SUPERINTENDENT'S LETTER - APRIL 2019
Hello again, Scottsdale Unified School District Families and Friends,
This is an exciting time for many members of our Class of 2019 as they pursue various options for their future. It’s decision time, and we know that our pending graduates are armed with an outstanding education, amazing achievements and endless possibilities for their future. We also recognize that not all roads to success follow what some would consider a “traditional” path of post-secondary studies. There, too, we have great confidence in the abilities of our graduates to succeed on their chosen path.
We expect an estimated 1,900 students to graduate from our five high schools on May 30. Among them is our district’s 2019 Flinn Scholar, Kyle Polen of Chaparral High School. If you have never heard of the Flinn Foundation’s annual scholarship program, it is Arizona’s most prestigious, and provides its 20 annual recipients with four years’ worth of tuition, fees, room and board at the honors college of one of Arizona’s three public universities, as well as study-abroad experiences.
It was our privilege to meet Kyle at this month’s Governing Board meeting, and we were so impressed. We were equally pleased to be able to reunite Kyle with his now-retired Sequoya Elementary School second grade teacher, Janet Lottman. She is the teacher Kyle credits with inspiring him to become the dedicated, excelling student he is today. No doubt, he will continue his success at Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College, where he will be in the Pre-Med program. Many, many congratulations to Kyle, and also to Mrs. Lottman, who motivated Sequoya students to be successful for more than 20 years. It may be no coincidence that Kyle is the third Flinn Scholar she taught!
Speaking of Sequoya, the Arizona Educational Foundation has named it a 2018-2019 school year A+ School of Excellence™. Principal Veronica Leiper and her dedicated community of teachers, students and parents are committed to working together to create an excellent teaching and learning environment for its 498 students. We look forward to celebrating Sequoya’s latest A+ designation, as well as its 30th anniversary, on May 22.
School construction was on the Governing Board’s plate this month, leading to its decision to rebuild, rather than renovate, Cherokee Elementary School, located at 8801 N. 56th St. in Paradise Valley. Over the coming months, a design and construction plan will be drafted for the Board’s approval sometime this fall.
Also at its April 16 meeting, the Governing Board named Hohokam Elementary School as the next SUSD school to be either renovated or rebuilt with 2016 bond dollars. The nearly 60-year-old school, located at 8451 E. Oak St. in Scottsdale, received its most recent update in 2002. The cost of repairing its structure and aging, outdated systems makes it a worthy choice.
It will mean a big change for the 2019-2020 school year for Hohokam teachers and staff, who will be relocated for the duration of the Hohokam project to Yavapai Elementary School at 701 N. Miller Rd., about two miles away. Whatever direction is taken – a remodel or a rebuild – it could take up to two years to complete, although we hope to finish sooner. What is known is that it will be safer and less disruptive for students and teachers to be off-campus during the project. Also as a result of the temporary move, the project will take less time and be less costly.
In the meantime, the same successful, collaborative process that has been used this year with the Cherokee community will be undertaken at Hohokam to reach a consensus on what parents, teachers, staff and neighbors would like to see in the next version of Hohokam Elementary School. I look forward to those conversations.
Dr. John Kriekard
Download the Superintendent's Letter for April 2019 (English)
Download the Superintendent's Letter for April 2019 (Spanish)