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More than 550 Butterfield Elementary students attended an Arizona State University Women’s Basketball game Friday at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.

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The field trip is part of a partnership between ASU and the local elementary school that began two years ago to promote higher education. Second through fifth grade students were accompanied by teachers and more than 120 parents.

Second-grade teacher Allie Krigbaum, an ASU alumna, first connected the university with her elementary school two years ago with the Sparky Caravan – a pep assembly at Butterfield that featured appearances by ASU coaches Bobby Hurley, Todd Graham and Charli Turner Thorne, as well as players, athletic trainers and school mascot “Sparky.”

It’s the second consecutive “Sparky’s Kids to College” field trip the school has taken to Wells Fargo Arena.

Krigbaum said the event is a way to get students thinking of college at an early age.

“Many of our students in Maricopa don’t think college is an option for them, so starting them thinking about attending college at a young age is really important to us,” she said.

Although the Sun Devils fell to Utah 58-56 Friday, Krigbaum said the experience is an unforgettable event because it’s the first time many students have attended a collegiate  game.

“We really noticed that not only is this field trip really fun, but it emphasizes the college experience and encourages our kids to excel in education,” Krigbaum said. “Exactly what we feel our kids in Maricopa need to see.”

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Principal Janel Hildick introduces Butterfield AMIC students and discusses the AMIC program. Photo by Mason Callejas

Butterfield Elementary teachers and students presented Maricopa Unified School District’s governing board an update on the programs at the school during a board meeting Wednesday night. They specifically addressed the Advanced Mathematics Intervention Class (AMIC).

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Maricopa Unified School District Superintendent Steve Chestnut sent out the following statement regarding an incident at Butterfield Elementary School:

“Today at Butterfield Elementary administrators were informed that three girls had created a ‘hit list’ that named three boys. Administrators investigated the situation and found that such a list had been created by the girls but they did not have the capability of following through on the threat. The parents of all of the children involved in this situation have been contacted. The girls who created the list are receiving disciplinary consequences as outlined in the MUSD Student Handbook.”

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Butterfield Elementary students learn some science facts at Central Arizona College during S.T.E.A.M. Day.

By Michelle Chance

The third annual S.T.E.A.M. Day at the Central Arizona College Maricopa campus introduced local sixth-graders to learning sessions that combined science, technology, engineering, art and math.

Jan. 11-12, students from Butterfield Elementary and other schools got hands-on experience during four learning sessions.

In one class, students watched as a 3D printer designed a plastic shark. In another, kids learned about the science behind the culinary arts as they watched Chef Gabe Gardner make marshmallows from scratch.

Students then got to experiment with technology using iPad microscopes and later with LED lights.

Carrie McIntyre, STEM Program Advisor at CAC, said careers in S.T.E.A.M. encompass a wide array of fields including: computer programming, biology, astronomy, engineering, various fields in design and math, among many others.

In fact, careers in S.T.E.A.M. are growing.

According to a report by the Department of Commerce, careers in S.T.E.A.M. are estimated to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018. Additionally, those working in steam related fields typically make more money than those who don’t.

McIntyre said it is important to expose children at a young age to S.T.E.A.M. because they are very exploratory and interested in how the world works.

“If we can begin to direct that vision at a young age to show them fields like engineering, and breaking it down to things like our 3D printer, [it can] really show them how that impacts their world and what they do.”

Butterfield Elementary School teacher Stephanie Shiflett said even sixth graders are not too young to begin considering a career path.

“I see a lot of students who haven’t really looked at who they want to be, and they might be closed off to the realities of what awaits them in the future,” Shiflett said. “So I think bringing the students here, they get to have so many hands-on experiences and it really gives them a wider view as to what they can do in their future.”

Sixth grade student Aubryana Pick said she is interested in interior design, but she might also consider studying culinary arts at CAC after attending the S.T.E.A.M. Day event.

“They have a lot of appliances and you can do a lot in this school,” she said.

Butterfield students helped caravan staff teach about good character traits. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Butterfield Elementary was one of only six schools in the state treated to a visit by the Sun Devil Caravan’s Sparky Tour this week.

While the tour later had a service project at Copper Sky Regional Park and a meet-and-greet at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Course Tuesday, it was a Butterfield where the Arizona State University mascot was welcomed by hundreds of screaming fans.

The tour brought coaches Charli Turner Thorne, Bobby Hurley and Todd Graham along with Athletics Vice President Ray Anderson, band members, athletes and other students and staff to Maricopa. At Butterfield, they used the mascot Sparky to teach life lessons at an energetic, all-school pep rally.

Teacher Allie Krigbaum was credited with persistently asking the caravan to come to Butterfield until ASU made it happen.

After the visit to Butterfield, the caravan went to Copper Sky, where the participants pulled weeds and trimmed vegetation. They then traveled to Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, where they were greeted by Chairman Robert Miguel.

This is the third year of the caravan, which is intended to build rapport between ASU and surrounding communities and give some of the university’s most notable figures some face time with potential future students.