SUSD Update:

Hohokam Elementary School
  • At its April 16 meeting, the SUSD Governing Board voted to make Hohokam Elementary School, 8451 E. Oak St., Scottsdale, the next school to either be rebuilt or renovated.  While the project is underway, Hohokam students, teachers and staff will temporarily be housed at Yavapai Elementary School, 701 N. Miller Rd., beginning with the new school year in August.  The project could take up to two years to complete.
  • At the Governing Board's May 14 meeting, SPS+ Architects of Scottsdale was selected to provide architectural services for the Hohokam modernization project.  Hohokam was initially built as a K-8 school and first opened its doors to students in the fall of 1960.  Its last renovation took place in 2002.

Cherokee Elementary School

  • The SUSD Governing Board voted on April 16 to rebuild Cherokee Elementary School, located at 8801 N. 56th St., Paradise Valley.  The design development team of Orcutt Winslow architects and CORE Construction will continue to work with Cherokee's Visioning Committee on plans for the new school.  Cherokee opened in 1974 and received its last major renovation in 2001.
  • On May 14, the Governing Board approved a Construction Manager @ Risk (CMAR) form of contract for Cherokee's construction if it approves a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the work that CORE will submit in the future.


Congratulations, Class of 2019!

Proudly wearing blue, maroon, red and black caps and gowns, the Scottsdale Unified School District's Class of 2019 moved more than 1,900 tassles from right to left in commencement exercises in three Valley cities last Thursday night.  A week earlier, Scottsdale Online Learning (SOL) held its graduation ceremony.

These graduates of Arcadia, Chaparral, Coronado, Desert Mountain, Saguaro High schools and SOL have worked extremely hard the past four years to be able to receive their diplomas.  Their future is bright!  The Class of 2019 is comprised of artists and athletes, musicians and mathematicians.  Collectively, it has earned nearly $80.3 million in academic and athletic scholarships, and counts among its members six appointees to four different U.S. military academies, one Flinn Scholar, one Dorrance Scholar and at least 12 National Merit Scholars.

We could not be more proud of every last one of our 2019 graduates, and we wish them each great success in whatever lies ahead! 

Dedication, Perseverance, Achievements Recognized

A year's worth of work ... and more like 13 years' worth, in the case of seniors ... has not gone unnoticed by the many organizations that recognize the outstanding pursuits of students.  Here are just a few of the accolades SUSD students have received in recent weeks:




  • Desert Mountain High School senior Oyinkansola Oluyeba is a 2019 Dorrance Scholar. The needs-based, four-year scholarship provides financial support to first-generation college attendees who plan to attend an Arizona public university, and recognizes leadership and volunteer service.  Oyinkansola played volleyball for the Wolves and violin in the orchestra. She plans to study business at the University of Arizona.
  • Chaparral High School senior Kyle Polen is a 2019 Flinn Scholar.  Kyle and 19 other seniors, hailing from Tucson to Prescott, comprise this year's Flinn Scholars class.  The four-year, merit-based awards cover tuition, fees, room and board at an Arizona public university, as well as two, summer study-abroad experiences. He will attend Barrett, The Honors College, at Arizona State University, in August and be a part of the pre-med program.  Kyle credits his now retired Sequoya Elementary School second grade teacher, Janet Lottman (right), with inspiring his passion for academics, writing and the arts at Sequoya, Cocopah Middle and Chaparral High schools.
  • Six members of SUSD's Class of 2019 are dedicating their near futures to serving the nation.  Shown from left to right, Arcadia grads Nicholas Bourgeois and Carter Murphy are headed for the U.S. Air Force Academy; Desert Mountain's Michael Dankworth to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Steven Florence to the U.S. Naval Academy and Tanner Falls (not shown) to the U.S. Military Academy; and Saguaro's Clayton Randall to the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Congratulations, gentlemen, and thank you.
  • Desert Mountain Desert Dance Company co-president Kamryn Smith was selected as a 2019 recipient of the Arizona Dance Education Organization's Artistic Merit, Leadership and Academic Achievement Award.  Kamryn, who has been dancing since she was two years old, most recently appeared in the school's springtime production of Chicago.
  • Congratulations to Saguaro High School junior Michael Duarte, winner of the East Valley Institute of Technology's annual car giveaway for students with perfect attendance this school year.  Michael is part of EVIT's Mesa campus Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technology program and now is the proud owner of a reconditioned  2010 PT Cruiser!
  • Chaparral High School junior Alexa Negrete, a student in EVIT's Early Childhood Education program, was recently awarded a $10,000 scholarship to Grand Canyon University for her first place Creative Lecture at this spring's Educators Rising state competition.
  • Arcadia High School's Itzel Murillo received a Bronze Award from the state HOSA-Future Health Professionals organization for the 100 volunteer hours she has contributed to the local health care field since July 2018.  Itzel, who graduated last week, was a student in EVIT's Early Childhood Education program.
  • Fifty-five SUSD students who competed on high school spring sports teams - baseball, beach volleyball, softball, tennis, and track and field - were feted at the Spring All-District Athletic Awards Banquet on May 20.
  • At the event, Sports Destination Network, Inc. (SDN) named its Inspirational Athletes for the 2018-2019 school year: Tajanae Letcher, who played basketball for the Lady Wolves at Desert Mountain her senior year, and Alexis Ochoa Torres, who earned All-Region honors as a member of the Coronado Dons football team. Tajanae and Alexis were chosen because they best represent the values, spirit and tradition of their respective sports, helped create a positive environment for their teammates, and earned the respect of their peers and leaders.  Each student received $500 from SDN.
  • The Charro Foundation recognizes one female and one male student athlete at each of SUSD's three, annual, All-District banquets. Nominations for the $500 scholarship awards, submitted by high school athletic directors and coaches,     are based on character, academics, community service, athletics and future plans.  Winners of Charro Founda tion Scholarships this spring are Paul Sachen, Saguaro baseball, and Mikayla Ruben, Saguaro tennis.
  • In this day and age of electronic communicating, one might think that handwriting has become a lost art.  Not so, at least in SUSD!  Students at two of our elementary schools - Anasazi and Cochise - walked away winners of all six, K-5 competitions in the state-level, Zaner-Bloser handwriting contest this school year.  Congratulations to the following students and their teachers!
Eden Chelton 
Kindergarten - Anasazi
Julia Covert
Amelia Mitchell
1st grade - Anasazi
Stephanie Gallios
Callyn Williams
2nd grade - Anasazi
Melissa Ryan
Devin Williams
3rd grade - Anasazi
Donna Javinett
Lano Hamad
4th grade - Anasazi
Shayna Vohs
Isabel Helgemoe
5th grade - Cochise
Sherry Antol

Results of the national handwriting contest will be announced soon.

Hopi Principal, Arcadia Theater Teacher
Receive Accolades

Imagine asking more than 700 students and their teachers to keep a secret from their principal ... and their doing it!

That was the task assigned to Hopi Elementary School students and staff recently.  They knew Principal Tamara Jagodzinski was going to receive an award of some sort, and they practiced songs and speeches in anticipation of the big day on May 8 when Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson would arrive to officially deliver the great news:  that "Mrs. J." has been named one of the county's 11 Exemplary Principals for 2019.  Needless to say, she was surprised ... and delighted!

Supt. Watson called Mrs. Jagodzinski an exceptional instructional leader: "In searching for great principals across Maricopa County, Tamara stood out as a positive force in education, and has created a strong school culture that has students and teachers excited to come to school every day."

The following week, it was Arcadia theater teacher Richard Fairchild's turn for some recognition, this from the SUSD Governing Board.  Mr. Fairchild is one of just three teachers nationwide to receive a 2019 Inspirational Theatre Educator Award from the Educational Theatre Association.

A 16-year veteran at Arcadia, his philosophy is to involve students in nearly every aspect of the school's theater productions, while he acts as the producer.  Shows are the combined work of Mr. Fairchild's performing arts, theater-class students and his EVIT-endorsed technical theater students, who work behind the scenes.  "Ultimately, I hope that students will leave the classroom with a different view of the world, and a better appreciation for the entertainment industry and the art they see, even if they don't continue in theater past high school."

Speaking of Theater ...

The spring musical productions of three SUSD high schools - Saguaro's  The Addams Family , Desert Mountain's  Chicago and Chaparral's  Les Misérables  - are among the Top 10 high school musicals performed by Arizona high schools north of Casa Grande this school year (schools south of Casa Grande are part of a University of Arizona program).  The designations came May 25 at the fifth annual, Tony Awards® -type, ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe  to celebrate, support and advocate for high school musical theater education.

The schools' casts performed snippets of their shows at Gammage, with awards also being handed out for acting, dance, voice and technical production.  Chaparral High School seniors Dylan Fulop and Gianna Agostinelli received, respectively, the award for best lighting design and one of two, $500 ASU Gammage Leadership awards.

The May 25 Gammage ceremony had a sort of Chaparral 'ring' to it: a photo of Cole Newberg, from the Firebirds' winning production of  Singin' in the Rain  last year,  appeared on the program's cover,  and  a video of recent grad  Sam Primack, who won for Best Lead Male two years ago in  Catch Me If You Can , was shown during the awards ceremony itself.  Sam recently accumulated lots of frequent flyer miles, commuting between the Valley, to take final exams and participate in Chaparral's graduation, and New York, where he will make his Broadway debut June 22 in  Dear Evan Hansen .  As they say in the theater world, Sam: "Break a leg!" 

12 SUSD Grads Named National Merit Scholars

To enhance educational opportunities for scholastically talented teens and encourage the pursuit of academic excellence, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) annually recognizes outstanding high school seniors with college scholarships.  It all starts with taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test during junior year; Semifinalists are named early senior year.  Semifinalists must then fulfill additional requirements in order to be considered for Finalist status, including writing an essay, and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions.  Sixteen SUSD Semifinalists were named in September. 

Finalists' names are announced monthly from April to July.  Some scholarships come from the NMSC itself, some are from corporate sponsors and others are from the colleges the students will attend.  To date, the following 2019 SUSD grads have received National Merit Scholarships, with one more announcement to come in July:

Steven Florence Desert Mountain Honorary Merit Scholarship
(Declined: U.S military academies do not accept outside funding - Steven will attend the U.S. Naval Academy)
Harrison Douglas
Desert Mountain National Merit Arizona State University Scholarship
Courtney Dozier
Desert Mountain
National Merit $2,500 Scholarship
Joel Haug
Desert Mountain
National Merit Arizona State University Scholarship
Michael Kupfer
Desert Mountain
National Merit Arizona State University Scholarship
Noah Mader
Desert Mountain
National Merit $2,500 Scholarship
Brian Prieve
Desert Mountain
National Merit - The University of Arizona Scholarship
Richard Qi
Chaparral National Merit $2,500 Scholarship
Noelle Rapier
Desert Mountain
National Merit - The University of Arizona Scholarship
Nicklas Samanta
Desert Mountain
National Merit Arizona State University Scholarship
Nicolas Savastio
Desert Mountain
National Merit Arizona State University Scholarship
Anika Walia
National Merit $2,500 Scholarship

Sequoya Celebrates Its A+

The Sequoya Elementary School community gathered May 22 to formally receive the school's recognition as a 2018-2019 A+ School of Excellence™ from the Arizona Educational Foundation.  

The Sequoya student body of nearly 500 students, current and retired teachers and staff, Governing Board President Patty Beckman (far right) and Vice President Allyson Beckham (second from left) joined SUSD Superintendent Dr. John Kriekard (2nd from right) for the celebration.  "Sequoya is a special place," said Principal Veronica Leiper.  "It's a place that brings together children, families and educators to create a community that values and depends on each other to construct the finest educational experience for all." 

Sequoya also celebrated its 30th anniversary this school year. 

There's Always Something to Do at SUSD!

Summer doesn't mean learning stops:  SUSD offers a variety of ways to keep your students engaged and doing new things this summer!  From fun and affordable camps for children 3 to 14 years old, summer school for high school students looking to get a jump on next school year or improve a grade, to developing and honing new athletic skills, we've got it all!  Students spend summers with SUSD.

Upcoming Events

June 3:
SUSD Summer Hours Begin:  District offices closed on Fridays through 7/19/19
June 6:
SUSD Governing Board Study Session, 2 p.m., Mohave District Annex, 8500 E. Jackrabbit Rd., Scottsdale
June 11:
SUSD Governing Board Regular Meeting, 5 p.m., Board Room, Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave., Scottsdale
June 25:
SUSD Governing Board Meeting:  2019-2020 Budget Adoption, 3 p.m., Board Room, Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave., Scottsdale
July 1-5:
District offices closed
July 22:
District offices resume regular Monday - Friday hours
July 26: New teachers report
July 31:
Returning teachers report
August 5: First day of the 2019-2020 SUSD school year!

Have a great summer!