• Superintendent's Message February 2020

    Hello, this is Dr. Jeff Smith, Superintendent of the Balsz School District, and these are my comments for this month.

    February is Black History Month and I'm pleased to report that as I walked through classrooms and schools all around our district, I can see students learning all the wonderful contributions that have been made to our country by African Americans. And I'd like to thank Channel Powe for bringing an inspirational singer to our board meeting on February 11th. Loni Landrum Taylor graced the audience with a beautiful rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing, which is the Black National Anthem. So thank you to Loni and her mother Leah Landrum Taylor, and Miss Powe for helping bring this this event to our board meeting to recognize Black History Month.

    A wonderful new opportunity is available to our hard-working teachers and staff in the district. The Balsz Community Education Foundation will be giving out opportunity grants and this just became available this month. Opportunity grants are up to $500 that can be used for items, projects, clubs, or ideas that cannot already be funded through the school system. This is given through the Balsz Community Education Foundation, so you can find a link to the application, if you're a staff member of the Balsz District and if there's a project that you could do that would help support our students and our community. We would love to see those applications come in.

    Our annual District Spelling Bee was held recently. Adriana from Griffith was the Spelling Bee Champ for Balsz School District. Runners up were Jatziri from Tillman, and other school representatives were Dash, Zoey from Brunson Lee, Maslah and Nikita from Crockett, Brian from Griffith, and Leila from from Tillman. So we want to thank Donna Irwin for helping to coordinate our Spelling Bee this month or this year and also a big thank you to Sarah Ravel for serving as an announcer, and also Tianna Sanchez and and President Powe for being judges for our spelling bee. Thank you so much for supporting our students. And those spelling bee participants were invited to our February 11th meeting, where they were recognized by our governing board.

    Tillman Middle School is planning to participate in Pat's Run at ASU. Pat's Run is a yearly run that's put on by the Pat Tillman foundation. This year the Run is on Saturday, April 18th 2020. The distance of the run is 4.2 miles, which is in memory of Pat Tillman's jersey number at ASU, which was 42. The goal is to get as many Balsz staf, student, and community members to participate and run. This is a great opportunity to get Tillman Middle School and Balsz's name out in the community. Please feel free to invite any family friends to sign up under Pat Tillman Middle School, and that's the group's name. And if you have any other questions, please contact Assistant Principal Emily Fortunate with your questions.

    We were fortunately have Miss High School Arizona, Miss Chloe Hiller, visit with students at Tillman recently. The students enjoyed the opportunity to meet and hear from Chloe about her experiences as Miss Teen High School Arizona. I would also like to thank Miss Channel Powe, our Board President, for helping to bring Miss High School Arizona to Tillman. So thank you Miss Powe for supporting our district so wonderfully.

    The Arizona Science Center was at Griffith recently for their STEM Extravaganza. We also had volunteers to OELC, Orangedale Early Learning Center, to help our younger students learn about the wonders of science. The funding was made available through our terrific Balsz Community Education Foundation to bring STEM activities to our schools.

    We were able to bring 30 students to the Phoenix Open recently for the Media Day. The students had a great time learning from a professional golfer, as well as having other guests such as Larry Fitzgerald, Shane Doan, and Archie Bradley there with them. After listening to the speakers the students got an opportunity to perform golf skills at stations for about 45 minutes, and each student received a bag of goodies as they boarded the bus. Overall the students had an awesome experience and they would never have had this if it not been for the special relationship with First Tee. And I'd also like to thank Coach Hill from Griffith for helping to make that available for the students at Griffith to be able to attend that.

    Prior to our March 3rd Board meeting, Sodexo will be holding our annual Future Chefs Contest. We always look forward to this special event and the opportunity to taste our students’ healthy recipes.

    And congratulations to Crockett Principal Sean Hannafin for being named a Semifinalist for the Maricopa County Exemplary Principal Program. Thank You, Mr. Hannafin for bringing distinction to the Crockett Elementary School and the Balsz School District. Thank you so much, Mr. Hannafin.

    On a personal note, it was just a few months ago that I made an announcement that this would be my last year here in Balsz, and that I would be retiring in June. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who's reached out to me with good wishes. We really appreciate that. I've had fond memories here at Balsz, and I really appreciate all the all the good best wishes. I'm very proud of Balsz and the great things we've been able to accomplish for our community. And now with the selection of a search firm and consultant to help with a superintendent search process, with the support of our Governing Board, our loyal staff, and community we can turn our attention to the future. I'd like to thank our extremely dedicated Governing Board for making the time out of their busy schedules to help with this process. We all know that the Governing Board is a volunteer group and for them to take the time and really put in the time for this extensive process is very much appreciated by everyone here in Balsz. I know that the next Superintendent of Balsz will be very fortunate and will have the backing of our Board, our staff, our students, administrators, and the entire Balsz community.

    Thank you. That concludes my remarks for this month.