November 20, 2020
Home of the Falcons!
"We Achieve and Celebrate Educational Excellence"
Falcon Focus
McDowell Mountain Elementary School

Dear MMES Falcon Families: 

With Thanksgiving next week, we wanted to say how thankful we are for our MMES families! Please enjoy the three days off from school from November 25-27 and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Below are recent special things happening at MMES that we’re also thankful for:

Veterans Day
MMES students celebrated Veterans Day by creating posters to honor and thank veterans that they know. On November 10, we showed a virtual assembly video with an introduction from Student Council thanking veterans; information about Veterans Day and the Character Counts trait of Caring; and the awarding of Bobby's Best Buddy and Caring awards. You can watch the video on our Facebook page and we will post photos of the award winners very soon.

In the video, Ms. Smart and her dog, Muffin told everyone about some students who did some very specific caring and kind things and were chosen for the Bobby’s Best Buddy award. Thank you so much to the following students who have been showing caring and kindness in such special ways:
  • 1 student for 1st grade: Emma Tobias
  • 2 students from 2nd grade: Ledger Balderas and Quinton Olson
  • 9 students from 3rd grade: Cristofer Arellano Casillas, Alexander Hrisho, Troy Ireton, Nicholas Latona, Gabriel McDonald, Adrian Nunez, Trenton Pameditis, Maya Ruiz, and Bryson Schoenthaler

Next, we awarded Caring awards for one student from each class. These Character Counts awards are always so difficult for our teachers to choose as our students all know how important it is and how good it feels to be caring and kind! These students are kind, compassionate, thankful, forgiving, and they continually help others. Congratulations to the following students for the top Caring award for each class:
  • 3rd Grade: Madeleine Lettieri, Venus Hall Lopez, Sadi Talahaftewa, and Milania Mendoza Taylor
  • 2nd Grade: Justine Jimenez, Jack Lorenz, Matthew Nunez, and Eloise Robinson
  • 1st Grade: Riley Jacobi, Conor Kennelly, Bailey Ruiz, and Aauna Yazzie
  • Kindergarten: Maximilliano Gallardo Rebollar, Shiloh Maroon, Zoe Olson, and Jonathan Sember
  • Preschool: Theressa DeWitte and Jack Klem

Finally, we ended our virtual assembly with a video from Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Captain Larry Kratzer. They always present a Character Counts trait award to only one student for our entire school. This student is known as the Champion of Character. Captain Larry announced that the Champion of Character for Caring was 3rd grader, Venus Hall Lopez!

Kiwanis Terrific Kids Awards
So far in November, we have awarded two more sets of Kiwanis Terrific Kids. Terrific Kids is a weekly award with one student from each grade K-3 earning a certificate and prizes sponsored by the Fountain Hills Noon Kiwanis Club. TERRIFIC stands for Thoughtful, Enthusiastic, Respectful, Responsible, Inclusive, Friendly, Inquisitive, and Capable. Congratulations to the following Terrific Kids:
  • Week of November 2-6: Kennedy Letteri, Kindergarten; Finley Hermie, 1st Grade; Elliott Baggett, 2nd Grade; and Abigail Hermie, 3rd Grade
  • Week of November 9-13: Zachariah Petrone, Kindergarten; Aubriana Hrisho, 1st Grade; Matthew Nunez, 2nd Grade; and Dylan Tobias, 3rd Grade

Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers
Since 2016, the Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers program has granted teachers’ wishes across Arizona. Teachers can complete an online application and awardees are randomly selected. Several MMES teachers apply each year and for the first time, one our teacher’s wishes was selected! Congratulations and thank you to Jill Cooper, our STEM teacher who wished for iPads for her entire class! This will benefit all of our students when they have STEM class; more students will individually be able to program robots and work on other great STEM projects while continuing the teamwork that Mrs. Cooper always facilitates among our young engineers!

We are thankful for our MMES A+ Falcon Family and Community!

Valerie Dehombreux
McDowell Mountain Elementary School

Fountain Hills Middle School

Hello Fountain Hills Middle School Families,

Hello Fountain Hills Middle School Families,

I hope that this Falcon Focus finds you doing well and staying healthy during this time of year. It is amazing how fast time goes, I blink and we are already at the Thanksgiving break. I know that this has been a challenging year for our Fountain Hills Middle School family, but I am so thankful for the effort of all of our stakeholders.

Students have been trying hard in the classroom and in the digital world. We have thrown a lot of stuff at them and they continue to rise to the challenge and come to us every day eager to show us what they know. 

Our staff has put in countless hours behind the scenes making sure we have learning opportunities for our students in the building and those who have had to join us online. Sitting in classes watching them navigate back and forth between 20 students in desks and 5-6 students joining remote has made me so appreciative of the professionals that show up and answer the bell every day.

Finally to our parents, thank you for the partnership and support you have given to this school through this less than normal school year. Thank you for the support you are giving your child, all of the drop-offs and pick-ups, making sure they have all their belongings, Chromebooks, masks and other school supplies. I know they may not say it often, but your student really appreciates it and that love and support will help carry them far down the road.

Our family here at FHMS is strong and doing well, but just like in any family, we do have our squabbles and bumps in the road. We are working hard here on acceptance and tolerance. We are all living under the same roof, a tremendous opportunity to learn from and grow with each other. Please continue to help us support our pillars of PBIS that we strive to live by here at FHMS, Responsible, Respectful, Safe and Kind. The last part of this quarter and next semester are going to be full of great learning opportunities, conversations about registration and classes for the future and preparation for students to show the State of Arizona where they stack up to the standards. Behaviors that detract from the learning environment make these three things difficult to master. A few gentle reminders for students to keep in mind, we are a cell phone free school, proper respect for adults and peers is expected and one redirect should be enough to get back on task and continue on with the learning.

Here are a few things to keep an eye on for Fountain Hills Middle School:

Middle School Winter Sports:
Cross Country has begun to practice. You can still join the Cross Country team by signing up on our website under the register my athlete section. For any CC related questions please reach out to Coach McDonald:
Softball began Monday November, 16th with tryouts. Please contact Coach Bragg with questions.
Baseball began Wednesday, November 18th with their tryouts. Please contact Coach Langer with questions.

PTO Opportunities:
Please check out their page to see opportunities to support our great PTO.

Thanksgiving Break: No School November 25 – 29.
Rest, Relax, Recharge for the final push.

As we go into our last two days of school before we take some time off, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a great break, stay safe and I am excited to see what the final 3+ weeks have in store for the Falcons.

Jeff Markle
Fountain Hills Middle School

Fountain Hills High School

Hello Falcon Families!

It was fantastic welcoming back our students back to campus under our hybrid model! Having students back on campus in any capacity is a wonderful thing.

Congratulations Dr. Paul!!
Our very own Dr. Paul McElligott has been selected by IEEE Region 6 Awards Committee to receive “Outstanding K through 12 Educator who made significant contributions to STEM Education” award during the year 2020. This is a very well deserved award. We could not be more proud of the work that Dr. McElligott puts forth with our STEM program!

National Honor Society Food Drive
The Fountain Hills High School/National Honor Society food drive to help out The Extended Hands Food Bank in Fountain Hills runs from Monday, November 16 through Monday, December 14. The Extended Hands Food Bank needs our help in helping the less fortunate by donating food to those in need. Students are instructed to bring food items to their math teacher. If they don’t have a math class, they can bring a food item to Mrs. Barsema in room B101. Please bring in macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, jelly, canned veggies, tuna, and cereal. Help out if you can!

Japan 2021 Fall Break Tour Meeting
We are planning on going to Japan in October of 2021 with EF Tours. Seeing the world allows for incredible growth, and the excitement of exploring some place new will give students something to anticipate for months to come. Please RSVP online that you will attend the Wednesday, November 18 meeting. You will receive a Zoom link to the virtual meeting where you will receive tour information including how to use tax credits to offset the cost of the trip.

Winter Athletics
Our winter athletic teams started tryouts and practices on Monday, November 16th. The current COVID metrics within our district indicate that it is safe for us to continue to progress and conduct practices as planned. However, other areas of the state are not as fortunate and have not been able to begin winter sports. Given that, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) is currently reviewing the COVID metrics for the state to determine when winter competitions will begin. The AIA Executive Board is currently in discussion regarding this. One possibility being discussed is pushing the start to the winter season back to January. As more information becomes available, we will be sure to share this with everyone. In the meantime, we will continue to have our winter sports team practicing and preparing for the upcoming season.

Kris Alexander
Fountain Hills High School

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