Tag Archives: United States

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.


Friday FUN photos from school: A lesson in keeping promises

First the cute little baby pig...

Finley Farms Elementary Principal John Maas is a man of his word. He challenged his students to sell more than 650 Entertainment Books at $30 each during a recent fundraiser for the school’s parent-teacher organization (PTO). He promised that if they reached their goal, he would kiss a pig.

The students topped out at 730 coupon books, raising more than $10,000, which will be used for technology at the 950-student school.

Maas kissed two pigs at each of three assemblies, proving to his students that promises made, are promises kept.

Finley Farms, part of the Gilbert Public Schools district, is located at 375 S. Columbus Dr. in Gilbert.

...then the real porker!

From the looks on their faces, it seems the students may not have believed that Maas would actually do it. All photos courtesy of Gilbert Public Schools.

Want to see your school featured next Friday? Send your FUN photos to: editorial@raisingarizonakids.com.

Opening of The International Charter School of Arizona will wait a year

The International Charter School of Arizona will postpone its opening until August 2012 because of low enrollment numbers. The middle school is forming a launch team for the 2012 opening.

ICSA announced in January that it had received a charter from the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools to open an international foreign language-focused middle school beginning in August 2011. But school officials said the shortened enrollment period made it difficult to achieve the necessary student enrollment required to open that soon.

The launch team includes ICSA Board of Directors members, parents from sister school International School of Arizona and interested members of the community, who are critical to achieving necessary enrollment levels by informing others of the advantages of a tuition-free global-focused education.

Members will support the launch effort throughout the planning, enrollment and opening period. If you are interested in supporting this effort, attend the ICSA Launch Meeting scheduled at 6pm Wednesday, Aug. 24 at International School of Arizona, 9128 E. San Salvador Dr. in Scottsdale. If you are unable to attend the meeting but still want to get involved, email icsa@icsaz.org to learn more.

The International School of Arizona is a non-profit, independent private school that serves children from age 2 to fifth grade. The planned middle school will  offer challenging academic programs with French and Spanish tracks to fifth and sixth graders in the first year, expanding after opening to offer seventh through eighth grades and eventually ninth through 12th grades.

ICSA will follow the International Baccalaureate Program and pursue IB accreditation. Students attending ICSA will be prepared for college, achieve oral and written proficiency in three languages by the 12th grade, obtain a greater understanding and acceptance of other cultures, and be international-minded, critical thinkers. For more information, contact Tracy Kenner at 480-874-2326 or tkenner@isaz.org.

BASIS opens Chandler campus

BASIS Schools will celebrate the opening of a new campus in Chandler tomorrow with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at which Gov. Jan Brewer will speak.

The BASIS Chandler campus will offer a rigorous curriculum for fifth through 10th grade students this August, expanding to fifth through 12th grades by the fall of 2013.

BASIS has been operating charter schools in Arizona for a decade. The school’s first two campuses opened in Tucson and Scottsdale, and both have received top national rankings by such publications as Newsweek, BusinessWeek, US News and World Report, and the Washington Post. A third campus in Oro Valley opened last year.

The ceremony commences at 9 a.m., and will take place at the new campus, located at 1800 E. Chandler Boulevard.

Seating is limited, so RSVPs are required for the event. To reserve a seat, call 480-289-2088 or email arwynn.gilroy@basiseducation.net. — Sadie Smeck

PUHSD to consider “dating abuse” policy and instruction

The Phoenix Union High School District will hold a special meeting on dating abuse policy and instruction at 6pm tonight in the governing board room at the district office, 4502 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix.

A public hearing and a special meeting on the budget will follow.

Recent legislation (Senate Bill 1308) has resulted in a legislative mandate to have all school districts review the need for a dating abuse policy. The mandate requires that the governing board hold a public meeting on the possible adoption of a dating abuse policy and the possible addition of dating abuse instruction in the health curriculum for students grade nine through 12. The Phoenix Union High School District currently does not have a dating abuse policy.

Interested citizens are invited to attend the public hearing.

Awarding all-star educators

There is nothing more critical to a child’s education than passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic teachers and school staff. With this school year coming to a close, now is the time to nominate those staff members you and your child consider exceptional.

Excellence in Teaching

The Arizona Educational Foundation is seeking nominations for Teacher of the Year, to recognize public school educators from pre-K through grade 12 who stand out as leaders within their schools and the community at large. An extraordinary teacher should demonstrate strong commitment to helping students perform at their best, and unparalleled talent for engaging students that is recognized and admired by students, parents and colleagues alike.

The winning teacher, to be chosen in November, will receive much more than a plaque and a handshake. He or she will be awarded $20,000, a laptop computer and a full scholarship to earn a master’s or doctorate degree in education at Argosy University. Additionally, the winning teacher will have the opportunity to compete for the honor of National Teacher of the Year, and to meet President Barack Obama!

Anyone who knows a deserving candidate for Teacher of the Year is welcome to submit a nomination, and outstanding teachers are free to nominate themselves as well. Nomination forms are available online at AZEdFoundation.org, or by email at bobbie@azedfoundation.org, and will be accepted until August 5.

Excellence in Afterschool Programs

The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence is seeking nominations to recognize outstanding afterschool programs and staff across Arizona. The 2011 Afterschool Awards of Excellence include individual, program, and leadership categeories. On Nov. 9, a luncheon will be held to recognize those voted most exceptional in the state.

Nomination forms are available online at http://www.azafterschool.org/ through June 15.

If your child had a great year in school thanks to  a superstar teacher or awesome afterschool program, please take this chance to thank those who worked to make it possible all year long! — Sadie Smeck

Everyday heroes at Glendale Elementary School District

News from the Glendale Elementary School District:

Photo of Erik Parry and student courtesy of GESD.

Band teacher Erik Parry has a full schedule. Teaching classes at both Horizon and American schools is more than enough to keep him busy. But his passion for music lead him to offer free guitar lessons to fourth and fifth grade students at Horizon after school on Mondays.

“I figured I might get 20 kids to show up,” Parry said recently. “But they just kept coming, and coming, and coming.”

Parry never turned one student away.

It is because of this extraordinary effort that Parry — along with 49 other Glendale Elementary School District volunteers, parents and employees — will be honored at the inaugural GESD Everyday Heroes Award ceremony Wednesday, May 18.

Parry, who is in his first year with GESD, uses lessons and a book he developed to teach students how to play the guitar. By color coding the strings, his students begin to learn the fundamentals of guitar and music. The color codes are a set up that will allow students to play at higher level later on. They also lead to greater music knowledge. Color coded strings will give way to letter notes, and finally to sheets of music. Students play and solo throughout the class, and by the end of just two classes many of the students were able to play two or more songs.

“I just want them to be successful,” Parry says. “Success fixes everything. It keeps them playing and it keeps them coming.”

Others being recognized include:

Carlos Olivas, Jr., a seventh-grader from Don Mensendick school, who raised more than $2,000 at his school to benefit Francisco Felix, an Arizona resident in need of a liver transplant;

Virginia Ramos, an administrative secretary from Glenn F. Burton School whose efforts have increased parent participation at the school;

Connie Carpenter, a parent at Challenger school who serves on her school’s site council, and was instrumental in revitalizing her school’s parent group;

Cynthia and Mike Huerta, parents from Discovery Elementary School, who have volunteered innumerable hours as members of the school’s parent group;

Louise Jones, a 17-year volunteer at Sine and Coyote Ridge schools;

Tony Clemente, a prevention specialist from Desert Spirit whose intervention strategies have improved student behavior;

Sara Frentz, an art teacher at Isaac Imes, who not only works tirelessly in her classroom, but also has coached several Imes teams, and has organized her school’s annual Spring Fling arts celebration.