#ThisIsWhoWeAre

Welcome to Good News Biweekly!

Happy Holidays PXU Family!

We hope you've had a great final week of the second quarter here at PXU. Please take a few minutes as you prepare to go home and enjoy some well deserved rest to read some highlights of the latest happenings around the district.


Like always, even though we are in the middle of a pandemic, it does not mean we should stop spreading positivity or sharing the innovative things happening in our district.

Class of 2021 Challenge

Class of 2021 Challenge

GIVE IT UP FOR THE #PXU CLASS OF 2021! Watch this video of Superintendent Gestson proposing a challenge to our Seniors. In the video he asks seniors to submit ideas of ways to make the 2nd Semester of their senior year as special as possible. Seniors can submit their ideas to Classof2021@PhoenixUnion.org.


We will take all submitted ideas into consideration as we prepare for this second half of an unprecedented school year. We can't wait to see all of the creative ideas our seniors come up with.

CFA, ElevateEdAZ and ABEC Host Virtual Educator Externships To Reach Arizona’s Future Workforce

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The Center for the Future of Arizona has partnered with ElevateEdAZ and Arizona Business & Education Coalition (ABEC) hosted their second round of their Virtual Educator Externship program this past month.


These first of their kind, week-long workshops and events catalyzed conversations among educators from Arizona schools on how to teach students about a variety of career paths.


22 PXU Faculty, ranging from the Academies at South Mountain to Phoenix Coding Academy, attended virtual tours, panels, and trainings with professionals from State Farm, Wells Fargo, Banner Health and more. To make the program more accessible, CFA and ABEC provided a $500 stipend to educators who attended.

Heather Jancoski, an educator at the Academies at South Mountain, says this is her second time attending the externship.


“I have actually been in the externship twice now,” she said. “Once this summer and now the fall cohort.”


Jancoski said she signed up for the fall program because she believes it is important to maintain industry connections in the classroom.


“The network is so important to our careers,” she said.


“It keeps educators aware of what our students need beyond standards that we teach. It allows us to really dive into the real-world applications that our students need to be successful outside of our classrooms.”


Jancoski said the Fall internship gave her more time for reflection and build within the content that was shared.


“I really enjoy hearing from others in the community and how they look forward to hiring our amazing students,” she said. “It feels like the student’s educational process goes full circle when we have these collaborations.”


Jancoski said she thanks PXU and really hopes more people get the chance to get involved in these types of programs.


“I learned so much and I hope I can go through it again,” she said. “I would like to thank PXU for allowing teachers to be a part of this process.”


Jancoski teaches Video Broadcast Journalism 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, Yearbook, CTE 1, Audio Production, and Technology and Leadership at the Academies at South Mountain High School. She has been a teacher for 16 years in Phoenix and 6 years at South.


Want to host or attend an Educator Externship? CFA invites educators and business professionals from all levels to learn more from our Directors of College and Career Pathways Cindy Erwin at Cindy.Erwin@arizonafuture.orgor Aaron Ball at Aaron.Ball@arizonafuture.org.

Dr. Breshawn Harris - 1 of the 50 Outstanding Student Athletes in Mid-Eastern Conference History

The Academies at South Mountain Reading Teacher, Dr. Brewshawn Harris, was recently acknowledged by the Mid-Eastern Conference as one of the 50 outstanding student athletes in conference history.

Dr. Brewshawn is a Central High graduate from the class of 1991, and has been working in the district for 20 years, including the last 18 at The Academies at South Mountain. Her achievements at Central High earned her a full atheltic scholarship to her dream school, Howard University. It was here that she played volleyball at such an excellent level that she received nearly every volleyball award the Mid-Eastern Atheltic Conference offered. Below is a comprehensive list of her awards and accomplishments.

  • 3-Time First Team All MEAC (1991, 1993, 1994)
  • 2-Time MEAC Player of the Year (1993, 1994)
  • Coca Cola USA Player of the Week (1993)
  • #2 in the NCAA in Service Aces (1991)
  • #9 in the NCAA in Service Aces (1993)
  • 3-Time MEAC Volleyball Tournament Champions (1991, 1993, 1994)
  • 2007 Howard University Hall of Fame Inductee (Setter)
  • 2015 MEAC Hall of Fame Inductee (Setter)
  • 2016 Howard Volleyball Team Hall of Fame Inductee (Team Introduction)
  • 2017 Howard University Volleyball Jersey Retired
  • 2020 One of the 50 Top Players in the MEAC (article below)

Metro Tech Freshman Superstar Turns English Assignment into Community Event

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Danna Rodriguez Madero, a brilliant member of the Class of 2024, decided to take a recent English assignment from Mr. Gerchick into a Community Health Screening event with the help of her Honors Biology teacher Mr. Hester, others in the Metro Tech family, and other community organizations. An assignment designed to teach both rhetoric and authorship turned into a health screening clinic where community members could get their blood glucose, blood pressure, weight, and height checked. Mammograms were also part of the available screening options.


The whole PXU family is super proud of Danna for both her work, her initiative, and her leadership. We know her future will only continue to get brighter.

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Look Where Our Students Are Now!

Bioscience Alumni Carlos Alberto Yañez Navarro is being recognized as this year's 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate at Arizona State University's Hispanic Convocation. Way to go!


He will be graduating with a 3.9 GPA AND graduating with a BA in Political Science, a BS in Justice Studies, a BA in Transborder Studies and certificates in Human Rights, International Studies, Socio-Legal Studies, and Brazilian Studies.


Navarro is also a recipient of the Dean’s Medal for the School of Transborder Studies. We are Incredibly proud!

Linda Abril Educational Academy December 2020 Graduation

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Linda Abril Educational Academy celebrated the graduation of 39 students, this past Wednesday evening. It was a drive thru ceremony full of joy and hope.


Two students received $1,000 scholarships from the Determination Foundation, including Valedictorian Sophia L. Vasquez. Congratulations to all of our mid-year graduates, Principal Eric Kemp, and the whole staff at Linda Abril Educational Academy for helping our students reach this important milestone.

PXU Dance Teachers Celebrate All Educators, Students, Support Staff, and Admin

S2.E4- Virtual High 5- It's time to celebrate!
Thank you to the wonderful PXU Dance teachers for always bringing us some light. Say hello to your winter break with this happy video. Happy Holidays and thank you all for everything you do!

Important Reminders and Events

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Did you witness a random act of kindness, experience amazing customer service, or even know about a special good news story happening somewhere in the district? Submit your good news with a photo to the Marketing Department or Jagamez@phoenixunion.org to be featured in our biweekly newsletter.