North Central News

School Briefs

Glendale Union High School District

Future freshmen invited to campuses
Glendale Union High School District hosts its annual Future Freshman Night at all eight of its high school campuses on Thursday, Jan. 17, with great opportunities for eighth grade students and their families to learn why GUHSD is the district of choice in the Glendale and Metro-Phoenix area.

Families will have plenty of opportunities to tour the campus, meet teachers, gain significant curriculum information and learn more about our schools’ accomplishments. Come and learn why more than 16,000 students are proud to attend GUHSD schools. For additional information, contact your neighborhood high school or check out their website via

Students volunteer at nonprofit garden
The student council of Thunderbird High School recently took the opportunity to give back to their community when they volunteered at nonprofit organization, the Society of St. Vincent De Paul. The organization helps provide food, shelter and services to individuals and families in their community.

The Thunderbird Student Council provided a lending hand at St. Vincent De Paul’s Urban Farm by harvesting and cleaning vegetables. The produce that the students attended to will be sent to the organization’s central kitchen and added to food boxes to feed families in need.

WHS students, staff honored by board
Achievement Above All recipients at Washington High School were recognized by the GUHSD Governing Board at its Oct. 17 meeting.

Every school year, one teacher, student, student group, support staff member and volunteer are honored for their outstanding accomplishments in the GUHSD community. This year’s recipients were ELL teacher Renee Lisowski as Teacher of the Year; senior Aurora Gabow as Student of the Year; Rams United for Student Group of the Year; College and Career Specialist Debbie Lohr as Support Staff Member of the Year; and boys basketball volunteer Gabe Chapa as Volunteer of the Year.

Madison Elementary School District

APS, Suns award STEM project grants
What do robots, amusement park rides and weather balloons have in common? They are all projects designed by K-12 teachers throughout Arizona and funded by the APS and Phoenix Suns STEM mini-grant program.

For 13 years, the two organizations have teamed up to provide financial grants to help Arizona teachers bring innovative hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning to tens of thousands of students throughout the state.

This year, 28 kindergarten through high school teachers across Arizona received grants totaling more than $48,000. Among the recipients was teacher Bonnie McCarthy of Madison Simis, who received a $750 grant. Under the umbrellas of technology and transportation, her Madison students will explore how solar energy can be used to develop technological solutions to current transportation challenges. The use of solar cars for this project will provide a hands-on opportunity for outdoor hypothesis testing and experiential learning.

The mission of the mini-grants program is to introduce more students to STEM subjects in a new and innovative way through hands-on classroom projects, ultimately resulting in a more tech-savvy workforce.

Osborn Elementary School District

Numerous arts programs keep students engaged
Students in Osborn’s arts programs recently performed band concerts, sing–a-longs and dance productions.

Osborn Middle School students, under the direction of Julia Georges, submitted audio recordings and were blindly scored to determine selection into the Greater Phoenix Honor Band. Twenty-eight Osborn students were selected and will perform at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Camelback High School.

Solano General Music and Band teacher Amy Swietlik was a roundtable panelist at the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., where she described her efforts to foster social and cultural learning in her general music classroom.  In February Swietlik will present at the Arizona Music Educators’ Association Annual Conference in Mesa on techniques for incorporating mindfulness, restorative justice, and neuroscience of the brain into a music classroom.

Phoenix Union High School District

North art teacher honored by AAEA
The Arizona Art Education Association presented North High School’s art teacher, Alejandra Rascon with the Outstanding New Professional Award at the awards dinner at the AAEA conference in November.

Rascon, an Arizona State University graduate, began her teaching career in 2017-18 at North. She student-taught with art teacher Penny Hansen prior to last year and then joined the department. Last year during teacher appreciation week, Rascon had more thank you notes from students than any other staff member, recalls fellow art teacher Julie Peters.

Camelback student lauded for leadership
Jowun Ben of Camelback High was one of two Phoenix Union seniors honored at the Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards, held Nov. 14 in Scottsdale.

Ben, a full Navajo, has a 3.8 unweighted grade point average (4.6 weighted) and participates in numerous school and community activities. Ben also works at a local grocery store.

She plans to attend Arizona State University, double major in political science and biochemistry, and ultimately attend the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

Three Metro Tech seniors surprised with scholarships
Three Metro Tech students were among the first nine seniors to receive Students Inspiring Students Scholarships from Grand Canyon University. Jeremy Cubbage, Fatima Al-Shamari and Giselle Loredo were invited to the school on Nov. 13 with their parents, supposedly for a scholarship information meeting, but left with four-year full-tuition scholarships.

The students have been attending the ACE (Academic and Career Excellence Centers) at the GCU Learning Lounge, and have banked over 100 hours needed for eligibility for the scholarship.

Putting in money and time to build playground
Camelback DECA members partnered with volunteers from Fiesta Bowl Charities on Dec. 1, to rebuild the ARCH (Arizona Recreation Center for the Handicapped) playground, which was destroyed in a fire this summer.

ARCH is a 5-acre recreation center located at 1550 W. Colter St. that offers skills-based programs and activities, enabling adults and children with developmental disabilities to obtain higher levels of physical well-being, pride, independence, and self-esteem.

Camelback DECA, working with Camelback’s Exceptional Students, helped to raise $500 for the re-build. Working with the first responders and Fiesta Bowl volunteers, the entire playground was reconstructed in less than six hours.

Washington Elementary School District

Kinder open house set for Jan. 22
WESD offers a free, full-day kindergarten experience that includes high academics, art, music and PE. The district currently is enrolling kindergarten students for the 2019-20 school year.

The Kindergarten Open House will be held 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at all WESD elementary schools. Students and families will have the opportunity to visit classrooms, meet the teacher, pick up enrollment information and sign up for the Jumpstart program—the WESD’s new kindergarten readiness program.

For more information, or to begin filling out the registration materials, visit or call 602-896-6950.


Private and Charter Schools

PC students ‘outdoor classroom’
Since its founding 30 years ago, the preschool campus of Phoenix Christian Preparatory School, formerly known as Light & Life Preschool, continues to be a place for learning and exploration for young children from all across the Valley.

Students at PC Preschool are encouraged to learn and explore outside as teachers promote opportunities for active free play. The outdoor classroom experience at PC Preschool recently was improved by parent and student volunteers, who created recycled tire gardens using tires donated by Community Tire.

The children also painted birdhouses and feeders that attract birds for the students to observe.

Wind chimes and a music wall made from repurposed pots, pans and musical instruments will help develop awareness of rhythm and repetition, which will play a critical role in future comprehension of math and science.

The PC preschool teachers foster the importance of nutrition as the children actively participate in growing vegetables and herbs that will be used to make healthy snacks.

For more information, contact Lori Miller, director of Early Education, at or 602-265-7728.

MHP student achieves top score on the NMSQT
Madison Highland Prep student Dodge Flynn received a 222 composite score on the 2018 PSAT/NMSQT administered this past fall. Flynn, a junior, scored in the top 1 percent of students taking the exam nationally this year and 2 points above the cut score for National Merit Scholars in Arizona last year. He will begin the competition for a National Merit Scholarship in the spring.

Madison Highland Prep had 12 juniors and 11 sophomores score at or above the 90th percentile nationally on the PSAT/NMSQT test.

Xavier cross country, golf team accolades
Xavier College Prep’s 2018 State Champion Golf and Cross Country teams earned top honors for their coaches and athletes in the AIA’s Premier Region.

Additional awards for Golf included: Player of the Year, Ashley Menne; First Team honors for Breyanna Matthews, Lauren Garcia, Ivy Song, and Bailee Tayles; and Honorable Mentions for Emily Cons and Eve Worden.

Cross Country First Team honors went to: Mia Olsen, Jaime Stelnik, and Grace Valandra. Second Team honors were awarded to Karina Hawkins, Karina Smith, Sammy Braun, and Helen Innes; and an Honorable Mention went to Karli Baker.

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