• Superintendent graphic

  • Letter from the Superintendent

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 11/15/2022

    Dear SUSD Family,

    While the results of the November 8 general election are not quite finalized, they are not likely to change significantly.  I want to take this opportunity to thank you for ensuring that Scottsdale Unified School District’s more than 21,000 students will continue learning in world-class environments.

    We are grateful that you appreciate the value to the Scottsdale community of having a top-rated school district that educates its children with the resources and technology they need to be successful, in facilities that are conducive to future-focused learning.  By approving the District Additional Assistance levy through June 2030, you have chosen to continue contributing to Scottsdale’s economic development and its reputation as a great place in which to live, learn, work and do business.

    I also want to congratulate Amy Carney and Carine Werner, who will join our Governing Board in January.  We look forward to welcoming them and their voices as we advance the implementation of our Strategic Plan and the SUSD legacy of success.

    Sincerely,

    Scott A. Menzel, PhD

    Superintendent

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent’s Message

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 11/1/2022

    Hello, Scottsdale Families,

    This week marks the return of the Arizona State Board of Education A-F School Letter Grades for all public schools statewide. The grades have been on hiatus since 2019 and the onset of the pandemic.

    We are proud to report that 27 of our 30 schools earned an A or a B rating.

    Like all schools in Arizona and across the country, our schools continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, but overall, our students and schools are performing better than their peers.

    Fourteen of our schools maintained their A rating, while three improved. Arcadia High School and Echo Canyon K-8 improved their letter grades from B’s to A’s this year. Yavapai Elementary School jumped from a D to an A. We are also the only district with two high schools in the top 10 in the state! Congratulations to all who put in the time and effort to support our students and ensure that each of them has the opportunity to excel. All school letter grades are listed on the Academics page.  

    November 1st kicks off the acceptance of open enrollment applications for the 2023-24 school year. We know families have many choices to consider when it comes to their child’s education, and SUSD remains committed to offering the very best choice. From online to traditional, dual language immersion, IB, STEM and gifted, there is something for everyone in Scottsdale, along with award- winning fine arts and athletics.

    The time is now to check out SUSD’s kindergarten programs. All of our elementary and K-8 schools will host kindergarten information events this month, and you are invited to come see for yourself how the road to success starts in SUSD. The entire list of events can be found here.

    Thank you for continuing to support the safety and security of our students. You will recall that earlier this school year, we rolled out the clear bag policy for our indoor and outdoor high school sporting events. This policy will be extended to all middle school athletics after winter break. You can learn more about what to expect under  School Safety in The SUSD Source.

    Did you know that SUSD is home to nearly 500 Native American students? November is National Native American Heritage Month, and to celebrate, we will host our inaugural Native American Cultural Night to honor Indigenous culture and identity.  The celebration takes place November 28th from 6 ‒ 8 p.m. at Coronado High School. This event is free and open to the public. We hope you are able to join us for an evening of Native American dance and musical performances by our students and Indigenous performers.

    Also this month, we celebrate National Parent Involvement Day, on November 17th. SUSD parents are serious about their formal involvement in education, with more than 1,540 parents officially signed up as school and classroom volunteers to share their time and talents with our students and school teams. Our PTOs, PTAs and APTS also provide powerful contributions that support student success. Parents are our greatest partners. Thank you for your continued engagement!

    As a reminder, there is no school on Friday, November 11th, Veterans Day, a day our nation sets aside to pay tribute to all American veterans and give thanks to those who continue to serve their country.

    In fact, November is all about giving thanks, and we have so much for which to be grateful in SUSD. We hope you are able to enjoy special time with friends and family over the long weekend. Remember, there is no school Wednesday, November 23rd through Friday, November 25th.

    Please also join us in observing the following November celebrations:

    Nov. 14-18:  American Education Week

    Nov. 16:  Education Support Professionals Day

    Nov. 18:  Substitute Educators Day

    Nov. 20-26:  National Family Week


    Sincerely,
    Scott

    For more on the Superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Message

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 10/3/2022

    It’s hard to believe the first quarter of the year is nearly complete. Our focus remains on academic achievement and school safety.

    Last month, we received our 2021-22 school year state assessment testing data. While our schools continue to strive to ensure all students are learning at high levels and are proficient on state exams, SUSD has much of which to be proud: we outperform our peer districts in almost every grade level and outperform national averages. This is a substantial point of pride.

    Our students outperformed Maricopa County and the state of Arizona in Arizona’s Academic Standards Assessment (AASA), the ACT Aspire, and the ACT. Additionally, our 9th grade students’ scores surpassed the nation in English, Reading and Mathematics, and tied the nation in Science on the ACT Aspire. On the SAT, our students exceeded scores at both the state and national level.

    Test scores reflect the combined efforts of our teachers, site and district leaders, students, and families. There is so much work that happens in the classroom and at home to make sure our students are learning, and their academic gains are measurable. We are working to provide additional supports for middle-level math and are initiating a science instructional materials adoption for grades 9-12. 

    This past weekend, SUSD partnered with Scottsdale Police and Fire, HonorHealth and other first responders from around the Valley to test our mutual responses to an emergency that could occur at one of our schools. We are proud of the community partnerships and shared responsibility to keep our students and staff safe. You can read more about the training exercise in this month’s Safety and Security blog in The SUSD Source.

    We know school safety starts with a sense of belonging at school and at work. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Our Support Services team goes to great lengths to provide resources for students, parents and staff to remain engaged, build strong emotional connections, and develop resiliency. You can read more about it in their blog and find a list of resources on their webpage www.susd.org/SupportServices.

    For the last few weeks, we have hosted Town Hall meetings in each of our five learning communities to address questions about the District Additional Assistance Override on the November 8th ballot. Thank you to those of you who came out to seek information and ask questions. If approved, the proposed override would continue for another seven years the override that voters approved in 2016 and increase what it brings in annually from $8.5 million to $14.5 million. The estimated tax rate for the renewed override is $0.23 per $100 of net assessed valuation (the increase for a median-priced home in Scottsdale is estimated at $3.87 per month). Funding from the proposed override would be used to provide curriculum materials and school technology; school safety (which is embedded in the technology and facility line-items, in particular); school furniture, fixtures and equipment; fine arts, athletics and library equipment and materials; as well as playground equipment and facilities. You can learn more about the override here, and we encourage you to reach out with any questions you might have via Let’s Talk. Remember, October 11th is the deadline to register to vote in the November 8th general election.

    October is also National Principal Appreciation month and we are so grateful for our instructional leaders at the site. All month, we will celebrating each of our 30 principals, and hope you will join us in saying “Thank you.”

    Fall is certainly upon us and the weather is finally starting to give way to cooler temperatures, just in time to enjoy some well-deserved time off. We hope you have a restful fall break and return, ready to rock the rest of the semester!

    Sincerely,

    Scott

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Message

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 9/1/2022

    Hello, Scottsdale Families,

    I hope you and your students are settling into the new school year and enjoying all of the new opportunities it presents. Already, extracurriculars, clubs, performing arts and athletic programs are kicking into high gear. We know how important it is for students to feel connected to their campus. That sense of belonging goes a long way toward achieving academic success and ensuring safe schools. I personally look forward to cheering on our students this fall as they take to the stage, gridiron and hard court.

    If you plan on catching a game this Friday night, you will want to familiarize yourself with the new SUSD Bag Guidelines. More information on that and our upcoming Middle School Sports Festival can be found under Athletics.

    Also new this school year is the Arizona Moment of Silence law, House Bill 2707, which amends A.R.S. § 15-506. This new law requires all K-12 public schools to set aside one to two minutes at the beginning of every school day for silent reflection. Students are prohibited from interfering with other students' participation in this moment of silence. School personnel are prohibited from suggesting the content of the reflection; however, teachers are required to encourage parents to discuss with their children how to use their moment of silence. The new law takes effect September 24, 2022.

    This month, the district will host town hall meetings in each of our five learning communities to provide an opportunity for you and the community at-large to learn more about the proposed 2022 District Additional Assistance Override question that will appear on the November 8, 2022 General Election ballot.

    If approved, the proposed override would continue for another seven years the override that voters approved in 2016 and increase what it brings in annually from $8.5 million to $14.5 million. The estimated tax rate for the renewed override is $0.23 per $100 of net assessed valuation. Funding from the override is used to provide curriculum materials and school technology; school furniture, fixtures and equipment; fine arts, athletics and library equipment and materials; as well as playground equipment and facilities.

    Also, on the subject of school finance, you may recall that the state budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year included an additional $1 billion for public education over last year’s state spending plan, which means SUSD will receive approximately $7 million more for the district’s maintenance and operations budget and another $1 million for capital expenses.

    However, the issue of the Aggregate Spending Limit, or AEL, that is part of the Arizona constitution remains.  If the state does not override the AEL for this new fiscal year, public school districts will not be able to spend the dollars lawmakers have already allocated to school districts. SUSD alone would have to reduce its budget by over $28 million. A two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate is required to override the limit.  Our elected officials knew the AEL would present an issue for the new state budget, just as it did this past spring. There was an understanding that the Governor would call the legislature into special session to address the matter, but that has yet to happen. By statute, if the AEL isn’t overridden by March 1, 2023, we will have to take a look at our adopted spending plan and decide where cuts must be made. We encourage you to reach out to your lawmakers to discuss this important topic.

    As we all look forward to a three-day weekend in celebration of Labor Day, I want to thank all of you, our students, staff and parents, who partner to provide world-class, future-focused learning opportunities. Education is more than a labor of love. It is the heart and the backbone of any strong and vibrant community. Thank you for your work, and enjoy the long weekend.

    Sincerely,

    Scott

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Message

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 8/1/2022

    It is hard to believe the 2022-23 school year is here! The preparation for students and staff has been extensive, with hundreds participating in summer school and summer professional development opportunities. The thirst to learn and grow never ceases in Scottsdale and we are ready to welcome all students and families back on Wednesday.

    This year, we are eager to get to work executing our Strategic Plan. The plan serves as our guide for world-class, future-focused learning that supports and positions all SUSD students for success.  Key performance indicators have been identified to measure progress towards meeting our 5 goals and internal working groups are ready to tackle initiatives aligned with each of the goal areas. You can learn more about our Strategic Plan here.

    As we move into the new school year, please remember that the universal free lunch program established in 2020 has ended. Students who do not qualify for free or reduced-priced meals must pay full price starting the first day of school. Please take a moment to fill out the application form to see if your student is eligible for free or reduced priced meals. Or take a moment to add money to your student’s account here. More information can be found in this month’s edition of The SUSD Source Nutrition blog.

    Student success is a product of the dedication and commitment of each student coupled with the inspiration and support of classmates, parents, staff and the community at large. We appreciate all who choose Scottsdale schools to learn, work, volunteer and make a difference daily. If you or someone you know is interested in working or volunteering in our schools, please visit www.susd.org/Careers.  Our cafeterias are looking for caring adults to help fuel students’ futures.  SUSD is also seeking bus drivers, childcare providers, and security personnel. These jobs provide flexible part-time and full-time opportunities.

    Thank you for all you do to support your students and the community. We are all in this together and we look forward to a great start to the new school year!

    Sincerely,

    Scott

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Letter from the Superintendent

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 7/28/2022

    Dear Scottsdale Unified Families,

     

    We are excited about welcoming our students back for the 2022-23 school year!  I hope you had an enjoyable summer break and that your family is ready for the amazing learning opportunities that await as we return to school on Wednesday, August 3rd.  There are a number of important topics that I am sure are top-of-mind, and I want to address those here:

     

    School Safety and Security.  Following the tragic events that unfolded in Uvalde, TX, at the end of the last school year, SUSD staff, in partnership with the Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix Police departments, have reviewed our current safety and security protocols and discussed ways to improve and enhance our efforts in order to ensure we are doing everything within our power to minimize the risk of an event like Uvalde happening in Scottsdale.  The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority, as outlined at https://www.susd.org/safety and in our new Safety and Security Brochure.  In addition to the many enhancements already in place, we are focusing on three key areas, based on our review of potential vulnerabilities:

    • Doors to classrooms will be locked.
    • Identification badges will be required of all staff, students, and visitors/volunteers when on campus and must be visible.
    • Gates will be closed and locked if not staffed.

     

    What we learned from Uvalde and other school shootings is that decisions not to enforce security measures resulted in the opportunity for the shooter to freely access campuses and take innocent lives.  As our director of security says frequently, safety measures are inconvenient, and that makes it inconvenient for anyone with bad intentions, as well.  To date, no school shooter has breached a locked door - they simply move on until they find one that is unlocked.

     

    Gate to gate.  On the first day of school next week, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade parents may walk with their students to their classrooms.  These parents will be required to present identification and sign in, so patience is appreciated.  We know security measures can be inconvenient, but there is no greater priority.  All other students who do not ride the bus must be dropped off at the gate in the morning and picked up at the gate in the afternoon in order to manage the volume of parents on our campuses.

     

    Safety is everyone’s responsibility.  This message has been communicated with our staff during our back-to-school events.  It will also be communicated with our students, and we need to enlist your support for these simple, yet very important, practices: locked doors, ID badges (including signing in when on campus), and secured gates.  Together, we will create safe and supportive learning environments for our students and staff.

     

    COVID.  Like you, we had hoped that COVID would be in the rearview mirror as we start the new school year.  Unfortunately, the virus continues to mutate and infection rates have been very high in Maricopa County this summer.  Our protocols regarding isolation when a positive case has been confirmed will continue to be driven by the guidance from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and CDC.  We will not be contact tracing, but if a student is sick with COVID, they will be required to remain home for 5 days from the onset of symptoms and may return on day 6 if they are fever-free and have resolving symptoms.  Wearing a mask for 5 days is encouraged upon the student’s return.  If your student is COVID-positive, please contact your school nurse so the absence can be appropriately documented.  As with any illness, please do not return your student to school until they are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

     

    In-person learning is essential for our students.  In order to maintain a healthy learning environment, it is important to keep students home when they are sick and to monitor for symptoms if there is a known exposure to COVID.  SUSD will not require masks, but students and staff are permitted and encouraged to wear them when transmission rates are at a high level, such as they are now.  We ask that individual choices be respected as we work together to navigate this ongoing challenge.

     

    Elections.  The November election includes the District Additional Assistance Override (DAA) request, as well as seating two new Governing Board members.  Information about the Override can be found here. We will be holding meetings in each Learning Community in September to ensure our community understands the specifics related to the DAA request.  During any election year, it is important to remind our staff and the community that electioneering on school grounds is prohibited by state law.  While district staff can provide factual information regarding the DAA override, they are limited in their engagement while at work (A.R.S §15-511).  We are not permitted to advocate for or against the proposal while on the job.  The same is true with respect to candidates for the school board.  We encourage everyone to become fully informed prior to voting and to remember to vote on November 8th ‒ it is a core part of our responsibility as citizens.

     

    SUSD is hiring.  As we get ready to welcome our students back to school, we are also working to fill many part-time and full-time positions around the district, specifically in Nutrition Services, our before- and after-school Community Education programs, Security and Transportation.  A full list of opportunities to work and support Scottsdale students as employees or volunteers can be found here.

     

    Each new school year brings with it excitement and endless potential for all students.  Our staff eagerly awaits getting to know your children and guiding them through the journey of academic and personal growth.  We are committed to engaging all students in world-class, future-focused learning, and appreciate that you have chosen SUSD.

     

    Sincerely,

    Scott A. Menzel, PhD

    Superintendent

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Message

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 7/1/2022

    The summer temps are heating up, and so is preparation for the new school year. Teachers are immersed in professional development; administrators are making plans for welcoming back their staff and families, all while our Facilities team is doing routine maintenance, making repairs and upgrades, and overseeing ongoing bond projects.

    The safety and security of our students and staff remains at the forefront as our new Security director conducts site surveys and identifies new opportunities to enhance and expand the measures already in place.  

    Lastly, we are relieved to finally have a state budget in place and are grateful for the increase in education funding. This could mean several million dollars more for SUSD. The increase comes at a critical time and will help all districts offset record inflation and wage compression. However, the allotted increase means nothing without the ability for districts to actually spend the dollars. This requires action, once again, by the state legislature to address the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL). It is imperative that the Governor call a special session this fall so districts can proceed without the potential of mandatory reductions in March if the legislature fails to act.

    This fourth of July, we hope you are able to celebrate with friends and family, and enjoy some safe, fun fireworks. We live in the greatest country in the world, and the Independence Day holiday provides us with an opportunity to reflect on what the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness means. We look forward to seeing everyone back next month!

    Sincerely,

    Scott

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Message

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 6/1/2022

    The 2021-22 school year has come to a close, bringing with it a collective sigh of relief for a well-earned summer break! The year presented more challenges than we initially expected, but I am proud of the way our students and staff persevered to achieve a successful year.

    Celebrating the Class of 2022

    More than 1,800 graduates walked across the stage at our high schools last week, excited to pursue their next opportunities on life’s journey.   Thanks to the Coronado Foundation for the Future, Coronado graduate Robert Flick, and the Scottsdale Charros, the inaugural year of the Coronado Promise Program was able to award 25 scholarships to the Dons’ Class of 2022. SUSD has 11 National Merit Scholars so far, a U.S. Presidential Scholar for Career and Technical Education, and a U.S. Naval Academy Appointee. The Class of 2022 has so much for which to be proud. Make sure to check out more Grad stats in the Academics blog.

    Strategic Plan Update

    For the last 16 months, students, staff, parents, teachers, administrators and community members have collectively engaged in the district’s strategic planning process. This plan lays the foundation for the district’s next 5 years and will keep our efforts concentrated well beyond that with our Vision of engaging all students in world-class, future-focused learning. We are now moving to operationalize our goals and commitments with initiatives and specific, key performance indicators. We look forward to continuing this work in preparation for the next school year. You can read more about the strategic plan here.

    SUSD BUDGET

    Typically, by this time of year, the state has approved a budget and we know how much will be allocated to education. However, here we are, wrapping up the fiscal year with no budget. It is no secret that Arizona ranks 47th in the nation for public school funding. With state revenues at a record high and an unprecedented $5.3 billion budget surplus, there is an opportunity to make a significant investment in public education without increasing taxes.  The combination of the growth in revenue and one-time funds provide elected officials with a chance to increase base level funding, invest in Career and Technical Education (CTE)/workforce development, increase special education funding, and help account for inflation. Superintendents across the state, including me, have signed this letter that was sent to legislators in support of K-12 education funding priorities. We encourage you to participate in the process by making your voice heard. Find your state lawmakers here.

    The SUSD Audit Committee is looking for applicants to help provide a review of the district’s governance, risk management, and internal control practices. More information on the committee and how to apply can be found here.

    You won’t want to miss this month’s Academics blog so you can read about the district’s latest STEM-accredited schools, Laguna and Navajo Elementary schools. These schools provide a comprehensive approach to mathematics, science, and engineering education. Additionally, Anasazi Elementary School is well on its way to becoming the district’s authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) school. We look forward to their upcoming site visit and, ultimately, offering an entire K‒12 IB continuum. While based in the Desert Mountain Learning Community and starting at Anasazi, advancing to Mountainside Middle School, and culminating at Desert Mountain High School, the SUSD IB program is open to all SUSD and non-SUSD families through open enrollment.

    If your student is an athlete, you will want to pay close attention to the Athletics blog that highlights our summer camps and required student athlete training. 

    While our high school seniors head out into the world in pursuit of college and career success, nearly 100 SUSD employees are celebrating the end of their careers with the district and their combined 1,784 years of service and dedication to our students. Congratulations to each and every one of them, and we thank them for their 20+ years, on average, supporting the world-class, future-focused education Scottsdale delivers. They are a critical part of our legacy of success.

    We hope you take some time to relax this summer and explore this edition of The SUSD Source as it continues to grow. You’ll notice that Community Education and Celebrations join us with new blogs.

    As noted in our letter on May 26, the safety of our students and staff is a top priority for the district.  During the course of the summer, we will continue to review and revise our security plans, and will provide you with an update in July with respect to actions we have taken in order to mitigate risks and ensure each of our schools is a safe and welcoming environment for all students and staff.  We have much to be grateful for as we look toward next year, and it all starts with you. Thank you for choosing Scottsdale schools, and we look forward to welcoming you back in August!

    Sincerely,

    Scott

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

     

    Read more at The SUSD Source

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Letter from the Superintendent

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 5/26/2022

    Dear SUSD Families,

    At a time when families should be celebrating their students’ achievements and all that they are able to achieve by being a part of the Scottsdale school system, we find ourselves again stunned and heartbroken by the horrific violence that has rocked yet another American community and shattered lives.

    The tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas earlier this week is deeply troubling.  The loss of innocent lives at a place where students and staff should be free of the fear of violence undermines the very fabric of community.  While we learn more information each day regarding the shooter and how he was able to access that school location, schools across the nation, including SUSD, are reviewing security and safety protocols to ensure appropriate measures are in place to reduce the risk of a similar situation happening here.

    School Safety – Our Number One Priority

    Please know that the safety of our students and staff is always – always – our top priority.  The placement of school resource officers, school counselors and school social workers on SUSD school campuses is only part of our approach to achieve and maintain safe, supportive schools.

    As threats evolve, so do our campuses.  When you approved the 2016 Bond, you provided the funding to upgrade school security, and create secure, single-entry points of access during the school day through front offices.  These improvements give each school control over who is allowed on campus and have included:

    • Front office/school lobby renovations
    • New door hardware
    • Additional/upgraded fencing
    • Security cameras
    • Automatic alert buttons
    • Intercoms
    • Upgraded alarm systems

    Additionally, Scottsdale Unified School District is a leader in the state when it comes to threat assessments, suicidal ideation assessments and interventions.  During the summer, we will automate the process we use to ensure the ability to communicate critical information to key staff and law enforcement officials in a timely and seamless manner.  The procurement of this online tool was completed several months ago, before this shooting, because we are deeply committed to student and staff safety and well-being.

    Opportunities for improvement
    Well-intentioned people, including parents and volunteers, often seek access to our campus for constructive purposes (e.g. watering a community garden).  However, the more people who have keys to our facilities, the less secure we are overall.  Districts have the unique challenge of maintaining a safe campus while also creating a welcoming learning environment and the opportunity for parents to contribute to it.

    During the pandemic, we significantly restricted the number of visitors and volunteers on our campus, and we heard from many parents about how much they valued the opportunity to be on-site.  This continues to be an area where we must manage expectations in order to ensure that there are no breakdowns in our security protocols.  Sometimes people prop open doors or gates, out of convenience, but each time this happens, our campuses become more vulnerable.  To maintain safe environments, we need everyone working together, in concert.  That begins with all students and staff wearing their ID/badges at all times while on campus and all visitors signing in at the front office.

    Social media monitoring is not something we have the ability to do universally, although the Scottsdale Police Department (SPD), Phoenix Police Department, along with vigilant parents and students, often report concerns based on what they’ve seen there, which we take exceedingly seriously.

    Recent Arcadia High School Situation – “See Something, Say Something”

    Oftentimes, students are the first to become aware of a threat, and that is why we encourage them to take what they see and hear seriously and report any perceived threat or suspicious activity to a school administrator.  It is what we call “See Something, Say Something.”  An illustration of how that and other security protocols work together includes an incident that took place at Arcadia High School just last week.  Two students reported that another student might have brought a gun to school that day.  The principal and School Resource Officer located the student and, as a precaution, placed the campus on lockdown.  The student was brought to the office and was determined to be in possession of a weapon.  The student informed police and administrators that he had the weapon in response to off-campus concerns.  There was no direct threat to students or staff at Arcadia.  Regardless, additional Phoenix Police officers responded and the student was taken into custody.  We are grateful to the students who reported their concern and thankful for the way Arcadia’s staff and security personnel responded to ensure the safety of all on campus.

    Our students and staff regularly practice lockdown drills and review security protocols in order to be prepared.  Those exercises are not and will not be published widely in order to prevent “bad actors” from attempting to circumvent our school security plans and systems.

    We work closely with SPD, including providing opportunities for active shooter training at school locations for law enforcement officials while students are not present.  We have security personnel at our campuses, and School Resource Officers are assigned to middle and high schools in each learning community, covering elementary schools, as needed.  However, we have struggled in the same way law enforcement has to fill all open security positions.  We will continue to work to recruit and retain the best personnel to keep our schools safe.

    Also, we will continue to flag areas for improvement and during the course of this summer, will conduct additional reviews with SPD to make sure that when students return to our schools in August that we have done everything we can to ensure that they return to a safe learning environment.

    You are part of the school safety equation, as well.  Do you have information about a threat or school safety risk?  Notify any SUSD employee or School Resource Officer immediately, or call the Silent Witness Tip Line at 480-WITNESS (948-6377).  You can also Submit a Tip Online.

    For more information on SUSD school safety and Support Services, please visit our website.

    Thank you for your concern on this issue and know that it is ours, as well.

    Scott A. Menzel, PhD
    Superintendent

    Download a copy of this letter in English

    Download a copy of this letter in Spanish

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

    Comments (-1)
  • Congratulations, SUSD Class of 2022

    Posted by Scott A. Menzel, Ph.D. on 5/25/2022

    Dear SUSD Class of 2022,

    Congratulations on navigating your senior year and bringing it to a successful conclusion today!  You have been on quite a journey and have overcome so many obstacles that for you to be in this position today is a great credit to you, your teachers, your friends and your families.  If ever there was a time when we all needed each other, it has been these past two years. 

    Circumstances being what they were, I had few opportunities during my first year as superintendent to meet and interact with students.  While we were consumed with doing everything possible to keep you safe and your schools open, you were busy showing us that you could handle just about anything thrown at you, extending your in-person learning to include online lessons, projects and presentations, and deftly working around modified school schedules and restricted activities.

    This school year, however, has been a different story, thankfully.  As we emerged from the most difficult parts of the pandemic that overshadowed nearly every aspect of our lives, it has been my great privilege to meet many more of you, SUSD’s amazing students.  I have been so impressed with you and your classmates, those who serve on the district’s Student Advisory Board and in other school leadership positions, and those who spoke so thoughtfully and bravely at this year’s Teen Town Hall events.  That you cared for your school communities and turned challenge upon challenge into brilliant academic, musical, theatrical, and athletic performances created many happy memories and made me proud that SUSD has had the honor of guiding your formal education.

    Indeed, I think we have learned as much from you as you have from us, particularly since the end of your sophomore year.  The perseverance and resilience you have shown have been truly remarkable.  And the perspective you have gained through this unusual collective experience and the ability to translate it into new opportunities for yourselves and others has inspired us all.  You have reminded us why it is that we do what we do:  to give you the best opportunity for success at whatever you choose to do and be.

    Whether you are a Titan, Firebird, Don, Wolf, Sabercat, or attended Scottsdale Online, as you prepare for your next chapter, I am filled with great hope for your future, and I cannot wait to hear where it takes you!

    Congratulations and best wishes,

    Scott A. Menzel, PhD
    Superintendent

     

    For more on the superintendent's office, visit www.susd.org/superintendent.

    Comments (-1)