• Celebrations

  • April Celebrations

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 5/3/2024

    DCES A+ Celebration  

    Students dressed in traditional Chinese celebratory wear entertained the April 9 SUSD Governing Board meeting with a presentation showing off their Desert Canyon Elementary-acquired Mandarin language skills. The DCES students, staff and parents were there to share the school's recent designation as an Arizona Educational Foundation A+ School of Excellence. DCES is the starting point of SUSD's Dual Language Immersion Mandarin program.

    Yavapai's Winning Postcard Artist                                                                                                                           
    Meet Jose Hernandez Salgado, winner of this year's Arizona Historical Society postcard contest.  The Yavapai Elementary 3rd grade student was one of 10 winners in the state in this year's competition. What's more Arizona than the sun, cacti, cactus wren, the state flag and a bald eagle?

    Now That's The Spirit!
    Whether he's leading his school's annual Parada del Sol entry down Scottsdale Road or shepherding students into their classrooms, it would be hard to find a Navajo Elementary School Buffalo with more spirit than Principal Matt Patzlaff.  Mr. P. was recently honored at a Scottsdale City Council meeting with the city's 2023 Spirit of Scottsdale Award.   


    Engaging Students in World-Class, Future-Focused Education
    At SUSD, we're known for giving our educators the tools and means to be creative in their classrooms.  One of the ways we do that is through the StartUp Innovation grant program.  The spring 2024 recipients of the up-to-$10,000 grants, Redfield Elementary and Echo Canyon School, were recognized at the April 9 Governing Board meeting.  At Redfield, Principal Amanda Rand will lead a teacher group to pursue a project they call, "Bot-ify the Classroom: Enhancing Education Through Coding Bots."  At Echo Canyon, teacher Kelley Tully, with the support of Principal Kat Hughes, plans to implement her project, "TechTinkerers: Junior Engineers' Workshop" with the innovation funding. 

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  • January Celebrations

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 1/1/2024

    2023 Best of Scottsdale Awards
    SUSD is thrilled to be chosen as the Scottsdale Progress Scottsdale’s Best 2023 Public School/District and so pleased that Arcadia High School’s CMAS teacher Richard Maxwell was voted the Best High School Teacher. The two runners-up are SUSD teachers, too! 

    December Governing Board Celebration
    Last month, the SUSD Governing Board celebrated Desert Mountain High School senior Layla Gregory, winner of the Jerome McDonough Award at the recent Arizona Thespians’ festival.  The event brings together budding playwrights, such as Layla, actors, student directors, and behind-the-scenes theatre tech crews from high schools across the state for two days of workshops on all aspects of bringing a theatrical production to life, from lighting and sets, to costumes, choreography, improv, auditioning and … writing!

    Layla’s original stage play, I’m Not the Main Character, was chosen as the festival’s top original play.  The story follows a side character in a romance novel who, despite his best efforts, is massively unsuccessful in his pursuit of the play’s main character.  

    Layla is a talented performer, appearing as Alice in Desert Mountain’s recent production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She takes her considerable talents to Northern Arizona University next year to major in Theatre.

    The Board also celebrated the selection of Saguaro High School senior Alex Stephenson as Scottsdale Leadership’s 2023 Bill Jenkins Youth Leadership Award. Alex is well-known at Saguaro for his enthusiasm for helping others. He has worked on the art installations for the city’s Canal Convergence event and is, pardon the pun, the “driving” force of the Go Baby Go program between Saguaro and NAU that adapts toy cars for special-needs children.

    If you aren’t yet convinced that Alex is worthy of recognition, he is part of SUSD’s new CTE Work-Based Learning program and is the youngest employee at Axon where, as an engineer contractor, he advises on R & D engineering projects, creates prototypes, and works with various police and fire departments. Alex is also a candidate for recognition in May as Math and Science Academy Distinguished graduate. 

    The Governing Board also celebrated the most recent achievements of several SUSD employees.

    Chaparral High School Economics and AP U.S. History teacher Chris Haak is the Arizona Council on Economic Education’s 2023 High School Teacher of the Year! Mr. Haak recognized that the economics curriculum was a bit dry, so with the assistance of Chaparral Assistant Principal Megan Bird (a former winner of this same award for elementary school teachers!), he reworked its content to make it more engaging for students, and they are loving it!

    Saguaro High School Honors Biotechnology/Pre-AP Biology teacher Scott Milne and SUSD Facilities Grounds Lead Joe Arteca were recognized for their work to bring a “Living Labs” project to life on the Saguaro campus. The labs are part of an extension of the school’s powerful partnership with the Scottsdale-based McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. Its mission is to preserve and advance our community’s natural, open space through science, education and stewardship, and Saguaro students are pitching in.  

    Last school year, under Mr. Milne’s direction, students jumped in to create three locations on campus to further their and their fellow Sabercats’ understanding of the Sonoran Desert environment we call ‘home,’ and enable them to be able to contribute scientific data to the Conservancy’s research.

    Invasive plant species were removed from a central part of the campus and replaced with native plants to create a pollinator garden. An unused planter between the Innovation Center and the cafeteria was turned into a cactus garden to study … you guessed it … Saguaro cacti! The third project was to create a learning corridor in the 300 Building, turning an empty hallway trophy case into a display about biological soil crust.

    In a true collaboration of efforts, Mr. Arteca and his team of Facilities workers handled the construction sides of the project, with students pitching in, too, and Mr. Milne handled the science side. Thank you, gentlemen!

    And Now You Know the Rest of the Story …
    Last spring, we told you about Tonalea 8th grade student Roselyn Pliego Figueroa, whose brochure design had was chosen as the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution Sergeant Moses Adams founding documents brochure contest winner.

    In November, Roselyn, now a freshman at Coronado High School, attended the local organization’s event to be celebrated as the 3rd place winner of the group’s national brochure competition!  Shown here with SAR Arizona President Robert Hoover, SAR Barry M. Goldwater Chapter President Mark Seifert, her parents, and SUSD’s Coordinator of State and Federal Programs, Shawn Crosier, we won’t be surprised to see Roselyn’s future artwork also winning awards. She is studying Studio Art this year at Coronado.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • December Celebrations

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 12/22/2023

    2023 Best of Scottsdale Awards

    SUSD is thrilled to be chosen as the Scottsdale Progress Scottsdale’s Best 2023 Public School/District and so pleased that Arcadia High School’s CMAS teacher Richard Maxwell was voted the Best High School Teacher. The two runners-up are SUSD teachers, too! 



    December Governing Board Celebrations
    Last month, the SUSD Governing Board celebrated Desert Mountain High School senior Layla Gregory, winner of the Jerome McDonough Award at the recent Arizona Thespians’ festival.  The event brings together budding playwrights, such as Layla, actors, student directors, and behind-the-scenes theatre tech crews from high schools across the state for two days of workshops on all aspects of bringing a theatrical production to life, from lighting and sets, to costumes, choreography, improv, auditioning and … writing!

    Layla’s original stage play, I’m Not the Main Character, was chosen as the festival’s top original play.  The story follows a side character in a romance novel who, despite his best efforts, is massively unsuccessful in his pursuit of the play’s main character.  

    Layla is a talented performer, appearing as Alice in Desert Mountain’s recent production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She takes her considerable talents to Northern Arizona University next year to major in Theatre.

    The Board also celebrated the selection of Saguaro High School senior Alex Stephenson as Scottsdale Leadership’s 2023 Bill Jenkins Youth Leadership Award. Alex is well-known at Saguaro for his enthusiasm for helping others. He has worked on the art installations for the city’s Canal Convergence event and is, pardon the pun, the “driving” force of the Go Baby Go program between Saguaro and NAU that adapts toy cars for special-needs children.

    If you aren’t yet convinced that Alex is worthy of recognition, he is part of SUSD’s new CTE Work-Based Learning program and is the youngest employee at Axon where, as an engineer contractor, he advises on R & D engineering projects, creates prototypes, and works with various police and fire departments. Alex is also a candidate for recognition in May as Math and Science Academy Distinguished graduate. 

    The Governing Board also celebrated the most recent achievements of several SUSD employees.

    Chaparral High School economics and AP U.S. History teacher Chris Haak is the Arizona Council on Economic Education’s 2023 High School Teacher of the Year! Mr. Haak recognized that the economics curriculum was a bit dry, so with the assistance of Chaparral Assistant Principal Megan Bird (a former winner of this same award for elementary school teachers!), he reworked its content to make it more engaging for students, and they are loving it!

     

     

    Saguaro High School Honors Biotechnology/Pre-AP Biology teacher Scott Milne and SUSD Facilities Grounds Lead Joe Arteca were recognized for their work to bring a “Living Labs” project to life on the Saguaro campus. The labs are part of an extension of the school’s powerful partnership with the Scottsdale-based McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. Its mission is to preserve and advance our community’s natural, open space through science, education and stewardship, and Saguaro students are pitching in.  

    Last school year, under Mr. Milne’s direction, students jumped in to create three locations on campus to further their and their fellow Sabercats’ understanding of the Sonoran Desert environment we call ‘home,’ and enable them to be able to contribute scientific data to the Conservancy’s research.

    Invasive plant species were removed from a central part of the campus and replaced with native plants to create a pollinator garden. An unused planter between the Innovation Center and the cafeteria was turned into a cactus garden to study … you guessed it … Saguaro cacti! The third project was to create a learning corridor in the 300 Building, turning an empty hallway trophy case into a display about biological soil crust.

    In a true collaboration of efforts, Mr. Arteca and his team of Facilities workers handled the construction sides of the project, with students pitching in, too, and Mr. Milne handled the science side. Thank you, gentlemen!



     


    And Now You Know the Rest of the Story …

    Last spring, we told you about Tonalea 8th grade student Roselyn Pliego Figueroa, whose brochure design was chosen as the Arizona Sons of the American Revolution Sergeant Moses Adams founding documents brochure contest winner.

    In November, Roselyn, now a freshman at Coronado High School, attended the local organization’s event to be celebrated as the 3rd place winner of the group’s national brochure competition!  Shown here with SAR Arizona President Robert Hoover, SAR Barry M. Goldwater Chapter President Mark Seifert, her parents, and SUSD’s Coordinator of State and Federal Programs, Shawn Crosier, we won’t be surprised to see Roselyn’s future artwork also winning awards. She is studying Studio Art this year at Coronado.

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  • November Celebrations

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 12/13/2023

    Fall Innovation Grant Recipients

    The Innovation StartUp Grant was created by the Innovation in Teaching and Learning Strategic Action Team to support innovation and further the goals of our strategic plan.

    Last semester, this grant was opened up to all SUSD staff awarding grantees up to $10,000.00 for their innovation project.  The grant encouraged applicants to examine their environment and identify opportunities for innovation. 

    Anasazi Elementary School:  Teachers Sara Armstrong, Abria Stewart and Principal Jen Waldron

    Ms. Armstong’s innovation grant, “Anasazi Outdoor Learning Lab,'' will become part of the Maricopa Pollinator Pathway program which uses plants to support native Arizona pollinators.

    Also, we recognize Anasazi grantee Ms. Stewart as she seeks to support students in general music with midi keyboard technology.


    Pueblo Elementary:  Alicia Majercin and Principal Hummon for their project titled, “Dias de Carreiras e Innovación” (Careers and Innovation Days)

    Pueblo’s grant focuses on enrichment and career days built throughout the year showcasing how being biliterate/bilingual can be an asset to their students and their future career paths. 


    Tonalea Middle School:  Science teacher Patricia Hernandez, Principal Dr. Jagodzinski and AP Ms. Polito

    Working to enhance middle school science through drone technology, digital photography and microscopes. 


    Mountainside Middle School:  Daniel Reinhart, Principal Luke and their team for their winning submission, Transportation Reimagined 

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  • October Celebrations

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/1/2023

    National Principals Month

    October is National Principals Month.  While we are appreciative year-round of the many ways in which our principals make Scottsdale Unified, our schools and our students better, we are pleased that an entire month is dedicated to celebrating them and their work.  

    SUSD’s 30 principals are committed to their students and their success, and to their staff and parent communities.  They never lose sight that their leadership has a defining impact on their campuses’ climate and culture.  That is no easy task, to be sure, yet our principals adeptly juggle their many roles.

    They’re there at zero hour in the morning; pop in on classes; greet, chat with and re-direct students; provide professional advice to teachers and staff; lean over to pick up a piece of trash and get it to an appropriate receptacle; and always – always – take great pride in their schools’ good standing in their community.  

    Long after the stadium and stage lights have dimmed, they go home, answer e-mails, put their own children to bed or just kiss them on the head if they’ve already fallen asleep, rest their own heads for a few hours, then get up and do it all over again.  

    SUSD would not be the excelling organization that it is without the frontline work done every day, day after day, by our building leaders.

     

    Coronado HS Senior Nathan Higuera, head football coach Rick Benjamin, Scottsdale Fire Department paramedics 

    Because of these men’s actions, Nathan's good health is in the process of being restored.  To Coach Benjamin and to our fire department’s paramedics team, thank you for being in the right place at the right time to save our student.  We are greatly indebted to you. 

     

    National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

    We are pleased to report that SUSD has 20 Semifinalists.  They are:

    • Lauren Matz from Arcadia High School
    • Douglas Driggs, Chloe Greetis, Tyler Higgins, Joseph Kahn, Tate Leventhal, Sania Patel, Darshan Shankar, Morgan Tefft and Elvia Uzdonas from Chaparral High School
    • Adelina Grotenhuis, Victoria Leung, David Ortloff and Leo Weber from Desert Mountain High School, and 
    • Mitchell Fesmire, Alyssa Perrine, Amutha Rajasundaram, Nikhil Sethi, Alex Stephenson and Jake Weiss from Saguaro High School
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  • 6th Annual Sisters in STEM Kids Event

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 10/1/2023

    The winds of science, technology, engineering and math, aka STEM, were blowing across the Saguaro High School campus last weekend as the school’s Sisters in STEM and Robotics team hosted local K-8 students at their annual community celebration of learning.

    Students were able to see practical demonstrations of STEM concepts from their own world of such things as how circuits work, atmospheric pressure and ocean layers. Display tables were set up on the quad, and inside the Innovation Center, children were able to operate VEX robots used in competition and built by Saguaro students. 

    While the event is geared toward generating interest among girls that math and science are fun, plenty of smiles were seen on the faces of little brothers, moms, dads and grandparents.  

    We want to thank the dedicated Saguaro students who organized this event, as well as the Sabercat graduates who continue ‘coming home’ to support this great celebration!



    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • Ingleside Sings to the Rafters

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 10/1/2023

    Ingleside at Backs

    And they’re pretty high rafters, too, at Chase Field.  Students representing Ingleside Middle School’s four choirs joined schools from around the Valley and state to sing the National Anthem at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ July 15 game against the Chicago Cubs.  Not only was their joint rendition stirring (imagine 800 students in chorus, standing along the first baseline), the Dbacks won!

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • National Recognition for Graduated Desert Mountain Artist

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 10/1/2023

    Back in May, Diana Lopez, who was soon to graduate from Desert Mountain High School, received top honors in Scottsdale Sister Cities’ annual Young Artists and Authors Showcase competition.  Now, Diana has been named the national grand prize winner for her work, “For the Future,” by Sister Cities International, the local chapter’s governing organization!

    The competition’s theme this year was “Peace by Piece: Food Security in My Community.”  Diana, who now attends the prestigious Savannah (Georgia) College of Art and Design, truly delivered a thoughtful and beautiful interpretation.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • DMHS design team takes 1st place at the EPICs event last month!

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 5/16/2023

    Desert Mountain HS EPICS design team

    One of the many ways ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Colleges of Engineering give back is through its Engineering Projects in Community Services (EPICS) program.

    It’s something that Desert Mountain High School students have been involved in for a few years now. Recently, six groups of DMHS students took part in an EPICS student design competition, and, we are proud to report, brought home two awards.  One of the teams - made up of Zack Okun, Jack Levine, Julian Kimble, Ava Jazwin, Tom Lockett, Terrence Li and Lailla Burka - designed an ergonomic wheelchair to assist paralyzed veterans. Their design took 1st place at the EPICs event last month!

    Congratulations to all of the Wolves’ EPICS teams on their accomplishments this school year and for taking on real-world issues of import!

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  • Coronado JAG program named Arizona’s 2022-2023 JAG Program of the Year! 

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 5/16/2023

    Coronado JAG program

    Each year, the students of Coronado High School’s Jobs for Arizona Graduates, or JAG, program continue to do amazing things!

    For more than 40 years, Arizona’s JAG program has been helping young people stay in school by helping them acquire the academic, personal, leadership and vocational skills they will need to be successful following their graduation. 

    Once again this year, the Coronado JAG program has outdone itself, having been named Arizona’s 2022-2023 JAG Program of the Year!  Congratulations on this outstanding achievement!

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