The Premier District of Choice

March 2022

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Welcome to the March edition of CUSD News for 2021-22 school year. In this quarterly eNewsletter, we highlight the students, staff, schools and district honors and accomplishments that make Chandler Unified a special place, and the Premier District of Choice. We have a lot to celebrate, so please scroll down to check us out!

NOTE: Translate and High Contrast buttons are available at the top right of this page.

Alexandra Gabriel's award winning entry in the City of Chandler's Creative Expression Competition
Tarwater Elementary 4th grade student Alexandra Gabriel's award winning entry in the City of Chandler's Creative Expression Competition. This year's theme was: Connected Through Diversity: Finding commonalities and connections in our diverse community.
 Superintendent Frank Narducci threw out the ceremonial first pitch
Chandler Unified School District Superintendent Frank Narducci threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Casteel High School’s opener on March 5. PLAY BALL!

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In the News

Free Suit Up Event for High Schoolers

One small step & Chapman BMW present “Suit Up,” a free event for high school students providing quality menswear for formal school events. This event is open to all CUSD students on Saturday April 2, from 12-3 p.m. at Chandler High School. Join us for dress clothes, shoes, pizza, and other free stuff.

Suit Up event for high school students Saturday April 2, from 12-3 p.m.

Chandler Innovation Fair an incredible success

The Chandler Innovation Fair (CIF) on February 19 was an incredible success. CIF featured student innovation as the cornerstone of the event, including the Hamilton Invitational Science and Engineering Fair research and projects, student inventions, project-based learning presentations, computer science projects, and robotics showcases.

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Chandler Innovation Fair (CIF) competition. Thanks to the CIF sponsors, Northrop Grumman, Intel, Waste Management and First Things First, the City of Chandler and the Chandler Unified School District will award six teams with a $500 scholarship award, going toward the winning school/organization science club or nonprofit organization.

These teams will be recognized at an upcoming Chandler City Council Study Session:

PHOTO ALBUM: Chandler Innovation Fair 2022

Students at the Chandler Innovation Fair

Choral Festival Delights Elementary Students

Nineteen elementary schools took part in the CUSD Elementary Choral Festival. The elementary choirs spent the day at the Chandler Center for the Arts (CCA) working with choir members from other schools to rehearse and perform choral repertoire. Each school also got a chance to sing on stage at the CCA and receive feedback from other schools. The Chandler High School choirs, under the direction of Wendy Umbrianna, also performed for all the elementary schools, and gave the students a look at what awaits them when they continue singing at the secondary level. Thank you to all of the elementary choral directors for making this a fantastic day for their students!

PHOTO ALBUM: CUSD Elementary Choral Festival

Choral Festival in Chandler Center for the Arts

Black History Month Celebrations in CUSD

Chandler Unified School District celebrated Black History Month in February. School leaders presented a proclamation and shared examples of Black Excellence in CUSD schools and community.

Pictured left: Students at CTA Goodman learned about George Washington Carver - Inventor. Some of George Washington Carver's best-known inventions include crop rotation (planting different crops to restore soil instead of single crop farming) and creating 300 different uses for peanuts (which weren't classified as a crop until Carver's work).

Pictured below: ACP Middle School students submitted posters to create a bulletin board in celebration of Black History Month.

PHOTO ALBUM: Black History Month in CUSD

Black History Month Bulletin Board

CUSD Schools Celebrate Lunar New Year

Schools around the district held celebrations for Lunar New Year starting on January 31 to February 15.

"Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures, including Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean communities, among others. The New Year celebration is usually celebrated for multiple days -- not just one day as in the Gregorian calendar's New Year."


PHOTO ALBUM: CUSD Celebrates Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year Celebration

CUSD Students Opt into Virtual Field Trip

In partnership with Rabbi Beyo from East Valley JCC, CUSD high school students opted in to experience a virtual field trip of Auschwitz and learn the historical importance of the Holocaust. We're grateful for opportunities our students receive with help from the Chandler community!
Virtual field trip of Auschwitz

Intel, Dell and CUSD Partner to Roll Out Educational Technology Solutions

Intel, Dell Technologies and Chandler Unified School District hosted a Celebration Reception and Distribution Event on January 26 at Chandler High School. Intel and Dell Technologies are leading the development of a transformative model for providing "Educational Technology as a Service" (ETaaS) solutions to school districts.

The primary goal of this innovative partnership is to change the way K-12 school districts embrace education technology to effectively bridge the digital divide, streamline deployment, enhance delivery and efficiently uplift support for anywhere, anytime learning. The pilot at Chandler High School will create a blueprint that can scale ETaaS to schools around the world.

PHOTO ALBUM: Celebration Reception and Distribution Event

Technology Celebration Reception and Distribution Event

CEF Car/Cash Raffle Winner Announced!

On March 11, Chandler Education Foundation (CEF) announced the winner of this year’s Car/Cash Raffle. Congratulations to SHANNON FRITZ!

Shannon is a 2nd grade teacher at Galveston Elementary School. She purchased one ticket.

Click below to:

Thank you to everyone who purchased for supporting

Chandler Unified School District students!

CEF Winner's Choice Raffle Winner Announced

CUSD Presents "State of the District" Annual Report

The CUSD administration and Governing Board presented the annual “state of the district” message to community leaders on January 31 in the Governing Board Room. The annual report provides an overview of the district, school choice and opportunities, what's new for 2022, academic performance, athletic achievement, recognition of students and staff, and budget information.

Check out CUSD Cares Podcasts, Counseling & Social Services News

In CUSD Cares Podcasts, Brenda Vargas, Director of Counseling and Social Services, engages knowledgeable guests in a lively discussion of topics that impact parents and students related to Counseling and Social Services within the Chandler Unified School District. Click to listen and follow CUSD Cares Podcasts -- now available on Spotify and Google Podcasts!

CUSD Cares Podcasts


We invite all families and the community to keep up to date about Chandler Unified by liking, following and subscribing below!

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Hartford Recognized As A+ School of Excellence

Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary learned in February they were named an Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) A+ School of Excellence for 2022. This makes 95 times that CUSD schools have earned A+ Schools of Excellence or U.S. Blue Ribbon awards since 1983, more than any other district in the state. AEF has identified and honored exemplary pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public schools in Arizona since 1983. The A+ School of Excellence® Award is the highest state-level recognition an Arizona public school may receive. The A+ School of Excellence® program is part of AEF's mission to celebrate excellence and cultivate equity in PK-12th grade Arizona public education.

Arizona Educational Foundation website: A+ School of Excellence Award

Hartford Recognized As A+ School of Excellence
State Champions

Athletic State Championships

Perry Boys Named 6A State Basketball Champions

Perry High - The Perry Pumas won their first-ever basketball championship by beating district rival Hamilton High, 48-38, in the 6A final game at Veterans Memorial Coliseum Wednesday night. It was the first time two schools from CUSD met in a basketball championship game.
Boys Basketball 6A State Champions

Casteel Wrestlers Take State Championships

Casteel High, behind four individual state champions, won its second consecutive Div. II wrestling title at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 19. Jackson Rustad (120 pounds), Sergio Ramos (132 pounds), Brennan Callison (165 pounds) and Raychon Cardona (285 pounds) brought home medals for the Colts.
Casteel Wrestlers Take State Championships
In Div. 1 girls, Casteel High wrestlers Isabelle Munoz (132 pounds) and Camry Carter both earned state titles at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 19.
Casteel Wrestlers Take State Championships

Casteel Boys Soccer Back-to-Back State Champions

Casteel High - Congratulations to the Casteel Boys Soccer team for their back-to-back championship seasons, defeating Sunrise Mountain of Peoria 2-1 in overtime at Central High on February 22 to become the 2022 5A State Champions.

PHOTO ALBUM: Boys 5A State Soccer Champions

Casteel Boys Soccer State 5A Champions

Casteel Girls Win State 5A Soccer Championship

Casteel High - Casteel High School girls beat Sunrise Mountain of Peoria to win the 5A State soccer championships at Central High on February 22.

PHOTO ALBUM: Girls 5A State Soccer Champions

Casteel Girls Soccer 5A State Champions

Hamilton Boys, Girls Wrestlers Take State

Hamilton High - In Div. I boys, Hamilton wrestler Jonathan Lozano won the 285-pound division state championship at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 19.
Hamilton Boys Wrestlers Take State
In Div. 1 girls, Hamilton High wrestler Trinity Howard (120 pounds) earned the state championship at Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 19.
Hamilton Girls Wrestlers Take State

Academic State Championships

Perry DECA Takes State, National Awards

Perry High - Perry DECA (Marketing 1 & 2, Student Based Enterprise and Cooperative Education classes) competed at the Arizona DECA State competition and won the state chapter community service award (Most Community Service Hours in Arizona) and the century award (100+ chapter members). They also won four national awards: Chapter Membership Award (2nd largest Chapter in Arizona); Chapter Advocacy Award; Puma Den Food - Bronze; Puma Den Retail - Silver, and several individual awards.

ICDC Qualifiers (35 kids went to state):
  • Hailey Derbas
  • Sahdie Hernandez
  • Allison Derbas
  • Ram Karuppiah - State Officer (Finish his Term)
  • Braden Bassett
  • Jacob Brown
  • Maddox Turner
  • Emma Aelits
  • Xavier Ortiz
  • Taylor Relvas
  • Ainsley Reese

ICDC Qualifiers, Thrive (Leadership Academy):
  • Samantha Armstrong
  • Stella Jones
  • Cooper Lieurance
  • Noah Kang
  • Katelin Mascari
  • Emily Larson
Perry DECA Takes State, National Awards

ACP High Speech & Debate Three-Peat State Champs

Arizona College Prep High School - ACP High School's Speech & Debate Team under the direction of Mr. Norm Rumsey won the Division II State Championship for the third consecutive year. In addition to winning the title, 12 students or teams were crowned individual state champions at Saturday's championship tournament.
ACP High Speech & Debate Three-Peat State Champs

Hamilton Theatre to Represent Arizona at Nationals

Twenty-two Hamilton High School students qualified at the Central Arizona Regional Theatre Festival to represent Arizona at NATIONALS!
  • GROUP MUSICAL - Zahra Alsooz, Ellie Barker, Megan Burke, Meera Domadia, Alyssa Fabio, Taylor James, Abby Pilgrim, Alyssa Fabio, Taylor James, Alyse Negroni, Colby Raskin, Viet Zaengle
  • LIGHTING - Chloe Applegate
  • DUO MUSICAL - Ellie Barker and Alyse Negroni, Megan Burke and Alina Pierzga, Taylor James and Viet Zaengle
  • MONOLOGUES - Regan Blawn, Megan Burke, Abby Pilgrim
  • GROUP ACTING - Ava Apell, Lindsay Dussault, Alyssa Fabio, Taylor James, Alyse Negroni, Alina Pierzga; Regan Blawn, Lindsay Dussault, Sara Gwin, Abby Pilgrim, Colby Raskin
  • COSTUMES - Kris Crane
  • DUO ACTING - Lindsay Dussault and Alyssa Fabio; Maddy Gillipsie and Colby Raskin
  • MAKEUP-Ellora Nanda
  • SOLO MUSICAL - Taylor James, Alyse Negroni, Alina Pierzga, Viet Zaengle
  • STAGE MANAGEMENT-Dylan Strickland
Hamilton Theatre to Represent Arizona at Nationals

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Hamilton Cadet Wins Prestigious World-Wide Scholarship Competition

Hamilton High School senior and AFJROTC cadet Landry Howard was recently announced as one of 100 world-wide recipients (from a pool of over 12,000 AFJROTC senior cadets) of a 4-year Air Force ROTC scholarship to the university of her choice. The J-100 AFJROTC Character-in-Leadership Scholarship, or 'J-100' for short, provides benefits including tuition, on-campus housing, books, and a monthly stipend. The J-100 focuses on character, leadership, citizenship, and diversity, and inspires future leaders to seek careers in the US Air Force.

Hamilton JROTC Seniors Earn Nominations to Service Academies

Hamilton High School JROTC seniors Landry Howard and Viet Zaengle recently earned a total of seven nominations to three U.S. military service academies. To be considered for admission to the US Military Academy (West Point), the U.S. Naval Academy, or the U.S. Air Force Academy, applicants must be extremely well-rounded students with exceptional academic, leadership, and athletic abilities. They face a rigorous application process and are required to earn nominations from one or more sources, including: Presidential, Vice Presidential, Members of Congress, and high-performing JROTC programs designated as Distinguished Units (Hamilton AFJROTC is a perennial Distinguished Unit).

ACP, Hamilton Cadets Selected for Air Force Private Pilot Scholarship

High school juniors and Air Force Junior ROTC cadets Dylan Franklin (Hamilton High School) and Haley Hughes (ACP High School) were recently selected for the Air Force Chief of Staff Private Pilot Scholarship Program, identified in the December 2021 announcement from Headquarters Air Force JROTC. The program, also known as the AFJROTC Flight Academy, is an Air Force initiative in collaboration with the commercial aviation industry to address a national pilot shortage. This highly competitive scholarship, valued at over $22,500, is an all-expense-paid flight training and college course credit program conducted during the summer at 25 select partner universities across the country. 250 AFJROTC cadets were competitively selected from a pool of 125,000+ cadets attending 900 high schools across the country and at Department of Defense installations worldwide. Cadets Franklin and Hughes will receive comprehensive, FAA-certified ground instruction and over 40 hours of flight instruction, giving them the opportunity to earn an FAA Private Pilot Certificate.

Chandler Senior Named QuestBridge Scholar

Chandler High - Congratulations to Simone King, Chandler High School senior, for receiving a full-ride scholarship to Boston College through the QuestBridge Scholar Program. Simone is one of only 1,674 finalists nationwide to receive a four-year Match Scholarship. Well done, Simone!

Chandler Junior Named Pulitzer International Writing Contest Winner

Chandler High - Gabriella Miller, Chandler High School junior, won a national student writing contest, the Local Letters for Global Change contest, sponsored by the Pulitzer Center. Gabby's letter to US Congressman Greg Stanton raising attention to the critical issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls was chosen from over 925 entries written by students in the US and internationally! Her letter, photo, and bio will be published on the Pulitzer Center website in January.

Three CUSD Students Finalists for Prestigious Flinn Scholar Award

Seniors Anokh Ambadipudi (Basha High), Kayla King, (Chandler High), Moira MacCatherine (Perry High) were named Flinn finalists in December, in the running for the prestigious Flinn Scholarship valued at more than $120,000. The scholarship covers tuition, fees, housing and meals at any of Arizona's three public universities plus study abroad. In March, these three will interview with a selection committee of statewide leaders, and the Flinn Scholars Class of 2022 will be announced in April.

Flinn Foundation website: Flinn Finalists one step away from Flinn Scholarship

Chandler Early College Junior Wins National Writing Contest

Chandler Early College junior Kirra Kaufman Johnson won the regional and national award for the Next Generation Writing Contest. We are all proud to have such talented students here at the Chandler Early College. Go, Coyotes!

Chandler Sophomore wins National FFA Grant

Chandler High School sophomore Annabelle Williams received a $1,000 National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Supervised Agricultural Experience Grant to purchase a mini Highland cow. Annabelle plans to purchase a mini Highland cow and use it for a cow cuddling business to help clients with stress and mental health conditions. She will also breed the mini Highland heifer.
Mini Highland heifer

Chandler High Junior Nationally Recognized in Public Speaking Contest

Chandler High School junior Abigail Dominguez placed 4th in the Arizona Nationals Prepared Public Speaking Contest. Abigail wrote and memorized a 6-minute speech on Social Media Influences on the Agriculture Industry. She competed against high school and college students from 26 states.

CUSD Boasts 40 National Merit Finalists

Chandler Unified School District is proud to announce our 40 National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP) Finalists for 2022. The National Merit Scholarship Program has approximately 1.5 million applicants identified through the PSAT test. The top 50,000 or 4% of students are recognized as Commended and Semi-Finalists. In early February, only 15,000 or the top 1% of students advance to the Finalist stage. Congratulations to our finalists, listed below by school:

Arizona College Prep High School

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists:

Andrew Kang, Blake Enwiller, Carrie Chen, Frederick Changho, Jacy Fuller, Kerry Zhou, Ryan Newsom, Sohani Sandhu, and Waldo King

Andrew Kang, Blake Enwiller, Carrie Chen, Frederick Changho, Jacy Fuller, Kerry Zhou, Ryan Newsom, Sohani Sandhu, and Waldo King

Basha High

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists:

Calvin Covington, Keegan Grau, Riley Mayes, Meghana Tripuranei, and Alyssa Yee

Calvin Covington, Keegan Grau, Riley Mayes, Meghana Tripuranei, and Alyssa Yee

Chandler High

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists:

Grace Combe and Rachel Holdren

Grace Combe and Rachel Holdren

Hamilton High

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists:

Thilina N. Balasooriya, Dhanya Charan, Richard W. Cheng, Hannah Jeanne Cluroe, Ashton M. Gilbert, Sasha Sai Guntu, Matthew W. Layne, Jaehyung Lee, Michelle M. Lee, Pranav Y. Mantri, Anish Puri, Shruti Ramkumar, Savar D. Sinha, Courtney J. St. Onge, Benjamin Tung, and Andrew Y. Xie

Thilina N. Balasooriya, Dhanya Charan, Richard W. Cheng, Hannah Jeanne Cluroe, Ashton M. Gilbert, Sasha Sai Guntu, Matthew W. Layne, Jaehyung Lee, Michelle M. Lee, Pranav Y. Mantri, Anish Puri, Shruti Ramkumar, Savar D. Sinha, Courtney J. St. Onge, Benjamin Tung, and Andrew Y. Xie

Perry High

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists:

Bridget J. Hale, Clare M. Hale, Nathan S. Lam, Hanson Hao Nguyen, Raegan J. Pallas, Ryan D. Swart (not pictured), Patrick Varamate Viboolmate (not pictured), and Dane R. Williams.

Bridget J. Hale, Clare M. Hale, Nathan S. Lam, Hanson Hao Nguyen, Raegan J. Pallas, Ryan D. Swart (not pictured), Patrick Varamate Viboolmate (not pictured), and Dane R. Williams.

Top School Spellers Competed at District Bee, Moved to Regionals

Congratulations to Basha Accelerated Middle School spelling bee champion 8th grader Nethra Chintaboina who won 1st place and ACP Middle School spelling bee champion 6th grader Aadi Rao who won runner-up in the district spelling bee held on January 13 at the Chandler Center for the Arts. Nethra won the CUSD spelling bee with the winning word "perpendicular." She also spelled "nonchalance," "interregnum" and "evanescent" to reach the top.

Congratulations to all school spelling bee champions who placed in the top eleven at the district contest. They all moved on to compete in the regional spelling bee on February 8 in Queen Creek:

CUSD Students Win in City's Creative Expression Competition

Beautiful art pieces and eloquently crafted essays were submitted by students from across the city for the City of Chandler's Creative Expression Competition. Judges mentioned how the essays and artwork -- like our students -- make them hopeful for the future and proud of the next generation. Winning visual art submissions from this year's contest were displayed in Downtown Chandler during the Regional Unity ArtWalk.

Congratulations to all winners from CUSD schools:


  • Hamilton High: Jordan Bivins - 1st place and Jessica Burke - 2nd place (high school)
  • Tarwater Elementary: Kate Menghini - 2nd place; Gabrielle Berard - 3rd place (K-3); Alexandra Gabriel - 3rd place (4-8, pictured above)
  • Willis Junior High: Kailah Johnson - 1st place (4-8)


CUSD Students Awarded in City "Through Your Eyes" Art Contest

Four Hamilton High art students won the inaugural 2022 Chandler State of the City Art Contest. The theme was "Chandler Through Your Eyes." There were more than 60 entries in the age 14-18 category. Winners: Payton Harvey, 1st place; Noura Ibrahim, 2nd Place; Alyssa Gamby, 3rd Place; Mayor's choice was Kimberlie Martinez-Wolf (pictured right).

Santan Junior High seventh grader, Emma Robertson, also placed second in her age division in the Chandler inaugural Through Your Eyes art contest with her submission, pictured below.

Emma Robertson with Artwork

Chandler High Artists Works Showcased at State Education Conference

Artwork created by Chandler High students Imani Spivey (watercolor self-portrait) and Makenna Yazzie (skull) were accepted for showcase at the State ESSA Conference: Every Student, Every Day, Every Opportunity in January 2022.
Artwork by Imani Spivey (watercolor self-portrait) and Makenna Yazzie (skull)

Twenty-One Andersen Elementary Students Soon to be Published Poets

Several third, fourth and fifth graders at Andersen Elementary are soon to be published poets! Megan DeFrancesco, the media specialist, taught a lesson on haiku poetry with the intent of having students write poems to submit to the Young American Poetry Digest for publication. They had 21 students selected to be included in the 2022 poetry book. What an accomplishment! So proud of you, Andersen Astronauts!
Twenty-One Andersen Elementary Student-Poets

Bologna Student Featured on Mystery Science Mini-Lesson Show

Bologna Elementary second grader Renatta Hernandez-Garcia submitted a question to Mystery Doug last school year, and this year her question was finally selected to be featured on a Mystery Doug science mini-lesson. Her question, "Can Animals Really Predict the weather?" was cleverly tied to Groundhog Day.
Renatta Hernandez-Garcia

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Santan Junior High Math Teachers Selected As State Exemplars

Santan Junior High math teachers Missy Stanley, Sarah McGinnis, and Megan Jeffers were chosen to be videoed by AMP (Arizona Math Project) to showcase exemplar models of active learning and building thinking classrooms. The promotional video will be used to recruit new teachers to the project.
Missy Stanley, Sarah McGinnis, and Megan Jeffers

Eight Teachers Earn National Certification, Re-Certification

Four CUSD teachers earned their National Board Certification in December: Courtney Cook (Rice Elementary), Wendy Dafoe (Riggs Elementary), Allison Ekren (Basha Accelerated Middle School) and Cristy Wellik (Ryan Elementary).
Courtney Cook, Wendy Dafoe, Allison Ekren and Cristy Wellik

Four CUSD teachers also earned their National Board Re-Certification in December: Jolene Gallup (San Marcos Elementary), Katie Nall (Basha High), Lily Chen (Hamilton High), and Dr. Amy Spilde (Instructional Resource Center).

Jolene Gallup, Katie Nall, Lily Chen, and Dr. Amy Spilde

This brings the total number of CUSD Nationally Board-Certified teachers and staff to 62. Achieving National Board Certification is a rigorous process, and was designed to develop, retain, and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards website: Mission and History

Knox principal Named Semifinalist for County Exemplary Principal Award

Knox Gifted Academy - Maricopa County School Superintendent recently recognized Knox Gifted Academy principal Lynn Weed as a semifinalist for the Maricopa County Exemplary Principal Award. She was selected from more than 1,200 principals in Maricopa County. Congratulations!

Casteel Teacher Selected Among Top in Nation

Casteel High School English teacher Mary Powell was selected as one of 30 teachers in the nation to attend the White House 2022 Teacher Institute. This is a fully funded summer study. She was also the recipient of an award for an institute in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia for teachers.

WEBSITE: White House 2022 Teacher Institute

Navarrete Teacher Chosen as Educator of the Year

Navarrete Elementary teacher Alicia Wronski was nominated by several of her students and chosen by the Mayor's Committee for People with Disabilities as the 2022 Educator of the Year. She was awarded at a recent Chandler City Council meeting. From her nomination:

"Ms. Wronski goes above and beyond educating our kids with disabilities. She is so patient, kind and loving and works so incredibly hard to get these kids to reach their potential."

CUSD Staff Members Publish Books!

John Janezic, Sanborn Elementary Media Specialist, is now a published author! After two years in the making, Because Cockroaches Rule! was released in January. "Louie the Roach" has been entertaining Sanborn Suns on morning announcements this year. Sanborn is so proud of him for getting his own book that can show the world how cool cockroaches truly are.
John Janezic and book
Community Education childcare assistant at Chandler Traditional Academy - Liberty Campus, Edna Hardaman (Miss Edna), just published her fourth book. CTA Liberty is so lucky to have "Miss Edna" as part of the Kids Express team!
Edna Hardaman with principal and book

Three CUSD Staff Honored with City of Chandler MLK Award

Three staff from CUSD were presented with the City of Chandler's 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr: Keeping the Dream Alive Award. Dr. Adama Sallu, director of equity and inclusion, Chandler High Principal Michael Franklin and Shawn Mitchell, administrator of Chandler Early College were recognized at the inaugural event. This award is in celebration Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man who exemplified community leadership and made it the cornerstone of his Civil Rights ministry. In the spirit of Dr. King, Chandler MLK: Keeping the Dream Alive honors Chandler community leaders. Honorees have led the Chandler community forward and have inspired others with their vision, passion, dedication, and leadership.
Dr. Adama Sallu, Michael Franklin and Shawn Mitchell

Basha Cyber Security Academy, ACP Robotics Awarded STEAM Equity Grants

Jyoti Tambolia, Basha High School Cyber Security Academy teacher, was honored to be awarded an Equity In STEAM grant by the YWCA of Metropolitan Phoenix and Intel Involved Arizona for the project proposal she submitted to empower young girls with the knowledge of coding. Jyoti looks forward to the STEAM Equity journey and making this project a reality through CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organizations) DevOps -- a combination of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops).

Photo Album: Cyber Security Academy Awarded STEAM in Equity Grant

Jyoti Tambolia
Arizona College Prep High School Robotics also received a $2,500 grant from the new Intel Equity in STEAM Initiative to support a new/continuing project to inspire underrepresented students to consider STEAM careers and YWCA Equity Leadership Learning series. This series will include four Equity Workshops that will allow the grantees to explore tangible ways in which they can embed social equity into their STEAM work.

Chandler Sports Hall of Fame inducts six from Chandler Unified

Chandler Sports Hall of Fame inducted six from Chandler Unified. CUSD athletes, coaches, and athletic administrators were celebrated at the Chandler Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Luncheon on February 19, including:

Chandler Sports Hall of Fame is a nonprofit 501c3 organization with the purpose of honoring the athletes who have brought recognition to the City of Chandler and who have made a significant contribution to Chandler's athletics community.

Frye Teacher Wins in Disney 50th Anniversary Contest

Congratulations to Frye Elementary 6th grade teacher Angelica Abbey who was named a winner in the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary celebration! From their website: "To recognize exceptional teachers who are passionate about using the tool of imagination in their classroom, we're inviting 50 deserving teachers who reflect the creativity and imagination of Walt Disney to attend a one-of-a-kind teacher event. Winners will participate in a half-day inspiration session with Disney leaders and storytellers, gaining key insights and ideas that can be taken back to the classroom. They will also receive an exclusive inside look at the reimagined Disney Imagination Campus workshops reflecting curriculum in Science & Technology, Arts & Humanities, Leadership & Innovation, and Performing Arts. And, of course, they will experience all the magic of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration!"
Angelica Abbey

Fulton Applies for, Wins "Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers" Grants

Fulton Elementary 4th grade teacher Jill Lanning, 6th grade teacher Kirstiana Person, and principal Shannon Hannon's grant applications were selected and funded by the Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers Program for $2,500 each! Principal Hannon's proposal was for a mindfulness room for our students. Mrs. Lanning and Mrs. Person are adding Chromebooks to their classrooms. Fulton is so excited for them and for the students to reap the benefits of these grants. Thank you, Fiesta Bowl Charities!
Jill Lanning and Kirstiana Person

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School Program Highlights

CUSD shines as Premier District of Choice

Chandler Unified School District boasts:
  • 98 Dual Course offerings
  • 43 Language offerings
  • 27 Athletic offerings
  • 81 Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate offerings

Chandler Unified School District - ENROLL TODAY!

Hamilton Science Bowl Team Places 2nd in State

On March 5, two teams from Hamilton High Science Bowl competed at the Arizona Science Bowl Competition. The team consisting of Andrew Xie, Baochan Fan, Deval Deliwala, Hillary Li, and Richard Cheng placed second in the state at the Arizona Science Bowl Competition.
Hamilton High Science Bowl Team

Chandler WOLF News Nationally Recognized for Broadcast Excellence

Chandler High - The WOLF News, under the direction of Ms. Glenda Skalitzky, won a coveted Broadcast Excellence Award from the Student Television Network in a national contest. This talented group writes, produces, and delivers Chandler High's informative and engaging WOLF News every Friday during video announcements.
WOLF News Crew and Award

ACP High Students Part of DOD, ASU Biotech Panel

In March, three Arizona College Prep High School biotech students, Kaitlyn Lai, Ivan Alexander Kroumov and Ahmad Riyad were part of a prestigious panel discussion with the U.S. Department of Defense and ASU on "Biotechnology Research and Careers."
ACP High Students on Biotech Panel
ACP High School students Sohani Sandhu and Nevan Hanford also hosted a panel discussion on Jan 22 at the 2022 Arizona SciTech Festival inaugural ceremony celebrating STEM at the Barrett Jackson Auto Show in Scottsdale. This is only the second time that high school students have hosted panel discussions with professionals in this national-level Scitech STEM event.

The panel topic was "Innovation and Entrepreneurship in High Schools and its Opportunities." Panelists included Dr. Susan Holchek and Dr. Hong Lei from ASU, Dr. Micah Mangione, President of Connect-IO, and Gale Beauchamp from the Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson.

ACP High Students on Biotech Panel

Chandler Choir Receives Highest Honors

Chandler High School Choir recently attended the NAU Jazz-Madrigal Festival and received the highest honors, Superior ratings, in both Madrigal and Jazz. Congratulations, Chamber Choir and Mrs. Wendy Umbrianna, CHS Choir Director, for continued choral excellence at Chandler High.
Chandler Choir Receives Highest Honors

Willis, Andersen Junior High Jazz Bands Excel at NAU Festival

Andersen Junior High and Willis Junior High jazz bands participated and performed at the NAU Jazz Festival in Flagstaff, Arizona on the weekend of February 26. Both bands were awarded Superior by every judge, the highest ranking achieved.

The following students were also awarded Outstanding Soloist Awards:

  • Aliyah Mayfield on trombone (Andersen)
  • Mycah Ransom on trumpet (Andersen)
  • Dante Maxim on vibes (Willis)
  • Lincoln Rounds on tenor sax (Willis)
  • Owen Anderson on bass trombone (Willis)
  • Maya Lampol on piano (Willis)
Willis, Andersen Junior High Jazz Bands in Flagstaff

Perry Cheer Makes Arizona Proud at Nationals

Perry High School's cheer team represented Arizona in Orlando, Florida at the 2022 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC). Click the link for Varsity TV video to see and hear more about their routine.

VarsityTV website: Perry High School Makes Arizona Proud At NHSCC

Varsity TV video

Perry Girls Soccer Takes 6A State Runners-Up Title

Perry High girls earned runners-up for the 6A Soccer State title on February 24.
Perry Girls Soccer Takes 6A State Runners-Up Title

Chandler Boys Named 6A State Runners-Up

Chandler High Boys Soccer Wolves are the 6A State Runners-Up! The Wolves finished the season 14-7-1 and made history again at Chandler High. They battled for 5 strong games in the past few weeks during playoffs, knocking off Kofa 19th seed, Tolleson 4th seed in the first round, Highland 12th seed in the quarterfinals, and Tucson 1st seed in the semi-finals. The team fell to Desert Vista 2nd seed in the state finals.
Chandler Boys Named 6A State Runners-Up

Hamilton Academic Decathlon Team Tops in Region, Preps for State

Hamilton High's Academic Decathlon team earned the Region IV title in February -- the team's seventh straight regional title. Based on scores across the regions, they are currently sitting in first place in the state as they prep for the state competition in March. Congratulations to the final competition team, each of whom had to earn a spot in the final nine from an original field of 32 Hamilton Decathletes: Chloe Zhan, Andy Ma, Kenny Wang, Shriya Bathula, Navaneeth Unnikrishnan, Sanvi Lamba, Angela Sun, Taryn Preis, and Arun Chebrolu.
Hamilton Academic Decathlon Team

Hamilton named DECA Membership Achievement Award winner

Hamilton High - In January, Hamilton High DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America) was named a DECA Membership Achievement Award winner for 2021-22. This award is given in recognition for building a strong local program focused on serving an exceptional number of members, advisors, alumni, and business partners dedicated to academic and career preparation, community service projects, membership recruitment, school outreach activities and other DECA-related endeavors. Of the 3,000 chapters nationwide, only 775 chapters earned recognition in DECA's membership campaign. Congratulations, Hamilton DECA and chapter advisor Dr. Enid A. Thompson.

Rice Math League Places 1st in Division, 2nd in State Competition

Rice Rhinos did an outstanding job at the Math League competition on January 22. Rice Elementary students placed 1st in Division 6 for the state of Arizona and came in second for the state overall. Way to go, Rhinos!

A huge shout out to Jennifer Kraemer and Robyn Bills who prepare the students for these competitions. The following students qualified for the state competition:

  • 3rd grade - Chase Leavy
  • 4th grade - William Clouse, Kolton Kraemer, Kipton Weinberg
  • 5th grade - Ayushi Gautam
  • 6th grade - Sawyer Alvarado, Carmen Pafford

Photo Album: Rice MathLeague Competition

Rice Math League Competes

Sock Hop Time at Basha Elementary

At Basha Elementary, everybody twisted and shouted for "Sock Hop" time! The Basha Elementary PTO created the amazing event for the school community!

PHOTO ALBUM: Sock Hop at Basha Elementary

Sock Hop at Basha Elementary

Conley Celebrates Read Across America

Conley Elementary hosted a Drop Everything and Read event on March 7 to kick off Read Across America week.
Conley Celebrates Read Across America

CTA Freedom Celebrates, Honors Courageous Historical Figures

CTA Freedom's first grade team honored Black History Month with inspirational bulletin boards. One goal of the bulletin boards was to highlight the courageous people in our history who made a real impact for change for all children, not just children of color. Another goal was to honor our Black students and provide an opportunity for not only them, but for all of our school to learn about important Black historical figures. With this important instruction, the students can appreciate the contributions and achievements of many people and how they paved a way for our future.

First grade teachers reported that they wanted students to come away from this month's discussions and activities knowing that they are capable of making change in the world just like the legends who are being honored this month.

Inspirational bulletin boards

CTA Humphrey / Elite Performance Academy Multicultural Week

Chandler Traditional Academy - Humphrey Campus and Elite Performance Academy celebrated a week of school-wide events leading up to an evening Multicultural Festival on March 4. Special activities included a Parade of Nations and Culture Day.

PHOTO ALBUM: CTA Humphrey/Elite Performance Academy Multicultural Celebrations

Multicultural Celebrations - Parade of Nations

Perry Sculpture Wins Best of Show

Perry High students won Best of Show for their Cactus Collective exhibit at Scottsdale Fashion Square unveiled on March 2. Perry was the only high school participating. They competed against 14 working artists in an open call from Scottsdale Public Art to design an 8 ft. tall Styrofoam cactus based on one of Arizona's five C's.

This group chose copper as their theme and wanted to pay respect to all the mining towns in Arizona, as well as the Indigenous tribes that have copper mines on their land. The Scottsdale Cactus Collective exhibit is on display through the end of March. Congratulations to Perry Sculpture teacher Sharon Biemond and her students.

PHOTO ALBUM: Perry's Cactus Collective Exhibit

Perry Cactus Collective Sculpture exhibit at Scottsdale Fashion

Elite Performance Academy Grow, Enjoy Tower Garden Vegetables

Third graders in Mrs. Lisa Krietenstein's class at Elite Performance Academy made sandwiches garnished with lettuce and basil they grew themselves in their classroom tower garden.
Elite Performance Academy Students Enjoying Tower Garden Veggies

Patterson Holds On-Site "Wild Thing" Field Trip

All Patterson Elementary students will get to experience the on-site field trip from “The Wild Thing” bus. Students were able to learn about, interact with, and hold a variety of animals. 2nd and 3rd graders had a memorable experience dissecting worms and squid to learn about their anatomy.

On-Site Wild Thing Field Trip

Auxier Elementary celebrates "Leadership Day"

Auxier Elementary celebrated Leadership Day on February 24 with the goal to "Inspire the Leader Within!"

Leader in Me is Franklin Covey’s whole-school improvement process based on the idea that everyone can be a leader. This evidence-based approach empowers students with the leadership and life-skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. Click here to learn more about Leader In Me at Auxier Elementary.

Leadership Day at Auxier

Outdoor Math at Payne Junior High

Payne Junior High students in Amanda Griffin's Gifted Geometry Class "worked their magic" constructing similar right triangles and geometric mean to indirectly measure the height of the gym wall. The next week, they used class-made clinometers and trigonometric ratios (Sine - Cosine - Tangent) to measure the same walls and compare. You couldn't ask for more beautiful weather to be outside and enjoying some math!

PHOTO ALBUM: Applying Geometry and Trigonometry

Outdoor Math at Payne Junior High

Chef Treats Galveston Elementary in Celebration of Black History Month

On February 24, Galveston Elementary students had a delicious Creole chicken dish created by a prominent African American chef, Chef Franchesca, from Aramark. The kids loved it and the food was delicious!

PHOTO ALBUM: Chef Franchesca Visit

Chef Franchesca Visit

Shumway Unveils Unique "Rigamajig"

Shumway Leadership Academy unveiled its new "Rigamajig" – granted by the Morgan Stanley Foundation and the national non-profit KABOOM!, on March 4. Rigamajig allows children to develop language, communication and problem-solving skills that are key to cognitive development and STEM learning. Shumway Leadership Academy will incorporate the Rigamajig play set into its school programming, providing a unique, year-round play element for kids.
Shumway Unveils Unique Rigamajig

Hill Learning Academy Hosts Career Fair

Hill Learning Academy hosted their first post-secondary fair filled with career and college opportunities.
Hill Learning Academy Hosts Career Fair

Hull Elementary Student Scientists Study Shelters, Natural Resources

Hull Elementary third graders learned about Native Americans using natural resources to build shelters. They constructed their own waterproof roof using only natural resources. This project and others were displayed at Chandler Innovation Fair.
Building a waterproof roof using only natural resources

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CUSD Schools Participate in Valley-Wide "Valentines for Veterans" Project

CUSD students from 13 schools participated in the "Valentines for Veterans" project from Congressman Greg Stanton's office. Cards were picked up and delivered to Veterans across the valley on Valentine's Day. Pictured below: Cards created by students at Jacobson Elementary and Rice Elementary.
Valentines for Veterans

Basha Senior Makes National News with Teacher Scholarships

Basha High School senior Jadyn Ocampo made national news with her senior project to help teachers with their student loans. Jadyn raised money and rewarded 7 teachers from CTA Independence, Santan Junior High, Navarrete Elementary, San Marcos Elementary and Hamilton High School $1,000 scholarships to help pay down their student loans.

PHOTO ALBUM: Jadyn Ocampo Scholarship Recipients

Jadyn Ocampo Scholarship Presentations

Chandler Online Academy Helps Out at Animal Rescue

Chandler Online Academy's Hornet Helpers spent the morning volunteering at Desert Paws Rescue. Students in this service club helped by organizing the sanctuary, feeding the cats, and cleaning up.

Rice Students, Families Make A Difference

Rice Elementary School students participated in the STUCO (Student Council) food drive and donated 5,530 pounds of food to United Food Bank, thanks to the generosity of our families during Thanksgiving. Additionally, boxes of food were also donated to the Chandler CARE Center. Thank you for helping our students make a difference by caring for others.
Certificate of thanks for donation of 5,530 pounds of food to United Food Bank

Navarrete 3rd Graders Donate Personal Care Items to Chandler CARE Center

Navarrete Elementary students in Melissa Buist's third grade class brought in more than 300 items to help the Chandler Care Center. Her class will enjoy a personal electronics day as a thank you for their hard work and serving others.
300 items donated to help Chandler Care Center

Hamilton, CTA Independence Communities Assist Homeless, Underprivileged

Hamilton High School families, the Sun Lakes community, Safeway grocery stores and other Chandler businesses came together to help homeless and underprivileged students. More than 120 families were adopted from Hamilton, Bogle, Hill Learning Academy and other CUSD schools. They distributed more than 100 Thanksgiving Meals sponsored by the Sun Lakes Methodist Church and Safeway grocery stores. The social work team distributed more than $50,000 in gift cards, food, clothing, and other holiday items for CUSD families in need. Additionally, CTA Independence National Junior Honor Society raised $3,960 for the Hamilton homeless and underprivileged students with the help of their counselor, Michele Dussault and her team.
Hamilton, CTA Independence Communities Assist Homeless, Underprivileged

Chandler High Student Athletes Visit, Read to Frye Second Graders

Students from the Chandler High swim and dive and wrestling teams visited Frye Elementary to read with second graders during Read Across America week in March.
Chandler High Student Athletes Visit, Read to Frye Second Graders

Jacobson Class Selects, Donates Books

Jacobson Elementary - "Johnson's Jet-Setters" in Jann Johnson's 1st grade class sorted through their classroom library to choose books to donate to students at Hartford Elementary School.
Jacobson Class Selects, Donates Books

Andersen Elementary Celebrates Kindness Week

Andersen Elementary recently participated in Kindness Week. Along with daily kindness challenges, students participated in Kindness BINGO with their classes and were encouraged to do things such as write kind notes to staff members, help others in need, and keep their campus clean. The Kindness BINGO winners were then able to paint rocks to be displayed in the schools kindness garden. Way to go, Kind Astronauts!

PHOTO ALBUM: Kindness Week at Andersen Elementary

Andersen Elementary Celebrates Kindness Week

Santan 3rd Graders Show They CARE!

Santan Elementary third grade students worked very hard doing chores at home and for family members to earn money to purchase their own donations for the Chandler CARE Center. Their parents took them to the store to select their choices, and the results of their combined effort was amazing!
3rd graders donate to the Chandler CARE Center

Hancock Appreciates Our Bus Drivers!

Hancock Elementary School Kindness Club honors bus drivers for all their kindness and dedication to students! We "wheelie" appreciate them and wouldn't be here without them!
Hancock Appreciates Our Bus Drivers

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Upcoming Events

March 14-25

Spring Intersession - No School

Spring Intersession Camps for Lil' Explorers (Infants - Pre-K) and Kids Express (K-6). See details below.

March 28

Teacher Inservice/Workday - No School

March 29

Students return

March 31

E-Cigarette Awareness parent presentation (grades 5-12) by Office of AZ Attorney General, 6 p.m.. Join via Zoom here.

Meeting ID: 814 6218 2296

Passcode: StopVaping

April 5

Elementary and Junior High district honor orchestra concert at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 7 p.m.

April 12

Child Development presentation by Child Crisis AZ, 6 p.m. RSVP here to join.

April 20

District Night of Recognition at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 6:30 p.m.

April 20 - May 12

CUSD High School Art Show at the Chandler Center for the Arts Gallery.

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Lil' Explorers Spring Intersession Camp

Lil Explorers is for children not yet attending kindergarten ages (0-5). Lil Explorers utilizes a whole child approach to learning in which physical, social, emotional and cognitive development is emphasized through individual and group activities. Throughout there are many opportunities to explore the areas of early literacy, math, science, social studies and dramatic play. Lunch and snacks are included.

Camp Dates: March 14 - 25
Location: Basha High (480-224-2139)

Times: 6:30 a.m. – 5: 30 p.m.

All Lil' Explorers locations open on March 28:

Click below to register at:

Before registering, call the site directly at the phone number(s) provided above to check space availability.

Daily Rates:

  • Infants: $52
  • 1-2 yrs: $46
  • 3-4 yrs: $42

Enrollment Fee: $75 (for first time attenders)

5% discount for families

Register today for Lil' Explorers spring break camp at Basha High!

For information on all Community Education programming, and a schedule of field trips and activities, go to

Spaces are limited, early registration is strongly encouraged. For more information and assistance, contact Community Education at 224-3900.

March Into Spring

Kids Express Spring Intersession Camp

"Here Comes the Bloom" Spring Break Camp

March 14 - 28
6:30 am - 6:00 pm

Grades K-6

$38.00 daily


Fulton Elementary, Patterson Elementary, & Sanborn Elementary

Students are encouraged to join the fun this spring with the Kids Express fall intersession camp. Campers will enjoy fun-filled days with art, cooking, STEAM, active play, sports, games, computers, and more!

Click below to register today:

Click here for: Spring Break Camp Schedule | PDF flyer version

Here Comes the Bloom

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Apply for a Job in Chandler Unified!

Chandler Unified is a great place for both students and staff. Take a peek at our welcome video for 2021-22 below to find out more! Click here to APPLY FOR A JOB in CUSD.
New Teacher Welcome to CUSD 2021

CUSD Consistently Earns High Marks

Chandler Unified School District has been ranked the #1 district in the Phoenix area by Click here to ENROLL TODAY!

ALSO... check out our BRAGS PAGE (with new brags about our students, staff, schools and district added weekly) at the friendly address:

CUSD Ranked #1 by


The Chandler Unified School District is a premier district of choice. Parents are able to choose from a variety of personalized learning experiences to find the program that best meets the needs of their children. Options include Traditional Academies, Gifted Programs, Honors Classes, Advanced Placement Courses, International Baccalaureate Program, Dual Languages, STEM, Bioscience, Cyber Security, College Prep Campuses, Chandler Online Academy, Elite Performance Academy, and Chandler Early College Program.

Click here to enroll in Chandler Unified School District.