StarGuard Lifeguard Certification Classes Offered in North Phoenix

Those who may be looking for a seasonal summer job are in luck. The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department is looking to hire more than 650 lifeguards to staff Phoenix’s 29 pools. The pay is $13.80/hr.

Certification classes (five-day course) are coming up in the North Valley at Paradise Valley Pool, 17648 North 40th Street in Phoenix. The course and certification fee is $85, with classes coming up in late January, February and into March. Applicants must be 15 years old by the last day of the class, and meet other minimum requirements:

  • Swim continuously 300 yards (12 lengths of a 25-yard pool) using freestyle and breaststroke
  • Retrieve a 10-pound brick from at least 12 feet of water
  • Tread water for one minute without using hands

Work commitments include:

  • In-service training in the month of May
  • Working up to 40 hours per week for eight weeks (June and July)
  • Working weekends in August (11 pools)

Applicants may register online at by selecting the “Get StarGuard Certified” link.

Photo by Dave Dugdale on / CC BY-SA

Superintendent’s Message: Dr. John A. Kriekard, Scottsdale Unified School District

Dr. John A. Kriekard, Scottsdale Unified School District

The 2019–20 school year is off and running, and our nearly 23,000 students continue to show us every day their curiosity and thirst for learning. Whether they are building a robot, their mathematics fluency or a theatrical set, Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) provides myriad opportunities that combine to prepare our learners for their future.

So, too, is the District looking ahead, with the Governing Board’s recent decision to rebuild Kiva and Hohokam Elementary schools with 2016 voter-approved bonds. To date, those bonds have rebuilt two elementary schools (Hopi and Pima), added a science lab and gymnasium to a K–8 school (Cheyenne Traditional), and replaced tracks and football fields at four high schools (Arcadia, Chaparral, Coronado, Saguaro). Bond proceeds are helping restore Navajo Elementary School from a devastating August 2018 fire and they will build the new Cherokee Elementary School, starting this winter.

SUSD’s 19 kindergarten programs will be on display the week of Nov. 11–15, when “open house” tours and events take place on each elementary grade campus. If you will be enrolling a kindergartner with us next school year, this is your opportunity to visit our outstanding early education programs to find the right school for your littlest learner. Please check for the schedule.

Every year, SUSD also welcomes students from outside our boundaries through the open enrollment process, which, for the 2020–21 school year, began on Nov. 1. Open enrollment is an option, as well, for our in-district families wishing to change their student’s school of attendance.

Regardless of residence, open enrollment is the only way to enroll students in one of our three “schools of choice,” Cheyenne Traditional School (K–8), Echo Canyon School (K-8) and Pueblo Elementary School (K–5), home of the District’s Spanish dual language immersion program.

To find out more about becoming part of SUSD through open enrollment, please visit Regular enrollment ( for the 2020–21 school year for resident families begins Dec. 1.

Read more about the good things happening in SUSD in the Fall/Winter edition of Showcase magazine, online at The magazine features the District’s Annual Report, provides an update on all of our current bond projects and includes articles on our unique, two-tier, middle school sports program, the role of high school clubs in student engagement and achievement and our new Challenge Coin program. There’s a handy directory of all SUSD schools, as well, and a current school year calendar. We hope you find it an informative and enjoyable read!

To reach Dr. Kriekard, call 480.484.6120. To learn more about the Scottsdale Unified School District, visit  

Scottsdale Unified School District Launches Vaping Awareness Campaign

The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) has taken to its social media channels to share information with parents and students about the health dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes to young people’s brains and bodies.

“Vaping is becoming a national epidemic, and we know that many teenagers, and perhaps even parents, do not fully understand the many health risks of using vaping devices,” says Dr. Steven Chestnut, SUSD executive director of Support Services. “Student safety is always our top priority, so it is incumbent upon us to share this still-developing, yet already alarming, information with parents, so they can begin important conversations with their children about our expectation that students be tobacco-free.”

Through its social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor and the District’s website — SUSD kicked off a 60-day public information campaign in October. The messaging contains links to Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resources.

“There are severe consequences for SUSD students who are caught vaping or using e-cigarettes on campus,” says Chestnut, “including required participation in a diversion program, suspension and even expulsion. We also cooperate fully with our local law enforcement partners, adding another level to the consequences.”

Medical research has found that the human brain keeps developing until around the age of 25 and that using nicotine products under that age can harm the part of the brain that is responsible for memory, attention and learning. Despite that, the ADHS reports:

  • Fifty-one percent of Arizona high school students have tried a vaping device.
  • Teens who vape are nearly four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes.
  • More than two times as many Arizona youth vape than smoke cigarettes.

To view the messaging being shared through school and District social media accounts, visit For more information, visit, or contact Student Services office at 480.484.6113, or your child’s school nurse.



The Little Gym Debuts New Location in Cave Creek

The Little Gym of Cave Creek is commemorating a new gym through an open house celebration hosted by local Arizona franchisee and veteran Dan Drummond, Monday, Sept. 9, from 2–5pm at the Cave Creek location (29455 North Cave Creek Road, Suite 102).

Children and families will have the opportunity to enjoy fun and educational gym games such as group activities using the parachute, skill demonstration and spotting on bars, beam and vault, refreshments and raffles.

The internationally-recognized gymnastics program helps children build the developmental skills and confidence needed at each stage of childhood. For more information about The Little Gym Cave Creek, visit

Five Things She Can Do as a Girl Scout (That You Probably Didn’t Know)

By Alexandra Anton
Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

Bike ride
Not only can girls do recreational bike rides through the mountains of Arizona, but as Troop 7314, girls can take on the challenge of a 200-mile, eight-day bike ride. The girls of Troop 7314 participated in the Tour de Sih Hasin — a community bike ride founded by their troop leader Claudia Jackson to bring awareness to mental health struggles within the Navajo Nation. The girls went from novice bikers to experts within a few months, learning how to ride, bike safety and bike maintenance. Many of the girls have seen the mental health struggles within their community first-hand and found great pride in taking on this massive undertaking to help the people of their home in the Navajo Nation.

Kayak in one of Arizona’s lakes
Kayaking is cool and all, but has she ever gone on a three-day backpacking trip with her BFFs and gone kayaking through the canyon slots of Lake Powell at the same time? The Peaks and Paddles summer camp session at Girl Scouts — Arizona Cactus-Pine Council’s (GSACPC) Shadow Rim Ranch offers exactly that! Head up to camp located in Payson and spend the first couple days preparing for this incredible backpacking trip. Then take a trip to explore one of many lakes in Payson with Girl Scout sisters and set out for adventure on a three-day trip full of hiking, climbing, and kayaking!

Girl Scouts love to travel — from the field trips they take as Brownies to the global adventures they go on as teens. If she loves exploring different places and cultures, then Girl Scouts is the place for her. Traveling with Girl Scouts offers an experience like no other – girls get to go on adventures with their troop and other Girl Scouts from across the country all while making lifelong friends along the way! Trips can be local like heading up to the Grand Canyon or go a little further to San Diego, Space Camp in Alabama, and Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace – Savannah, Georgia. As an older Girl Scout (11+ years old), she can take trips miles further and discover different cultures with Girl Scout sisters in places like Peru, Greece, Italy, Ethiopia, and Japan!

Aviation program
Has she ever thought of flying a plane? Only when she becomes a pilot, right? Nope! At Girl Scouts, girls can take to the skies at our Discover Aviation summer camp session at Camp Willow Springs in Prescott. Let the Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots take her through the steps of airplane maintenance, systems, and aerodynamics then fly through the skies with a pilot and one of her best friends! At Girl Scouts, all her wildest dreams are possible – even flying!

Aspire Academy
When girls join Girl Scouts, they have the opportunity to attend Aspire Academy — an intense adrenaline-pumping academy hosted by local female law enforcement and firefighters. Available to those with this career interest in mind can experience training like real paramedics, firefighters, and detectives. Girls practice self-defense, firearm handling, CPR and even enter a fire rescue simulation in full gear. Last but not least, girls get to belay down the side of a building just like local heroes do to keep our communities safe.

Learn more about Girl Scouts — Arizona Cactus-Pine Council at

SUSD’s Nutrition Services Eliminates Reduced Lunch Fee — 800 Students Could Benefit

For many years, the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) has charged $0.40 per lunch to students who qualify under federal guidelines for a reduced-price meal. Beginning with the 2019–20 school year that starts Aug. 5, SUSD will waive that $0.40 fee for participating students, offering them lunch at no charge. SUSD already waives reduced-price breakfast fees.

In the 2018–19 school year, nearly 800 SUSD students qualified for reduced-price meals.

SUSD Nutrition Services Director Patti Bilbrey says SUSD is pleased to be able to assist families that depend on school meals through the federal Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act in a new way.

“We saw a growing need in the community of families that used to qualify for free meals just missing the cutoff and moving into the reduced-meal category,” says Bilbrey. “We never want to see a student go without a meal, so we worked out a plan to be able to waive lunch fees to help these families in need.”

Bilbrey says that the combination of the Jan. 2019 increase in Arizona’s minimum wage to $11 an hour and no change in federal poverty guidelines has resulted in some families now having too much income to qualify their students for meals for the upcoming school year. More than 5,000 SUSD students qualified for the free meal program last school year.

“Because we run Nutrition Services like a business, keeping a strict eye on our costs and ensuring that we are not wasting food by making too much, we have the fiscal strength to be able to waive these fees,” Bilbrey says. “It’s the right thing to do for our families.”

Families must apply and meet federal income guidelines every school year in order for their students to receive free or reduced-price school meals. Their previous year’s status is good for 30 days into the new school year, but they must re-apply within that time in order to continue. Applications for the 2019–20 school year can be completed online at or by downloading a paper application at that same link and turning it in at the student’s school.

SUSD’s Nutrition Services offers meals on each of the district’s 29 school campuses throughout the school year and during summer programming. On average, it serves 11,000 meals per school day and more than 2 million meals throughout the school year.

For additional information about the Scottsdale Unified School District, visit

Photo by USDAgov on / CC BY

Anasazi Named International Baccalaureate Program Candidate School

Anasazi Elementary School, part of the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD), has been named as a Candidate School for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The IB aims to create global student citizens who learn to think critically and creatively about the world and its issues, and how they relate to them.

In adopting IB’s rigorous, interdisciplinary framework of study, Anasazi, located at 12121 North 124th Street, Scottsdale, joins nearby Mountainside Middle School, a Candidate School for the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and neighboring Desert Mountain High School, which has been offering the IB Diploma Programme of study since 1999.

Anasazi principal Jennifer Waldron says she is looking forward to the journey of becoming an IB World School.

“We are on a mission to provide our students with a world-class education with the same elite curriculum you would find at a private school, but in a public education setting that is accessible to all. We embrace the role Anasazi will play in completing SUSD’s goal of offering a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade IB track of study, empowering students to meet the demands of the future that awaits them.”

In becoming an IB school, Anasazi teachers will become students themselves, and receive the intense, collaborative, professional development necessary to deliver the PYP’s inquiry-led, project-based instruction. The training gets underway later this month when IB PYP coordinators from other states fly in to work with Anasazi staff for three days. Waldron says the training is ongoing and will continue throughout the school year on early release days and in staff meetings.

One of the immediate changes ahead for Anasazi students is that they will start learning Spanish. Studying a foreign language is an IB requirement at all grade levels.

The IB certification process can take up to four years, but Waldron hopes to accomplish it in three. If successful, Anasazi would become Arizona’s sixth IB PYP school.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Principal Waldron is pursuing the IB’s rigorous requirements with determination,” says SUSD superintendent Dr. John Kriekard. “She is totally committed to raising the bar for our students, and we are excited about what this opportunity offers Anasazi. These young leaders will have a clear path in front of them, from pre-kindergarten through high school, to pursue a global education, right here in Scottsdale, Arizona.”

While Anasazi, Mountainside and Desert Mountain are part of SUSD’s Desert Mountain Learning Community in Northeast Scottsdale, under Arizona’s open enrollment education options, any parent from within and outside SUSD can enroll their child to access this unique learning track.

To learn more about Anasazi Elementary school, visit and to enroll, visit

PVSchools To Host Job Fair July 10

The Paradise Valley Unified School District will host a job fair to fill open Education Support Professional (ESP) positions for the 2019-20 school year Wednesday, July 10, from 8am–noon at the District Administrative Center, 15002 North 32nd Street, Phoenix.

“Our Educational Support Professionals are a very important part of the daily success of our school district. We are seeking valuable employees such as bus drivers, crossing guards, paraeducators, office clerks and maintenance technicians who have a strong desire to support the learning of our students. During the PVSchools Job Fair, candidates can learn about employment opportunities, receive application support, and be interviewed on the spot for any open position,” said Dr. Michelle Otstot, director of Human Resources — ESP.

PVSchools offers a competitive benefits package that includes:

  • Free employee-only medical benefits package (must work 30 hours a week to be eligible)
  • Dental and Vision Insurance
  • Arizona State Retirement System — employer matching pension
  • Paid holidays

Prospective candidates should come dressed appropriately to interview the day of the Job Fair.

Potential candidates can reach out with questions to Dr. Otstot by email at or by phone 602.449.2185. View and apply for open positions at


Tavan, Mountainside Principals Named for 2019–20 School Year

New principals have been appointed to lead Tavan Elementary School in Phoenix and Mountainside Middle School in Scottsdale.

Tavan assistant principal Julie Ballard will take over from longtime principal Margaret Serna, who moves to the administration side of the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) as executive director of Title 1 Schools. Ballard has served as Tavan’s assistant principal for the past five years and has been a member of the Tavan community since 2001, starting as a special education teacher. She co-chairs Tavan’s Intervention Planning Team, serves as Leader of the Multi-Disciplinary Team and is a member of the school’s Literacy Team and Teaching and Learning/Leadership Committee.

Ballard calls the opportunity to lead Tavan an honor. “If we work to ‘do whatever it takes’ to develop kind, self-confident and growth-minded scholars who are able to see greatness in others and themselves, we have not only done our job, but also made the world an even greater place.”

The new principal says her predecessor, Serna, has been a great mentor, preparing her well for her new post. “Margaret has shown me that great school leadership requires the ability to build respectful relationships by listening, understanding and acknowledging others’ input.”

Tavan, part of the Arcadia Learning Community and located at 4610 East Osborn Road, Phoenix, is a Pre-K – 5th grade, Title 1 school with approximately 660 students.

Adam Kohnen will be the new principal of Mountainside Middle School, located at 11256 North 128th Street, Scottsdale. He takes over from retiring principal Terri Kellen, who has led the 575-student institution for the past seven years.

Kohnen comes most recently from an assistant principal’s post at SUSD’s Chaparral High School, which he has held for the past two school years. Previously, he taught history at Desert Mountain High School and was part of the school’s Pre-Diploma International Baccalaureate (IB) Program teaching staff. Mountainside is currently an IB Middle Years Programme Candidate School. Kohnen holds a B. A. in Fine Arts and M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University.

“Professionally, I was born and raised with Scottsdale Unified School District, and I am thrilled to now be a part of the Cougar Nation in the Desert Mountain Learning Community,” says Kohnen. Although he has enjoyed his time at Chaparral, Kohnen shares that he is eager to serve SUSD in a new capacity. “I am excited to connect again with the community where my career began.”

“Parents, the community and staff at both Mountainside and Tavan provided input into their respective new principal’s selection,” says SUSD superintendent Dr. John Kriekard, and they were selected from a pool of high-quality candidates.

Superintendent Kriekard says he could not be more pleased with the Ballard and Kohnen appointments.

“It is especially gratifying when we have quality candidates from within our own District who have grown in their previous posts to become our next leaders.”

Ballard and Kohnen join Amy Palatucci and Todd Dreifort, who were both recently affirmed as the principals at Coronado High School and Chaparral High School, respectively, with the same community-driven process. Both served their schools as interim principals during the 2018–19 school year. All four principals officially start their new SUSD roles July 1.

For additional information, visit


PVSchools To Hold Public Hearing for Proposed Tax Increase

Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools) announced the intention to raise its primary property taxes over the current level to pay for increased expenditures in those areas where the governing board has the authority to increase property taxes for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. The Paradise Valley Unified School District is proposing an increase in its primary property tax levy of $1,951,552.

The amount proposed above will cause Paradise Valley Unified School District’s primary property taxes on a $100,000 home to be $5.4071. Without the tax increase, the total taxes that would be owed would have been $0.00.

These amounts proposed are above the qualifying tax levies as prescribed by state law, if applicable. The increase is also exclusive of any changes that may occur from property tax levies for voter approved bonded indebtedness or budget and tax overrides.

All interested citizens are invited to attend the public hearing on the proposed tax increase scheduled to be held June 27, 2019 at 5pm at the District Administrative Center, 15002 North 32nd Street, Phoenix.

For additional information, call 602.449.2000 or visit

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