Gecko Gazette

Desert Sage Elementary Newsletter - August 21, 2020

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Virtual Curriculum Night Sign-Up

Our virtual Curriculum Nights are just around the corner. Kindergarten-3rd grade is on Wednesday, 8/26 and 4th-6th grade is on Thursday, 8/27 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

To participate in the event you will need to sign up for a time slot with any teachers you want to virtually visit. All teachers are available for the event (i.e. grade level, Specials, SAGE, SPED). Link to sign up: Virtual Curriculum Night Sign-Up

The day before the event, you will receive a confirmation email from Desert Sage with the ZOOM meeting link and password for your date/time.


Attendance matters every day for every child even during virtual learning. Please ensure your child is participating in all ZOOM lessons each day. For DVOA families, please make sure your child is participating by watching the provided ZOOM videos for daily lessons and completing all assignments by the end of the week.

If you child is going to be absent for any period of time within a school day (i.e. full-day, half-day, 1 class period, etc.) please call the Desert Sage attendance line at 623-445-4790.

If your child is absent and you have not called in the absence you will receive an automated voice recorded message notifying you of the absence.

If you have questions regarding your child's attendance, please call the Desert Sage office at 623-445-4700.

Canvas Lesson Changes

Monday, August 17, 2020 began our new procedure for identifying your child's lessons within each module as either a Zoom lesson, an optional activity, or an assignment to be submitted for a grade.

Additionally, each day there will be no more than 1 graded assignment per subject. The only items that now appear on your child’s calendar and To-Do list will be assignments that must be submitted for a grade. Assignments for the week will all be due no later than Friday evening. Your child should submit assignments as they are completed (you don’t have to wait until Friday to submit).

If you missed the August 13 email communication outlining these changes in detail from, please click here for a copy: Canvas Lesson Changes Email 8/13/2020

Small Group Instructional Support Beginning

Beginning Monday, August 24 two new small group instructional support times will be implemented. The first is RTI (Response to Intervention). This is a daily Zoom lesson time, where your child will participate. Students will receive on a rotating basis (determined by the teacher) small group instruction. The second small group time is a daily time period where teachers will setup appointments either in small groups or individually.

Daily schedules are updated on the teachers' websites and within Canvas to reflect these new support times.

Nominate a R.A.D. Desert Sage Staff Member

We have Really Awesome Deed (R.A.D.) students at Desert Sage who are recognized for exhibiting one of our Lifelong Guidelines. But did you know you we have R.A.D. staff members too? You can nominate any Desert Sage staff member for a R.A.D. when you want to have them recognized for exhibiting one of our Lifelong Guidelines.

You can nominate from the direct link on our school website, the links provided in the teacher's email signatures, or by clicking here: Nominate a R.A.D. Staff Member

Nominated staff members are recognized during our staff meetings with a personalized certificate and are added to our R.A.D. Staff Member Pride bulletin board.

Message from Desert Sage PTO

Hello Desert Sage parents!

This is Stephanie Ritchie, your Desert Sage PTO president reaching out to you with a sincere heart and fervent spirit. I know this school year is already so different, with its own challenges and changes; even though we are in the same storm, we are most definitely in different boats. This being said, I also know that we all have two things in common: we value our children's education and we value our connection to the great community of Desert Sage. I am imploring you to join the PTO. Even though we are not meeting in person (yet), you can still get involved in the community. One way to do this is to join the PTO. It's simple enough, yet extremely helpful and very important.

Here is what the Desert Sage PTO is all about:

  • Goal: Our goal is to help support Desert Sage teachers and staff through parent involvement, volunteerism, fundraising, and community events. By supporting our teachers and staff we help to create a better school for all Desert Sage students.
  • Serve: The Desert Sage PTO serves to support the school, to enrich our students’ experiences, and to bring together our community. We welcome all parents’ input and involvement.

Common Questions:

  • If I sign up to be a member, do I have to go to meetings and volunteer? No. We are happy if you just want to show your support through your membership. This will ensure you are on our mailing list for updates on events and minutes from our meetings. You can also help by getting the word out when we have fundraisers.
  • I work full-time, and it is hard for me to volunteer my time. What else can I do? Support the PTO's work by taking advantage of our fundraisers, donating supplies for events, or simply making a monetary contribution directly to the PTO.

It is our sincere hope that you will continue to join us for both our social functions and fundraising endeavors to make our children's time at Desert Sage the best experience possible.

I also hope you will join us on Facebook under Desert Sage Elementary PTO, Inc. or Twitter @DesertSagePTO.

The membership cost for the 2020-2021 school year is $15. Sign-up here: PTO Membership Sign-Up.

You are very important members of the Desert Sage community, and I hope you will consider joining us. If you have any questions, please email me at


Stephanie Ritchie

PTO President 2020-2021

PTO Parent Letter & Membership PDF

2019-2020 Yearbooks are here!

The 2019-2020 Desert Sage Yearbooks are finally here from Lifetouch. If you purchased a yearbook last year, you can come to the Desert Sage office anytime Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. to pick it up.

Still need to purchase a yearbook? You are in luck! We have a limited number of yearbooks available for purchase for $20 (cash purchases only please, with the exact amount). Yearbooks will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Come to the office to purchase.

AZ School Tax Credit for Desert Sage

Your school tax credit donations can provide Desert Sage students with opportunities to after school and summer programs, field trips, music and athletic programs or any other extracurricular activity.

The Arizona tax credit program (A.R.S. 43-1089.01) allows a tax credit of up to $200 for individuals and up to $400 for married couples, filing jointly, in support of extracurricular activities.

The tax credit reduces your tax burden to the state of Arizona, dollar for dollar.

This year, AZ tax credit dollars can help us purchase needed capital items as well if donated to the general fund.

Desert Sage Elementary

We are an A school in the Deer Valley Unified District. We educate children pre-k through grade 6 & offer Mandarin Language Immersion. We are the home of the geckos. Kristy M. Gill is the proud principal and Dr. Heidi Hopman is the proud assistant principal.