Letter to the Community - March 21, 2024

Dear Tolleson ESD Families & Community;

We have a lot of exciting news to share with you that was approved at last night’s governing board meeting!

Our Mariachi Band, led by 2024 Arizona’s Teacher of the Year Mr. Efrain Casillas, has been invited to perform at the White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington DC on April 1. Our Advanced Mariachi Band students will travel on March 30 and return on April 2. The students will also tour inside the White House and other national museums and landmarks as time permits.

Six Desert Oasis Elementary School students will represent our district at Odyssey of the Mind state competition in Oro Valley, Arizona on March 30 under the leadership of Ms. Mandy Fierro. They placed third at the regional competition and will compete against other first-, second-, and third-place finishers in regional competitions across the state.

Five students will represent our district at the National Career Development Conference in St. Louis, Missouri April 17–21 under the leadership of their school counselors and Ms.Tamira Cross. The students are members of Jobs for Arizona Graduates (JAG), and they will explore career pathways.

We also have Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary School students’ works of art exhibited at the Youth Arts Month (YAM) Show at Western Spirit, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. The show that runs through the end of March. They are led by Ms. Diane Stevens.

We are so very proud of all these students and our educators! Many opportunities exist in Tolleson ESD in the classroom for amazing teaching and learning and beyond for arts, athletics, leadership, career development, and more. The students involved in these opportunities represent thousands of students in our district who are achieving beyond our expectations! I am grateful to their leaders and our governing board for supporting these students, leaders, and opportunities.

Arizona’s Academic Standard Assessment begins March 26 for fifth through eighth-grade students and on April 3 for third through eighth-grade students. The assessment concludes on April 17 and make-ups completed by April 26. We encourage you to remind your children these assessments are to “show what you know!” They have been working hard all year and are ready. Although it is important to always be well-rested and ready for school, this is especially true during the assessment period. It is a good reminder for us all to eat well, rest well, and shine with confidence as we approach each day and the assessment period. Thanks for your attention to arriving on time to school each day and please avoid scheduling appointments that will take your child from class. It is especially important to avoid interruptions in the classroom.

Just a reminder we will have a brief holiday recess on Friday, March 29 and Monday, April 1. School will not be in session those two days.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for being part of Tolleson ESD!


Dr. Lupita Hightower
Treasure Hunter & Superintendent
Tolleson Elementary School District

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