School Notes - October 26, 2016

School Notes are published as space permits. The View runs these items free of charge as a service to the community and puts as many into each newspaper as possible. If you have a notice that must run by a certain date, please contact our advertising department at 623-535-8439.


First Things First honors Litchfield educators

The First Things First Southwest Maricopa region recently recognized a team of education leaders from the Litchfield Elementary School District as its 2016 First Things First regional Champions for Young Children.

Kacey Baer, Pete Kovats and Jodi Gunning attended the First Things First Early Childhood Summit Aug. 22-23 at the Phoenix Convention Center. They participated in a panel discussion on how they built an early childhood program, what worked and what didn’t.

The award is given to educators who actively volunteer their time to raise public awareness of the importance of early childhood development and health. They spend a significant amount of time volunteering with First Things First and building public awareness about the importance of early childhood issues.

The First Things First Regional Partnership Council honored the three educators because of their collaborative efforts to build new programs and tools into the process of getting local children ready for kindergarten.

Kovats is the district’s community education coordinator; Baer is the district’s early childhood instructional coach; and Gunning is the district’s coordinator of Title I and community resources.

First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help children be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit


W.V. Catholic schools receive donations

Two West Valley Catholic schools recently received donations to help with tuition assistance for low-income pupils.

St. John Vianney School in Goodyear received $30,000 and St. Thomas Aquinas School in Avondale received $20,000 of a $100,000 donation FirstBank made to Catholic Education Arizona, an organization that makes private education more affordable and accessible to low-income pupils.

Since 2000, Denver-based FirstBank, which has 18 branches in Arizona, has donated more than $55 million and thousands of volunteer hours to charitable organizations.


2 W.V. districts now serving breakfast in classrooms

Liberty Elementary School District and Avondale Elementary School District signed up to participate in Valley of the Sun United Way’s Breakfast in the Classroom program earlier this summer.

The program helps feed pupils breakfast to ensure academic success. Pupils who eat breakfast score more than 17 percent higher on math tests and are 20 percent more likely to graduate than pupils who don’t eat breakfast, according to a United Way press release.

The program has grown in the past year from 14 schools to 51 in the greater Phoenix area.


5 W.V. students awarded scholarships

The Mexican American Golf Scholarship Association awarded $1,000 college scholarships to Andrew Alfaro, a graduate of Millennium High School in Goodyear who is attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff; Danielle Rocha, a graduate of Tolleson Union High School in Tolleson who is attending Arizona State University in Tempe; Valerie McKee, a graduate of Tolleson Union High School in Tolleson who is attending Grand Canyon University in Phoenix; Catalina Erives, a graduate of Tolleson Union High School in Tolleson who is attending Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale; and Abbigail Lee, a graduate of Agua Fria High School in Avondale who is attending Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale.


Chad Hauk receives scholarship

Chad Hauk of Phoenix has received a $2,000 scholarship from Luke Air Force Base in Glendale as part of the Scholarships for Military Children Program.

He is attending Arizona State University in Tempe.


Manuel Franco named to dean’s list

Manuel Franco of Avondale has been named to the spring deans’ list at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. To be eligible for the dean’s list, students must be full time and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.


Scott Noonan graduates

Scott Noonan of Goodyear has graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in energy management from Bismarck State College in Bismmarck, N.D.


David Wright graduates

David Wright of Buckeye has graduated with a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Minnesota Crookston in Crookston, Minn.


Park University announces graduates

The following West Valley residents have graduated from Park University’s Luke Air Force Base Campus Center:

Yvonne Godwin of Goodyear with a Bachelor of Science in social psychology.

Robert Hood of Buckeye with a Bachelor of Science in information and computer science.

Jessica McDonald of Goodyear with a Bachelor of Science in management.

Jesus Portillo of Goodyear with a Bachelor of Science in management and finance.

Jermaine Taylor of Goodyear with a Bachelor of Science in management and human resources.

Dennis Untalasco of Avondale with a Bachelor of Science in social psychology.

Christopher Washburn of Luke Air Force Base with a Bachelor of Science in management and finance.


Anthony Estes named to dean’s list

Anthony Estes of Goodyear has been named to the spring dean’s list at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.. To be eligible for the dean’s list, students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit with a GPA of 3.5 out of a possible 4.0.


Sami Abujbarah participates in research program

Sami Abujbarah of Avondale participated in a summer diversity program that gave undergraduates exposure to biomedical research at Tufts University in Boston. Seventeen undergraduates from across the county participated in the 10-week program.


Local homeless youths need school supplies

Homeless Youth Connection, a Goodyear-based nonprofit that serves more than 900 homeless youths in the West Valley, is in need of various supplies to help teens going back to school. Basic school supplies are needed, as well as clothes, groceries and gift cards to fast food restaurants.

Those who are interested in hosting a supply drive through their social, church or other group can contact Homeless Youth Connection. Donations can be taken to HYC at 500 N. Bullard, Suite 28, Goodyear. For information, call 623-374-3747 or visit


EFHS robotics team takes 3rd at invitational

Estrella Foothills High School Robotics Team 5661 finished third at the Asia Pacific Invitational in July in Sydney, Australia. The tournament consisted of 33 teams, 10 being from the U.S.

The team also won first place for the Promote Award for its 60-second public service announcement about robots using Blender, a high-quality 3D modeling software.


Connor Lewis Treptow makes dean’s list

Connor Lewis Treptow of Goodyear made the spring semester academic dean’s list at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. To make the dean’s list, students must have a 3.5 or better GPA.


Jason Roach accepted into master’s degree program

Jason Roach of Avondale was recently accepted into the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) and will be taking classes toward a Master of Arts in teaching degree in the biological sciences from Miami University through Project Dragonfly.

As a first-year AIP student, Roach will complete web-based courses from Miami University with face-to-face experiential learning at Phoenix Zoo.

Miami University’s Project Dragonfly reaches millions of people each year through inquiry-driven learning media, public exhibits and graduate programs worldwide. Project Dragonfly is based in the department of biology at Miami University, a state university in Oxford, Ohio. Miami was established in 1809 and is listed as one of the eight original Public Ivies.


Tonopah Valley freshman joins Buckeye Youth Council

Morgan Harris, a Tonopah Valley High School ninth-grader, was sworn in as a Buckeye Youth Council member Sept. 8 at Buckeye City Hall. She joins 17-19 other teens from the Buckeye area who provide feedback to the City Council on youth issues. Throughout the program, Youth Council members gain leadership skills through problem-solving and volunteering in and around the Buckeye area.


County Supervisor named hero of Education

Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, D-District 5, was honored as a Hero of Education by the Arizona Latino School Board Association Sept. 16. The inaugural Héroes de la Educación Award recognizes Gallardo’s vision and support in the creation of the AzLSBA. Gallardo is a former Governing Board member of both the Cartwright School District and the Phoenix Union High School District. AzLSBA was created to address the unique needs of Latino students and faculty.


SRP awards learning grants

Salt River Project has awarded more than $117,000 to Arizona schools, including three in the West Valley, to enhance math and science programs.

Desert Edge High School in Goodyear was given $3,245. The school plans to use the money to purchase a set of 10 graphing calculators to study and analyze data. The grant will be used to enable Algebra 1 students to complete six science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects over the course of a year and compete in an end of the year Inter School STEM competition. The goal is to integrate physical science concepts into the algebra curriculum that stress real world math connections. The projects include model bridge building, designing electrical circuitry, launching water rockets and constructing solar cars.

Great Hearts Trivium Preparatory High School in Goodyear was awarded $4,978. The school will use the money to purchase sustainable scientific instruments and supplies to support the biology curriculum. The materials will allow students to conduct DNA extraction and gel electrophoresis. The DNA extraction lab will bring a complicated topic to life for the students and bring the subject down to the molecular base level.

Copper King Elementary School of Phoenix was given $5,000. As part of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) water academy, students will take a trip to the Salt River to complete field research. Students will spend one day rafting the river while making observations about wildlife and river ecology, then a second day completing water quality tests and analyses to assess the health of the river, as well as creating river themed art projects. After the field day, students will prepare a presentation for the University of Arizona project WET program.


Sayra Ortegeros receives scholarship

Sayra Ortegros of Buckeye has received a $500 scholarship from The Buckeye Valley Daughters of the American Revolution in Buckeye as part of the DAR Scholarship for being an excelling student having graduated from Buckeye Union High School.

She is attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and is studying business management.


Kaitlynne Piepiora joins Teach for America corps

Kaitlynne Piepiora of Buckeye has been selected for the 2016 Teach For America corps and will enter the classroom as a teacher during the fall in Arkansas where she will serve students and families in a high need area and work alongside school leaders to expand educational opportunities for all children.


Matthew Stithem receives scholarship

Matthew Stithem of Tolleson is one of 20 high-need scholars in the state to earn the $4,000 Alliance Bank of Arizona scholarship on behalf of College Success Arizona.

He is attending Estrella Mountain Community College in Avondale as an honors student studying nursing.


Katie Janssen named to dean’s list

Katie Janssen of Avondale has been named to the summer dean’s list at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To be eligible for the dean’s list, students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours of credit with a GPA of 3.3 out of a possible 4.0.


Litchfield District seeks Gov. Board candidate

The Litchfield Elementary District is seeking someone to fill a two-year seat on its Governing Board effective Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2018.

Applications can be picked up between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the District Office, 272 E. Sagebrush St., Litchfield Park, or online at

Applications are due by 12:30 p.m. Nov. 10, and interviews will take place Nov. 21-22. The top three candidates will be required to attend a Nominee Seminar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 3 with the district’s collaboration team.

In order to serve on a school district governing board, you must be at least 18 years old and lived in the district for at least one year at the time of appointment, are a citizen of the United States and a registered voter in Arizona.

Employees of the district and their spouses are not eligible, and neither are immediate family members of current board members who have shared the same household in the last four years.

Qualified candidates should be able to attend governing board meetings on the second Tuesday of each month, and other meetings that may be scheduled in order to conduct district business.

For information, call 623-535-6017.

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