El Mirage News
City of Surprise and El Mirage Award Student Essay Winners
In partnership with the City of Surprise and the City of El Mirage, students across the Dysart Unified School District were invited to participate in the My El Mirage and My Surprise Essay Contests in November of 2022. Prompts were developed in partnership with each city to elicit responses that spoke about each city’s mission or vision.
More than 200 students in grades 3-12 submitted their essays with schools choosing the top 128 district-wide. The writings were evaluated based on understanding of city services/amenities, creativity, clarity, sincerity of thought, and proper grammar.
Winners from Surprise were selected in specific grade bands and were honored March 7 at the Surprise City Council meeting including: Cadence Fumia and Rose Vasquez from Countryside Elementary in the grade 3-4 division, Tatianna Pellegrino from Freedom Traditional School for 5-8th grade and Kaleb Delgado from Shadow Ridge High School who won for the high school division.
Excerpts included below.
Cadence Fumia encourages people to live in Surprise: “My name is Cadence and I live in Surprise, Arizona. If you don’t, what the heck are you waiting for?”
Rose Vasquez expresses how she feels living in Surprise: “I am really happy I moved here because I have my family, a great school that I really like. I have some new friends, and it’s really clean, safe, and friendly.”
Tatianna Pellegrino shares this insight about Surprise: “Danish architect and urban design consultant, Jan Gehl once said, ‘A good city is like a good party–you stay for longer than you plan.’ Surprise isn’t just a good party; it's a great party.”
Kaleb Delgado says: “[Surprise] carries nothing by surprises, and as a resident here, I am proud to be in such a beautiful community.”
The City of El Mirage structured their essay winners a bit differently and awarded the top three students in grade 3-8: Esmeralda Olvera Martinez; 1st place, Lejla Tvrtkovic; 2nd place, and Kaleb Rodriquez; third place all from El Mirage Elementary School. High school recognitions include Nathaniel Cosio, and Andre Mena, both 11th grade students at Valley Vista High School.
The five students and their families were invited to attend the City of El Mirage Council meeting on March 7. The students were recognized and received ribbons and certificates.
Esmeralda Olvera Martinez shares her reasons for loving her city: “So, do you want to know why El Mirage is special? Well, I’ll tell you. You’re going to love it.” She goes on to describe the schools, library, and festivals in El Mirage.
Nathaniel Cosio shares the value of community: “In the El Mirage community, I feel like everyone knows each other and have fun just getting to live in the city.”
Student winners from both categories were recognized at the Dysart Unified School District Governing Board meeting on March 9th, 2023.
Danielle Edgerton coordinated the dual city essay contest with support from teachers, administrators, and city leaders.
“It has been such a rewarding experience to partner with both the City of Surprise and the City of El Mirage to honor our scholars and writers,” shared Edgerton. “The essays submitted by all of the students were sincere celebrations of their schools and communities.”
Read Across America Week at El Mirage
February 27 through March 3 was Read Across America week. At El Mirage Elementary we celebrated with spirit days, guest readers, and Family Literacy Night. Thank you to all of the special guests that came out and read to our Tigers!
Special Visitors to El Mirage
Assistant Superintendents, Dr. Isiai and Dr. Croteau, visited a kindergarten math class on February 27.
El Mirage Named A+ School of Excellence
El Mirage Elementary School is one of three Dysart schools that has been named A+ Schools of Excellence by the Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF). The A+ School of Excellence is a comprehensive school assessment program that celebrates outstanding schools and helps to identify, celebrate, and recognize educational excellence in PreK-12th grade schools throughout Arizona. AEF named thirty-six Arizona schools as 2022-2023 A+ Schools of Excellence.
“In Dysart we strive to compete at the highest level, and I could not be more proud of these schools for this outstanding accomplishment,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Dean. “Canyon Ridge, El Mirage Elementary, and Willow Canyon are clearly doing great things, which is reflective of the hard work that our staff does each and every day.”
“The A+ School of Excellence Award is significant as it sends a message throughout communities that the local neighborhood public school down the street is an exceptional choice, brimming with opportunities for students to learn and grow, and for faculty and staff to thrive,” stated Kim Graham, AEF® Executive Director. “AEF was established to shine a spotlight on the great work of public schools and the hardworking educators and employees who devote themselves to serving students and families. The A+ School of Excellence Award is our way of honoring that incredible dedication.”
A+ School of Excellence recipients are evaluated on many areas, including student focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data. Selected schools must demonstrate high student academic achievement or growth over time, participate in site visits by state education leaders, and document in detail the school’s leadership and commitment to excellence, equity, and service. The application process is collaborative, and involves all stakeholders - students, staff, and the community. Winning schools receive $500 and a banner designating them as an A+ School of Excellence winner.
The Student Council at Sundown Mountain Alternative Program started a mentorship program with El Mirage Elementary School. This program provides the opportunity for Sundown Mountain students to develop their leadership skills, all while building positive relationships, encouraging, and bonding with EMES students.
PBIS/Health and Wellness Assembly for Quarter 2
On January 23 our Tigers were rewarded for all of there hard work at the PBIS/ Health and Wellness assembly. Congratulations to everyone! Way to go, Tigers!
El Mirage Elementary principal, Stephanie Davis, is applying to speak at the annual Model Schools Conference in Orlando, Florida. She is proud to be a Tiger and would like to share some of the many strategies that El Mirage has used with other instructional leaders.
100th Day of School
Monday January 23 was the 100th Day of School! Students and staff celebrated by dressing up as 100 year olds. They also participated in all kinds of math activities dealing with the number 100.
El Mirage Elementary School will be participating in The Arizona Diamondback "Attendance Matters" rewards for students program. Tigers who have 95% or better attendance for the months of February and March will earn a complimentary ticket to a variety of games from April to July! When you miss school you miss out!
Cross Country Season Continues
The El Mirage Cross Country Team continues to improve every meet. Our Tiger runners are having a great season thanks to Coach Victoria Nolasco Lozano!
Special Visitor at El Mirage Elementary
Some of our Tigers were treated with an extra special visit from Santa Claus today. They were so excited to see him. Thank you to Santa and his helpers!
Aisles of Smiles
The Surprise Firefighters Charities held their annual Aisles of Smiles event. Some of our El Mirage Tigers were chosen to go shopping with a firefighter. Thank you to the Surprise Fire-Medical Department for their generosity and support of our students and community this holiday season.
Cross Country Meet
El Mirage Tigers participated in their first Cross Country meet on Saturday, December 3. Congratulations to 4th grader Yamileth Espinosa who received a medal for second place! The whole team and Coach Vickie Nolasco-Lozano did a great job. Way to go, Tigers!
Future Career Day
Tuesday, November 29 was "Dress Like Your Future Career Day". We had future firemen, policemen, teachers, businessmen and women, and many more.
Veterans Day Assembly
On November 10 two Army nurses and a Marine talked to our fourth grade Tigers about different jobs you can have in the military and about their own experiences in the military. We want to thank them for their service and for taking the time to share with our students.
First Grade Field Trip
On October 27 our first grade Tigers took a field trip across the street to the El Mirage Fire Station and the El Mirage Library. Thank you to the Firefighters and Librarians for letting us visit.
El Mirage Earns an “A” Rating
El Mirage Elementary School is excited to announce that we have received an A-rating from the newly-released 2022 State of Arizona accountability labels. This letter grade provides us a glimpse into many areas of proficiency and growth for our school, including information about student achievement, college and career readiness, student growth, and other key areas of interest. We appreciate our hardworking students, staff and parents for their contributions in making our school an A-rated school!
This is the first time the state has issued new labels since 2018-2019, due to House Bill’s 2910 and 2402, which temporarily paused the issuing of A-F letter grades. It is important to note that this year the state used the same cut marks as they did in 2019 for K-8 schools, the last year they issued letter grades. However, this year's K-8 growth score is only based on growth percentile and does not include growth-to-target.
About School Letter Grades: Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-241 requires the Arizona Department of Education, subject to final adoption by the State Board of Education, to develop an annual achievement profile for every public school in the state based on an A through F scale. The system measures year to year student academic growth, proficiency on English language arts, math and science, the proficiency and academic growth of English language learners, indicators that an elementary student is ready for success in high school and that high school students are ready to succeed in a career or higher education and high school graduation rates.
PBIS/Health and Wellness Assembly for Quarter 1
On October 24, El Mirage Tigers celebrated all of their achievements in our first PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) assembly of the year.
Career and College Expo
Dysart Unified School District invites parents and students to a Career and College Expo on Wednesday, October 26 from 5:30 - 7:30pm at the Dysart District Office, located at 15802 N. Parkview Place in Surprise.
The expo showcases Dysart's Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, West-MEC, colleges and universities, and military representatives so families can explore opportunities to pursue in and after high school. This is a great way for 5th through 11th grade students and their parents to get hands-on with all of the career pathway classes and programs offered at Dysart Schools. The event is free and open to the public. Details can be found at www.dysart.org/CTEexpo.
Dysart Schools currently offer 17 CTE programs at four high schools (Dysart High School, Shadow Ridge High School, Valley Vista High School, and Willow Canyon High School.) Program options include Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, Digital Animation, Digital Photography, Education Professions, Engineering, Film and TV Production, Fire Science, Graphic Design, Laboratory Assisting, Law and Public Safety, Marketing, Nursing Services, Software and App Design, Sports Medicine, Stagecraft Design and Production and Technology Device Maintenance. Learn more at www.dysart.org/CTE.
Fire Safety Assembly
The City of El Mirage Fire Department visited classrooms and conducted a fire safety assembly for all our Tigers. Please take a look.
El Mirage Color Fun Run
As part of our Health and Wellness Signature program, EMES participated in the Color Fun Run - Fundraiser. Our students and staff got tons of great exercise, and had a fantastic experience! Plus this was the most successful fundraiser thus far. Here are some of the amazing prizes our students earned:
- If we reach our goal we will have a school-wide ice cream party!!!!
- The top earners will get to water balloon the Principal and Assistant Principal!
- Mon-star" Wristband & Drawing Entry for Cool Prize!
- Monster Collectible Keychain!
- Fidget Mystery Box!
- 2 More Monster Keychains!
- Plush Monster Hat!
- Monster Slap Cart Fidget Toy!
- Official Monster Lanyard!
The Dysart Farmer's Market came to our school on September 23. We were able to sample some fresh fruits and veggies like rainbow carrots, kiwi, watermelon radish, snap peas, and cantaloupe.
Mrs. Dayrit's third grade class won the attendance reward for August. They were rewarded with an ice cream party, and they got to throw water balloons at Assistant Principal, Mr. Haney.
YMCA Water Safety Assembly
The Valley of the Sun YMCA provided a Water Safety Assembly to all of our Tigers on September 13. They learned how to keep themselves and others safe around water. Thank you YMCA!
#SafetyAroundWater #WaterWatcher. valleyymca.org. srpnet.com/safety
Wishes for Teachers
Melissa Reagan from El Mirage Elementary had an exciting morning with the help of 3TV, Fiesta Bowl Charities, and Spirit the mascot. She was honored as a Fiesta Bowl Wishes for Teachers grant recipient and received $2500 for her classroom.
Six El Mirage Elementary Teachers Earn $500 Grant
Big shout out to Subaru Superstore of Surprise for your @adoptaclassroom donation to our school to help our students succed! #subaruloveslearning #tigerpride.
Subaru of Surprise believes that all students deserve an equal and fair opportunity at a quality education. Through our partnership with AdoptAClassroom.org, Subaru and its retailers will have supported more that 300,000 students nationwide and are proud to be their largest corporate supporter.
Fun with Kindermusik
Our Kindergarteners love it when Mrs. Davis teaches a Kindermusik lesson.
El Mirage in a Minute
Here's what's happening at El Mirage Elementary School.
Special Visitors at El Mirage Elementary
El Mirage was excited to host four special visitors to our school on August 5: Governing Board President Christine Pritchard, Governing Board Member Traci Sawyer-Sinkbell, Dr. Jim Dean, and Dr. Shelley Isai. Thank you for visiting our classes!
Please Complete a Free/Reduced Lunch Application
Just a reminder that the universal free meal program that schools have been able to offer the last few years has ended. We ask that all families complete a Free and Reduced Lunch Application for this school year, which helps maintain school funding and ensures that qualified families will continue to receive free or reduced priced meals. It is critical that all families complete the application at SchoolCafe.com. Meals are always available for purchase. Parents can prepay for meals, a la carte or snack items, view their balances, or place restrictions on purchases to their child’s meal account at SchoolCafe.com. When students go through the meal line they simply need to provide their student ID at the register to process the transaction. Additional information on meal services can always be found at Dysart.org/Nutrition.
Our brand new kindergarteners had a blast at Kindergarten Experience July 11-July 13. They were able to see their classrooms, meet some of the teachers, and do a lot of fun activities. We are so excited to see them on August 3.
Remember our Meet the Teacher Night is Monday, August 1 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Meet the Teacher Night
Meet the Teacher Night is on August 1 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at El Mirage Elementary School. We look forward to seeing you there.
We can't wait to see everyone back for the first day of school on August 3! Make sure you mark your calendars for event and activity dates and keep an eye on our new website for important information as the start of school approaches.
Our Meet the Teacher night will be on August 1 from 4:00-6:00pm. Please join us to see the campus, meet your child's teachers, and get information on what to expect this year.
Still need to enroll? There's still time to get your children enrolled for the 2022-2023 school year! Parents and guardians can complete the necessary registration information online at Dysart.org/enroll at any time. Please note that in order to finalize registration the following documents will be required: government issued photo identification; birth certificate; proof of residency; and immunization records. For additional assistance with student registration, families are welcome to contact our front office.
Don't forget to make sure you have access to the Parent Portal to keep up with your child’s academic progress throughout the year! Sign up or access the site online at Dysart.org/parentportal or via the Campus Parent app.
Dysart Schools have many opportunities for the community to assist schools in providing an amazing educational experience to each and every student. Volunteers help to enrich children’s learning opportunities, provide individual attention to children who need one-on-one assistance, promote a school-home-community partnership for quality education, provide staff members with more time to work with students, and assist staff members and support personnel with non-instructional tasks.
Where is Help Needed?
- Classroom and teacher support
- One-on-one student assistance
- Event help (preparations, setup, operations, tear-down)
- Guest speakers (experts or retirees in various fields)
- Front office assistance
How to Become a Volunteer:
- Review the volunteer handbook and complete the volunteer application at Dysart.org/Volunteer
- Make an appointment for your volunteer orientation
- Coordinate your schedule through the school office
- Put on your volunteer badge and have fun!
Who Should Apply to Volunteer?
Anyone who cares about children and education is a potential volunteer. Parents, grandparents and community members 18 years of age or older who want to make a difference in the lives of children and support educators are encouraged to apply to become a volunteer with Dysart Unified School District. Volunteers are welcome in all of our schools and prior teaching experience is not necessary.
Learn more or apply here.
School Breakfast and Lunch
Dysart Nutrition Services ensures that students at all schools have fresh, wholesome and nutritious breakfast and lunch options to support their education and focus in class. Learn more about Nutrition Services at Dysart.org/Nutrition. Menus and nutritional information may be viewed at Dysart.Nutrislice.com.
Apply for Free and Reduced Meals
Beginning July 1, 2022 the USDA is returning to income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced meals. All families should complete a Free and Reduced Lunch Application at SchoolCafe.com to help maintain school funding and make sure that qualified families receive this and other benefits. Only one application is required per family, and may be completed at SchoolCafe.com.
How to Add Meal Funds to an Account
Cash and checks are accepted for meal purchases, or families may utilize SchoolCafe.com to prepay for meals online, view their balances, or place restrictions on purchases. Online payments take 24 hours to post to student accounts.
- Elementary Lunch $2.60, Reduced $.40, Adult $3.50
- Elementary Breakfast $1.25, Reduced $.30, Adult $1.75 High School Lunch $2.85, Reduced $.40, Adult $3.50
- High School Breakfast $1.25, Reduced $.30, Adult $1.75
A la carte and snack items are available for purchase on each campus, and additional meals are available for an added charge. Parents are always welcome to dine with their child, but please be sure to call in advance and check-in at the school office. Adult meals may be purchased for $1.75 for breakfast or $3.50 for lunch.
Employment Opportunities in Dysart
Dysart is the largest employer in both the cities of Surprise and El Mirage with over 2,700 employees. Dysart Schools offer highly competitive salaries, full benefits and an inviting school-year calendar with holidays and weekends off for most positions.
With a wide-variety of positions ranging from groundskeeper, to mechanic, to office staff, and teachers, we’re always looking for great people to join our Dysart team!
Current High Need Areas:
- Bus Drivers and Aides
- Childcare and Preschool Aides
- Behavioral Technicians
- Speech and Language Pathologists
- Special Education Teachers
- Math Teachers
- Science Teachers
- ASL Teachers
- Health Services Assistants
- Crossing Guards
- Maintenance Workers and Plant Managers
- Social Workers
Check out our current openings at Dysart.org/Careers and apply today!
Stay Informed on the Parent Portal
The Parent Portal is a great tool to stay informed 24/7 about your child’s academic progress. Grades, attendance, assignments and more are viewable in real time online or via the app, Campus Parent. A single login allows parents with multiple students to access information for all of their children in one place. Learn more at Dysart.org/ParentPortal.
Update Your Communication Preferences and Contact Info
To make sure that we can keep you informed in emergency situations, please ensure that your contact information is current in the Parent Portal. You are also able to adjust your communication preferences (phone, text, and/or email) at Dysart.org/ParentPortal or on the Campus Parent app to ensure you are getting the various message types in the way that you would like. Remember that if you select more than one type of communication per category, you will receive the message multiple times via each of those avenues.
AZ Cardinals read to El Mirage students
The students at El Mirage Elementary School got a very special visit from the Arizona Cardinals Milk and Cookies Program this week. Big Red, the mascot, got the students energized and ready for reading. Big Red was joined by Cardinals alumni Mark Maddox and cheerleaders Emily and Zaryn who read a selection of books to students. The students were awarded the special assembly for perfect attendance and leadership skills. After the reading, students enjoyed a yummy snack of milk and cookies, an Arizona Cardinals backpack, and mini football.
The Cardinals, SRP, and Albertsons-Safeway have teamed up for 19 years on the Milk and Cookies program, which supports and promotes literacy throughout Valley elementary schools.
El Mirage kicks wellness into high gear with Phoenix Rising
El Mirage Elementary School hosted athletes from Phoenix Rising soccer for an assembly to kick off their Health and Wellness signature program.
The Tigers welcomed the Phoenix Rising with a roaring clap-out through the halls of the school led by student ambassadors and the El Mirage mascot. Players, Joey Calistri and Ben Spencer and business representative, Kendall Barnes spoke to students about what it takes to be successful in professional sports, setting career goals, and the importance of having a growth mindset. The athletes participated in a scrimmage game against boys and girls middle school players and demonstrated techniques during a penalty kick contest with students and staff. Students displayed their athletic talents and Principal, Stephanie Scott made an impressive goal.
This presentation is the first of many opportunities provided through the Health and Wellness signature program. Through health and wellness experiences, college preparation, and physical fitness, students will achieve their full potential and learn life-long skills for success. The purpose is to teach students about healthy habits, and to help them become well-rounded individuals, with healthy minds and bodies. Students are encouraged to increase physical activity by getting outside and playing, to eat healthy, be confident in their abilities, and not be afraid to fail and try again.