Inspire Science Grade 1 covers

ARIZONA CITY — The Toltec School District Governing Board has adopted a new science curriculum for all grade levels.

The new curriculum, McGraw Hill Inspire Science, aligns with Arizona State Standards. It has a price tag of about $200,758 and includes lessons in physical, earth and life sciences for all grade levels, kindergarten through eighth grade.

Through the program, students will use a textbook as well as online components that include pretests, post-assessments and benchmark assessments.

It is tailored to accommodate students at various levels of instruction including English language learners, gifted and special education students.

A committee of staff and teachers selected the McGraw Hill program after also evaluating programs provided by Harcourt Science and Pearson Elevate Science.

They surveyed other teachers and parents about the three programs.

Those surveyed said they liked the McGraw Hill curriculum because it reinforces critical thinking, problem solving and higher order thinking skills. They also liked that the curriculum is uncluttered and engaging. It also provides problems, issues or scenarios within and across the content areas for students to explore and evaluate.

In other business at its meeting Monday, the board approved a motion to hire Ryan Larkin-Smith as the new special education director for the district.

A hiring committee selected Larkin-Smith from a pool of six applicants to lead the department. He will earn $78,000 a year.

The board also approved a revised plan to pay School Psychology Services professional services fees of $75 per hour for consultation and collaboration and $825 per psycho-education evaluation on an as-needed basis.

On May 10, the board agreed to pay School Psychology Services a lump sum of $75,000 for the services, but Larkin-Smith recommended the board go with the professional fee option instead in an effort to save the school district money.

During the meeting the board recognized several teachers and staff members for more than 10 years of service.

Recognized were:

  • Beth Pulver, 20 years with the district
  • Jennifer Tuleja, 15 years
  • Tambera Sider, 15 years
  • Ana Lopez, 15 years
  • Daniel Goodell, 12 years
  • Misty Huffman, 12 years
  • Luz Zendejas, 10 years
  • Flavio Avila, 10 years
  • Robert Bethea, 10 years
  • Julie Cota, 10 years
  • Kimberly Mettetal, 10 years
  • Cheryl Townsend, 10 years
  • Elaine Ewert, 10 years.

The board was advised by Superintendent Denise Rogers that Arizona City Elementary School Principal Judy Winsberg will resign at the end of the school year. A search is being conducted for a replacement.

The deadline to apply for the ACES principal job is Friday, June 11. An interview committee will interview applicants.

The last day of school for students in the district is June 3. Summer school begins on Monday, June 7. Summer meals will be offered on a to-go basis Monday through Thursday throughout June.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at