Spring/Summer 2017


What an amazing year we've had in Tempe Elementary School District! Against all odds and because of your tireless work, care, and commitment to our students, we have exceeded our student growth expectations in many of our schools. Fuller Elementary received a National Blue Ribbon Award and Connolly Middle School has been designated an A+ school by the Arizona Educational Foundation. This year in Tempe Elementary, we raised teacher base salaries to $39,000, passed a $165 million bond election so that we could continue rebuilding our oldest schools, and were awarded $841,000 by the School Facilities Board for building renewal.

Tempe Elementary Finance staff received the GFOA and AASBO Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for the 30th year in a row, and through the endless work of SPICAM, the TIE Foundation raised $83,000 at the TIE Foundation Spracale Awards dinner, tripling the amount of money raised in previous years. This year we were Spelling and Geography Bee winners, Tempe Bike Hero Award winners, Childsplay and ASU MLK Day writing winners, TD3 and Diablos' Excellence in Education Award winners, TIE Foundation and Rotary Award winners, NFL Playmaker winners, Cox CONNECT2STEM, and Channel 3 Silver Apple Award winners.

We expanded our Contractor in the Classroom program at Arredondo and Gililland, implemented Parent Coffee Club Math classes, and designed Native American student programs in 10 schools. We created a District-wide fifth-grade intramural soccer program, reimagined Escalante park fields, and our music programs continue to be award winning. We created pathways to our neighborhood parks, rebuilt Arredondo School, hired architects and contractors to rebuild Frank and Nevitt Schools, and successfully navigated a national, state, and Governing Board election.

Opening Meyer Montessori in August of 2017 will put the finishing touches on reopening and repurposing our schools that were closed in 2011. Our award-winning partnership with Desert Choice Schools at Evans, combined with IEEE's Arizona Science Lab, Autism Spectrum Therapies, and Next Horizons Preschool complete Evans campus, making it the most unique and successful multi-partner partnership in the state. Beginning Fall 2017, Carminati and Arredondo Schools will begin offering World Languages to students and staff through Rosetta Stone. TD3 will have completely transformed to a Google District and expanded our technology by 3,000 additional devices.

Once again, the City of Tempe is leading the way for our state by investing $3 million to add additional preschools in our schools for our poorest children. Our collective goal is to eventually offer free preschool for ALL three- and four-year-olds residing in Tempe. In collaboration with Tempe Police Department and Tempe Fire, Medical, and Rescue, Gililland Middle School designed a highly successful elective class teaching students about sustainability, bicycle repair, and recycling. Through the support of ASU, the City of Tempe, and Circle Blue, TAIS and Laird students and staff have worked around the clock to become zero waste campuses. Laird School has been named the first zero waste school in the State of Arizona. Our relationship with the City of Tempe's AARP Experience Corps, which pairs retired professionals with our first through third-grade students in a one-to-one reading/tutoring relationship, also serves as a role model for communities around the country. In addition, we continue our outstanding relationship with Tempe Union High School District to provide a seamless transition from middle school to high school for our students.

As we have closed out the 2016-2017 school year with great pride in our accomplishments, I want to thank each and every one of you for your dedication, perseverance, care, and commitment to our children. We are transforming classrooms, reimagining the art and science of teaching, and with the unwavering support from our community, we are changing the world for our children.

I look forward with great excitement to the endless possibilities for the 2017-2018 school year, and wish you all a safe and relaxing summer break with your family and friends.

With deep gratitude,

Christine Busch


The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) has announced the names of 39 Arizona public schools receiving the coveted A+ School of Excellence™ award for the 2016-2017 academic year. Connolly Middle School, within the Tempe Elementary School District, was among the list of the 2017 A+ School of Excellence winning schools.

The A+ School of Excellence Program is a comprehensive school assessment program that celebrates outstanding schools and brings to light the positive stories and successes taking place in public schools every day. AEF has identified and honored exemplary pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools in Arizona since 1983.

Connolly Middle School became eligible for the A+ School of Excellence award by submitting an application that provides demographic information, a description of current programs and practices, documentation of parent and community involvement, a profile of the school's leadership and commitment to excellence, equity, and service. Connolly earned this award for their superior ability to identify and meet the academic and non-academic needs of their student population.

The staff of Connolly Middle School continually collaborates to create an environment where a shared commitment to learning, critical thinking, cooperation, tolerance, and self-discipline will enable students to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens. Connolly Middle School offers a unique educational experience because of the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program as well as being home to ASPIRE Academy, which is designed for the most academically gifted middle school students. "Connolly Middle School is highly worthy of this distinction," said Christine Busch, Tempe Elementary School District superintendent. "Our Connolly students, staff, and parents demonstrate all that is exemplary and noble about public education."

About Connolly Middle School

Connolly Middle School is a school for grades six- through eight in Tempe, Arizona, and is part of the Tempe Elementary School District. It is a Title I school, and serves more than 1,000 students. Since opening its doors in 1972, the Connolly community has developed their current motto of "Whatever it takes, we are college bound!" The mission of Connolly Middle School is to prepare students for college readiness and success in a global society through rigorous coursework and critical thinking. Connolly Middle School is committed to the success of all students, creating a learning environment that emphasizes academic integrity and fosters emotional connections. For more information about Connolly Middle School, visit www.tempeschools.org/connolly.

About the A+ School of Excellence™ Award

Since its inception in 1983, the A+ School of Excellence Award from the Arizona Educational Foundation identified and honored exemplary pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade public schools in Arizona. This prestigious award helps to create greater parent and community involvement and confidence in schools that win the award. Schools that earn the A+ School of Excellence designation retain their status for a three-year period after which time they must reapply for the award. For more information, visit www.azfoundation.org.




Tempe Schools Receive 2,100 Books from Valley Metro Book Drive

Tempe Elementary to Offer English Language Development New Teacher Summer Training

Tempe Elementary Teachers Visit Ron Clark Academy Thanks to Donorschoose.org

New Arredondo School Sneak Peek

Elizabeth Ludwig Memorial Supports Tempe Union Graduates' Dreams

Congratulations to ASPIRE teacher Ariel Roller, Winner of CONNECT2STEM Teacher to Techie Award!

Eleven-Year-Old Published Author Shares Experience at Tempe Elementary Schools

View District and School Calendars for Upcoming Events



Watch some highlights of our school year here in our Tempe Elementary 2017 Yearbook Video!


With more than 100 years of success in diverse cultures around the world, the Montessori Method of education will continue its legacy within the Tempe Elementary School District through the newly added Meyer Montessori, opening for the 2017-2018 school year to children ages three to five. The District plans to expand by adding a level each year, up to grade six.

Developed in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, Italian physician, educator, and innovator, the Montessori Method is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.

The American Montessori Society notes that the method promotes a view that children are naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment. It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively.

The Montessori system has been successful with children from all socioeconomic levels, representing those in regular classes as well as the gifted, children with developmental delays, and children with emotional and physical disabilities.

Another advantage of the Montessori approach is that it includes multi-age classrooms with students of varying abilities and interests, and allows each child to work at his/her own pace. Tempe Elementary's Instructional Excellence Executive Director Bernadette Kadel has been integral in helping the District launch Meyer Montessori with this approach in mind.

"Meyer Montessori, as a public school of choice, will provide a true Montessori experience that often challenges public schools," said Kadel. "The multi-age classrooms beginning in the primary years classroom with three- through five-year-old students, is rare in the public school setting."

Read More


On April 28, 2017, Tempe community members along with Tempe Elementary School District staff, teachers, and families attended the 26th annual Tempe Impacts Education (TIE) Foundation's Spracale Education Awards Dinner. The night was a huge success with TIE raising $83,000 to go directly back to Tempe kids. Congratulations to Tempe Elementary employee Jeff Homstad who received the Joseph P. Spracale Commitment to Education Award and AARP Experience Corps of Tempe for receiving the Ralph and Carla Lingerfelt Commitment to the Community Award.

Visit http://www.tempeschools.org/tie to see videos of the winners. Thank you everyone who made the TIE Dinner 2017 a success, including our sponsors:








Laird School is the first zero waste school in the state of Arizona, with a 94 percent waste diversion! Nearly 220 Metric Tons of CO2e per year are diverted compared to if all resources were landfilled. That is equivalent to 235,000 pounds of coal not being burned a year! Congratulations! This is a tremendous achievement and could have not been possible without you!



Tempe Academy of International Studies has been involved with the concept of zero waste since the fall of 2015. They have been working closely with Circle Blue, a start-up company that has interests in zero waste in a large scale capacity, the City of Tempe Solid Waste and Recycling Services Section, Recycled City (composting), Waste Not and Tempe Community Action Agency (food rescue). This is the equivalent of not burning 75,000 pounds of coal a year. In numbers that is:
- Compost per year: 23,400 pounds
- Waste per year: 11,095 pounds
- Recycle per year: 11,572 pounds
- Food Donation per year: 13,000 pounds
Because of these efforts, we continue to request that all activities that take place on our campus are zero waste.


Congratulations to Tempe Elementary School District finalists, winners, and those who were nominated for the Tempe Diablos Charities 2017 Excellence in Education Awards! It was fantastic to celebrate your dedication to making a difference in the lives of our children each and every day.

A special congratulations to our winners!

Class Act - Charles Thompson, Curry Elementary

Inspiration - Mark Atwood, Ward Traditional Academy

High Impact - Stephanie DiPiazza, Hudson Elementary

Leadership - Deanna Krajenke, Scales Technology Academy

Lifetime Achievement - Amanda Beakley, Ward Traditional Academy

Rising Star - Karen Saettele, Scales Technology Academy

Teacher of the Year - Julie Wilson, Getz School

Watch the whole event online!



Tempe Elementary School District is recruiting ADE certified Early Childhood teachers for the new and innovative pilot preschool program sponsored by the City of Tempe in collaboration with Tempe Elementary School District, Kyrene School District, and Tempe Union High School District. The pilot program, known as Tempe PRE (Preschool Resource Expansion), will begin this August and will accept income eligible children ages three and four.

The program will launch with up to 20 classrooms housed throughout Tempe in existing schools, for a total capacity of 360 students. While the initial pilot program will begin with Tempe's poorest, most vulnerable students, the ultimate goal of Tempe PRE will be to offer free preschool for ALL three and four-year-olds in Tempe.

Qualified candidates interested in applying for an open position should visit both websites. Each school district is conducting its own job recruitment process:

Tempe Elementary School District #3

The City of Tempe is leading the way for cities in Arizona and across the Nation, by partnering with local school districts to improve kindergarten readiness and long-term school success for Tempe children while also helping to provide support to working families in becoming more economically independent.

The five goals in Tempe's education plan are that all children: 1) live in stable and nurturing families; 2) are mentally and physically healthy; 3) are ready to succeed in school; 4) live in safe and supportive neighborhoods; and 5) make successful transitions to adulthood. Tempe's PRE program is critical to the long-term success of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens and ultimately to our entire community. The Roadmap for Education plan can be found at www.tempe.gov/education. Updates about Tempe PRE will be posted to www.tempe.gov/TempePRE. Sign up to get updates via email by visiting www.tempe.gov/TempePreNews.

A recorded message phone line has been set up to provide updates as they are available, Call (480)-858-PreK (7735).


Research shows that children who don't read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress, and that loss has a cumulative, long-term effect.

Students read more when they can choose materials based on their own interests. Self-selection, access to books, and sharing books are essential factors in reading motivation. Free, voluntary reading is essential to helping students become better readers, writers, and spellers. It also empowers critical thinking skills. Reading can enhance empathy and lead to greater understanding of people who are different from ourselves, and it can help us appreciate other points of view.

Reading aloud to children at an early age is the most effective way to help them learn language and to communicate with the written word.

Reading for pleasure is one of the building blocks needed for young people to grow into healthy, productive adults.

Our public library systems help to keep your child engaged in learning in the summer months. See the image above to learn more about Building Better Readers Together initiative between Tempe Public Libraries and Tempe Elementary School District.




Congratulations to the 2017 Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports of Arizona (PBISaz) Achievement Award recipients! On May 5, PBISaz recognized the successes of schools throughout Arizona that have demonstrated both high fidelity of implementation and measurable results at their Achievement Awards Luncheon.

Fourteen schools within the Tempe Elementary School District were honored at this event. Not only did all of our schools who applied for PBIS recognition receive an award, but Tempe Elementary also had the highest number of schools receiving Achievement Awards out of all school districts at this event. Tempe Elementary PBIS Coordinator Mindy Udall was thrilled when her email inbox began pinging in April with messages from Tempe Elementary school sites letting her know they had received their PBIS award.

"I am constantly amazed at the hard work, creativity, perseverance and initiative of the staff at each school," said Udall. "I enjoy my role as the PBIS coordinator because it allows me to be at all schools and see all the wonderful ideas they have put into action."

The purpose of the PBISaz Achievement Award is to identify and recognize schools for successful implementation of schoolwide systems of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Criteria are based on effective implementation of the essential PBIS components outlined by the National Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.

For the past four years, PBIS practices have been a District-wide initiative. Administration, support staff, teachers, counselors, and psychologists are all on board to help integrate these positive behavioral practices at our schools. Most importantly, Tempe Elementary students fulfill this expectation by directly benefitting from PBIS practices each and every day.

This is the second year that Tempe Elementary schools have been honored at the PBISaz Achievement Awards Luncheon. Aguilar Elementary and Rover Elementary both achieved Merit awards for the 2015-2016 school year. With 14 schools being honored this school year, Tempe Elementary has more than surpassed their record.

"The greatest impact of PBIS that I have seen is positive and happy students who are reinforced for making good choices both academically and behaviorally," said Udall. "Also, there is visible impact from our staff who use research and best practices in providing those interventions for each student." Psychologist Nakita Westrich has been instrumental in helping Aguilar and Rover Elementary achieve PBISaz Achievement Awards both this year and last year. As the PBIS lead at her schools, she convenes with administration, staff, and teachers to help provide tools and resources to help them implement sound PBIS methods.

"PBIS benefits all students through a culture of positivity, consistent practices, and ongoing data analysis," said Westrich. "We pursued PBISaz recognition in order to demonstrate to our parents and community that we implement and value the power of positivity." The PBISaz Luncheon was a great opportunity for Tempe Elementary schools to feel a sense of accomplishment for all of the work they have done to make their schools a more positive and productive place for their students.

"I am so proud of all the work that our school teams are doing to provide the best positive environments for our students and staff," said Westrich. "The way our school teams have supported one another, the way that our school administrators have supported PBIS, and the way that Mindy Udall has led our schools have all been impressive components of this endeavor. I am excited to see how we will continue to grow in PBIS implementation in the future!"

Congratulations to our amazing administrators, psychologists, teachers, support staff, counselors, and students who made the PBISaz Achievement Awards possible! Please see winning schools below:

Silver PBISaz Designation
Arredondo Elementary School

Bronze PBISaz Designation
Aguilar Elementary School
Broadmor Elementary School
Rover Elementary School
Thew Elementary School


Merit PBISaz Designation
Carminati Elementary School
Frank Elementary School
Gililland Middle School
Holdeman Elementary School
Hudson Elementary School
Laird School
Nevitt Elementary School
Scales Technology Academy
Wood Elementary School

To read each school's success stories and see student achievement data, please visit www.pbisaz.org/awards.



By Cynthia Ewer, Author of Cut the Clutter: A Simple Organization Plan for a Clean and Tidy Home

Move over, summer—a new school year is coming!

With the start of school, families face new organization challenges. School bells ring—and so do early-morning alarm clocks. Paper piles swell as hand-outs and homework stream into the house. Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Can the holidays be far behind? Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead.

Ease the family into a school year schedule.

The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually. During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they'll need to rise when school begins. Don't neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks to accustom little ones to rituals of the school day before the school year begins.  

Create Calendar Central 

Each school year floats on a sea of schedules. School functions. Lunch menus. Scout meetings and music lessons. What do you do when you're drowning in paper?

Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You'll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.

Paper planner fans dedicate a planner section to serve as Calendar Central, while tech-savvy parents store the info in a smartphone or tablet and sync with multiple computers. Choose a calendar format that works for your family.

Post the family event calendar in a public place in your house. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board.

Add other calendars to Calendar Central: school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules. When your child's school calls for field trip volunteers, you'll know at a glance whether you're free to join the group on the bus that day.

Plan Before You Shop

August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Back-to-school clothing sales begin as early as July! Are you prepared to run the school clothes gauntlet? An informed shopper is a savvy shopper, so prepare before you shop. Take an afternoon and assess each child's clothing needs. Visit www.tempeschools.org to find your school and their dress code policies. The District policy can be found here.

Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either store or donate the discards. Working with your child, clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added--and cut down on school morning calls of "Mom! I don't have any clean . . . . " Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you'll avoid in-the-store tantrums. Do shop early! With back-to-school sales beginning in mid-July, tardy shoppers have a tough time locating needed supplies among September's Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations.

Gather Your Papers

School entry may require documentation from immunization records to report cards from the previous school year. Athletes need proof of medical examination. A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches for a birth certificate or registration confirmation. Call your child's school or check http://www.tempeschools.org/our-schools/enrollment-registration beforehand to find out what paperwork will be required—then find it! You won't be sorry come registration day.

Take Aim on Morning Madness

How are school mornings in your home? Crazed and chaotic, or calm and cheerful? Plan ahead to send your schoolchildren—and yourself!--out the door in a happy frame of mind.

Each evening, think ahead to the following morning; where can you lighten the load? Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes, and make sure breakfast foods are easy to reach. Lay out children's clothing the night before. Scan backpacks or launch pad spaces for missing homework, projects, or library books. Make sure musical instruments or sports bags are packed and ready to go. Do "bathroom wars" break out daily among the small fry? Multi-child households may need a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror. What do you do about books and papers, lunch money, and permission slips? Practice the Launch Pad concept! By creating a dedicated space for every family member, a Launch Pad gets the family out the door in record time—and organized.

Make a Practice Run

How will children get to school? The first day of school is no time to find out it takes 10 minutes—not five—to walk to the nearest bus stop! Before school begins, make a practice run to get children to the school on time. If they'll walk, help them learn the route they'll take and note the needed time. Car-pooling? Make sure the dry run accounts for early-morning traffic! Bus riders will need to be familiar with the location of the bus stop; print and post the bus schedule to prevent a missed bus.

Spiff up Household Systems

A new school year quickens the tempo of family life. Sports activities, music lessons, church programs, and volunteer commitments tap parental time and put new mileage on the mini-van. Get organized! Spiff up your household systems to meet autumn's faster pace:
Clean house ... fast! Take a stab at speed cleaning and whip through household chores in record time.
Cut time in the kitchen: create a menu plan and never again wonder "What's for dinner?"
Streamline dinner preparations. Try a session of freezer cooking to stock the freezer with prepared entrees for stress-free dinner on sports night.
Conquer the paper pile-up. Set up a basic home filing system to track school paperwork, volunteer activities and household planning.

Happy New School Year! Time to swing into a new school year—from an organized home.




- Meet the Teacher - Thursday, August 3, 2017
- Arredondo Elementary School Ribbon Cutting - August 3, 2017
First Day of School - Monday, August 7, 2017

For more information, visit www.tempeschools.org.


Tempe's AARP Experience Corps is an early literacy skills tutoring program designed to provide support to struggling Experience Corps students in kindergarten through third-grade by placing trained volunteer tutors in high need schools in the Tempe Elementary District. Experience Corps specifically engages adults 50+ in the community to help children become proficient readers by the time they finish third-grade. Through this generational exchange, children succeed, 50+ adults thrive and communities are made stronger.

Students recommended for the Experience Corps program are considered to be at-risk and have tested below benchmark standards in reading for their grade level. In addition to strengthening academic skills, the tutors work on motivating and encouraging students through the positive relationship they build together. Teachers report that, in addition to the obvious benefit of boosting students' reading skills through the program, students also show increased self-confidence. The effectiveness of the program is measured by student reading scores, surveys of teachers, principals, and volunteers. Experience Corps currently operates in 10 Tempe Elementary District schools.

At the Experience Corps information sessions, they will talk about their program, what they do, what is required of volunteers, the time commitment, etc. and show examples of their work. They provide applications and schedule time for interviews if people decide at that time that they want to go forward in the process.

Information sessions for potential volunteers will take place on:
Wednesday, June 7 and Monday, June 19 (only need to attend one)
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Tempe Public Library
3500 S. Rural Rd. Lower Level Meeting Room B

For more information, visit http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/human-services/older-adults/aarp-experience-corps


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