• Hello, this is Dr. Jeff Smith superintendent of the Balsz School District and these are my comments for this month. June 7th was the last day of school for students this year. Schools are completing their tasks and preparing for the summer. Many teachers and staff will be moving this summer as a result of our reconfiguration so that Brunson Lee Crockett and Griffith Elementary Schools will be kindergarten through 5th grade for students next year, and Tillman middle school will have students in sixth, seventh,  and eighth grade attending next year.

    As reports are coming out about raises across the state, I wanted to reiterate that we are very proud to have been able to give a salary increase to our all of our employees this year. In addition to a base salary increase of 77 excuse me 7% for certified staff there was also an increase in classroom sight funds of 3.6 percent for a total of over 10 percent increase for teachers for the 2018-19 school year. in addition teachers will be able to keep a one-time 2% raise from last year and will also be working 20 less days with the with students as a result of our change from a 200 and a 200 day school calendar to an instructional calendar of 180 days.  I'd like to thank all of our hard-working teachers administrators support staff and governing board members for supporting our students our schools and our community.  As you may know, there was a GoFundMe account to provide support for classified staff members who were not paid while school was out for school closures. Our wonderful Balsz Education Foundation has graciously committed six thousand dollars to this effort and I was very pleased to deliver an envelope to all affected employees with 42 dollars in cash and a $75 gift certificate.  I want to thank the teachers of our district for putting together that GoFundMe account for our very wonderful support staff this was well received and appreciated by our valued staff members on.

    May 23rd we hosted all our preschoolers who will be transitioning into kindergarten next year students visited their new schools and met with their teacher for next year to become acquainted with the new campus. This provided an opportunity for preschoolers to experience a day in their home school kindergarten environment for next year.

    Claude Chatelain our Food Services Director has organized final food distribution day for school for schools this year on May 30th.  We were very pleased to be able to provide food from St. Mary's Food Bank to our community members and I want to thank Sodexo for the continued support for our community.

    Vitalists and Helios Foundations issued a report titled “Arizona’s Community Schools:  Beyond Education this.”  Is a report that was recently published on districts offering services outside the traditional scope of education. Balsz is prominently featured in this report as it outlines some of the ways we offer community services at our schools that aren't available in other schools around the state. We are proud of the services we've been able to offer to our community a copy of this report is available on our website at www.balsz.org/BeyondEducation.

    We had some wonderful promotions for students this week. Our Orangedale Early Learning Center preschoolers had a wonderful promotion earlier this week and was very pleased to see the students in their promotion gowns and mortarboards and all the proud parents that were there for that ceremony. Thank you the OELC staff for having such a really nice community sort of ceremony for our kids.  Also Balsz Elementary School had their promotion ceremonies at Camelback High School this week. Thank you to Dr. Smith, Miss Sheehan, and all of the staff members at that school for putting on a wonderful promotion.  I'd also like to thank Board President Todd Schwarz for his comments inspirational comments for our students as they leave our school system and enter into the high school system at Phoenix Union and other places in our State. Thank you and that concludes my remarks for this month.