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  • PVSchools Students Named 2017 National Merit® Finalists

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/22/2017

    National Merit Finalists

    PVSchools is proud to announce that six high school seniors have recently been named National Merit® Finalists, and two seniors are candidates in the Special Scholarship competition.

    Horizon High School
    Maria Bodansky
    Sarah Bodansky
    Vikas Reddy
    Jack Shaffstall
    Shailee Shah

    Pinnacle High School
    Daniel Christl

    Beginning in March and continuing to mid-June, National Merit® Scholarship Corporation will notify approximately 7,500 finalists that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship® award. Merit Scholarship awards are of three types: National Merit® $2,500 Scholarships. Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship Awards.

    Additionally, Pinnacle High School seniors Jacqueline Burton and Emilie Lu are candidates in the 2017 Special Scholarship competition. Approximately 1,200 National Merit® Program participants, who are outstanding but not Finalists, are awarded Special Scholarships provided by corporations and business organizations.


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  • 2 PV Students Headed to the State Spelling Bee

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/17/2017

    Angelina Mann and Nicola Ferguson

    PVSchools will have two students representing the district at the Arizona Spelling Bee on March 25th at 1 p.m. at the Eight/AZ PBS Studios.

    Angelina Mann, a student at Explorer Middle School, was crowned the winner of Maricopa County Regional II Spelling Bee on February 17th. Angelina's winning word was menagerie. Nicola Ferguson, a student at Sunrise Middle School, was the runner-up.

    Each year, 27 students from across Arizona compete to determine who will represent Arizona in the Scripps National Spelling Bee held in Washington, D.C.

    Good luck, Angelina and Nicola!


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  • It’s Theater Season in PVSchools!

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/17/2017

    Addams Family NVAA Production

    PVSchools theater teachers and students will bring classic tales to life through stage productions of musicals and plays this spring. You can support performing arts programs in PVSchools by taking the entire family to one of these amazing shows.

    • February 22-25 at 7 p.m.(doors open at 6:30 p.m.) - The Wedding from Hell: A Murder, Mystery, Dinner Theatre at Pinnacle High School
      Bruce and Tina face it all. The groom’s snobbish, aristocratic mother, Sylvia, registers her disapproval of the nuptials by wearing black and attempting to dissuade him from the marriage even as the Bridal March begins. The wrong tux was delivered to the bride’s father, Jackie, who tries to ease the tension by trying out some of the gags from his novelty store (including a whoopie cushion for Sylvia). The photographer is an old boyfriend of Tina’s. Bruce’s old girlfriend interrupts the wedding. The family maid uses the ceremony to declare her love for the groom. The cake is a mess. Tina’s dress came from a thrift store, due to a last minute mix up. She breaks the heel from her shoe as she comes down the aisle. The wedding napkins read “Bruce and Tuna.” A stranger shows up in time to die. Tickets are $20 for students and $30 for adults and can be purchased only through the Pinnacle webstore.

    • March 3 at 7 p.m., March 4 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and March 5 at 2 p.m. - Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Jr. at Liberty Elementary School
      Liberty Elementary School’s 4th-6th graders will bring to Wonderland characters to life in song and dance with musical numbers. This musical is based on the 1951 Disney film Alice in Wonderland and the novels The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Tickets are $4 and may be purchased in advance at the school or at the door.

    • March 9-11 at 7 p.m. - Seussical the Musical - Performing Arts Center at Horizon High School
      Our favorite Dr. Seuss characters lovingly brought to life all including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination – Jojo. The colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the invisible world of the Whos. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for students (all ages).

    • April 27-29 at 7 p.m. - The LARAMIE Project - Performing Arts Center at Shadow Mountain High School
      The LARAMIE Project is a true docu-drama that contains subject matter suitable for mature audiences only. In October 1998, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming.  Five weeks later, Moisés Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie, and over the course of the next year, conducted more than 200 interviews with people of the town. From these interviews, they wrote the play The Laramie Project, a chronicle of the life of the town of Laramie in the year after the murder. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students. More information is available at http://nvaatheater.com/.

    • April 27-29 - The Wizard of Oz - Auditorium at Paradise Valley High School
      Join Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion as the journey down the yellow brick road in search of the Wizard of Oz. This production is an MGM version of the show with all the hit songs from the movie.


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  • CREST Teacher Receives Outstanding Pre-College Educator Award

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/17/2017

    Marni Landry Marni Landry, a biotechnology teacher with the Center for Research, Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) program at Paradise Valley High School, received the Phoenix Section Outstanding Pre-College Educator Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

    The IEEE Board of Directors nominated Ms. Landry for her contributions and leadership in establishing a four-year Bioscience Sequence in the CREST program at Paradise Valley High School.

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  • Pinnacle High School Hosts Mental Health Awareness Community Night

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/16/2017

    mental health Mental health affects approximately 1 in 4 people - 57.5 million people in the U.S. Learn how to stop the stigmatism associated with mental health.

    Pinnacle High School will host Mental Heal Awareness Community Night at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23rd in the school's Auditorium. This event will include testimonials from former and current students, parent perspectives and a presentation from Not My Kid. There will be resources available so that families can start discussions about mental health.

    There is no cost to attend, and the community is invited to attend the event.


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  • Is that Professional Learning?

    Posted by Michael Lee, Ed.D. at 2/15/2017

    Professional Development

    Is that Professional Learning?

    Under the right circumstances, the answer can usually be, "yes."  So let's take a moment to look at just what those circumstances are!

    We know that the most impactful Professional Development stems from an authentic problem of practice, like a challenge faced by your professional learning community about strategies for a subset of learners, or a team observation that you need an enhanced approach to instruction on a specific topic or subject. In response, you try and learn as both an individual and as a team to advance your practice and meet the needs of your learners.  In these circumstances, you often don't have time to wait for a scheduled course, so what can you do?

    As a teacher, some of my most powerful learning moments came from the following examples of opportunities. What I gained was relevant, personal, and permanent, often because the opportunity was timely. Do any of these sound familiar?

    • Professional dialogue with a peer or informal mentor.
    • Searching for a "how to" YouTube video.
    • Videotaping my instruction (back when there was videotape!) myself to look for things in my practice that I could easily improve, however, had little awareness of the need without the actual visual.
    • Safely floating ideas or asking questions of my administrator.  This was outside of my evaluation cycle and was often a welcomed conversation by my principal!
    • Observing other teachers during my prep, or asking for a substitute from my principal for observation and growth purposes.
    • Finding an article, research study, or book on the subject.  (Personally, I preferred articles. At that point, time was usually too short and I didn't have time to read a whole book!)
    • Asking a peer to observe my practice in the area discussed and asking for authentic feedback.
    • Asking my students, in the form of conversation or surveys, what they felt could be improved.
    • Surveying parents for their impressions.
    • Asking Google!
    • Reaching out to specialists who worked at my site, district office, or another school.  Our reading specialist when I taught 6th grade was Cindy Daniels, and for those of you who know her remember how much expertise she had in the subject.  By asking one question of practice, she guided me down a path with support and information that transformed my reading instruction, dramatically.  And, I never even took an additional class.

    Can any of these serve as professional development?  It depends on the quality of information or learning that comes from the strategy chosen.  In the end, however, it comes down to one additional question: Did I improve my practice?  If the answer was yes...

    Well, then the answer is "yes!"

    About Dr. Michael Lee

    Dr. Michael Lee Dr. Michael Lee is the Director of Professional Development for PVSchools. In 2012, he received his doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, however, he began my work in education serving as a para-educator in a special education program while still an undergraduate. Dr. Lee's passions in the field include assessment and reporting strategies, the evolving role of technology, teacher leadership, and effective professional development that permanently impacts instruction. He considers himself a professional teacher first, as well as a professionally evolving lifelong learner who is incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to impact the lives of children.


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  • UPC Now Accepting Teacher-Staff Appreciation Nominations

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/14/2017

    Arrowhead teacher and students

    The United Parent Council (UPC) is accepting Teacher-Staff Appreciation Nominations until March 7th at 5 p.m. Parents and students are invited to nominate a teacher or school-site staff member from this current school year who has made a difference by going above and beyond for the students of PVSchools.

    Award recipients will be announced by the individual school sites between late April and the first week of May. Award recipients will be recognized the May 18th Governing Board meeting.

    Please note that PVSchools employees cannot nominate fellow PVSchools employees unless the PVSchools employee is also a PVSchools parent and wish to nominate his/her child’s teacher.


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  • Save the Date: notMYkid Parent Presentation

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/13/2017

    Save the Date Join Horizon High School’s Prevention Committee and PAWS for a notMYkid presentation on substance abuse - understanding the influence from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on February 27th in the Media Center at Horizon High School.  

    During this presentation, parents will learn the most recent trends and common drugs of abuse in our communities. Parents will also be provided with:

    • Tips for talking to your family about substance abuse.
    • An overview of legal implications.
    • Resources on how to create a family prevention plan.

    Registration is not required, and there is no cost to attend. This presentation is for adults only as the content is not suitable for children.

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  • PVSchools Hosts Annual STEAM Event

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/13/2017

    PVSchools SciTech Festival 2015

    Paradise Valley High School, in conjunction with Paradise Valley Community College and the Arizona SciTech Festival, will host the PVSchools PVSTEAM event on Saturday, Feb. 25th from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Paradise Valley High School.

    At the event, there will be a Maker Faire, Science and Engineering Fair, STEAM demonstrations and interactive displays, live music, food and much more. We hope to see you there to support our elementary, middle and high school students.

    The community is encouraged to attend this free event to see what's happening in our classrooms across the PVSchools District.


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  • A Snapshot of the Spanish Immersion Program at Sandpiper Elementary School

    Posted by PVSchools at 2/10/2017

    Sandpiper Spanish Immersion As parents, we want our children to be academically prepared with the 21st century skill set to compete and succeed in a global marketplace. PVSchools provides students with the pathway to achieving this goal, starting with our Spanish Foreign Language Immersion Program offered at Sandpiper Elementary School.

    Research shows that the best time for a child to learn a second language is from birth to 12 years old, while a child’s brain is still developing language skills. PVSchools recognized the need to offer Foreign Language Immersion Programs to students at an early age. With careful input from parents and stakeholders, PVSchools developed a Spanish Immersion Program at Sandpiper Elementary School. Research also shows that Foreign Language Immersion Programs not only promote learning but also prepares students for the competitive global workforce.

    A Snapshot of the Spanish Immersion Program at Sandpiper Elementary School

    At Sandpiper, Spanish Immersion is offered to students in pre-kindergarten-6th grade through an application process.

    Sandpiper teacher and students “This is a very sought after program, and we have had a kindergarten waitlist for the last two years. Our school has become a ‘school of choice’ where parents are actively involved and very supportive. The rigorous curriculum of dual language programs attracts parents who want the very highest academic program while maintaining a family oriented atmosphere,” said Principal Diana Cameron.

    The school day is structured so that students spend 50 percent of the school day learning subjects in English, and the other half of the instructional day is spent learning subjects in Spanish. Kindergarten-4th grades students are taught Language Arts and Social Studies in English, and Math and Science are taught in Spanish. Students in 5th and 6th grades learn Language Arts and Math in English, and Science and Social Studies in Spanish.

    From the moment students step into one of the Spanish Immersion classrooms, they are fully immersed in the Spanish language and culture. The classrooms are decorated with Spanish language posters and maps that are informative and engaging. Students in the Spanish Immersion program are taught by native Spanish-speaking teachers who are knowledgeable in the culture.

    The program was implemented six years ago, and currently has 400 students enrolled in the program. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Sandpiper will start transitioning to a dual language immersion school without a traditional English track.


    Spanish Related Facts:

    • Spanish ranks as the No. 2 language in the world in terms of how many people speak it as their first language.
    • Spanish has at least 3 million native speakers in each of the 44 countries. Making it the fourth most widely spoken language, right behind English.
    • Spanish is one of the world’s most phonetic languages - if you know how a word is spelled, you’ll most likely be able to pronounce it.
    • Spanish is one of the easiest foreign languages to learn as much of the vocabulary is similar to English.
    • Immersion programs are one of the most efficient methods of learning languages.

    Related video:

    The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain


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