NEWS FROM THE PRINCIPAL Dr. Timothy Grivois-Shah, Ed.D.
September 1, 2015
Dear Grijalva Families,
Grijalva Elementary School and all of TUSD are celebrating Attendance Awareness Month throughout September. If we want all that we dream for our children to come true, it’s important for students to be on time and ready to learn every day.
We know that students who miss even nine days in a year tend to score lower on tests than students who are present and on time. Worse, only 17% of students who miss more than eighteen days will read at grade level after third grade. For us Grizzlies, being on time for school is about more than developing good habits—it’s about setting our kids up for success.
The good news is that 64% of kids who miss nine days or less will read on grade level after third grade. Students who show up on time for school are present when the learning is happening. We help our kids take full advantage of what their teachers have planned for them when we send them to school on time.
When the first bell rings at 7:40, students should find their classrooms. After the second bell rings at 7:45, students should be inside. Children who arrive late can feel rushed when they get here. Although we want our children’s learning to start right away, we want even more that our Grizzlies feel relaxed and ready to work hard and have fun with their class.
Thank you for all that you do to help children be on time and ready to learn by 7:40 every day! And thank you, most of all, for sending us such great kids. Helping each and every one of our big family learn is great fun!
August 1, 2015
Dear Grijalva Families,
Everyone who learns and works at Grijalva is excited to see you! Our teachers are planning every minute of our first few days together, and are eager to see all of our families again.
The first day of school will be August 6th. Students line up at 7:40 and begin to learn promptly at 7:45. If you plan on parking, plan on arriving early to find a legal parking space in our lot or at Grijalva Park. Some families come to the cafeteria at 7:00 for breakfast to avoid the rush.
Each class has a snack break immediately before their PE time. Pieces of fruits, carrot and celery sticks, or granola bars are great ideas for healthy snacks. We want to leave gum and candy at home as much as possible.
Here are some important ways families can show their support for their children’s schooling:
-Send your children to school on time every day.
-Make sure your children get eight hours of sleep.
-Keep in touch with your child’s teacher via email, phone, notes, or letters.
-Join the PTA or Site Council
-Volunteer in your child’s classroom
-Read with your children every night (in any language)
You send your children to Grijalva because you want them to achieve their dreams. We are grateful that you chose our school, and we look forward to a great year together!
Welcome back, Grizzlies!
May 1, 2015
Welcome to the end of the year! You’ll notice on the May calendar that we are busy Grizzlies this month.
We are excited that our solar panels are installed and ready. Thank you, families, for your grace and patience with us and with each other as this project was underway. I hope you’re enjoying the shaded parking, and I’m glad that our arrival and dismissal routine is back in place.
Grijalva welcomes two new staff members! Mr. Jose Duarte—also site supervisor at KidCo—is organizing sports games with students at recess on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Also, Ms. Anwar al Naseri is joining our Grizzly Den as our new Library Assistant.
Take a look at all that is going on in May! We’re excited to have you with us as we close out our year!
February 9, 2015
At Grijalva, helping students learn and grow is our business. Every day, teachers plan lessons that equip children to read well, think mathematically, and to know more about our world in science and social studies. I love being your principal, and I’m grateful for every day I get to be at Grijalva helping all 700 of our children learn and grow. But, truthfully, this job is bigger than any one person can do alone. I’d like to highlight our outstanding team that helps Grijalva be our very best for you and for our students.
Courtesy of Grijalva’s Parent Teacher Association, Grijalva has a new digital marquee! Being digital means that we can update the marquee messages from inside our office, ensuring that you always have the most up to date information about what is happening at school. The marquee looks fantastic and adds a touch of modern class to our campus.
This semester, Grijalva hosted Arts Integration Specialists from the Opening Minds to the Arts (OMA) program in kindergarten through third grade. We were able to double the size of the OMA program this year through tax credit donations. If you contributed to Grijalva through Arizona’s tax credit plan, you helped expand Grijalva’s fine arts program. Thanks, also, to our Fine Arts department who helped us find an additional Artist!
We also welcomed the University of Arizona’s College of Education to our campus. From now on, Grijalva will have a cohort of undergraduate students who are preparing to be teachers. Many of these students are working in our classrooms, gaining experience and helping students learn.
Our 21st Century Community Learning Center expanded from two days of instruction per student to four days. This means that our students in our after-school program have access to expert enrichment instruction from certified teachers 4 days per week. Additionally, students enrolled in our afterschool program participate in enrichment activities like sports, lego robotics, art, dance, and music that we’ve never been able to offer to so many children at a time.
A big part of our success has been the support of our school district. We were able to hire another kindergarten teacher this year, reducing kinder classroom size 22 students per classroom. The Teaching and Learning Department supported us in purchasing classroom library sets for every classroom teacher. And most importantly, Grijalva teachers have an exciting, engaging curriculum map that outlines what every child should know and be able to do when they complete each grade.
And finally, I want to give thanks for you! Each of our Grijalva families sends their best kids to school every day. You help with homework, and you volunteer in our classrooms. You call classroom teachers when you have questions or when you have an idea that will help us improve.
Grijalva families clearly love their school, and being part of this community is truly a gift. Thank you for helping us grow!
October 13, 2014
As parents, nothing matters more to us than the well-being of our children. Our children’s future depends largely on the quality of education they receive today. Grijalva’s children deserve the best instruction we can offer, and the most important factor affecting the quality of Grijalva’s program is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. We started this year unable to hire certified teachers for three of our classrooms. This meant hiring substitutes while we searched for talented, effective teachers to care for our children. Though far from ideal, having positions available during the school year created unexpected opportunities for Grijalva to improve our school.
First, we discovered new talent. Prior to joining Grijalva’s team, Ms. Bish (5th grade) and Ms. Lopez (3rd Grade Dual Language) were both sought-after substitute teachers throughout our district. After my first visit to Ms. Bish’s class, I thought, “Here is someone who belongs in a classroom.” Thankfully, Ms. Bish felt the same, and since that visit, she is now enrolled in an internship program that will allow her to be a fully licensed teacher. Similarly, Ms. Lopez is a natural in third grade dual language. Students benefit greatly from learning in two languages, and achieve even more because of Ms. Lopez’ high expectations for each of her students. Like Ms. Bish, Ms. Lopez is enrolled in a teacher licensing program and hopes to be an early childhood teacher. When licensed, Ms. Bish and Ms. Lopez will begin their careers with more than a certificate; they’ll have concrete classroom experience to support their work at Grijalva.
Our second opportunity was to search for creative solutions. Unexpectedly, one of our second grade classrooms and another of our third grade classrooms lost enrollment while the rest of Grijalva expanded. This allowed us to assign Ms. Nez, a veteran teacher with many years experience in third grade, to one of our available third grade openings. Now, instead of having a third grade classroom without a teacher, we have an opportunity to hire a new team member to reduce class size in our kindergarten.
Finally, we changed our approach to recruiting. Right now, we have few applicants for any position anywhere in the district. This means that Grijalva must take the lead in recruiting candidates. In the last month, we’ve developed partnerships with the University of Arizona and the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children to find teachers who want to join our Grijalva family. In this short time, our efforts increased applicants to our kindergarten position from zero to three. The good news is that Grijalva Elementary School is a great place to teach and to learn! Teachers who join our community tend to stay here for years. All of us, families, children, and staff, know that our community has deep roots, and that working together, we help our school’s roots grow even deeper.
July 8, 2014
My name is Tim Grivois-Shah, and I am excited to be your school’s principal!
I’m a teacher of ten years experience: eight as a classroom teacher and two as a building leader of a large elementary school in Niles, Illinois. I am excited to begin a fun year full of learning with my new Grijalva family.
You can count on all of us at Grijalva to help your child feel safe, connected, and challenged each and every day. We look forward to working with families and community members to ensure that our children achieve all they can.
I look forward to meeting you soon. Feel free to drop by the office and share with me what you love about Grijalva!