Tag Archives: education

Tech bus delivers training

Take a standard 40-foot, 84-passenger yellow school bus and make it into a rolling technology center.

Scottsdale Unified School District unveiled its eCoach yesterday at Mohave Middle School. They brought out the Saguaro High School Jazz Band, provided refreshments, put up a tent to shade attendees and conducted quick tours through the bus, which is equipped with a Smartboard, document camera, audio, Wi-Fi, extra air conditioners and enough room for 11 people and an instructor.

The eCoach was crowded with students, district staff and members of the media during yesterday's unveiling ceremony.

Tom Clark, the district’s chief technology officer, said it wasn’t too expensive to create because the district already had the bus, district employees made the furniture, partners donated various parts and services to make it a reality and they’ll have a district bus driver cruise around to where the teachers are. All in all, Clark said, it cost “a few thousand.”

The district also intends to use the bus for community outreach to teach parents about the technology their kids are using in school and to provide online access to kids who might not have a computer or an Internet connection at home.

The benefit for teachers is that they will be able to schedule the eCoach to come to their school when they need training rather than having to drive to another school or the district office.

One area of staff development Clark mentioned was the increasing use of iPads in the classroom and apps to enhance the teaching and learning process. The eCoach will make it easier for teachers to get up to speed on the newest apps.

Scan code on the side of the eCoach.

There are 31 schools in the Scottsdale district and about 1,700 teachers, so it looks like the eCoach driver will be on the road non-stop for much of the school year.

For more information, visit ecoach.susd.org.


School board training and advice

This photo is of a school board in 1918 in Washington, DC. Education has changed, as has fashion. Photo: Library of Congress

Arizona has 225 school districts. Heck, Maricopa county has 46 school boards by itself, so hundreds of school board seats will be up for election in November.

With the deadline a few months away the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) is offering webinars Monday, April 16 from 6:30-7:30pm and Wednesday, May 9, from 5:30-6:30pm, to help potential candidates understand what serving on a school board entails and what it takes to run for the position.

Topics in each webinar will cover
• Why Serve?
• Do You Have What It Takes?
• What School Board Members Do (and What They Don’t Do)
• Eligibility and the Basics of Running for Office
• Commonly Asked Questions about Board Service­
• Support Available to Board Members Once Elected

Participants can also ask questions which will be answered during the webinar.

Those interested in participating in the webinar can register by visiting the ASBA home page and clicking on the “Running for School Board” link in the What’s New section of the home page.

The mission of the Arizona School Board Association, according to the association website, is “Promoting community volunteer governance of public education and continuous improvement of student success by providing leadership and assistance to public school governing boards.” All the school boards around the state can get support and training from the association. The ASBA are members of the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

A presentation titled “So You Want to Be a School Board Member” is available on the AZSBA website along with other online training sessions.

Read Lynn Trimble’s story, Running for the school board

FUN photos from school: Centennial photos are still coming in!

Paradise Valley High School culinary arts teacher Patty Nadzieja and students (pictured here are Brad Reeder, Chelsea Bailey, Shayla Armstrong and Jessica Manning) celebrated Arizona’s Centennial by helping make 1,500 mini cupcakes to share with the school and staff. 

Making our state a better place in increments of 100 was the centennial assignment for students at Playa del Rey Elementary School. On Feb. 14, each grade level shared their efforts at a school-wide birthday party and assembly.

“It was amazing to see the school come together and get excited about making Arizona better,” said fourth-grade teacher Sarah Wamsley. “The energy and joy in the gym was electrifying. The 100-themed activities by grade level:

Kindergarten: learned 100 facts about Arizona
First grade: read 100 books from A to Z
Second grade: donated 100 bottles of water to a shelter
Third grade: provided 100 pairs of socks to those in need
Fourth grade: wrote 100 thank-you cards to firemen, policemen, and paramedics
Fifth grade: donated 100 books to a shelter
Sixth grade: performed 100 hours of community service

Photo courtesy of Gilbert Public Schools.

The Meridian Mustangs celebrated the Arizona Centennial with month-long activities and a “Cents-sational Centennial Celebration.” Each grade level constructed displays throughout the hallways, and an Arizona-themed best door decoration competition took place. Copper coins were placed in a giant jar and more than $500 was collected and donated to the school’s library for the purchase of new books.

On Feb. 9 parents and children gathered for the big celebration, including the Meridian choir led by Marshann Donahue and breakout sessions highlighting Arizona-themed math, reading, art and science activities. Wildman Phil of Desert Wildlife Presentations was on hand to share some native animals with the groups. In addition, nearly 300 students took the Lost Dutchman’s Physical Challenge, which meant performing actions in 10 different areas of Arizona, such as 10 ski jumps in Flagstaff, 10 steps across the London Bridge in Lake Havasu, or 10 steps across the White Mountains in Pinetop.

Meridian choir presentation. Photo courtesy of Gilbert Public Schools.

EAGLE Harmony focuses on performing arts

Photo courtesy of EAGLE Harmony.

EAGLE College Prep Harmony is expanding to offer third grade during the 2012-13 school year.

The sister school of EAGLE College Prep Elementary School, a charter school in the South Mountain area, EAGLE Harmony is currently a K-2 school. It will continue to add a grade each year until students reach the eighth grade.

EAGLE Harmony is a college preparatory school with an emphasis in performing arts. Students are exposed to college starting in kindergarten through field trips, guest speakers, presentations and lessons about college readiness, life on a university campus, information about scholarships, and much more.

All students receive two performing arts classes daily, including movement, choral and piano. In addition, the arts are embedded into the curriculum.

EAGLE Harmony currently is housed on EAGLE College Prep’s campus near 27th Avenue and Baseline. It will exist independently on a new site as it continues to grow.

For more information, visit eagleharmony.org. To schedule a tour, contact Principal Ariel Elgar at 602-885-7333 or ariel.elgar@eagleharmony.org.

PTA podcasts

The National PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is a child advocacy organization especially in the area of parent involvement in their child’s education. The organization offers a series of podcasts on its website addressing such issues as child safety, PTA fundraising, the drop-out problem, flu prevention and PTA advocacy strategies.

New podcasts are posted to the site every other Tuesday. Shows range in length from three to 10 minutes and include include interviews with national experts and parent leaders and success stories from across the country.

New Vistas World’s Fair event celebrates a diverse student population


Dressed in traditional costumes, Breanna Tang, Rachel Dai and Alisha Shirodkar look forward to representing their native China. Photo: New Vistas Center for Education.

New Vistas Center for Education presents a World’s Fair each year to highlight the geography, history, culture, traditions and interests of other countries, many of which are represented by its diverse student population.

The 30th annual World’s Fair celebration will be held from 6 to 7:30pm Thursday, Dec. 15, at the private school, located in Chandler. The event is open to the public.

Because Chandler’s high-tech industries attract professionals from around the world, 70 percent of New Vistas’ student population are from nations other than the United States. This year’s student body includes children from 20 countries and four continents. Some students speak several different languages.

“With such a mixture of cultures, our children receive an education that reaches far beyond traditional subject matter,” says Carol Elias, co-director of the school.

Each classroom incorporates the study of several countries throughout the year, culminating in the World’s Fair. During the event, children, their parents and extended families visit classrooms decorated to represent the countries studied. They are able to “travel” from the African continent to Asia, Europe and Central and South America, immersed in the music and traditions of each nation, especially those surrounding unique holiday celebrations.

The United States also takes a prominent position as a nation made up of immigrants from around the globe.

To cap off the evening, students and families visit a map room and note their home countries with pins bearing flags. The interactive, wall-to-wall map is a permanent and ongoing tribute to the school’s growing student population.

Founded in 1979, New Vistas operates as a private preschool through sixth grade from August through May and a private preschool through high school from June to August. It is located at 670 N. Arizona Ave. #35i in Chandler. 480-963-2313 or newvistasaz.com.

Another fun factchecking find

A cute video we found as we pushed to factcheck and finish the 2012 Schools, etc. education guide, which is due to the printer on Friday. It was on the home page for Tempe Christian Preschool: