May 6, 2019
Dear Kyrene Community,
I always say spring is my very favorite season in Kyrene, because it is a season of celebration. In April, the District offices came alive with an explosion of color from our incredible young Kyrene artists at the annual District Art Show. Paintings, sculptures, sketches and photography filled our halls for a week, and the talent on display was just one of many things we celebrate in spring.
Today marks the start of National Teacher Appreciation Week, when we acknowledge the extraordinary work of our Kyrene educators. As I shared this morning in a message to Kyrene teachers, when you stand in front of children with an open heart, they respond by opening up their minds, and in that connection, there is magic. It is important to me that Kyrene teachers know how much they are valued, not only during Teacher Appreciation Week, but all year long. Watch my monthly video message to see how some Kyrene students are celebrating teachers this week.
A+ Schools of Excellence™
It is with a great deal of pride that I share with you that five Kyrene schools have earned the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) A+ School of Excellence™ award for 2019. Congratulations to C.I. Waggoner Elementary, Aprende M.S., Kyrene de la Mariposa Elementary, Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary and Kyrene Traditional Academy. This is the third consecutive A+ award for Aprende Middle School and the fourth A+ in history for Kyrene de la Mariposa.
Schools applying for this recognition take part in a rigorous process that includes a written application, on-site visits by a team of trained judges and participation by faculty, students and families. Judges evaluate areas such as school culture, curriculum, leadership, assessment data and community involvement. Every one of our Kyrene schools is outstanding, but the A+ process gives schools an opportunity to put a spotlight on that success.
There are now 15 A+ Kyrene schools. You can view the complete list on our website.
As the school year draws to a close, Middle School Athletics have also come to an end. Track and Field concluded with the annual District Track Meet held at Desert Vista High School, where athletes from around the district were able to show off their hard work and talent. Girls’ basketball finished strong with champions from Akimel A-al and Centennial Middle Schools, and spring baseball ended with exciting finishes for Altadeña and Aprende. I am extremely proud of our robust Kyrene athletic programs and the many choices for our students, and I am even more proud of our student athletes, not only for their physical accomplishments, but also for learning to maintain a balance of academics, athletics and student leadership.
I want to thank everyone who took time out of their weekend to attend the recent equity event, “Community Voices – A Conversation about Equity and Inclusion,” hosted by members of my Community/Superintendent Council (CSC). The turnout was fantastic, the discussions thought provoking. I am grateful to our speakers from ASU’s Office of Equity and Inclusion and ASU’s School of Social Work, for donating their precious time to this event, and to keynote speaker Wade Antonio Colwell, co-founder of the Youth Equity Stewardship Series. I hope this will be the first of many events to engage our community in conversation.
The only thing more fun than celebrating our students and staff is when that celebration is a SURPRISE! Last week, we successfully surprised two of our incredible Kyrene principals, when they were named Exemplary Principals by Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson. Dr. Ana Gomez del Castillo from Kyrene de los Lagos Dual Language Academy and Principal Nancy Branch of Kyrene de la Mirada Leadership Academy had no idea they had won the award until we arrived on their campus to make the big announcement.
Principals who receive the award set high expectations for students, actively engage families and staff to create an effective school culture, use data to guide instruction, have a history of high teacher retention and demonstrate the ability to inspire others. Congratulations to both of these outstanding leaders. It is my privilege to work with you both.
8th grade promotions are on the horizon, and I want to send heartfelt congratulations to our students as they transition to high school. You have built a strong foundation during your time in Kyrene that will prepare you for success in high school and beyond. Your journey has only just begun, and we cannot wait to see what you do in the future. I am so proud to call you Kyrene Kids.
Jan Vesely, Ed.D.
Kyrene School District