Connecting Yuma to the Great Things Happening at Yuma School District One


G.W. Carver Students Plant Sensory Garden

George Washington Carver Elementary School is seeking its ECO Schools status from the National Wildlife Federation. Among the four pathways they have chosen is ENERGY. The classroom in charge of achieving their Energy Pathway is Room L. This classroom is home and haven to 7 students whose physical and academic needs are classified as severe and profound. They are all in wheelchairs or braces, some have feeding tubes, have dire medical conditions, and are unable to articulate verbally. Their needs are profound, yet they truly are in charge of Carver’s Energy pathway.


Paired with traditional students, they completed the energy audit by visiting each classroom to measure energy usage. Determined to lower energy bills in their classroom, they will work directly with a member of the Native Plants Society, Yuma Chapter to plant Desert Willow trees on the west wall of their class to block the afternoon sunshine on that wall. Room L has established partnerships with the National Wildlife Federation Education Director, Jennifer Dowd; the General Motors Corporation Test Track Director, Brian Richard; the Arizona Wildlife Federation, Valerie Morrill; and the Native Plants Society to tackle this amazing project. 


When completed, the walkway along the north side of Room L will be lined with 5 large ceramic planters. Each one will present a specific sensory experience:


1. Smell: A variety of aromatic flowers, herbs, and mints will awaken the students’ sniffers.


2. Sight: Native plants with the most brilliant flowers will be planted here.


3. Taste: Expect strawberries or snow peas to be planted.


4. Hearing: Many native desert plants with pods will be planted along with the careful cultivation of the southwestern gourd. This plant is used to make maracas, a traditional musical instrument.


5. Feel: In Yuma, the brittle bush is a native resident. It is quite unique in that it produces its own refrigerant. No matter how hot it is outside, the brittle bush leaves are always cool to the touch.


"Once completed, the Sensory Garden not only will showcase the efforts of the students who built it, but will attract visitors from across the community to enjoy the sensory experience created by these students. It will give status and prominence to a group of students “with no voice” and will remind all that student potential should never be pre-judged." Principal, Debra Drysdale 


The Carver School Sensory Garden planted by the students in Room L along with their traditional partners, their community partners, and parents will have the greatest impact on the school and the lives of the students. A sign made by the students will hang on the wall next to the garden which will read: Welcome to our Hear It, See It, Smell It, Taste It, and Feel It Garden. The students at George Washington Carver Elementary School are tolerant, caring, and compassionate. It is so fitting that this school is named after one of our country’s greatest botanists and philanthropists. George Washington Carver famously once said:“How far in life you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because some

day in life you will have been all of these.”


OC Johnson Elementary Invites Parents To Learn More About Early Childhood Literacy


On Tuesday, January 31st, students were making their way to Mrs. Noel Morago and Mrs. Yolanda Garcia's classrooms.  However, these were not your typical kindergarten students. Parents with current and incoming kindergarten students had become the students for this evening.  


The objective of the night was to assist parents in learning more about early childhood literacy techniques and strategies that they could take back home and implement with their own children.  Parents were greeted by the teachers and arranged into small groups.  


Parents spent about an hour and a half going through the evening's agenda, which included, learning a new story, watching videos of how to read stories to children and working in groups to read and develop alternative endings to the story. Parents had fun embodying the different characters and learning to make reading fun for their children. 


While the parents were in classrooms as students, their children were in the cafeteria listening to stories being read to them. Children were also busy making character masks that aligned with the stories being taught to their parents. Later the parents were able to join their children and put all they had learned together.  Early childhood literacy classes are available every Tuesday in english and spanish for O.C. Johnson Elementary parents.  The class materials are provided by First Things First and the Public Broadcasting Service. Principal Angela Logan mentioned "This is such a great opportunity for parents to really understand various ways to enrich their student's lives and helping to build a love for reading that will ultimately aide in their future success".  For more information, please contact O.C. Johnson school at 928.502.7900 or visit their website at



Woodard Junior High School Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence


Woodard Junior High School celebrated 50 years of educational excellence in January.  The community was invited to participate in its anniversary celebration on Saturday, January 21st. 


To kick-off the festivities, the school held a school-wide pep rally the day before the community event. Woodard's band led the parade that started near the cafeteria and zig-zagged throughout the various wings on campus. Woodard's reknown cheerleaders added enthusiasm as the band played their cheerful music. As the parade passed classrooms, students from those classrooms joined the parade line until finally the entire school was included. 


The parade was escorted by the School Resource Officer as it made its way onto the nearby street.  Many community members were nearby cheering on the parade line.  The parade finally made its way to the Woodard Gymnasium. Principal Daniel Acosta greeted the students and amped up the excitement with some friendly competition of which side of the gym could cheer the loudest. Student council representatives also joined in and led the audience through some fun challenges like the water bottle and the mannequin challenge. 




The following day, the community was invited to attend the official 50th anniversary celebration.  Both current and previous students, employees, and parents were in attendance. Special speakers addressed the crowd, including past administrators.  

The anniversary event allowed for attendees to enjoy a wide-range of activities such as guided tours of the school, view a time capsule, review memorabilia from past years, and even participate in a silent auction with some spectacular prizes. Woodard school had much to highlight after 50 years of educational excellence. 



District One's Transportation

Department Receives Safety Training


Yuma Schools Transportation Consortium in the Foothills of Yuma, AZ partnered with Yuma Fire Department this week to provide all bus drivers instruction on proper maintenance and use of fire extinguishers. Bus Drivers and Bus Monitors participated in a classroom training and a supervised outdoor usage of a fire extinguisher on a live fire.

This level of training helps prepare drivers for emergency situations to help keep students safe.


All school buses in the state of Arizona are required to carry a working fire extinguisher whenever the bus is in use. Part of the driver’s responsibility is to inspect and maintain the fire extinguisher in proper working order. Our Transportation Department is dedicated to safely transporting children to and from school. 

Our students' safety requires shared cooperation and responsible actions by the bus driver, students, and their parents. Our transportation staff is committed to providing safe buses and bus stops and well-trained drivers. We require our drivers to meet state and federal training regulations. Safety is always our number one consideration as we provide student transportation to the students of Yuma. Our thanks goes out to the City of Yuma Fire Inspector, Tony Brinson for providing this important safety training. 



Castle Dome 7th Graders Learn Yo-Yo Tricks 


Seventh graders at Castle Dome Middle School experienced a Yo-Yo treat on Thursday, Feb 2nd from a Yo-Yo expert John Fox, President of Around the World Yo-Yo. Fox has traveled all over the United States incorporating math, science and anti-bullying in his assemblies to more than 5,000 schools, camps and special eovents. Using his fun tricks, Fox incorporates helpful lessons for students on being kind and how to become better listeners.


Throughout the assembly, students were choosen from the audience to particpate in the Yo-Yo tricks and fun activities. Many students laughed and encouraged their classmates as they watched. Yo-Yo's were first mentioned in history in 500 BC as wooden, medal or terra cotta discs. How fascinating to see a current generation interacting with technology still maintaining interest in such an antient toy. Yo-Yos were made available for purchase afterwards and 10% of all sales goes straight back to Castle Dome Middle School. 



Fort Yuma Rotary Club Donates Playground to Rolle Elementary Preschool Students 


Yuma District One is grateful for all the strong community support for public education.  The recent donation from Fort Yuma Rotary Club is a great example of our local community making a difference in the lives of our students.


Tiffany Ott, preschool teacher at Rolle, reached out to the Fort Yuma Rotary Club explaining the need for this playground. Rotary Club Project Coordinator, Dan Tortolano, mentioned that the rotary team dedicated Fridays and Saturdays putting this together.  The project was also made possible by various community donors, who were included in the process. 

Preschool students had a big surprise walking to class the day of the grand reveal and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Students immediately gravitated towards the playground and their enthusiasm could not be contained. Both Rolle Elementary School and Yuma District One appreciate the contributions and dedicated efforts from the Fort Yuma Rotary Club.  There is no doubt that students will be able to enjoy this contribution for many years to come.  Click on the following link to view the video highlighting the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Rolle Preschool Playground Video



Child Find Notification 


Yuma Elementary School District One, as required by the Office of Special Education and Arizona Department of Education, is responsible for ensuring that all children with disabilities (preschool-aged through 8th grade) within the District's geographic boundaries are to be identified, located, and evaluated including children attending parochial schools, private schools, or those who are homeschooled in need of special education and related services. A free and appropriate public education shall be available to all children with disabilities (Preschool-aged through 8th grade) within the district's boundaries. For further information or assistance, please contact the Exceptional Student Services office at (928) 502-7800. 







Superintendent's Message


“Spring is a time of plans and projects.” That quote by Leo Tolstoy certainly applies to schools. During springtime principals and teachers are planning for the multitude of lessons, projects and activities to be completed before the end of May; and they also are planning for next school year. Parents and students begin planning for next school year too. As education choice proliferates in our state and nation, public district schools remain the best educational choice for many reasons. Let me share with you just a few. 


Local control: our district is led by a publicly elected school board made up of five citizens who voluntarily give their time and expertise to ensure that our students receive the best education possible. They know that strong public schools are essential to the vitality and sustainability of the Yuma community. Locally elected school boards are a foundational democratic institution, and they ensure that the community has a say in the education of its young people. School board members study weekly reports and conduct regularly scheduled public meetings. Meeting dates are published in advance and the public is encouraged to attend. 


Transparency: conducting the business of the school district in the sunshine of the open meeting laws is only the tip of the iceberg. School districts report every aspect of their operations and performance for public inspection. Information on standards and assessments; teacher certifications and test scores; and budget revenue and
expenditures all are a matter of public record accessible to the public. At Yuma Elementary School District #1, we invite members of the community to schedule a visit to any of our schools to see our talented and innovative teachers in action. 


Inclusiveness: public district schools truly represent the entire community. No child is turned away from or counseled out of our schools. It is our mission to ensure a comprehensive education for every student through relevant, rigorous curriculum and instructional excellence. Students from all backgrounds benefit from our personalized learning model that blends the best instructional practices and innovative use of technology. District #1 schools also offer art, music and physical education, as well as preschool and full-day kindergarten.


Since 1867, Yuma Elementary School District #1 has been committed to serving the educational needs of Yuma’s young people. 150 years later, I truly believe the best choice for our community is still your local public district school. Thank you for supporting your local school district.




James Sheldahl

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