• Celebrations

  • 2022 ASAP STEM Teaching Fellows

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/15/2022

    The Arizona STEM Acceleration Project (ASAP) is a new initiative transforming how Arizona’s K-12 educators deliver high-quality, hands-on STEM activities to our state’s future leaders. A partnership between ASU’s Center for Science and Imagination and the Mary Lou Fulton’s Teacher College, its mission is to boost STEM teaching and learning across the state by supporting teachers with professional development and funding for their STEM-focused projects.  This brand-new program launched at the start of this school year and teachers were encouraged to apply for the ASAP STEM Teacher Fellowship. 

    SUSD is proud to announce that 16 SUSD teachers across 14 sites applied for and were accepted into the ASAP STEM Teaching Fellows program.  

    2022 ASAP STEM FellowsBrad Charles - Arcadia

    Mary McGalloway – Cherokee

    Larissa Beckstead - Cheyenne

    Cassandra Cordts - Cocopah

    Marcia DeMuro – Cocopah

    Hannah Mckolay - Desert Mountain

    Laura Mitchell - Hopi

    Peter Johnston - Ingleside

    Molly Ashley - Kiva

    Dana Meyers - Mountainside

    Jacqueline Tancos - Navajo

    Trish Simmons - Navajo

    Luz Maria Van Daam – Pueblo

    Scott Milne - Saguaro

    Brittany Keller - Tavan

    Hailey Murphy - Tavan

    They submitted applications that included an outline of an innovative STEM project that they want to create, continue, or support at their site.  Projects include Family STEM nights, a high school outdoor living laboratory, a long-term water quality testing project of the school’s pond, a middle school mentorship and internship program focusing on STEM careers, a sustainable agriculture project, a worm farm and school garden, the bolstering of an aeronautics unit, Makerspace lessons and materials, integration of art and science in HS physics classes, and lessons where students use Ozbots to code storybook plot diagrams.  Those are just a few!

    The STEM Fellows will each take 30 hours of professional development and will receive $2000 in materials from ASAP to support their projects.  These teachers are bringing in $32,000 of STEM materials and experiences for our students! 

    We are excited to support the innovation these teachers bring to their campuses and look forward to seeing their projects come to life this spring and over the years to come.  ASAP will open up a Year 2 STEM Teaching Fellows Application in April of 2023, and SUSD hopes that more teachers will join this fabulous group. 

    Congratulations, 2022 ASAP STEM Fellows. Thank you for the hard work you are doing to bring to life your innovative projects and for being STEM leaders on your campuses and in our state!

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  • SUSD High School College Fair

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/15/2022

    Jennifer Dorsch and Amy DownsWhat originally started last spring as an idea for a College Fair at Desert Mountain High School grew over the summer into an all-SUSD High School College Fair.

    On October 22nd, an estimated 1,000 SUSD students and their families descended on two gymnasiums at Desert Mountain to learn about post-secondary learning opportunities available to them from more than 75 colleges and universities that had accepted our invitation to participate.

    Desert Mountain High School College and Career Center Coordinator, Jennifer Dorsch, and SUSD’s College and Career Readiness Director Amy Downs organized this successful event, along with the College and Career Center coordinators at our four other high schools, our high school guidance counselors and student volunteers, as well as the SUSD Facilities and the Finance departments.

    Next up are plans for a district-wide Career Expo in March, attended by a variety of Valley employers who will help students learn about job and career opportunities in all types of industries, right here in Arizona.

    SUSD College FairSUSD College Fair

      SUSD College Fair  

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  • November is Native American Heritage Month

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/15/2022

    In 1990, Congress passed and President George H. W. Bush signed into law a joint resolution naming each November Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and honor our nation’s Indigenous peoples of the past and present. Scottsdale Unified School District is proud that students representing Arizona tribal nations attend all 30 of our schools. SUSD joins in this month’s recognition of our Native American community, and its unique culture and language that have thrived thru the ages.

    The Governing Board was pleased to meet three members of the Pascua Yaqui Penjamo Community Board at its meeting this week, all of whom are graduates of Coronado High School, as well as the leadership team of Coronado’s CHANT student club and their faculty sponsor.

    Members of the Pascua Yaqui Penjamo Community Members of Coronado’s CHANT student club and their faculty sponsor.

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  • Arizona State Thespians’ Administrator of the Year Award

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/15/2022

    Principal Ann Achtziger  and Assistant Superintendent Karen Benson Principal Ann Achtziger is the biggest Saguaro High School fan EVER!  When she is not overseeing the classroom and extracurricular activities of Saguaro’s 1,400 students – including roaming the sidelines of Friday night football games – and 93 staff, Mrs. Achtziger is a strong supporter of the Sabercats’ Arts programs.

    Saguaro routinely stages wonderful theatrical performances, including, most recently, Beauty and The Beast.  In the Saguaro Theater Department, students realize their passion for creating and performing, building and lighting sets, and all of the activities associated with performing arts.

    Under the direction of director Tim McCandless and with Mrs. Achtziger’s strong support, Saguaro High School’s theater program -and its entire Performing Arts program - excels.

    Later this week, as part of the Arizona State Thespians Conference in Phoenix, she will receive the Administrator of the Year Award for that commitment and support of her students. Congratulations Principal Achtziger, and thank you for everything you do for your Sabercats and the Saguaro Learning Community!

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  • SUSD’s State Championship Swim and Dive Teams

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/15/2022

     SUSD’s State Championship Swim and Dive teams Congratulations to  SUSD’s State Championship Swim and Dive teams!  For the first time in Arizona high school athletics history, a Division I school – Chaparral – won both the boys and girls state swim and dive titles. For the Lady Firebirds, it was their 9th consecutive state championship. WOW!

    Over in Division II, our Desert Mountain girls swim and dive team captured its second-in-a-row state title. Junior Gabrielle Primiano was named the division’s Swimmer of the Year and Crystal Strimple was named Coach of the Year.  

    We are so proud of our student athletes’ achievements and the coaches who inspire them!


    Read more at The SUSD Source


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  • Cherokee Named an Exemplary, High-Performing United States Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for 2022

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 9/20/2022

    Cherokee Elementary School  Staff

    We are excited to announce that Cherokee Elementary School has been named an Exemplary, High-Performing United States Department of Education National Blue Ribbon School for 2022! 

    Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests. 

    National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation.

    Cherokee is one of just 6 schools in Arizona and 297 in the entire nation to receive this recognition this year. 

    Principal Walt Chantler, former assistant principal Paul Anderson and the hardworking Cherokee staff put their heart and soul into this effort, not only confirming what Cherokee does well, but also discovering ways in which it can become an even better school.  That is what is called a win-win!  

    Cherokee provides outstanding education and resources to its 700 students, starting at its Early Childhood Center and progressing through 5th grade, with …

    • a Continuous Improvement Plan that supports both children and staff
    • RTI services to offer remediation and enrichment opportunities
    • CASEL and Sanford Harmony to help guide students’ emotional growth and
    • a strongly embedded PBIS program.

    It all works together to create a wonderful school culture and a safe and supportive learning environment for all students, and one that has the strong involvement and support of its parent community.

    We’ve known for a long time what a special place Cherokee is.  Now everyone else does, too!

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  • Tonalea Middle School Teacher receives Warren-Young Scholarship

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 9/20/2022

    Dr. Paula Slamowitz receives Warren-Young ScholarshipTonalea’s Dr. Paula Slamowitz applied for and is one of just two recipients in the nation of a 2022-23 American Association of Forensic Sciences Foundation Warren-Young Scholarship and tells us she plans to use the $3,000 scholarship award to bring additional forensics resources to her classroom and further her professional development in the field.

    As Tonalea incorporates more career readiness classes to align with its AVID program, Dr. Slamowitz stepped up this school year to teach two new classes, Video Production and Forensics, in addition to her usual 6th, 7th and 8th grade Honors Social Studies and Yearbook duties. She is the perfect choice to lead the new Forensics class, having received her undergrad degree in Criminal Justice.

    60 students are taking the new Forensics class, where they have the opportunity to develop research, critical thinking, organization, persuasion and oral communication skills and are gaining insight into a career that combines law enforcement and science to solve crimes.

    Congratulations, Dr. Slamowitz, and thank you for everything you do for Tonalea students!

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  • Desert Mountain Teacher Presented with the John J. Ross Memorial Award

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 9/20/2022

    Janet Emond receives the John J. Ross Memorial AwardAt the September 20, 2022 Governing Board meeting, Mr. Armendt with the Arizona Bar Foundation presented Desert Mountain High School Criminology teacher Janet Emond with the John J. Ross Memorial Award for Excellence in Law-Related Education.

    Mrs. Emond is in her 7th year teaching Desert Mountain’s Social Studies Criminology classes, bringing 25 years of high school social studies-teaching experience at Downers Grove North High School in suburban Chicago with her to SUSD in 2016.

    Mrs. Emond’s efforts to extend her students’ understanding of the law and offer them opportunities for civic engagement through the Kids Voting program and the Fountain Hills Teen Court were recognized and celebrated with this award.

    The late Mr. Ross was a founding partner of a legacy, Phoenix law firm, Brown and Bain. The law library at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law bears his name.

    Congratulations, Mrs. Emond, on your efforts to go above and beyond to bring outstanding learning opportunities to your students!


    Read more at The SUSD Source


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  • Laguna and Navajo Elementary Schools Achieve Cognia STEM Certification

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 5/24/2022

    Laguna Achieves Cognia STEM CertificationSUSD is incredibly proud to recognize the impressive accomplishments of Navajo Elementary school and Laguna Elementary school. They have both been awarded the very prestigious title of Cognia STEM Certified School. During the month of May, both schools underwent a rigorous review of their schools and were scored in 4 domains.

    • STEM Community
    • STEM Learning Culture
    • STEM Student Experiences
    • STEM Outcomes

    These reviews were the culmination of many years of hard work. Over the past 3 years, the Laguna and Navajo teachers engaged in hours of STEM focused professional development, organized and attended school STEM events, collaboratively planed and created interdisciplinary STEM learning experiences, both during and beyond the school day, engaged in hours of peer observations and compiled hundreds of artifacts that demonstrate their proficiency in the 16 Cognia STEM Standards. The teachers of these two schools have expanded their teaching practices and committed themselves to creating learning experiences for students that are future-focused. Students have experienced interdisciplinary units rich in real world problem solving.Navajo Achieves Cognia STEM Certification

    The principals of these two schools, Dr. Brooke Willimas of Laguna and Mr. Matt Patzlaff of Navajo, navigated their school communities through this 3-year journey. They engaged their parents and community partners in the process and truly created STEM Learning Communities in their school neighborhoods.

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  • Elementary Students Shine in Zaner-Bloser’s Handwriting contest

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 5/24/2022

    Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Award RecipientsIn this day and age of computers, laptops and cell phones, it can be understood if the art of penmanship and handwriting are slowly dwindling away.

    But there is a national organization, Zaner-Bloser that is dedicated to ensuring that despite our many advanced technologies, handwriting remains a relevant means of communication. 

    All of us probably have received a handwritten letter or note in our lives that made an impact on us – because the sender took the time to express themselves to us in pen, on paper.

    But being able to write neatly and legibly is not just about handwriting; writing is part of being literate and proficient in reading and writing. 

    Add to that spelling, vocabulary, word choice, and more, and you begin to see how handwriting is grounded in all of those basic, complementary communication skills that empower us.

    At our Anasazi and Cochise Elementary schools, handwriting skills are emphasized and celebrated.  And we would like to celebrate the handwriting development of three students.

    Anasazi Elementary students Braeden Fehl and Mckenna Vick, along with Cochise Elementary student Kennedy Nolan have been named grade-level handwriting winners for Arizona in Zaner-Bloser’s annual, national handwriting contest.  They were chosen to represent their grades – 3rd for Braedyn, 4th for Mckenna and 5th for Kennedy – from among nearly 80,000 public and private school students who participate each year.

    We also want to thank long-time volunteer and retired educator Marilyn Harrer for her continued dedication to Anasazi and Cochise students’ handwriting instruction.

    Congratulations, and keep writing!

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