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J.O. Combs Superintendent's Update Dec 2012

  1. District enrollment is 4,601 students which includes Community Pre-K through Grade 12.
  2. Mrs. Beauchene’s seventh grade honors science students and Mrs. Cook’s Aerospace Club members from J.O. Combs Middle School are working on projects for the annual Honeywell Fiesta Bowl Aerospace Challenge which will be held at the ASU Polytechnic campus.  The Aerospace Challenge, featuring Microsoft Mission Control will take place in February and was created to help middle school students enhance their space knowledge by creating a plan and physical model of an international lunar base. Students work in groups of three to five allowing students to improve their team-building, communication, problem-solving, and critical decision-making skills.  Students will be judged by teams of professionals in the science industry.
  3. Mrs. Burnquist’s Creative Writing class at Combs High School hosted Ms. Patricia Colleen Murphy, the managing editor and founder of Arizona State University’s online literary magazine, The Superstition Review. Ms. Murphy, along with two of the magazine’s interns spent an hour with students answering questions about writing and publishing. Ms. Murphy and her team have agreed to collaborate and mentor the students in creative writing in their efforts to produce a special Senior Feature of Imprint Magazine this coming spring. Combs students were invited to attend ASU’s November 30 launch party for their latest issue of their review and the partnership with ASU promises to extend beyond the scope of this year.
  4. Combs Traditional Academy’s 4th-6th graders will be participating in Junior Achievement’s BizTown program on January 10, 2013.  Junior Achievement BizTown encourages students to learn about the free enterprise system by participating in a simulated town. Student experiences vary from working in a bank, a television station, or a retail store, to managing personal finance, writing checks and practicing accounting skills. Students realize the relationship between what they learn in school and their successful participation in a simulated economy.
  5. National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) students at Combs Middle School sponsored a holiday food drive prior to Thanksgiving break with all donations going to local families in need.  Students collected items as well as donating their time on the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving to sort, stock, and create food baskets for families requiring assistance.
  6. Salt River Project (SRP) representatives visited Harmon Elementary 6th graders on November 14.  Science teacher, Mrs. Christiansen, coordinated with representatives from SRP who introduced their fascinating Energy Bike Program.  In the presentation, students looked closely at energy transformations and energy generation, and they had the opportunity to ride the Energy Bike to power incandescent, fluorescent, and LED light bulbs.  They also learned about solar power, energy conservation and efficiency.
  7. 7Ranch Elementary held its first annual Turkey Trot on November 21. Students, parents and staff members had an opportunity to run/trot around a predesigned course. Ranch’s PE teacher, Mrs. Baldenegro grouped students according to grade levels and length of each run. They were encouraged to do their best and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners were rewarded with a Ranch Roadrunner Ribbon. Expansion opportunities are all ready in discussion for next year.
  8. Information about the notMYkid program taking place at the Combs Middle School was recently shared with parents and staff members of the school community.  The focus of the first presentation for parents was on effective identification of negative online behavior and strategies for creating a family prevention plan. Presentations conducted included a parent presentation on December 4 on Student Substance Abuse and a student presentation on December 6 on Student Bullying. Additional student presentations at the Middle School include Student Depression on January 15, 11:30 – 1:30 pm and Student Internet Safety on February 12, 11:30 – 1:30 pm.
  9. On December 1, Combs High School students participated in “Service Saturday” as they gathered in the cafeteria amid holiday music, hot cocoa and cheer to participate in two projects. The first included making holiday greeting cards for the troops stationed at Fort Huachuca, Luke AFB and overseas. The second project entailed transferring uplifting quotes onto fabric panels that will hang in the Tumbleweed Youth Recreation Center, a center that serves homeless teens.
  10. Combs Traditional Academy will hold their school Geography Bee (sponsored by Google) on Friday, December 14 at 9:00 a.m. For the 25th year, the National Geographic Society is holding the National Geographic Bee for students in the fourth through eighth grades in thousands of school across the United States and in the five U.S. territories, as well as in Department of Defense Dependents Schools around the world. The winner of the Combs Traditional Academy Bee will advance to the next level of competition which involves a written examination to determine state competitors. All school winners are eligible to win the national championship and its first prize, a $25,000 college scholarship. The national competition will take place on May 20-22, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
  11. Simonton Elementary students recently participated in the Noetic Learning Math Contest which is a biannual math challenge for elementary students.  The goal of the competition is to encourage young students’ interest in math, to develop their problem solving skills, and to inspire them to excel in math.  Simonton students were given 45 minutes to solve 20 problems that cover a broad range of mathematics skills.  Congratulations to fifth graders Lindsay Jones and Shawn McDougal who received medals for being team winners and having the highest scores, and in sixth grades, Daniel Findlay and Brigham Shurtleff received the team winning medals as well as the National Honor Roll medal.  In addition, seven 5th and eleven 6th graders received National Honorable Mention awards.
  12. On December 13 Ellsworth students will have the opportunity to listen to Mr. Levar Fisher, a former NFL Player for the Arizona Cardinals, the New Orleans Saints as well as an Academic All-American and NCAA Defensive Player of the Year. His motivational, enthusiastic, and interactive assembly program will empower students with tools needed to combat bullying, build character, and raise self-esteem.
  13. Harmon Elementary 5th graders recently visited Schnepf Farms for the Heritage Festival.  They were able to see reenactments and dramatic portrayals of famous men and women, musicians, artisans, craftsmen, singers, colonists, pioneers, mountain men and soldiers from Colonial times. They also learned about the American Revolution and Founding Fathers through Frontier and Pioneer days, the Civil War, the Old West and on into the 20th century, including the First and Second World Wars and the Vietnam era.
  14. Simonton kindergarten students will be celebrating on December 14 at an awards assembly.  Each student will be receiving an award for all of their hard work during first and second quarter.  The awards will recognize the students’ accomplishments in reading, math, good penmanship and for demonstrating positive character traits.
  15. Combs Traditional Academy had two 6th grade students recently recognized for their Anti-Drug Posters in the 2013 Pinal County Attorney’s Office Anti-Drug Poster Contest. Hailey Fair was one of the top 60 finalists and Alyssa Negron’s poster was one of the top 3 posters which will be displayed on this year’s Pinal County T-Shirt.
  16. Simonton Elementary third grade students went on a grant funded field trip to the Mesa Arts Center to see Kenny Broad, Extreme Cave Diving. They learned about ecosystems and the importance of using resources wisely and observed pictures and videos of Kenny Broad and his team while on adventures.  Students also participated in a question and answer session during the event.
  17. Congratulations to Mayra Gutierrez, a Combs High School alumnus who was named December Student of the Month at Central Arizona College (CAC).

Looking Ahead

Each School has numerous activities.  Please check their website or contact the school office for details.

Dec. 12-19 STAR testing at Ranch Elementary

Thurs. Dec. 13 Combs Middle School Student Dance Concert – 6:00 pm

Thurs. Dec. 13 Holiday Choir Concert – Ranch/Simonton/Combs Traditional Academy combined at  Simonton at 6:00 pm

Thurs. Dec. 13 Hometown Heroes visits Ranch Elementary

Thurs. Dec. 13 Title I Parent Meeting at Ranch Elementary

Fri. Dec. 14 Combs Traditional Academy Geography Bee – 9:00 am

Fri. Dec. 14 Combs Middle School Winter Dance 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Sat. Dec. 15 Band/Choir Concert at Combs High School with Ranch Elementary Students – 1:00 pm

Wed. Dec. 19 Ranch Elementary Holiday “Sing-a-Long”

Wed. Dec. 19 Harmon Elementary Band Concert – 6:00 pm

Thurs. Dec. 20 Ranch Elementary K-2 Holiday Program

Thurs. Dec. 20 Combs Middle School/Combs High School Gr. 7-12 – Early Dismissal

Fri. Dec. 21 Harmon Elementary “Jingle Jog” activity – 8:30 am

Fri. Dec. 21 End of Semester – K-12 Early Dismissal

Dec. 24 – Jan 4 Winter Break

Tues. Jan. 7 Students Return to School

Tues. Jan. 8 Combs Traditional Academy PTO Meeting – 6:00 pm

Thurs. Jan. 10 Harmon Elementary Campus Spelling Bee – 8:30 am

Message from FUSD re: Newtown Tragedy
J.O. Combs Students recognized for demonstrating c...

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