WFES Newsletter

April 6th, 2021

Wildfire Elementary School Firebirds

The mission of Wildfire Elementary School is to lead students to high achievement and individual excellence in a collaborative learning environment

AZMERIT Testing Information

It is that time of year again! The state is requiring all school districts to administer state testing in-person this spring. Every student in grades 3-6, will be required to take the AzMERIT assessments in person. This testing is intended to evaluate whether a child has mastered standards for their specific grade level. With the challenges the pandemic has presented for learning and teaching, the information collected will be even more important as it will help us better understand the impact this last year has had on academic performance and what supports may be needed. Below is the testing schedule for Wildfire Elementary School.

WFES AZMERIT Testing Schedule

3rd Grade

  • Thursday, April 8th: Writing
  • Friday, April 9th: Writing Make-Up Day
  • Tuesday, April 20th: Reading 1 & 2
  • Thursday, April 22nd: Math 1 & 2

4th Grade

  • Tuesday, April 13th: Writing
  • Tuesday, April 20th: Reading 1 & 2
  • Thursday, April 22nd: Math 1 & 2

5th Grade

  • Thursday, April 15th: Writing
  • Tuesday, April 20th: Reading 1 & 2
  • Thursday, April 22nd: Math 1 & 2
  • Tuesday, April 27th: Science 1 & 2

6th Grade

  • Friday, April 16th: Writing
  • Tuesday, April 20th: Reading 1
  • Wednesday, April 21st: Reading 2
  • Thursday, April 22nd: Math 1
  • Friday, April 23rd: Math 2

Make-Up Day for All Grade Levels and Tests
  • Thursday, April 29th
  • Friday, April 30th

Testing Supplies/Needed Materials

  • Wired headphones/earbuds
  • snack/water bottle
  • school-issued Chromebook/computer

Remember, that once a student starts a test they must finish the test in the same testing session. We know that some things are unavoidable but we ask that parents/guardians make all efforts to not have students be absent or have appointments scheduled on testing days.

Please make sure that your student(s) get a good night's rest and healthy breakfast so they are ready for their testing days.

AZMERIT for PV Connect Students

The following Information is For PV Connect Students Only Who Elected to Test on Wednesdays

Testing Dates

Students will need at least 3 Wednesday testing sessions as a student is only allowed to complete a maximum of 2 tests per day. Once a student has started a testing session, they will have until the end of the school day to complete the test. Students will be given a break in between testing sessions. Please note that the writing assessment must be completed by April 14th.

  • Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 - 9:15 AM: Writing

  • Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 - 9:15 AM: Writing Make-Up, ELA 1&2

  • Wednesday, April 21st, 2021 - 9:15 AM: ELA 1&2, Math 1&2

  • Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 - 9:15 AM: ELA 1&2, Math 1&2

Time Frame

Suggested testing times from AZ Department of Education are 45-90 minutes for Writing, Reading has 2 sessions 45-75 minutes each, and Math has 2 sessions 60-85 minutes each.

COVID Mitigations

All of our COVID mitigations will be in place during testing. All students must wear a cloth facemask while on school property at all times (except while actively eating or drinking). Your child will have their own individual table and be spread out 6 ft. or more apart in the library. There will be one or two proctors in the library during testing.

Supplies Needed

Students will need to bring their school-issued Chromebook (fully charged), plug-in earphones to take the test and a book to read for when they are done testing and waiting to be picked up. Individual new pencils and scratch paper will be provided. Students will also need a filled water bottle and a lunch/snack to eat between testing sessions.

Drop-off and Pick-up

Students will be dropped off in our front lobby at 9:00 am (testing begins at 9:15). When your child is done with their testing, they will walk back to our office/lobby and our office will call you to let you know they are done. If you have two children testing on the same day and one is done earlier, they can read quietly to wait for their brother/sister. Please make sure we have your correct phone number to contact you when your child is done testing.

Asynchronous Learning during grade level AZM2 Testing

While your child's class is testing during their scheduled testing time, your student on PVConnect will have asynchronous learning on those testing days.

Update on Mask Requirements in K-12 Schools

In light of Governor Ducey's executive order relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, the Arizona Department of Health Services issued a statement confirming that AZDHS Emergency Measure 2020-04 is still in effect, requiring masks in all K-12 schools. Masking is one of the top mitigation strategies for safe in-person learning as recommended by the CDC.

Masks must be worn on school campuses, on school buses, and during school-associated activities by all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors.

- Arizona Department of Education

Class Placement for the 2021-2022 School Year

We are currently working on creating our class rosters for the 2021-2022 school year. Information provided by parents will help our placement teams create class rosters. Please know our placement teams strive and work hard to create balanced classes that give all students an environment where they can thrive and class rosters are created prior to being assigned to a specific teacher. Parent input is just one of many factors used to determine a student's class placement. We respectfully request that parents do not specify a certain teacher or request to not have a certain teacher, as those requests cannot be honored.

We also ask that parents do not contact the teachers directly with placement requests.

Community Education Summer Programs

As you might know, our Community Education department provides summer enrichment and instructional programs to support our students. After a year that included distance learning and limited social interactions, our Community Education program provides additional value in supporting the needs of our students. As a result, we will be using our ESSER grant funds to provide these classes at no cost to students who were enrolled in our schools during the 2020-21 school year. This applies only to our classes and does not include our Mascot camp. These classes can fill up quickly, so early registration is encouraged. You can find the catalog of courses on the Community Education department website:

Hero Squad Drive for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Wildfire Student Government has once again partnered with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Arizona to help raise funds to fight blood cancers. Last year, Wildfire Elementary School raised nearly $11,000 and was the #2 fundraising school in Arizona for the LLS and our goal this year is to raise even more funds to help fight this terrible disease.

Our fundraising drive will take place April 26th - 30th this year and due to COVID-19 guidelines and in the interest of the health and safety of everyone, the drive will be completely virtual. The Student Government will be sharing more information about the drive in the next few weeks so stay tuned and thank you all for your support of our school's mission to help fight blood cancers.

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Congratulations to former WFES Principal Dr. Troy Bales!!!

Congratulations to former Wildfire Principal Dr. Troy Bales for being selected as the next Superintendent of the Paradise Valley Unified School District! Dr. Bales was the first Principal of Wildfire Elementary School when it opened in 2006. Many current Wildfire staff members were hired by Dr. Bales to open WFES and we are very excited to have him leading PVUSD.

Below is the announcement to PV families on the selection of Dr. Bales as the next Superintendent:


The Governing Board had the opportunity to interview three extraordinary finalists for the position of PVSchools Superintendent. Following robust discussion that included feedback from the community forum and stakeholder interviews, the PVSchools Governing Board unanimously selected Troy Bales, Ed.D., to serve as Superintendent beginning July 1, 2021, and is expected to vote to approve his contract at the April 8th Governing Board meeting.

Dr. Bales has served as assistant superintendent of human resources for PVSchools since 2016. From 1999 to 2016, Dr. Bales held positions within PVSchools as principal at the elementary and high school levels. Before joining PVSchools, he was the executive director of human resources at Glendale Elementary School District.

He is a member of the American Association of School Administrators, the Arizona School Administrators Association, the Association of School Curriculum and Development, the American Association of School Personnel Administrators, the Arizona Association of School Personnel Administrators, and the Board of Directors - Vice President of Teen Lifeline.

Dr. Bales earned an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from North Iowa Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Arts degree in Education Administration and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.

Social Emotional Learning? Parents, This Is for You!

Parents, are you wondering what all the talk is about SEL and social-emotional skills? Now that we have an SEL Specialist at our school, you might be wondering what does she do!

You are already doing a lot to support your child with these skills, so keep reading to make additional connections about what it is, why it’s important, and what resources you can turn to if you’re interested in doing more.

Why do children need social-emotional skills?

Social-emotional skills are essential for connecting with others! They help us manage our emotions, build healthy relationships, and feel empathy. Some examples of social-emotional skills in action are: recognizing when a friend is sad and asking if they’re ok, asking for assistance when he/she needs help, listening and paying attention, having an argument with a friend, and knowing how to navigate that situation, having big feelings and knowing how to self-regulate.

With social-emotional skills, children can make lasting friendships with others, maintain meaningful relationships, and handle difficult social situations. They can manage times of high stress, and during times of anger and keep from having unhelpful behaviors they may regret later.

Social-emotional skills help children have positive life experiences. When these skills are taught and supported, children are more likely to have academic successes and have a good attitude toward school as well as his/her self. They are less likely to experience emotional distress and use drugs or alcohol.

Where and when are SEL skills used?

Social-emotional skills are needed and used from early childhood through adulthood. There is never a time they aren’t needed. We use these skills many times a day with sibling and parent-child relationships, friendships, social and academic situations at school, our jobs, and anything we do in our communities. We need them for interaction with others and even when communicating by phone or email.

Confidence, the ability to identify his/her feelings, as well as having assertiveness skills, such as refusing peer pressure and reporting if someone is bullying him/her is another outcome of having good SEL skills.

Additionally, I am here to help children manage their stress and feelings. But I am also here to help you, as a parent. Please feel free to reach out to me at or fill out this form if you want to refer yourself or your child.

- Meryl Warda

Join Our Team!

If you or anyone you know wants to become a member of the best staff at the best school in the Paradise Valley School District we are in need of multiple para-educators positions. It is the opportunity to make a positive impact in students' lives while working in a supportive and exciting environment!

Multiple positions are available.

To learn more and to apply, please visit the following links:

We look forward to having you join our team!

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The owls are back!

For the second year in a row, Hoot, our friendly owl who has made a home in the rafters of our bus lane, has had her owlets hatch this week! We know there are at least 2 baby owls in the nest. Our staff and students are excited to watch them grow!
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Welcome to the Neighborhood

Sky Crossing Elementary School officially opens in the fall of 2021. In an effort to help get their PTO off the ground and running Wildfire, Fireside, Desert Trails, and Boulder Creek are hosting a family night out at Cafe Zupas and Chipotle on April 28th. A percentage of each sale will be donated to Sky Crossing Elementary School. Enjoy great food while helping our newest PV school.
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Health Office Information

News from the Nurse

It has been very exciting to see students back in school and I love seeing how much your children have grown and how much older some of them look! Thank you for continuing to informally screen for signs of illness before sending your children to school. When all of this started, I could not imagine how the students would be able to keep their masks on all day but they continue to do a great job and I am very proud of them!

Just a few parent reminders:


Please be sure to call absences into the absence line (602) 449-4301. Notifying your child’s teacher is not enough - all absences must be reported to the front office. When leaving a message on the absence line, please be sure to state the reason for the absence and if your child is ill, please share details. Simply stating “my child is not feeling well” is not enough. Knowing the details may save us from having to call you back and it also helps us to track and identify any illness trends.


Any positive results must be reported to the nurse; once again, notifying your child’s teacher is not enough. You can certainly share the results with the teacher but I must be notified as well. This allows me to determine when your child may return to school and it also allows us to determine if we need to send any students home who may have had close contact with your child.

If I send your child home due to illness and you bring your child for testing, negative results must be reported to me as well. Again, feel free to share with your teacher but you must inform me.

You may call or you may email me, whichever is more convenient for you.


Two school-required vaccines are due once your child turns 11 years old. These vaccines are the Tdap and meningococcal vaccines. Please keep this on your “radar” and plan to have your child vaccinated. Also please be sure to provide me evidence of your child has received the vaccines.

If your 6th-grade child has already turned 11 years olds and if he/she has not yet received these vaccines, please note that your child will not be able to start middle school or receive a class schedule until evidence of having the vaccines is received.

As always, please don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or health concerns.

Kindergarten Enrollment for 2021 - 2022 School Year

If you have and/or know of any family who has a kindergarten student who is interested in attending WFES, please share our dedicated Kindergarten Website to learn more about kindergarten at WFES and how to enroll.

Upcoming School Spirit Days

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PTO Information

Are you the future PTO President?

The PTO is actively seeking a PTO President for the 2021-2022 school year. Nominations are currently open. Interested parents can email for more information.
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AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support Wildfire Elementary every time you shop, at no cost to you. AmazonSmile is available at Smile.Amazon.Com on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app for iOS and Android phones.

How to turn on AmazonSmile in the mobile app:

  1. Join AmazonSmile. If you are not already an AmazonSmile member, sign up on your web browser. Simply select Wildfire Elementary PTO to start generating donations, at no cost to you.
  2. Get the app. Download or update to the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app on your phone. You can find it in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.
  3. Turn on AmazonSmile. Open the app and find ’Settings’ in the main menu (☰). Tap on ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.

On your first visit to, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization. Select Wildfire Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. Every time you shop on Amazon simply start at and the school earns 0.5% of every purchase. It's that easy to make a difference! Ask your friends, family and co-workers to participate too! As always, Thank you for your support!

Important Dates

  • April 7th: Early Release Day
  • April 7th: UPC Meeting
  • April 8th: AzMERIT Testing - 3rd Grade Writing
  • April 8th: Governing Board Meeting
  • April 9th: School Spirit Day - Mystical Magical Friday
  • April 9th: 2nd Grade Wax Museum
  • April 13th: AzMERIT Testing - 4th Grade Writing
  • April 14th: School Council Meeting - 8:00 AM
  • April 14th: Early Release Day
  • April 14th: 6th Grade Over the Line Tournament
  • April 15th: AzMERIT Testing - 5th Grade Writing
  • April 15th: School Spirit Day - Purple Up!
  • April 16th: AzMERIT Testing - 6th Grade Writing
  • April 16th: PTO Gathering - 7:00 PM at Aviano Clubhouse
  • April 20th: AzMERIT Testing - 3rd - 6th Grade ELA
  • April 21st: Early Release Day
  • April 21st: AzMERIT Testing - 6th Grade ELA
  • April 22nd: AzMERIT Testing 3rd - 6th Grade Math
  • April 22nd: Governing Board Meeting - 7:00 PM
  • April 23rd: AzMERIT Testing - 6th Grade Math
  • April 23rd: School Spirit Day - Firebird Friday
  • April 26th - 30th: Hero Squad Fundraising Campaign for LLS
  • April 27th: State Science Assessment - 5th Grade
  • April 28th: Early Release Day
  • April 28th: Welcome Sky Crossing Family Night Out at Cafe Zupas
  • April 30th: School Spirit Day - Poem in your Pocket