Gecko Gazette

Desert Sage Elementary Newsletter - September 16, 2021

Big picture

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

Tuesday, September 21 is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is also called the Moon Festival or the Mooncake Festival. It traditionally falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which is in September or early October on the Gregorian calendar.

A “Mid-Autumn Festival” is also celebrated in many other Asian communities besides China. In China, it's a reunion time for families, just like Thanksgiving, while in Vietnam, it's more like a children's day.

The Mooncake Festival is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. Chinese people celebrate it by gathering for dinners, celebrating the moon, lighting paper lanterns, eating mooncakes, etc.

Mid-Autumn Festival Facts:

Fall Picture Day

Tuesday, October 5, 2021 is Desert Sage's Fall Picture Day. All students will have their picture taken. We are now using Dorian as our photography company.

Order forms will be sent home the week before. Also, be on the lookout for an email providing the access link to place your picture order online.

Goodwill Donation Drive

Saturday, Sep. 18th, 10am-2pm

23425 North 39th Drive

Glendale, AZ

Help Desert Sage Elementary PTO raise money by donating your gently used items. All money raised from the drive goes directly to support Desert Sage students and staff.

Optional Chromebook Protection Plan

The Deer Valley Unified School District is providing a device protection plan for 4th-12th grade students and parents utilizing take-home devices. Enrollment in the plan is optional with the understanding that if students/parents do not enroll in the protection plan they may carry full liability for the student device (iPad or Chromebook) in the same way they do for other damaged or lost school property, such as textbooks. Purchase the protection plan online:

Click here for more information about the Optional Device Protection Plan.

Student PLC Early Release Days

Education is a field that continues to change rapidly, and we are dedicated to ensuring that our staff are able to fulfill their commitment of meeting the challenges of today’s educational environment. Supporting this commitment includes providing the time for staff to work in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) each week, at a regularly scheduled time, to collect, review and utilize student data to more effectively serve our students’ academic and behavioral needs.

The PLC work for teachers at Desert Sage includes working with their grade level, Special Education, Reading Specialist (K-3), and Gifted Sage teacher (3-6) colleagues to analyze ELA and Math data. They plan the intervention groups (Tier II and Tier III) that students will participate in daily for additional instruction on the learning standards. These intervention groups are fluid, meaning they change frequently based on students progress towards meeting the standard they are working on. Additionally, during this time the teachers work to create Common Formative Assessments, aka mini quizzes on the standard that will be used to determine student's growth. Finally, throughout all of this collaborative work, teacher determine the most efficient and effective instructional planning for whole group.

Each month we will include an "I Spy PLC" section to our Gecko Gazette. In this section, we will give a brief synopsis of the teachers' PLC work for that month.

If you would like more information about PLCs, please visit our DVUSD PLC website.

Panda Express Dinner Night

Wednesday, Sep. 22nd, 12am

Any Panda Express location nationwide.

Order online or through the Panda Express App anytime Wednesday, 9/22. Apply code 904972. Available at all locations nationwide.

For Desert Sage to receive donation, orders MUST be made through online ordering or the Panda Express App.

28% of all sales will be donated to the Desert Sage PTO. All money raised from the fundraiser goes directly to support Desert Sage students and staff.


Attendance matters every day for every child even during virtual learning. Please ensure your child is attending school each day. If your child is currently schooling from home due to a COVID-19 related absence, please make sure they are is participating through Canvas by watching the provided ZOOM videos for daily lessons, completing all Canvas assignments, and participating in ZOOM check-ins with their teachers frequently.

If your child is going to be absent for any period of time within a school day (i.e. full-day, half-day, 1 class period, etc.) please call the Desert Sage attendance line at 623-445-4790.

If your child is absent and you have not called in the absence you will receive an automated voice recorded message notifying you of the absence.

If you have questions regarding your child's attendance, please call the Desert Sage office at 623-445-4700.

Big Kid Book Club - Free Books!

The Big Kid Book Club is here! Click here to enroll your 3-5 year old child to join and begin receiving FREE books NOW!

The Deer Valley Unified School District invites your child to join the Big Kid Book Club! Let us help your child cultivate a love for reading – and get ready for kindergarten.

We will periodically send your child a free book in the mail along with helpful advice for parents of 3-5 year olds.

You do not need to live within the Deer Valley Unified School District to participate. All children between the ages of 3-5, who are not yet attending kindergarten, are eligible to join the Big Kid Book Club.

Nominate a R.A.D. Desert Sage Staff Member

We have Really Awesome Deed (R.A.D.) students at Desert Sage who are recognized for exhibiting one of our Lifelong Guidelines. But did you know we have R.A.D. staff members too? You can nominate any Desert Sage staff member for a R.A.D. when you want to have them recognized for exhibiting one of our Lifelong Guidelines.

You can nominate from the direct link on our school website, the links provided in the teacher's email signatures, or by clicking here: Nominate a R.A.D. Staff Member

Nominated staff members are recognized during our staff meetings with a personalized certificate and are added to our R.A.D. Staff Member Pride bulletin board.

Upcoming Important Dates

  • Friday, September 17: Dismissal at 2:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 21: Chinese Mid Autumn Festival
  • Friday, September 24: Dismissal at 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, October 1: Dismissal at 2:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 5: Fall Picture Day

AZ School Tax Credit for Desert Sage

Your school tax credit donations can provide Desert Sage students with opportunities to after school and summer programs, field trips, music and athletic programs or any other extracurricular activity.

  • The Arizona tax credit program (A.R.S. 43-1089.01) allows a tax credit of up to $200 for individuals and up to $400 for married couples, filing jointly, in support of extracurricular activities.
  • The tax credit reduces your tax burden to the state of Arizona, dollar for dollar.
  • This year, AZ tax credit dollars can help us purchase needed capital items as well if donated to the general fund.

Desert Sage Elementary

We are an A school in the Deer Valley Unified District. We educate children pre-k through grade 6 & offer Mandarin Language Immersion. We are the home of the geckos. Kristy M. Gill is the proud principal and Dr. Heidi Hopman is the proud assistant principal.