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EDITOR’S NOTE — Following is part of a regular feature provided by Casa Grande-area schools about their programs and activities. More items can be found at www.pinalcentral.com/casa_grande_dispatch/ under Education.

Casa Grande Elementary School District

Cactus Middle School

1220 East Kortsen Road

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Rebecca Romo, Principal

Peter Quinn, Assistant Principal

Mary Slaydon, Assistant Principal

March is always an exciting time of year here at Cactus. This March is especially exciting as students are back on campus with our hybrid schedule starting the first! We have missed the hustle and bustle of having students on campus, and are eagerly looking forward to seeing their smiling faces, even if their smiles are hidden behind their masks!

Every month we focus on one of our Cactus Core Values. This past month we have focused on our core value of opportunity. If you drive by Cactus, you will see the quote by Albert Einstein, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”  We felt this quote was relevant to our students because of the difficult situation our students have been put in this past year. Although we recognize the challenges they have gone through, we also recognize the opportunity it has given our students to learn and grow in different ways.  

This month we will host virtual parent-teacher conferences with our students and their families on March 11th and 12th. These conferences will give families and teachers a chance to discuss questions and concerns about our students. Staff and students will also have a chance to relax and enjoy some time with family during Spring Break, which takes place from March 15th through the 19th. When students return on the 22nd we will start preparing to take state assessments. March is definitely a busy month! 

From our Cactus family to yours, we wish you happiness and good health!  Until next month, take care!

Casa Grande Middle School

260 West McMurray Blvd.

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Christopher Laughland, Principal

Samantha Sarnowski, Assistant Principal

Malcolm Young, Assistant Principal

It’s March! That means we are welcoming students back on campus in hybrid form!  We are extremely excited to see our students back for in-person learning.  The CGMS staff continues to put its best foot forward and make the most of our current situation due to COVID-19.  This past month we focused on the core value of [INTEGRITY].  Students were given the opportunity to publicly recognize a student or staff member that showcased [INTEGRITY] through a platform called Flipgrid.  They recorded themselves defining what [INTEGRITY] means to them along with the recognition for anyone to view.

Additionally, the CGMS learning hub continues to service CGESD students in grades K-8 with the support of the Casa Grande Alliance.  Running the learning hub is without a doubt a team effort between the Alliance, staff from all schools, parents and CGMS administration.  We are extremely grateful for everyone involved in making sure our location runs smoothly.

Lastly, the CGMS staff looks forward to parent/teacher conferences which are scheduled to take place March 11 and 12 either virtually or in-person.  If you would like to request a parent/teacher conference with any of your child’s teachers, we ask that you contact them directly to set up an appointment to ensure no mass gatherings occur on campus.  As always, student grades are available in real time via Powerschool with the CGMS expectation that at least one grade is entered per week to keep you as parents up to date on regular classroom progress.

Save the Date:

Picture days will be March 11 (green students) and March 12 (gold students).  Picture day for CGOLA students is TBD.  Contact Miss Rodriguez for more information at magdalene.rodriguez@cgesd.org.

Early Release Days are March 3, 11 and 12.  This is a 1:45 p.m. dismissal on all three days.

Spring Break is March 15-19 (no school).

Be sure to follow us on social media on the following platforms:

Facebook: Casa Grande Middle School

Twitter: @CGMS_Wildcats

Instagram: @cgmswildcats

Cholla Elementary School

1180 East Kortsen

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Azure Sullivan, Principal

We are so excited to return to in-person learning this month. We’ve been busy planning a safe return and are ready to have students in our building. 

Several teachers have been busy participating on extra committees this past quarter. Ms. Spies and Ms. Jackson worked with a team to create pacing guides for our Science standards. Mrs. Rohr and Mrs. Rice are part of the district Literacy professional learning community. Mr. Crockett is the team facilitator for our school PBIS team and Mrs. Sutera recently attended the Arizona Music Educators Association Conference. We appreciate their dedication to continued professional development. 

Cholla will be participating with Panda Express this month for a school fundraiser. We would love your support and will be posting more information on our social meeting page. Mention Cholla when you order and we will receive a percentage of all proceeds from that night. 

We would like to thank Read Better Be Better for their donation of reading kits for all of our third grade students. We are looking forward to continuing our Read Better Be Better program that partners our third grade students with middle school mentors. 

For more information on what our scholars are doing follow Cholla on Facebook @ChollaCGESD and on Twitter @CGChollaCharger. 

Thank you for supporting Cholla, a place that Inspires Leaders, Empowers Scholars, and Impacts our World! 

Cottonwood Elementary School

1667 North Kadota

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Barbara Wright, Principal

As we march into Spring, we are so excited to welcome our students back to in-person learning on March 1st.    For the fourth quarter of the school year, we will have a laser focus on reading, writing and math as we work to ensure all students are ready to promote to the next grade level.  We have been providing extra training to our intervention team, continuing our tutoring programs, and digging into our data to meet the needs of each student.  We are also looking forward to having additional conversations with our parents as we hold parent teacher conferences throughout the month.  

If you have driven by our campus on Kadota, you will see our landscaping needs some help.  We have been working on our exterior infrastructure and now are ready to work on the landscaping and redesign of our playground.  Most of the work will be completed during the summer break, but we are planning now.  I can’t wait for everyone to see the transformation to desert landscaping.  

Our teachers, students, families and community have done an amazing job supporting each other as we have traversed this new learning journey.  Thank you for your support.   Another way everyone can support Cottonwood is through the Arizona school tax credit program.  Your tax credit donations to our school enable us to offer special opportunities such as field trips and guest presentations.  These donations can be made through the end of the tax season, please consider making a donation to our school through this fund.  Our school office (836-5601) or our district office (836-2111) can provide details.  We appreciate your support! As always, thank you for your support of Cottonwood Elementary, where we are “A Community of Learners, Leaders, and Innovators”.

Desert Willow Elementary School

2172 North Arizola Road

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Melissa Pieper, Principal

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Welcome to March! We sure are excited here at Desert Willow to welcome students back on campus and celebrate with a Dr. Seuss Spirit Week! There is an abundance of planning that we are working on for your students' expected return on Monday, March 1st. Here are a few details to start:

* School hours are 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

* Masks are required in the building.

* AM drop off will be the same, at this time we will not have families or visitors on campus.

* End of day pickup - we will continue with our previous system. Please stay in your vehicle in the pick up loop and have your number visible.

* Bus routes are on our district website at https://www.cgesd.org/domain/47. There you can also find a link to the Traversa Ride 360 App.

* Lunches will continue to be free for all students for the remainder of the school year. Menus can be found on our district website at https://www.cgesd.org/Page/175

* Important dates:

March 3rd ~ Early Release 12:45 pm

March 11th and 12th ~ Early Release and Parent Teacher Conferences

March 15th-19th ~ Spring Break

March 23rd-24th ~ Spring Pictures

I am counting the days until I get to see all our students back on campus. We hope all of our families enjoy their time together over Spring Break! When students return, it will be a busy 4th quarter. Students in grades 3-5 will be taking the AzMERIT test online. Each classroom will be testing online for 3-4 days over a period of five weeks. Please look for those testing dates from your child’s teacher so appointments will not conflict with testing.

Thank you to parents and families for your continued support. As always, I appreciate the conversations that we have to enrich the experience of your students here at Desert Willow. Have a great March! “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”

Stay connected - Stay Healthy,

Melissa Pieper

Evergreen Elementary School

1000 North Amarillo

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Scott Raymond, Principal

Evergreen Elementary- A Great Place to Grow!

The sun is out and the weather is beautiful, spring is in the air, and IN PERSON SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION! As expected, we will be safe and responsible by wearing our masks and you should too! Please be aware of any new changes to student pick up schedules, we want to make sure you pick up your child on-time. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call the school or ask your child’s teacher!

Our March mindset is Passion First. Here at Evergreen we pride ourselves on being a great place to grow, and with spring in full swing, planting and growth is on everyone’s minds. It is this time of the year where seeds are put in the ground and we see patience and faith. Patience to tear weeds out of our gardens to prepare for the seeds and patience to plant the seeds, water them daily, and wait until they push through the surface. Lastly, the faith that the seeds you planted will grow into what you want and need. The key is to start, to do the work little by little, to plant the seeds of your future, and to have faith that they will grow into something that bears great fruit. 

Recently, we have been doing a school wide competition called the iReady Olympics. The first competition's objective was about quantity; which class can pass the most lessons? It was a heated battle with many classes coming close but the class that triumphed was Ms. Carter’s class. Their class passed 330 lessons in five days, that’s 66 lessons passed everyday on average! The winners got a whole free pizza pie from Peter Pipers in lieu of a pizza party. 

Next competition? Ice Cream!

Some important dates for the month of March are: 3/1- Student return to in person, 3/3- Early Release Day, 3/15- 3/19 - ¡Spring Break!, 3/22- Return to school, 4/2- No School

As always, please contact Evergreen’s front office at (520)836-6694 with any questions about upcoming events and please like our Facebook page @EvergreenCGESD for additional information. 

Ironwood Elementary School

1500 North Colorado

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Robin Rosales, Principal

Our Ironwood Staff has been preparing for our return to in-person—we are looking forward to

seeing our Eagles back on campus and to continue our learning in the classrooms! We are still

keeping the health and safety of our students and staff at the forefront of our decision making

process as we prepare for our return on Monday, March 1.

When staff returns, they will be preparing for our upcoming virtual conferences. We will be

scheduling them for March 9 through March 12. Even though teachers have been in close

contact with families during distance learning, it will be nice to set aside time to discuss your

child’s achievements and areas for improvement.

A big THANK YOU for supporting our PTO with the purchase of our new Ironwood Spirit

shirts, sweatshirts and masks! We also appreciate you attending our Ironwood Restaurant

Nights. A portion of the sales go directly to our PTO to help purchase items for the school and

students. The PTO has a new fundraiser that will be coming up soon and we appreciate your


With spring break around the corner, we hope you are able to take some time to relax and

rejuvenate and enjoy your children while they are at home without their laptop, iPad, or Zoom

lessons in the background! As we have said before…we appreciate all of our Eagle Families and

the support they showed us and their child during distance learning. #EagleStrong

McCartney Ranch Elementary School

2631 North Brown Avenue

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Jessica Quinones, Principal

Hello Mustang families!  We are so excited to have you all back on campus again soon.  Our hallways are not the same without our Mustang footprints and smiles.  As we approach our return to in-person learning, there are a couple reminders we want to send your way. 

If you have recently moved, please bring a new proof of residency to the front office.  As always, the office is open Monday through Friday from 7a.m. - 3:30p.m.  A rental agreement, utility bill, updated driver’s license, etc. will all work as proof of residency.  

The updated school day for in-person learning will be 7:55 a.m. - 2 p.m.  The tardy bell rings at 8 a.m. For safety reasons, we ask parents to please remain in your vehicle if you are picking up your student, and we will walk him/her to your car.  If you are making a change to how your student will go home, please notify the front office so we can adjust accordingly.  

A few reminders as we approach Monday: Don’t forget water-bottles and an extra mask in your child’s backpack. Please also remember to send your child’s device charged with them each day. Additionally, Coach Smith will continue our Jump Rope for Heart event. Stay tuned as we continue to send out updated information. 

We want to have fun as we kick off our first week back on campus, and it happens to be Dr. Seuss week. Starting Monday, March 1, we will start our Mustang spirit week. We will be communicating to our families what each day’s specific theme is related to Dr. Seuss.  We hope you all participate!  

McCartney Ranch PTO is looking for volunteers!  If you are interested, please contact PTO at mccartneypto@gmail.com. Our PTO is such an integral part of our school success, and many of our fantastic events could not be possible without them. If you would like to be part of this wonderful organization, please give us a call. 

“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” - Dr. Suess

Mesquite Elementary School

129 North Arizola

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Julie Holdsworth, Principal

Congratulations to Aldo Ochoa Ruiz for placing first and Andres Sauceda for placing

second in the fifth grade division of the Elk’s Lodge Americanism Essay Contest. They

received plaques and gift bags for their accomplishments.

A second Kindergarten Roundup is scheduled. Those interested can call the school

office to register for the March 10 online tour and informational meeting at 9:00 AM or 5:30

PM. In April we will hold school tours online for families with students in grades K-5

interested in learning more about Mesquite.

Report cards and academic progress will be shared with families during online

parent/teacher conferences March 11 and 12. If families cannot attend those days, alternative

days are available.

In art class, students are studying Claude Monet next in the famous painters series that

Mr. Pelissier has planned. Students will learn about Monet, his techniques, and try their own

hand at creating similar works of Impressionism.

Recycling of paper, #1 plastics, and aluminum continues in our south parking lot. Please

be sure to sort items before dropping in the labeled bins. Refrain from bringing garbage. If not

sure if an item can be recycled, call the school office.

Our 7 Mindset of focus is The Time is Now. This mindset teaches us to embrace the

power of the moment and take purposeful action today in order to live our most happy and

successful life!

Palo Verde Elementary School

40 North Roosevelt

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Joanne Kramer, Principal

It feels like the beginning of a new school year.  There is much excitement in the air as staff and students alike are preparing to return to in-person learning!  Please remember to bring those fully charged devices back to school on Monday, March 1st!

Do you have any children who will be starting kindergarten in the fall? We are hosting our Kindergarten Roundup on March 4th. Future Jaguars will work on an activity and have a tour of our A+ School. 

In late March, we will begin our AZM2 state testing. The Princeton Review has a list of tips for test takers of any age. It reads:

Get a Good Night’s Sleep – Nine to ten hours of sleep each night, including the night before the test, is what’s best, and can be more beneficial than staying up late cramming for a test. 

Arrive Early – The anxiety caused by being late will just add to the child’s test anxiety. Pack everything you’ll need the night before so that the morning of the test you’re relaxed and ready. 

Read Carefully – Read the instructions and the answers before proceeding. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through an answer and realizing that you didn’t understand the question. 

Dive In – Staring at a blank sheet will only increase anxiety. As soon as the teacher tells you to start, skim for questions you know you know. Answering a couple of easier ones will help build confidence. 

Don’t Watch Others – It doesn’t matter what other students are doing so don’t worry about them. Focus on the job at hand and see if you can make other students disappear. 

Watch the Clock – It’s easy to spend too much time on one question, which doesn’t allow sufficient time for the rest of the test. Watch the clock so you can judge the proper amount of time to spend on each question. 

Tests are a way for our students to show us how much they know and have learned. Let your children know that tests are an opportunity and not something to fear.

 We are working on a 21st Century Grant that will provide our school with an afterschool program for the next 5 years.  We hope to share good news with our community sometime this summer.

Saguaro Elementary School

260 W. McMurray Blvd.

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Celie Downey-Foye, Principal

Welcome to March!  We are very excited to be returning to in-person learning on March 1, 2021.  We cannot wait to have our Saguaro Family back together each day on campus.  We have missed our students greatly.  Please watch for information regarding our return from your child’s teacher, through School Messenger, and on Facebook.  

Saguaro students are currently participating in the Kids Heart Challenge (Jump Rope for Heart) during their PE classes with Mr. Hoffner both virtually and once we return in person.  Students will be seeking donations for the American Heart Association from February 22, 2021 through March 12, 2021.  Please contact the Saguaro office if you are interested in making a donation.   

Parent/Teacher conferences are right around the corner.  March 11 and 12, 2021 are our designated conference days.  During this time, both virtual and a limited number of in-person conferences will be held.  Conferences may take place anytime between March 1 and March 12, 2021.  Teachers are already reaching out to families to schedule this important time to discuss your child’s progress.  Please be in contact with your child’s teacher to schedule a conference.

Registration documents for incoming kindergarten students and new students to Saguaro are available on the district website.  A drive-through kindergarten round up event for our future kindergarten students will be held on March 30, 2021. More information will be shared on Facebook and through School Messenger.  Please call the Saguaro office at (520) 836-7661 with any questions regarding enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year.   

Breakfast and lunch continues to be free for all Saguaro students when we return.  Weekend meals will also be provided for students to take home on Fridays.  

We look forward to our in-person return and to meeting with our families during our parent/teacher conferences.

Villago Middle School

774 E. Lakeside Parkway

Casa Grande, AZ 85122


Jeff Lavender, Principal

Donald Nusbaum, Assistant Principal

Stephanie Sander, Assistant Principal

Happy Spring! Villago Middle School is excited to be going back on campus starting March 1. The last year has been challenging, and our staff and students have grown from the experience. We want to thank the community for their patience and understanding during this pandemic. Parent/Teacher Conferences will be on March 11 and 12. Please contact the teachers you would like to meet with as the teachers are scheduling their own conferences. Spring Break will be March 15-19. Villago will be state testing when we return from Spring Break. Have a wonderful, and safe Spring Break.