PXU Newsletter May 23, 2023

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PXU Governing Board Unanimously Names Ms. Thea Andrade Interim Superintendent

The Phoenix Union Governing Board unanimously approved Ms. Thea Andrade (Pictured Above) to serve as Interim Superintendent on the evening of May 4. She will replace Dr. Chad Gestson, who recently announced his departure from the District to serve as the founder and inaugural Executive Director of the Arizona Institute for Education and the Economy at Northern Arizona University.

Ms. Andrade is the first female Superintendent in Phoenix Union’s nearly 130-year history and will begin serving on June 2, 2023.

Thea Andrade currently serves the District as Chief Achievement Officer. She brings 30 years of experience in education and over two decades of school administrator experience to the position. A former mathematics teacher, Ms. Andrade taught high school and middle school Algebra and holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Northern Arizona University.

She has served students as a high school principal, Director of Quality Schools, Director of Assessment & Accountability, Executive Director of Technology & Innovation, and Chief Achievement Officer. Ms. Andrade joined PXU in 2011 and oversees the Teaching & Learning, Student & Family Services, and Safety Divisions in her current role. She is passionate about ensuring equitable opportunities and access to quality seats for all students.

“It is an honor to serve our incredible students, staff, and families,” said Ms. Andrade following the announcement. “I look forward to working with the Governing Board, our educators, students, and families to continue moving the District forward.”

“Ms. Andrade has a proven track record of successfully reaching young people,” said PXU Governing Board President Naketa Ross. “Her experience, compassion, and love for our students and families gives the Board full confidence in her ability to succeed. We are excited to work alongside her in this role.”

“It gives me - and our entire Executive Team – great pleasure to congratulate Superintendent Andrade on her new appointment,” said Dr. Gestson. “She is poised, brilliant, ready, and fully capable of continuing the incredible momentum of Phoenix Union.”

A Boston native, Ms. Andrade has made Phoenix her home for the past three decades with her son and daughter.

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Celebrating the Class of 2023

Phoenix Union is proud to celebrate the graduating Class of 2023. Join us as we celebrate our students and see how they plan to use their Phoenix Union education that has prepared them for college, career, and life.

As we do annually, we showcased one senior from every Phoenix Union school to show that no matter what path our students take, they will succeed. The journey after high school is different for every student, and these students represent some of the many choices our students make.

Click the button below to be redirected to the Class of 2023 webpage:

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Graduation Schedule

Graduation is finally here! The full schedule of PXU graduations and the location of the livestream is PXU.org/Graduation.

Click the button below to be redirected to the Graduation webpage:

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Phoenix Union Scholarship Totals

Phoenix Union is proud to share that the Class of 2023 has earned the most scholarships in Phoenix Union history. Across all campuses, PXU seniors have earned over $177M in scholarships.

We also have the most Million Dollar Scholars in Phoenix Union history, with our first ever $4M scholar, Analy Cota Olguin (Pictured Above). The full list of all 16 Million Dollar Scholars is located on our Class of 2023 webpage.

Click the button below to view the full list of Million Dollar Scholars in the Class of 2023:

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Phoenix Educator Preparatory Now Accepting Students

Phoenix Educator Preparatory is now accepting freshmen! Students can join our early-college, early-service high school to study elementary teaching, secondary teaching, counseling, social work, and educational psychology. We encourage you to help us spread the word!

Learn more about Phoenix Educator Preparatory by clicking the button below:

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PXU FAFSA Completion

The Arizona FAFSA Challenge recently shared their rankings for FAFSA completion, and Phoenix Union schools have earned the following:

  • Betty Fairfax High School #3 in State for large schools Most Improved FAFSA Completion Rate
  • Phoenix Coding Academy #5 in State for small schools Most Improved FAFSA Completion rate
  • Metro Tech #10 in State for large schools Highest FAFSA Completion Rate
  • Bioscience #3 in State for small schools Highest FAFSA Completion Rate

We are so proud! Congratulations to them.

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Bioscience High School Accepted to National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools

Earlier this year, Bioscience High School submitted an application to be an Institution Member of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS). The NCSSS is a network of national and international top-ranked STEM schools. They were recently accepted and are now a part of the NCSSS.

In the Fall, NCSSS is holding their conference in Phoenix, and attendees will tour Bioscience and Coding.

What an incredible accomplishment. Congratulations, Bioscience!

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Nikhil Johnson Named One of Junior Achievement of Arizona's 18 Under 18

Nikhil Johnson (Pictured Above), student at North High School, was recently selected as one of Junior Achievement of Arizona's 18 Under 18.

Click the button below to read the story:

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PXU All Sports Awards a Success

The All PXU Sports Awards happened recently at Camelback High School, and they were a huge success. Incredible athletes and coaches from across the District were honored for their hard work and determination to their sport.

Congratulations to everyone who received an award!

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Cesar Chavez's Incredible Usoro Sisters

Cesar Chavez is home to many incredible athletes. Two that have shined are sisters Nkoyo and Mayen Usoro (pictured above).

Nkoyo is a junior who has played volleyball and run on the track team over the past 3 years. Her track events are the 100, 200, 400, and 4X100. She currently has a 4.6 GPA and was already offered a scholarship by Clemson for track. In 2022, she won the 100, 200, and 4X100 at the PXU Championship track meet.

Mayen is a freshman who runs track and currently has a 4.8 GPA. Her track events are the 100, 200, 400, and 4X100. She recently won the Chandler invitational in the 100 meter, and broke the freshman state record. in the PXU championship this year, she won the 100, 200, 400, and the 4X100.

We are very proud of them! Congratulations on your achievements, Nkoyo and Mayen!

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Michael Dominguez Named Chicanos por la Causa Esperanza Outstanding Latino Teacher

Mr. Michael Dominguez (pictured above), marching band, jazz band, orchestra, and mariachi teacher at Maryvale High School, was recently named one of the four Chicanos por la Causa Esperanza Outstanding Latino Teachers of the Year. He received a check for $5000, and Maryvale High School received one for $2500.

He was recognized at a reception held by Chicanos por la Causa on May 9th.

Congratulations, Mr. Dominguez!

Sofia Villa Wins First Place in Congressman Gallego's 2023 Congressional Art Competition

Sofia Villa, a freshman at Camelback High School was awarded 1st place, in Congressman Ruben Gallego's Congressional Art Competition, for her triptych titled, "Pieces of My Culture." Both the panel of judges and the Congressman were very impressed with Sofia's skill, attention to detail, and the overall beauty of the work. Sofia's artwork will be displayed in our nation's capital, in the House of Representatives for one year.

Congratulations, Sofia!

Wilson Holds Senior Portfolio and Awards Night

Recently, Wilson College Prep had an awards night for their seniors where they first displayed portfolios they made about themselves and their plans after high school. After that, seniors were awarded with scholarships, awards, and each got their AVID hoods to wear at graduation.

Congratulations to the Wilson Class of 2023!

South's Inaugural Passing of the Torch Ceremony

South recently held their first ever Passing of the Torch ceremony where freshmen were officially welcomed into their respective Academy by their Academy Principals. Each Freshman was given a lanyard in a color specific to their Academy for them to wear beginning next year.

We are excited to see what the South Class of 2026 accomplishes in their Academies!

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Aime Hernandez: Central's First All-American Wrestler

Aime Hernandez (pictured above), student at Central High School, recently became Central's first All-American Wrestler by placing 6th at the US Open. Earlier this year, Aime had a close but tough 4-3 loss in the state finals, however, she continues to train and improve. She had an amazing wrestling career at Central and will continue to wrestle on a full-ride college scholarship.

Congratulations, Aime!

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David Hoskinson Featured in GCU Article

David Hoskinson, ARCH Manager at Cesar Chavez High School, completed his Master's Degree in Educational Administration at GCU and was recently featured in an article by them. Congratulations, Mr. Hoskinson!

Click the button below to read the GCU article about David Hoskinson:

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South Boys 4X400 Relay Team Takes 3rd Place at State

The South Boys 4x400 Relay Team (pictured above) consisting of Jerimiah Benjamin, DeMar Coleman, Chrishawn Shropshire, and Michael Young, went head to head with teams from Gilbert and Basha and earned 3rd place in State by 1.5 seconds.

Congratulations, boys!

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Betty Fairfax BSU and HBCU Clubs Hold Awards Banquet

Recently, Betty Fairfax BSU and HBCU Clubs held a mini Awards Banquet and showed a video culminating their club activities this year. Congratulations to them!

Click the button below to view the video:

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Carl Hayden Hosts 2023 Latinos in Action Leadership Conference

Carl Hayden recently hosted the 2023 Latinos in Action Leadership Conference featuring keynote speaker, former NASA Astronaut Mr. José Hernandez. The conference was a full schedule of breakout sessions, student performances, and professional development for the students.
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Maryvale Mariachi Alumni Osos del Valle Attend Competition

Osos del Valle (pictured above), a Mariachi group consisting of Maryvale Mariachi Alumni, recently performed in their first competition at the Tucson Mariachi Conference representing Phoenix.

We are proud to see PXU alumni doing great things after high school!

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Linda Abril Rising Melodies Music Club

Recently, the Rising Melodies Music Club at Linda Abril Educational Academy (pictured above) put on its first ever music concert for the entire community. A full, one-hour set was played, and they rocked. The concert was a huge success because many parents, students, teachers, and district personnel attended.

Next year, they plan on having both a fall and spring concert. Everyone is welcome, and they hope to see you all there.

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Phoenix Coding Academy Art Displayed at Carly's Bistro

Carly’s Bistro downtown on Roosevelt recently displayed Phoenix Coding Academy's student artwork. At Coding Academy, students are learning so much more than just computer science. We are very proud!
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Cesar Chavez Drumline

The Cesar Chavez drumline (pictured above) competed in the WGAZ indoor drumline circuit this season with their show “Heartbeat.” Through ups and downs in our season, the drumline showed up at their competitions and never placed below second anywhere they went.

The weekend of WGAZ championships, they not only placed first in their division, the South Mountain division, they also became 2023’s champions for the Scholastic Local A division of WGAZ.

The following day, the drumline went head-to-head with the best of the best in all of the high school divisions and placed 5th overall!

They started with a season that almost didn’t happen, and then went through member changes, music rewritten, drill rewritten and more. Their accomplishments this year are a true testament to all their hard work, dedication, togetherness, and pure determination.

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Phoenix Digital National Honors Society Volunteers at St. Mary's Food Bank

On Saturday, April 15th, the Phoenix Digital National Honor Society volunteered at the St. Mary’s Food Bank. NHS members helped to create meal kits for families in our community. They spent 2 hours packing 1,797 food boxes. Phoenix Digital NHS members must complete 20 community service hours each year to maintain NHS membership.

Way to go, Digital NHS!

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Alhambra JROTC Blood Drive

Alhambra High School recently hosted a blood drive, and Alhambra JROTC brought in great numbers. The JROTC cadets were able to recruit nearly 80 donors. Of those, 58 donors generously gave their time and blood to improve the lives of 174 local hospital patients. This was slightly higher than their last blood drive. There were also 6 Power Red donors. During a Power Red donation, they can sort a donor’s blood onsite, allowing them to expedite much-needed red blood cells to local hospital patients.

Way to go, Alhambra JROTC!

Pictured above, Able Hernandez donating blood.

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Carl Hayden Handball

Recently, the Hayden Handball Club and one player from South Mountain traveled to Tucson to play in the USHA Hall of Fame Small Ball Classic. Two Hayden Handballers, Heriberto M. & Richard B., made it to the Semifinals to battle two of Tucson’s up and coming players from the Fred Lewis Foundation Group (FLFG).

The Carl Hayden Handball season is now complete and was full of great gameplay and sportsmanship.

Stay updated on Carl Hayden Handball by clicking the button below:

PXU Libraries 2022-2023 Stats

This school year, PXU Libraries had 50,375 physical books checked out, 5,051 eBooks and audio books checked out, and 79,680 research databases accessed by readers. Thank you to all teachers, students, and staff who supported the PXU Libraries and resources this year. We would also like to thank the PXU librarians for their hard work and dedication to our libraries.
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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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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!

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!