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  • PVSchools Offers Comprehensive Educational Services for Elementary Gifted Children

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/26/2017

    gifted preschool students using technology We’ve all heard the terms pull-out, self-contained, cluster grouping model, but what does it exactly mean for your gifted child? At PVSchools, we believe that there isn’t a one size fits all model when comes it to learning and especially gifted learning. This is why we offer different ways for your gifted child to learn.

    Your child’s Journey of Excellence begins with our Gifted Preschool program. PVSchools is one of the nation’s few public school districts to offer Gifted programs to children entering preschool. Because of the success and the demand for our Gifted Preschool program, PVSchools offers the program at four elementary schools, including Desert Cove, Desert Trails, Fireside and North Ranch.

    As your child continues to grow academically, emotionally and socially, PVSchools’ Gifted program options grow to include different learning models to best fit the academic needs of your child during his or her elementary years.

    Self-Contained Gifted Kindergarten

    Self-Contained Gifted Kindergarten classes are designed for high-achieving gifted and talented students. Students work beyond grade level with intellectual peers.

    Self-Contained Gifted

    Self-Contained Gifted classes are designed for students in 1st-6th grade who are high-achieving, highly and profoundly gifted students who are working at least two grade levels beyond their current grade. Gifted students who are radically accelerated in academics and highly motivated to learn and thrive in this program.

    Pull-out Programs

    Gifted students are removed or "pulled-out" from a traditional classroom to spend a portion of their time with academic peers for math and reading.

    Gifted Cluster Grouping Model

    Students in 1st-4th grades are clustered into mixed-ability classrooms at each grade level. The teacher has had training in understanding, planning for and instructing gifted students. If there are more than eight gifted students in the grade level, two or more clusters may be formed.

    Honors Classes

    Students in 4th-6th grades honors classes receive accelerated and enriched instruction in mathematics and/or language arts, depending upon their area(s) of identification and needs. Students receive content replacement in lieu of the regular grade level curriculum provided in their homeroom classes and content enrichment in addition to instruction provided in the homeroom or gifted cluster class.

    Learn more about the Gifted Preschool programs and the Gifted programs available to elementary students.

     

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  • Are You Ready for Monsoon Season?

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/26/2017

    lightning thunderstorm It’s officially Monsoon in Arizona even though a drop of rain isn’t in the forecast. Arizona’s monsoon season is from June 15th through September 30th.

    Dust Storms  

    Dust storms may arrive quickly without any warning. It’s important to know that if you are driving when a dust storm hits, you should do the following:

    • Pull off to the side of the road and turn off your car lights, including emergency flash.
    • Set your emergency brake and remove your foot from the brake.
    • Keep your seatbelt fastened.
    • Wait it out until the dust storm has passed.

    For more helpful tips, watch the Pull Aside, Stay Alive video.

    Heavy Rain

    • Slow down when driving in the rain, especially when it’s heavy rain, as tire traction is reduced and will cause vehicles to hydroplane.
    • Vehicles traveling at high speeds can send sheets of water on to your car.
    • Don’t drive through rain-swollen washes as you may get caught in a flash flood. Arizona has a “Stupid Motorist Law.”
    • Check road restrictions and closures, call 5-1-1 or visit www.az511.gov.

    Flash Floods

    With heavy rains, there is always the possibility of flash floods. Under no circumstance should you drive your vehicle intentionally through a flooded area as Arizona has a “Stupid Motorist Law.” If you’re caught in a wash during a flash flood, follow these steps:

    • Call 9-1-1.
    • Get onto the roof of your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.
    • If the water is shallow and slow moving, wade to safety.
    • Be aware of debris and potential wildlife.
    • Check road restrictions and closures, call 5-1-1 or visit www.az511.gov.

    Excessive Heat

    With the temperatures rising in the Valley, there will be more excessive heat warnings in effect throughout the summer. What do you need to know about these warnings?

    • Be sure to drink plenty of water even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid caffeinated beverages.
    • When you’re out in the sun, protect your face and head by wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.
    • Never leave your child or your pet in the car. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. If you see a child or pet locked in a car, call 9-1-1. If the child or pet is in distress, break a window to get the car unlocked.
    • The best way to stay cool is to stay inside during the peak hours. If you have to do yard work, work in pairs and take frequent breaks.
    • Check in on your elderly and sick neighbors as they are more likely to become victims of excessive heat.

    The Arizona Department of Health Services has more information about how to stay safe in this extreme heat. You can also sign up to receive future heat alerts.

    Lightning/Thunderstorms

    Lightning can strike 60 miles away from the nearest rainfall. If you hear thunder, you can be stuck by lightening. Here are a few precautions to take during a thunderstorm.   

    • Take shelter during a thunderstorm and lightning and stay put until the storm has completely passed, which is approximately 30 minutes after you hear the last thunder.
    • Stay away from trees, porches, swimming pools and open areas.
    • When indoors avoid touching any wires and plumbing. Do not use corded telephones or any electrical appliances.
    • If someone is struck by lightning, call 9-1-1.

    Fires

    Often when lightning strikes, it increases the chances of causing a wildfire. Here are a few tips to protect your home from a fire.

    • Clear brush at least 30 feet away from your home.
    • Trim tree branches away from chimneys and electrical lines.
    • If a fire erupts, call 9-1-1.
    • Develop a home evacuation plan and practice it.
    • Establish two exit routes from out of your neighborhood.

    Visit Arizona Emergency Information Network, to learn more about monsoon preparedness.

     

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  • Volunteer Opportunities at PVSchools

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/22/2017

    extended hand Volunteers play an integral role in the lives of students and staff in PVSchools. At PVSchools, we welcome and encourage our parents and community members to volunteer.  Furthermore, research has shown that students whose parents or grandparents volunteer in the classroom have higher test scores, receive better grades and have better attendance.

    There are several ways parents, guardians, relatives and community members can volunteer in PVSchools such as Site Volunteers, School Chaperones/Community Volunteers/Volunteer Coaches or as a Volunteer in Paradise.

    Site Volunteers

    A Site Volunteer is a parent, stepparent or legal guardian who has a child enrolled in the school where he or she wishes to volunteer. Site volunteers always work under the direct supervision of the professional staff at the school, and only with teachers who have requested the services of a volunteer. Site Volunteers should review the Volunteer Handbook.

    Volunteer opportunities include:

    • Classroom instructional volunteer
    • Classroom assistance volunteer
    • Clerical assistance
    • Health office assistance
    • Library/Media Center volunteer

    How to Apply to be a Site Volunteer

    To apply to be a Site Volunteer, you’ll need to visit the school you wish to volunteer at and complete the Volunteer Application and the Volunteer Agreement.

    School Chaperones/Community Volunteers/Volunteer Coaches

    School Chaperones/Community Volunteers/Volunteer Coaches provide for the safety of students attending events and on field trips. Any individual such as a parent, stepparent, legal guardian, grandparent or relative is eligible to be a school chaperone after a background screening, which includes fingerprinting and a background check.

    Volunteer opportunities include:

    A Chaperone is a parent, guardian or grandparent of a student who’s volunteering at student’s school and will be alone with students on local or overnight field trip.
    A Community Volunteer does not need to have a student or grandchild at enrolled in a school that he or she is volunteering.
    A Volunteer Coach volunteers with athletics whether or not he or she has a student or grandchild at the school.

    How to Apply to be a Chaperone/Community Volunteer/Volunteer Coach

    To apply to be a Chaperone/Community Volunteer/Volunteer Coach, please visit www.pvchools.net/volunteer-apply.

    Volunteer In Paradise

    PVSchools Volunteer in Paradise Another way that community members can be involved in our schools is by being a volunteer tutor in our award-winning Volunteer In Paradise (VIP) program. This program matches dedicated qualified volunteer tutors with students at one of six 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.

    Upcoming VIP Orientations

    The VIP program is seeking volunteer tutors for the 2017-18 school year. Orientations are held once per month except for December and registration is encouraged. Orientations held at the PVSchools District Office on the following dates:

    • Tuesday, July 18th from 10 a.m.-noon
    • Wednesday, Aug. 9th from 10 a.m.- noon

     

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  • Transitioning from Elementary School to Middle School -- What’s Different About Middle School?

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/21/2017

    Change graphic

    Whether remembering your own experiences, or hearing from family or friends, the transition from elementary school to middle school is an important one. But, it doesn’t have to be stressful for you and your teen.

    It’s important to remember that middle school is an exciting time for students to gain some independence and to branch out personally to explore and discover their interests.

    So, what are the differences between elementary school and middle school?

    1. Student Body
      In middle school, the student body is typically larger than in elementary school. Students will most likely have some of their classes with friends and classmates they already know. Because a few elementary schools feed into one middle school, students will be able to establish new friendships with others who may have different interests.

    2. Schedules
      No longer are subjects taught by the same teacher. Students in middle schools receive a schedule of classes and are on a bell schedule. When the bell rings, they will move from class to class throughout the day. Most importantly, middle school students get to learn subjects taught by a variety of teachers with different teaching styles.

    3. Guidance Counselors
      Guidance counselors provide so much for students and parents. From academic support to career awareness to coping strategies and goal setting, counselors are there to support and guide students throughout their middle school years.

    4. Media Centers
      Middle schools typically have bigger and better media centers than elementary schools. Students will have access to a larger selection of books, resource materials and more computers.

    5. Electives = Choices!
      In addition to the core curriculum that is offered, students can choose the electives they want to take. Electives will vary from school to school but may include foreign language, band, strings, art, chorus, drama, coding and culinary arts.

    6. More Homework
      Since middle school prepares students for high school, there will undoubtedly be more homework than what was given in elementary school. Homework assignments may include writing a research paper for history class or creating a diorama for science class. Since research projects will require more time to complete, help schedule enough time in the evenings and on weekends to work on the projects.

    7. Grades
      Typically in elementary school students receive grades of Excellent, Satisfactory, Performing and so on. In middle school, students are graded using the traditional A through F grading scale. Students will most likely be given a syllabus for each class that outlines the expectations and the grading policy.

    8. Recess is Out
      Gone are the days of having a recess, which elementary students enjoyed either before or after lunch. Since students are on a schedule throughout the day, they may have a study hall where they can catch up on some reading or get a head start on homework.

    9. Athletics
      Middle school students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports regardless of their athletic experience or ability. Boys' sports include basketball, track, passing-league football and wrestling. Girls' sports include softball, track, volleyball and basketball. These sports programs are fee-based, and physicals are not required.

    10. Clubs
      Many middle schools have active clubs that your child can join. Encourage your child to join at least one club that is offered on his or her campus. Your child will be able to make new friends with similar interests.

     

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  • PVSchools Hosts Job Fair

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/20/2017

    We are hiring The Paradise Valley Unified School District will host a Job Fair to fill open Education Support Professional (ESP) positions for the 2017-18 school year on Monday, July 10th from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at the District Administrative Center.

    “Our ESP employees are considered the backbone of PVSchools. ESP employees are oftentimes the first person to greet students on their way to the classroom - whether it’s a bus driver, crossing guard, paraeducator or nutrition services employee. During the PVSchools job fair, candidates can apply and be interviewed on the spot for hard to fill positions,” said Dr. Michelle Otstot, director of Human Resources - ESP.

    Prospective candidates should come dressed appropriately to interview the day of the Job Fair. Open positions include:

    • Instructional Assistants/Paraeducators (63)
    • Duty Aides/Campus Assistant/Crossing Guards (24)
    • Front Office Staff (5)
    • Custodians (3)
    • Bus Drivers/Bus aides (24)
    • Food Services 1
    • Assistant Coaches (33)
    • ESP Substitutes

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

     

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  • Excessive Heat Warnings - What You Should Know?

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/20/2017

    sun With the temperatures rising in the Valley, there will be more excessive heat warnings in effect throughout the summer. What do you need to know about these warnings?

    • Stay hydrated - During excessive heat warning, be sure to drink plenty of water even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid caffeinated beverages.

    • Wear sunscreen and hats - When you’re out in the sun, protect your face and head by wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.

    • Never leave children or pets in the car - Never leave your child or your pet in the car. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. If you see a child or pet locked in a car, call 9-1-1. If the child or pet is in distress, break a window to get the car unlocked.

    • Avoid strenuous yard work and outdoor activities - The best way to stay cool is to stay inside during the peak hours. If you have to do yard work, work in pairs and take frequent breaks.

    • Know your neighbors - Check in on your elderly and sick neighbors as they are more likely to become victims of excessive heat.

    The Arizona Department of Health Services has more information about how to stay safe in this extreme heat. You can also sign up to receive future heat alerts.

     

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  • PVSchools Teachers Head Back to the Classroom for Professional Development

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/19/2017

    a teacher ateends Professional Development Teachers are inherently considered lifelong learners. In order to improve their practice and keep students engaged in learning, the majority of educators will spend some time in the classroom during the summer months as students, including PVSchools teachers.

    Throughout the school year, PVSchools teachers engage in two-hour professional development workshops several times a year and attend three paid days of workshops before the start of each new school year. However, summer is a great time for teachers to attend Professional Development workshops to earn credits for re-certification and strengthen their practice.

    Why Teachers Need Professional Development?

    The Professional Development Department offers a variety of classes to keep teachers up-to-date on new curriculum resources, emerging technology to supplement curriculum in the classroom, and to provide invaluable insights on new methods to motivate and engage students.  Effective Professional Development helps teachers improve student engagement, improve practice, gain content knowledge, and along the way earn re-certification credits.

    What Summer Professional Development Opportunities will PVSchools Offer?

    Summer is an ideal time for teachers to take re-certification classes that are needed to keep their teaching certificate valid. This summer, PVSchools will offer more than 110 different Professional Development classes.  Industry experts within our own district, across the Valley and the nation will facilitate the classes.

    A Sample of the Summer Professional Development Course Catalog

    • Barbara Gowan Workshops
    • Building Fraction Sense in Grades 3-5
    • Building Resilient Students & Connected Classrooms
    • Migrate Your Mac to the Cloud
    • Clever Conundrums in Grades 4,5, 6
    • Climbing to the Top Using Tiered Lessons to Differentiate Instruction in Cluster Classroom Parts 1 & 2
    • Digital Media Tools: Providing a Platform for Creative Expression
    • 50 Different Ways to use Google Classroom
    • Twice Exceptional, Not your typical gifted learner!

     

    Facts About Professional Development

    • In Arizona, teachers need to earn 120 re-certification hours every eight years.
    • Course Wizard classes and out-of-district workshops and classes count toward these hours.
    • Staff meetings and other related meetings also count toward these hours.
    • Teachers must keep agendas and certificates of completion or attendance for verification.
    • The employee is responsible for maintaining accurate records and proof of hours.

     

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  • How to Decide Which Preschool Program is Right for Your Child

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/13/2017

    preschool class There are many preschool options available to parents, including programs offered by your local school district, religious organizations, chain providers and in-home providers. 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. Find the answers to the following questions before you decide on a program.

    1. Will I choose a preschool program that is close to home or work?
      Having your child attend a preschool close to work may be a better option for most working parents. If your child is sick or in the case of an emergency, it may be more convenient to have your child attend a preschool close to your work.
       
    2. What are the hours?
      Choose a preschool that will work best with your work schedule. Some preschools open as early as 6:30 a.m. and close as late as 6:30 p.m. These hours gives you a flexible schedule to drop off and pick up your child.

    3. Is the program licensed?
      You can check to see if the program you are interested in is licensed through the Arizona Department of Health Services.

    4. What types of program options do they offer?
      Find out if the preschool offers specialized learning such as special education, gifted or foreign language immersion programs in addition to the traditional preschool setting.

    5. What type of learner is my child?
      Each child learns to process information in different ways. Some children learn best by hearing the explanation, others learn by seeing information written or demonstrated, and some children learn through hands-on activities.

    6. What will my child do during the day?
      Ask the provider about the topics and themes children will be learning throughout the year. The preschool should provide a balanced learning environment that includes fine and gross motor skills, social studies, math, science and phonics.

    7. What is a typical day of learning structured?
      The day should incorporate learning with playtime.

    8. What are the fees?
      Are fees paid weekly or monthly? Find out if the provider charges extra fees if you pick up your child after closing hours. Check to see if snacks provided or will if you have to bring it. Find out if you will you need to pack a lunch each day or purchase classroom supplies.
       
    9. Are the teachers certified or licensed?
      Ask if the teachers are certified or licensed through the state, and how employee background checks are conducted.

    10. Do they offer a tour of the facility to prospective families?
      Taking a tour of the facility will help you decide if the program is the right choice for your child and family. Bring along of a list of questions you may have. During the tour, ask to observe a classroom.

    At PVSchools, we offer a variety of preschool programs that will fit your child’s learning style and needs - Gifted Preschool, Montessori Preschool, Mini Scholars Preschool and Little Scholars. Our youngest learners receive the foundation and building blocks needed to prepare them for success in elementary school. Our preschool and pre-Kindergarten programs are open to students across the Valley, not just to students residing within our district boundaries.

     

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  • Transitioning from Elementary School to Middle School -- Middle School Success Tips

    Posted by PVSchools at 6/12/2017

    Steps The leap from elementary school to middle school is a big one. Students entering middle school are no longer the big fish in the pond. The world of change, independence and opportunity are opening up.

    For some students, they may have an older sibling or friend attending the school who can provide insider tips for middle school success. Here are a few tips to ensure that the transition from elementary school to middle school is successful for all students.

    1. Schedule a tour
      If you and your child haven’t already visited the school, this is a good opportunity to schedule a tour of the new school. School tours allow you to get an inside look at the day-to-day activities that happen in middle school. Make sure you bring a list of questions that you want to address by the end of the tour and jot down any follow-up questions you may have.

    2. Attend Back to School events
      Attend your child’s meet the teacher or back to school event. This is a good time for your child to meet his or her teachers and get acquainted with the layout of the school.

    3. Get organized
      Organization is the key to success in middle school and will prepare your child for high school and beyond. With several classes to prepare for each day, your child may want to have a separate folder and/or notebook for each subject. Also, a student planner may come in handy to jot down important information such as deadlines for assignments and testing dates.

    4. Ask for help
      Your child may need some time to adjust to the new routines of middle school. After a few weeks, if your child still needs help, ask for it. It’s important that students speak up and ask questions in class to clarify any content that they don’t understand. Remember that teachers, counselors and administrators are there to help your child succeed.

      PVSchools also offers Free Resources for Online Student Tutoring (FROST) to all students in the district.  FROST is a student-driven, tutoring program that creates a casual, easy to use learning environment for students who need extra assistance with their academic subjects. Qualified high school students are available to provide tutoring in any subject matter for any student, kindergarten through 12th grade.

    5. Get involved
      Being involved in school activities is one way to ensure that your child’s middle school experience is fun and memorable. Encourage your child to join clubs, school committees and run for student government. Throughout the school year, there maybe dance or athletic events that your middle schooler may want to attend. Show your support by offering to drive.

      Parents are also encouraged to be involved in their child’s school by being a PTO member,  volunteering at the school or chaperoning a school dance or field trips.

     

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  • PVSchools Adopts New K-6 English Language Arts Curriculum

    Posted by PVSchools Curriculum Department at 6/7/2017

    ELA professional development The PVSchools Curriculum Department recently went through an adoption process for a new English Language Arts program for grades Kindergarten through sixth grade. Wonders from McGraw-Hill Education will be implemented during the 2017-18 school year.

    Before the governing board votes on any new curriculum adoption, PVSchools forms a committee. The K-6 ELA committee consisted of parents, elementary school teachers, reading specialists and district administrators. The committee met several times throughout the 2016-17 school year to review all materials provided by the vendors.

    PVSchools elementary teachers will attend professional development classes this June and will receive additional training in August and throughout the school year to learn how to use the new curriculum resources.  

    Adopting a new curriculum provides effective instructional materials that are aligned to the new Arizona English Language Arts Standards. This new curriculum ensures that every student in our district has quality materials aligned to state standards.

    All elementary schools will receive textbooks for every student, teacher manuals for all teachers, practice workbooks for students and an online component of lessons and activities. 

    PVSchools teachers were able to test the curriculum in their classrooms before the governing board voted on the materials. The curriculum materials were also on display for parents and community members to view. The PVSchools Curriculum Department presented information at two governing board meetings and at an United Parent Council meeting, which are open to the public.

    View the McGraw-Hill Wonders Overview video to learn more about the curriculum.

     

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