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  • How to Survive Winter “Brain Freeze”

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/7/2017

    frozen branch

    Winter break is almost here, and many families are planning trips to spend time with relatives or having loved ones visit them. Whatever your plans are during the break, parents should keep their child engaged in learning.

    With long periods away from the classroom, there is a real concern for learning loss. Students who continue to learn during winter break will be more successful in the long run. We’ve put together 10 tips to help you keep your child engaged in learning this winter break.

    1. Writing thank you notes
      This not only shows your child’s gratitude for gifts he or she receives, your child can practice his or her writing, spelling and grammar skills.

    2. Reading daily
      Keeps your child engaged by exploring new topics and interests. Plan a trip to the library so that your child can check out some new books. Have your child write a summary of the story he or she has read.

    3. Baking holiday treats
      Cooking and baking require many skills such as reading and math. Pull out some family recipes that you can make with your child and make this a yearly family tradition.

    4. Bedtime routine
      During the winter break, it’s important to maintain your child’s normal routines and schedules for going to bed and waking up. This way, your child is ready to return to school refreshed.

    5. Family game night
      Instead of watching TV, dust off a board game that the entire family can play such as Clue, Monopoly or Life.

    6. Outdoor exploration
      If the weather permits, plan an outdoor trip such as a hike or a trip to play in the snow.

    7. Science
      Learning about science can be easy as going to your backyard. During the day, you can identify insects, birds, animals and plants. At night, you can stargaze and map out constellations.

    8. Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Habits
      Establish a fitness routine and healthy eating habits prior to the winter break. Find activities that you can do as a family such as walking or bike riding.

    9. Vacation planning
      If you are going on vacation during the winter break, have your child help with the research and planning of the trip. If you are planning a road trip, ask your child to view the map and route you plan to take and which states you will be visiting.

    10. Workbooks
      Set aside quiet time for your child to work in workbooks. Books can be purchased at big box stores or online. Skills gained throughout the school year will be easily retained by encouraging this activity.

    PVSchools hopes that you have a safe, fun and relaxing time off, where learning continues to happen. School resumes on Monday, Jan. 8th, 2018!


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  • CREST Hosts the 2017 Project Symposium Nights

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/5/2017


    Students in the Center for Research, Engineering, Science, Mathematics and Technology (CREST) program at Paradise Valley High School will present their work during the CREST 2017 Project Symposium Nights on Wednesday, Dec. 13th and Thursday, Dec. 14th at the school. There is no cost to attend, and the event is open to the public.

    ​The CREST 2017 Project Symposium is a public presentation of students' course long projects. Students identified a problem, validated as real, completed research, design, built, created experiments, tested, analyzed and reflected on the results. All teams created poster and presentations that represent the process they completed. At this event, students will present their projects.​

    Schedule of events:

    • Wednesday, Dec. 13th from 5-6:30 p.m. in the CREST Building
      • 11th grade Engineering and 10th grade Bioscience

    • Thursday, Dec. 14th from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Cafeteria
      • 12th grade Bioscience
      • 12th grade Engineering
      • 9th grade Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Collaborative


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  • 10 Ways To Give Back during the Holiday Season

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/4/2017

    plate of cookies with a ribbon

    During the holiday season, they are many ways that you can help others while instilling the sense of community in your child. There are many charitable activities that you can do together as a family and create a new tradition during the holiday season.

    1. Volunteer your time
      Many organizations are in need of volunteers who can help out a few hours a month. Research volunteer opportunities with your child and decide together which nonprofit you’d like to help.

    2. Donate non-perishable food items to a local food bank
      When grocery shopping, pick up extra non-perishable food items such as beans, vegetables, peanut butter, jelly or pasta. Many food banks are in need of these items throughout the year, not just during the holiday. Since 1986, the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank has provided wholesome, nourishing meals to individuals and families living within the boundaries of PVSchools.

    3. Collect outerwear
      Most people tend to update their wardrobes during the fall and winter seasons with new coats, jackets and sweaters. Organize a coat drive and ask friends, family members and neighbors if they can donate a few items such as hats, gloves, scarves, coats and sweaters. Homeless shelters across the Valley are in need of these items.

    4. Donate blood
      Throughout the year, blood banks are in constant need of donations. By donating blood, you are helping to save lives. Schedule your appointment today.

    5. Donate pet supplies to animal shelters
      Animal shelters provide care and temporary homes for dogs, cats and critters while they are in transition to finding their furever homes. These shelters need pet food, litter, blankets and other pet supplies.

    6. Make a monetary donation
      If you don’t have time to collect items for a specific organization, you can always make a monetary donation, which you may be able to deduct on your taxes. Did you know that the PV Schools Education Foundation funds a handful projects and programs that directly benefit PVSchools students and teachers? A few of these projects and programs include PSAT testing for all sophomores, PVSchools District Spelling Bee, PVSchools Annual Fine Arts Festival and much more.

    7. Collect toys and children’s books
      You can hold a toy and children’s book drive in your community and donate the items to a hospital or a child crisis center.

    8. Collect hygiene products
      Shelters need basic hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, diapers, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and toilet paper to name a few of the items.

    9. Bake cookies for your neighbors
      While homemade baked goods are not allowed to be donated to your child’s classroom, you can bake cookies from scratch with your child, and deliver the goodies to a neighbor.

    10. Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree
      There are many children who may not receive one gift this holiday season. The Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree provides the opportunity for you to make a difference during the season of giving. Take your child to a participating mall and select a tag from the tree, buy a gift and return it to the collection box.


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  • Join the PVSchools Governing Board for Bagels with the Board

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/30/2017

    Front Row: Anne Greenberg and Julie Bacon. Back Row: Nancy case, Mark lane, Dr. James P. Lee and Dr. Sue Skidmore.

    As part of an ongoing effort to foster collegiality and promote transparency, the PVSchools Governing Board is pleased to announce the Bagels with the Board events. These events occur quarterly and are held at various schools throughout the district.

    The next Bagels with the Board is on Monday, Dec. 18th from 10-11 a.m. at Desert Cove Elementary School.  

    All members of the community are invited to attend this event to have an opportunity to talk with Governing Board members. Bagels and coffee will be provided.

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  • Learn About Preschool Options in PVSchools During the Preschool Universe Event

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/28/2017

    preschool student reading to others

    There are many preschool options available to parents whether it’s Gifted, Montessori, Little Scholars, Mini Scholars or Special Education. How will you determine which preschool is the right learning environment for your child? Your first step when considering a program for your child is to research all of your options before you make your final decision.

    At PVSchools, we have made this easy for you with our Preschool Universe evening event where you will have the opportunity to meet with preschool teachers, principals and administrators and get the answers to all of your preschool questions.

    Preschool Universe will be held on Thursday, Jan. 25th from 5:30-7:15 p.m. at Fireside Elementary School, and event pre-registration is not required.

    At PVSchools, we offer an array of preschool programs that will fit your child’s learning style because we know there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” model when it comes to education. Our youngest learners receive the foundation and building blocks needed to prepare them for success in elementary school. Our preschool programs are open to students across the Valley, not just to students residing within our district boundaries.

    Program registration begins Feb. 5, 2018, at 8 a.m. at PVSchools Community Resource Center.

    Related articles:


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  • Giving Tuesday - The Gift That Keeps on Giving

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/28/2017

    woman reaching out her hand

    Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving back to charitable organizations. You can take part in Giving Tuesday by donating to the PV Schools Education Foundation, the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank or making a tax credit contribution to one of our schools.  

    Did you know that the PV Schools Education Foundation supports students and teachers in the district by providing PSAT testing for all sophomores district-wide, field trip assistance for high needs school, District Spelling Bee and much more?

    The Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank provides wholesome and nourishing meals to those who reside within the boundaries of the PVSchools. PVEFB offers families with children up to eight food boxes per the calendar year.  Additionally, their "Backpack Program" provides breakfast, lunch, and snack items to nearly 600 students for the weekend during the school year.

    Another way to give is by making a Tax Credit contribution. Tax Credits can be used to cover fees associated with extracurricular activities, afterschool classes, overnight field trips and character education programs. Arizona tax law allows a tax credit up to $200 for an individual or $400 per married couple for contributions made or fees paid to a public school. It’s important to know that a tax credit is not a deduction. It is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the actual tax owed.

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  • North Canyon High School Hosts IB Information Night

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/24/2017

    International Baccalaureate Programme logo North Canyon High School will host an International Baccalaureate Programme Informational Night on Dec. 5th at 6:30 p.m., in the Main Building Lecture Hall at the school.

    During the event, an overview of the IB Programme will be provided, as well as a questions and answers segment and a tour.

    The IB Programme is for motivated learners and students who want to be surrounded by others with similar goals. IB is more than individual classes; it’s a comprehensive program that provides an academically challenging curriculum, ensures development in the areas of communication, thinking, research, social, and self-management skills, as well as providing opportunities for service learning.  

    Students can also earn many college credits by taking their IB exams, in fact, many IB students are technically sophomores when entering college. IB students are recognized by universities as top performers that not only succeed but flourish in college. Scholarship opportunities and college acceptance rates for IB students reflect this.  


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  • PVSchools NVAA Students Participate in First Friday Event

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/22/2017


    The North Valley Arts Academies (NVAA) students from the NVAA Visual Arts, NVAA Dance, NVAA Music Technology, as well as the Shadow Mountain Marching Band will participate in Phoenix’s First Friday on Friday, Dec. 1st from 6-10 p.m. at Roosevelt Row.

    This monthly event is designed for people in the community to enjoy the spirit and culture of downtown Phoenix, touring art galleries, venues and arts related spaces from 6 -10 p.m. every First Friday of the month.


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  • Gifted Seminar: Topics in Gifted Intelligence - A Psychological Perspective

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/21/2017

    woman with calendar

    PVSchools Gifted Education Department and the United Parent Council will host Topics in Gifted Intelligence - A Psychological Perspective on Wednesday, Dec. 6th from 6-7:30 p.m. at the District Administrative Center.

    During the seminar, Dr. Paul Beljan will present several concepts common to gifted intelligence, including

    • Common signs that children with gifted intelligence present.
    • Asynchronous development and its possible origins.
    • Important diagnostic concepts in the diagnosis of gifted intelligence.
    • So your child is gifted; now what?

    In addition to basic concepts in understanding gifted and talented youth, the audience will be presented with a hypothesis to explain what may be different in a gifted child’s brain that results in asynchronous development and various exceptionalities. The resultant behavior is consistent with many of Dubrowski’s exceptionalities, but also cause many gifted children to be inappropriately diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

    About​ ​the​ ​Speaker:Dr. Paul Beljan is a pediatric neuropsychologist in private practice at Beljan Psychological Services in Scottsdale, Ariz. Beljan Psychological Services draws patients from around the United States and internationally. Dr. Beljan is an expert in evaluating and understanding gifted children and their common misdiagnoses. Along with Dr. James Webb, Dr. Beljan is a co-author of the book: Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, BiPolar, OCD, Depression, and Other Disorders.


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  • Now’s Your Chance to Audition for the NVAA Dance Track

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/21/2017

    NVAA dance students

    The North Valley Arts Academies (NVAA) will hold dance auditions for current 6th-11th grade students on Thursday, Dec. 7th from 3-5 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Shadow Mountain High School.

    The NVAA Dance Track provides your child with the essential skills and techniques to become a successful dancer. In the early years of the program, students will learn the methodology for popular dance styles such as ballet, jazz, hip hop and contemporary dance, and learn about choreography and creativity. In later years, your child will progress on to advanced and complex dance techniques, production, the history of dance and more. If your child possesses a love of movement, the NVAA Dance Track is ideal for honing their skills and propelling him or her onto a successful dance career.

    If you have any questions, please contact Emily Spranger, NVAA dance teacher, at espranger@pvschools.net.

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  • Kids, Carols 'n' Festive Apparel

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/20/2017

    2015 Holiday Choir performance - Wildfire Elementary students

    PVSchools will host its Annual Holiday Choir Performances at Paradise Valley Mall on Friday, Dec. 1st from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2nd from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Come and enjoy the holiday spirit as students from various PV schools perform holiday songs from around the world. Download to view the performance schedule.


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  • Put Your Evenings to Good Use - Enroll Now for 3rd Quarter Night Classes

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/16/2017

    Accelerate your education with Night Classes

    At PVSchools, we realize that learning isn't a "one size fits all" model. For some students, taking high school classes in a traditional classroom setting may not be an option due to athletic schedules, work schedules or family commitments. PVSchools has developed a Night Class program for students who may need credit recovery, want to get ahead or may not be able to attend school during the day.

    Sweetwater Community School offers Night Classes to in-district and out-of-district students. Since the class sizes are smaller, teachers can provide students with more individualized attention.

    Sweetwater Community School is now enrolling students for 3rd Quarter classes, which start on Monday, Jan. 8th, 2018. The deadline to enroll is Wednesday, Dec. 13th. Reserve your seat by enrolling today!

    Two sessions are offered each quarter to give students more options that work with their busy schedules.

    During the first session, which runs from 5-6:17 p.m., students can enroll in the following classes:

    • English 1
    • World History 1
    • Algebra 3
    • Biology 1
    • Men's & Women's Individual Sports
    • Ceramics 1-6

    During the second session, which runs from 6:23-7:40 p.m., students can enroll in the following classes:

    • English 3
    • Economics
    • Algebra 1
    • Environmental Science 1
    • Men's & Women's Individual Sports


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  • Registration Now Open for 8th Annual PVSchools Community 5K Run

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/14/2017

    5K Community Run 2018 - Jackson Evans 2017 winner

    Registration is now open for the 8th Annual PVSchools Community 5K Run. Visit imATHLETE.com from Nov. 13th through Jan. 14, 2018, to register to participate. No late registrations will be accepted.

    All participants will register under their team name (school, department or other). The cost to participate is $10 for adults, $5 for children 11-19 years old and free for children 10 years old or younger (parental supervision is required).

    The PVSchools Community 5K Run will take place on Saturday, Feb. 3rd, 2018, at Horizon High School.

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  • American Education Week - Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/13/2017

    American Education Week 2017 November 13-17

    American Education Week - November 13th-17th - is a time to celebrate public education and honor those who make a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education. This year’s theme for American Education Week is Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.

    Special observances during the week include:

    Tuesday, Nov. 14th: Parents Day
    Parents are key to their child's educational success and can take an active role in supporting learning. Parental involvement includes reading to your children, checking homework every night, limiting television viewing and computer time on school nights, developing a relationship with the teacher(s), and simply asking children about their school day. Whatever the level of involvement, it’s important to be consistent to make a difference in your child's lives.

    Wednesday, Nov. 15th - Education Support Professionals Day
    Education Support Professionals are the people in your school that keep it running. They are the administrative assistants, paraeducators, childcare associates for before and afterschool programs, bus drivers and cafeteria employees who make a significant contribution to public education every day!

    Thursday, Nov. 16th: Educator for a Day
    Educator for a Day is a National Education Association (NEA) program that allows individuals from the community to experience an entire school day, with the guidance of school employees. The visiting educator performs all the duties of a regular school employee in a normal work day—teaching class, performing lunch and corridor duty, recess supervision, working in the cafeteria, among other responsibilities.

    Friday, Nov. 17th - Substitute Educators Day
    The unsung heroes of our schools - the substitute educators who ensure a seamless education for students in the temporary absence of regular classroom teachers.

    Further reading:

    Learn the history behind American Education Week


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  • PVSchools M&O Override Passes

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/9/2017

    On Nov. 7th, the PVSchools community voted to approve the Maintenance & Operations (M&O) Override initiative that was on the ballot. We are very thankful and appreciative for the continued support of public education our community has shown to our district. 

    View the Thank You video from Superintendent James P. Lee, Ed.D.

    Guión del video en español.

    Breaking M&O Override image

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  • Program Spotlight: Summit Personalized Learning

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/9/2017

    A Aire Libre student using Summit Personalized Learning

    With the piloted success of Summit Personalized Learning at Aire Libre Elementary School and Desert Trails Elementary School during the 2016-17 school year, the program has been expanded to include 6th grade students at Eagle Ridge Elementary, Pinnacle Peak Preparatory and Whispering Wind Academy.

    Summit Personalized Learning was developed by teachers from Summit Public Schools with engineering assistance from Facebook. Students have access to an entire year worth of lessons, broken down by subject and unit, which allows them to work through the content at their own pace, in collaboration with their teachers. This approach to learning is supported by technology that allows both students and teachers to create and carry out individual learning plans and track progress toward personal goals.

    Summit Personalized Learning is an approach to learning that:

    • Connects students’ long-term goals and aspirations to their daily decisions, actions and behaviors.
    • Empowers students as self-directed learners, armed with the habits, mindsets and behaviors that lead to academic and personal success.
    • Engages students in developing skills through deeper learning projects, where the college-ready content they are learning is applied in real, authentic situations.
    • Nurturing diverse and trusting communities of learners, allowing them to practice and model life skills and receive the feedback they need to individually grow and thrive.

    A Second Year Snapshot of Aire Libre Elementary and Desert Trails Elementary

    Since Aire Libre Elementary School and Desert Trails Elementary School implemented the program during the previous school year, both schools have collected a year’s worth data that included strengths and challenges from the students and teachers who used Summitt Personalized Learning.

    Aire Libre Elementary teachers used the data to determine which students needed academic interventions. Teachers reviewed and discussed data results during their Professional Learning Communities meetings.

    “My students’ overall experience was one of growth. They grew in study skills, love for learning, furthering education goals, and independence in seeking information. One of my former students summed it up best saying she learned more about everything and had the opportunity to learn even more than what was expected about each subject. My experience as a teacher of Summit was exciting as I believe that this way of learning is the future. It needs to be! Our elementary students are computer literate, and we cannot hold them back from seeking all the knowledge that is available. We have the opportunity to let children soar,” said Linda Ludwig, a 5th grade teacher at Aire Libre Elementary School.

    During Aire Libre’s Summit Personalized Learning Parent Night, students demonstrated the program to their parents and shared their short and long term goals.

    Aire Libre and Desert Trails have expanded the program this year to include 5th grade students, as well as 6th grade. The students who piloted the Summit Personalized Learning gained valuable skill-sets to help them in 7th grade and beyond.

    “I believe that Summit Personalized Learning was one big factor in our increase in our AzMERIT scores, which lead to our school earning student growth and progress points to be a 'B' rated school from Arizona Department of Education. In fact, we missed earning an 'A' by one point, and we are so proud of the student achievement that continues to grow,” said Janice Moore, principal at Aire Libre Elementary School.

    The students at Desert Trails Elementary School loved the concept of units and projects, especially the writing a Myth/ComiCon English Language Arts project. “Our students enjoy the choice that Summit Personalized Learning offers and being able to work at their own pace and review as needed,” said Sarah Torrilhon, interim principal at Desert Trails Elementary School.

    Within the Summit Learning Community, our teachers engage in dialogue with teachers across the United States with questions, ideas or support as needed. Teachers within our district also collaborate via video conferencing, email and phone calls as needed. “Within our individual site; however, the teachers find it beneficial to meet daily to discuss not only student successes and struggles, but also tackle any questions, concerns, or praises with the platform,” said Mrs. Torrilhon.

    Implementing Summit Personalized Learning at Additional Elementary Schools

    At Eagle Ridge Elementary, Pinnacle Peak Preparatory and Whispering Wind Academy, 6th grade students now have access to Summit Personalized Learning. As students transition from elementary school to middle school and high school, they will be prepared for independence through the direct teaching of self-direction skills and mentoring support on a regular basis.

    “Students are learning how to be self-directed learners, not always relying on their teacher to do the thinking or work for them. Students are taught how to plan ahead, set small incremental goals to achieve a bigger goal and have the opportunity to have a choice in what they are learning,” said Johnny Brownlie, principal at Whispering Wind Academy.  

    All three schools have been leaning on one another to implement the personalized learning platform in different ways. “As we move forward with implementing this opportunity for students, we are sharing successes and roadblocks, so we can learn from the group without having to be perfect,” said Mr. Brownlie.

    Summit Learning Trainings

    Summit Personalized Learning requires in-person training for school leaders and teachers who are using the program. During the summer, teachers received an intensive five-day training while principals attended a two-day training to support the teachers through the implementation process. In addition, teachers and staff have the opportunity to attend trainings and conferences throughout the year. Each school also has an assigned Summit mentor and regularly receives support.

    The Summit Personalized Learning community now includes more than 330 schools from 40 states and the District of Columbia.

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  • National School Psychology Awareness Week - Power Up! Be a Positive Charge

    Posted by Suzanne O'dea on 11/8/2017

    PVSchools school psychologists

    The week of November 13–17, 2017, schools throughout the country will celebrate National School Psychology Awareness Week, the theme of which is “Power Up! Be a Positive Charge.” The phrase “Power Up!” emphasizes each individual’s ability to cue into the talents, skills, behaviors, and mindset that will help them contribute to the quality of their school and broader community. A key objective is to teach children that they have the power to bring about positive changes, both for themselves as individuals and for their communities as members of classrooms, peer groups, families, teams, and clubs.  Powering up to be a positive charge can take many forms. It can mean taking action to speak up when bullying occurs, engaging in learning, trying a new activity or skill, cleaning up trash on the playground, doing something kind for a classmate or neighbor, or making new friends. These actions empower children, create compassion, strengthen connections, and build resiliency—all traits that are critical for academic, social, and emotional success. Individuals who take a positive charge toward improving the world can make a lasting impact. Being a positive charge to grow as an individual and to make the world even a little bit better can have a long lasting impact.  

    There are many ways families can help children take action to make positive changes. As parents and caregivers, you can:

    • Talk to your kids about sparks—actions that can help them be a positive charge. Spark ideas include: dream, laugh, connect, imagine, create, encourage, share, listen, help, explore, try, and speak up.
    • Help your children develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and model respectful, caring behaviors with others.
    • Help your children identify their strengths and interests and  learn new skills. Emphasize that learning and maturing require trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal.
    • Encourage goal setting and mapping out a plan for achieving the goals. Talk with your children about steps they have taken, what worked and what didn’t, and what they might do next.
    • Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the achievement. Emphasize the importance of deliberate practice and that talent is developed over time through skillful practice.
    • Create an environment at home that allows your children to explore building (playing with blocks, helping with projects, and more), drawing (crayons, finger paints, paper), and music (on the radio, with children’s instruments, or through formal training through school or community resources). This may help to identify special interests.
    • Help your child work through setbacks, or limited confidence, by helping to identify negative thoughts that may suggest concerns about his or her ability to be successful. As a parent, you can help by showing how persistence are small steps taken to overcome challenging obstacles that lead them toward achieving their goals.  Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing.
    • Seek out support systems available in the community to help your children learn new skills and thrive, such as tutoring or mentoring programs. Encourage your children to participate in community activities that may help them to develop positive values and character. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community events yourself as a role model.
    • Encourage your children to participate in school and community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors, such as gratitude In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of favorable behaviors. Consider participating in community and school events yourself as role a model.

    The school psychologists of Paradise Valley Unified School District are part of the Special Education Department, and we believe in equitable access and opportunities for all students. We promote academic progress and emotional, social, and psychological wellness through the identification of strengths, needs, interventions, resources and supports. In addition, we seek to empower students with developing self-advocacy skills. We believe positive home and school collaboration is essential to facilitating prosocial behaviors and academic gains. We value innovative, evidence-based, culturally competent, and ethically sound practices and recognize that positive, supportive, safe and inclusive learning environments are essential to student success.  It is our privilege to partner with staff and families in our community to encourage all of our children, whether at home or at school, to power up and take positive action to make our community a better place!

    About the author

    Suzanne O'Dea Suzanne O’Dea, a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, has served the special education population for the past 19 years. She currently holds the title of the Lead School Psychologist for PVSchools. Prior to her current employment, she was the Director of Special Services for seven years in Colorado. She has a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a postgraduate certification in Special Education Administration from the University of Northern Colorado.

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  • Give the Gift of Reading During Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive

    Posted by Staff.Becky Kelbaugh on 11/3/2017

    Barnes&Noble Holiday Book Drive
    Do you have a favorite book from your childhood that you’d like to share with a child who may not even own a single book?

    During the Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive, when you purchase a book at the Desert Ridge Marketplace location, you will have the opportunity to buy and donate a book to a child who attends a Title I School in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. You can also designate your book donation go to a specific school.

    The Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive at the Desert Ridge Marketplace location goes from Nov. 1st through Dec. 31st.

    PVSchools has 18 Title I Schools - Aire Libre Elementary, Arrowhead Elementary, Cactus View Elementary, Campo Bello Elementary, Desert Cove Elementary, Eagle Ridge Elementary, Echo Mountain Primary, Echo Mountain Intermediate, Greenway Middle, Hidden Hills Elementary, Indian Bend Elementary, Larkspur Elementary, North Canyon High, Palomino Primary, Palomino Intermediate, Sunset Canyon Elementary, Vista Verde Middle and Whispering Wind Academy.

    During the 2016 holiday season, nearly 2,000 books were donated to students in PVSchools.


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  • Now’s Your Chance to Volunteer in Paradise

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/3/2017

    A VIP volunteer working with a student

    PVSchools' award-winning Volunteer In Paradise (VIP) program is seeking volunteer tutors for the school year.

    The next volunteer orientation will be held Thursday, Nov. 16th from 10 a.m.- noon at the PVSchools Community Resource Center.

    The VIP program matches dedicated qualified volunteer tutors with students at participating schools. Volunteer tutors work with students in either a one-on-one setting or in small groups with the goal of increasing student achievement.

    Volunteer tutors are needed in all subject areas in kindergarten through 6th grades at Arrowhead Elementary School, Cactus View Elementary School, Campo Bello Elementary School, Desert Shadows Elementary School, Echo Mountain Primary School, Mercury Mine Elementary School, North Ranch Elementary School and Sunset Canyon Elementary School.

    Learn more about the VIP program at www.pvschools.net/VIP.


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  • Share Your Family Stories During November

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/1/2017

    Photo album with black and white photos

    November is Family Stories Month and, as most families gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, this is the perfect opportunity to share your family’s stories with other members who may not know much about their forefathers. Here’s how you can preserve your family’s stories:

    Create a Family Tree

    Use photographs to create a family tree that includes your family and goes back two generations.

    You can build out your family tree with websites, like Ancestry.com.  By searching census, military and Ellis Island records, you can trace your roots to find more about your family members. Your local library may offer free genealogy classes to assist you in your research.


    Share stories from your childhood, family vacations or other memorable moments that your child may not know. Ask grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to share their knowledge stories about your family.

    Record a Touching Story

    Record and share your family story with the StoryCorps app. StoryCorps is America’s oral history project, and recordings are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress so that future generations can hear the stories. Learn how to record your StoryCorps Interview in five steps.


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  • Helping Our Neighbors - Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank

    Posted by PVSchools on 10/27/2017

    a box of food from the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank

    Did you know that since 1986, the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank (PVEFB) has provided wholesome, nourishing meals to individuals and families living within the boundaries of the PVSchools who would otherwise go hungry? Families needing assistance can receive up to six food boxes a year.

    The PVEFB "Backpack Program” provides weekend meals for approximately 600 students in 20 our schools. The food provided in the backpacks is intended to offer breakfast, lunch, and snack items to children for the weekend to replace the food provided by the school during the week. During the year, PVEFB staff will pack and deliver more than 23,000 backpacks at the cost of about $5.50 each. The projected cost of the Backpack Program is approximately $130,000.

    Additionally, the organization provides school nurses at 19 schools with juice and crackers that they can use when dispensing medicine to students during the school day.  

    Need assistance?

    For individuals and families who require assistance, the PVEFB provides wholesome and nourishing meals to those who reside within the boundaries of the PVSchools. PVEFB offers families with children up to eight food boxes per the calendar year. The boxes contain food valued at $20 per person.

    The Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank How to get a food box?

    • You must make an appointment in advance by calling 602-867-9228. Walk-in clients are not accepted.
    • You must provide the name, birth date and identification number (last four digits of the Social Security Number) for everyone receiving food.
    • Required proof of residency within the PVSchools boundaries for all adults (18 years or older) in the household. Acceptable proofs of residence include
      • Postmarked mail no more than 60 days old with the name and address of each adult.
      • A lease agreement (one-time basis), which began within the last 60 days.
    • A picture ID is also required for the person who will receive the food.
    • If you cannot provide any of this information, the PVEFB does accept referrals from school personnel, state or federal agencies and clergy.


    How you can help?

    There are numerous ways in which you can help the emergency food bank such as donating non-perishable food items, volunteering or making a monetary donation that qualifies for a tax credit.

    • Non-perishable Food Donations - Food banks, including PVEFB, rely on community members and organization to provide donations throughout the year, not just during the holiday.  In addition to canned food items, the PV Emergency Food Bank is also in need of hot and cold cereals, juices, dry milk, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, jelly, baby food, soap, toilet paper, diapers and personal care items. View the list of items needed.

      PVSchools continues to support the PVEFB efforts through school-sponsored food drives and with  the PVSchools annual Empty Bowls event in which all proceeds are donated to the food bank.

    • Volunteer - volunteers help collect food and distribute food, stock shelves and help answer the phone.

    • Monetary Donations - monetary contributions help the PVEFB pay for rent, utility and phone bills in addition to food items that are not donated. They accept checks or credit card payments through PayPal. When you make a monetary contribution, you are eligible for the Credit for Donations made to Qualifying Charitable Organizations.


    How the PVEFB helps students in PVSchools boundaries?

    • In 2016, the PV Emergency Food Bank assisted more than 3,848 families comprising 10,660 individuals, which includes 4,335 children.
    • In 2008, the PVEFB launched the "Backpack Program" to provide breakfast, lunch, and snack items to students for the weekend during the school year. Today, this program provides weekend meals for 600 students in 20 schools.
    • The PVEFB Nurses Program provides juice and crackers for use when dispensing medicines at school. This program is active in 19 schools.


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  • Desert Shadows Elementary Sandsharks Create Art for the Sky

    Posted by PVSchools on 10/26/2017

    Students at Desert Shadows Elementary School participate in Art for the Sky shark mural art piece As part of the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) and Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) initiatives at Desert Shadows Elementary School, students and staff participated in the Art For the Sky project with Artist in Residence Daniel Dancer.

    Art For the Sky is a unique, team building activity that helps dissolve boundaries that often exist in our daily lives. These captivating creations blend art, science, history and math into a whole-body way of seeing the "big picture" and help everyone to understand our interconnection with life.

    For the art piece, Desert Shadows Elementary collected 300 pairs of blue jeans to use in the design to form the water and waves. Cowboy Hardware generously donated color-coded T-shirts for students and staff to wear, which represented the body of the shark.

    The City of Phoenix Fire Department was onsite with a ladder truck that lifted Mr. Dancer 80 feet in the air where he orchestrated the design details and took photos of the process and the final art piece.

    To learn more the Art For the Sky project, please visit www.artforthesky.com.

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  • Make a Difference in Your School with a Tax Credit Contribution

    Posted by PVSchools on 10/25/2017

    jar with money placed on an open book Making a contribution to receive an Arizona public education tax credit is simple and is a win-win for you and our students. The Arizona tax law allows a tax credit up to $200 for an individual or $400 per married couple for contributions made or fees paid to a public school for support of extracurricular activities such as

    • Extracurricular activities, including sports, fine and performing arts, clubs or outdoor education.
    • Afterschool classes, including homework lab, reading class, tutoring, etc.
    • Overnight field trips.
    • Character education programs (ARS 15-719).

    It’s important to know that a tax credit is not a deduction. It is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the actual tax owed. For example, if you owe $900 in state income taxes and you donate $400 to a public school for extracurricular activities, you may subtract the $400 from your tax bill and pay the state just $500.

    Learn more about tax credit contributions.

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  • PVSchools Host Gifted Preschool and Gifted Self-Contained Tours

    Posted by PVSchools on 10/25/2017

    gifted preschool students

    You may be asking yourself, what makes PVSchools Gifted Preschool standout against other gifted preschools? First of all, PVSchools is one of the nation’s few public school districts to offer an established Gifted Preschool programs with four locations - Desert Trails, Desert Cove, Fireside and North Ranch elementary schools. Our Gifted Preschool teachers are Certified, have a Gifted Endorsement and an Early Childhood Certification. 

    In Dr. James Delisle’s book “Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (And What We Can Do to Fight Back)” he states, “What makes PVSchools standout is both breadth and depth of its offerings for young gifted children. These programs are enhanced by professional development opportunities for staff and community presentations for parents of gifted kids or those just interested in learning more. If you are looking for a ‘complete package’ of how to serve gifted young children, PVSchools is the Holy Grail you seek.”

    Why not start with the best?

    PVSchools’ Gifted Education Department will offer tours of its Gifted Preschools and Self-contained Gifted program (1st-6th grades) in November.

    Let your child’s Journey of Excellence begin at PVSchools. Take the next step and register to attend a tour.


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  • PVSchools Hosts Job Fair - Nov. 28th

    Posted by PVSchools on 10/23/2017

    We are hiring

    The Paradise Valley Unified School District will host a Job Fair to fill open Education Support Professional (ESP) positions on Tuesday, Nov. 28th from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at the District Administrative Center. Prospective candidates should come dressed appropriately to interview the day of the Job Fair.

    Competitive Benefits Package

    PVSchools offers a competitive benefits package that includes:

    • Free employee-only medical benefits package (must work 30 hours a week to be eligible)
    • Dental and Vision Insurance
    • Arizona State Retirement System
    • Paid holidays

    Open Positions

    • Bus Aides - supports and assists special education students during transport to and from school and/or special activities.
    • Bus Drivers - transports students to and from school. Candidates must have a certified five (5) year motor vehicle record (clear of any moving violations).
      • PVSchools pay starts at more than our peer districts - $14.48
        • Cave Creek Unified School District - $13.65
        • Deer Valley Unified School District - $12.63
        • Scottsdale Unified School District - $13.95
    • Childcare Associates - supports instruction within an assigned program before, during, and/or after school.
    • Clerks - greets and directs visitors, responds to inquiries and provides general clerical support.
    • Crossing Guards - ensures the safety and welfare of students in transit to and from school.
    • Facilities & Construction Maintenance Technicians - maintains facilities and addresses immediate operational and safety concerns.
    • Paraeducators: Special Education - supports and assists in the supervision, care and instruction of special needs students in the regular classroom or in a self-contained classroom.
    • Nutrition & Wellness Workers - supports food service personnel at an assigned location for food service activities. Candidates will need a Food Handler’s card.

    Potential candidates can reach out with questions to Dr. Michelle Otstot by email at motstot@pvschools.net or by phone 602-449-2185.


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