PXU Newsletter 11/12/2021

Happy Native American Heritage Month!

The month of November is recognized nationally as Native American Heritage Month. We are proud to have Native students and staff who represent nearly 50 tribal communities. We will be sharing information and stories from Native individuals across PXU on social media throughout this month.

Please take some time to watch the video below from Ms. Lynnann Yazzie for more information about this month.

PXU - Happy Native American Heritage Month
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Vaccinations and Testing Continue at PXU

Our rotational vaccination events and weekly testing events are still happening! We want to remind you that we offer the FDA Approved Pfizer Vaccine at all of our campuses on a rotational basis. We offer FREE COVID testing at many of our school locations during the week and on Saturdays. We also offer Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for all those eligible. Please visit the CDC website for more information on booster eligibility as well as switching vaccine brands for the booster: Click here to be redirected to the CDC webpage for information on boosters

We are happy to now offer Pediatric Pfizer doses! Children ages 5-11 can receive the Pfizer vaccine at our Saturday vaccination events at Carl Hayden Community High School. Last weekend we administered 1300 pediatric vaccines at our vaccination event!

Thank you to all who have volunteered their time to keep our community healthy. If you would like to volunteer at our Carl Hayden vaccination event on Saturday, November 13, please click the link below:

Click here to volunteer at our Saturday, November 13 vaccination event at Carl Hayden.

Reminder that we continue to offer free COVID testing at all of our campuses during school days!

Please see the graphics below for the full schedule of events. You can also download a PDF version of the vaccination schedule below.

For more information on our vaccination and testing efforts, please visit https://PXU.org/BeHealthy

PXU - We Got Vaccinated for a Better Future

Why Get Vaccinated?

Please take some time to watch the video above with statements from students and staff across PXU about why they got vaccinated. For more information about opportunities to receive the vaccine, visit PXU.org/BeHealthy.
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Thank you to all of our schools for putting together an amazing EXPO 2021! We had hundreds of families visit our campuses and we are so glad that we could show them all the amazing things happening across the District.

We could not do this without all of the hard work that all of our staff put in each and every day. We will be announcing winners of iPads and Beats Headphones, courtesy of PXU Foundation (https://foundation4education.org), soon! Stay tuned to our social media pages to see which incoming students who registered are winners.

See below for some photos from EXPO!

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This Is Who We Are Magazine

We have a new edition of the Phoenix Union magazine, "This Is Who We Are," that has stories about 27 different people across our District and information about what we do and why we do it. If you would like to read it or share it, visit PXU.org/Magazine.

We also have physical copies available! If your campus needs magazines, email Vanessa Herb from Marketing and Communications at vherb@phoenixunion.org.

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Dr. Gestson Awarded Policymaker of the Year

Our Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson (pictured above) was awarded Policymaker of the Year by the Arizona Public Health Association. He was recognized for his leadership during this pandemic.

For information about how our District has worked towards mitigation under Dr. Gestson's leadership, visit PXU.org/BeHealthy.

Congratulations, Dr. Gestson!

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Maya Gonzalez: Gila River Women's Prayer Run

This past weekend, Saturday November 6th, senior Maya Gonzalez (pictured above) from Betty Fairfax High School, participated in the Gila River Women’s Prayer Run. This run promotes women’s wellness and unity through prayer and togetherness. Women’s Prayer Run has brought hundreds of O’odham and indigenous women together to carry prayers of healing and strength across Keli Akimel O’odham lands.

All of the women who participated ran through their respective district carrying the Women's Run Prayer stick, handing it off to one another. Maya was able to walk with other women in the area they reside and continued her run further into the community where she ran a great distance. Maya has participated in this run and many other runs that the tribe has to offer. Maya ran and endured for her family, friends, community, school and many more.

We are so proud of Maya!

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Bioscience Engineers Win Makers of Change Challenge

(Picture of student participants above)

The 2021 Makers of Change Assistive Technology Challenge came to an exciting conclusion on Saturday, October 30th. Bioscience High School was home to 3 of the top 8 (of over 100) teams who registered for the challenge. Two of our three finalist teams won their category and Dragon Drip - a junior team - won Best in Show! Together, they earned $700 for the school.

The MAKERS of Change Assistive Technology Challenge was created to support the ADAPT Shop at Southwest Human Development. Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. 2021 is the first collaboration between Southwest Human Development and ASU EPICS High, facilitated by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.


This year's challenge centered around Gabbie, a 4-year-old with Down Syndrome who is an excellent visual communicator, but needs support to achieve her speech goals. Teams worked from September 15th to October 21st to understand Gabbie's strengths and challenges, brainstorm, and plan for a software or hardware solution. Level 1 teams presented their proposed solutions while Level 2 teams developed functional prototypes. All teams submitted video presentations and posters for preliminary judging. These three finalist teams presented live to a panel of expert judges including ASU's Assitant Dean of Engineering Education, Tirupalavanam Ganesh.

Finalists: Power Rangers

Alex Park

Angela Sanchez

Andres Becerra

Donovan Burnham

Victor Mata Castaneda

Software Level 1 Winner and Best in Show: Dragon Drip - SpeakOut

Kaesy Diaz

Samantha Galvan

Chris Lopez

Sajad Mohammed

Martín Ramirez

Software Level 2 Winner: Bio Genusis

Osvaldo Alvarez

Charles Brandt

Hector Paredes Galdamez

Peter Andrade

Joel Montoya

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Heidi Konstantopoulos: $500 winner from SRP and the Arizona Cardinals Touchdowns for Teachers Program

Heidi Konstantopoulos (pictured above), science teacher at Linda Abril, was awarded $500 from SRP and the Arizona Cardinals Touchdowns for Teachers program! She can use these funds to support her lessons and classroom engagement.

Here is an excerpt directly from SRP:

"Through SRP Touchdowns for Teachers, we’re rewarding teachers who are guiding the next generation of innovators and leaders. For more than a century, SRP has been providing the Valley with reliable water and power while giving back to the communities we serve. From hands-on teacher workshops to grants for our educators, SRP supports teachers like you as you innovate for the future and create classrooms where everyone can succeed."

Congratulations to Ms. Konstantopoulos!

Betty Fairfax Community Based Training Cooking Activity

The Community Based Training (CBT) students at Betty Fairfax had a great time with their cooking lesson supervised and guided by Ms. Johnson, Ms. Patty, and Ms. Diana, and wanted to share their experience with everyone.

We are so proud of these students for working hard to learn crucial life skills.

Above are photos from the activity.

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PXU - Elevate ED AZ


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!

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PXU Wellness Reimbursement Program (Receive up to $50!)

Receive up to $50 for eligible expenses!

First, make a purchase or participate in an activity between 9/1 and 11/15 that falls

within one of the four pillars of wellbeing. Then, complete and return a 2021

Wellness Reimbursement Form by 11/15 along with proof of payment and a description

of the activity or item that promotes a pillar of wellness. Finally, email your form and

documentation to pxuwellnessreimbursement@phoenixunion.org!

For full details about the program and to access the Wellness Reimbursement Form, click the button below.

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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

Want to help our Employee Wellness team?

Help our Employee Wellness team narrow down their goals for this year by completing this survey:

Click here to access the Employee Wellness Survey

Let's support the team who is here to support us. Complete the survey today, and do not hesitate to reach out to them for support if you or someone you know is in need of it.

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!