• JUNE 2019
    Queen Creek teacher to go on weightless flight
    Queen Creek 8th grade physics teacher Nancy Foote has won a trip in a weightless flight lab offered by Zero Gravity Corporation. On her flight, the Sossaman Middle School Teacher will test the impact of microgravity on common physics tools. We talk to Foote about her trip.
    Carson Abril and Zhiyuan Ren represented the Higley boys tennis program in the division II doubles tournament. The pair advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to Harry Corrozza and Ryan Hildebrand from Cactus Shadows. On the track, Laci Simmons placed fourth in the girls division II 800-meter run at the state track and field meet. Emily Kahler placed fifth in pole vault. Williams Field junior Roy Vasquez represented the Black Hawks in the state track and field meet by placing second overall in the boys division II pole vault. On the girls side, Belle Huber also placed second in pole vault. Williams Field’s baseball program entered the state tournament as the 11-seed, but fell to Millennium in the first round.

    Gilbert schools give students job opportunities
    From freshman orientation, Parker Ferguson took an interest in the offerings of the agriscience and engineering class at Highland High School. Three years later, the 17-year-old junior has stuck with it, learned to weld, earned two internships and sold pieces he made at the school and at the county fair.“I like the freedom and that I get to work with my hands,”

    Williams Field High School’s Student Council earned the National Gold Council of Excellence honor this year from the National Student Councilorganization. This marks the second year in a row the school received the honor. The Black Hawks are one of only two schools in Arizona to receive the distinction this year.

    When Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G) announced their nationwide Mission: Microgravity competition for educators, one Arizona teacher dared to go where few have gone before. With a little ingenuity and assistance from her eighth-grade students, Sossaman Middle School’s Conceptual Physics teacher, Nancy Foote, was awarded the winner’s title and will be testing a variety of experiments on an upcoming weightless flight. 
    MAY 2019
    OT commitment Noah Nelson is latest example of Oklahoma’s recruiting forays into Arizona
    Three-star offensive tackle Noah Nelson committed to Oklahoma last week, continuing a recent trend of the Sooners tapping into Arizona for recruiting purposes. Nelson (6 feet 8, 295 pounds), from Gilbert (Ariz.) Williams Field, in the Phoenix suburbs, also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Michigan, USC and Washington, among others. He visited OU earlier this month, and decided that between the campus, the Sooners’ overall history of success and the specific offensive line success recently under position coach Bill Bedenbaugh, Oklahoma was the place for him. Other recent Arizona natives recruited by OU are Mark Andrews, a 2017 first-team All-America tight end from Scottsdale Desert Mountain, and quarterback Spencer Rattler from Phoenix Pinnacle. Rattler, the No. 1-ranked quarterback nationally in the 2019 recruiting class, is scheduled to arrive at OU this summer.

    OU football: Sooners pick up 2020 pledge from Arizona offensive lineman Noah Nelson
    Noah Nelson, an offensive tackle from Gilbert (Arizona) Williams Field High School, announced his pledge to join Oklahoma’s 2020 recruiting class on Monday night. Nelson (6-7, 290 pounds), considered a four-star prospect by Rivals, held multiple scholarship offers from schools like Oklahoma State, Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Washington.

    U.S. News & World Report names Higley, Williams Field to 2019 Best Schools list
    Both Higley Unified School District high schools — Higley and Williams Field — are in the top 100 of the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools list for Arizona.Each year, U.S. News examines more than 23,000 public high schools in the U.S. and District of Columbia, ranking those based on a number of factors. This marks the fifth year in a row the two Gilbert schools have been named to the list, according to a press release.

    Recruiting storm blows through Valley with breakthrough Power 5 football offers
    It has been breakthrough week for several Valley high school football players. From Goodyear Desert Edge freshman quarterback Adryan Lara picking up an Iowa State offer on Wednesday to Gilbert Williams Field junior offensive lineman Cooper Darling pulling in an Arizona State offer, players suddenly saw their recruiting shift into overdrive with their first Power 5 football scholarship offers.Iowa State offered another quarterback in the Valley, from the 2021 class, with Glendale Ironwood dual threat Will Haskell, 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, picking up his second offer. His first offer came from Duke two weeks ago.

    Williams Field senior named U.S. Presidential Scholar
    Williams Field High School senior Ruth Nyagaka is a future University of California-Berkeley student, a National Geographic Expedition alumni and a QuestBridge National College match finalist. She can now add U.S. Presidential Scholar to the list.

    Williams Field High School collects $25K for Make A Wish
    Students from Williams Field High School rallied to collect more than $25,000 for Make A Wish Arizona to grant a wish to a Gilbert student during the school’s second annual Wish Week. It is the most amount raised by a school this year and donations are still coming forth, according to a press release.“I am so proud of our campus, our community and everyone for their focus to give back and take care of others,” Principal Steve Tannenbaum said in a prepared statement. “Our students stepped up to the challenge.”
    Students from Williams Field High School rallied to collect more than $25,000 for Make A Wish Arizona to grant a wish to a Gilbert student during the school’s second annual Wish Week.It is the most amount raised by a school this year and donations are still coming forth.
    APRIL 2019
    Gilbert school districts weigh capital expenses
    Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the print edition to reflect action taken by the Higley USD governing board March 27. Repairs and replacements continue at public schools throughout Gilbert, utilizing bonds approved by voters in previous years. The bonds have allowed the districts to keep the schools operational, provide needed updates and upgrade areas such as security, district officials said. Universally, they credit voters with helping them through lean years and legislative cuts. However, the bond money is running short at Gilbert Public Schools, Higley USD and Chandler USD, and each district has areas of concern that officials say need addressing. All three districts are considering going before voters within the next two years for another set of bonds or an override of their capital budgets or to reapportion their current bonds.
    MARCH 2019
    Overall, Gilbert’s school spending gets good grades
    When it comes to efficient use of public dollars, Gilbert’s two high-performing school districts got dinged by the state Auditor General – one for its administration costs and the other for transportation expenses.Overall, classroom spending in Arizona has increased for the second year in a row to 54 cents of every dollar in the past school year but remains lower than the highest level spent for instruction since monitoring began in 2001, according to the Auditor General’s annual report on school spending.
    Thirty-one Arizona public schools are being recognized as 2017-18 Arizona Civic Engagement schools by the Arizona Department of Education’s Excellence in Civic Engagement Program. Now in its sixth year, Education’s Excellence in Civic Engagement Program recognizes and supports the important role schools play in ensuring that students are informed and engaged citizens. “I am immensely proud of these schools, teachers and especially the students for their outstanding achievement in the subject area of civics,” said Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Understanding one’s civic rights, roles and responsibilities is a critical component to becoming an informed and involved member of society.”
    App Connects Arizona Parents with Real-time Bus Notifications
    Higley Unified School District in Arizona leverages technology to deliver a smarter school bus experience, with instantaneous tracking of bus location and student ridership. Imagine being able to create a scorecard system in which every bus driver was rated on their safe driving, punctuality and other variables that are essential to their success. And imagine knowing when a driver is faithfully fulfilling their responsibilities and not rushing through a pre-trip checklist that is critical to their job. Or what it means to adopt a flexible fleet tracking system that is powerful enough to deliver the information you need and nimble enough to grow with your district.
    FEBRUARY 2019
    Higley looks to build on promising 2018 season
    Off in a distance you can hear positive words and maximum effort from the softball field as Higley prepares for another season.Last year was like no other for the Knights, who finished tied for the most wins in school history since 2011.
    Sydney Wesley is hoping for a bigger finish in 2019
    Sydney Wesley was awarded the Desert Sky Player of the Year last season. But the Higley star said it is not about her but her team. “It was a big moment for me,” said Wesley, who hit .561 with a .608 on base percentage and a total of 44 RBIs. “I was excited to be recognized not only by my coaches but all of the coaches.”
    Higley High senior Korben Pierce learned this week he is one of only 150 students nationwide selected to attend the 2019 Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy program. Pierce, an AFJROTC cadet, will receive a full scholarship to attend an accredited aviation university and participate in a private pilot license training program. More than 1,560 cadets applied for one of the 150 scholarships. There are more than 120,000 high school students enrolled in Air Force Junior ROTC at almost 900 high schools in the U.S and overseas.
    Higley High School is one of just 31 schools recognized in Arizona this year with a 2017-18 Civic Engagement award, receiving a “merit of excellence” award.
    “It’s a schoolwide systematic approach to civic engagement in all aspects of the school function. It’s how we incorporate civics in all that we do,” Assistant Principal James Walker said in a prepared statement.

    Higley senior wins full scholarship for flight academy program
    Higley High School senior Korben Pierce recently learned he is one of only 150 students nationwide selected to attend the 2019 AFJROTC Flight Academy program. Mr. Pierce, an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet, will receive a full scholarship to attend an accredited aviation university participating in a private pilot license training program, according to a press release.
    It was a surprise Marcus and Isaac MacDonald didn’t see coming.With Gilbert High’s boys basketball team leading Higley 42-30 late in the fourth quarter, Knights coach Jerome Joseph called timeout and walked over to Tigers coach Jay Caserio.“I had talked to coach (Caserio) earlier and he had told me what was going on,” Joseph said. “Obviously, when I saw the game was out of hand and there was an opportunity I wanted to give them that.”
    JANUARY 2019
    Williams Field DB Noa Pola-Gates announces commitment to Nebraska Cornhuskers
    Gilbert Williams Field senior defensive back Noa Pola-Gates announced during the first quarter of Saturday's late Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii that he will be attending Nebraska to play college football. He will join Gilbert Higley defensive lineman Ty Robinson and Chandler Hamilton defensive back Javin Wright, who both signed with the Cornhuskers on the Dec. 19 Early Signing Day.
    Williams Field safety Jadon Pearson honors late father with Air Force Academy commitment
    There is a reason why Gilbert Williams Field senior safety Jadon Pearson wears No. 39 on the football field. His father Steven was 39 when he died in 2008.
    It's primarily because of his dad that Pearson has chosen the Air Force Academy to play college football. Pearson, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound two-star prospect (247 composite) announced his commitment this week. His father, Steven Pearson, served in the Air Force and instilled the importance of hard work in his son at an early age.

    A new doll. A new game. Some new clothes. This holiday season, 140 children from families in the Higley Unified School District received special surprises thanks to the love and care of Trilogy residents. It’s the result of a relationship formed years ago between Gilbert’s two school districts – Gilbert and Higley – and the desire of Trilogy residents to give back to the community.

    Students at Bridges Elementary School, a Higley Unified School District campus in Gilbert, can now “travel” around the globe, “see” inside the human body and create models of their own thanks to virtual reality glasses on campus. The addition of this new technology opens new windows of knowledge for students at the project-based learning campus. Todd Berg, assistant principal, said parent teacher organization purchased the order of 32 glasses. He is excited to see how the new tools will enhance classroom lessons.
    Williams Field High School’s FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) Robotics Club, the RoboHawks, won first place at the state qualifying tournament in Tucson in early December. The team was also awarded the Inspire Award, given to the team that embodies the challenge of the program, according to a release.

    Williams Field senior in running for Presidential Scholar nod
    A Williams Field High School senior is in the running for a national Presidential Scholars award. Ruth Nyagaka is one of five Arizona students nominated for the U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education award, thanks to a nomination by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office. For the past three years, Ruth has been vice president of Williams Field’s DECA club, which teaches leadership, marketing and business.

    Some people, things to watch in Gilbert in 2019
    A new year is only two days away, but 2018 laid the groundwork for some of the people and things that will likely be impacting Gilbert in 2019. Here are 10 to watch. Jill Wilson Higley Unified School District Governing Board welcomes new member Jill Wilson, who takes office in January. Wison was appointed to the four-year position because there were only three candidates for three open seats last year. The Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent made the appointment, saving the district more than $22,000 by not having to hold an election in November. The superintendent also appointed incumbents Greg Wojtovich to a new two-year term and Amy Kaylor to a new four-year term. Board Member Rick Thornock, who was appointed in 2017, opted not to run for the seat.

    Williams Field High School‘s FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Club, the RoboHawks, won first place at the state qualifying tournament in Tucson in early December.
    DECEMBER 2018
    Trilogy residents donate to Higley Schools children, families
    This holiday season, 140 children from families in the Higley Unified School District will receive special surprises thanks to the love and care of Trilogy residents.
    Father figures help out at Power Ranch Elementary
    The only thing better than visiting dad at work is bringing dad to school – at least in the eyes of an elementary-aged student. At Power Ranch Elementary in the Higley Unified School District, fathers, stepdads, grandfathers, uncles and other father figures are signing up as members of Watch D.O.G.S. to become role models at the school.
    Higley's Ty Robinson signs with Nebraska Cornhuskers
    As Ty Robinson signed his letter of intent with Nebraska on Wednesday, Gilbert Higley football coach Eddy Zubey said, "Get ready Lincoln, you're getting a beast."The transformation of Robinson, moving from tight end to defensive end to defensive tackle, packing on muscle, during his Higley football career, was amazing. He grew into an NFL body at 6-foot-6, 285 pounds with more room to grow, and into a player Zubey called, "the best defensive lineman in the nation," during the Early Signing Day ceremony at the school's performing arts center.
    Four-star DE commits to Nebraska
    The four-star defensive end from Gilbert (Ariz.) Higley announced his commitment to the Cornhuskers during a ceremony at his school on Wednesday, picking the Big Ten program over finalists Alabama, Oregon and USC and giving head coach Scott Frost a huge win on the recruiting trail on the first day of the early signing period.

    Knights sign college commitments
    Three Knights made their official commitments to college sports Wednesday. Sydney Wesley signed a commitment to play softball for Mississippi Valley State University, where she will study forensic science. Spencer Brasch made his plans to play football at University of California, Berkeley official. He will study business. Ty Robinson's decision was unknown until signing time, when he put on a Nebraska hat. He will play football for the Huskers while he works on a degree in human biology and pre-med requirements. The signing event was held in the Higley Center for the Performing Arts Little Theater in front of family, friends and the media. Congratulations, Knights!

    Nick Saban visited Nebraska's top recruiting target. Then Nebraska went all out.
    How badly do the Nebraska Cornhuskers want Higley High School (Gilbert, Arizona) defensive lineman Ty Robinson?
    They sent 11 coaches to his home Thursday on the last night coaches were allowed to make home visits."You have 11 full-time coaches who are allowed to come out (to recruit)," Higley coach Eddy Zubey said. "They all came by the school and hung out with Ty all night."

    Williams Field athlete Tierra Brandt excels in soccer but is a rising star in Muay Thai
    Tierra Brandt is a top soccer player but is also regarded as one of the nation’s best female boxers. She's also considered one of the top Muay Thai fighter in the world for her age.

    Four-star DB Noa Pola-Gates ready to make impact at All-American Bowl
    Williams Field High School (Gilbert, Ariz.) four-star safety Noa Pola-Gates received his All-American Bowl jersey Thursday at his school as part of the All-American Bowl Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
    With salaries up, schools eye funding for facilities
    Like many school districts in Arizona the three public school districts that serve Gilbert are in an improved situation this school year; however, work remains to be done to restore their financial health, district officials said. State officials last spring committed to a three-year teacher salary increase program; an extension of Proposition 301 taxation, which is a 0.6-percent sales-tax increase dedicated to funding education; and the restoration of some District Additional Assistance, or DAA, funds, which are used for district capital costs—physical items like buildings and buses.
    NOVEMBER 2018
    Once again, Williams Field students aid the hungry
    Caring for their community – even folks they’ve never met – is the fall focus of students of Gilbert’s Williams Field High School. Of course, a little classroom competition never hurts.This month marks the eighth annual Williams Field Stuff the Bus Food Drive that last year totaled 13,000 pounds of nonperishable food items donated to the United Food Bank in Mesa.
    Williams Field students raises 12,000 pounds of food donations
    Williams Field High School students unpacked more than 12,000 pounds of food Monday, Nov. 19 at United Food Bank that will soon become meals for families in need. The effort was the culmination of the eighth annual Stuff the Bus Food Drive. Students from the Gilbert school spent more than four weeks gathering the food and donations at events, grocery stores, football games and in their classrooms. The result was enough food and money (more than $4,000) to provide 31,420 meals, according to a press release.
    OCTOBER 2018
    Fifth graders at Centennial Elementary in the Higley Unified School District displayed their learning through research, STEM activities, creativity, and curiosity on all topics related to Earth and space science during the school’s second Earth and Space Independent Study Showcase.

    Casteel, Higley athletes earn Doherty Medallions
    The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club has announced the recipients of the Ed Doherty Award Week 10 Performance Medallions, which features athletes from Casteel and Higley High Schools. Of 14 players recognized for outstanding play during their respective games on Friday, Oct. 26, Zach Nelson of Casteel and Coleman Owen made the list, according to a press release.

    It’s been a banner year for Gilbert-area high school football
    Take Williams Field, Casteel, Higley, Campo Verde and Gilbert. Add their 6A big brothers, Perry and Highland, and Mesquite of 4A to that slew of successful 5A programs and it becomes one of the best years ever in Gilbert-area high school football. East Valley schools continued their dominance of the rankings in state’s two largest divisions.
    See the Valley's top school districts ranked by 2016 SAT scores
    These Phoenix-area districts had the best average SAT scores in 2016, the most recent data available.
    Williams Field QB Zack Shepherd taking humble road to success
    As a freshman, Zack Shepherd and his Williams Field High football teammates visited Chaparral Elementary in Gilbert. A woman approached and asked if he would push her grandson around the track in his wheelchair during a fun run. Shepherd gladly obliged, not realizing the friendship that would grow with the boy, Zach Zuerlein. “Little Zach,” Shepherd said with a smile. “Since his name is Zach we made an instant connection. We got to talking and his favorite quarterback is Peyton Manning and that’s my favorite quarterback, so we just hit it off.”
    Williams Field hangs on at Campo Verde
    It was a rough night for offense as Williams Field High edged Campo Verde, 17-14, in Class 5A high school football in Gilbert. The Black Hawks have had sporadic moments when their highly-skilled offense has had trouble moving the ball. Friday was one of those. Williams Field completed just seven passes and struggled to block in the running game
    Higley’s Maxwell earns Week 9 Doherty Award medallion
    The Grand Canyon State Gridiron Club has announced the recipients of the Ed Doherty Award Week 9 Performance Medallions and a Higley football player made the cut. Logan Maxwell was one of six players who were recognized for outstanding play during their respective games Friday, Oct. 19, according to a press release.
    SEPTEMBER 2018
    Knights’ senior teaching game to unified team
    Higley High is off to a 4-1 start with quarterback Spencer Brasch and the offense scoring touchdowns at a record rate. Brasch leads the state with 22 touchdown passes and could eclipse Bryce Perkins' 5A record of 46 TD passes by season’s end. Spencer hopes to leave his mark with a state championship his senior season at Higley. How he plays on Friday nights will only be part of his story. Brasch spends Tuesdays helping out Unified Team. It’s a group of special needs students who play football. On the night the Arizona's Family camera followed Spencer, he pushed his friend Jake’s wheelchair. He also worked with his friends Ziggy on throwing and Jerry on catching.
    Higley quarterback putting up Brasch numbers
    Higley High quarterback Spencer Brasch left the field defeated in both score and spirit last Nov. 17 after a 37-31 overtime loss to Saguaro in the 4A football state semifinals. Brasch, then a junior, led the Knights to an 11-2 record with 33 touchdown passes and more than 1,900 passing yards. He threw for just 58 yards and suffered four interceptions in that season-ending game.
    Smart phone apps, video games and website use are a part of daily life for most Gilbert and East Valley teens. Now, they’re also the ones developing them. Charged with creating an app, game or website to help make life “more effective,” Higley Unified School District students from Williams Field High School, Sossaman and Cooley Middle School took part in the Great Arizona Code Challenge this month. It was held at Infusionsoft in Chandler. The event competition presented students with an outline of the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and asked them to use that idea as a base to develop an app, website or game people may use to be more effective in life.
    On Monday, Sept. 10, the bell rang at Williams Field High School, signaling the end of classes for the day. A group of students gathered in the school’s courtyard as the sun’s blaze echoed off the surrounding pavement. Packages were opened and small flags were distributed. Students tenderly placed American flags into the soil, one at a time.
    How best to teach an “old” lesson to “new” students? Design a puzzle room lesson! To teach lab safety, Sossaman Middle School Teacher Nancy Foote designed the fun, interactive lesson for her eighth-grade science students at the Higley Unified School District school in Queen Creek. “It’s interesting to see the kids’ reactions. The kids who tend to be introverted and don’t want to volunteer are getting very into it. The other kids are getting very into it,” she said.
    Higley students fare better than GPS in AzMERIT scores
    Nearly half of the students in Gilbert’s two public school systems aren’t adept at reading, writing and math, according to the latest AzMERIT test scores. While Higley Unified School District saw more students passing English Language Arts and math in 2018, Gilbert Public School District saw no improvement in students tested in English and fewer students passing math from the prior year, according to data from the Arizona Department of Education.
    Campus-wide program connects freshmen with upperclassmen in Higley Unified School District
    The transition from middle school to high school can be daunting for students as they try to juggle new responsibilities and pressures, but the Higley Unified School District’s Link Crew program at Williams Field and Higley high schools in Gilbert helps alleviate the stress.
    Unified Robotics offers inclusion and competition at Higley high schools
    This year, both Higley and Williams Field High School will offer Unified Robotics.
    The program brings together typical students with peers who have unique learning styles for an extracurricular activity that engages all in the competitive sport of robotics, according to a press release.
    AUGUST 2018
    I have been playing for around five years now. I began playing because I would watch my sister play it and at every game. I would be at the edge of my seat and never want to see the game end. I then knew that I would want to be the person that creates that feeling for others
    Higley Unified School District recognizes its Teachers of the Year
    Higley Unified School District honored its 2018 Teachers of the Year Thursday, Aug. 16, which included 14 honorees from each of the district’s campus as well as the preschools.
    Meet the Teacher: Danny K. Alltop serves students in Air Force Junior ROTC
    Why you chose to work in the district: The Higley Unified School District is the “best kept secret in Arizona.” Teamwork is tremendous and the commitment to kids is unrivaled.
    The Higley Unified School District still has spots available in its preschool program, which offer a plethora of programs for young children.
    The makeup of most East Valley school boards will be changing next January after current members decided not to seek another term and newcomers threw their hat in the ring. Last Wednesday, Aug. 8, was the last day for candidates to file petitions to get on the Nov. 6 ballot, setting up election contests in virtually every district except Higley and Queen Creek, where just enough candidates filed for the number of board vacancies.
    Williams Field's Steve Campbell returns to football roots planted by his dad at Norco
    Steve Campbell is going home, but he said his trip next week to Norco, Calif., isn't about him, but Gilbert Williams Field and everybody he ever coached at the school since it began playing varsity games 10 years ago. On Aug. 17, when the season opens, it will mark the first time the Black Hawks have ever played a football game outside of Arizona. It's the mark of an established, elite program, to travel out of state for games. Two years ago, Campbell led Williams Field to its first state championship, taking down mighty Peoria Centennial in the final.
    Jim Beall, who laid Higley High School football foundation, dies at 65
    Jim Beall won his three state championships, before he stepped foot at Gilbert Higley in 2001. Even though he didn't win another title, he left an imprint in the football community that will never be forgotten. On Wednesday night, Beall lost his battle to cancer at age of 65.
    JUNE 2018
    Gilbert Higley QB Spencer Brasch commits to California
    Gilbert Higley quarterback Spencer Brasch committed to California on Tuesday after finishing his official visit in Berkeley. Cal was Brasch's only Pac-12 offer
    MAY 2018
    Higley seniors earned more than $31 million in scholarships
    More than 900 Higley Unified School District students picked up their diplomas last week as Higley and Williams Field high schools hailed the Class of 2018.With total scholarship earnings of $16.3 million, 410 seniors from Higley High graduated while Williams Field High bid adieu to 415 grads, who earned $15.1 million in scholarship offers.
    Higley holds off Queen Creek American Leadership for 5A boys volleyball crown
    The noise never let up. The students never stopped standing. And Gilbert Higley's boys volleyball players never stopped believing.
    After Queen Creek American Leadership twice fought back from one-set deficits, Higley, powered by middle blocker Dreyson Cattani, finally put it away in the fifth set to take its first 5A championship at an overflow Gilbert Mesquite gym on Friday night.

    Red Mountain among four Arizona high schools creating new way to attract college football recruiters
    Gilbert Williams Field coach Steve Campbell instantly fell in love with the idea when Mesa Red Mountain approached him about having his school be part of four programs in one location during one day in spring football.
    Williams Field, Queen Creek and Queen Creek Casteel will be at Red Mountain on May 8 from 5 to 7 p.m., for a spring practice. The Arizona Interscholastic Association signed off on it, as long as the teams didn't practice against each other. They have to practice separately.
    APRIL 2018
    A variety of early learning programs in Higley Unified are giving kids a bright start
    A certified teacher in every class. Kids learning Spanish and practicing Mandarin. Specialty programs for gifted youth. Higley Unified School District has gone well beyond traditional early learning settings with their specialty preschools.
    FEBRUARY 2018
    How Gilbert Williams Field's Noa Pola-Gates suddenly became one of nation's hottest recruits
    Free safety Noa Pola-Gates this week picked up an Oregon football offer, just the latest in a sudden burst of offers that he described as, "Crazy."
    That was before the Gilbert Williams Field junior picked up three more Pac-12 offers -- Washington, Utah and Colorado.
    JANUARY 2018
    Arizona Prep Spotlight (includes feature of Blackhawks’s Lacee Jenkins, as well as the boys basketball team)
    This episode includes Best Moments, an interview with Black Hawk Lacee Jenkis and Basketball Round Up with the boy’s Black Hawk basketball team).
    NOVEMBER 2017
    Students at Williams Field High School in Gilbert are in the midst of an important competition that takes place off the athletic fields. Each grade level at the school is trying to collect the most non-perishable food items to literally “Stuff the Bus” for the people in need who are served by Mesa-based United Food Bank. The winning class receives the honor of riding in a secondary bus to the food bank to help unload the Stuff the Bus donations and tour the warehouse.
    This year’s drive runs goes through Nov. 20. Think about how much food can be packed into a traditional school bus. By the end of this year’s drive, the school expects to fill the bus from the floor to the ceiling, helping United Food Bank stock its warehouse shelves heading into the holidays. Through their previous drives, the school has collected a total of nearly 65,000 pounds (32.5 tons) of food that is equivalent to more than 55,300 meals.
    “We are so honored to be part of this amazing cause. It’s a great opportunity for our family at Williams Field to give back to the community.” said Steve Tannenbaum, principal, Williams Field High School.”
    Higley cruises past Seton Catholic, advances to 4A semifinals
    Gilbert Higley cruised to the semifinals in the 4A state playoffs with a 65-19 win over Chandler Seton Catholic Prep that included 44 points scored by the Higley offense in the first quarter.
    Higley and Seton Catholic met each other two weeks ago for a regular season finale that ended 50-0 in favor of Higley. So when both teams scored touchdowns on their opening offensive drives, including a 10-yard touchdown pass from Seton Catholic quarterback Vincent Wallace to Michael Van Bruwaene, it teased that Friday may be a surprising challenge for Higley in the quarterfinals.
    October 2017
    Desperation can be a huge motivator – just ask any coach. It’s an even bigger motivator when you’re the defending 5A state champs and you’re at risk of not even making the playoffs. Fortunately for Gilbert Williams Field, they don’t have to worry about that any more.
    Who knew Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels could sing? She and good-natured Gilbert Police Officer Paul Alaniz released a spoof of James Corden's wildly popular "Carpool Karaoke." Alaniz cruised Gilbert and jammed to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."  Alaniz, a 13-year veteran of the police force, is a resource officer at Williams Field High School. 
    September 2017
    Higley High seniors Wyatt Woffinden and Katherine Nguyen, both 17, are part of an elite group of students in Arizona. The two join Higley High graduates Brooke Lindsey, AnaLisa Ortiz, Brian Ray and Abhiram Tadepalli as National AP Scholars, the most ever for the Gilbert School.

    Preschool students gain Spanish skills in dual language program
    It’s the first year of the Spanish Dual Language Kinder Prep class at Sossaman Early Childhood Development Center in Queen Creek, Ariz., which is part of the Higley Unified School District. “The district opened the Spanish Kinder Prep program to help prepare children and give them a foundation for the Spanish Dual Language program at San Tan Elementary School,” Patti Gleason, Early Childhood Director said. Higley Unified also has a preschool Mandarin Exploration program at Cooley Early Childhood Development Center, along with an elementary Mandarin Dual Language program at Coronado Elementary School, both in Gilbert.

    Yoga guru keeps high school football players healthy
    It's 7:30 in the morning, and about 70 Queen Creek Casteel football players, their shoes off, are stretched out in a darkened wrestling room with soft music playing. They have yoga instructor Donna Chasan's full attention. "Let's get down in child pose," she says. "Keep your knees nice and wide. You've got tight hips. Try to get your forehead to touch the mat."The roughly 50-minute class has players feeling stretched, limber, at peace, as they come out and are better prepared to take on the day.
    August 2017
    Bridges Makers Place connects students to creative thinking
    At Bridges Elementary School in Gilbert, students have a place of their own to think, make, play, learn and create. It is called Makers Place.
    In a room filled with materials for building, drawing, constructing, experimenting, and assembling, students can design and put those designs to the test. The room is open every morning for about 25 minutes.
    It all starts with a challenge.

    Freshman uses summer to get a step ahead in future tech security career
    Eyeing a future career path in technology, Higley High freshman Dane Shillingburg sought a summer opportunity in computer coding that led him to UCLA.
    Shillingburg spent part of his vacation learning “different coding and programming languages. It was the fundamentals of it, but we were learning the programming for defending against hackers,” he said of his time at the iD Coding & Engineering Academy at UCLA.

    Skyhawks battle but fall to defending state champs
    There are high expectations for the Deer Valley football team this season, but the first game on Deer Valley High School’s schedule was against the defending 5A state champions Gilbert Williams Field.
    Deer Valley’s defense held the Black Hawks’ offense to 13 points, but the Skyhawks were unable to get into the end zone as the Skyhawks dropped their season opener 13-0 Aug. 25 at Deer Valley High School.

    Defenses stand out
    Defending 5A champion Gilbert Williams Field has outscored its first two opponents 81-0, including a 13-0 win Friday at Glendale Deer Valley in a battle of the trenches. Williams Field's defense has been the early surprise of the season as the Black Hawks ran their win streak to 16 games. Coach Steve Campbell had to replace nine starters from last year's 14-0 team. He came into Friday's game without three offensive starters, then lost a key running back to another injury early in the second quarter.

    Higley's Draycen Hall receives Arizona offer after making preseason All-American team
    If Gilbert Higley senior running back Draycen Hall wasn't thrilled enough Wednesday when he was the only Arizona high school player named to USA Today Sports' preseason All-American football team, it got better on Thursday afternoon. Hall opened up a piece of mail from the University of Arizona, and it was an official scholarship offers. It was his first from a major college.
    July 2017
    Sossaman Student attended Camp O’Connor
    Sossaman Middle School seventh-grader Caroline Simpson was one of only 48 students nationwide selected to attend the inaugural Camp O’Connor in Phoenix from June 5 to 9. Created by the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to solving high-impact issues through civil discussion and civic action, the tuition-free camp helps seventh and eighth graders understand civics and develop leadership skills.
    May 2017
    When Scottsdale Saguaro was on its way to a third consecutive football title last season, there was chatter about an open division and pitting the Sabercats against the likes of 6A champion Chandler. Saguaro will likely be ranked atop 4A again this season. But it won't be a cakewalk. Not with what coach Eddy Zubey is building at Gilbert Higley. 
    Williams Field students motivate others to leadership
    Two Gilbert students are motivating students toward leadership at their school.
    Williams Field High School senior Alexa Lemke and junior Erin Alibrandi are transforming student leadership through clubs inspired by Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership’s effective and compassionate leadership vision. HOBY is an international nonprofit that hosts annual leadership seminars for sophomores that school counselors select for their outstanding leadership potential.
    March 2017 
    Eighth-grader Penda Ba from Sossaman Middle School (Maricopa Region 6) outspelled 26 other competitors to win the 2017 Arizona State Spelling Bee March 25. Penda correctly spelled the word “gigue” in the 29th round to win the bee, which was hosted by the Arizona Educational Foundation in Phoenix.
    Penda, 13, attends Sossaman Middle School, 18655 Jacaranda Blvd. in Queen Creek. This was her first time competing in the state spelling bee.
    February 2017
    School district adds gifted program for preschoolers
    The Higley Unified School District (HUSD)  is adding a new "gifted" preschool program.
    "The program will be an opportunity for gifted children who are coming into pre-school with advanced academic qualities." said Kim Dobbs-Keran, gifted and talented education coordinator for HUSD.
    The gifted students will be with like-minded peers so they can explore and discover new concepts and build relationships.
    "Teachers will have the flexibility to follow the lead of the student and then wherever they're going, build on that opportunity," said Patti Gleason.
    Here comes the bus: School bus app gives parents peace of mind
    A new app could give lots of parents in the Higley Unified School District some peace of mind.
    The new app, called "Here Comes The Bus", provides parents real-time bus locations and updates. The app was released last month, and it is free to use.
    Higley Unified is the first district in the state to use the app. The app tells parents where a particular bus is, and when it is picking up kids. The school is also able to track its buses, using the app.
    Higley Unified School District offering preschool for 'highly gifted' toddlers
    A new preschool with a 20-student class of 4- and 5-year-olds is set to open in the Higley Unified School District for the 2017-2018 school year, but it comes with a catch: You have to be really, really smart.
    The admission requirement is an IQ of 130 or higher.
    The Higley district is adding the "highly gifted" program to its existing specialized preschool lineup at the Sossaman Early Childhood Development Center in Queen Creek, which includes Spanish and Mandarin dual-language programs.
    January 2017
    Higley High School Invites Students To Bring Laptops, Tablets To Class
    Schools across the Valley are adding tablets and laptops to the classroom.
    One Gilbert school hopes to speed up the process by allowing students to bring their own devices to class.
    “I truly believe it will benefit across the board, whether you’re in an English class for the research aspect, whether you’re in science, we can do some virtual labs for the students,” said Nancy Diab Scott, principal at Higley High School.
    December 2016
    Higley’s Draycen Hall selected as Gatorade Arizona Football Player of the Year
    Gilbert Higley junior Draycen Hall, who only moved to running back during training camp out of need for the team, was named the Gatorade Arizona Football Player of the Year.
    November 2016
    Blue-Grey Jersey presentation at Williams Field High School
    During the recent nationwide Blue-Grey Jersey Presentation Tour, in advance of the brand's All-American Bowl, Tre Bugg, Braden Valentine and Max Fine from Williams Field (AZ) were recognized by NFL veteran Mark McMillian. Sean Ceglinsky produced the video.
    October 2016
    Higley High School’s Unified Sports program has another strong start
    Parents cheer from the stands. Students celebrate on the field. It’s football season, once again.
    But in this game, the points on the scoreboard are not what’s celebrated most. The focus is more on the effort, the team play and the collaboration between teammates on both sides.
    Sossaman teacher selected as Queen Creek Chamber Educator of the Year
    Sossaman Middle School teacher Nancy Foote was selected as the 2016 Educator of the Year by the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce during a dinner ceremony Sept. 15. Mrs. Foote teaches conceptual physics at the school, where she has worked since it opened.
    Williams Field senior named as finalist for athletic scholarship
    Williams Field High School Senior Milton “Tre” Bugg is a finalist for the Triple Impact Competitor Scholarship this year.
    Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit organization that provides student athletes with ways to build positive character.
    Sossaman teacher featured in Tech & Learning magazine story, “Collaboration: At the root of STEM success”
    Many of Nancy Foote’s students have followed the STEM path from her classroom at Sossaman Middle School in the Higley Unified (AZ) School District into related careers. These include “the young lady who hated science and math but loved the tech end of it” who is now majoring in physics and astronomy at college, “the academically talented student who is working on Orphan Diseases with the White House,” a few doctors, and even one “who really is a rocket scientist.” While Sossaman doesn’t have an official STEM program, the school offers many STEM classes and has a strong robotics program.
    March 2016
    Higley High students join U.S. Army’s Jazz Ambassadors on stage
    The Jazz Ambassadors – America’s Big Band brought its show to Higley last weekend with a special performance that included members of the Higley High School music program. The Jazz Ambassadors is the official touring big band of the United States Army.
    Williams Field senior earns Air Force Academy appointment
    Senior Kaitlyn Patterson believes in challenging herself. She immediately enrolled in honors and AP class upon joining Williams Field High Schools as a freshman. She also played sports her freshman, sophomore and junior years, only to take off this year due to her heavy AP schedule – AP Biology, AP Calculus, AP English, AP Spanish and AP Government & Politics.
    January 2016 
    Boys Basketball: Higley continues winning ways against Mesquite
    Higley came into Tuesday night’s match up with Mesquite with its best record in the last 10 years and having won three of its last five games.
    The Knights kept the their best season in a decade going, rolling through the Wildcats 49-36 Tuesday night at Higley.