I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful fall break and returned to your classrooms recharged and ready for 2nd quarter. I am personally energized by the positive momentum in our schools. The state recently released final AzMERIT results, and once again, Kyrene students are leading Arizona.
Kyrene Values Teachers
When we celebrate those achievement scores, we know exactly who gets the credit – our incredible Kyrene teachers. In October, we recognized 50 teachers with the highest student growth performance as part of the Kyrene Values Teachers, Staff, and Students program.
I am thrilled to report that 14 Kyrene teachers had 100% student growth in Math or ELA during the 2017-18 school year. Congratulations to each of them, to all 50 teachers recognized, and to every educator who makes a difference in the life of a child.
View highlights from our Kyrene Values Teachers school visits here.
I’m not the only one celebrating Kyrene teachers. Last month, Kyrene educator Paige Levy received the first-ever Arizona Health and Physical Education Innovation Award. The award recognizes the use of technology, public relations, and fitness trends to inspire children to develop a lifelong love of exercise.
Ms. Levy earned the award by putting arts integration into action at Kyrene de la Paloma Arts Integration Academy. She developed a series of lessons integrating dance and movement into coursework, to teach students to demonstrate what they’ve learned in various subjects using movement and rhythm. It’s wonderful to see this work in action – literally.
I also want to congratulate Kyrene de los Cerritos Leadership Academy, which was recently named a Leader in Me Lighthouse School of Academic Distinction. The Academic Distinction label indicates Cerritos is an example to other Leader in Me schools worldwide. It seems appropriate that a leadership school should be recognized as a leader in its own right.
The Kyrene School District is celebrating several generous grants announced in the past month. The Department of Justice awarded Kyrene a $230,000 grant over five years to assist in the implementation of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and professional development. It is a grant that will touch every one of our schools.
I’m also pleased to announce two grants from the City of Tempe. A Community Arts grant will fund assemblies on cyber citizenship by the Be Kind People Project at six of our Tempe schools, and a School Arts grant will give $750 each to Kyrene Middle School and C.I. Waggoner for their arts curriculum, programs and clubs.
For more on these grants, how they will be used, and our community’s generous support of students, be sure to watch my monthly video message.
It’s not too soon to start planning for next year. Enrollment begins January 7 for all Kyrene schools, grades K-8. This month, every Kyrene elementary school will host a Kindergarten Orientation night, to share with parents and guardians what individual schools have to offer. Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors! Parents of preschool-age children and families considering early Kindergarten are invited to attend.
Middle schools will host showcase nights next month, and all families are welcome. Every Kyrene school is unique, so I encourage families to visit multiple campuses. For exact dates and times of each school’s event, visit www.kyrene.org/orientation.
Jon Gordon Visit
Kyrene welcomed best-selling author Jon Gordon for a special visit in October. Mr. Gordon has written multiple books, including The Power of a Positive Team, which many Kyrene staff are reading together this year. As part of this District-wide effort, Mr. Gordon agreed to give a free presentation on positivity and team-building to both staff and community members. Gordon has presented to school districts, hospitals, professional sports teams, and Fortune 500 companies. It was a wonderful opportunity to add Kyrene School District to that list.
Several celebrations are on the horizon in November, and as we look ahead toward Thanksgiving, I’d like to share with you what I am thankful for. I am thankful for each of you: for the hard work of our teachers and staff, for the commitment of our families and community members, and for the curiosity of our students. It is my distinct honor to serve as your Superintendent.
Dr. Jan Vesely