Fall 2016


Fall is a perfect time to thank you for the many ways you support education in our Tempe Elementary community. As our country approaches the uncertainties of the November presidential election with feelings of anxiety and divisiveness, it is a perfect time for our TD3 community to reflect on our blessings. Because of your support, we are learning, growing, building, and expanding school choice, educational pathways and learning opportunities for students. You know no limits in providing resources for our students. Your generosity has been limitless and because of you, we are stronger than ever.

Through the generosity of our taxpayers, nonprofit, business, and community partners, we are able to provide our students with safe, innovative, engaging 21st century learning environments, distinguished teachers and leaders, psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses, and other outstanding support personnel. Through the support of our community, our students are able to participate in additional learning opportunities and activities in STEM and fine arts, such as Geeks' Night Out, Childsplay, Healing Fields, Tempe Tardeada, and Sister Cities Oktoberfest, as well as receive additional resources to meet their basic needs when their families are unable to provide enough for them. We are blessed to have a village to help us raise our children, to have community members who fight for all children and families, and to have a circle of care all around us to help us meet the vast needs of our students.

During this time of division and anxiety, you should feel extremely proud and secure in knowing that because of you, our Tempe Elementary community is stronger and more united than ever in building our future together.

With deep gratitude,

Christine Busch


On Tuesday, November 8, the District is asking the voters of Tempe Elementary to approve a $165,000,000 bond. Our schools were built in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Since November 2005, the District has been systematically renovating school sites to become more operationally efficient to meet students’ educational needs in the 21st century.

How will the funds be spent?
$151,000,000 will be used for major school renovations and critical maintenance projects
- $10,000,000 will be used to replace school buses
- $4,000,000 will be used for critical maintenance projects for District support facilities

For more information, visit our website.


Tempe Elementary employees returned to work for the 2016-2017 school year excited, re-energized, and feeling more appreciated than ever!

Thanks to the passage of Proposition 123, Tempe Elementary School District (TD3) was able to provide $4.6 million in additional employee compensation. With input from all employees, Tempe Elementary District staff and Tempe Elementary Education Association (TEEA) worked to provide a compensation package that honors and retains current employees and is helping to attract highly qualified employees. The Human Resources Department shared a market study with the TD3 Interest Based Negotiations (IBN) team, comparing salaries with East Valley districts. Based on the study, the team made a decision to increase starting salaries for certified employees in order to remain competitive, to help retain current employees, and to attract new employees. A market study of classified positions was conducted and implemented earlier in the year, aligning classified employees’ salaries with the market.

Teachers’ starting salaries increased from $34,743 to $38,000. All returning teachers received an additional $3,257 plus a one-percent raise, which averaged a six- to 10-percent raise for every returning teacher.

“The benefits of Prop 123 allow us to continue to teach in a competitive paying district, using innovative techniques in an inviting and safe learning environment,” said Carrie Viers, seventh-grade English language arts teacher at Tempe Academy of International Studies.

Additional increases include:

- The Counselor salary schedule increased by $650. All returning counselors received $650 plus a one-percent raise.
- The Psychologist salary schedule base increased by $914. All returning Psychologists received $914 plus a one-percent raise.
- The Social Services salary schedule base increased by $3,036. All returning staff paid on this salary schedule received $3,036 plus a one-percent raise.
- The Health Services salary schedule base increased by $4,422.50. All returning Health Services staff received $4,422.50 plus a one- percent raise.
- Administrators, Classified Staff, and Specialists received a two-percent raise.

“By increasing nurses’ pay, it has allowed our District to be competitive in attracting and retaining nurses,” said Pat Thornton, school nurse at Laird School.

All returning employees, who have worked for the District for at least one year, also received a two percent stipend using the one-time Prop 123 carryover money from fiscal year 15-16. In addition to the $4.6 million, a one-time amount of $900,000 was allocated to capital funds for critical maintenance projects.

Tempe Elementary District has used this collaborative process for many years. Combining this highly effective process with the infusion of Prop 123 funds, many dreams are now becoming a reality for teachers and employees. The agreement was voted on by all Tempe Elementary District staff and was approved by the TD3 Governing Board.

“As an educator, I feel valued by our community. We are excited to see the positive results of our joint work,” said Liz Leivas, co-president of TEEA and educational technology coach for the District.





Fuller Elementary School Receives National Blue Ribbon Award

TD3's First Annual Tech Showcase a Huge Success

TD3 Has Top Safety Record For Its School Buses

New Bicycle Repair Class at Gililland Middle School Takes Off

Curry Elementary Celebrates Tempe Police Officers and Public Responders

Connolly Middle School Kickstarts Students' Dreams with College Exploration Trip to Seattle

Tempe Celebrates Grand Opening of Escalante Football Field

View District and School Calendars for Upcoming Events


Tempe Elementary strives to provide students the very best in academic, social, physical, and emotional development. This can only occur through the efforts and dedication of our excellent staff. We are currently looking for custodians, painters, crossing guards, bus drivers, nutrition services workers, instructional assistants, and substitutes. Spread the word and visit www.tempeschools.org/jobs to apply today!


Parents and Guardians: You can now take advantage of our text messaging service in one simple step! Opt in from your mobile phone NOW - just text “Y” or “Yes” to the number 67587. For now, we will use it for District communication, such as crisis communications, (lockdowns, etc.), events, special programs, transportation/bus/schedule changes, etc.

You can also opt out of these messages at any time by simply replying to one of our text messages with “Stop.” This service is provided by SchoolMessenger, which is compliant with the Student Privacy Pledge, so you can rest assured that your information is safe and will never be given or sold to anyone. Thank you to the 5,000 parents who have already opted in!


This year, the District Writing Assessment (DWA) for kindergarten through eighth-grades began on Monday, October 17, 2016.

Students in kindergarten through second-grade, as well as eighth-grade students at Connolly, Fees College Prep and Gililland, began testing as usual with paper forms. However, for most students in third-grade to eighth-grade, there has been a giant shift from paper forms to a computer-based platform. This is good news because there will be a paper reduction of approximately 12,000 two-page forms, making next year's reporting times much quicker!

During this transition, there was time to practice. The Research, Evaluation and Assessment Department briefed DWA test coordinators. Shortly thereafter, a practice test was available for keyboard navigation. Later in the month, teacher directions were loaded into the proctor site for additional practice. Teachers had access to assessment reference videos on the testing site to facilitate a smooth transition.


ParentVUE is a great resource for parents to view their child’s attendance, school schedule, grades (third- through eighth-grade only), and health/immunization information. We now have several videos that show you how to download the ParentVUE app onto your mobile phone and how to use the app to get the information you need. Videos can be viewed at www.tempeschools.org/parentvue.



Tempe Elementary now uses an electronic flyer communication tool called “Peachjar.” To view school-approved eflyers, simply click the orange Peachjar button on any of our school websites, at www.tempeschools.org/schoolname.

This sustainable initiative has already saved 837,413 pieces of paper, which is equivalent to 100 trees, and reduced costs by thousands of dollars. On top of that, posting school flyers in this electronic backpack removes significant administrative burden from teachers, office staff, and volunteers. We currently reach more than 7,000 parents through Peachjar.

No action is required on your part. Parents and guardians received a welcome email from our service provider (Peachjar) that included a username and password. This is provided to give you the opportunity to easily view your school's flyers, manage your account, and adjust your flyer delivery preferences. You do not need to login to receive or view school eflyers. You may view school eflyers at any time by visiting your school's website. If you have questions, please visit the Parent FAQ on www.peachjar.com.

To ensure smooth delivery of this communication, we suggest you add “tempeschools@peachjar.com” to your email contacts. When you receive your first eflyer, be sure to click “always display images.”

This system is used exclusively for distribution of school-approved flyers. Your email address will not be shared or used for any other purpose. Thank you for supporting our efforts to ensure parents are well informed about school programs, activities, and events.


Laird School Celebrates Grand Opening with Ribbon Cutting

“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave and feels even better to come home.” - Wendy Wunder

The Laird Leopards “came home” on Thursday, July 28 after being housed off-site at the Meyer School campus for the previous school year. Students, families, community members, staff, and administrators came together to celebrate the grand opening of the new Laird School, which has been rebuilt into a state-of-the-art facility.

Laird School Principal Dr. Nancy Uxa beamed with pride at the grand opening ceremony and expressed excitement about the impact the new school will have on current and future students.
“The new Laird School will better meet the needs of our students as well as our community,” said Principal Uxa.
The new building consists of 28 classrooms and two project-based-learning labs for art and science. In addition, the campus also includes “flex” areas for collaborative learning, high and low windows for natural light, a community garden, and a “One-Button Studio” green room for school announcements and student video projects. The rebuild of Laird School was funded through voter-approved bond money from 2009. Read more



Arredondo STEM Students Help Rebuild Their School

Fresh off the success of the Laird School rebuild, Tempe Elementary School District, in conjunction with McCarthy Building Companies and DLR Group, have already set in motion the next District project, the renovation of Arredondo Elementary.

Like Laird, Arredondo plans to keep their students involved in the process and kicked things off with a design charrette led by David Schmidt, an architect with DLR Group. In small groups, the Arredondo fifth-graders were given an aerial photo of the site and pieces of paper labeled with everything the school needed, like classrooms, a cafeteria, and a playground. With these tools in hand, the students set off to create their own campus layout and tested the efficiencies of it by tracing their daily school routines to see what worked and what didn't.

With the refurbishment still in its early stages, Arredondo looks to keep the students active with the growth of the project both on and off site. While the fifth-graders will be the most involved, as the lessons taught by McCarthy Building and DLR Group coincide with their math and science curriculum, there are specific lessons set aside for certain grades to correlate with what is being taught in their respective grade levels.

Click here for more information regarding the project including development updates.

We look forward to seeing the progress as the new Arredondo campus comes into fruition and the contributions the students themselves make as well as the lessons they learn!


What does it mean to be ready for college or a career? Based on their research, leaders at the Buck Institute for Education advocate that critical thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving, self-management, persistence, and being able to transfer learning to new and different situations lead to college and career success. Due to technological and economic changes, students graduating high school or college face a very different job market and life than previous graduates. As best-selling author of The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner explains, “I have yet to talk to a recent graduate, college teacher, community leader, or business leader who said that not knowing enough academic content was a problem. In my interviews, everyone stressed the importance of critical thinking, communication skills, and collaboration.”  These identified skills are exactly what the Gold Standard for Project Based Learning (PBL) targets, in addition to the academic content of a project.

This past May and August, 175 teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches from Tempe Elementary received three days of intensive professional development from the Buck Institute, learning how to implement PBL. Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. PBL leads students to master core academic content while inspiring them to think differently about themselves as learners, collaborators, and leaders. Read more


Thanks to all of our community partners who have generously donated items worth more than $30,000 to Tempe Elementary Schools!

- LifeLock - backpacks for all Curry students, money for shoes
- Cenlar - 170 backpacks/school supplies to Laird
- Culvers of Tempe - 1,500 coupons for free custard cones for bus drivers to give to students
- State Farm Credit Union - school supplies to Thew
- Aerotek - school supplies to Carminati
- NCAA Read on Community - 385 backpacks and school supplies
- Telegu Association of North America (TANU) - 175 backpacks to Scales Technology Academy
- Office Depot - backpacks to Arredondo
- Angels on Patrol- backpacks to Connecting with Kids
- Landings Credit Union - 150 uniform items for TD3 students
- Kids Need to Read - new books to all students at Nevitt and Thew


Come out and support Tempe Elementary by visiting Barnes and Noble at Tempe Marketplace between October 31 and December 4, and donate a book while you do some holiday shopping! Choose books for children ages five to 14 and support student literacy. All donated books will be utilized by our students in libraries across the District. Help us reach our goal of 3,500 books!



Do you want to:

- Chaperone a field trip with your child?
- Help out on a field day or at your child's school?

If so, become a volunteer in the Tempe Elementary School District! We welcome our parents and community members.

Steps to become a new volunteer:
- Complete a volunteer application. They are available at your child's school or online at www.tempeschools.org/volunteers
- Call the District office at 480-730-7132 to set up an appointment to get fingerprinted. (This fingerprint report is valid for three years.)
- Or go to the Department of Public Safety to get a fingerprint card. (These fingerprint cards are valid for six years.)

Make sure you allow adequate time for application processing. Fingerprint processing takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

Steps for a returning volunteer:
- Complete a volunteer application. You must complete a new application, at the beginning of every school year.
- Return the application to the office manager at your school, or drop it off at the District office.



Thrive to Five Resource Centers throughout Tempe provide FREE classes and services to families with children zero to five-years-old. The mission of Thrive to Five is to help families prepare children for success in school. Thrive to Five parent liaisons at each Family Resource Center work with families to connect them to the community resources they need.

This year there are five Thrive to Five Resource Centers. They are located at Getz, Wood, Curry, Kyrene Family Resource Center, and the newest center, Laird.

On Tuesday, August 16, Laird held the grand opening of its Family Resource Center during Curriculum Night. Edna Morales, Thrive to Five parent liaison at Laird, distributed nearly 100 free children's books to families along with information on upcoming Thrive to Five classes such as Kinder Prep, Phoenix Zoo, Ready to Read, and Little Teeth Time.

Visit ThrivetoFive.org for more information on classes. You can easily find and register for any upcoming class through the website. Thrive to Five is a First Things First funded program.

Tempe Elementary School District
3205 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, AZ 85282