November 6, 2020
Home of the Falcons!
"We Achieve and Celebrate Educational Excellence"
Falcon Focus
McDowell Mountain Elementary School

Dear MMES Falcon Families: 

It’s hard to believe that it’s already November! We had a busy October and there are other special events ahead as you’ll see below.

Student Council Elections
October 29 was Election Day at MMES! Before October 29, second and third grade classes voted for their class representatives who had the choice to run for the election of 3rd Grade President and 2nd Grade Vice President. These candidates posted campaign posters on the school walls during Election Week and they recorded their speeches on October 28. Second and third grade watched the speeches on the morning of October 29 and voted afterward. Before school was out, we tallied the votes and announced the winners, taking photos of the entire Student Council in red, white, and blue!

Congratulations to the MMES Student Council 2020-2021:
3rd Grade President: Vivian Thomas
2nd Grade Vice President: Natalie Guerrette
Representatives:
3rd graders: Scarlett Grieco, Melanie Itskovich, Jonah Maroon, Diznee McDougle, Lola Monroe, Adalia Petrone, and Adison Shroyer
2nd graders: Keaten Baxter, Isabella Cruz Lopez, Quinton Olson, Annabelle Kirkeide, Hannah Slodownik, Oliver Stumpf, and Mia Wilczak
Sponsor: Ms. Sam Elder, 3rd Grade Teacher

Please look for their photos and speech videos on our school Facebook page.

Halloween
On October 30, MMES celebrated Halloween by wearing our costumes to school. Students also received Halloween treat bags from PTO that they funded and put together! Thank you so much, PTO! Please check out our school Facebook page for photos of students’ and staff’s costumes, the treat bags from PTO, and Halloween and autumn-themed student work.

Kiwanis Terrific Kids Awards
We have awarded two more sets of Kiwanis Terrific Kids awards since we returned from fall break. 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 October 19-23: Emmalyn Anaya, Kindergarten; Liam Beck, 1st Grade; Riaan Rashid, 2nd Grade; and Maya Ruiz, 3rd Grade
  • Week of October 26-30: Sahmya Talahaftewa, Kindergarten; Ivy Butler, 1st Grade; Isabella Cruz Lopez, 2nd Grade; and Cristofer Arellano Casillas, 3rd Grade

Veteran’s Day
MMES students are working on posters to honor and thank veterans that they know. They will share the posters with their classes on November 10 when we will celebrate Veteran’s Day as the actual November 11 is a holiday with no school. Also on November 10, we will hold a virtual Veteran’s Day / Caring assembly with a video presentation of Student Council’s veteran posters and awarding of the Character Counts Caring and Bobby’s Best Buddy awards. We’re looking forward to honoring our veterans and focusing on Caring!

We care about our MMES A+ Falcon Family and Community!

Valerie Dehombreux
Principal
McDowell Mountain Elementary School


Fountain Hills Middle School

Hello Fountain Hills Middle School Families,

I hope that this Falcon Focus finds you doing well and staying healthy during this time of year. We are enjoying a strong start to the second quarter and have found that having our students in the building has been wonderful for both teachers and students. The routines we have developed have helped us to find traction in the classrooms.

All that being said, we have had to navigate a few rough patches this past week as we have made some changes to our learning and had to have some students join us virtually. I want to thank all of the parents and students for going with the flow and making the most out of the current state of education we are living in.

We are working hard to instill our PBIS Pillars and make sure that our students continue to act in a responsible, respectful, safe and kind way towards all in the school. We have been working this week on tolerance, understanding that we all do not have to see eye to eye all the time. It is ok to agree to disagree but to do it in a responsible and respectful way. We need to seek to understand each other rather than always have to be right.

Here are a couple of housekeeping items I want to make sure we are aware of as we continue to go through the second quarter.
  • Please have your student bring their Chromebook to and from school every day, this includes the power cord. We have had an uptick in the number of students needing a loaner and this is not sustainable for the rest of the year. Your student will need their Chromebook at school and at home each day.
  • If your student is remote for any reason, we need to make sure we are aware of and respecting the posted class times. Remote learning does not mean, log on when it works, students miss the instructions for the lesson and spend time chasing down what they are supposed to be doing.
  • We need all students both in-person and remote learners to be engaged in the class, cameras on, microphones muted and following along with the day’s lesson.
  • PowerSchool grade checks. Please be looking at PowerSchool with your student on a consistent basis. November 13th is the midway point through the Quarter and we will be looking at that date for progress reports. The time from November 13th – December 18th will go quick and we need to make sure we are caught up and current in all of our classes.
  • I wanted to share with you a video tutorial on how students submit work for PLP. I hope that you can watch this with your student and make sure there is understanding on their part of what they need to do, or they write down their questions and ask any of their teachers.
  • https://schoolsplp.helpscoutdocs.com/article/93-how-students-submit-assignments-or-documents
  • My messaging to students has revolved around organization, time management and being accountable for their work. Hopefully this video will serve as a gentle reminder on how to submit their work.
  • As a disclaimer, there are a few additional steps when students are asked to submit a Google Doc, making sure to not only load the document but also share permissions. If your teacher asks you to take a picture of an assignment, please do so using the Chromebook, when pictures are taken with other devices, sometimes students and parents try to email them to the student and the 104account does not accept outside emails. Using the Chromebook camera will eliminate much of this back and forth.

News and Events:
Winter sports are ready to start up on November the 9th. We will be offering Baseball, Cross County and Softball. Please make sure you are registered on Register My Athlete from the FHMS webpage.

Our 4th grade team was awarded a grant to begin to construct a pollination garden in the front of our school. As the year goes on you will continue to see progress on the completion of this project.

Finally, teams and teachers have sent out reminders of how to log into classes remotely, this would be good information to review with your student if and when we would ever have to go back to a remote setting for a set period of time. It is my hope that we continue to operate in the same fashion we have been with in-person learning, but I want to be proactive and prepared should the need arise to move to any type of remote learning. If you need any further clarification on class links, PLP or other class information please do not hesitate to have your student reach out to their teachers.

Thank you for your partnership with our great school.

Jeff Markle
Principal
Fountain Hills Middle School


Fountain Hills High School

Hello Falcon Families,
 
This past week has been a challenging one for all of us associated with the high school. As you’re aware, we have returned to our virtual learning model. Students are back logging in to their classes through Zoom or Google Meet. This was something that we planned for in the hope that we would not have to move forward with implementation. However, as the circumstances unfolded, the tough decision to return to remote learning was made and carried out.

Kudos to the FHHS Teachers & Staff!
I would like to recognize the tremendous work done by our teachers and staff here at the high school! Throughout the school year we have worked diligently to set up classes that are flexible and fluid in their design in order to be prepared for the type of situation we’re in now. With the sudden announcement last Wednesday morning that students would be returning to remote learning, our teachers sprang into action and within hours, had their classes set up and ready to go Thursday morning for students to learn remotely. I continue to be amazed by the skills and abilities of our staff! Our teachers often stay late into the evening or take their work home with them so they can provide the very best for our students. They remind me everyday what it truly means to be selfless.

Athletics & Extracurricular Activities:
Given the switch to remote learning, all athletic events and extracurricular activities for the fall season have been cancelled. We understand that this has been very challenging for our student-athletes and coaches to handle. Many sacrifices have been made and many hours have been dedicated to the fall sports this season. We are currently working on plans to recognize our seniors in the various fall sports. We certainly want to be able to celebrate the numerous accomplishments and contributions they’ve made to our programs over there four years with us. Once we finalize these events, we will be sure to share them with everyone.

Additionally, the winter sports seasons were scheduled to begin on Monday, November 9th. Currently, all winter sports activities have been placed on hold. We are working on adjusting our winter sports calendar.

COVID Update:
As many of you read in the letter Dr. Glass sent out yesterday, we have been designated as an outbreak site for the COVID virus. To date, we currently have 10 confirmed cases on our campus, the most recent coming yesterday. We’ve been working very closely with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) and the families within our community to help keep the virus from spreading. Thank you to all the families who have contacted us to share the results of your tests or symptoms. This has been tremendously helpful. Please continue to notify us of any symptoms your children show.

We want nothing more than to be able to keep our schools open. I am grateful for the efforts of so many in our community that follow the public health guidance regarding wearing masks when in public, maintaining physical distance, washing hands, and remaining home when sick. We cannot let down our guard at this critical juncture. Together we can navigate these challenges in order to meet the needs of our students. Right now, it’s important to remember that we are all members of the same team. We have the same goal which is to return students to in-person learning as soon as possible. This will take the effort of everyone in the community. I understand that additional sacrifice will need to be made but I’m confident that we can achieve our goal together.

Kris Alexander
Principal
Fountain Hills High School

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