Dysart district rings in new school year with some changes

Younger Marley Park elementary students join their family members in class before starting the first day of the school year Aug. 3 at Marley Park Elementary School in Surprise. [Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia]
By Jennifer Jimenez
Independent Newsmedia

Classes are underway for the 2017-18 school year in the Dysart Unified School District and new programs are also springing up in the areas of technology, partnerships and leadership.

Zach Fountain, the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the district, said Dysart was named a Spotlight Districts by Code to the Future, an internationally recognized program that trains teachers and students to code computer programs in elementary school settings.

“Being a lighthouse district recognizes the district’s commitment to including coding and computer science topics throughout our curriculum.  With Code to the Future and our AP Computer Science programs, we are focused to meeting growing business needs so that today’s students are able to embrace tomorrow’s careers,” he said.

Dysart, Willow Canyon and Shadow Ridge high schools are all introducing Advanced Placement courses in Computer Science and Career Technical Education Programs in Information Technology.

“Students benefit from the AP coursework because they are pushing themselves into more complex work all the while also having the opportunity to earn college credit,” Mr. Fountain said.

The district is also partnering with organizations like First Tee Arizona to expand opportunities for students to learn leadership and development skills through the game of golf in physical education programs at the elementary level.

“We feel that partnerships with organizations like First Tee Arizona and Code to the Future are important in that they bring important topics and opportunities to students,” Mr. Fountain said. “First Tee, for example, focuses on teaching the game of golf, but also instills important leadership skills all while challenging students to figure out how they can adjust their game to perform better.  It teaches tenacity and grit in a manner that we are really excited about.”

Six elementary schools have new principals this year — Emily Dean at Ashton Ranch, Jill Hoppe at Canyon Ridge, Ginger Richards at Cimarron Springs, Cheryl Pete at Dysart Elementary, Carin Garton at Marley Park and Stephanie Lawrence at Riverview.

Classes began Aug. 3 across the district. Dysart Unified is made up of 24 school campuses serving more than 24,000 students in Surprise, El Mirage, and Waddell.

““We are excited to welcome back everyone for the new school year.  It is going to be a great experience where all students will continue their path to being career and college ready.  We are so grateful for the community support of our students, families, and staff,” said Dysart Superintendent Dr. Gail Pletnick.

Marley Park elementary students and their family members make their way to class before starting the first day of classes, Aug. 3 at Marley Park Elementary School in Surprise. [Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia]
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