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Cibola High School News

YUHSD Sports Athletics Graphic
Eric Patten

Yuma Union High School District, in partnership with Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) will be hosting a no-cost sports physical event on April 26, 2024 at Cibola High School.

The event is open to all YUHSD student-athletes. 

Doors open at 3 p.m. and exams will conclude at 7 p.m. by Dr. Ryan Zerr and other medical residents from YRMC. Parents/guardians must be in attendance. 

“The partnership between YUHSD and YRMC provides student-athletes with no-cost sports physicals so that they can participate safely,” YUHSD Athletic Trainer Shannon Carmody said. “It is a great resource for families to take advantage of if their child is interested in participating in sports throughout the coming school year. We are so thankful to have supportive doctors willing to help out at this event.”

A physical is required to participate in Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) competition. All physical examinations completed at the event will cover the student-athlete for the 2024-25 school year.

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YUHSD schools to administer ACT Aspire Exam for Freshmen on April 16
Eric Patten

Yuma Union High School District will administer the ACT Aspire Exam on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 to ninth grade (Class of 2027 cohort) students.

The ACT Aspire assessment is the first computer-based longitudinal assessment system for college and career readiness that connects student progress from elementary grades through high school.

Students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 (non-testers) will work independently from home on their classes through the Canvas Learning Management System and enter their attendance through a Google form for each class.

Students in Grade 9 will be the ONLY students on campus on this day. School will start at its regularly scheduled time and will be dismissed at the following times:

  • Cibola, Gila Ridge, Kofa, Somerton, and Yuma High Schools: 2:40 p.m.
  • San Luis High School: 2:30 p.m.
  • Vista High School: 3:30 p.m.

A late bus run is available for students needing additional time to complete the ACT Aspire.

All students will return to their respective campuses on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

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Spring break graphic with flowers and school colors.
Lesley Avila

Yuma Union High School District will be closed for spring break.


District and school offices will be closed from Friday, March 29 through Friday, April 5, 2024 in observance of good friday and spring break.


Offices will re-open and students will return to class on Monday, April 8, 2024.
 

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YUHSD schools to administer ACT Exam for Juniors on April 9
Eric Patten

Yuma Union High School District will administer the ACT Exam on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 for 11th Grade (Class of 2025 cohort) students. 

Students in Grades 9, 10 and 12 (non-testers) will work independently from home on their classes through the Canvas Learning Management System and enter their attendance through a Google form for each class.

Students in Grade 11 (testers) will be the ONLY students on campus on this day. School will start at its regularly scheduled time and will be dismissed at the following times:

  • Cibola, Gila Ridge, Kofa, and Yuma High Schools: 1:40 p.m. 
    • A late bus run at 2:40 p.m. is available for students needing additional time to complete the ACT Exam.
  • San Luis High School: 1:30 p.m. 
    • A late bus run at 2:30 p.m. is available for students needing additional time to complete the ACT Exam.
  • Vista High School: 2:37 p.m.

Please note: Somerton High School will follow its regular bell schedule on April 9 due to having no students who are members of the Class of 2025. 

All students will return to campus on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

The ACT includes multiple-choice tests in English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science, and a Writing essay in English. The ACT matches well with the state’s education standards, measures what is learned in high school, and provides a measure of academic readiness for college classes. Additionally, the results may be used when exploring college majors, careers, and life goals. Results are available to schools 6-8 weeks after students participate in testing.
 

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Text on a white background with AzSCI (Arizona Science Test) March 19
Eric Patten

Yuma Union High School District will administer the Arizona Statewide Achievement Assessment for Science (AzSCI) Exam on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 for 11th Grade (Class of 2025 cohort) students.

AzSCI consists of three test units that assess the Arizona Science Standards (AzSS). The AzSS presents a vision of what it means to be scientifically literate as well as college and career ready. Results are available to schools in May 2024.

School will start at its regularly scheduled time. Lunch will be provided for all students.

Students in Grades 9, 10 and 12 (non-testers) will be dismissed at the following times:

  • Cibola, Gila Ridge, Kofa, and Yuma High Schools: 11:50 a.m.
  • San Luis High School: 11:34 a.m.
  • Vista High School: 12:24 p.m.

Students in Grade 11 (testers) will remain at their respective schools to take the test. Please note: Somerton High School will follow its regular bell schedule on March 19 due to having no students who are members of the Class of 2025.

Those testing are encouraged to bring earbuds/headphones. Dismissal is at the following times:

  • Cibola, Gila Ridge, Kofa, and Yuma High Schools: 2:45 p.m.
  • San Luis High School: 2:30 p.m.
  • Vista High School: 3:30 p.m.

A late bus run is available for students needing additional time to complete the AzSCI Test.

All students will return to their respective campuses as regularly scheduled on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

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Student during FCCLA Regional Competition 2024
Tawny Saldana

Cibola High School's Vocational Culinary Arts program showcased its talent and skills at the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Regional Culinary Arts Competition held on February 13-14, 2024.

The event, hosted by Cibola, which saw participation from Gila Ridge High School and Yuma High School's vocational culinary classes, provided an opportunity for students to compete in various categories against other schools in the county.

The competition featured a diverse range of events including Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry, Chapter Service Project Display, Food Innovations, Leadership, Nutrition and Wellness, Sports Nutrition, and Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation. Each category allowed students to demonstrate their creativity, culinary expertise, and teamwork.

Local judges, well-versed in the culinary arts and related fields, lent their expertise to evaluate the projects and performances of the participants. Each event was judged individually, providing ample time for the judges to interact with each group and assess their presentations thoroughly.

For the competitors, Regionals served as a valuable learning experience, offering them the chance to hone their public speaking skills and gain insight into the dynamics of competitive events. 

Participation in the FCCLA Regional Competition not only allowed students to showcase their talents but also fostered camaraderie and sportsmanship among the participating schools. 

The success achieved at regionals serves as a testament to the dedication and hard work of both the students and their instructors, setting the stage for continued excellence in culinary arts education.

With Regionals behind them, participants are now gearing up for the state competition, where they will have the opportunity to further demonstrate their skills and represent their school with pride. 

The FCCLA Culinary Arts state competition takes place in Tucson, AZ at The Westin La Paloma Resort on April 1-3. 
 

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Arizona Music Association Logo
Christian Magana

Eight students from Yuma Union High School District were selected as members of the West Region Honor Band, Choir, and Orchestra last month. 

The ensembles, made up of some of the best high-school age musicians in the state, will take part in the All-Region High School Regional Festival at Central High School in Phoenix on Feb. 16-17, 2024.

To be selected for a spot in the honor ensemble, students compete in an audition with a prepared piece and a sight-read piece.

“It makes me feel like all my work throughout the years is finally worth it and finally being put to a harder test,” Cibola High School horn player Emma Stewart said. “Knowing that I made it this year makes me feel good.”

Each ensemble will perform multiple pieces at the festival. The performances are open to the public.

“I am really proud of them because in addition to extra time and effort put into practice to show technical mastery,” Kofa High School band teacher Sheryl Clifton said. “These students had to perform with emotion and sensitivity to different styles of music, and that is the mark of a true artist.”

YUHSD West Region Honor members
Quyen Nguyen, Cibola, Choir (Tenor); Erick Resendiz, Cibola, Choir (Tenor); Gabriel Pennington, Cibola, Band (Clarinet); Emma Stewart, Cibola, Band (Horn); Chloe Clark, Cibola, Orchestra (Bassoon); Shantall Acosta, Gila Ridge, Band (Clarinet); James Mailo, Gila Ridge , Band (Trumpet); Emma Connor, Kofa, Band (Clarinet)
 

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Regional Officers speaking on stage in front of SkillsUSA students
Lesley Avila

More than 360 Yuma Union High School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) students competed in the SkillsUSA Region One competition from Thursday, February 1 to Friday, February 2, 2024 at Arizona Western College (AWC). 

Region One includes AWC, Antelope Union High School, and middle school students. 

Students competed in 40 events where they were able to show their skills in areas such as stagecraft, prepared speech, job interview, video production, welding, automotive technologies, and many more. 

“For me, SkillsUSA is about being able to meet different people, getting to experience new things, and learning so much,” SkillsUSA State Secretary and KHS senior Hunter Daniels said. “It’s been a good growth experience for me. I’m excited for the state competition this year and I’m going for gold.”

More than 80 percent of the students who participated in regionals, including Daniels, advanced to the SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on February 28-29. 


More about SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure the United States has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations. More than 14,500 instructors and administrators are professional members of SkillsUSA. The state of Arizona has been part of SkillsUSA since 1966.

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Barr Foundation visits CHS
Lesley Avila

Three Yuma Union High School District schools hosted a group of educators from the Inspirational Study Tour on Thursday, January 25 as part of the group’s ongoing look at education across the Southwestern United States. 

Cibola High School, San Luis High School, and Somerton High School gave the group a chance to learn about their campuses and how each has uniquely transformed education for their students.

“It was amazing to see the students and how proud they are and how much they get out of the district,” Cheryl Wright, math teacher at Gateway Regional School District in Massachusetts, said. “It was amazing to hear the teachers and how excited they are about the transformations they’re making. It really made us hopeful for the future.” 

More than 50 educators were split up into two groups. One group spent the morning at Cibola, and the other spent the morning at San Luis. Both groups then met up at Somerton to finish off the tour.

The visit was set up by the Barr Foundation and Springpoint, after they heard about how San Luis and Cibola have been transforming education through an article from KnowledgeWorks focused on Standards-Based Grading and the opportunities that are provided for every student.

“Knowing that other people value and notice the greatness I see every day in my students and staff, there’s no better feeling.” CHS Principal Corey Semler said. 

The Barr Foundation is a private foundation based in Boston whose mission is to invest in arts and creativity, climate, and education. Springpoint partners with communities to transform the student learning experience, reimagine high school, and empower young people to succeed.

 

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Kourtney McClellan ASTA ToY 2023
Christian Magana

Cibola High School teacher Kourtney McClellan received an honorable mention for the 2023 High School Teacher of the Year at the 69th annual Arizona Science Teachers Association (ASTA) conferences last month.

“When I first found out I was nominated for this award, I could not believe it,” McClellan said. “I was excited and nervous all at the same time. It was an honor to receive this award and to be recognized for my accomplishments thus far in my teaching career.”

Competing against high school science teachers from across the state of Arizona, McClellan was one out of two high school teachers to receive this award.

“Kourtney was recognized for her continued dedication to provide quality science education to all of her students,” CHS Science Instructional Coach Kimberly Adkins said. “She seeks out opportunities to improve her own learning with the intent of bringing it back to her students so that her lessons are relevant and engaging.”

McClellan's recognition was based on various factors considered during the review process. These factors encompassed her success in the classroom, commitment to mentorship, leadership demonstrated at the local, state, and national levels, active involvement in the community, continuous professional growth, and the delivery of high-quality science education.

“Ms. McClellan's dedication to fostering curiosity, critical thinking, and a love for science has not only enriched the minds of her students, but helped cultivate a culture of excellence on our campus,” CHS Principal Corey Semler said. “The Cibola family is grateful for teachers like her.”

ASTA is a non-profit organization committed to supporting science educators by providing resources, professional development and networking opportunities. It consists of an elected Board of Directors as well as 14 regional directors representing all 15 Arizona counties.  

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Diamondbacks Give Back Logo
Lesley Avila

Gila Ridge High School, Cibola High School, and Somerton High School were all selected as three of the fifteen schools in Arizona that will receive a $10,000 grant from the Arizona Diamondbacks “Chase your Dreams” initiative to support baseball and softball programs.

Each school will receive $5,000 worth of baseball equipment and $5,000 worth of softball equipment.

"We are very appreciative of the Diamondbacks and their continued charitable efforts to not only our school but to the many many more they help throughout the state,” Gila Ridge High School varsity baseball coach James Kuzniak said. “Usually raising funds is one of the hard parts of coaching, so getting this surprise grant is amazing for our student athletes.”

All three schools will also get 150 tickets to give away to the players, families, and school faculty to attend a Diamondbacks game and receive recognition on the field prior to the game. 

This is the second time that Gila Ridge has received the grant. They last received it in 2018. Yuma High School also received it in 2017. 

The “Chase Your Dreams” program is a partnership between the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and Chase Bank made to support high school baseball and softball programs in Arizona in three different areas: equipment, field maintenance assistance, and facility improvements. It is part of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, which was established in 1997 with focuses on community areas of need, including homelessness, indigent healthcare and education.

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Two students see a person at a red table with colorful things on top.
Eric Patten

Yuma Union High School District’s mission is for students to graduate from one of the district’s seven schools college, career, and community prepared. For the third consecutive year, all students got a head start on their futures by taking part in a weeklong event geared towards learning about college, career, military and community opportunities. 

All seven schools hosted 30-minute mini-events this week from Tuesday, November 14 through Thursday, November 16 on the Canvas Learning Management System. 

"The College, Career, Community, and Military fair is a great opportunity for our students to have hands-on experience of different pathways and preparation while in high school,” Somerton High School counselor Maria Dillard said. “Some students were building their resumes and downloading it, ready to use it for a part time job. This gives me joy to know that they are already effectively planning to use it."

Each day’s content had a unique focus, with lessons planned during their third-period class to give students insight into available opportunities. Content was curated by a team of community partners and YUHSD counselors and the district’s teaching and learning team.  
“The CCCM fair gave students the opportunity to explore career options,” San Luis High School counselor Elva Lozano said. “We provided students in-person interactions during lunches to gain a different perspective of what is available in our community.  This tied both into the major clarity aspect and helped make it relevant for our students.”

For nearly a decade, YUHSD schools have hosted some form of the College, Career, Community and Military Fair. Beginning with in-person events during the 2010s, the event became digital-only in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as students returned to in-person learning the following year, the district transitioned the event to be a hybrid of in-person and online with some schools hosting in-person events with outside agencies as a supplement.

In the more traditional events, which were held on campuses on a rotational basis from year-to-year, approximately 500 individuals would on average be in attendance. By hosting the event during the school day on Canvas, more than 11,000 students have the opportunity to participate with the content remaining online throughout the school year, so students can return to it.

“I'm interested in the military so this was helpful because it was the first time I interacted with information about the military,” SLHS junior Gael Cota Flores said. “They also give us a little bit of information about what they do and what we can do to get into the military.”

Somerton freshman Alberto Gonzalez added: “When I was a kid, I wanted to join the Navy, because it was based on water, and I like swimming, and so when I was reviewing the Career Exploration my fit scores were a little low in that area. But I was able to explore the different branches on Military day. Seeing the first-hand experience from other people in the field, it helped me visualize, if I ever join the Navy, I will know what I will go into. I feel it will benefit me in two ways: 1. How it looks and 2. I have a different view of what a Navy career looks like."

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A boy wearing a gray shirt and black backwards cap at a desk using a Chromebook computer
Eric Patten

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE), in coordination with the State Board of Education, announced its A-F School Accountability grades for schools across the state, including Yuma Union High School District. 

The grades reflect a compilation of scores from the 2022-23 school year. It’s the second time A-F grades have been released by ADE since 2018-19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The A-F accountability system is one of many ways we can make sure our schools are providing a rigorous classroom experience for EVERY student in Yuma Union High School District,” YUHSD Superintendent Tim Brienza said. “Our district-wide dropout rates and graduation rates continue to stand out as we keep students in school and graduate them college, career and community prepared. As with any other accountability measures that we have in place, we are constantly evaluating ways to improve for the benefit of our students and their future success.” 

A total of 357 traditional and alternative public schools were evaluated in the letter grade system. YUHSD’s five comprehensive schools ranked near the top 200 in the state. Gila Ridge High School was 0.55 points away from a ‘B’ grade and was the highest among 49 schools in Arizona that registered a ‘C’ grade. 

According to ADE, A-F letter grades are based on student academic growth from year to year, scores on the ACT exam (for the Arizona schools who selected it from the menu of assessments), high school graduation rates and indicators that a student is ready for success at the next level, also known as a College and Career Readiness Indicator (CCRI).

Developed by a broad cross-section of stakeholders, the letter grades give school leaders a snapshot of where they are doing well and where they need to improve. It creates an incentive for the constant improvement that parents, taxpayers and state leaders expect from Arizona public schools.

To assist with additional questions from the general public or school stakeholders, the State Board of Education provided a Frequently Asked Questions document on its website.

To learn more about YUHSD schools, the district welcomes community members to sign up for a patron tour online (https://bit.ly/YUHSDClassTours) and select the campus of their choice.

The grades for YUHSD campuses are as follows: 

High School Name Grade
Cibola High School B
San Luis High School B
Gila Ridge High School C
Kofa High School C
Vista High School C
Yuma High School C
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Arizona Creative Excellence Awards trophy
Lesley Avila

Cibola High School teacher Holly Hendrick was selected to create an award that was presented at the Arizona Creative Excellence Awards on October 19, 2023.

Hendrick was chosen among 30 artists who were submitted throughout the state of Arizona for the opportunity to be selected. Five artists, including Hendrick, were selected overall. This is the first time an artist from Yuma was selected to create an award for this special event. 

“By being selected and representing Yuma, I'm being a good role model to my students,” Hendrick said. “For them to be able to see what a working professional artist looks like and what they do, I think that’s really important. I’m an example of how artists can make a living in the real world and be a part of this community.”

The Arizona Citizens for the Arts looked through all 30 artists’ social media pages to review their artwork and their creative style, and Hendrick was selected based on her aesthetic abstract art.

“The artwork bears the title ‘Crystals,’” Hendrick said as she described her art piece. “Just as a caterpillar undergoes a beautiful transformation into a butterfly, the creative process similarly experiences a profound metamorphosis. This artistic endeavor draws inspiration from the person whom the award is named after, a person with a deep affection for butterflies.”

Hendrick’s ceramic art piece was presented to Judy Phillips, recipient of the Oonagh Award, an award that celebrates individuals and organizations who have created innovative collaboration and partnership and continues to make an impact in the Arizona creative community. 

“I’ve had the privilege of knowing Miss Holly Hendrick for five years and from day one, I know that she was extremely passionate about her craft and the ceramics program,” Associate Superintendent Derek Bosch said. “She’s not only passionate about her own class, but the fine arts community in general.”

The Arizona Creative Excellence Awards, previously known as the Governor’s Arts Awards, is a yearly event presented by the Arizona Citizens for the Arts and the Office of the Governor of Arizona to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the Arizona arts community. The awards honor not only the creative talents in Arizona but also the passion of those who support the arts in Arizona’s schools and communities.

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USNews 23-24 Best High Schools Badge
Christian Magana

Cibola High School was ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 26 percent of high schools in the nation in their annual Best High Schools report.

Nearly 25,000 high schools across the United States were evaluated. To earn the national rank, schools are rated on their performance on state-required tests, graduation and how well they prepare students for college.

“I want to express my gratitude to our dedicated teachers and staff, both past and present, supportive community, and, most importantly, our exceptional students for making this achievement possible,” CHS Principal Corey Semler said.  “It is a reflection of the passion and determination that each member of our Raider family brings to their work every day. While this accolade is a moment of celebration, it also comes with a responsibility to maintain and surpass the high standards we have set. It is a reminder that we must continue to innovate, adapt, and provide our students with the best educational experience we can offer.”

Cibola offers courses in multiple disciplines with a focus on academic rigor through Cambridge Curriculum and more than a dozen Career and Technical Education programs. The school also offers AVID, Advanced Placement courses, and dual-enrollment courses to its more than 2,400 students. 

“At Cibola, excellence is our culture,” CHS English and AVID teacher Kristin Collins said. “Every day our classrooms reflect innovation, success, and empowerment. Cibola's students are talented and dedicated, and our staff works hard to prepare them for college, career and community. We are proud to be recognized among the best schools in America.”

Cibola is the second largest school in Yuma Union High School District. It opened in 1988 and its name is derived from a legend in Spanish history about great and limitless riches in the Seven Cities of Gold. Students selected Raiders as their school mascot.

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