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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Foothills Lego Robotics Team WINS AZFLL State Championship over 61 teams from across Arizona

 Representatives of Local Legends and Team Jason
ARIZONA FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Tournament at Arizona State University on Saturday

Guest Blogger: Julie Farbarik, ECMS parent

Our 2 Foothills FLL teams did exceptionally well at yesterday’s FIRST Lego League tournament.

Local Legends WON the AZFLL State Championship over 61 teams from across Arizona.  In taking home the Champions Award, they were recognized as the team that embodies the FLL experience by fully embracing the program’s Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and the project.  They will represent the state of Arizona at the LEGO World Festival in April 2015 in St Louis, MO.

Coaches: Ms. Charlotte Ackerman and Ms. Nancy Hsiao.  
The team has 3 ECMS students and 2 BASIS students.  ECMS students: Michael Gross, Jeremy Wang and Josh Tint.  BASIS students: Alex and Wesley Chiu.

Code Name: JASON, with ECMS 8th graders Sean Bergan, Andy Liaupsin, Alex Melde, Jason Peper and Jackson Tint, won the Robot Strategy and Innovation Award, which recognizes a team that uses solid engineering practices and a well-developed strategy to design and build an innovative, high performing robot.  

Coach Kerrie Bergan, ECMS parent, won the Vivian Chen Adult Coach/Mentor Award (AZFLL Coach of the Year) for her work with Code Name: JASON as well as mentoring other Foothills teams.  

The two teams, while in direct competition with each other through the past few months, supported each other throughout the season culminating in great behavior at the tournament, high fiving and fist bumping after each challenge.  At yesterday’s awards ceremony when one team won, the other would stand and cheer.  It was fun to see the FLL spirit of 'gracious professionalism’ in action in our Foothills boys.  We have much to cheer! 

Fun fact:  Ms. Kerrie Bergan has coached most of the students on Local Legends throughout the years; and Ms. Charlotte Ackerman has coached members of Code Name: JASON, so there is much mutual support of each other.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Supporting ECMS with Tax Credit Dollars

Dear Parents:

 Our Community Schools Director, Mr. Travis Kolter, has beautifully organized 
this blog entry about Arizona Tax Credit in CFSD and is, indeed, my guest blogger!  We thank our families for their tax credit donations. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Mary Setliff, Principal

Arizona Tax Credit in the Foothills
by Travis Kolter, Director of Community Schools

The Catalina Foothills School District is a wonderful school community! It is impressive to see a community with such a commitment to educational excellence and support of the schools here in the Foothills.  CFSD would not be the district it is today without the community that surrounds and supports it! The success of our schools' extracurricular programs is tied to the generous contributions of community members who divert some of their state tax funds to the CFSD programs of their choice!

How does it Work?
Any Arizona taxpayer has the opportunity to give to Catalina Foothills School District instead of paying it in taxes. The donation must be earmarked for support of one of our many qualifying fee-based, extracurricular activities. We'll send the donor a receipt for their records. Then, when the taxpayer fills out their 2014 Arizona state taxes, they can subtract the amount of the donation, up to $400 (joint filers) and $200 (individuals), from what is owed in state taxes.  This is not just a tax deduction…it is a tax credit that reduces the amount of taxes owed to the state, dollar-for-dollar.  For more information about how this credit will work for your individual tax situation, contact your tax advisor.

How are these Dollars Spent?
Tax Credit dollars are spent to support fee-based, extra-curricular offerings. However, regular communication between building principals and Community Schools, leads to a beneficial partnerships that also helps support the needs at each school, as dollars are spent to serve a joint purpose.

What is the Tax Credit Goal at Esperero Canyon Middle School?
We are aiming for $35,000…that is only 175 individuals at $200 each!

Where Can I Donate?
You can donate online ( with your credit card or fill out the 2014 Tax Credit Form, which can be mailed to Murphey Administration Center, 2101 E River Rd., Tucson, AZ, 85718 or dropped off in person at any CFSD school, by December 31, 2014. Please make checks payable to Catalina Foothills School District (CFSD) and note the program to which you'd like to contribute on the check.

What have we purchased at Esperero with tax credit dollars?

Here are some of the things that Community Schools and Ms. Setliff have worked together on within the past 4 years:

·      Math remediation software
·      12 Additional iPads and cases to benefit ECMS students and Community Schools Programs (current project goal)
·      15 iPads, iPad cart (iPow) and iPad software to benefit ECMS students and Community Schools programs
·      Basketball and Soccer Uniforms utilized by ECMS students
·      Volleyball poles and nets (joint project between ECMS FFO dollars and tax credit dollars) used by ECMS Physical Education teachers, students, and Community Schools
·      Athletic equipment utilized by EC students, staff and Community Schools
·      Maintenance of soccer, softball and baseball fields utilized by ECMS Physical Education teachers, students, and Community Schools

 Digital Cameras utilized by ECMS students in yearbook class

      My sincere thanks to Mr. Kolter for being my guest blogger.  Partnering with Community Schools is always a great experience.   We are able to offer an amazing array of opportunities for students in the areas of fine arts, science, sports, and yoga. Community Schools enriches our students'  educational experience by providing high quality late start and after-school experiences.  Please consider donating your tax credit dollars today!!! Thanks for all that you do for our students!  And HAPPY HOLIDAYS to our wonderful Eagle Families!!!