school districts.

Arizona State Standards: Arizona standards provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare students for higher education and the workforce.

Arizona Tests: State-mandated criterion-referenced tests measure a student’s mastery of curriculum. 


Art Program: The Creative and Performing Arts Department includes visual arts, music, dance and theater.


Assistive Technology: This refers to items that increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of students with disabilities. Individual consultations are available for students who receive special education services.


Student photoAthletic Code of Conduct: Standards of behavior apply to all student athletes and spirit line members.


Athletics: MPS offers individual and team sports for students in grades nine through 12. 


Athletics (Junior High): MPS offers developmental and competitive sports for students in seventh and eighth grade.


Augmentative-Alternative Communication: AAC techniques supplement, facilitate or replace natural speech. Examples include drawing, communication boards and voice-output communication devices.


AVID: Advancement Via Individual Determination helps underserved students prepare for college. 


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Biotechnology Academy: Located at Mesa High School, the academy helps students make a seamless transition to higher education or the workforce in biotechnology-related fields. Applications are accepted from all interested high school students. Biotechnology classes are offered at all high schools.  

Board Meetings: Five MPS Governing Board members are elected by district residents and serve four-year terms without pay. Agendas, highlights and videos are posted online.

Breakfast: A number of MPS schools serve breakfast. Please check to see if it is available at your child's school. Free and reduced-price breakfasts are available. Meal Assistance Applications are available in all schools offices and cafeterias. Parents may prepay meal accounts with a check or cash, or online with a credit or debit card at myschoolbucks.com.

Budget: The district budget is adopted annually by the Governing Board. The maintenance and operations portion of the budget pays for salaries and operational costs. The capital budget funds such things as construction and remodeling costs. Capital funds may not be used for operational expenses. By law, the budget must be balanced every year.

Bus Transportation: Routes and schedules are available at your child's school. Students should be at their bus stop at least five minutes prior to pick-up time. Student safety is our No. 1 priority. Following the rules is critical to maintaining safety. If a student fails to follow the rules, bus riding privileges may be denied, or the student may face disciplinary action. State law requires motorists to stop for school buses when lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.  


photoCareer Planning System: Opportunity & Achievement and Career & Technical Education departments help students develop educational and career plans for personal success.

Career Services: Scholarships, job bulletin board, Choices program, and career development workshops are available.

Child Development Centers: Full-day preschool and childcare are offered at Dobson, Red Mountain and Skyline high schools. The program is sponsored by the Community Education Department in conjunction with child development classes at each school.

Close-Up: This nationally affiliated club is offered at many secondary schools. Students learn about in the democratic process and see the inner-workings of government firsthand.

College and Career Planning: The Opportunity & Achievement Department offers college- and career-related information and services.

College and Career Ready Standards: Arizona standards provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare students for higher education and the workforce.

College Fair is an annual districtwide college and career fair for junior high and high school students and their families. Colleges and universities, technical schools, community colleges, professional organizations, and representatives from business and industry help students preview post-high school options in education and employment.

Community Prekindergarten: This half-day program is designed for 3- to 5-year-olds. Morning and afternoon sessions are available.

Correspondence Courses, High School: This is a convenient, cost-effective way to add course work. MPS has the most successful program in the state.

Course Catalog, Secondary: The publication, available in English and Spanish, describes the courses offered in junior highs and high schools.

Credit Recovery Programs, High School: The district offers credit recovery programs for high school students who need to earn credits toward graduation. Programs include the Career Exploration Program, Correspondence Courses, Mesa Distance Learning Program, Summer High School classes and Sundown.

Curriculum: Curriculum is developed from kindergarten through high school for consistency from one grade level to another and from school to school. District curriculum reflects each content area's Strategic Curriculum Review process and aligns with Arizona Academic Standards. Curriculum is usually revised by teachers and content specialists and reviewed by a parent advisory panel every seven years. 


Departments: Choose from administrative and support services overviewslocations and websites.

Destiny Library Resource Centers: This website features information that can help students generate ideas, guide investigations, develop the imagination and write research papers.

DIBELS: The Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills is a reading fluency assessment tool developed at the University of Oregon. It is used in the district and is approved under the federal Reading First program.

Distance Learning: The online curriculum is hosted by state-certified MPS teachers. The program serves students in sixth grade through high school. Students may earn a diploma though this individual learning and independent study program.

Students photoDistrict Information and Guidelines: This document provides information for parents about district programs, policies and behavior guidelines. Parents receive a copy each year. It is also available online.

District Tests: MPS measures student learning in individual courses at the end of the semester and the end of the year. Also see Tests.

Donating Items to Schools: Generous residents and businesses contribute items ranging from boxes of tissues to play costumes, school supplies and musical instruments. To donate musical instruments, costumes and art supplies, call 480-308-7350. For all other items, contact communications & marketing at 480-472-0223.

Donating Money to Schools: MPS appreciates donations to the district, individual schools and programs. One method of giving is the Extracurricular Activity (ECA) program. Parents, grandparents and caring community members make contributions and earn a dollar-for-dollar tax credits on their Arizona state income tax. Other financial donations can be made through the financial services department. Call (480) 472-0112. The Mesa Public Schools Foundation accepts financial support for programs that promote student achievement and well-being.

Dual Enrollment: Students may take a class on a high school campus and receive high school and college credit. College tuition is required. Another requirement is the successful completion of an end-of-course test. Prior approval is required. Consult your counselor.

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East Valley Institute of Technology: (EVIT) is a public school district that serves students from 10 East Valley school districts, including MPS. Students attend class in their home district for general education requirements and take specialized career course work at EVIT.

ECA Tax Credit: The Extracurricular Activity program allows you to designate some of your state tax dollars to a Mesa school.

Student photoEdTV channel 99: Visual Communications broadcasts on Cox Cable. Watch EdTV 99 live or on demand.

Educational and Career Action Plans: As required by the state, effective with the Class of 2013, all students will have an ECAP. These plans allow students to enter and update information in a variety of areas, including academic goals, career goals, post-secondary education goals and extracurricular goals. MPS offers an Internet-based plan called Kuder.

Elementary Curriculum: K-6 information features what every student should know and be able to do.

Emergency Notifications: MPS uses letters, the website, and a phone, email and text notification system to communicate with parents in case of an emergency. School Messenger allows a school to send telephone, email and text messages using contact information provided by the parent. It is important to update your contact information with your child's school.

Employment: MPS is the largest employer in Mesa. Jobs are posted at the Administrative Services Center, 63 E. Main St., Mesa, and online. 

Employment for Students: Mesa Career Services offers a job bulletin for students who are seeking employment.

English Language Acquisition for Adults: ELAA classes are free for individuals who wish to improve their basic language proficiency. Call (480) 472-7259.

English Language Civics Leadership: Within ELAA classes, adults focus on community responsibilities and social studies. 

Enrollment: The Web site features information on registration, immunizations, finding your neighborhood school and open enrollment.

Extracurricular Activity Program: ECA enables Arizona taxpayers to donate money to a Mesa school. Dollar-for-dollar tax credits are available.


Student photoFacility Rental: Call (480) 472-0151 during business hours.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act: FERPA is the federal law that governs privacy rights for student records. Parents generally have these rights until a student's 18th birthday, when the rights transfer to the student.

Family Literacy: Parents and preschoolers attend school together. They participate in early childhood, parent education and adult education.

Fees for Students: MPS assesses fees for optional extracurricular activities, community education activities and elective classes.

First Things First Preschool: Free classes help 3- and 4-year-olds start kindergarten ready to succeed.

Flyer Distribution via Peachjar: The district distributes online flyers to students from nonprofit organizations that offer youth activities. Prior approval from communications & marketing is required.

Free and Reduced-Price Meals: The district participates in the National School Lunch Program. Eligible students may receive free- or reduced-price meals (breakfast and lunch). Guidelines for eligibility are established by the federal government. Meal assistance applications are available in all school offices and careterias.

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General Educational Development: GED tests may be taken to earn a high school equivalency certificate. The district's Community Education department offers classes to help individuals prepare for the GED. 

Gifted and Talented: Programs and services benefit students in elementary, junior high and high school. 

Student photoGold Cards: Residents 62 and older who live in district boundaries may request Gold Cards to attend school-sponsored athletic and performing arts events free or at reduced rates.

Governing Board: Five members are elected by  residents and serve four-year terms without pay. Agendas, highlights and videos are posted online.

Graduation Requirements: Students must meet diploma requirements described in the MPS Course Description Catalog.

Grooming Standards: Dress and grooming standards are outlined in school board policy and school rules.

Guidelines: See District Information and Guidelines.

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Head Start Preschool: Maricopa County registers children for placement in Mesa Public Schools classrooms.

Health and Accident Insurance: Parents are responsible for insuring their children. Parents may purchase an optional policy from a private company.

Home-Based Migrant Preschool: Parents and educators work with children at home to promote academic preparation and developmental activities to enhance learning.

Homeless Education: Families experiencing a housing crisis may call the 24-hour shelter availability hot line at 1 (800) 799-7739.

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Information and Guidelines: Districtwide elementary and secondary student handbooks answer frequently asked questions, and outline behavior expectations and consequences.

International Baccalaureate Programme: IB offers a demanding college-prep curriculum to students around the world. MPS is the first district in Arizona to offer a comprehensive K-12 IB programme at Westwood High School, the Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies and Summit Academy.

Internet Safety: Website links and tools help families keep kids safe on their home computers.

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Student photo

Jobs for Students: Mesa Career Services offers resources to help young adults who are seeking part-time employment.

Junior High Athletics: MPS offers a wide variety of developmental and competitive sports for students in seventh and eighth grade.

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K-6 Academic Skills: See what every student should know and be able to do.

Kindergarten: Enrollment begins in late January for students who will be 5 years old before Aug. 31. There are many options for younger children.

KinderU offers a wide variety of preschool programming to fit the needs of the child and family.

Kuder is an Internet-based career planning system for students and parents.  

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Library Resource Centers: This Web site features information that can help students with generating ideas, guiding investigations, developing the imagination and writing research papers.

Lunch: Free- and reduced-price lunches are available. Qualifications are established by the federal government. Meal Assistance Applications are available in all school offices and cafeterias. Menus and prices are also posted. Prepayment may be made online with a credit or debit card at myschoolbucks.com.

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Maps: School attendance area maps and small districtwide maps are available for online viewing. Larger maps are available for purchase from the Research and Evaluation Department.

Media Guidelines: These procedures help district employees with media inquiries, emergency or controversial situations, districtwide or community issues, school or department feature stories and media on campus.

Student photoMesa Agenda: The MPS employee newsletter — featuring stories, photos and videos — is published online. We welcome subscribers.

Mesa Career Services: Scholarship resources, a Web-based job bulletin board, interview tips and workshops are available.

Mesa Early Learning Preschool: MELP builds on children's natural curiosity through interaction, exploration and discovery. Classes are free if families meet income guidelines.

Mesa Distance Learning Program: Online curriculum is hosted by state-certified MPS teachers for students in sixth grade through high school. Students may earn a diploma through this individual learning and independent study program.

Mesa Public Schools Foundation: The Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit community organization. Tax-deductible donations promote student achievement and well-being in MPS.

Migrant Preschool: In this home-based program, parents and home educators work together to provide age-appropriate learning activities.

Mission Statement: We focus on unprecedented excellence in education for each child.

Montessori Preschool: Montessori Preschool provides a nurturing learning environment for 3- to 5-year-olds.

Montessori Programs: MPS offers free kindergarten through sixth-grade Montessori programs at three convenient locations.

Movie Ticket Discounts: MPS employees can buy discount tickets for Harkins and AMC in the lobby of the Administrative Services Center.

Music Program: Instrumental and vocal programs of the Creative and Performing Arts Department are designed to develop comprehensive musicianship.

MySchoolBucks.com: Parents may use the Internet to deposit money into their child's account for breakfast and lunch. Parents may monitor the student's usage, set spending limits and receive e-mail notifications when the balance is low.

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Student photo

National Academic League: NAL combines aspects of team sports (competitiveness, strategy and cooperation) with learning (problem solving, critical thinking and scholarship) at the junior high school level.

National Merit Scholarships: See PSAT/NMSQT.

Native American Education Program: NAEP supplements district programs and services to meet academic and cultural needs.

Newsletters: The district has several publications for staff, parents and residents. Subscribers are welcome. For school newsletters, click your campus website.

News Releases: The communications & marketing department shares district news with media and the community. Parents and the public are invited to subscribe.

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Open Enrollment: Arizona is an open-enrollment state. Parents may select a school outside their neighborhood attendance area or their school district. MPS welcomes open enrollment students.

Opt-Out Form: The form allows parents to deny student access to the Internet at school, being photographed or interviewed by the media, or allowing the district to share information with military recruiters as required under No Child Left Behind. Complete the form and submit it to the school office each year.

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Student photoPABDAC: The Planning and Boundary Design Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the superintendent on growth and boundary alignment. Members are appointed by the Governing Board.

Parent Rights: MPS complies with a state law that lists parent rights regarding their children's education.

Parent University: Free workshops support parents, grandparents, caregivers and educators in their vital role in shaping the lives of young people. Classes are taught by national consultants and prominent Valley educators.

PEER Preschool: Children with and without disabilities are positive role models for communication and social interaction.

Policies: The Governing Board creates policies.

Prekindergarten: Choose from half- and full-day programs that focus on a variety of developmental and educational skills in group and individual settings.

Prekindergarten Plus: This preschool offers a full-day option with wrap-around child care.

Preschools: MPS offers Child Development Centers, First Things First, Mesa Early Learning Preschool, Migrant Preschool, PEER, Prekindergarten, Prekindergarten Plus and Special Education Preschool.

Printing & Publishing: MPS Printing and Publishing Department partners with clients to design and deliver customized communications for the classroom or office.

Professional Development: Workshops are designed for MPS employees.

Project MESA: The district's sexual awareness program, for seventh- and ninth-graders, is coordinated by the Science and Social Sciences Department.

PSAT / NMSQT: This test is sponsored by the College Board and National Merit. It is an opportunity to practice for the SAT. It is a requirement to compete for National Merit recognition and scholarships. College QuickStart provides information on using the test scores.

Public Records Request: Request forms are online. Public records may also be requested in writing under the state public records law or the federal Freedom of Information Act.  

Publication Guidelines Manual: Standards based on school board policy enable MPS employees to create publications that reflect high-quality editorial content and design.


Student photoRegistration: This Web page features information on enrollment procedures, immunizations, finding your neighborhood school and open enrollment.

Release Time: Parents may request time off for students during the school day with administrative approval. Contact your child's counselor.

Report Cards: Report cards are issued four times a year, after each nine-week grading period. 

Rules: MPS is guided by Governing Board Policies. Behavior guidelines are published in school handbooks and District Information and Guidelines


Safety on the Internet: See the website links and tools to help families keep kids safe on their home computers.

Safety to and from school: Read these tip for bike riders, pedestrians and drivers.

SAT: The college entrance exam is administered by the College Board. It is required by some colleges and universities for admission.

Scholarships: Several scholarships are available to eligible Mesa Public Schools students. Students may search scholarships by name or deadline. Students are also encouraged to speak with their student advisors about additional opportunities.

School Board Meetings: Five MPS Governing Board members are elected by district residents and serve four-year terms without pay. Agendas, highlights and videos are posted online.

School Messenger: Schools and district offices contact parents by mail, phone, email and text messages for emergency notifications, events and additional information. Parents, please let the school office know if your address, email address or phone number changes.

School Report Cards: The Arizona Department of Education issues report cards annually for each public school. Arizona also receives a state report card annually.

Service Learning: Service learning volunteer programs are available at many schools. Seventh- and eighth-graders can earn the Silver Service Award for completing 50 hours of service learning. Seniors may earn the Honor for Excellence in Service Learning by completing 150 hours of service learning in ninth through 12th grade. This can be a combination of curriculum-based service learning and extracurricular service sponsored by clubs or community organizations.

Sexual Awareness Program: Project MESA curriculum for seventh- and ninth-graders is coordinated by the Science and Social Sciences Department.

Space Integration Module: SIM is a unique opportunity for elementary students to experience the thrill of space flight. SIM includes an orbiter, space station and mission control, all equipped with the latest technology. The SIM experience focuses on science, technology, engineering and math. It also teaches students the importance of communication, teamwork and problem solving.

Special Days and Observances: Education- and youth-related days, weeks and months help school employees plan ahead.

Student photoSpecial Education Preschool: Children identified with special needs may qualify for free preschool classes. Child Find screening and evaluation are available for children as young as 2½ to check for speech, hearing, vision and other developmental delays. Services may begin as young as 2 years and 9 months of age.

State Standards: Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards prove a clear and consistent framework to prepare students for the future.

State Tax Credit: The Extracurricular Activity program allows you to designate some of your state tax dollars to a Mesa school.

Strategic Plan: Charting Excellence details the school district's guiding philosophies, priorities and goals, which clearly focus on student success.

Study Resources: Library Resource Center links lead to a variety of databases by subject area.

Substitute Teachers: They maintain quality academic standards when teachers are absent due to illness or professional development. MPS hires substitute teachers who have a current Arizona teaching or substitute teaching certificate.

Superintendency: The superintendency is a group of administrators responsible for the day-to-day operations of Mesa Public Schools. They provide recommendations to the citizen-elected Governing Board regarding academics, policy and finance. 

Synergy SE: The district's special education database.


Tax Credits: You can direct your Arizona tax money to a Mesa school. Dollar-for-dollar state tax credits are available.

Student photoTests: We use several assessments to measure student achievement and comply with state and federal mandates. Tests include AzMERIT, district tests, NAEP and Stanford 10.

Textbooks: The Library Services Department manages textbooks — orders, catalogs, transfers and inventory.

Theme Park Discounts: MPS employees may be eligible for available theme park districts.

Travel Services: This office processes requests for employee and student travel via e-travel forms, and ensures correct coding, fund availability, appropriate approvals and reimbursement of travel expenses if applicable.

Trip Reduction Program: This Maricopa County mandate helps MPS staff save money on gas, decrease traffic congestion and reduce air pollution.

Tutoring: Many schools offer free tutoring programs before school, after school or during lunch. Ask your teacher for information. MPS offers study resources at no cost to students. 

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Used Surplus: Used, unwanted or unneeded items are redistributed for use in other areas of the district. However, for items that we are not able to redistribute, an open house is conducted to sell available items to the general public.

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Visitors: We welcome visitors to MPS campuses. Please sign in at the school office, and pick up a name badge as soon as you arrive.

Volunteer Services: We welcome parent and community volunteers who assist our schools in many ways. Visit the school office and ask how you can help.

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Web Policies and Best Practices: Appropriate content and visual consistency of school and department websites are based on policies and best practices determined by Web Services, Educational Technology and Community Relations departments. Architeck is the district's Web content management system.