• 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.
    The Higley Unified School District is giving its students and their parents a way to track school buses in real time.
    The Here Comes the Bus app works on computers, tablets and smartphones, and HUSD is the first district in the state to use it. 
    Students can use the app or their bus pass card to scan on and off of their buses. Each scan send an alert to their parents' cell phones, letting them know when they've been picked up, and when they've arrived. 
    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.
    As the state Legislature begins a new session, funding for all-day kindergarten appears to be unlikely as conservative Republicans raise questions about its value and the absence of standards.
    “The research is strong that students who attend full-day as opposed to a half-day kindergarten program outperform their peers with their academic achievement and growth. Our students consistently perform at the top of the state, and we believe the full-day kindergarten experience is part of this success,” said Higley Assistant Superintendent Warren Shillingburg.
    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.
    Competitors show sportsmanship in high school playoff game
    A football player’s injury brought two teams together in a show of sportsmanship.
    Thursday, the Marana Tigers were playing in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1983. They were competing against the Williams Field Black Hawks in Gilbert. One of Marana’s wide receivers, Tariq Jordan, was injured after a helmet-to-helmet collision.
    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.
    February 2016
    Sossaman, Cortina students top Higley Spelling Bee
    Sossaman Middle School seventh grader Penda Ba and Cortina fifth-grader Makenna Fagrell will represent Higley Unified School District in the regional spelling bee after finishing first and second, respectively, in the district Spelling Bee on Jan. 26.
    January 2016
    Higley and Williams Field offer more than 20 AP classes
    Higley Unified School District’s Higley and Williams Field High Schools offer more than 20 titles of Advanced Placement classes to students, where they receive college-level rigor and the possibility of college credit. The two schools also offer dozens of dual-enrollment opportunities, making it possible for students to complete their first, second or even third-semester of college as they finish high school. Dual enrollment options range from AP Chemistry and other AP English, AP math and AP foreign language courses to art, engineering and sports medicine. - See more
    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.
    December 2015
    Williams Field students assist United Food Bank
    The holiday season is a special time as people reflect on the blessings they have been given throughout the year. It’s also a time certain individuals need more assistance than others.

    Williams Field High School students know this all too well, and decided to give back to the community during the school’s Stuff the Bus campaign by donating nonperishable items to the United Food Bank in Mesa.
    October 2015
    Emily Thomas is a varsity swimmer for the Black Hawks during the school year, but began swimming year-round at 8-years-old. Her dive into the San Francisco waters two years ago started a love for open water swim. Last spring, she completed the Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge swims just a day apart. Each was more than 1.4 miles in rocky waters.
    September 2015
    Chaparral teachers bring STEAM into lessons
    Mrs. Danielle Edwards’ sixth-grade classes at Chaparral Elementary School in the Higley Unified School District are learning how more about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math through “STEAM” challenges she is introducing this year.

    During a recent lesson, students tried to build a structure out of gumdrops and toothpicks strong enough to hold a textbook for one minute. Many students thought the challenge would be easy.
    Higley Governing Board recognizes Points of Pride
    The Higley Unified School District recognized “Points of Pride” awards during recent governing board meetings.
    August 2015
    Chaparral Elementary receives new books
    Students at Chaparral Elementary School, 380 E Frye Road in Gilbert in the Higley Unified School District, have more than $8,500 in new books at the school this year thanks to the efforts of the school PTO and the local Sam’s Club, according to a press release.
    July 2015
    AZ Central: 'Williams Field remains a title contender'
    AZ Central recently featured Williams Field High School in a video story about the upcoming football season.
    Last year, the team finished state runner-up in Division III. With the AIA changes, Williams Field moves to Division II this year.
    The first game will be Aug. 28 at Campo Verde High School. The first home game is Sept. 11, which is also Homecoming.
    Cooley student participates in NASA Aviation Challenge
    June 2015
    Williams Field’s Tre Bugg makes big gains on football field
    Tre Bugg gained 35 pounds since his sophomore season. He is still only 155 pounds.
    But the 5-foot-10 Gilbert Williams Field junior cornerback made another big gain over the weekend, winning the Defensive Most Valuable Player Award at the University of California camp that had more than 500 campers.
    “I had to perform to the best of my ability,” he said. “There were a lot of good players who just made me elevate my game. Through all of that, I ended up making plays. I am grateful to get that title.”
    To get it, Bugg had five interceptions on the weekend in 7 on 7s.
    Students taking film and television production at Higley Unified School District’s Williams Field High School recently partnered with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce to create a video. The chamber is working with member companies to create videos that describe the jobs available within their industries and the education needed to acquire them. The program – called Partners in Progress – began last year. Higley High School film and television students created a video in 2014 that featured a local veterinarian.
    Jet packs, robots and glasses that help police locate criminals are just a few of the ideas emerging from students attending Higley Unified School District's Summer Thunder camp.
    This year marks the second time the summer Title I program designers used curriculum from Camp Invention to integrate reading and math skills with science, technology and engineering concepts. It means students are using their creative skills while trying out new vocabulary words such as "prototype" and "empathy."
    Robot building, computer programming and rocket launches make for one busy summer during Higley Unified School District's Robotics Camp at Sossaman Middle School.
    Teacher John Burke designed the camp to be similar to the semester-long elective class he teaches at the middle school. Students can choose what to work on each week. While some construct a model amusement park out of K'nex materials, others build robots and another group completes computer-based coding games.
    Williams Field’s Brandon Ruiz wins national kickoff competition
    Arizona football has gotten huge in the past decade at every position. And kickers keep getting stronger.

    That was on display Tuesday in Southern California, where Phoenix Desert Vista's Connor Culp won a national kickoff competition run by Chris Sailer for the 2016 class and Gilbert Williams Field's Brandon Ruiz won the competition for the 2017 class.
    May 2015
    Students from Sossaman Middle School in Higley Unified School District spent a day at Arizona State University’s Preschool recently to introduce robotics to the young students.

    As the robotics program at Higley Unified School District’s two middle schools continues to grow, the students are expanding their knowledge through interactive events and competitions.
    Higley High teacher selected as district teacher of the year
    The 7th annual Teachers of the Year dinner was held May 7 to recognize some of the best teachers in the Higley Unified School District.

    One teacher from each school site, as well as the preschool system, was selected to be honored from the more than 550 teachers in the district.

    Higley High School math instructor Shawn Cook was named the Higley Unified School District Teacher of the Year.
    May 2015
    April 2015
    2015 Rodel Aspiring Principals named, including Higley’s Jamerson
    The Rodel Foundation of Arizona has named 26 educators from across Arizona to the 2015 cohort of Rodel Aspiring Principals. Next month these individuals will begin training, shadowing and building a network with Rodel Exemplary Principal mentors as they prepare to become principals of Arizona schools.
    Foundation names Phoenix-area’s best schools (Centennial’s A+ award)
    Nineteen Valley schools are the new Arizona Educational Foundation's A+ Schools of Excellence.

    The 32-year-old award honors public schools that have excelling students, positive cultures and high-quality teachers and class materials.
    Schools must apply for A+ awards. They typically spend a year or more preparing for evaluations by Arizona Educational Foundation-trained judges.
    Chaparral Rubik’s Cube Team competes in regional competition
    A team of fifth and sixth graders from Higley Unified School District’s Chaparral Elementary School participated March 28 in the Regional Rubik’s Cube Competition  at the ASU SciTech Festival West in Glendale.
    Schools across Valley receive A+ rating (Centennial listed)
    The Arizona Education Foundation (AEF) released its A+ School of Excellence rating, and many schools throughout the Valley have received the prestigious award.  
    AzMerit rolls out to schools this week
    As Arizona students begin to take AzMERIT for the first time, teachers and administrators describe how they’ve prepared for the new assessment and parents and students voice their concerns.
    Beginning this week, students throughout Arizona will take AzMERIT (Arizona’s Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching), which measures their mastery of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards in math and English/Language Arts.
    Williams Field students selected for ASU Leadership program
    Williams Field High School senior Amanda Alibrandi learned this month she has been selected as member of the Arizona State University Leadership Scholarship Program.

    March 2015
    Local news story features recycling efforts in Higley
    Journalism students from ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications recently featured Higley Traditional Academy in a story about the Town of Gilbert’s Bench the Bag effort. The town’s Environmental Services Department, in collaboration with TREX, the Arizona SciTech Festival and Bashas, hopes to keep 1 million plastic grocery sacks away from the landfill. All 10 of Higley Unified School District’s elementary schools are participating.
    Engaging at Centennial Elementary School STEAM Night
    Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics (STEAM) is no longer foreign to young students. In fact, more and more elementary schools actively provide their students with outlets to showcase their interest and achievements in STEAM. One of them is Centennial Elementary School with its STEAM Night. The core of the event is about engagement.
    Higley district hires new leader
    The Higley Unified School District (HUSD) Governing Board approved the hiring of Dr. Mike Thomason as the new superintendent for the district.

    Williams Field senior wins honors writing competition
    Williams Field High School senior Natalee Martino received a personalized award after winning the school’s National English Honor Society (NEHS) short story competition earlier this semester.
    Gilbert schools aim to save 1 Million plastic bags from landfill
    More than 20 Gilbert Public Schools and Higley Unified School District elementary schools are committing to “Bench the Bag” between February 9th and March 6th; working together to keep one million plastic bags out of the landfill.
    February 2015
    Gilbert elementary schools compete in ‘Bench the Bag’ recycling competition
    Elementary schools in Gilbert are teaming up with the city to help the environment by recycling plastic bags. The schools are participating in a recycling competition to try and recycle plastic bags and keep them out of landfills.
    Higley district announces new superintendent
    The Higley Unified School District Governing Board voted unanimously Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, to name Dr. Mike Thomason the next superintendent of the district. He will begin in his new position July 1, 2015.
    Higley picks new superintendent
    Higley Unified School District has tapped Dr. Mike Thomason to be its next superintendent. Thomason, who succeeds the retiring Dr. Denise Birdwell, will begin work on July 1.
    Higley Unified School District selects superintendent finalists
    Denise Birdwell, superintendent of the Higley Unified School District, will retire in June. The district governing board recently named four finalists for the position, which will be open in July.
    Mahlerwein: Developing a positive partnership with your child’s school
    As parents, we all want our children to do their best at school. The best way to ensure this occurs is to develop a strong relationship with the school that our children attend. This is easier said than done, as parents may not be familiar with the inner-working of public education. Here are a few approaches to consider when building this relationship with your child’s school.
    January 2015
    Higley schools collect donations for Super Kids Super Sharing
    Four Higley schools – Cortina, Centennial, Power Ranch and San Tan Elementary – collected new and gently used sports equipment, books and cell phones to be distributed to schools in need in the Valley as part of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s Super Kids, Super Sharing event.
    Higley Students Earn Honors in MLK Jr. Art Competition
    Students from Higley Unified School District’s Sossaman Middle School recently swept the Junior High division of the Town of Gilbert’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Art Competition.
    Two Sossaman Middle School students earned perfect scores on the ACT Explore exam given this fall. The school, 18655 E. Jacaranda Blvd. in Queen Creek, is in the Higley Unified School District.
    When eighth-graders in Nancy Foote’s science class at Sossaman Middle School need to learn a concept or work on an assignment, they just need access to her instructional videos on YouTube and their classroom account on Edmodo.
    Foote’s students, like many others in Arizona public schools with blended learning environments, spend a portion of their time learning content through digital or Internet-based media in addition to traditional classroom instruction. - See more at: http://azednews.com/2015/01/08/achieving-faster-engaged-better-more-arizona-schools-use-blended-learning/#sthash.lk7u5hD8.dpuf
    Foote’s students, like many others in Arizona public schools with blended learning environments, spend a portion of their time learning content through digital or Internet-based media in addition to traditional classroom instruction. - See more at: http://azednews.com/2015/01/08/achieving-faster-engaged-better-more-arizona-schools-use-blended-learning/#sthash.lk7u5hD8.dpuf
    Foote’s students, like many others in Arizona public schools with blended learning environments, spend a portion of their time learning content through digital or Internet-based media in addition to traditional classroom instruction.