Authors Articles byMaricopa Unified School District

Maricopa Unified School District

25 Articles 0 COMMENTS

The Maricopa Unified School District is committed to the safety and well-being of each child that we serve.

A recent editorial letter submitted to local media sources (See Mom seeks to destroy vicious cycle of child molestation) stated that the District was negligent in reporting an incident of abuse against a student in our after school program this past summer.

No evidence from the District’s internal investigation or from the Maricopa Police Department ‘s subsequent investigation substantiated any of those allegations.

As stated originally every child is valued in our District, and we are prepared to take action against any threat to that safety. Actions though must be based on fact.

The District maintains an open-door policy for all parental/custodial concerns, and we are committed to a fair and equitable resolution of any issue pertaining to student safety.

File photo

Maricopa Unified School District is pleased to announce that Barbara McGuire, who represents District 23 in the Arizona House of Representatives and State Senator Rebecca Rios, the Minority Whip from District 23, will be visiting Maricopa Wells Middle School on Oct. 30.

Born in Ray-Sonora, Rep. McGuire is a third-generation Arizonan. Married for 36 years, she has two children and a grandchild. She grew up in a mining community and has been a small business owner for 20 years. Rep. McGuire believes in an efficient, responsive government.

Senator Rios is married with two young children. She worked in the children’s behavioral health field for 20 years. She believes in community service and local control. and is committed to health care, education and environmental protection.

Both legislators will be there to discuss the “legislative process” with students. The convocation will take place at 10 a.m. in the multi-purpose room.

For more information please contact Maricopa Wells Middle School at (520) 568.7100 or visit the District website at

File photo

On Saturday Nov.1, the Maricopa High School Marching Band traveled to Eastern Arizona College to participate in their band day.

The band received a rating of Excellent (the second-highest rating possible). Drum major Zoey Santiago received a caption award for “Outstanding Drum Major.”

The band’s performance qualifies them to perform at the Division 4 State Marching Festival at Copper Canyon High School in Glendale this Saturday, Nov. 8. They will perform at 10:48 a.m.

Director Ivan Pour (see related story) commented, “They have worked hard and made steady progress this year and have definitely earned the title of being the Pride of Maricopa!”

Photos courtesy of Maria Pour

Maricopa High School Agricultural Science Program instructor Bart Romero was recently honored at the Arizona Agricultural Teachers’ Association (AATA) luncheon as the “Teacher of the Year” for the Estrella District.

The Arizona Career and Technology Education Conference is held annually to support and recognize the efforts of vocational educators throughout the state. This year’s conference was held in Tucson on July 19-23.

The award is determined by fellow AATA teachers and is based on a teacher’s experience, community involvement, use of new technologies, participation in FFA activities and professional organizations.

Mr. Romero has been an agricultural teacher for 16 years at Maricopa High School. He enjoys teaching this program, according to Mr. Romero, “as it strives to develop the whole child while preparing him/her to continue with higher education or enter the work force upon graduation.”

The District would like to congratulate Bart on his award and also for the quality work he does with his students.

For more information please contact the district office at (520) 568-5100 or visit the
District Web site at

Photo courtesy of Maricopa Unified School District

On Wednesday September 3, the Maricopa Unified School District’s Governing Board approved a change to the starting and ending times for Maricopa High School.

Parents and students should note that the new times will go into effect on Monday, Sept. 15, 2008.

New high school starting and ending times for the 2008-2009 school year at Maricopa High School: 7:24 a.m. to 2:02 p.m. (Early Release – 12:02)

For more information please contact the District Office at (520) 568-5100 or visit the District Web site at

(See School board to decide on more buses or earlier MHS start time).

File photo

Recent sightings of a suspicious individual around school sites and near bus stops have prompted the Maricopa Unified School District to release this priority memorandum – safety alert.

The District is encouraging parents to discuss this situation with your children. We are also asking that parents work to group children in clusters of three or more if walking or standing at a bus stop.

Students should immediately report interactions with any stranger to their principal and/or teacher.

The description of the suspected individual that has been reported to the police department is a clean-shaven, bald man in a grey pickup truck (See Suspicious truck in Butterfield Elementary School vicinity).

Anyone with pertinent information related to this situation is asked to call the Maricopa Police Department at (520) 316-6800 or the District Office at (520) 568-5142.

File photo

The Arizona Department of Revenue offers an excellent way to help your school(s) by designating a portion of your Arizona state withholding tax directly to the school.

An individual may claim a tax credit for making contributions to public schools for extra curricular activities and character education programs.

How does this work?
Your contribution to the school will reduce the amount of Arizona withholding tax you owe to the state. You can pay the amount directly to the school office, and they will provide you with a detailed receipt. This counts toward your typical Arizona withholding payments.

For example, if you owe the state of Arizona $1000 in taxes for 2007 and you contribute $400 to a Maricopa school for this program, you have now reduced the amount you owe the state to $600 for the year.

How much can I contribute?
If you are filing single or head of household you can contribute up to $200. If you are filing married, you can contribute up to $400.

How do I receive credit on my taxes?
You or your accountant would complete form 322 and submit it with your Arizona income tax return (form 140).

What if I have children attending two different schools?
You can split up the payment, paying a portion of the contribution to each school.

When should I contribute the money to the school?
You can pay anytime during school hours. The deadline for payment is Monday, Dec. 31, 2007. Try not to wait for the last day!

Do I have to have a child attend the school to claim the credit?

For more information, please contact the Arizona Department of Revenue or call (602) 255-3381 or toll free at (800) 352-4090.

Every donation is important and no amount is too small. You can share the tax credit program with your relatives and friends. An informational brochure is also available locally online to help answer any questions. Help support schools today!

For more information contact MUSD Public Relations Director Tom Beckett at (520) 568-5142 or by email at

They’ve got spirit; yes, they do. All 60 elementary students involved in the Junior Spiritline Camp have learned cheers, kicks and jumps to help them demonstrate that spirit.

Angela Alksnis, Maricopa Wells spiritline sponsor and social studies teacher, has been conducting the camps for K-5 elementary school students.

Members of the Junior Spiritline will be performing what they have learned on Dec. 11 during the final middle school girls’ basketball game of the season.

Maricopa Wells Middle School held camps on Nov. 17 and Dec. 1. The final session is scheduled for this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until noon in the gymnasium. For more information, call (520) 568-7102.

Maricopa School District’s governing board will hold a special meeting Saturday morning to determine legislative recommendations to be submitted to the Arizona School Board Association.

Meeting of the Board of Education
March 31, 2007–
10:00 a.m. – Maricopa High School – Summit



1. Pledge Of Allegiance

2. Arizona School Board Association Legislative Recommendations

3. School Priorities

4. Comments/Correspondence

5. Approve /Adopt the Agenda

6. Adjourn Regular Meeting

On Saturday, Nov. 8, the Maricopa High School Marching Rams attended the Division IV State Marching Band Festival.

Division IV includes bands from 1A, 2A and 3A schools, as well as bands with less than 45 members from 4A and 5A schools. The Arizona Music Educators Association and the Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association sponsor the event.

The band received a performance rating of ‘Superior’ from all three judges, which is the highest rating possible.

The newly formed Rams Color Guard, instructed by Maria Pour, received a caption award for ‘Outstanding Auxiliary,’ and the band overall received an award for ‘Outstanding General Effect.’

Director Ivan Pour stated, “The students had a wonderful experience at the festival and celebrated their success together on the field for some time after the event ended (see photo). The band has worked extremely hard this year and has shown much improvement from the beginning of the season to this final performance. Their first time in festival, the group only managed a ‘good’ (average) rating. They spent the next weeks working on improving their marching technique and musical execution. They learned about the proper balance of a band and about blending their sounds together to make a single, unified sound.

“At the Eastern Arizona College band day, they improved to an ‘excellent’ rating and now they have improved to ‘superior,’ said Pour. “Their success has been shown by numerous comments from their judges at the state festival about how they are a well-balanced band with an excellent sound.”

Pour added, “Our Color Guard team has also shown a great deal of improvement. All of the members except one are new to the activity and have learned how to work with several different kinds of flags and props. They have added a whole new level of visual interest to the band’s performance, and they played a large role in the two captions the band was awarded on Saturday.”

The band will be reviewing their marching music in a “Pass in Review” segment at their Winter Concert on Dec. 18, and the Color Guard will be running a Winter Guard program and will be doing some performances throughout the spring semester.

The community should be extremely proud of the efforts of these young men and women, noted Pour. They are looking forward to a great conclusion to this year and another exciting marching season next year.

For more information about the band and other fine arts offerings, please contact the high school at (520) 568-8100 or visit the district Website at

Submitted photos

Pupils at Maricopa Wells Middle School will soon have the opportunity to use a variety technological gadgets to help them learn and apply math skills.

That’s because Robyn Rice, a pre-algebra and algebra instructor at Maricopa Wells Middle School has been awarded the Qwest/AzTEA Classroom Technology Integration Grant in the amount of $10,000, which will fund the Utilities Planning Project for the math department.

With the award the middle school will receive two SmartBoards, two media projectors and two computers. The students will use the technology to understand vertex-edge graphing, and apply those concepts to a real-world problem. The students will design and build a miniature city to scale. They will also use the technology from the grant to create a vertex-edge graph that will allow them to supply their city with water, using the most efficient and cost-effective route.

Rice will be publicly recognized, along with other statewide winners, at the second of the Annual AzTEA Tri-Conferences Series, Teaching and Technology, Jan. 26 in Tucson. For information call (520) 568-5142.

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, Mary Allen from the Pinal County Health Department and JoAnne Pinto from Against Abuse, Inc., with sponsorship from the 2008 Child Abuse Prevention Council presented a plaque, ‘Remember The Children,’ to Maricopa Elementary School.

The award commemorates the site’s work in educating students and the community about child safety and the prevention of child abuse.

In addition to the plaque, the Prevention Council also secured donations of plants for a flower bed located at the entrance to the school.

Maricopa Elementary has been an active partner with the health department and its outstanding educational programming.

(Pictured from left to right: Front Row – Student Council Members: Haylee Henniger,
Setera Miller, Jimmy Crabtree and Alex Lisbey ; Back Row – Mary Allen, Aaron Harris,
MES Assistant Principal, and Debbie Wager, Student Council Sponsor)

For more information about the Maricopa Unified School District call (520) 568-5100 or visit the District Website at

Submitted photo

Maricopa High School was notified recently that the music department was selected to receive seed money to begin a jazz band.

The Fulton Homes Giving Music The Edge program is a partnership between Fulton Homes and Phoenix-based radio station 103.9 — The Edge. The program has been designed to support music programs throughout the Valley to ensure that “we can continue to help build the next generation of great Arizona musicians, one at a time.”

Maricopa High School Assistant Principal and former band instructor Valerie Whitchurch authored the winning proposal, which requested funds and donations to provide the instruments needed for a quality jazz band program.

Whitchurch recorded a radio spot that will be airing on The Edge, promoting the program throughout December.

The donated instruments should be arriving on the high school campus by the end of January.

For more information, call (520) 568-5142.

MHS orchestra and band, performing in the new 200 wing lecture hall:

Monday, Nov. 24 at 7 p. m. – The MHS orchestra will present their first concert of the year. This is the first time in the history of the strings program the orchestra has given a concert and also the first time there have been enough players for a full string orchestra. The group will be performing works by Mozart, Handel and Strauss, as well as some patriotic and pops favorites.

Thursday, Dec. 18 at 7 p. m.- The MHS band will give their final performance of the semester. The first half of the concert will feature the concert band playing some winter and holiday favorites, and the second half will feature a recap of the marching season by the award-winning MHS Marching Band.

For further information, contact MHS instrumental music teacher Ivan Pour at

Upcoming elementary school concerts:

Thursday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. – Maricopa Unified School District Combined Elementary Band Concert at Butterfield Elementary’s Multi-Purpose Room.

Tuesday, Dec.16 at 6 p.m. & Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m. 4th and 5th grade music program at Santa Cruz Elementary’s Multi-Purpose Room.

For further information, contact music teacher Mary Goldner at

File photo

In the October 2007 edition of the nationally distributed District Administration -The Magazine for K-12 Educational Leaders, Maricopa Unified School District was mentioned in a special report entitled “ELL TESTING: A State of Flux.”

The article focused on schools nationwide and the efforts of districts to grapple with federal mandates and assessment options for English Language Learners (ELL). Maricopa Unified was briefly cited for the District’s program to test preschool children’s English and language skills using Children’s Progress, a company that provides computerized assessments for pre-K and kindergarten children.

Under direction from Superintendent Dr. John Flores, the District has made the assessment of both non-English and English speaking children a critical part of the orientation process. English language acquisition is a key component for the academic success of all students and programs like Children’s Progress help school personnel accurately and systematically gauge formative language skills.

The Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) will be hosting a community forum on Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Global Water’s Maricopa facility to present information related to the proposed school site and the proximity of the site to high-voltage power lines.

Global Water is located in the Lakes subdivision at Rancho El Dorado; the address is 22590 North Powers Parkway.

The meeting is designed to enlist community input regarding the use of that particular site for a school. City representatives will be present along with MUSD officials to offer various opinions and present the public with viable alternatives.

Parents and community members are encouraged to attend this vitally important meeting.

For more information, call (520) 568-5142.

The Maricopa Unified School District’s Exceptional Students Services Department, in accordance with ARS [34 CFR §300.624], will be destroying records of students who attended district schools and received services in special education programs during the 2003-2004 school year and earlier.

Information was collected and maintained for educational purposes only and is no longer needed to provide educational services to the child. Such information includes Individual Education Plans (IEPs), progress reports, demographics, psychological testing scores/results, etc.

However, all information contained in these records will be destroyed in 30 days. Parents or guardians may be need this information for other purposes, such as documentation for eligibility for Social Security benefits.

Before these records are destroyed, individuals have the right to review the records and obtain copies of any information. Patrons may indicate their desire to do so by calling the department at 520-568-5170, ext 1017, or making contact via email at or, If the district is not contacted within 30 days, records will be destroyed in accordance with established policy.

According to MUSD spokesman Tom Beckett, “This notification is required by the state to provide former patrons with an opportunity to request the targeted documents.”

File photo

In 1983 the first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure took place in Texas with the proceeds from that 5-kilometer run going toward scientific research to find a cure for breast cancer.

Maricopa High School will be joining in that battle this fall during Homecoming Week – Oct. 27 through Oct. 31. On Wednesday evening Oct. 29, all-girl Powder Puff Football teams will be competing with all monies raised that evening going toward cancer research.

The public is encouraged to attend and support this fun-filled life-affirming activity. High

School Sponsors Marsie Shealey and Megan Tyler will also be participating in a three-day walk in cooperation with the 25th anniversary of this event.

To read more about the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, please visit the official Website.

For more information about other Homecoming activities, contact Maricopa High School at (520) 568-8100 or visit the district Website.

Submitted photo

Maricopa Elementary School’s Student Council donated over 1,100 canned goods to F.O.R. Food Bank of Maricopa today.

They also donated over 50 toys to the Salvation Army for distribution to needy children in the area.

The student-sponsored toy and food drive, to assist needy families in Maricopa during the holidays, was spearheaded by Student Council Sponsor Mark Culbertson.

For more information, call (520) 568-5142.

Maricopa High School senior Meardey Kong was recently notified that she is a recipient of the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program Award as an AP Scholar.

She earned this award as a result of coursework and testing from her junior year. In order to receive this award, a student must score a three or higher on three or more AP exams.

Meardey, the daughter of Nevada Mao, is presently ranked number one in her class at Maricopa High School. Her extra-curricular contributions include the presidency of both Key Club and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).

After graduation she plans to attend the University of Arizona and major in pharmacy.

For more information about Maricopa High School and advanced placement courses, call (520) 568-8100 or visit the MUSD website (Maricopa High School) at

Submitted photo

Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) will soon have its own Gifted Advisory Council.

The council will consist of parents and professionals interested in promoting gifted education opportunities within the district. The council will function in an advisory capacity to the curriculum director, the district’s Leadership Team and the school board.

According to Dr. JoEtta Gonzales, district curriculum director, “The council’s task is to build positive partnerships among the school board, schools, teachers, administration and parents to support gifted education services and to advocate for future programming needs.”

The group will review research on gifted learners and provide feedback on gifted education programming.

There will be an informational meeting on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. in Room 3 of the old Santa Cruz Elementary School campus on Honeycutt Ave. Applications for two or three-year terms on the council will be distributed and accepted through Oct. 10. Notification of selection will be by Oct. 11.

On Oct. 25 the council will meet for the first time.

For further information, email Gonzales or call (520) 568-5112.

Santa brought you a new toaster oven for Christmas, and you just replaced your old set of pots and pans. If you have household items gathering dust or no longer being used, the Life Skills Class at Maricopa High School can put those items to good use.

The Life Skills class is seeking donations to outfit a temporary instructional classroom. The classroom is designed to assist special needs students with preparation for transitioning into an independent lifestyle.

The skills taught include cleaning, cooking and simple household tasks. The instructors are asking for donations of supplies and equipment, including the following.

pots and pans
mixing bowls
toaster oven
cutting boards
cooking utensils
dish towels
dish soap
food items or ingredients, such as flour, macaroni and cheese, sugar, pasta, non-perishable items
dish rack
glass cleaner
dishes – serving or eating sets
drinking glasses
placemats and napkins

If you can provide any of these items, contact Abby Himlie at or call the high school at (520) 568-8100. For additional questions or more information, contact Tom Beckett at (520) 568-6112.

The renovation project for Maricopa High School has begun, and a special groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Nov. 20 at 10:30 a.m. on campus just east of the main office. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

The total project has been divided into four phases with Phases 1 and 2 scheduled for completion by the beginning of the 2008-09 school year. Much of the site preparation has been completed, and McCarthy, the contracted construction firm, has begun the completion of the various project goals.

Phase 1 consisted of upgrading the sewer system and was completed in September. Phase 2 includes:
• Approximately 170,000 square feet for 66 classrooms and a 150-seat lecture hall
• Tennis courts
• Junior varsity softball and junior varsity baseball fields
• Remodeling the kitchen and cafeteria
• New gymnasium
• New football stadium

The third and fourth phases, which will include a performing arts center, varsity baseball and softball fields and additional remodeling of existing facilities, are slated for completion by early 2009.

We are grateful for the confidence shown from our community, and we are committed to the responsible use of the bond funding allocated toward this project. For more information, call (520) 568-5142.

The Maricopa Unified School District announced Tuesday it has installed the award-winning Rapid Responder crisis management system to protect its students and staff during a wide range of emergencies. The Web-based Rapid Responder from Prepared Response Inc. provides police, fire and other first-responders with secure and instant access to critical campus information including floor plans, aerial imagery and other important information via a computer. The district received a federal school safety grant in 2007 to install Rapid Responder, which will help protect the district’s nine elementary, middle, high school and administration facilities. Prepared Response also provided emergency preparedness and tactical response consulting services for the district.

“We are grateful for the efforts of Prepared Response and we are excited about the implementation of the Rapid Responder System. Safety is a district-wide priority and this crisis management system will be invaluable for planning and, if necessary, crisis response,” stated district spokesman Tom Beckett.

“Maricopa Unified School District joins a growing list of Arizona school districts that are using Rapid Responder to protect their schools,” said Jim Finnell, president and CEO of Prepared Response, Inc. “Rapid Responder allows the Maricopa Police and Fire Departments to work closely with district administrators so they can respond faster and in a more coordinated manner with other agencies to better protect both students and staff.”

Rapid Responder has been used during a campus shooting, bomb threats, lockdowns and other emergency situations on school campuses throughout the country. Rapid Responder is the only crisis management system certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s SAFETY Act as a “Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology.” Rapid Responder is being used in 14 states with more than 5,000 users including nearly 600 public safety agencies and 345 school districts. This system was recognized in the Harvard/Noblis Innovations Award in Homeland Security that was presented to the state of Washington in September 2007 and is endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association.

On Friday, Jan. 4, the Maricopa Unified School District and McCarthy Construction will be hosting a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the construction of the new grades 6-8 middle school located in the Tortosa subdivision.

The Tortosa subdivision is situated to the east of Maricopa (take Honeycutt Road east, then enter Tortosa and continue to the east after the circle).

The event will take place at 10:30 a.m. and will last for approximately half an hour. Light refreshments will be served.

Parents, students and community members are encouraged to attend this exciting event. For more information please call (520) 568-5142.

Photo by Joyce Hollis