November 5, 2019
Dear Kyrene Community,
The first chill is in the air as we usher in November in Arizona, and you can find Kyrene students inside our school libraries, warming up their hearts and minds with books. Several local children’s book authors have visited Kyrene schools in recent weeks, and this week, author and Holocaust survivor Oskar Noble will give a presentation for students and staff at Kyrene del Cielo.
Kyrene Students Excel
AzMERIT scores have been finalized by the State, and Kyrene continues to outperform peer districts, charter schools, and state averages. Eight Kyrene schools scored in the top ten percent of all Arizona district and charter schools in math, and another eight Kyrene schools scored in the top ten percent for English language arts. More highlights from the spring 2019 assessments can be found on our website.
Showcasing Our Schools
Enrollment season for the 2020-21 school year is nearly upon us. Kyrene School District enrollment will open on Monday, January 13. Kyrene is a choice district, and families are encouraged to discover all our schools have to offer. If you are considering a change, I invite you to begin your research at www.kyrene.org/discover; then join us at our School Showcase nights in November and December, where you can get a feel for each of our campuses. All families are welcome, with incoming 6th grade families encouraged to attend our middle school Showcase Nights and incoming Kindergarten families encouraged to attend elementary Showcase Nights. Visit www.kyrene.org/showcase for a complete list of event dates and times.
Teacher & Staff Celebrations
In the last two weeks, it has been my pleasure to kick off the 2019-20 Kyrene Values Teachers program with the first celebrations of the year. Excellence comes in many forms, and throughout the year, we recognize teachers for a variety of achievements. These first recognitions honored 50 teachers whose students showed the highest level of AzMERIT growth in the District.
Seeing the emotion in the eyes of an educator who realizes he or she has truly made a difference in the life of a child is indescribable. Please join me in thanking these educators and all of our Kyrene teachers who work so hard every day to prepare our students for the future.
In further recognition of our teaching team, I’m thrilled to share that six Kyrene educators have earned the coveted Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers grant, an award of $5,000 each to help make their classroom dreams come true. Congratulations to Jeremy Dittrich (Lagos), Christa Hurlburt (Paloma), Samantha Johnson (Aprende), Alissa Kingsley (Altadeña), Linda Todd (Monte Vista), and April Weston (Akimel A-al).
Also this month, one of our Kyrene counselors has been nominated for a national award. Aprende’s Brook Norris is a nominee for the LifeChanger of the Year Award, for her work with “Stand Up, Speak Up, Save a Life,” the PBIS program, and overall efforts to promote inclusiveness. The LifeChanger of the Year Award honors K-12 educators and school employees across the nation for having a positive impact.
This nomination highlights the critical role counselors play in our students’ success. This year, Kyrene was able to hire an additional 14 counselors, to ensure counseling services for every school in the District. The expansion of our counseling team was possible, thanks to the significant savings achieved by revising the Kyrene bell schedule, in order to reduce bus routes. Thank you to the Governing Board and the Kyrene community for supporting this work.
Saluting Those Who Serve
Kyrene is proud to be home to men and women of the armed forces, and this month, we pay tribute to those employees, family members, and community members, with the celebration of Veterans Day. Many of our schools will host events on their campuses in honor of our veterans this month. View my November video message for details on one such event as well as a special tribute to one Kyrene veteran.
Thank you to all who serve our country, and thank you to all who serve our Kyrene students.
Jan Vesely Ed.D.