SUSD Governing Board Delays Campus Returns Until September — Offers Two Back-to-School Options for Families

The Governing Board of the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) voted to provide families with two instructional choices for student learning when its 28 schools reopen.

According to a July 9 press release, at the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Scott Menzel, the Board decided to delay the return of students to SUSD school campuses until at least Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, if permitted to return in person at that time.

The District said that as a result of feedback since the Board’s July 7 meeting, leaders recommended eliminating from consideration a hybrid model of learning that would have combined on-campus instruction with distance learning. Menzel reported widespread concern among parents, teachers, counselors and principals with the complexities involved in making that proposal workable for families and staff.

Next week, SUSD families will receive additional information about the two instructional choices the District will offer:

  • Full-Time, On Campus: On a Scottsdale Unified campus five days a week, with enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. In accordance with the June 19 Maricopa County regulation, face masks will be required of all students and staff while on campus. Face masks will also be required on all SUSD school buses.
  • Full-Time Online: Online five days a week through Scottsdale Unified’s fully accredited, age-appropriate, distance-learning program, Scottsdale Online (SOL). Classes will be led by SUSD’s state-certified teachers.

SUSD’s 2020–21 school year will begin on time, Aug. 10, with all students taking part in a virtual, enhanced distance-learning program also directed by District teachers, who will instruct, supervise and assess student learning until public health conditions permit students who chose on-campus learning to return to campus, currently planned for Sept. 8.

SUSD launched a new “Let’s Talk” online comment-collection system for members of the public, students, parents and staff to provide input on the plan. For additional information, visit susd.org.

Ducey Announces New Executive Order — Mandates Include Limiting Indoor Dining Occupancy to Less Than Fifty Percent

Today, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 4,057 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 112,671.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey held a press conference to address the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the state, and to announce a new Executive Order. The governor was joined by Arizona Department of Health Services’ (ADHS) Dr. Cara Christ and Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs director Major General McGuire.

“The decisions I am going to make are going to be reflective of Arizona, and Arizona exclusively. … So, there are continued sacrifices that are needed,” Gov. Ducey said at today’s press conference.

The governor continued, “There is nothing you can do that will help more than staying home.”

With that, Gov. Ducey announced additional actions to help slow the spread of COVID-19. He said that his Executive Order 2020-47 focuses on places of higher risk. Namely, restaurants.

Gov. Ducey said that today’s Order is going into effect with consultation with restaurant industry leaders and influencers within the industry.

The Order, states that “Every restaurant with indoor seating in the State of Arizona shall operate at less than 50 percent of the permitted fire code occupant load.”

In addition to ensuring at least six feet of separation between parties at different tables, unless the tables are separated by glass or plexiglass, the Order includes mandates that:

  • Restaurants with outdoor dining must ensure six feet of physical distance between tables;
  • Restaurants must eliminate any indoor standing room where patrons can congregate; and
  • All buffets, cafeteria style and self-serve food bars at restaurants must be closed.

Gov. Ducey also stated that, with regards to reducing risk, “We are going to continue strengthening guidance in the State of Arizona. … In a pandemic, in an effort to protect lives, and to protect livelihoods, to have some balance out there in our economy that allows it to operate, we will be more prescriptive in our guidance going forward.”

The governor also announced that the state is going to dramatically expand testing. Via “Project Catapult,” a partnership between Sonora Quest Laboratories, PerkinElmer, Inc., and Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the state has set a goal of 35,000 tests per day by the end of July and 60,000 tests completed per day by the end of August. Read more about the partnership here.

ADHS and Arizona State University (ASU) announced another new partnership today that will increase COVID-19 diagnostic testing in Arizona. ASU will launch several testing sites that will provide free saliva diagnostic testing for COVID-19 in high-need underserved communities around the state. The testing will begin this Saturday, July 11, in the West Valley. Additional sites and days will be added, with ongoing testing taking place over the next couple of months.

The governor stated that there was no need to pre-register for an appointment; however, a press release also issued by the governor’s office today states that “tests are by appointment only.” Residents can find more information on testing sites and registration requirements by visiting azhealth.gov/testing. Find more information about the partnership with ASU here.

Gov. Ducey closed his comments by stating, “We are going to be living with the virus for the foreseeable future.” He encouraged residents to continue to maintain physical distance and wear a mask when in public, and, as always, to wash their hands. |CST


For additional COVID-19 information and resources, visit the ADHS website.

Read Executive Order 2020-47 here.

Watch the July 9 press conference here.

14 New Pieces in 24 Hours — The 24 Hour Plays Partners With Arizona Theatre Company for New Edition

“Now more than ever, support for Arizona Theatre Company is essential for our survival and our robust return to live theatre. Help us as we continue to be a leader in the arts in Arizona.” —Sean Daniels, Arizona Theatre Company

A group of Arizona actors and writers will work together to write, rehearse, perform and produce 14 new pieces in just 24 hours, as The 24 Hour Plays partners with Arizona Theatre Company on an edition of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues. Beginning at 7pm ET July 14, the new monologues will be published, one every 15 minutes.

On July 13 at 6pm, actors will share brief orientation-style videos to allow the writers to get to know them better. By 7pm, writers and actors will be paired, and writers will get to work on crafting new monologues especially for their assigned actors. Actors receive their monologues July 14 at 10am, will film their performances throughout the day, and at 7pm their videos begin to be released to the world, completing the 24-hour cycle. The monologues will be available to view on IGTV and online for four days after their initial airing courtesy of an agreement with Theatre Authority, a nonprofit organization managed by Actors’ Equity.

Fifteen Arizona theater companies were asked to identify artists and writers to participate in the project, and 12 are participating including Arizona Theatre Company, Borderlands Theater, Brelby Theatre Company, The Bridge Initiative, Childsplay, The Rogue Theatre, The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre, Teatro Bravo!, United Colours of Arizona Theatre, The University of Arizona and Winding Road Theater Ensemble.

The cast of this special edition includes Damon Bolling, Chanel Bragg, Veronica Conran, Gabriella de Brequet, Veronika Duerr, Louis Farber, Brenda Jean Foley, Jen Gantwerker, Alejandra Luna, Carley Elizabeth Preston, Shonda Royall, Seth Tucker,and China Young. They will perform monologues written by Esther Almazán, Monica Bauer, Susanna Velarde Covarrubias, Sean Daniels, Marvin González De León, Angelica Howland, Shelby and Brian Maticic, Milta Ortiz, John Perovich, Christopher Oscar Peña, Elaine Romero, Jasmine Roth, Mark Schultz, Maybe Stewart and Paul Michael Thompson.

The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues are produced by Coleman Ray Clark and Madelyn Paquette. The artistic director of The 24 Hour Plays is Mark Armstrong.

“It’s an honor to work with Mark Armstrong and The 24 Hour Plays,” said Arizona Theatre Company’s artistic director Sean Daniels in a press release. “As the pandemic hit, they pivoted quickly to digital and became a beacon of hope that artists would still be able to create and connect with audiences. They deserve every bit of praise they have received during this time.”

“To have The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues focus on a single state for the first time shows the quality of artists we have here in Arizona — and Mark is an Arizona State University boy done good. We’re glad to be highlighting the artists that started here and have now taken the country by storm.”

“Sean Daniels is one of the great artistic leaders of my generation,” said Armstrong. “Arizona Theatre Company was a place where I had formative theatergoing experiences and I’m thrilled that they’re getting a forward-thinking reboot under Sean’s inspiring vision. The 24 Hour Plays bring together creative communities around the world and not only are we looking forward to hosting Arizona’s top writers and actors for an exciting round of Viral Monologues, I’m looking forward to the day I can get on a plane and help bring Arizona artists together live and in person for a production of The 24 Hour Plays with ATC.”

Proceeds from this round support Arizona Theatre Company, the official state theater of Arizona. Now celebrating its 53rd Season, the mission of the Arizona Theatre Company is to inspire, engage, and entertain — one moment, one production and one audience at a time.

“Now more than ever, support for Arizona Theatre Company is essential for our survival and our robust return to live theatre. Help us as we continue to be a leader in the arts in Arizona,” Daniels said. “ATC is committed to using all donations raised to help us support our people, our mission and our community.”

The program will be available July 14–18 on IGTV @24hourplays, on The 24 Hour Plays’ Facebook and YouTube channel, and at 24hourplays.com/viral-monologues.

More information for those who would like to support The 24 Hour Plays or attend a live performance in the future is available at 24hourplays.com.

Superintendent’s Message: Dr. Debbi Burdick , Cave Creek Unified School District

Dr. Debbi Burdick , Superintendent, Cave Creek Unified School District

In these unprecedented and difficult times, here is some good news to celebrate. Please join me in congratulating the Cactus Shadows High School Graduating Class of 2020! Here is our Falcon Class of 2020, By the Numbers:

  • There are 426 grads — 216 females and 210
  • 67 were in our CS eLearning Program and 3 were early graduates.
  • 169 have been with us from kindergarten.
  • Their combined GPA is a 3.33 on a weighted scale and the highest is a 4.875 — Congrats Valedictorian Billy Mullenmeister for your effort and accomplishments! And, congratulations to Salutatorian Elizabet Cave and Colin McConnon, a National Merit Scholar Finalist.
  • 10 seniors had perfect attendance up to Spring Break and the school closure.
  • 33 seniors participated in the Superintendent’s Challenge, accruing 6926 hours of community service in four years. 25 seniors completed the Challenge. Senior Maya Bellowe had the most hours over her four years for a total of 516 hours.
  • 342 grads are going to college and 8 to the military to serve our country. 6 will be attending other types of schools. 1 is moving onto an apprenticeship and 13 onto Career Education. 12 students will move onto the world of work and 8 are taking a gap year.
  • 24 seniors received the CCUSD Seal of Bi-literacy and 39 will receive the State Seal of Bi-literacy.
  • They have been awarded over 11.5 million in scholarships to date.
  • 18 of our senior student athletes have signed letters of intent.
  • And the Class of 2020 is very ready for college, already graduating with college credits:
    • 16 seniors achieved the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma
    • 13 seniors were in the International Baccalaureate program;
    • 8 seniors were in Paradise Valley Community College’s Early College Program;
    • 4 attended EVIT—the East Valley Institute of Technology;
    • Over 4 years, 767 took Paradise Valley Community College Dual Enrollment courses;
    • They took 1394 Advanced Placement courses in 4 years;
    • And, took 1401 Career and Technical Education courses.

Best of luck and the warmest congratulations, Cactus Shadows Falcons, Class of 2020!


To contact Dr. Burdick, call 480.575.2000. For more information on the Cave Creek Unified School District, visit ccusd93.org.

Young Artists and Authors Showcase: ‘One World: Out of Many, We Are One’

Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation’s first online exhibition, Youth Artists and Authors Showcase “One World: Out of Many, We Are One” will continue through July 31.

Members of the Scottsdale Sister Cities Association (SSCA) serve as citizen ambassadors, creating networks and partnerships with eight sister cities around the world. Their Young Artists and Authors Showcase encourages Scottsdale teens to express the SSCA mission through original artwork and literature.

This year’s theme is “One World: Out of Many, We Are One,” and the organizers shared this backdrop to the exhibition: “In these times of uncertainty, isolation and disruption, our communities struggle to maintain positive connections and optimism. Our friends and colleagues in sister cities around the world seem further away than ever. More than ever, we see the urgency for our nations to work together in harmony, lifting each other up, encouraging compassion, and defining resiliency.”

This year’s theme, “One World: Out of Many, We Are One,” asks students to “explore creative ways that we create peace through people-to-people interaction. In what ways can different nations come together during a time of physical separation? We turn to our creative youth and their forward-thinking ideals to hopefully bring us closer to a unified world.”

SSCA says that it aims to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.

The exhibition is organized in conjunction with Scottsdale Artists’ School. To view the exhibition, visit scottsdaleartslearning.org and click on the “Exhibition” link.

Carefree’s Peterson and Crane Appointed to MAG Committees in June

L-R: Carefree Mayor Les Peterson; Carefree Vice Mayor Jim Crane

The Town of Carefree announced in late June that, “in an effort to strengthen its working relationship with other municipalities and more effectively represent the interests of Carefree residents in important regional matters,” it has increased its representation within in the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) organization.

At the June 24 meeting of the MAG Regional Council, Carefree Mayor Les Peterson was appointed by the membership to the Executive Committee of the Council. In addition, Carefree Vice Mayor John Crane was appointed by the membership to the MAG Economic Development Committee.

MAG is a council of municipal governments and tribal entities that serves as the regional planning agency for Maricopa County, including the neighboring urbanized areas in Pinal County. MAG provides regional planning and policy decisions in areas of transportation, air quality, water quality, economic development and human services. A separate Committee is assigned to each of these areas, under the overall leadership of the MAG Regional Council.

The MAG bylaws summarize the purpose of the organization: “The Maricopa Association of Governments is based on the principle that cities, towns, counties, and Indian Communities, which are closest to the people, should exercise the basic initiative and leadership and should have the primary responsibility for addressing those local problems and needs which require action on an area-wide or regional basis.”

For additional information about the role and purpose of MAG, visit azmag.gov.

Summertime Dining Made Easy: Postino Offers Family To-Go Menu & Wine ‘Spritz Kitz’

As we roll into the ‘dog days of summer,’ Postino is inviting Valley residents to stay in and stay cool with all-new to-go options. Whether a light no-cook weeknight dinner or a weekend spread made easy for the crew, Postino says its new Food for the Crew “is perfectly portioned to satisfy your Postino cravings when you’re rolling with a small crew” (4–6 people).

Featuring small platters of favorite Postino menu items, including table snacks, salads, panini and bruschetta, the Food for the Crew menu sounds like an easy option when it’s just too hot to think about that age-old question: “What’s for dinner?”

In addition to the new Food for the Crew menu, Postino is also launching its Spritz Kitz — a DIY to-go wine kit that includes all the ingredients necessary to make spritz cocktails at home, including a recipe card and a canvas tote to carry it in. Spritz Kits are $45 and are available for purchase online.

Postino’s Food for the Crew and Spritz Kitz packages are available at all Valley Postino locations.  For more information or to place an order, visit postinowinecafe.com.


Photos courtesy of Postino

Paycheck Protection Program Has Reopened — Application deadline is Aug. 8

The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications July 6, in response to the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is Aug. 8, 2020.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses. Read more about PPP loan forgiveness here.

Businesses can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Businesses should consult with their local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. View a list of lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program by state.

To begin preparing an application, download a copy of the PPP borrower application form (revised June 24, 2020) to see the information that will be requested when applying with a lender.

For additional information, visit sba.gov.

Puppy Luv: Helping Homeless Pets Off the Streets and Into Loving Homes

Puppy Luv Pet of the Month: Meet Poppy!

Poppy is a 1-year-old Rottweiler/Australian Shepherd mix. The team at Puppy Luv shared that Poppy “loves being with people and is one of the sweetest dogs we have! She has the cutest little dock tail and she always looks like she’s smiling!”

If you are interested in adopting sweet Poppy, call Puppy Luv Animal Rescue at 480.525.1007.


Puppy Luv Animal Rescue is a no-kill, foster based animal rescue located in Cave Creek. Its mission is to help homeless pets off the streets and into loving homes, while encouraging spaying and neutering.

“We wish to educate the general public on animal rescue, care and over-population of county shelters all over the United States,” says director Gwen Ware. “All of our animals are in private foster homes and are adopted through a unique one on one ‘play-time’ at their foster home or at a weekend adoption event. This allows for a more personalized experience with your family and potential new best friend”

“Our fosters are most qualified to answer any questions regarding the animals. They give you a sneak peak into what the pet will actually be like in your home, instead of a scary shelter environment.”

The nonprofit dog rescue, which has been open for a little over three years, focuses on rehoming puppies and adult dogs as well as taking in medical cases and pregnant moms.

“We believe that no pet should be left behind, so we are a strict no kill rescue,” Ware shares. “We also love to help and give back to our community in any and every way possible.”
During restrictions due to the coronavirus, Ware says that residents who wish to make donations for either resale or donations for the rescue can do so with easy contactless donation drop offs at the Puppy Luv Flea Market location, 7171 E. Cave Creek Road.

To learn more about Puppy Luv Animal Rescue call 480.525.1007 or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Save the Date: Annual Urban Fruit Tree Program Kicks Off Sept. 12

Urban farmer Greg Peterson, founder of The Urban Farm, has been growing fruit trees for over 40 years in the Valley and offers education on the best techniques for successfully growing fruit trees in the desert.

“Education is at the core of all that we do,” says Peterson. “Each year we begin the fall season with a kick-off event that teaches people how to successfully purchase and grow fruit trees that are climate appropriate for the low desert.”

Recent food system challenges have shown how essential a reliable local food supply is for individuals as well as for our communities.

The Urban Farm Fruit Tree Education Program aims to provide a support system for beginning backyard farmers and fruit growers. Peterson makes full use of his contacts and resources to obtain a selection of seasonally and climate appropriate fruit trees, bushes and vines. The key to success for any fruit grower

is experience — and The Urban Farm has plenty of that to share.

The 2020 challenge facing The Urban Farm is hosting classes while maintaining appropriate social distancing. Instead of holding a live in-person Kick-off event, this year it will be a live online event consisting of a full course of learning opportunities, several Q&A sessions and the event’s traditional giveaways.

A day’s worth of education translates into a wealth of fruit growing empowerment for the beginning and semi-novice fruit grower. The event will feature expert advice from grower Tom Spellman from Dave Wilson Nursery along with Peterson hosting interviews sharing multiple real-life examples of success from here in the Valley.

With the advantage of current online technology, participants will be able to join classes and access course work from the comfort of their own home. Fruit tree education continues throughout September, October, November and early December with free webinars and potentially some in person classes around the city.

The Urban Farm accepts preorders for its selection of deciduous (apples, peaches, apricots, plums, figs, grapes and berries) and citrus trees (lemons, limes, oranges, etc.). The program offers special Early Bird pricing and bundling deals through Nov. 7. Pick up of trees will begin in October for citrus trees, and in January for deciduous trees.

The 21st annual Urban Farm Fruit Tree Education Program will take place Sept. 12, kicking off at 9am. For more information on The Urban Farm, visit urbanfarm.org or follow them on Facebook: facebook.com/theurbanfarm.

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