PXU Newsletter November 10, 2022

Happy Native American Heritage Month!

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Happy Native American Heritage Month, PXU Family! We are proud to celebrate this month alongside our amazing Native American students and staff. We invite you to stay tuned with Phoenix Union's Native American Education Program for all of the events and initiatives happening this month. Follow them on Instagram @PXU.NAEP!
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PXU Land Acknowledgement Ceremony at the Governing Board Meeting

At the November Governing Board Meeting, the Phoenix Union Governing Board approved an official Land Acknowledgement statement that will be read at the beginning of every Governing Board Meeting moving forward. We are proud of all of the hard work and dedication that went into bringing the Land Acknowledgement to fruition, and honor the land on which we reside.

See below for a video of the Land Acknowledgement:

PXU Land Acknowledgement Video V2
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EXPO 2022

This year's EXPO was a huge success! Phoenix College was packed full of prospective students, energy, and excitement. We had a very eventful day that allowed all of our schools to promote themselves, incredible performances from our visual and performing arts department, hundreds of prize wheel spins, and a lot of fun. This was the first EXPO in a centralized location since 2019, and we are so grateful to everyone who helped bring this event to fruition. We had a total of 730 students register with Phoenix Union. What an amazing accomplishment! Below are a few photos from EXPO.
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PXU United Way Campaign 2022

Phoenix Union is excited to announce our 2022 Valley of the Sun United Way Campaign Kick-Off. Your support for the United Way provides vital resources that directly impact our community. This year, our campaign will run through Wednesday, November 30. Your generous gift to the United Way helps fund community health, workforce development, student scholarships, and basic needs like food and shelter for Phoenix families.

In addition, you can direct your donation to the Phoenix Union Foundation for Education. These funds play a critical role in supporting our mission to support PXU students’ success in college, career, and life. To donate to the Phoenix Union Foundation for Education, follow the steps listed under “Click here to direct your gift.” We will also send paper packets to your campuses soon if you prefer that method. Please visit www.PXU.org/UnitedWay to donate today. We ask you to make plans to complete your pledge by Wednesday, November 30.

Please watch the video above featuring our Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson explaining the program and ways you can help.

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Academies at South: Lunch and Learn with AZ Cardinals and United Way

Recently, students of Falonia Edinburg at the Academies at South Mountain earned a lunch and learn sponsored by the Arizona Cardinals and Valley of the Sun United Way for the work they did using the NFL/United Way Character Playbook. The South Freshman Connections teachers use a great deal of this curriculum to support their Freshman Connections class. At this event, the students got to ask questions of a panel consisting of Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders, former Cardinal/NFL Player Lorenzo Alexander, and representatives from the United Way. They were fed a delicious lunch from Raising Canes. We are very proud of them! See above for a group picture from the event.
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Danielle Smith Awarded $2500 from Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers Program

Recently, Danielle Smith from Camelback High School was awarded $2500 from Fiesta Bowl Charities as a part of the wishes for teachers program (pictured above). Ms. Smith’s wish that is now granted is “to purchase flags to represent Arizona tribes and create a library of Native American authors.”

Click here to learn more about the Wishes for Teachers Program: Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charites Wishes for Teachers program.

On this seventh year of the program, Fiesta Bowl Charities in partnership with Palo Verde, are granting $2,500 classroom wishes to 400 teachers across the state of Arizona for a total of $1,000,000.The Fiesta Bowl organization saw that many teachers spent their own money to enhance their classroom experience and in 2016 developed this program to aid teachers in that effort. As a way to support, celebrate and honor Arizona educators, teachers were invited to fill out an online application detailing their school and classroom wish. Wishes are randomly selected to receive a grant and teachers are notified and surprised in our Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers Draft Day presented by SRP event. Over the past 6 years, Palo Verde Fiesta Bowl Charities Wishes for Teachers has granted $4.7 million to Arizona teachers, impacting 500,000+ students across the state.

Click the button below to see the ABC-15 story about Ms. Smith's wish and surprise:

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This Is Who We Are Magazine 2022

PXU has released a new edition of the This Is Who We Are magazine (pictured above). We are excited to share with you this year's incredible individuals and their stories, as well as info about what is next at PXU. You can read the new magazine by visiting PXU.org/Magazine.

We hope you enjoy!

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PXU Employee Wellness Support

Do you or a PXU Employee you know need any support? PXU has Health and Wellness Clinicians on staff to support our staff with difficult times. If you or a colleague are in need of emotional or mental health support, please click the link below to be directed to a form for support. A Staff Health and Wellness Specialist will respond to you within 24 hours (Monday thru Friday).

Click here to be redirected to the Employee Support Form

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Jean Kilker named Arizona School Librarian of the Year

Jean Kilker (Pictured above), teacher-librarian at Maryvale High School, was recently named Arizona School Librarian of the Year at the Arizona Library Association Conference. We are so proud to have such strong school libraries and teacher-librarians that support our libraries and our students' reading. Congratulations, Ms. Kilker! What a great honor and accomplishment. Thank you for representing Phoenix Union in such an incredible way!

Alhambra's 60th Anniversary Celebration

Alhambra recently held their 60th Anniversary celebration (pictures above) and it was a very successful and well-attended event. Many former lions attended to celebrate this milestone and reunite with former classmates. Alhambra also got to showcase the current Alhambra lions through performances. Multiple former Alhambra principals were in attendance, and the sense of community was strong. Once a lion, always a lion! Congratulations, Alhambra!
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All PXU Arizona RBI Baseball Team

This past summer the Arizona Diamondbacks sponsored the first-ever Arizona RBI Baseball team consisting of all PXU players. The team traveled to Compton, California for the RBI Western Regional Baseball Tournament. They played some great games, however, did not reach the RBI World Series, losing to Hawaii in the round-robin tournament. The Arizona team defeated the Angels from California, the Dodgers from LA, and tied the Mariners from Seattle, before losing to Hawaii. It was an experience the players will never forget. Besides playing in the tournament the Diamondbacks treated the team to a day at Santa Monica Beach and tickets to see the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants game at Dodger Stadium.

The team was also featured in the Diamondback Insider magazine, and Univison Deportes. They were also invited to a Diamondback's game and participated in on-the-field pre-game batting practice. AZ RBI Brian Munoz also threw out the 1st pitch. The Diamondbacks continue supporting these young student-athletes as they do community service, attend camps and workshops, and play in tournaments for the AZ Diamondbacks RBI Baseball Team.

Congratulations to them!

Pictured above from left to right are:

Eric Figueroa (AZ Diamondback Coordinator), Coach JD Ramirez (Camelback HS), Jaidan Tafoya (Cesar Chavez HS), Brian Munoz (North HS), Jay De La Garza (Trevor Browne HS), Isaac Balderas (Fairfax HS), Joshua Berber (North HS), Angel Valenzuela (North HS), Daniel Alaniz (Fairfax HS), Kevin Montes (Fairfax HS), Adolfo Pacheco (Cesar Chavez HS), Robert Sahuaqui (Cesar Chavez HS), Paul Robles (North HS), Fabian Martinez (Central HS), Tremale Griffin (Fairfax HS), Jesus Reyes (Maryvale HS), Alfredo Ruiz (Cesar Chavez HS), Coach Armando Tellez (Cesar Chavez HS), and Victor Guerrero (AZ Diamondback Coordinator and Cesar Chavez Alumni).

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Bostrom: Fall Festival and Book Tasting Events

Recently, the Bostrom Bulldogs have been busy with amazing events and building community. First, Bostrom recently held a Fall Festival (photo above) with everything from food trucks, to face painting, pie-ing the principal in the face, games, and fun. We are so proud of Bostrom for coming together for such an incredible event!
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Bostrom's Book Club also recently had a Book Tasting event (pictured above). At this event, Book Club members read new novels in their school library, talked about the books, and enjoyed some tasty food and beverages. The Bostrom Book Club meets every Thursday during lunch.

Congratulations, Bostrom! Keep up the great work!

Metro Tech Pharmacy Celebrates Pharmacy Technician Day

Recently, the Metro Tech Pharmacy program celebrated Pharmacy Technician Day with an Open House Pharmacy Day. At this event, there was food served, a fun environment, and smiles all around. Students and staff were also able to make pills from scratch.

What a great celebration! See above for photos.

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Cesar Chavez Girls Golf Places First in PXU Tournament

The Cesar Chavez Girl's Golf team participated in the PXU golf tourney on Oct. 7th. The Champions came home with the 1st place trophy in the team championship. They also had 3 girls place in the top 10 for the tournament:

Kaileigh Pasesa 2nd Place

Maritza Bautista 3rd Place

Layla Hermosillo 8th Place

Pictured above from left to right: Kaileigh Pasesa (SO), Maritza Bautista (SR), DisMeri Martinez (FR), Layla Hermosillo (FR), and Suraiya Muhammad (FR).

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Central Culinary Caters for Nearly 500 People

Central High School Culinary (Pictured above) recently had 20 students help cater the Best Buddies Charity Game Night and the Folds of Honor Red, White and Blue charity event under the direction of Ms. Erin Sullivan. Ms. Sullivan's students were given jobs on speed stations and working the line. Between the 2 events, the students helped feed almost 500 people. The Central Culinary students are fortunate to have opportunities like these to help prepare them for life after high school. Through these events, 3 of Ms. Sullivan's students found a potential calling and the rest were given amazing experiences that are applicable to life and to their future careers. Congratulations, Central Culinary!
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Carl Hayden Handball Returns to the Court

Carl Hayden Handball had their first tournament of the year recently with 10 singles and 3 pairs of doubles competing. They are hoping to increase their numbers for upcoming tournaments with a new Carl Hayden Handball Ranking that will be posted after every tournament.

Congratulations on bringing Handball back, Carl Hayden!

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PXU Posse Scholar Finalists

This year, PXU has many Posse Scholar finalists from all across the District! The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits and trains individuals with extraordinary leadership potential. Posse Scholars receive full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities. Here are the known PXU Students who are finalists:


Azmaveth Cruz, a Posse finalist to Davidson.


Myles Casteal, a Posse finalist to Davidson

Akshaya Lord, a Posse finalist to Rhodes College


Kaesy Diaz Castellanos, a Posse finalist to Davidson

Alizza Solis, a Posse finalist to Davidson

Isidro Soto Gutierrez, a Posse finalist to Davidson


Ashley Renteria – a Posse finalist to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa

Kevin Zazueta Vega - a Posse finalist to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa

Jesus Lopez – a Posse finalist to Centre College in Danville, Kentucky

Rhenea Alejandra Moraza – a Posse finalist to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota


Samuel Hernandez, a Posse finalist to Cornell College

Crystal Sanchez, a Posse finalist to Cornell College

Arturo Delgado, a Posse finalist to Cornell College
Ariel Livingston, a Posse finalist to Center College
Litzy Flores, a Posse finalist to Rhodes College

Ernesto Ramirez, a Posse finalist to Case Western Reserve University


Santino Gregorovic, a Posse finalist to Case Western University

Jedi Rajan, a Posse finalist to Case Western University

Teresa Meija, a Posse finalist to Cornell College

Jorge Garcia Gomez, a Posse finalist to Centre College

Sofia Villagomez, a Posse finalist to St. Olaf's College

Asriyah Sisay , a Posse finalist to Rhodes College

Liliana Vidales, a Posse finalist to Rhodes College


Carol Ibarra Ontiveros, a Posse finalist to Centre College

Sam Le, a Posse finalist to Case Western

Jaqueline Parada, a Posse finalist to Cornell

Congratulations to all!

Betty Fairfax: State Fair Art Contest

Betty Fairfax had 33 students submit 38 pieces of art into the Arizona State Fair Art Contest this year. The contest had over 1,500 pieces entered in the various categories and age groups. The Fairfax students did an excellent job and placed with 33 of their 38 pieces in the top 10 of their categories and 19 of these pieces placing in the top 3.

Click the file button below to see all of the winners, and see above for a few of the art pieces showcased. Congratulations, Betty Fairfax Art!

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Michelle Wagner Published in English Journal

Michelle Wagner (pictured above), English Teacher from Maryvale High School, was recently published in the English Journal, which is the peer-reviewed journal for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Her article reflected on her experience of implementing digital tools while teaching the Junior English memoir unit during the pandemic.

Congratulations, Ms. Wagner! Click the file button below to read the volume of the English Journal that Ms. Wagner is published in:

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JROTC Good News

We have incredible news coming from PXU JROTC. The first piece of good news comes from Maryvale JROTC. Recently, the Maryvale class ’92 had its 30th year reunion, which coincided with their Homecoming. LTC (R) David Nguyen had the honor of escorting two members of the class ’92 around Maryvale, showing off some of the new facilities and current courses offered at Maryvale. Colonel Nick Nuzzo (Marine Corps Officer) and Mr. Bob Apodaca (Honeywell Engineer) watched their homecoming parade, attended the football game, and even met with some of the teachers from their past, Ms. Kilker and Coach Shackleford. They also had the opportunity to meet with and mentor several students. Thank you for representing Maryvale well, LTC Nguyen!
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The next piece of news comes to us from Trevor Browne JROTC. Trevor Browne JROTC hosted the annual Arizona JROTC Adventure Team Championships on Saturday, October 22). Alhambra JROTC placed first, Trevor Browne JROTC placed second, and Cesar Chavez JROTC finished third.

The JROTC Adventure Team competition consisted of 10 events conducted in 2 phases. The first phase took place near Flagstaff over a weekend camping trip in September with events such as Rope Bridge, Land Navigation, Endurance, First Aid Casualty Recovery and a Leadership Reaction Course. Phase 2 was held in October at Trevor Browne with events in Push Ups, Sit Ups, Planks, Sprint Relay and a 1.5 mile distance run. JROTC cadets from every PXU JROTC program along with JROTC units from Tempe and Tucson took part in the competition.

Way to go, PXU JROTC!

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PXU Libraries District Library Circulation

During the first quarter of the year, the PXU Libraries were busy promoting books and library programs to all students and staff. Below are the Quarter 1 circulation stats:

Print books: 18,778 books

Digital Books: 1,890 eBooks and eAudiobooks

Database Search: 9,130 research databases accessed by our PXU readers.

Way to go, PXU Libraries!

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PXU Visual and Performing Arts News

PXU's Visual and Performing Arts department has great news this week. They held their annual PXU Marching Exposition on November 2nd, and it was a success (pictured above). All of the marching bands from across the District came together for a night of performances and music appreciation.
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PXU VAPA also had an entire day filled with performances during EXPO at Phoenix College this past weekend. A wide variety of groups from rock bands, to dancers, to theatre performers took the stage and showed all of the attendees some of the amazing performing arts groups we have across the District. Congratulations to all of them!

If you would like to stay tuned with all things PXU Visual and Performing Arts, including photos and videos of past events, information on upcoming events, and more, visit PXU.org/VAPA.

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PXU Turkey Drive

It is that time of year again! Phoenix Union's Student and Family Services Division is hosting another Turkey Drive. If you would like to donate a Turkey to feed a family in need, turkeys can be dropped off until November 21st at three locations:

Food Services, 4444 N. 7th Street / 5:30 am - 2:00 p.m.

Central High School, Cafeteria / 6:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Carl Hayden, Falcon Family and Community Resource Center

If you have any questions, contact Cyndi Tercero at Tercero@phoenixunion.org.

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PUFE Scholarship Portal Now Ready for Applications

The Phoenix Union Foundation for Education is excited to announce that the 2022 scholarship portal is now available for the class of 2023. Last year, the Foundation awarded nearly $100,000 in scholarships for PXU students.

Please take a moment to share the attached document below with future graduates so that they can apply for funds to help them succeed in college, career, and life.

Applications close on January 20, 2023, so help us spread the word today.

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NetTutor: FREE 24/7 Tutoring Available to PXU Students

PXU is excited to offer NetTutor's 24/7 tutoring services to our students free of charge! We encourage you to share this resource with your students. Students can access NetTutor by visiting PXU.org/NetTutor.

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ElevateEdAZ is an initiative of the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation focused on aligning classes and curriculum with workforce needs, creating opportunities for students to apply academics through work-based learning, and increasing student exposure to career pathways. ElevateEdAZ is designed as a model for Arizona schools to better integrate high wage, high demand, high skill career pathways into the K-12 education system. With College and Career Coaches already embedded at the Academies at South Mountain, Metro Tech High School, and Phoenix Coding Academy, ElevateEdAZ looks forward to providing many impactful experiences to students and educators this coming school year.

We encourage you to share with your networks and encourage students to seek out the resources that ElevateEdAZ provides!

October was a busy month for ElevateEdAZ and Metro Tech with many great experiences for their students. They have already kicked off November with events this week. See above for photos from ElevateEdAZ/Metro Tech and click the document below to read all about the amazing work being done by ElevateEdAZ at Metro Tech!

Stay in touch with us!

We love hearing from you! If you have good news to share with the District, email Vanessa Herb at vherb@phoenixunion.org with your good news. Follow us on social media as well to stay updated on all the great things we have happening across the District!