Most children in Maricopa schools will return to class sooner than usual this year. The Maricopa Unified School District approved a calendar change that will send students back to campus July 23.
The first day of school for charters Sequoia Pathway Academy and Legacy Traditional School will also be July 23. Leading Edge Academy begins Aug. 6.
Along with adopting a new calendar that will give students two weeks off each in the fall, winter and spring, the district this year will also implement a new English Language Arts curriculum in each of its nine schools.
Maricopa High School
The district’s only high school welcomes 20 new teachers to campus, along with Principal Brian Winter and Assistant Principal Michelle Poppen. MHS offers three new courses: Anatomy and physiology, statistics and probability, and an intervention program for algebra 1. New Athletic Director Jake Neill, who oversees sports for the entire district, will help introduce swimming as a fall sport at MHS.
The high school’s credit recovery program, Ram Academy, begins its second year of instruction.
Maricopa Wells Middle School
Jason Szoltysik is the junior high’s new assistant principal.
“He brings many years of educational experience, and he is going to be great for our students and overall campus,” said Principal Thad Miller.
Four new teachers join the Bobcats this school year. The elementary is in the third year of its Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) discipline system. Principal Janel Hildick said Arizona State University will train Butterfield staff how to implement calming corners, “which help students who may be suffering from anxiety or emotional stress.”
Designated as a “Leader in Me” Lighthouse school this spring, MES adds four new classrooms, which is expected to decrease class sizes. The majority of teaching staff returns, and its administrators are hoping veteran educators will help newer teachers implement the “7 habits of highly effective people” and Leader in Me program in each classroom.
Pima Butte Elementary
A number of teachers got a head start this summer training on the materials for the district’s new ELA curriculum, according to Principal Randy Lazar. The school adds a new second grade teacher, a Title 1 paraprofessional and an academic coach. Pima Butte will share Teacher on Special Assignment Elizabeth Allison with Santa Rosa Elementary.
Santa Rosa Elementary
The grade school follows Butterfield’s lead in implementing the PBIS discipline program. “The goal of PBIS implementation is explicitly teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them,” said Principal Eva Safranek.
Santa Rosa welcomes back the WATCH D.O.G.S. program for the second year. The Dads of Great Students initiative provides fathers opportunities to be involved in their children’s education.
NOTE: Ram Academy, Desert Wind Middle School, Saddleback Elementary and Santa Cruz Elementary did not submit school updates.
Leading Edge Academy
Expected to reach full capacity, LEA and its 815 students welcome a new music teacher from Maryland, a full-time math coach and a new special education teacher. The elementary adds additional recess time for students in kindergarten through fifth grade with a new shade overhang on the playground. A supplemental K-2 math program and an expanded technology program will also be implemented.
NOTE: Sequoia Pathway Academy, Legacy Traditional School, Camino Montessori and Holsteiner Agricultural School did not submit school updates.
This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.