Dr. Cort Monroe's Monthly Vodcast

February 2023

Script for the February 2023 Vodcast

  • As we begin the new year, at CCUSD, we are thankful for our employees, students, parents and community.  We thought we’d highlight some of the amazing and unique things happening in our schools for the past few months of the 2022-2023 school year.


    Black Mountain Elementary School: One of the most popular events of the year at Black Mountain takes place every September when the students come together to celebrate all first responders during Patriot Day (9/11).  This year, we were excited to combine our Patriot Day ceremony with our Grandparents Breakfast allowing for the largest group of first responders we have ever had to be celebrated by the largest audience we have ever had. It was quite the site to see hundreds of grandparents join in on the celebration as almost 600 students and staff sang patriotic songs, while unveiling a gigantic American flag. Black Mountain is also honored for the wonderful opportunity to thank even more heroes during the annual Veterans Day Walk of Honor each year. This year, on November 10th, BMES welcomed almost 100 veterans to walk through decorated halls lined with hundreds of cheering students and waving flags. Students were able to walk with a veteran or in honor of a veteran who was unable to attend. 


    Desert Sun Academy:  Desert Sun Academy had an exciting first semester that included student leadership, community involvement, and teaching and learning. Our DSA Student Council and Kiwanis K-Kids collected food items to help community members during the holiday season. Our French Immersion students celebrated French Week in November to showcase the French culture with all other DSA students. DSA celebrated and honored our Veterans at our November Flag Raising to thank them for their service to their communities and country. As a staff, we are learning together through our professional learning communities and on site professional development training to ensure effective teaching practices and high expectations for all kids.


    Desert Willow Elementary School:  Desert Willow has been able to start more before and after school clubs this year in order for students to feel more connected to the school and find an area of interest for them. Students were thrilled to join Choir, Mileage Club, and Cross Country clubs to name a few. Our 6th grader Roadrunner Leadership volunteers assist with our dismissal each day while building relationships with younger students and families. We recognized our first responders this year with Dr. Monroe grilling hamburgers and hot dogs for the Daisy Mountain Fire Department and local Phoenix police officers during our lunch hours.  In addition, for Veterans Day, Desert Willow honored our many Veterans with lunch, notes, and a kindergarten presentation. We also hosted a visit from the Embassy of Spain to renew their designation as the only International Spanish Academy in Arizona! We are looking forward to beginning our Spanish Conversation Club and Kiwanis K-Kids Club in the next semester. Learning for life-Loving to learn!


    Lone Mountain Elementary School:   The first semester at Lone Mountain was an amazing one! From the before and after school clubs and athletics of cross-country, choir, volleyball, and Kiwanis K-Kids, our students are learning about ways to make an impact in their community and school. Students academically are focused on the engineering design process in STEAM class, are achieving high levels of learning in the classroom, and practice daily how to be responsible, respectful citizens both at school, home, and in the community. Lone Mountain is a great place to be and our Eagles are truly SOARing to success as evidenced by our A letter grade from the Arizona Department of Education.


    Horseshoe Trails Elementary School: The first semester at Horseshoe Trails was a smashing success! Student literacy and math stations have been in full swing since September for all grade levels, students are loving our computer science curriculum that’s being offered as a special encore class and our Fall Cohort of Stallion Strides Horsemanship classes are wrapping up in December. Teachers have been meeting with their grade level professional learning communities from around CCUSD on each half day to discuss, analyze, and strategize how to maximize student achievement for all our students. And our PTO has been AMAZING at organizing different team building events for our school that also support local businesses in downtown Cave Creek and Carefree. All in all, we’ve got tons to be thankful for and to celebrate at HTES. 


    Sonoran Trails Middle School: It was another busy semester at Sonoran Trails- exactly how we like it!  We currently are offering fourteen clubs that are student led with almost 300 students participating.  Additionally, we concluded our baseball and softball seasons where all teams finished in second place in our region.  With our Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in place, we collaborate and look at data weekly with our departments to focus our efforts on helping students succeed.  From those strategic meetings, we go back and reteach and/or enrich the learning in our classrooms.  Students complete a short assessment bi-weekly to show mastery of the Arizona State Standards.  Finally, with the rollout of our positive behavioral intervention and support (PBIS) in place, we are teaching all students how to be STAR students (Safe, Trustworthy, Accountable, and Respectful).  There is a common language heard on campus with what students need to do to be successful both academically and behaviorally and it is both reinforced and celebrated with pride.  We are truly proud of the many great happenings on our campus. 


    Cactus Shadows High School:  The Falcons had a fabulous first semester.  Our Fall sports had a challenging season but continued to work hard and did their very best in making us all proud.  Girls golf brought home a state championship.  The Student Council was hard at work and hosted the Big Blue Pep Rally and Nightmare on Falcon Street Homecoming event, along with a very fun Homecoming Week.  The events were widely attended and so much fun.  The school was full of spirit as a majority of the staff and students participated in spirit week. Our teachers were off and running day one working in their professional learning communities as departments and collaborating to provide the best learning experience for our high school students.  They have begun preparing our students for the state standardized tests that they will take in the spring.  Currently our winter sports are up and running.  Our coaches and assistants do a great job with our student athletes.  We also received amazon news when we heard that CSHS is an A rated high school as rated by the Arizona Department of Education.  Not only are we an A school but we scored in the Top 10 of all traditional, grades 9-12 high schools across the state of Arizona.  We certainly are proud to be falcons!