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Articles from May 2024

Two Laveen Students Receive “I Can Do It!” Award

Two Laveen students are the recipients of the Arizona Council for Exceptional Children’s “I Can Do It!” awards. This year’s winners are:
Michael Luz, Trailside Point 2nd grader – nominated by Sarah Steele
Gabriel Ruiz Coronado, Laveen School 7th grader – nominated by Leah Hall
The council featured the two in their conference video which can be viewed here:
(timestamps 2:55 Michael Luz, 6:26 Gabriel Ruiz)

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Paseo 3rd Graders Make it to the Final Four

Paseo Pointe made it to the Read to the Final Four with third graders getting to participate in a special event at Phoenix Fan Fest.

Read to the Final Four is a literacy challenge in which hundreds of third grade students from across the state are reading and logging their minutes for a chance to win fun prizes and compete for the championship. While Paseo did not win the championship, the school received a $5,000 check from the Helios Foundation to support literacy in the school.

The final four schools were recognized at a special event before the opening of the NCAA Phoenix Fan Fest at the Phoenix Convention Center

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Rogers Ranch is First School in AZ to Receive National Certificate for STEM Excellence

Rogers Ranch STEM Academy is the first school in Arizona to receive the National Certificate for STEM Excellence.

The Certificate, provided by the National Institute of STEM Education (NISE) recognizes individual school campuses that have integrated STEM best practices and 21st Century learning and professional development. Rogers Ranch STEM Academy has shown a commitment to and growth in both these areas.

“Our mission has always been for Rogers Ranch to reflect on the inside and outside what a school STEM school exemplifies,” explained Rogers Ranch principal Megan Hamburgh who led the school to certification. “This certification reinforces the vision Rogers Ranch teachers and staff have had for our school.” 

To receive the certificate, Rogers Ranch completed a three-phase process, comprising  27 indicators, to elevate a culture of STEM teaching and learning across the campus in less than nine months. This included developing a STEM action plan for implementation, embedding STEM strategies into instruction and assessments, and using STEM protocol to guide instructional decisions. Additionally, a team of educators completed the National Certificate for STEM Teaching.

Rogers Ranch was also named an NAU STEM Focus School for the Future in 2022-2023. This program helped Rogers Ranch build the capacity to design and implement effective STEM instruction with the goal of developing a STEM-literate workforce. 

“We were able to take the intentional work done through the STEM Focus Schools for the Future process to reflect and refine for this national certification.  As a campus we will continue to reflect, grow and refine to be a high achieving academy that reflects what STEM education is,” noted Hamburgh. 

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Desert Meadows’ JP Ketcham Named Exemplary Principal by County Superintendent

award graphicCongratulations to Desert Meadows’ JP Ketcham who was named an Exemplary Principal by the Officer of the Maricopa County Superintendent.

The leadership award is presented to principals who intentionally and strategically nurture school cultures where teacher and student voices set and realize the school’s vision. Principals awarded the Exemplary Principal award intrinsically value the opinions, experiences, and preferences of those they lead and consistently leverage those perspectives in decision-making. As a result of these safe and supportive environments, the students achieve academically and emotionally, and the teachers remain in the profession.

Nominees go through a rigorous five-phase process which includes teacher surveys, candidate interviews, and a committee site visit before they are selected to be an Exemplary Principal.

Maricopa County Superintendent Steve Watson surprised Ketcham during a staff meeting where he presented the award.

Watch the video of the surprise announcement.

See the photos taken of this special award being presented.


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