WFES Newsletter

November 23rd, 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
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WFES Honored by US News & World Report

US News & World Report recently published their first-ever rankings of public elementary schools, and Wildfire Elementary School placed among the top 250 elementary schools in the state of Arizona, making it a U.S. News Best Elementary School!

We are incredibly proud of the hard work of all our students and staff to achieve such a wonderful award and recognition of our hard work. Thank you to all our parents and community for your continued support as we work on providing an extraordinary education and learning experience for all our students and families!

Special Event

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Firebird Fathers

Friday, Dec. 10th, 7:30-8:45am

3997 East Lockwood Drive

Phoenix, AZ

Wildfire Elementary School is hosting a special hour-long event to promote the power of positivity on the success of our children. We are inviting our Firebird Fathers* and their students to join us to show our children how much we believe in them. Fathers and students will have the opportunity to share their feelings and pride in a whole group and individual setting as well as play a game that demonstrates the power of positivity!

A light breakfast of pastries, coffee, and juice will be provided. The event will be held in the school library. Doors open at 7:30 AM and the event starts at 7:45 AM.

We are asking all attendees to RSVP so we can plan for seats and food accordingly.

*While the event is catered towards fathers, all parents/guardians are welcome to attend and participate.

Donations Needed: Supply Chain Issues Affecting WFES

Just like many other businesses and individuals, PVUSD schools (including Wildfire Elementary School) are currently having a difficult time securing supplies or experiencing long wait times to receive essential items that we use every day at school, particularly copy paper. As we are only able to buy certain supplies from pre-approved vendors, it compounds the problem. We are working on trying to move to more digital resources to help slow our consumption and costs but we are quickly moving through our supply of paper.

We are humbly asking for help if families are able/willing to donate a ream of plain white 20# copy paper to help replenish our supply while we wait on our orders to be filled. If you are able to help, simply send it to school with your student or drop it off at the front office.

We greatly appreciate your generosity and support.

Gifted Education at Wildfire

What if I Think My Child is Gifted?

If you believe that your student may be a gifted learner, then WFES's gifted cluster or honors program may be right for your child. Please read below for a short outline of applying for gifted testing as well as what to expect before, during, and after.


The gifted testing nomination process has gone digital! Teacher nominations are now collected by Google forms and physical paper nominations are no longer necessary. A teacher or parent may now complete a form online when nominating a student for gifted testing. A copy of their response will automatically be emailed to the teacher or parent upon completing the form.


Gifted testing takes place in accordance with the Arizona State Mandate. Paradise Valley Unified School District primarily uses the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT2) to identify gifted students.

Testing is offered three times each year as follows:

  • Fall - grades 4 - 6 students who may qualify for Honors classes

  • Winter - English Language Learners or former ELLs

  • Spring - Any K - 6 student residing in the PV Schools boundary

Make-up testing is available in June for students who were unable to complete testing during their school's regularly scheduled testing dates due to illness. Students must have had a signed permission slip and been on the original list for gifted testing. For further information on gifted testing at Wildfire, contact our Honors Specialist, Mrs. Glenda Martin,


Students qualify for gifted services by scoring in the 97th percentile or above on any one, or combination, of the verbal, quantitative, or nonverbal sections of a state-approved test beginning in kindergarten.

The PVSchools Gifted Education Department will mail written notification of test results to parents and guardians within three weeks of test administration. Parent notification is provided in English and in Spanish on the NNAT. Test results are available in Spanish for the CogAT upon request. Translation services are available for families who speak other languages.

Parent notification of testing results includes:

  • Record of the gifted testing results

  • Program Placement Permission Statement

Ready to Get Started?

Please visit the Gifted Education page on the Wildfire Website for more details and to learn more about gifted education at Wildfire and to get your student tested.

Click Here to Visit the Gifted Education Page

Staff Spotlight!

Welcome to Wildfire Ms. Faith Babon and Thank you Mrs. Cohen!

Our new K-3 Special Education Resource Teacher, Ms. Faith Babon, recently arrived at WFES. She joins our staff and community all the way from the Philippines, where she had previously taught special education. We are so excited to have her join our team and to work with our students. Her kind and caring personality as well as her teaching skills and abilities have already made her a great addition to our staff.

We would also like to thank Mrs. Teri Cohen for her wonderful work as our long-term substitute teacher in our K-3 Resource class as we waited for Ms. Babon's arrival. Mrs. Cohen was instrumental in meeting the needs of our students and providing them wonderful learning environment and experience. We are so grateful for her time and continued services!

Kindergarten Team

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Wildfire has an awesome staff and we want to put some of them in the SPOTLIGHT! They truly make a difference in the lives of children each and everyday!! Introducing our AMAZING Kindergarten Team: Mrs. Field, Mrs. Hilborn, and Mrs. Ridenour!

Mrs. Field

Caring, Honest, and Hard Working

What is your favorite thing about Wildfire? My favorite thing about Wildfire is our wonderful community and families!

When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher and who was your favorite teacher? I've always loved school and just never wanted to leave! :) My favorite teacher was Ms. Buchanan in the 5th grade because she was fun and had the beautiful gift of making every student feel special!

What is something that might surprise us about you? I haven't always taught kindergarten. Long ago I taught second and third grade, but have found my home in kindergarten!

What is your favorite sport or game to watch or play? I am not a huge sports fan, but I love to watch anything with my family! Home and family are my happy place!

What is the best advice you would give to a student? Just keep swimming! I know this saying comes from the movie Nemo, but it's true! When something you are learning is difficult, keep trying and don't give up! There will always be things that come easy and other areas that are challenging. Just remember, difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.

Mrs. HIlborn

Adventurous, Smart, Curious

What is your favorite thing about Wildfire? The awesome staff!

When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher and who was your favorite teacher? I realized I wanted to be a teacher In high school. Mrs. Jacobson, my Kindergarten teacher, was my favorite teacher. She was so kind and always made me feel so special.

What is something that might surprise us about you? I'm pregnant with our second! Yay!

What is your favorite sport or game to watch or play? I would run. :)

What is the best advice you would give to a student? Be yourself!

Mrs. Ridenour

Kind, Thoughtful, Caring

What is your favorite thing about Wildfire? My favorite thing about Wildfire is the community and working with wonderful people.

When did you realize you wanted to be a teacher and who was your favorite teacher? I wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up, but that wasn't what I wanted to do when I went to college. After having my two oldest children, I decided to be a teacher. I grew up in a small town, so I had my favorite teacher for 3 years in high school - 9th-grade science, chemistry, and physics. Mr. Litchy was a fun teacher.

What is something that might surprise us about you? There is a polar bear in our house.

What is your favorite sport or game to watch or play? I love puzzles, but I can only do them in the summer because once I start one, I will work on it nonstop until it's done.

What is the best advice you would give to a student? Try your best and pursue your interests.

THANK YOU for your kindness, patience, and love for learning that you share with all of your Kindergarten students! Wildfire is very fortunate to have such an AMAZING Kindergarten team! Way to go!

Thanksgiving Meal Donation Drive

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Led by our Student Government Representatives, Wildfire Elementary School was able to collect enough food and donations to create over 40 Thanksgiving meals to donate to our sister PV School Indian Bend Elementary School. Our STUGO members worked many hours decorating the boxes and sorting the donations to help make sure our fellow community members have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thank you to all our families for their support and generosity!

Junior Hero collage welcoming new members
We love to welcome new Junior Hero's to the ranks! Huge thank you to all our students for their work in helping improve their community!

Sounds of the Season Winter Concert

Saturday, Dec. 11th, 2:45pm

21001 North Tatum Boulevard

Phoenix, AZ

Our District Holiday Concert, Sounds of the Season, will be held Desert Ridge (on the stage next to Dave and Busters) on December 11th. We look forward to having a festive musical day for our students and families. Wildfire Elementary School performs at 2:50 PM! It will be a great show!

Our Firebird Chorus will be performing the following songs:

  • Shalom
  • Favorite Things
  • Ring the Bells
  • Wildfire School Song

Updates From The District

We Are Thankful!

We want to take this opportunity and thank you and all PV Schools voters for continuing to support student excellence by passing our school bonds and overrides! Bonds have been able to keep our schools in top-notch condition and help to maintain a safe and secure learning environment. These projects and annual maintenance would not be possible without the generous support of our community. Here at Wildfire, voter-approved bonds have made improvements to our school site security, upgrades to our fire suppression and HVAC units, new carpet, repaving our parking lots/bus lane, painting, and many more projects possible!

Thank you all for your continued support of WFES and all our schools!

COVID-19 Quarantine Procedures Update

In PVSchools, our goal is to maintain in-person learning in a safe environment for our students and staff. Teaching and learning in a mask isn’t easy, nor is it ideal. And, we recognize that masks pose challenges in the classroom; however, we know that Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) quarantines cause even larger disruptions, defeating our goal of keeping in-person learning as an option for all students.

During the first 10 weeks of school, we’ve continued to learn a lot about the impacts that quarantining had on our students and school system. In line with our evolving response to the pandemic, and after consulting with MCDPH, PVSchools will revise its quarantine protocol after the Thanksgiving break.

Currently, when a COVID-19 positive case and close contact are both wearing a mask, quarantine is not required. However, beginning November 29 at our middle and high schools, regardless of whether the COVID-19 positive case is wearing a mask or not, the close contact student wearing a mask no longer needs to be quarantined, provided they remain symptom-free. In short, if a middle or high school student is wearing a mask and becomes a close contact, there is no need to quarantine if that student remains symptom-free. This new practice will begin in our elementary schools following the winter break, beginning on January 3, 2022.

Additionally, we will introduce a test to stay option at our middle and high schools beginning November 29. A close contact student not wearing a mask may test and return with a negative result provided they wear a mask for an eight-day period following exposure. Students who test to stay must remain symptom-free. This strategy will be available regardless of whether the COVID-19 positive case is wearing a mask or not. Simply put, middle and high school students not wearing a mask who become a close contact can avoid quarantine, provided they first obtain a COVID-19 test, present negative results, and wear a mask for an eight-day period following exposure. This new practice will begin in our elementary schools following the winter break, beginning on January 3, 2022.

We are implementing these strategies as part of our multi-layered approach to mitigation protocols. This approach begins with everyone making a personal commitment to complete a self-assessment every day and refrain from coming to work or school if COVID-like symptoms are present or awaiting COVID-19 test results. We continue to promote healthy hand hygiene, social distancing when possible, cohorting, increased air filter and ventilation measures, cleaning upgrades, contact tracing, and more. Our mitigation efforts continue to evolve as public health officials provide new guidance.

For a complete review of our updated mitigation plan, visit the PVSchools Prepared webpage.

PVSchools in partnership with In Office Diagnostics (DX), will continue to offer a free, robust drive-through testing program. See more information on drive-through testing.

Finally, it’s always important to remind ourselves of the need to work together and treat one another with mutual respect. We may not always agree, but we do not have to be disagreeable. We can listen, understand, and compromise as we navigate these challenging times together. Our focus must remain on what’s best for students.

Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation and continued support of student success on the journey of excellence in PVSchools.


Troy J. Bales, Ed.D.

District Strategic Plan Survey

PVSchools has begun the process of updating the strategic plan and is seeking your feedback. The updated plan will consist of a new vision statement, mission statement, reaffirmed core values, a portrait of a graduate, and more.

The Strategic Plan Design Team, comprised of district and site administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, and community members, is requesting your input on the first phase of this update. Your feedback on this survey will help determine the new PVSchools vision and mission statements.

Thank you for your participation and your support of PVSchools.

The survey will close on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, at 5 p.m.

PTO Information

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Volunteers Needed

The PTO has a full line-up of fun events planned for the remainder of the school year.

In order to make each of them happen successfully, we need some help with planning and coordination.

Although a few events already have a volunteer or two who have stepped up to assist, others are in danger of being cancelled due to not enough assistance to make the event successful and enjoyable. Some of the volunteer opportunities can be done from the comfort of your homes, at your convenience; others will have you in the midst of the fray. There is something for everyone if you are willing to pitch in. Please sign up at the link below to help us make sure we can continue to provide great activities for our Firebird Families. Not only will I personally be very grateful for the help, but the rest of the PTO Board and all of the event attendees will also as well. Plus, we can ensure that you will have fun putting your personal touch on an event and will receive a lot of satisfaction when you see the benefits of your work and the excitement of your kid(s) when they discover you are helping plan an event!

  • Family Hike: Dec 11th
  • Family Night Out at Cafe Zupas: Jan 4th
  • Trivia Night: Jan 14th
  • Mother/Son Event: Jan 28th
  • Father/Daughter Dance: Feb 5th
  • Pizza in the Park: Feb 15th
  • Parent Night Out - Wine Tasting Event: Feb 18th
  • Family 5k/Fun Run: March 5th
  • Movie in the Park: April 1st
  • Adult-only/Silent Auction Event: April 23rd
  • Splash into Summer: May 13th
  • Family Bingo Night: TBD
  • Family Diamondbacks Game: TBD


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 Upcoming Dates

  • November 24th - 26th: Thanksgiving Break - No School
  • November 30th: School Tour - 2:30 PM
  • November 30th: PTO Meeting - 7:00 PM
  • November 30th - December 1st: NNAT Gifted Testing
  • December 3rd: Step It Up! Day of Awesomeness
  • December 7th: Early Release Day - 12:30 PM
  • December 8th: School Council Meeting - 3:30 PM
  • December 9th: Chorus Concert - 7:00 PM
  • December 10th: Firebird Fathers Celebration - 7:30 AM
  • December 10th: 2nd Grade Field Trip to Pioneer Village
  • December 11th: PTO Family Hike - 9:00 AM
  • December 11th: Sounds of the Season Winter Concert - 2:50 PM
  • December 13th: School Tour - 9:15 AM
  • December 14th: Band Concert - 7:00 PM
  • December 15th: School Spelling Bee
  • December 17th: Last Day of the 2nd Quarter/Semester
  • December 20th - December 31st: Winter Break - No School
  • January 3rd, 2022: Classes Resume - 3rd Quarter begins