Rattler News

Fall - Winter 2019

Mike Davis


Administrative Assistant

Marilyn Daniels

480-635-2025 ext. 403

Jim Louzek

Assistant Principal & Athletic Director

Administrative Athletic Assistant

Laurie McBride

480-635-2025 ext. 402

Ryan Salazar

Dean of Students

480-635-2025 ext. 407


Sonya Richardson

Contact DRJHS

Message from Principal Mike Davis

Hello Rattlers,

Second quarter is well underway now and students are realizing that their grades did not reset for second quarter. Semester long grades are part of the transition from elementary school to high school. We hope to provide students with knowledge of their path to high school, but also show them that a rough start can be overcome with hard work, and that sustaining the grade they want to achieve is a long and worthy accomplishment.

Our focus this year is student growth. We know grades are important, but the individual growth of every student is important to us. As I discuss with the teachers the importance of second chances, please do the same with your child(ren). It is never too late to take a positive step in the right direction. We want our students to take responsibility and control over their academics, but we also know that is a skill we want to help encourage and grow. We want the students to ask their teachers for help or clarification, we want them to discuss options, suggest a plan to increase a grade or score, and to attend tutoring. All these interactions provide students with confidence to become an advocate for themselves. This is not a request to remove parents from the communication loop at all. We still want to keep communication open between families, but we do want to get the students to grow and realize the control they have in their academic journey.

As AZ MERIT results and state awarded school grades become a popular conversation in November I want us all to remember the hard work the staff, students, and our families put into a full academic year should not be forgotten. As a staff, the data from last spring has already been analyzed and we have begun working on improving our students proficiency and growth. We will continue to talk about a “Productive Struggle” with our students and encouraging them to give their best effort on assessments and to not give up on difficult questions. When a student has exhausted their knowledge base on a problem, we want them to then provide their best educated guess. We also teach test taking strategies to give our students the best possible chance to score their best.

As a reminder, we invested in high quality student planners that all students were provided for free as the year began. A replacement can be purchased in the front office for $5. We are noticing many students are not using them in a way that it is beneficial to the student or their families. We encourage you to speak to your child(ren) about the planner and how you would like them to use it. Our teachers would be more than happy to share with you all how to maximize the effectiveness of the planner.

Each student has been given a student ID card. We use these ID’s for lunch accounts, entrance to school activities, and

to identify students on campus. If your child(ren) does not have one, they should purchase a new ID for $5 as soon as possible in the front office.

Mr. Mike Davis



~Mrs Herron

Mrs. Herron received a $5000 Fiesta Bowl Grant for classroom supplies of her choice.

~Mrs. Vucko

Mrs. Vucko has won an SRP Touchdowns for Teachers $500 Grant in partnership with the Arizona Cardinals.

Congratulations Mrs. Herron and Mrs. Vucko!!


Registration for 2019-2020 sports is now available! Please visit www.registermyathlete.com

to register your student. Please register your student for all sports you think they might be interested in participating in.

Desert Ridge Junior High offers the following sports:

Winter Sports: November-February

7th Grade Girls Softball

8th Grade Girls Softball

7th Grade Boys Basketball

8th Grade Boys Basketball

7th and 8th Grade Wrestling

Cross Country



Spring Sports: February-April

7th Grade Girls Basketball

8th Grade Girls Basketball

7th Grade Boys Baseball

8th Grade Boys Baseball




  • Complete Registration on Register My Athlete (www.registermyathlete.com)

  • Completed an AIA physical form (printed off from Register my athlete website)

  • Athletic Fee paid after you make the team $35 for Dance and Chess; $75.00 for all remaining sports.

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA, No F’s or Falling Grades in any subject.

Please follow the attached instructions to register your student. Your student must be marked "Complete for Tryouts" in order to try out for any sport.

If you have any questions, please contact the DRJHS Athletic Office at (480) 635-2025 x402 (laurie.mcbride@gilbertschools.net)

For Winter Sports schedule, follow link below


Thank you,

Jim Louzek

Athletic Director


Students receiving 6+ excused/unexcused tardies in 1st hour will be assigned PRIDE hour. PRIDE hour will be assigned for each tardy after 6.

Attendance Line

480-635-2025 ext. 550

Karen Mitchell

Attendance Specialist/Registrar

480-635-2025 ext 406

Kimberly Weamer

Attendance Technician

480-635-2025 ext. 416


8th Grade Recruitment Marching Night - Friday, November 1th - 5:30 pm at the DRHS band room

Band Winter Concert - Tuesday, December 10th @ 7:00 pm in the DRHS Auditorium

Brian Mabry

DRJHS Band Director


Seeking Career Guest Speakers for our AVID Classrooms

We are looking for speakers from a variety of career fields to empower our students to be college and career ready. Students are excited to hear about the demands and outlook within your career field, the training and education needed to prepare to succeed in the field, but also to speak about your own college experiences. Career guest speakers are an important part of our college and career education and allow students an opportunity to broaden their horizons and keep options open as they begin to make decisions that will affect their own choices and planning.

If you're interested in being a guest speaker in our AVID classes, please contact Rosie Gorton, DRJHS AVID Site Coordinator at 480-635-2025 ext. 409 or Rosie.Gorton@gilbertschools.net

8th Grade Counselor - Rosie Gorton (ext. 409)

7th Grade Counselor - Cornelius Turner (ext. 408)


Help Make Friends and Interact Safely Online

Check out these 4 tips

1.Give them the right words.

Kids learn about appropriate verbal and physical communication from watching you. But online conversations can be invisible. Occasionally, narrate as you’re writing texts or social media comments when your kids are in earshot.

2. Learn about their worlds.

Tweens and teens have unique communication styles--especially online. As much as possible keep an eye on what they’re saying and doing online to understand the norm in their worlds. Don’t police everything they say, but keep an ear out for aggressive trash-talking, hate speech, rude images, or anything hurtful. If you see stuff that crosses the line, speak up. Kids need to understand that their words have consequences.

3. Empathize with the pressure to overshare.

Tweens and teens might feel pushed into sharing an inappropriate photo for different reasons: a dare, fear of damaging a relationship, or just because “everyone else is doing it.” But this one is non-negotiable. Tell them that you understand how bad it can feel to disappoint a friend. Then help them imagine how much worse it would feel if a private picture were shared with their whole school.

4. Develop their instincts.

Help kids learn to trust their guts so they can identify creepy, risky, or otherwise unsafe online situations. Playact a few scenarios. What if someone asks to take a conversation private? What if someone asks for your phone number? What if someone invites you to a private chat room? Be aware that some kids (even “good” kids) will explore iffy stuff online out of curiosity. But the minute they feel uncomfortable, they need to shut things down.


Tuesday, May 26th 2020 at 12am

Washington D.C., DC, USA

Washington, DC


MAY 26, 2020 - MAY 30, 2020

The Capitol, WhiteHouse, George Washington's home at Mt. Vernon, National Cathedral,

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington Monument, Smithsonian

Museums, Lincoln Memorial, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials,

and many more monuments and memorials, the battlefield at Gettysburg-Pennsylvania,

Fort McHenry in Baltimore where the National Anthem was written.

All of these are places you will get to visit if you join us on our trip to D.C.

There are a few seats left. If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Mr.

Livingston at 635-2025 ext. 204 or register at Worldstrides.org. Group # 173368


Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, 8am

10211 East Madero Avenue

Mesa, AZ

DRJHS will be having our Book Fair on December 3 -6. Come get your holiday shopping started! The Fair will be open from 8:00 till 3:30 each day!

Library News

Scholastic Book Club

We have started a Scholastic Book Club for DRJHS! Enter the code WCLQH when you order books from Scholastic and a percentage of all purchases go back to the library!


Mrs. Gloria Whitlow

DRJHS Librarian



Many visits to the Health Office are related to Hunger.

Students complain of feeling fatigue - nausea - headache - difficulty concentrating - stomach ache - feeling dizzy - hungry - feeling faint

A healthy diet supports growth and development and reduces the risk of chronic disease.

It should include fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, grains, and oils with limited saturated and trans fats, added sugars and sodium

The CDC 2015-2020 guideline recommends 2,200 calories/day to support a healthy body weight of an active boy, and 2,000 for an active girl.

Repeat studies report that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain by overeating later in the day

No breakfast leads to poor school performance, low energy, poor concentration, and poor memory

Parents of girls, please ensure that your daughter has a change of bottoms and underwear in her bag for emergencies. Please confirm you've completed the online health history and given permission for Ibuprofen to be administered in the health office as needed.

Barb Naleski, RN

p 480-635-2025 ext. 410

f 480-635-2044

Heather Pluhar

Health Office Assistant

480-635-2025 ext. 413


Please help SUPPORT our DRJHS Teachers' during our "Gratitude 4 Teachers Supply Drive"

Sign up here:


Learn more here:


Annual United Food Bank Canned Food Drive

Tuesday, Nov. 12th, 8am

10211 East Madero Avenue

Mesa, AZ

Desert Ridge Jr. High is getting ready to kick-off our annual United Food Bank Canned Food Drive. Each year we seem to find a way to top the last year. The previous four years DRJHS has donated 56,800, 59,311, 60,314, and last year 66,706 pounds of food. The food drive will kick-off November 12th and the food donation will end on November 21st.

Our teachers will be setting goals and challenging the students and our families to donate specific items on set days based on the community needs. The United Food Bank provides statistics we will share with our students and our families throughout the month of November. Many of our teachers spend money from their own pockets to purchase incentives for students, and some are willing to put themselves through physical challenges such as dodgeball battles and pies to the face.

We cannot do this alone. We encourage our Desert Ridge families to reach out to us if you have community connections. Some companies will host drives at their work and then bring it to DRJHS as a donation from their employees. Others will donate pallets of rice bags or water bottles to our cause. Money donations are accepted as well. If you would like to donate food, water, or money to our school please contact the front office at 480-635-2025 ext 401.

We welcome ideas and donations for incentives for our students. The sky is the limit, so gift cards to popular teen hangouts are valuable incentives like Dutch Bros, Dunkin' Donuts, and movie tickets.