The Navigator

  • Welcome to the Sonoran Sky Navigator! This new blog page is designed to provide a quick overview of the exciting things happening in our community. It is very important to us that we communicate effectively and is our hope that this integrated blog page will help us support this goal. We will be updating this page and our website regularly, so please feel free to take a look around to find out all that is happening at our great school.
  • Summer 2017 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 5/24/2017 6:50:00 PM

    Good Evening Sonoran Sky Community,

    Only one school day left! The last day of school is such a great time. It is always so fun to feel the energy and excitement of students as they head into summer. This will be my last Navigator of the 2016-17 school year. I just wanted to share a few bits of information that will help wrap up this year and help you be ready for the next one.

    Class placements will be announced for current students at tomorrow’s “Move-Up Day”. All current K-5 students will spend a few minutes in the morning visiting their new teachers. This allows them some time to meet their new teacher and see what their classroom will look like. Parents are not allowed back into the building until after the “Move-Up Day” event tomorrow morning, so please plan accordingly.

    Every year, we look for ways to improve our practice and make changes to better serve our students and community. Here are a few things we are changing up next year:

    • We are going to be staggering lunch times differently next year to allow for less overlap and more space for our classes during our lunch periods.
    • We are going to be enforcing a policy of allowing only individually wrapped foods to be served in classrooms for Star of the Week and Birthday treats. This will hopefully limit the amount of high-calorie and often messy foods that are brought into classrooms. It will also allow us to better protect those students with severe allergies. This means big boxes of donuts, cupcakes, cookies, etc. are no longer allowed. However, individually wrapped items, such as: Rice Krispie treats, Fruit Roll-ups, Goldfish, Snack Mixes and the like will be allowed. Look for more information to come home at the start of the year from your classroom teachers.
    • We will be updating our Make Your Day handbooks online to help better explain how MYD works in our school. We will also be offering MYD parent information nights.
    • We are going to be working hard to find parent volunteers next year who will help serve as greeters before school. We tried to implement a greeter program this year, but didn’t get much support. I am hoping that implementation at the beginning of the year will give us the momentum we need to get this up and running!

    The principal’s challenge is in full swing! Please download the packet here to read more information about this exciting project. Many students choose to participate in this over the summer to help keep their minds focused on exploring and learning new things.

    Mrs. Fuentes, our Administrative Assistant, has been working hard on something fun for the end of the school year. Please take a look at this link for a great send off to summer!

    Our students have shown such amazing growth this year. I am excited to see what the 2017-18 school year has in store for us. Fow now, I hope you have amazing adventures while you enjoy a relaxing summer break!

    Have a fun and safe summer!

    Robert Dawson

    Principal, Sonoran Sky Elementary

    Comments (-1)
  • May 2017 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 5/2/2017

    thank you kid

    Can you believe it is already May, and that we have only a few weeks left of school?! As the school year comes to a close, our minds and hearts are filled to the brim. It’s been a great year! Together we’ve learned much and shared experiences that will remain with us for years to come. The strength of our community and wholehearted passion to make our school a wonderful place of learning for our children and all of us, makes Sonoran Sky a truly special place.

    Special thanks to all of you who have contributed in ways small, large, and unimaginable! The success of Sonoran Sky rests heavily on the support and dedication of parent and community volunteers. It is so inspiring to walk the halls of our school each day and see moms and dads and extended family and community members reading with children, helping them solve math problems, acting as art docents, and sharing a plethora of other talents that enrich student lives. Adults who volunteer their time accompanying kids on field trips, attending PTO events, and supporting staff, students, and each other send a clear message to our children that they do indeed have an extended school family that cares greatly for them. To all those who give so freely and abundantly of their time and energy, at school or at home, I offer my sincere appreciation and thanks!

    Our community is always so great at recognizing teachers’ contributions during teacher appreciation week. Thank you so much for the amazing show of support! Our staff truly appreciates it! Our dedicated teachers are working hard on end of the year activities with the students to ensure we are finishing the year strong.

    Here are a few reminders of upcoming events happening at Sonoran Sky:

    Spring Choir Concert - Tuesday, May 2, 7:00 - 8:00 pm

    5th Grade’s Sing America Sing - Thursday, May 11, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

    Spring Band Concert - Monday, May 15, 7:00 - 8:00 pm

    Spring Strings Concert -  Tuesday, May 16, 7:00 - 8:00 pm

    Last Day of School, Early Release - Thursday, May 25th, 12:30 pm

    We will be hosting our annual “Move-up Day” on the last day of school. This is a day designed for kids to be able to meet and spend a little time with their assigned teacher for next school year. This is a student only event and no parents are allowed into the building while our kids enjoy this time. This day is always a fun way for students to learn who their teacher is and get excited for the fall.

    A big congratulations goes out to Zahra Alam, 6th grader, for winning 1st place in the Earth Sciences Elementary Division at the recent Arizona Science and Engineering Fair. We are very proud of her and the work she did to receive this recognition.

    Lastly, it has been determined that a runoff election will be held for PTO President. This election will take place from Wednesday, May 3rd to Tuesday, May 9th, 2017. Please stop by the front office and ask our Records Secretary, Mrs. Nelson, for a ballot if you’d like to vote. Votes will be counted on Tuesday, May 9th at 4:00 pm.

    Have a great May!

    Sarah Torrilhon

    Assistant Principal, Sonoran Sky Elementary

    Comments (-1)
  • April 2017 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 4/3/2017

    part of the solution

    The focus of our character education program this quarter is, “Am I focusing on solutions instead of problems?”. This is such an important lesson for our students. Kids deal with so many complex issues in today’s world. It is easy for kids to feel overwhelmed or frustrated by change or negative situations. We work hard at Sonoran Sky to develop learners that are up to the challenge of navigating the complexities of our 21st century world. We want to help create students who have a positive outlook, are engaged in their learning, and are focused on solutions. Students like this are going to be more capable, successful, and most important of all, happier. Next time your student comes to you with a concern or problem, ask them to brainstorm a few solutions and see what happens!


    A few quick reminders of upcoming events:

    • Tomorrow, Tuesday April 5th is an early release day. School releases at 12:30 and lunch is not served. Please plan to pick your student up promptly.

    • This Friday is our annual Spring Fling school carnival. Please visit our PTO’s website for tickets and more information.

    • Join us on the evening of April 24th from 6pm - 8pm for our annual school Art Walk. Come and enjoy artwork created by our talented Sonoran Sky students.

    • Our Spring book fair is coming April 24th - April 28th. Make sure to stop by!


    Remember that when school gets out at 3:15 everyday, we have a lot of action on our campus. Please make sure to have your afterschool plan finalized with your student prior to the start of every school day. Also, talk to your kids about safe behaviors during dismissal. Make sure they know not to go anywhere with an adult they don’t know. They should always go to the office if they are lost or have any questions. We make safety reminders like this for students every morning, but hearing it again at home is great reinforcement.


    Don’t forget that AZMerit testing for all 3rd - 6th graders will be taking place this year on April 18th - 20th. Please make sure to mark these dates on your calendar and make every effort to ensure that your student is in class on these days. Be looking for more information on date and time specifics to come home with your student soon.


    I am proud to announce that 5th grader, Aditya Narayanan, won the Arizona State Geography Bee at ASU last week! Please take a minute to read this article about his amazing achievement! Good job Aditya, we are proud of you!


    Have a great April!

    Robert Dawson

    Principal, Sonoran Sky Elementary

    Comments (-1)
  • March 2017 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 3/1/2017
    It is hard to believe that we only have a week and a half left in 3rd quarter. This year is flying by. Soon, it will be Spring Break and then we will be wrapping up the school year. Having said that, we have so much left to accomplish this school year. I appreciate all the efforts our teachers and community have made to make the 2016-2017 school year such a success.


    At this point in the year, I usually share a quick staffing update for the next school year in an effort to be open and eliminate any speculation. Keep in mind that things do change and life happens, so these changes aren’t set in stone, but here is a snapshot of next year’s staffing:
    • Mrs. Spiekerman will be moving to 2nd grade to replace Mrs. Johnson, who is retiring.
    • Mrs. Edin will be moving from 6th to 4th grade.
    • Miss Corbett will be moving to 5th grade.
    • Mrs. Qualley will not be returning next year.


    In other news, we evacuated our building today when our fire alarm sounded unexpectedly. There was no fire discovered and students and staff did a great job evacuating the building in a quiet and calm fashion. The sensor that sounded was replaced and we should have no more issues moving forward. We are lucky this didn’t happen during the downpour yesterday!


    Next, an update to our “Stranger Danger” alert. Yesterday we found out a little more to the story. We discovered that the person in the car was a grandfather who lives in the neighborhood. I appreciate everyone’s vigilance and working to keep our kids safe before and after school. Although this situation ended up not being of concern, please review proper safety protocol with your students. Also, consider picking up your students in our back pick-up line or at the flagpole, as opposed to meeting them in the neighborhood.


    Continuing with safety concerns, we have heard a few comments regarding the recent afterhours threat made against our neighbors at the JCC. We communicate with the JCC regularly regarding safety issues and were aware of the threat. We will continue to develop this partnership and work with the JCC to provide a safe environment for all of our students and our community as a whole.


    AZMerit testing for all 3rd-6th graders will be taking place this year on April 18-20. Please make sure to mark these dates on your calendar and make every effort to ensure that your student is in class on these days. Be looking for more information on date and time specifics to come home with your students soon.


    Finally, Parent Input for Placement forms for the 2017-2018 school year are now available in the front office. These forms will be available for the entire month of March. This simple form is not required but is available for parents who want to give documented input regarding their student’s class placement for next year.


    Have a great March!

    Robert Dawson

    Principal, Sonoran Sky Elementary

    Comments (-1)
  • February 2017 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 2/2/2017


    I often get asked what makes Sonoran Sky so different from other schools. Although there are many things I could point to that make Sonoran Sky unique and special, I believe one of the most significant reasons is the large amount of authentic parent and community support we receive. Research shows that when schools enjoy positive community support, young people achieve more, stay in school longer, and are much more likely to enjoy their school experience.  We are constantly looking for ways to increase the levels of partnership with our families and community. With this collaborative focus, I am positive that our school will continue to grow, achieve, and prosper for many years to come.

    It is my hope that all of our families feel engaged in what happens here at our school. I encourage you to support your student(s) by participating in as many activities as you can at Sonoran Sky. Some ways to get involved include: attending after school events (such as STEM Night tonight!), attending a monthly PTO meeting, volunteering in the classroom, serving as a morning greeter for our students, helping with kinder drop-off, staying in touch with your child’s teacher, supporting classroom activities and events, or just spending time with a new Sonoran Sky family to help welcome them to our community. Our school is what we make it and I believe that strong partnerships play a critical role in our student’s success.

    We have 2 great events coming up on campus that you won’t want to miss. Tonight (February 2nd) is our annual STEM night. Join us from 5 - 8 to view student projects and competitions as well as a variety of exhibitions and even some food trucks. Also, on Thursday, February 23rd, we are hosting our 3rd Annual Sonoran Sky Talent Show. This event has turned into one of our most anticipated events of the year. Don’t forget, the entry deadline for participation is tomorrow!

    Have an excellent February ,

    Mr. Dawson, Principal

    Comments (-1)
  • January 2017 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 1/9/2017 4:10:00 PM


    Welcome to 2017! I hope you all had a fun and restful winter break. Our first day back was a success and we are ready to get back into the swing of things. We have many exciting events coming up that I want to make you aware of.

    On Wednesday, February 1st, registration begins for our 2017-2018 kindergarten classes. We host our annual Kindergarten Roundup on February 1st, beginning at 5:45pm. This event is for parents only and is designed to provide a comprehensive look at our amazing kindergarten program. Please help us spread the word about this important event to prospective families in our community.

    We are still looking for some smiling faces to volunteer to be greeters for our students in the morning. Our School Council is working to establish a “Morning Greeter” program which will station volunteer parents at the entrance gates during morning arrival time. You can sign-up for as many or as few days as you like. If you are interested in serving in a role such as this, please join me for an informational meeting on Tuesday, January 24th at 9:00am.

    Please join me for my coffee chat on Thursday, January 19th at 9:00am. This is a great time to sit and chat about issues and events around our campus. The topics discussed are determined by the questions asked and range from curriculum to school safety. Please join me! Coffee and donuts will be served.

    Lastly, be looking for information coming home regarding our annual STEM Night, which will be held this year on Thursday, February 2nd from 6:00-8:00pm. This fun and engaging event is always a community favorite. This year, students can choose to participate in a variety of activities. We have a science fair competition, egg drop challenge, gummy bear trebuchet building, and even battling robots. All of this in addition to food trucks and an huge amount of smiles and fun. I look forward to seeing you there.

    Have an excellent January,

    Mr. Dawson, Principal

    Comments (-1)
  • December 2016 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 11/29/2016


    The holiday season is in full gear. The cold weather is here and we only have a few weeks left of 2016. I hope you all had a fun and restful Thanksgiving break. We have some very exciting things happening at Sonoran Sky in December.


    We are looking for some smiling faces to volunteer to be greeters for our students in the morning. Our School Council is working to establish a “Morning Greeter” program which will station volunteer parents at the entrance gates during morning arrival time. If you are interested in serving in a role such as this, please join me for an informational meeting on Thursday, December 15th at 9:00 am in the Media Center. You can volunteer as frequently as every day or as little as once a month. We are flexible! I am looking forward to adding this positive program to our campus.


    We have had a few staff shifts around campus in the past few weeks. Mrs. Tobias (5th grade) has begun her maternity leave. Mrs. Malouf, our computers teacher, has graciously agreed to step into Mrs. Tobias’s class for the remainder of her absence. Mrs. Martin (a former SSES teacher) has agreed to work with our computer classes and replace Mrs. Malouf. We were also able to add a new half time resource teacher to help meet the needs of our resource students. Her name is Deborah Weiner, you may recognize her from around campus as she has a kindergartener and 1st grader at Sonoran Sky. She comes to us with many years of teaching experience and I know she will be a great addition to our teaching team!


    We are hosting our annual APEX fun run over the next 2 weeks. The funds raised by this event help support many of the additional programs that our PTO provides for our school. Our wonderland classes and Mrs. Klein’s services, our Artist-in-Residence programs, Sky Writers book makers, and more are all made possible through fundraisers like this. The PTO listened to parent feedback and has worked diligently with APEX to make some adjustments to the event this year to help better fit the wants and needs of our community. Thank you for any support you give through fundraisers like this.


    It is also time for tax credit donations. You can get a tax credit up to $200 for an individual or $400 per married couple. If you’d like to make a tax credit donation to our school, please visit this site or come by the front office at Sonoran Sky.


    Finally, leading up to Winter Break, school is in session until Friday, December 23rd this year. Winter Break runs from December 24th until January 8th and students return on Monday, January 9th. We hope you all have a wonderful last few weeks of school and an even better break!


    Thank you for all you do to support your student(s) and our school.


    Have an excellent December,

    Mr. Dawson, Principal


    Comments (-1)
  • November 2016 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 11/1/2016



    What a great time of year! The temps are coming down and you can feel excitement in the air as we move into this fun season of diverse holidays and celebrations. We have been very busy at Sonoran Sky this month. We held a very successful Movie Night last week. It was great to see families and kids smiling and enjoying each other’s company. We completed a successful conference week and are in the midst of an amazing pirate themed book fair.


    In addition to all the fun and exciting things we have been doing at our school, we have also seen a lot of serious subjects brought up lately around campus. I have heard from a lot of families concerned about a general negative tone in the country right now. With a lot of heavy topics being discussed on the evening news and in media everywhere, it is impossible to always shield our kids from some pretty complicated conversations.


    Find solace in the fact that we are all part of a great, positive community at Sonoran Sky. This is a place where kindness and inclusiveness will always prevail. When your kids are at school, they are in the care of adults that love working with kids and do their best to create a safe and caring environment for all students.


    I believe that creating positive spaces where we live, work, and play is the best way to fight negativity in the world. We work hard to create an environment where kids feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves at school. Nothing is more important for our kids than belonging to a positive community and enjoying their learning.


    Make sure to look for good news to talk to your kids about. Point out the good things going on in our community. Look for people that are smiling and helping. Make it a point to remain positive in a world that often isn’t. When you reflect and look around, we have so much to be happy about.


    Thank you for all you do to support your student(s) and our school.


    Have an excellent November,

    Mr. Dawson, Principal

    Comments (-1)
  • October 2016 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 10/4/2016


    One of the “buzz word phrases” that is floating around in academia recently is “productive struggle”. This term encapsulates the idea that all learning and growth are a result of experiencing mistakes and confusion. To some, this is difficult to embrace. In a culture often focused on advancement and achievement, it is rare to find people who celebrate mistakes and don’t get rattled by confusion. Our “All Things E.Q.” character education program teaches that we should all be comforted by the fact that learning happens as a result of mistakes and confusion. Talk to your students about not being frustrated by challenging tasks or disappointed when they feel confused. These feelings are necessary for learning, and if we learn to embrace them, it makes learning much more enjoyable!

    Our School Council has already met twice this year. School Council is an important part of our community. The parent representatives on the council wanted to share the following letter explaining what School Council is and the role it plays in helping to give input on how we run our school. Click here to read this important message.

    Finally, every year, our PTO puts together a school wide directory to help facilitate communication and community amongst our families. If for any reason you would NOT like your family information included in this directory, please be sure to fill out the “Opt-Out” form that will be coming home this week.

    Thank you for all you do to support your student(s) and our school.

    Have an excellent week.

    Mr. Dawson, Principal



    Comments (-1)
  • September 2016 Navigator

    Posted by Heather Fuentes on 9/9/2016


    We are already a month into school and things are running smoothly. It is nice to see that we are starting to have a few more pleasant weather days. I am ready to say goodbye to the days of 100+ degrees.

    We have had a lot going on around campus this first month of school. Our 6th graders have already completed their yearly PILOTS camp trip. Mrs. Klein, our Master Gardener, met with teachers this week to begin planning for Wonderland classes, which start soon. Also, our new Records Secretary, Rebecca Nelson, joined our team last week. We are very pleased to have her on board! Next time you call the school or stop by, you may get a chance to chat with her.

    I am proud to announce that our school has been awarded with two recognitions by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. First of all, Mrs. Klein has been awarded with the well deserved accolade of “Teacher of the Year”. We are very proud of her and the work she is doing for our school. In addition to this recognition, the Commission recognized Sonoran Sky with the “Award of Excellence” for our long-term commitment in maintaining a schoolyard habitat where our students get to participate in environmental education through our pond and garden.

    Next, I want to remind you about our PTO’s Used Book Sale on Saturday, September 17th. In order to make this event a success, we need your books! Please donate any gently used books to the cause and don’t forget to include your student’s name with the donation. You can send these into the classroom or drop them off in the front office.  Join us for the event at 9am on 9/17 in the cafeteria.

    Finally, open enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year has already started. We have 20 different school tours scheduled this year. If you know of friends or family looking to join us next year, please help spread the word. For more information on either of these things, please check the homepage of our website.

    Thank you for all you do to support your student(s) and our school.

    Have an excellent weekend.

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