CCUSD Celebrates its Outstanding Educators

L–R: Bill Dolezal (principal, Sonoran Trails Middle School), Dick Gunderson, Eric DeVore, Barbara Gunderson, Dr. Debbi Burdick.

Eric DeVore named 2019 Teacher of Year

At the conclusion of the 2018–19 school year, Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) celebrated great teaching with its annual Teacher of the Year celebration. Eric DeVore, a Spanish teacher at Sonoran Trails Middle School was named CCUSD Teacher of the Year 2019. DeVore was awarded $3,000 and will complete his application for the 2019 Arizona Educational Foundation’s Teacher of the Year program.

Also recognized were honorees Kendra Frigard, third/fourth-grade combo teacher at Desert Willow Elementary, and Doni Nasr, Spanish teacher at Cactus Shadows High School. Frigard and Nasr both received $1,000.

2019 Teacher of the Year Nominees & Honorees (L–R): Leighanne Harrison (kindergarten, Horseshoe Trails Elementary School); Susan Webb (third grade, Desert Sun Academy); Barbara Magtibay (second grade, Black Mountain Elementary School); 2019 Teacher of the Year Eric DeVore (Spanish, Sonoran Trails Middle School); 2019 Teacher of the Year Honoree Doni Nasr (Spanish/Spanish Immersion, Cactus Shadows High School); Kellie Combs (fifth grade, Lone Mountain Elementary School); 2019 Teacher of the Year Honoree Kendra Frigard (third/fourth grade, Desert Willow Elementary School).

CCUSD expressed its appreciation and thanks to community members, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Gunderson, for their generous donation to financially support the CCUSD Teacher of the Year program. Superintendent

stated that, “this is one of the most important celebrations of the year in the Cave Creek Unified School District as we honor our incredible educators.”

For additional information, call 480.575.2000 or visit www.ccusd93.org.

Cactus Shadows High School Students Sweep ASU’s 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Contest

Cactus Shadows High School announced that Sarah Weiss, Angela Khammo and Mikaela Morris were the first, second and third place winners, respectively, of Arizona State University’s 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration contest. This year, students were encouraged to participate in the “Find Your Voice” campaign and asked to submit essays based on their own idea of “leadership through service.”

Jim Swetter, interim principal said, “I am so proud of Sarah, Mikaela and Angela. Their ‘Find Your Voice’ essays were truly inspiring and sent a powerful message. A big thank you to their teacher Christine Marsh for helping promote such a worthwhile contest. Cactus Shadows is very proud of their accomplishments!”

The Falcons were honored at the Thirty-Fourth Annual ASU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast in this past month. The breakfast was held at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix. Family members, teachers, interim principal and superintendent all attended the event.

Cactus Shadows English teacher Christine Marsh said, “I am inspired by the girls’ insightful essays about leadership through service and grateful to ASU for providing this opportunity for students to be recognized for their creativity and writing skills.”

Cactus Shadows High School is part of the Cave Creek Unified School District. For more information, contact Interim Principal Swetter at jswetter@ccusd93.org or visit www.ccusd93.org.

Cactus Shadows Boys Basketball Heads to State

In mid-January, Cactus Shadows High School (CSHS) Basketball head coach Zach Washut, who is a Cave Creek resident, shared that CSHS Falcons Boys Basketball is having a great season. The team was tied for first in the Region, No. 6 overall in the State, and headed to the State tournament.

“We are currently 15–2 and this is the best start in program history,” said Coach Washut. Last season we went 21–5 and reached the Elite 8 of the state tournament and have built off that momentum.”

This is Coach Washut’s eighth year coaching high school basketball and his second as head coach at Cactus Shadows. Reaching the Elite 8 in the 2017–18 season marked the second time in school history the program has accomplished 20-plus wins and made an Elite 8 run.

Of the players, Coach Washut says, “This team is senior heavy, with nine seniors. We have three guys that average 12 points or more and have a well-balanced attacking team. We’re excited to finish the season strong and make some noise in the state tournament!”

The State tournament playoff bracket will be available Feb. 6 for residents who would like to check out a game and cheer on the Falcons.

Cactus Shadows High School is part of the Cave Creek Unified School District. Follow the District on Facebook @CaveCreekUSD. Learn more about CSHS at www.ccusd93.org/cshs or visit www.ccusd93.org/page/4535 to learn more about the Basketball program.

Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation “Grants the District”

Members of the Cave Creek Youth Education Foundation and CSPress

The Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation (CCUEF) is best known for its yearly showcasing of musical talent, Rock the District, which not only grows, presents and applauds our students’ musical talents, but raises much needed dollars for our classrooms.

Last semester, CCUEF celebrated the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) teachers whose grants were funded with Grant the District and brought along members of the CCYEF (Cave Creek Youth Education Foundation) and two reporters from CSPress (Cactus Shadows High School’s award winner student-run newspaper). The annual Grant the District event has a CCUSD school bus traveling to the schools of the teachers receiving grants. Teachers and their classes are brought to the front of the school and surprised by the CCUEF Trustees who jump off the bus with a giant check, balloons and flowers. This year, a student group from Cactus Shadows High School — CCYEF, also rode the bus, along with a CS Press reporter and photographer and local dignitaries. Here are the 2018 winners:

Ms. Cardin, Ms. Taylor and Ms. Steward (Black Mountain Elementary) $2,302 for kindergarten Chromebooks

Ms. Hendrie (Lone Mountain Elementary) $2,250 for preschool

Ms. Camarasa (Desert Willow Elementary) $2,500 for El periodico

Ms. Bayless (Desert Willow Elementary) $2,268 for iPads for the art studio

Ms. Kerschbaum (Desert Sun Academy) $2,500 for “Don’t Put Your Health in a Pickle”

Ms. Stumpo and Mr. Nielson (Sonoran Trails Middle School) $1,000 for French 1 & 2 library

Ms. Lindstrom, Ms. Dahlke, Ms. Watts and Ms. D’Ambrosi (Sonoran Trials Middle School) $1,844 for Special Education Technology

Mr. Conklin, Ms. Fauss, Ms. Knuteson, Ms. Petrine, Ms. Skinner and Ms. Spiess (Sonoran Trails Middle School) $2,500 for adding technology to the Science lab.

CCUEF’s four pillars are: Classroom Supplies (including Technology); Music and the Arts; Health and Wellness; and International Learning.

Superintendent Burdick said, “CCUEF is a group of dedicated, hard-working volunteers who only want the best for our students and schools. They make sure each year that teachers have the opportunity to access additional resources for their classrooms and CCUSD is so grateful and lucky to have this small but mighty foundation supporting our mission, Inspire Excellence, through their four pillars.”

For more information on CCUEF, visit their website at www.ccuef.org.

Cave Creek Unified Superintendent’s Student Cadre Holds Blanket Drive

The Cactus Shadows High School (CSHS) Superintendent’s Student Cadre meets monthly with Superintendent Debbi Burdick and is no stranger to service projects. For two years in a row, the students have conducted a sock drive for homeless senior citizens who frequent the Justa Center in Phoenix. A Cadre member makes the flyer and monitors collection bins, which are placed at all Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) school front offices, at the district office and at the Education & Community Services office.

This year, CSHS Varsity Football Head Coach Mike Hudnutt asked the players to bring socks for the drive to their year-end banquet. Thanks for CSHS Football and the generosity of the schools, district office and ECS office, Superintendent Burdick and her husband were able to deliver a SUV full of socks to the Justa Center in December.

At their recent meeting, the Cadre voted on another service project for the spring — The Santa Rose Blanket Drive. A Cadre member, CSHS freshman Madison O’Sullivan, brought this need to the attention of the Cadre back in November. This service project is asking the CCUSD community to donate new or gently used blankets to benefit the victims of the fires/mudslides in Santa Rosa, California. The service project will run from February 5 to March 1, 2018, with collection bins at all CCUSD school front offices, the district office and the ECS office.

Superintendent Burdick said, “I am so proud of this Cadre and their altruism, kindness and caring for others.”

For more information on the Cave Creek Unified School District, visit www.ccusd93.org or call 480.575.2000.

Carefree Hosts ‘Art In The Garden’ In April

Photo by Vickilyn Hussey

Education and Community Services (ECS), a department of the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) will host Art in the Garden Saturday, April 8, 8-11am.

The morning of free family art activities, literary and art contest, art exhibitions and entertainment by local school groups, takes place in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Carefree at Carefree Desert Gardens.

“We love having the opportunity to brag about all of our ECS programs that are offered to our students and community,” says Gina Durbin, ECS director. “Art in the Garden features the amazing art and literary work of our students and community members. Our community partners are fabulous and so supportive that we want to give them the recognition they deserve at this community event.”

Scully Learning Center, Sonoran Arts League, Desert Awareness Committee, Education & Community Services, Cave Creek Museum, Desert Foothills Library, ECS Kid’s Club and Child’s Play Preschool, ECS Enrichment and Summer Programs, ECS Storytellers and Kiwanis Reads will have activities and informational booths.

Black Mountain Elementary drama, dance and chorus students, Desert Sun Academy Chorus, Sonoran Trails Middle School Chorus, Cactus Shadows High School Jazz Band, Cactus Shadows Improv Dance and Improv Drama groups will perform on stage at the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion, while the Carefree Kiwanis serve up the “World’s Best” pancakes at their Pancake Breakfast ($5 children; $8 adults).

Arts and crafts, face painting, sand painting, storytelling, live performances by outstanding youth music, dance and theater ensembles, works by Literary and Art Contest Winners, an art exhibition by CCUSD staff and alumni, and local summer program informational displays and sign-up tables are just a few of the many attractions.

“You can participate in art activities with your kids, enjoy breakfast, be entertained with music, dance, theater and storytelling, view award winning artwork, buy artwork by students and local artists to benefit the Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center renovation, and learn about summer camps and classes,” according to Elaine Adrian, ECS Art in the Garden Coordinator. “This is a wonderful opportunity for young children and their families.”

Carefree Desert Gardens and Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion are located at 101 Easy Street, Carefree. For more information about ECS Art in the Garden, contact Elaine Adrian at eadrian@ccusd93.org. For additional information, visit www.ecsforall.org or www.ccusd93.org.

Back To The School Year

August 2016 CST.indd

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ It’s back-to-school time in the Valley, and once the supplies have been purchased, the new threads picked out and the perfect backpack chosen, reality sets in…and maybe some first-day nerves. Whether it is the first day of kindergarten, high school, at a new school, or just the unknowns of a new year, back-to-school jitters can happen – for students and parents alike. So we asked some educators and school administrators from Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) and Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVSchools) for some tips on how to begin the school year on a positive note.

At the top of PVSchools’ list is preparation. Start to prepare children for any changes, includingschool kids starting a new school, having a new teacher and establishing new routines. Remind children that there is a lot to be excited about: reconnecting with friends and teachers, building new relationships and participating in extracurricular activities.

For some, between summer vacation and busy schedules, bed-time routines have gone out the window. But re-establishing these routines sooner rather than later, including bedtime and wake-up schedules, will help ease the transition back.

“Back to school is an exciting time, but some children may feel apprehensive about transitioning from a summer break schedule to a school schedule. Maintaining a routine with a consistent bed time, wake up time and meal times can help kids get ready for a fun and exciting school experience,” says Matt Schenk, principal at Horseshoe Trails Elementary School, CCUSD.

Another tip to avoid hectic mornings: have children lay out his or her outfit the night before and have the backpack and lunch packed and ready to go.

Creating back-to-school traditions can also help ease anxieties…and provide lasting memories. Prior to the first day of school, plan something special for your child – whether it’s going out for ice cream, leaving an encouraging note in a lunch box or a small gift to commemorate the first day.

Of course, it is not only students who may feel first day nerves. How can parents extinguish their own anxiety?

“Come to school and meet the teacher. And, just breathe! The kids are ready for school,” says Nancy Shaver, principal at Lone Mountain Elementary School, CCUSD.

Throughout the school year, set children up for success by establishing a positive homework routine. Make sure children have a quiet and well-lit area to complete assignments. And keep lines of communication open: check in with children about daily homework assignments and offer assistance where needed; ask how their day was and what they learned.

Finally, remember that learning can be fun.

“Share the joy of learning with your child,” says Dr. Micah Korb, principal at Desert Sun Academy, CCUSD. “Tell your child about an enjoyable learning experience in your life and how it has impacted you. Sharing positive memories about learning will encourage your child to have their own.” |CST

Get Ready For The First Day

Back To The School Year

August 2016 CST.indd

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ It’s back-to-school time in the Valley, and once the supplies have been purchased, the new threads picked out and the perfect backpack chosen, reality sets in…and maybe some first-day nerves. Whether it is the first day of kindergarten, high school, at a new school, or just the unknowns of a new year, back-to-school jitters can happen – for students and parents alike. So we asked educators and administrators from Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) for some tips on how to begin the school year on a positive note.

At the top of the checklist: preparation.

LearningFun“Back to school is an exciting time, but some children may feel apprehensive about transitioning from a summer break schedule to a school schedule. Maintaining a routine with a consistent bed time, wake up time and meal times can help kids get ready for a fun and exciting school experience,” says Matt Schenk, principal at Horseshoe Trails Elementary School.

Of course, it is not only students who may feel first day nerves. How can parents extinguish their own anxiety?

“Come to school and meet the teacher. And, just breathe! The kids are ready for school,” says Nancy Shaver, principal at Lone Mountain Elementary School.

Positive homework routines are also key. Make sure children have a quiet and well-lit area to complete assignments, and check in with children about homework assignments and offer assistance where needed.

And finally, remember that learning can be fun.

“Share the joy of learning with your child,” says Dr. Micah Korb, principal at Desert Sun Academy. “Tell your child about an enjoyable learning experience in your life and how it has impacted you. Sharing positive memories about learning will encourage your child to have their own.”

The CCUSD goes back to school August 11. For more information, visit www.ccusd93.org. |CST

Nancy Pratt Receives International “Making IT Happen” Award

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Pictured, L-R: Cathy Poplin, Nancy Pratt, Judith Romero and Dr Helen Padgett.

On June 9, Nancy Pratt, Director of Instructional Technology for the Cave Creek Unified School District, was honored with the Making IT Happen award for her contributions to the successful integration of technology in education.  Pratt joins a prestigious group of Making IT Happen honorees, including classroom teachers, school principals, superintendents, corporate executives, legislators, governors and others.
Founded in 1995, the Making IT Happen program highlights the dramatic role educators have on the learning process by using technology and rewards those individuals for their commitment and innovation. The Making IT Happen award is provided by the International Society for Technology in Education, of which Arizona Technology in Education Association is an affiliate.
The International Society for Technology in Education (www.iste.org) is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world.

For more information regarding Cave Creek Unified School District, call 480.575.2000 or visit www.ccusd93.org.

CCUSD Receives Magna Award

MagnaAward

Photo by Vickilyn Hussey

The Cave Creek Unified School District has received a first place Magna Award, which recognizes school districts and their leaders taking bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of students and communities. The winners of the 21st annual Magna Awards were honored at National School Boards Association’s 75th Annual Conference, held March 21-23 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“In a time when public schools are under attack, we are pleased to showcase schools and their leaders who are dedicated to innovation and excellence,” says Thomas J. Gentzel, executive director of NSBA. “The winning programs are proof that public education is leading the way to advance student achievement.”

A panel of judges selected Cactus Shadows High School’s program, Team Falcon – Vocational Success for Students with Disabilities, as one of five 2015 Magna Awards first place winners in the 5,000 to 20,000 enrollment category. Cactus Shadows High School students with disabilities have been working in innovative training sites throughout the district. These jobs afford students a chance to experience career options and an opportunity to work alongside District staff to foster mentorship and skill training. Team Falcon students work in the Copy Center, Nutritional Services, Transportation, Facilities, Preschool, Landscaping and Technology. Team Falcon has supported students in acquiring 21st century skills – particularly communication and collaboration. Most importantly, their work experience in the District translates to success in employment after high school.

District Superintendent Dr. Debbi Burdick congratulated directors, Janet Holt, John Muir and Bruce McWhorter for their national recognition of the 2015 Magna Award.

For more information, visit www.ccusd93.org.

 

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