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J.O. Combs Superintendent's Update Feb 2013

School and District News

1. District enrollment is 4622 students which includes Community Pre-K through Grade 12.

2. The Combs High School Wrestling team competed this past weekend in the Division III State Championships in Prescott, Arizona.  Sophomore, Ted Rico defeated his opponent 3 – 1 for the Division III title in his weight class, and brought home the first Arizona State Championship title to Combs High School.  He finished the year at 47 – 1.  Also qualifying for the state tournament were Kelvin Taylor, Riley Bourgeous, Joey Salas and Nigel Gardner. Gardner and Salas both seniors, finished in the top eight at State Championships.

3. 2013 – 2014 Kindergarten Registration “Kick-Off” Week is February 25 through March 1 at all elementary schools.  Evening registration will be on February 28 from 4-6 pm at all sites with the exception of Combs Traditional Academy which takes place on March 7 from 6-7:30 pm.  In addition, there will be a “Kindergarten Experience” on Monday, April 22 from 4:30 – 5:30 pm at all elementary schools. Incoming kindergarten students will have an opportunity to participate in kindergarten activities, and parents will tour the campus and obtain important information about the school and programs.

4. The Combs District Facebook page is now official! We encourage the use of this site to share all of the great things happening throughout the district. "Like" us on Facebook to stay updated on the latest information from the district. In addition, you can follow the district on Twitter @ JOCombsUSD and Pinterest at J.O.Combs.

5. District Spelling Bee winners will represent the J.O. Combs Unified School District at the Pinal County Spelling Bee on Friday, February 15 at Coolidge High School.  The winners of the District spelling bee are, sixth grader, Kirstyn Thwaits from Harmon Elementary, Kaden Painter, a fourth grader at Ranch Elementary, and Avalon Younger-Howard a sixth grader from Combs Traditional Academy.

6. In January, the second of three “Battle of the Books” was completed at all elementary sites. Students continue their preparation, diligently reading, and answering questions related to the selected books.  Scores are cumulative and the winning overall team from each school will compete in the District “Battle of the Books.”  The Combs School District will be hosting the J.O. Combs/Queen Creek District “Battle of the Books” competition on May 1st at 6:30 pm at the J.O. Combs Middle School. Teams currently in the lead at each school are:

  • Combs Traditional Academy: Abby Johnson, Karlyn Curwin, Addelynn Young
  • Ellsworth Elementary: Shelbi Lopez and Daisy Chase
  • Harmon Elementary: Rachel Alger, Brian Bishop, Chesley Udall
  • Ranch Elementary: Coda Riggs, Jett Calderon, Seth Seavy
  • Simonton Elementary: Shayla Gibbons, Skylar Uphoff, Devon Pascarella

7. Ranch Elementary Family Math Night was held on January 23rd where students and families rotated around the multipurpose room interacting with a variety of math games. Parents had an opportunity to visit with teachers and learn about the math curriculum that will be presented during the second semester.

8. All 5th and 6th grade band and orchestra students throughout the district will be participating in a “Glow-in-the-Dark” concert in their music classrooms on February 21 and 22.  The students decorate themselves and their instruments with glow items while they play music from memory.

9. As part of the new common core English Language Arts (ELA) standards, second graders at Simonton Elementary worked in groups to write, direct, make props for, and perform a reader’s theater based on common folktales such as The Three Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Students did a great job showing cooperation and effort while strengthening their language arts skills.

10. The NED Show visited Ellsworth Elementary on January 23. The purpose of the program is to inspire and motivate students to become champions in school and life. During the assembly the NED philosophy; Never Give up, Encourage Others, and Do Your Best was taught to students using positive messages with built-in humor, storytelling, and audience participation.

11. Mr. Duren, drama teacher and Combs High School, and his drama students attended the Central Arizona Acting Festival on February 2.  Three students qualified for nationals.  Ashlee Caldwell received the highest score for her monologue. Shelby Wilt also received an overall score of superior for her monologue, while Hailey Buell received a superior rating for her scenic design.  Students entered a one-act show at the festival, which received an overall rating of superior. Congratulations to Ashlee Caldwell, Shelby Wilt, Violet Koster, Camberly England, Tre Candland, Zach Cameron, Isaiah Gonzalez, Sierra Heath, and Gabby Durtschi for their great one-act show.

12. Fifth graders at Ellsworth Elementary are celebrating Black History month with a hallway dedicated to famous African American inventors, musicians, actors, poets, athletes, and civil rights leaders. Posters were completed by fifth graders who researched a specific African American leader and wrote a biography on their life and contribution to the history of our nation.

13. Congratulations to Combs Middle School seventh grade science students from Mrs. Cook’s and Ms. Beauchene’s science classes who represented the district at the ASU Aerospace Challenge on February 6.  The “Bigger Bang” team (Krista Slade, Sydney Jones, Isaiah Hall-Brooks, and Evelyn Suarez) won the award for coolest team name.  The “Lunar Draco” team (Miranda Newell, Cordell Briggs, and Lance Dimas) won the award for the lunar base where the judges would most like to live.  The “Rockettes” team (Alina Ortega, Karlie Foster, Lauren Gunnels, and Brookie Schnepf) won most creative use of the space station for a secondary mission of space tourism.  Everyone competed very well throughout the day.

14. The Medical Professions class at Combs High School received a thank you letter from Ms. Andy Kramer Peterson, President and CEO of the Banner Health Foundation, in appreciation for the donation of four boxes of toys to Cardon Children’s Medical Center. Banner was very appreciative of the efforts to make a difference in a child’s life and the support of community spirit.

15. An Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.  Some famous Eagle Scouts are Sam Walton, James Lovell, Hank Aaron, Gerald Ford, John Glenn, Ross Perot, and Steven Spielberg.  Combs Middle School was fortunate to have Matthew Sowder, seventh grader, choose the middle school baseball field for his project.  To improve the baseball field at the middle school, he met with Combs Middle School Administration, Pinal County Planning and Zoning Departments, Hensel Phelps Construction, and other adults to complete his project.  All materials were donated which valued at over $5,000.  Matthew organized for 45 people to donate time on the project.  The project took 385 hours to complete.  It was a huge success with a variety of improvements taking place to the field, including roof tops on both dugouts, repairing fencing that surrounds the field, and pulling of weeds.  Combs Middle School would like to extend its gratitude to Matthew Sowder for choosing the baseball field for his Eagle Scout project.

16. Harmon Elementary held its second annual Mother /Son event with a knight theme.  There was a large turnout of moms and their sons making crafts, playing games, and ending the night with a dance.

17. The Pinal County School Health Department presented a substance abuse awareness program to the 6th grade students at Ranch Elementary during the week of February 4. This program helps students to identify the negative effects of drugs and alcohol and teaches students how to avoid the social pressures that come with adolescence.


Looking Ahead

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

  • Wed. Feb. 13 Combs High School – Half Day – 11:20 am dismissal
  • Fri. Feb. 15 Pinal County Spelling Bee, Coolidge High School, Florence – 9:30 am
  • Fri. Feb. 15 Combs Traditional Academy PTO Sweetheart Dance
  • Mon. Feb. 18 Presidents’ Day – No School
  • Tue. Feb. 19 Combs Traditional Academy President’s Day Flag Ceremony
  • Wed. Feb. 20 Study Session – 6:00 pm at Combs Middle School
  • Thurs. Feb. 21 Spring Pictures at Harmon Elementary
  • Fri. Feb. 22 Book Fair at Ranch Elementary
  • Feb. 25-Mar. 1 Kindergarten Registration “Kick-Off” Week at all elementary sites (Monday, April 22nd 4:30-5:30 pm “Kindergarten Experience” at all elementary sites)
  • Feb. 25-Mar. 1 “I Love to Read Week”
  • Feb. 25-26 AIMS Testing – Combs High School
  • Tues. Feb. 26 “I Love to Read Night” at Harmon Elementary
  • Wed. Feb. 27 Ranch Elementary Hoedown
  • Wed. Feb. 27 Pre-School Screenings at Ranch Elementary 8:30 – 11: 30 am
  • Wed. Feb. 27 Parent / Superintendent Council Meeting at Ellsworth Elementary – 11:30 am
  • Thurs. Feb. 28 Evening Kindergarten Registration at Simonton Elementary, Harmon Elementary, Ellsworth Elementary and Ranch Elementary from 4 – 6 pm
  • Fri. Mar. 1 Combs High School Orchestra/Choir Concert – 7:00 pm
  • Sat. Mar. 2 Combs High School Band Concert – 1:00 pm
  • Wed. Mar. 6 Regular Governing Board Meeting – 6:00 pm
  • Thurs. Mar. 7 Evening Kindergarten Registration at Combs Traditional Academy from 6-7:30 pm
  • March 11-15 Spring Break
  • Mon. Mar. 18 Professional Development Day – No School


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