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Arizona Educational Foundation names Desert Canyon Elementary School an A+ School of Excellence

photo of Desert Canyon Elementary
Undertaking the process of becoming an A+ School of Excellence is daunting, SUSD officials say, pointing out requirements include the close collaboration of teachers, parents and even students. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
Desert Canyon Elementary lauded for dual language immersion program
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

The Arizona Educational Foundation has named Scottsdale Unified School District’s Desert Canyon Elementary School as one of its 2024 A+ Schools of Excellence.

The starting point of SUSD’s optional Mandarin Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program, Desert Canyon is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“We are proud of our inclusive, close-knit family and the robust support and engagement we receive from our community,” said Principal Kim Mills. “We foster a sense of community and inclusivity as students from diverse linguistic backgrounds come together to learn, grow and become proficient in a second language.”

Ms. Mills points out the Desert Canyon Elementary School puts focus on language immersion.

“It is heartwarming to witness the friendships and mutual respect that develop among them as they navigate the challenging, yet rewarding, Mandarin language acquisition journey,” she said. “Now, they are gaining an appreciation of the Chinese culture and language, but in our increasingly globalized world, they are also building skills that may benefit them later.”

Desert Canyon Elementary School, 10203 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road in Scottsdale, is home to nearly 500 preschool through fifth grade students.

Desert Canyon Elementary lauded for dual language immersion program

Undertaking the process of becoming an A+ School of Excellence is daunting, SUSD officials say, pointing out requirements include the close collaboration of teachers, parents and even students.

A team of AEF judges toured Desert Canyon Elementary classrooms and campus last month, meeting with staff, parents and students. They were impressed, with one judge writing.

“Students are now teachers, parents are embraced and part of the Desert Canyon community, and the students appreciate the support of their teachers and the opportunity to learn the culture and language through the Mandarin Immersion program,” an AEF judge said. “Desert Canyon prides itself on including all students and meeting each student where they are at.”

Dr. Scott Menzel, SUSD superintendent, explains at Desert Canyon Elementary the pursuit of educational excellence can be felt in every classroom.

“We are immensely proud of our Desert Canyon Elementary School and all of the people who contribute to its success every day,” said Dr. Menzel said. “To receive this distinction from the Arizona Educational Foundation is a testament to Mrs. Mills, her staff and DCES families.”

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