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  • Desert Trails and North Ranch Students Co-Win the PVSchools Spelling Bee

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/18/2019

    Dr. Lee with District Spelling Bee students After an astonishing 52 rounds, PVSchools is excited to have two co-winners of the 2019 District Spelling Bee: Manasa Krishnakuma, a 5th grader at North Ranch Elementary, and Emily Tran, a 6th grader at Desert Trails Elementary School.  

    Manasa, Emily, and seven additional students will represent PVSchools at the Maricopa County Regional II Spelling Bee. The seven additional students are:

    • Amara Ellisor - a 5th grader at Copper Canyon Elementary School
    • Felix Shen - 8th grader at Sunrise Middle School
    • Karina Almodovar - 4th grader at Liberty Elementary School
    • Jon Zaki Cacnio - 8th grader at Greenway Middle School
    • Colton Cameros - 6th grader at Desert Shadows Elementary School
    • Tahlia Mak - 6th grader at Fireside Elementary School
    • Jiya Jacob - 5th grader at Sandpiper Elementary School

    The Maricopa County Regional II Spelling Bee will be held on Friday, Feb. 22nd in the Governing Board Room at Deer Valley Unified School District. (Get directions to DVUSD.)

    Congratulations to all the students who participated the District Spelling Bee. Good luck to the students going to regionals.

     

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  • Paradise Valley High School Hosts 8th Grade Night

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/18/2019

    PVHS student and math Jessica Trink Paradise Valley High School will host an 8th Grade Night on Tuesday, January 22 from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. in the auditorium of the with parking available in the West Lot. (Get directions to PVHS.) Parents and students will be provided with a glimpse of what Paradise Valley High School has to offer.

    During the event, there will be a clubs, sports, and special program fair, as well as a presentation by administration and counseling. The presentation will focus on the following topics:

    • School overview – what’s so special about Paradise Valley High School
    • Academics and registration
    • Special programs
    • Clubs and sports
    • Need to know
    • Questions and answers session

    The event is open to parents of students who have already selected Paradise Valley High School as their high school for the 2019-20 school year or are considering the school in their selection process.

    Learn more about Paradise Valley High School.

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  • What Parents Need to Know About Kindergarten

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/17/2019

    Kindergarten class at Fireside Elementary School It’s one of the most important milestones your child will have - starting kindergarten. For some children, this will be their first experience in a school setting, while others may have attended a pre-kindergarten program. When the day finally arrives for your little one to start kindergarten, it will be one of the hardest days in a parent’s life.


    What should parents know about kindergarten?

    1. How old does my child need to be to enter kindergarten?
      Kindergarten is offered to children who turn five years old before September 1st of the enrolling year.

    2. What type of kindergarten program is offered?
      While PVSchools offers free, full-day kindergarten, other school districts may only offer a half day program. Since kindergarten prepares students for 1st grade, students will benefit more from a full day program, rather than a half day.

    3. What will my child need to know before starting kindergarten?
      Children entering kindergarten should know the alphabet, counting numbers up to 20, how to spell their first and last name, colors and shapes.

    4. Will my child learn how to read in kindergarten?
      If your child isn’t already reading before starting kindergarten, he or she should be reading by the end of the second quarter. It’s important for you to encourage your child to read books out loud while at home each day.

    5. How is the day structured?
      Since kindergarten is all about routine, a typical day may include greetings, calendar, writing, discussion and planning, mathematics, music, literature, social studies, special projects, outdoor/movement time, science, dance, creative drama, health, eye, hand, and body coordination, construction, reading, manipulatives, oral language development, center time, art, physical education and media center. While not all activities are taught every day, please know that each teacher will have a slightly different daily schedule.

    6. Can I volunteer in the classroom?
      Yes, the majority of teachers welcome the opportunity to have parent volunteers in the classroom. Before you show up to help out in your child’s classroom, make sure you have completed all the necessary paperwork that your school needs to have on file. If you don’t have time to volunteer in the classroom, offer to chaperone a class field trip.

    7. Will the transition be hard?
      The transition to kindergarten may be harder for you as the parent, than your child. Kindergarten is about establishing routines, making friends and learning.

    8. What if my child needs medical attention while at school?
      Every school in PVSchools has an onsite registered nurse to provide first aid, maintain records, assist in special education programs and screen for diseases of the eyes, ears and teeth. If your child should become ill while at school, know that he or she is in good hands with one of our registered nurses.

    9. What should I pack in my child’s lunch?
      Since students have a limited amount of time to eat lunch, you should pack items that can be eaten quickly and are in containers that can be easily opened. Since some children have food allergies, it’s a good idea to check with your child’s teacher to find out which items should not be included in the lunch box.

    10. How can I help my child at home?
      Encourage your child to read each night. After reading a story, have your child retell it to you in his or her own words. If homework is assigned, you can also check it before it’s turned in.

    At the end of the day, your child will be fine and will be able to build new relationships along the way.

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  • PVSchools Host Kindergarten Open Houses

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/15/2019

    Kindergarten girl writing at her desk Is your child turning 5 years old before Sept. 1st? You’ll want to learn more about PVSchools’ elementary school options at one of our Kindergarten Open House events during the month of February.

    Kindergarten is a crucial time in the development of your young student. It's a time to discover, learn and grow. That's why at PVSchools, we offer free, full-day kindergarten at all our elementary schools.

    The Kindergarten Open Houses allow you to visit our schools* and talk to the teachers who will be guiding your child as he or she begins the educational journey.

    Join us at one (or more) of our Kindergarten Open Houses – view the schedule.

    Some of our early childhood offerings include:

    • Free, full-day kindergarten
    • Self-Contained Gifted kindergarten (*Must apply and be tested in order to be accepted.)
    • Special Education services
    • Specials - Art, Music, and P. E.
    • Before and afterschool programs
    • Onsite registered nurse

    *Note: Not all elementary schools are conducting a Kindergarten Open House in 2019.

    Visit www.pvschools.net/kinder to learn more about our Kindergarten Open Houses.


    Related content

    Video: Building World-Class Thinkers - Kindergarten at PVSchools

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  • Award-winning VIP Program Seeks Prospective Volunteers

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/14/2019

    A VIP tutor helping a student PVSchools' award-winning Volunteer In Paradise (VIP) program is seeking volunteer tutors. The next volunteer orientation will be held Monday, Feb. 4th from 9-11 a.m. at the PVSchools Community Resource Center.

    Established in 2013, volunteers, called VIPs, tutor students who need extra academic support, and in turn, help increase student academic achievement. 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 grade. Opportunities may be available at one or more of the following elementary schools: Arrowhead Elementary School, Campo Bello Elementary School, Desert Cove Elementary School, Desert Shadows Elementary School, Echo Mountain Intermediate School, Echo Mountain Primary School, Hidden Hills Elementary School, Mercury Mine Elementary School and North Ranch Elementary School.

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

     

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  • 5 PVSchools Teachers Earn National Board Certified Teachers Distinction, 3 Renew Credentials

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/14/2019

    1st Row: A. Morgan, B.Beatty, J. Yuhas, W. Wilson 2nd Row: K. Brown, R. Cordova, S. Chariton-Kirshenbaum, S. Sutton-Liswith Top row: Angela Morgan, Blaine Beatty, Jennifer Yuhas, and Wanda Wilson.
    Bottom row: Karen Brown, Rosamaria Cordova, Sheryl Chariton-Kirshenbaum, and Sydney Sutton-Liswith.

    PVSchools is proud to have five teachers complete the rigorous process to earn the elite status of being National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs), and three teachers renew their credentials. National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education.

    PVSchools newest NBCTs are:

    NBCTs Renewals:

    • Karen Brown, a Gifted differentiation coach with the Gifted Education Department
    • Rosamaria Cordova, a mentor teacher with the Professional Development Department
    • Wanda Wilson, a Spanish teacher at Paradise Valley High School

    Only 3 percent of the U.S. teaching force has achieved National Board Certified Teachers certification. PVSchools believes this intensive, multi-year certification process helps elevate the quality of teachers with its focus on classroom practices, standards-based instruction, and student achievement. PVSchools has one of the highest concentration of NCBTs.

    Our NBCTs will be recognized at the February 21st governing board meeting. For teachers interested in pursuing NBCT certification, funding assistance is available through Arizona K12 Center - Master Teacher Program.

     

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  • Newly Elected Governing Board Members Take Oath

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/11/2019

    Nancy Case swears in Julie Bacon and Susan Matura At the Jan. 10th Governing Board meeting, our incoming governing board meeting members, Julie Bacon and Susan Matura, were sworn in during a ceremony that was held in the PVSchools Board Room prior to the board meeting. Nancy Case officiated the oath to Mrs. Bacon and Mrs. Matura.

    Meet our governing board members.

     

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  • PVSchools Governing Board Elects New President

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/11/2019

    Julie Bacon The PVSchools Governing Board elected Julie Bacon as its new president at the January 10th meeting. This is the second time Mrs. Bacon will serve as president of the PVSchools Governing Board. Mrs. Bacon was first elected to the Governing Board in 2010 for the term beginning 2011 and is currently serving her third term. Mrs. Bacon previously served as Governing Board president in 2014. Learn more about Mrs. Bacon.

    Reorganization of the Governing Board occurs once a year at the first meeting in January.

     

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  • 2 PVSchools Teachers Earn Arizona Master Teacher Distinction

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/9/2019

    Kristie Faitz-Kroener and Jennifer Stults PVSchools is proud to have two of its teachers complete the process to become an Arizona Master Teacher through the Arizona K12 Center. Kristie Faitz-Kroener, an ELD instructional coach with the Language Acquisition Department, and Jennifer Stults, a SEI instructional coach with the Language Acquisition Department, have earned the distinction of Arizona Master Teacher.

    The Arizona K12 Center identifies Arizona Master Teachers through a rigorous application and review process designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence in the teaching field, expertise in the role of supporting others, and a deep understanding of the importance of ongoing professional learning.

    According to the the K12 Arizona Center, a Master Teacher is an individual recognized for excellence in the classroom, including the ability to improve student achievement, the ability to mentor other teachers in achieving excellence in their classroom, and the ability to communicate effectively with their community.

    The qualifications to become Master Teacher include:

    • Have a minimum of three years teaching experience.
    • Achieve National Board Certification or successfully complete Components 2 or 3 with a score of 2.75 or higher.
    • Have a baccalaureate degree and be fully licensed in the subject or grade level currently teaching.
    • Have positive teaching evaluations, with no formal plans of improvement related to job performance anytime in the three years prior to application.

    Arizona’s new Master Teachers will be honored at the 10th Annual Celebration of Accomplished Teaching on Feb. 9th at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass. PVSchools will recognize Ms. Faitz-Kroener and Ms. Stults at the Feb. 21st governing board meeting.

     

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  • 36 Students Compete in District Spelling Bee

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/7/2019

    2018 District Spelling Bee runner up and delegates with Dr. Lee PVSchools will host its annual District Spelling Bee on Friday, Jan. 18th, with registration starting at 8 a.m. and the Spelling Bee starting at 9 a.m., in the Governing Board Room at the District Administrative Center. In total, 36 elementary and middle school students will compete for the title of PVSchools Spelling Bee Champion.

    At the PVSchools Spelling Bee, Dr. Dan Courson, assistant superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, will introduce Superintendent Dr. James P. Lee who will give the welcoming remarks, congratulate the spellers, and will introduce the pronouncer and judges. Mark Joraanstad, Ed.D., executive director Arizona School Association, will pronounce the words. Judges are Andrea Morici, director of Professional Development; Lynn Hoppes, curriculum specialist - Social Studies; and Koni Withers,​ counselor PVOnline. Jamie Caldwell, curriculum specialist - English Language Arts, will facilitate the Spelling Bee.

    The winner, runner-up and seven delegates will represent PVSchools at the Maricopa County Regional II Spelling Bee on Friday, Feb. 22nd in the Governing Board Room at Deer Valley Unified School District.

     

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  • Get the Most Out of Your Spring Parent-Teacher Conference

    Posted by PVSchools on 1/7/2019

    Brooks Martinez, a second grade teacher at Hidden Hills Elementary School It’s hard to believe that we’re halfway through the school year, and it’s time again for Parent-Teacher Conferences, which will be held the week of Jan. 28. These conferences bridge the connection between home and school, as well as an opportunity to support your child's academic development. Additionally, research has shown that parental involvement has a positive impact on academic achievement, increased attendance rates and improved attitudes about schools.

    During your conference, your child’s teacher may share with you student data, assignments, quizzes and/or tests or progress reports. Since most Parent-Teacher Conferences are limited to 15-20 minutes, it’s a good idea to bring a list of questions and concerns that you wish to address during the meeting.

    Here’s how you can make the most out of your one-on-one time with the teacher.

    Conversation Starters:

    • Improvements you've noticed in your child.
    • Let your child’s teacher know if something is going on at home such as illness, divorce  or a new baby.
    • Your appreciation for the teacher or the school's efforts.
    • Your concern and desired areas of improvement for your child or additional assistance requested from the teacher.

    Academic Performance:

    • If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 Plan, ask the teacher if he or she has reviewed it yet.
    • How is your child doing academically?
      Is my child performing at grade level?
    • How is your child doing compared to the rest of the class?
    • How your child interacts with other students?
    • How your child is doing emotionally?
    • Which areas does your child excel?
    • Which areas does your child need improvement?
    • Does the teacher feel that your child is doing his or her best?
    • How can you help your child at home?

    After the Parent-Teacher Conference if you still have questions or concerns about your child’s progress, email or call the teacher to set up another time in which you can meet.

     

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  • 6 PVSchools Teachers Receive Fiesta Bowl Charities for Wishes for Teachers Classroom Grants

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/20/2018

    PVSchools had six teachers receive classroom grants from the Fiesta Bowl Charities for Wishes for Teachers. Each fall teachers are invited to fill out an online application detailing their school and classroom wish. Wishes are selected by a random drawing to receive a $5,000 grant. All wish recipients are invited to walk in the Fiesta Bowl Parade on Jan. 1st and be recognized on field at the Cheez-It® Bowl on Dec. 26th at Chase Field. Since 2016, Wishes for Teachers has granted more than $1.2 million to Arizona teachers, impacting more than 60,000 kids across the state.

    The PVSchools teachers who received the grants are:

    • Leilani Jacobson, an Autism teacher at Shadow Mountain High School, will use the funds to purchase updated curriculum, sensory equipment, and classroom supplies for the Special Education program.

    • Kellie Merrill, a 2nd grade teacher at Indian Bend Elementary School, will purchase flexible seating options for her classroom.

    • Brian Minnick, a social studies teacher at Mountain Trail Middle School, will use the grant money to purchase supplies to build a multifunctional garden.

    • Glenda Ortiz-Martin, an honors teacher at Wildfire Elementary School, will purchase math booklets.

    • Jennifer Martin, a communication development teacher at Desert Cove Elementary School, will use the funds to purchase new technology programs, sensory equipment, and learning tools for her classroom.

    • Randi Reader, a special education teacher at Greenway Middle School, will use the funds to purchase high integrated books and comfortable chairs.

     

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  • Whispering Wind Academy Hosts Mandarin Information Night

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/14/2018

    Students learning Mandarin at Whispering Wind Academy Parents want their children academically prepared with the 21st century skill set to compete and succeed in a global marketplace. PVSchools provides students with the pathway to achieve this goal, starting with our Mandarin Language Immersion Program at Whispering Wind Academy.

    Whispering Wind Academy will host a Mandarin Information Night on Tuesday, Jan. 15th at 6 p.m. at the school. During the event, there will be a short presentation, a Mandarin demonstration with a teacher, and a question and answer session with a parent panel.

    Why consider an immersion program for your child?

    Research shows that the best time for a child to learn a second language is from birth to 12 years old, while a child’s brain is still developing language skills. There are many long-term benefits for a child to learn a second language, including performing better than monolingual students on tasks that involve divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem-solving.

    A Snapshot of the Mandarin Immersion Program at Whispering Wind Academy

    From the moment students step into one of the Mandarin Immersion classrooms, they are fully immersed in the Mandarin language and Chinese culture. The Mandarin classrooms are decorated with purpose and are stocked with instructional materials to help support each child’s learning in the classroom.

    In kindergarten through 5th grade, students are learning to talk about themselves – their name, age, family, hobbies, and community. Students are also learning to ask and answer questions relating to thematic units examples such as numbers, colors, food, school, clothing, hobbies, and occupations. They are also learning to read, write, and present their work in Mandarin.

    The school day is structured so that students spend 50 percent of the day learning subjects in English, and the other half of the instructional day learning subjects in Mandarin. Students in kindergarten through 5th grade are taught Math and Science, with a heavy emphasis on literacy in Mandarin. Reading, Writing, and Social Studies are taught in English. Starting in 5th grade, students learn Science and Social Studies with an emphasis on literacy in Mandarin, and Math will be taught in English.

    What parents have to say

    "My daughter loves this program! She is engaged in her learning and is excited to go to school every day. Her teachers are dedicated professionals who have fostered her academic growth in all subject areas. We are so fortunate to have this high-quality program available to us in our neighborhood school!" – Nancy Spencer, mother of a 2nd grader.

    “I feel that having our children in a Mandarin immersion program is helping them to be better prepared to compete in the global economy. I have loved watching my daughter’s competency in speaking and understanding Mandarin grow year after year and feel it will be a huge advantage to learn a second language at such a young age.” – Sean Herd, parent of a 2nd grader and 5th grader.


    Related content:

     

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  • The Advantages of Learning a Second Language at an Early Age

    Posted by Ruth Jay on 12/13/2018

    A student learning Mandarin at Whispering Wind Academy Since we live in a global society, parents want their children academically prepared with the 21st century skill set to compete and succeed in a global marketplace. According to the Linguistic Society of America, there are more than 6,900 distinct languages in the world. Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world.  The 2010 United States Census states that approximately 350 languages are spoken in the United States. In the Phoenix-metro area, at least 163 languages are spoken at home. Twenty-six percent of the metro area population age 5 and older speak a language other than English at home.

    What are the advantages to learning a second language?

    There are many advantages to having your child learn a second language at an early age.

    • Cognitive development – According to a study published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, those who speak tonal languages such as Mandarin exhibit a very different flow of information during speech comprehension, using both hemispheres of the brain rather than just the left. 

    • Perfect pitch - In a study by the University of California San Diego, the once thought rare ability of gifted musicians may be linked to the tonal language of Mandarin. Perfect pitch was once thought to be rare and only found in musically talented people, but the study found that Mandarin speakers naturally acquire perfect pitch through the language acquisition of the Mandarin language.

    • Aptitude for learning new concepts – Children who learn more than one language have a better capacity to learn new concepts quickly and can easily grasp new ideas in subjects such as math and science.

    • Emotional and social development – According to the Center for Early Care and Education Research - Dual Language Learners, bilingual children tend to be able to focus better and regulate their behavior, making them less likely to act out and prone to adjusting well in groups of their peers.

    • Appreciation of different cultures – When learning a second language, children will also learn about the history and culture of the countries of the spoken language; and therefore, will be able to connect culturally with others.

    When is the best time to learn a second language?

    Research shows that the best time for a child to learn a second language is from birth to 12 years old, while a child’s brain is still developing language skills. There are many long-term benefits for a child to learn a second language, including performing better than monolingual students on tasks that involve divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem-solving.

    How to introduce your child to a second language

    Even if your household is monolingual, you can still expose your child to a second language.

    • Enroll your child in a dual language program. PVSchools offers two language immersion programs – Mandarin at Whispering Wind Academy and Spanish at Sandpiper Elementary School. Starting with the 2019-20 school, Whispering Wind Academy will offer a Montessori Preschool program that will include 30 minutes of Mandarin instruction daily.

    • Schedule play dates with families who speak a second language or with other students in your child’s dual language class. When playing, encourage the children to speak in the second language that they are learning.

    • View a video series dedicated to preschool language learning such as Panda Tree.

    • Travel to regions that speak the language.

    If you’re considering enrolling your child into a dual language program, schedule a tour of the school and talk to other parents who have their children enrolled in the program.

    PVSchools offers a Mandarin Language Immersion Program at Whispering Wind Academy, which provides students with the pathway to achieving success in the global marketplace. If you’re interested in learning more about the Mandarin Immersion Program, attend one of the Mandarin Information Nights or schedule a tour of the school by calling 602-449-7300.


    About the author

    Ruth Jay Ruth Jay is the Mandarin Program Director and World Language teacher at Whispering Wind Academy. Ms. Jay was the first Mandarin teacher at Paradise Valley Unified School District a decade ago and has been instrumental in developing the Mandarin Immersion Program at Whispering Wind Academy. She started her career as a second grade teacher at Whispering Wind Academy in 2006. Ms. Jay has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, a Masters of Education degree from Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy minoring in East Asian Studies and Law at the University of Arizona.

     

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  • PVSchools Hosts its Annual PVSTEAM Celebration

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/11/2018

    PVSTEAM Celebration; excited students PVSchools will host its annual PVSTEAM Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 26th from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Paradise Valley High School. The PVSchools STEAM Celebration connects what students are taught in the classroom and ties it into real-world experiences with live demonstrations and performances for everyone to enjoy.

    At the event, there will be demonstrations, including:

    • Robotics
    • Ceramics
    • Beam deflection
    • Art displays
    • Elementary school STEM displays
    • Musical and dance performances,
    • Fashion show for children and dogs
    • Rubik's Cube competitions

    Many community organizations will have booths at the event, including:

    • Mayo Clinic
    • Maricopa County Air Quality
    • Paradise Valley Community College
    • Grand Canyon University

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

    We hope to see you there to support our elementary, middle, and high school students!

    Learn more about our STEM programs.

     


    Related:

    View the PVSTEAM Celebration promotional video

     

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  • Award-winning VIP Program Seeks Prospective Volunteers

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/10/2018

    a VIP tutor helping a student with reading PVSchools' award-winning Volunteer In Paradise (VIP) program is seeking volunteer tutors for the 2018-19 school year. The next volunteer orientation will be held Thursday, Jan. 10th from 9-11 a.m. at the PVSchools Community Resource Center, 15032 N. 32nd St., Phoenix.

    Established in 2013, volunteers, called VIPs, tutor students who need extra academic support, and in turn, help increase student academic achievement. 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 grade. Opportunities may be available at one or more of the following elementary schools: Arrowhead Elementary School, Campo Bello Elementary School, Desert Cove Elementary School, Desert Shadows Elementary School, Echo Mountain Intermediate School, Echo Mountain Primary School, Hidden Hills Elementary School, Mercury Mine Elementary School, and North Ranch Elementary School.

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

     

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  • Mark Lane Reflects on Years of Service as a Governing Board Member

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/7/2018

    Mark Lane At the end of December, Mark Lane, governing board member, will complete his term. Mr. Lane has been a valuable member of the PVSchools governing board since 2011 and has played an instrumental role in guiding PVSchools mission, vision, and belief statements.  

    Public service runs in the Lane family. After all, Mr. Lane’s mother, Nancie Lane, was also a governing board member of PVSchools. “I wanted to become more involved with the decisions the board makes, I served on a number of committees and felt I could personally do more than being on a committee,” said Mr. Lane.

    Having served two four-year terms, Mr. Lane, along with the current governing members, has made a lasting impact on PVSchools. A few of the accomplishments that Mr. Lane is most proud of are celebrating PVSchools Centennial, the opening of Sweetwater Community School, establishing the Student Voice Council, and providing employees with a significant pay increase.

    “With the 100 Year Anniversary Celebration, it was amazing to see all of our schools involved in a single project and have it come together at Shadow Mountain High School. We were able to successfully repurpose Village Vista Elementary School into Sweetwater Community School. Students had previously attended Polaris, and I felt they needed their own school building in order to learn and achieve personal and academic successes. Third, creating the Student Voice Council while I was governing board president. The Student Voice Council gives students a direct line to governing board members and allowed us, as a board, the opportunity to hear from students directly.  And finally, being able to vote on the employee pay increase last year. I remember when running for my first term, saying I wished employees could receive a 10 percent increase; however, the money just wasn’t there. We were finally able to give them a 10 percent pay increase and more.”

    The board has implemented many innovative programs in our schools during his tenure on the PVSchools governing board. A few of the programs include the foreign language immersion programs Spanish at Sandpiper Elementary School and Mandarin at Whispering Wind Academy; STEAM programs; and a specialized focus on the arts, including North Valley Arts Academies at Desert Cove Elementary, Shea Middle School, and Shadow Mountain High School; the choir program at Horizon High School, and the Suzuki Strings at Desert Shadows Elementary School. “Parents and students in our district have many choices available to meet individual learning needs. Additionally, the administration and the board have become far more open to our stakeholders and to our parents. Dr. Lee continues to attend the monthly United Parent Council and Bagels with the Board meetings to speak with parents,” he said.  

    Reflecting on his years of service as a board member, Mr. Lane’s advice to someone who may consider running as an elected official is, “I made it a point to visit all of the schools and talk with principals. Although I alone couldn’t help them, I would remember my discussions with them if the issues we discussed came up. Most importantly, when faced with making a difficult decision always ask yourself, ‘How will this affect students and/or the classroom.’”   

    As governing boards for public school districts are stewards of state and federal funds, transparency is the key that makes PVSchools standout from other districts. “Bagels with the Board and meeting with parents has allowed the governing board to HEAR parents. Every meeting has resulted in finding an issue and the district working to resolve a particular issue.  Our board is the best. While we almost always agree, when we don’t, we still have courteous and respectful discussions until we can come to a solution. And our administration. The entire cabinet has been replaced during my two terms without any hiccups or major issues. Most of all, our employees; they are all amazing and have the best interests of our students in mind when they come to work in our schools,” he added.

    Even though Mr. Lane is ending this chapter on public service, he still plans on being involved in the district. “It was a very difficult decision not to run for a third term. I felt the district and the voters needed someone who can focus on the job of being on the board. I still want to be involved with PVSchools when I can. Meanwhile, I’ll work on my health and see what the future brings.”      

     

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  • How to Survive Winter “Brain Freeze”

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/6/2018

    a frozen tree 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Family game night

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

    Outdoor exploration

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

    Science

    Learning about science can be as 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.

    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.

    Vacation

    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.

    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. 7th, 2019!

     

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

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/6/2018

    Preschool Universe Parent Information Night for School Year 2019-20 Jan. 17, 2019 5:30-7:15 p.m. Fireside  ES; girl w/ world There are many PVSchools preschool programs available to parents, such as Gifted, Montessori, Little Scholars, Mini Scholars or Special Education. How will you determine which preschool is the right learning environment for your child? The first step when considering a program for your child is to research options before making a 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 preschool teachers, principals, and administrators and to get answers to all of your preschool questions.

    Preschool Universe will be held on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at Fireside Elementary School, and event pre-registration is not required. See where Fireside Elementary is located.

    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, 2019, at 8 a.m. at the PVSchools Community Resource Center (part of the district campus).

    Learn more about our Community Education Department and the programs that it offers.


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  • Why Learn Mandarin - Top 5 Reasons

    Posted by Ruth Jay on 12/4/2018

    Students in the Mandarin program  reading books Learning a foreign language such as Mandarin at a young age has many benefits. Children who learn a second or even third language are academically prepared with the 21st century skill set to compete and succeed in a global marketplace.

    Here are just a few of the benefits of learning Mandarin.

    Mandarin is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world

    Mandarin is the most common of the more than 30 Chinese languages/dialects. Mandarin is spoken in countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines, and Mongolia.

    Improve brain power

    People who speak Mandarin actually use both sides of their brain. According to a study published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, those who speak tonal languages such as Mandarin exhibit a very different flow of information during speech comprehension, using both hemispheres of the brain rather than just the left.

    Learn about history and culture

    The history and culture of China is one of the richest and one of the oldest. Chinese cultural history is rich in arts and science with painting and printing techniques, as well as poetry and sculptures.

    Learning Mandarin will challenge your child

    While there are more than 50,000 Chinese characters, but you need only to know about 2,000-3,000 to read the Chinese newspaper. Mandarin is one language that has many different rules – some rules are like English while other rules are unique to Mandarin.

    Improve artistic skills

    The written words are actually iconographic characters rather than letters. The symbols and characters are created using strokes similar to painting.

    PVSchools offers a Mandarin Language Immersion Program at Whispering Wind Academy, which provides students with the pathway to achieving success in the global marketplace. If you’re interested in learning more about the Mandarin Immersion Program, attend one of the Mandarin Information Nights or schedule a tour of the school by calling 602-449-7300.


     About the author

    Ruth Jay Ruth Jay is the Mandarin Program Director and World Language teacher at Whispering Wind Academy. Ms. Jay was the first Mandarin teacher at Paradise Valley Unified School District a decade ago and has been instrumental in developing the Mandarin Immersion Program at Whispering Wind Academy. She started her career as a second grade teacher at Whispering Wind Academy in 2006. Ms. Jay has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, a Masters of Education degree from Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy minoring in East Asian Studies and Law at the University of Arizona.

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  • Liberty Elementary School’s Chorus to Perform with the North Valley Symphony Orchestra

    Posted by PVSchools on 12/3/2018

    Liberty Elementary School Chorus students The North Valley Symphony Orchestra (NVSO) presents Winter Wonderland, a concert that includes classical holiday favorites on Saturday, December 15th, 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at North Canyon High School. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased online at www.northvalleysymphony.org.

    The Liberty Elementary School Chorus will provide the children’s chorus parts for Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Snowflakes from the Nutcracker, and Prokofiev’s Winter Bonfire. Liberty Elementary’s choir teacher, Ms. Lori  Broermann, has been rehearsing the 65-voice student choir and will collaborate with North Valley Symphony Orchestra at two rehearsals with the full orchestra before the Saturday evening performance.

    NVSO will also perform Rimsky Korsakov’s Snow Maiden Suite, Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter, Silvestri’s The Polar Express, Korngold’s The Snowman Overture, and more. The talented North Valley Youth Orchestra will open the concert with Tchaikovsky’s Mother Ginger from the Nutcracker.

    NVSO is supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts with funding from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts, and also the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture through appropriations from the Phoenix City Council.

     

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  • 10 Ways To Give Back during the Holiday Season

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/29/2018

    plate of cookies During the holiday season, there 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.

    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 organization you’d like to help.

    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.

    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. Homeless shelters across the Valley are in need of these items.

    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.

    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.

    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 of 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.  

    Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree

    There are many less fortunate children in the Valley 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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  • Helping Our Neighbors - Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/21/2018

    a food box 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 with minor children living within the household needing assistance can receive up to eight food boxes a year, seniors can receive six boxes per year, and adults can receive three boxes per year.

    The PVEFB "Backpack Program” provides weekend meals for approximately 700 students in 19 of 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.

    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 2017, the PV Emergency Food Bank assisted more than 3,886 families comprising 10,388 individuals, which includes 3,895 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 700 students in 19 schools.

    • The PVEFB Nurses Program provides juice and crackers for use when dispensing medicines at school and is active in 19 schools.

     

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  • PVSchools Student Choirs Spread Holiday Cheer with Performances at Paradise Valley Mall

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/20/2018

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

     

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  • Join the PVSchools Governing Board for Bagels with the Board

    Posted by PVSchools on 11/20/2018

    Parents attended the October 2018 Bagels with the Board event 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 for the 2018-19 school year will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 5th from 10-11 a.m. at Explorer Middle 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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