Phoenix Union’s enrollment has increased by 337 students over last year, and the 27,766 students are the most in 39 years. The year-over-year figures are taken after the 20th day of the school year, called “High Point” by the District. Traditionally, enrollment continues to grow in the first four weeks of the school year. PUHSD administrators had projected a gain of 109 students from 2015-16. North High School had the largest increase of 236 students and South Mountain increased 140 students. North had 105 more freshmen and South had 99 more freshmen. Ten schools experienced gains, while six schools decreased their student population. Small school Linda Abril Educational Academy added 76 more students to its new campus, and the addition of the new Phoenix Coding Academy contributed to the growth.
Trevor Browne and Maryvale continue to be the largest schools. Browne has 3,154 students, and Maryvale has 3,021.
Franklin’s 2nd Annual Community Event will be held on campus, Saturday, September 17 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The purpose of this event is to provide the community a variety of different educational and community resources and services. Last year, over 500 people attended. Among the free resources are vaccinations, blood pressure and diabetes checks, child safety ID kits, car seat safety checks, dental screenings, free haircuts The event also serves as an open house for Franklin parents. There will be free food and over $500 in door prizes. Community partners include Phoenix Fire and Police departments, the City of Phoenix, Valley Hispanic Bomberos and the Boys and Girls Club.
The fourth annual Experience Phoenix Union High School Expo will be held Saturday, November 5 from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. at Phoenix College. Middle school students and parents are invited to explore all that Phoenix Union has to offer at the Expo. Attendees can visit all Phoenix Union schools in one location, meet students and staff, learn about the many programs, clubs and services offered, and take advantage of the first day to apply to a PUHSD school. There will be live performances by high school students, giveaways and interactive activities and the first 1,000 8th graders will receive a free drawstring backpack.
The Be a Leader Foundation Taking Steps Towards College Success Resource Fair and Walk takes place October 23. The free event provides students and families with access to over 50 community organizations who support students through their educational journey. Following the resource fair at Phoenix Civic Space Park downtown, participants will walk to the Civic Center to visit with over 200 colleges and universities. Last year, Phoenix Union schools had 2,200 participants.
Former teacher, coach, principal and District athletic director Dr. Moody Jackson was named to the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Hall of Fame, September 12. Jackson was presented with the award from current Phoenix Union Athletic Director, and AIAAA President Dr. Zack Munoz. Jackson attended South Mountain where he starred in several sports, was a JC All American football player at Phoenix College, and eventually played pro football in Canada. He began his educational career as a teacher at South Mountain, where he coached football, track, boys and girls basketball. He was Phoenix Union’s athletic director from 1999 to 2009.
Bioscience is hosting an Open House for interested students and families, Thursday, November 3. It will also be in conjunction with the school’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. The event runs 4-8 p.m. The science and math specialty small school is beginning to enroll next year’s 9th, 10th and 11th graders. Students and parents can check out the school, meet the staff and see the opportunities at the school. The Dia de los Muertos celebration will also feature games, entertainment, face painting, robot driving, DNA extraction and food from Lupita’s Sonoran Hot Dogs. For more information, call the school at 602 764-5606.
The Girls Volleyball team leads the 5A Union Region with a 5-0 record, having beaten each of its region foes once. The Spartans will play each team again, beginning October 18 after fall break. Betty Fairfax is in second place, with a 4-2 record. Camelback is 10-4 overall, yet only ranked 26th in 5A, because of power points and strength of schedule.
The Friday Night Football Patrol will be at Central High School, October 21, encouraging students to sign a pledge to stay off drugs and alcohol and not abuse prescription drugs. Sponsored by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and its Safe Teens AZ Initiative, this is the sixth year of this program. The Patrol will be handing out giveaways plus everyone who “takes the pledge” will be entered to win a prize.
Alhambra High School hosted the Friday Night Football Patrol, September 2, and Alhambra students signed 1,302 teen drug-free pledges. One student won $500 at half time.
Carl Hayden senior Jackson Gray has been named a National Merit Scholarship Corporation Commended Student. This academic award is based on results from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
National Merit semifinalists qualify by being among the highest-scoring entrants in each state in the 2015 PSAT/NMSQT. The 16,000 semifinalists this year represent less than one percent of the 1.5 million juniors from over 22,000 high schools who take the PSAT. National Merit Finalists are highly coveted as prospective students to every college and university in the country.
National Merit Scholarship Commended students represent about 34,000 of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT, and receive letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended students represent about the top three percent of the 1.5 million juniors from over 22,000 high schools who take the PSAT.
Gray has a 4.6 GPA and ranked 6th in his senior class. His rigorous academic curriculum includes every Advanced Placement and Honors classes that have been available to him. He took the most advanced AP Calculus AB class as a junior, and is enrolled at Phoenix College to take AP Calculus BC. Gray is in the Computer Magnet program where he took the most advanced AP Computer class as a sophomore. He has been a member of the Carl Hayden Robotics team for four years, in which he has served as a programmer. He says he is equally interested in the electrical and mechanical aspects of robotics, as well. He has also volunteered to mentor youth interested in computers and robotics.
Gray is considering Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MIT, ASU Barrett Honors College, USC and Washington for college. He is considering majoring in electrical engineering, “with some level of computer engineering.”
“I really do live and breathe engineering. I spend a lot of my own time reading, watching and learning about electrical, mechanical or computer systems.”
He would like to have a career in engineering, and possibly work in a start-up company.
When new Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams officially took office this month, Phoenix became the largest city in the nation to have both female police and fire chiefs. Kara Kalkbrenner has led the fire department since 2014. Even more remarkable, both Williams and Kalkbrenner are Maryvale High School alumni, both graduated in 1983 and both were the first women to hold those posts in the sixth-largest city in the nation.
Williams was named the Chief of Police in July. She spent 22 years with the department before becoming the Oxnard, CA Police Chief in 2011. Kalkbrenner joined the Fire Department in 1984, and is one of only six female fire chiefs among large metropolitan fire departments in the country.
Williams’ entire family has Phoenix Union roots. Husband Cody Williams, a former city councilman, graduated from East High, and their sons Cody, Jr. and Alan, are North High graduates. Alan was a member of two state champion basketball teams, and is now playing for the Phoenix Suns.