September 17, 2021
Home of the Falcons!
"We Achieve and Celebrate Educational Excellence"
Falcon Focus
Photo courtesy of The Crazy Tourist
McDowell Mountain Elementary School

Hello McDowell Mountain Families, 

Wow! McDowell Mountain Elementary had an Incredible two weeks with APEX motivator, Coolio Christian. In nine school days, our staff, students and families raised roughly $33,990.00! That is fantastic AND so appreciated. Our Preschool - 3rd graders ended the week by participating in a fun run. We made some last minute adjustments in one classroom, however, we made it work and our students learned that we can be flexible and still have fun. A special thanks to the first grade classroom and parents who completed their fun run “quarantine” style in the Multipurpose Room. I was not feeling well last week so I also wanted to thank Onalee, Miss Gartland, and some of the first grade parents for stepping up to assist me when we had a 15 minute notice of the diagnosed report. Our staff and parents at McDowell Mountain are (in the words of Coolio): You’re so, You’re so, Awesome! Lastly, I want to thank our Fountain Hills PTO. You are an amazing group of dedicated individuals who have put so much time and effort into this fundraising event. You ALWAYS put KIDS first! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You are amazing!  

Next week we will be conducting our IXL diagnostic assessment. This will be the first of three IXL assessments that our K-3rd grade students will be taking this year. This data is used to identify where students are in their academic learning. The great part about this program is, along with the diagnostics, IXL also has engaging lessons that teachers can use to target specific learning goals. I will share a summary of our IXL results when the students have completed the testing. If you would like more information on IXL, please visit their website:

Lifetouch will be at McDowell Mountain on October 1st for picture retakes. If you would like your child to have their picture taken, please let your teacher know.  

As always, our success depends on the team that is created between parents, teachers, and administration. Research shows that parent involvement in schools helps students achieve more and schools thrive. A team approach to education is what’s BEST for our students! 

Please let me know if there is ANYTHING that I can do to make your child’s experience at school a positive one! Call me or email me anytime!   


Dr. Shelly Jensen
McDowell Mountain Elementary School
Fountain Hills Middle School

Hello Fountain Hills Middle School Families,

It is already time for another Falcon Focus from Mr. Markle, wow it seems like just yesterday I did the, “Did you know?” Falcon Focus. So what does that tell me, it tells me things are moving really quickly and the Quarter is flying by. That being said, I wanted to take a minute and focus on a few things that will help us all have a great end to Quarter 1, it will be here before you know it.

PowerSchool and Quarter 1 Progress Reports
Our staff has been working hard to make sure their grade books are the most accurate reflection of the learning your student has displayed to us over these 6 weeks. Please go into your portal account and take a look at your students’ progress and have a conversation with them about both their successes and opportunities they have to improve what might not be meeting the standards.

You can access PowerSchool here.

When you are in looking at assignments, if you come across any work that is missing, students will have until Thursday, September 30th to get any missing or make-up work turned into their teachers for Quarter 1. After this date, we will be focusing on wrapping up the Quarter and looking at our end of the Quarter Assessments.

Schools PLP
You might know it better as Buzz, it is the same thing, don’t feel bad if you did not know that, it took me a while to figure out what our students and teachers were talking about as well. If you are ever wondering what your student is doing in Buzz, it is very easy to find out. Have them pull up their log-in screen and before they log in, check the box that says “Parent View” this will allow you to scroll through their PLP and not do any of their work. As a reminder as we continue to battle through COVID and other health challenges, if your student is absent from school this is where they need to check for assignments and to stay current on their learning.

The final two days of the Quarter are half days at the middle school. The afternoons are dedicated to Parent / Teacher Conferences. More information will come out on this, but I wanted you to be able to get the dates on your calendar as a place holder. October 7th and 8th.

Finally, I believe that we should always strive to nail the landing, we have a little over 3 weeks to go and have done a nice job building a strong foundation for the school year ahead. This last item does threaten to destabilize our foundation and frankly hurts my heart that we have to deal with this in our building.

You received a message from the district about a TikTok challenge sweeping the country. The "Devious Lick" (Lick is slang for theft) meme began 10 days ago and finally reached us the other day.

Schools across the country are experiencing an uptick in vandalism and theft as a result of the Devious Lick TikTok meme wherein students take innocuous items from schools, and compete to 1-up each other with the size and difficulty of what is being stolen. 

As a dad myself of a high school and middle school student, we had a good talk around the dinner table about this stupidity and what my own kids have seen in their school. It was disappointing to hear about the disruptions in the learning environment and the lack of respect some students have for their school and the wellbeing of their fellow students.

The Principal side of me at Fountain Hills Middle School knows that we are better than this, we have way too much heavy lifting to do when it comes to learning every day and no time to waste searching for a few seconds of fame that could land us with consequences that could follow us around for a really long time. I love our school, the students, the staff and the community, we want to be known for the great things we do, not for getting sucked into a TikTok meme challenge.

We have so much to celebrate at our great school and we have so much fun together every day. One of my mentors, actually my baseball coach in high school and then the first principal I ever worked under said if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. For 21 years I have felt this way with my educational career. I love turning off the B-Line Highway onto Shea Blvd because I know I am minutes away from getting to spend another day with the staff and students of Fountain Hills Middle School. I am excited to see what the next three weeks hold for us and all of the great learning our students produce.

In Partnership,

Jeff Markle
Fountain Hills Middle School
Fountain Hills High School

Hello Falcons!

We are already coming upon the end of second quarter! Student behavior and demeanor on campus continues to be positive. We are seeing examples every day of students working hard and going the extra mile to help each other out. As we move toward Fall break, academic focus as well as health and well-being are especially vital. Parents are encouraged to remind your students to take care of themselves so they can be successful at school. Let’s have all students stay focused academically and finish strong. And remember – masks are encouraged, but not mandatory. If your student is not feeling well, please keep them home.
Our Homecoming football game will be played on Friday, September 24th at 7 p.m. We wish our football team the best of luck! The Homecoming dance will be held on Saturday, September 25th in the small gym from 7-11 p.m. You can purchase tickets online here. Please remind your student to celebrate responsibly.
Please come out and support all of our fall sports! These athletes are working hard to do their best. You can follow all of the action on Instagram or via our updated athletics website. You can also purchase tickets on our site since tickets are no longer being sold at the door.
Twenty-four hours of community service are required to graduate, and it is never too soon to start volunteering and completing this requirement. Here is the volunteer document. Once completed, please turn it in to the front desk. If you need ideas for service opportunities in our community, please let us know.
Our students continue to represent the pillars of Falcon PRIDE and we are recognizing them via our Falcon Feathers system of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). We are excited to celebrate all of the ways our students are showing up as Positive, Respectful, Innovative, Disciplined, and Excellent.
We have a Homework Hub available for students who need help in class or are looking for a quiet place to study. It takes place on Mondays and Thursdays after school or Wednesdays at lunch in Mrs. Barsema’s room, B-101. 
The PSAT will be held on October 13th from 8 a.m. – noon in the F Building for all 10th graders and any 11th graders who want to retake it for National Merit Scholarship. If you have any questions about this, please contact Mr. Brady.
Keep up the great work, everyone!


Chris Hartmann
Fountain Hills High School
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