• Superintendent's Message June 2019


    AZ Merit Results

    Preliminary AzMERIT results have been released to schools through the AzMERIT Online Reporting System. Preliminary results include all students, which means students who enrolled the day testing began to students who were with us during a full academic year. Data representing our full academic year students, students who have been with us during the first ten days of school and remained through the testing window, will be available in August. In regards to Letter Grades, the State Board of Education will meet in October to set cut scores (K-8 expected to remain the same). Letter Grades will be released in November. Final Letter Grades will be issued in December or January 2020.  

    I am pleased that preliminary results indicate in English Language Arts, 4 out of 6 grade levels demonstrated growth in the percent of proficient students. One grade level remained at the same proficiency, and one grade level had a decrease.

    In Mathematics, out of six grade levels, three grade levels demonstrated growth in the percent of students who are proficient, and three grade levels had a decrease. Each of our school has areas to celebrate. It is noteworthy that each grade level at Brunson-Lee demonstrated growth, in both English Language Arts and Mathematics! ADE has confirmed that preliminary although results are not embargoed, release of student scores must go through a public records request process. Congratulations to all of our hard working teachers and students for their dedication to teaching and learning!

     Brunson-Lee Fitness Grant

    I am pleased to announce that Brunson-Lee Elementary School, through the efforts of Kindergarten Teacher, Ms. Tiffany Crawford, was awarded the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Jake “Body by Jake” Steinfeld Get Fit, Don’t Quit Grant. The grant will provide $100,000 worth of fitness equipment that will be installed and incorporated into the physical education program at Brunson-Lee Elementary School. We look forward to celebrating this after the installation of the equipment.

    IBIS Foundation Donation

    Denise Higgins who is a wonderful philanthropist and supporter of our district has made a generous donation of $19,500 to our three elementary schools.  This funding will support Arizona Science Center activities next semester. Denise is a founding member of the Balsz Community Education Foundation and was also instrumental in bringing Educare to Arizona and the Balsz School District.

    Restorative Justice Center Location Change

    The Mennonite Central Committee informed us they are relocating the Phoenix Restorative Justice Center. The Committee thanked us for our support by providing space in the Balsz Community Center.  They will be moving the office to collaborative space in downtown Phoenix. 


    It was several years ago that the first meeting we had with the City of Phoenix and AMP regarding the benefits to young students of participating in the YMA to perhaps give them another window of opportunity in choosing a good career pathway in which to engage in through high school and perhaps beyond. Financial stability through higher wage earning skills to pursue after high school should be a high objective.  We now are in our second year of presenting the YMA to Balsz students and we are experiencing many improvements based upon our first pilot year which is exciting! 

    This year's YMA kicked off on Tuesday, May 27 for a week of fun and interesting activities for our students.  I was proud to attend the  completion/closing ceremony at Phoenix Metro Tech. It was really inspiring to see the hands on projects of the 26 students enrolled and visiting with industry representative, parents and partners in this project. Thank to Ms. Knight for helping to make this opportunity available for our students.

    Tillman Promotion

    We had a very nice promotion ceremony at Camelback High School on Wednesday, May 22. Ms. Powe provided an inspirational talk for the students about their future. We wish our promting eight graders the very best in their future!

    Mayor’s State of the City Address

    One of our refugee students will be in attendance for Mayor Gallego’s State of the City address on June 13. The student chosen to say the Pledge of Allegiance is a male student from Zimbabwe, Aristide Shimwa Iriwe.  Thank you to Ms. Knight for bringing this special opportunity to one of our student. 

    Sad News

    Many of you may know John Whiteman who was a wonderful philanthropist who has been a key supporter of Balsz Schools. We learned that he passed away recently and we are very sadden by the loss.  John was a founding member of the Balsz Community Education Foundation (BCEF) and was instrumental in bringing Educare to Arizona and the Balsz School District.