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Great news! During the March 9, 2023 Governing Board meeting, new salary increases were approved for the 2023-2024 school year! Teacher salaries will start at $51,610, including performance pay and a mentorship program*. Occupational/physical therapists will also see a pay increase starting at $71,000. Speech pathologists can earn a starting salary of $71,000. Additionally, the starting salary for psychologists will be $75,000. The Board also approved a three percent salary increase for all employees, as well as one-time stipends. *Denotes completion of the BEGIN program and earning performance pay.
The WESD was proud to open its new Food Pantry with a special dedication ceremony on Monday, October 24 ! Thanks to a $50,000 grant from Thunderbird Charities and a partnership with the HonorHealth Foundation and Desert Mission Food Bank, the Food Pantry will serve the needs of WESD students and families. The pantry is located at Ocotillo Elementary School in the Washington Resource Information Center (WRIC), which is run by Enriqueta DiSanto, Haidi Chacon and Maria Calderas. In attendance at the event were Governing Board Vice President Nikkie Whaley, Governing Board Member Jenni Abbott-Bayardi, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services Lori Mora, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lyn Bailey and Ocotillo Principal Mandy Taylor. During the ceremony, Superintendent Dr. Paul Stanton spoke on behalf of the WESD.
Special thank you to Director of Social Services Dorothy Watkins and Director of Food Services Melissa Paulsen who worked collaboratively with the WRIC team and Anne Costa from the Desert Mission Food Bank to make this idea a reality to benefit our students and families!
During its last regular meeting before the summer recess, the Phoenix City Council awarded a $4.5 million grant to the WESD to support HVAC systems replacements and water filling stations at four schools: Ocotillo Elementary School, Palo Verde Middle School, Roadrunner Elementary and Washington Elementary. This program is funded by HUD through the CARES Act and the Community Development Block Grant. Special thanks to the council members who represent the WESD; Councilwoman Ann O'Brien, PHX D1, District 1; Councilwoman Debra Stark, District 3 and Councilwoman Betty Guardado, District 5. The WESD truly appreciates its partnership with the city and our council members.
The WESD is pleased to announce the opening of its new online school - the Online Learning Academy (OLA). The OLA is supported by a dedicated school administrator, 13 highly qualified teachers (including special education and language services), and an office specialist. With capacity to serve 290 students, the school offers a full-day, fully synchronous (live teacher) educational opportunity for K-8 students.
The WESD is proud to announce that Alyssa Weed, music teacher at Acacia Elementary School, has been selected as a Top 10 finalist for the Arizona Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year Award!
The AEF™ Arizona Teacher of the Year program spotlights the contributions of outstanding public school teachers throughout Arizona by annually recognizing 10 exceptionally skilled and dedicated pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public school teachers. Considered the “Oscar Awards” of teaching, the educator ultimately selected as Arizona Teacher of the Year becomes our state’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.
WESD Governing Board member, Mrs. Lindsey Peterson, was also selected as a Top 10 finalist! Mrs. Peterson is an English teacher at Apollo High School in the Glendale Union High School District.
The top 10 candidates will be interviewed by the Arizona Educational Foundation. After interviews are completed, the top five teachers will be named “Ambassadors for Excellence” and finalists for the Arizona Teacher of the Year Award. The remaining five will become “Semifinalists.” All 10 are celebrated throughout the year at various recognition events.
This is the third time in four years that the WESD has had a Top 10 finalist. Both Alyssa and Lindsey will be honored at the 2022 Arizona Teacher of the Year Awards Ceremony in October where the Teacher of the Year will be selected and announced.
Congratulations, Alyssa and Lindsey! We are honored to have you as part of our WESD Family!
Congratulations to Ocotillo Elementary School - one of 44 Arizona public schools receiving the coveted A+ School of Excellence™ from the Arizona Educational Foundation! Ocotillo is the second WESD school to receive this distinction. Acacia Elementary is a three-time recipient. Principal Dr. Steve Murosky and Assistant Principal Mandy Taylor surprised their team with the good news during a virtual staff meeting October 6.
The A+ Award is a way to identify, celebrate, and recognize educational excellence in PreK-12th grade schools throughout Arizona. In addition to showcasing outstanding public schools, the A+ program provides school teams with an extensive comprehensive framework that serves as a basis for school self-assessment and planning. Applicant schools are evaluated in the areas of student focus and support, school culture, active teaching and learning, curriculum, leadership, community and parent involvement and assessment data.
Dr. Murosky shared feedback he received from the team who visited his campus earlier this year, “Our judge stated they were impressed with how our school closes the achievement gap for our students, our high academic rigor, our school culture, clean and safe environment, our AMAZING PTO, and our laser focus on moving the school forward.”
Dr. Murosky added, “We are very proud of all of our Ocotillo staff, past and present, who have dedicated so much to our students and their families. This is a great honor for our school and the entire community – now we will plan a safe celebration!”
Schools receive $500 and a banner designating them as an A+ School of Excellence™ winner. The award is valid for four years.
Way to go, Bulldogs! The #WESDFamily is so proud of you!