Oracle School District

Focus on the future: an investment in child education

Ron Green

We are all aware of the importance of providing a good education for children. Children are our future; we are their role models, here to help guide them to great opportunities.

SaddleBrooke is an extraordinary community with a history of helping others in our community and neighborhood. The Oracle School District is in our neighborhood and we are looking for your support on an important measure that will be on the 2019 November ballot.

Oracle School District needs our support to help them re-build Mountain Vista Elementary School (K-8). A Capital Needs Advisory Committee of teachers, school board members and residents of Oracle, SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch convened in early 2018. An architectural firm was retained to complete a full assessment and master plan for capital improvements. Mountain Vista School is faced with a number of challenges. The committee was tasked with doing an extensive review of the capital improvement plan (presented by the architectural firm) and all areas of the school while also identifying necessary capital improvements for recommendation to the school board.

The committee collaborated and agreed that our focus would be on the “absolutes” – areas that must be accomplished, under the following criteria: improvements to conditions that impact the health and safety of the children and staff, including necessary upgrades for ADA compliant standards, while enhancing the student’s learning and educational environment.

Some key challenges that face Mountain Vista School are the replacement of classrooms originally constructed in 1964 that have structural issues, asbestos ceiling tiles and do not meet school facility standards. The school provides meal services for their students; replacement of the refrigerator and freezer (over 20 years old) is necessary, as is the expansion of the current library, to provide training and tutoring rooms. Additionally, the current fleet of buses needs replacemnt and the parking lot reconfiguring since entry and exit points pose significant safety issues for students.

The advisory committee presented our recommendations to the school board in March 2019. The board reviewed and approved the recommendations of the committee. The recommendations included the district seeking voter approval for a Class B bond in the November 2019 election to fund these vital infrastructure needs.

In May 2019 a PAC was formed to begin the process of communicating to our residents in the district reasons to support the ballot initiative. Over the next several months, there will be additional information published and distributed, as well as planned meetings throughout the district for residents to attend to get more information and answer questions.

We look forward to your support and your vote to help pass this critical bond initiative.

We invite you to visit the Mountain Vista School website,, to learn more about this incredible school, their staff, students and how they focus on education.

Jim Hardwick, first place winner (left) and Bill Kaplan, tournament director

All-in for the Kids results

Betsy Levenson

How sweet it is! Jim Hardwick, first place winner of the Oracle Schools Foundation’s “All-in for the Kids” Texas Hold-em Poker Tournament, has just told Tournament Director Bill Kaplan that he is donating $100 of his $300 winnings to the Foundation’s pre-school program, which enables the school to provide free pre-school to every youngster in the district. When all was said and done, the kids were the real winners of an evening that was fun for all involved!

The competition was tough, involving some of SaddleBrooke’s sharpest poker players. Director Kaplan kept everyone on their toes with bells that rang regularly, announcing steadily increasing chip values. And when he said, “no more than 30 minutes for dinner,” he meant it! If you wanted to eat more, you had to get eliminated which happened on a regular basis!

As players became steadily eliminated, most chose to continue at the Dealer’s Choice table. That’s where “Lucky Ed” Haugland who won the 50/50 raffle got a little less lucky and gave back all his raffle earnings. Such is life in the gambling world!

And while action continued at the Dealer’s Choice table, the small group of Texas Hold-em finalists continued to battle it out. The action become faster and faster paced and more and more exciting. Second place winner Aaron Schoenberg was in the lead almost to the end when the first place winner got lucky and edged him out, just in time for Director Kaplan’s pre-announced 8:30 p.m. deadline. Poker players need their sleep – to rise and do battle another day!

And so the evening ended, with the players well-fed and happy and more money in the Oracle pre-school coffers.

Sebastian Pinedo and Aubrey Swick

Scholarship winners

Sebastian Pinedo and Aubrey Swick, seventh grade students at Mountain Vista K-8 School in Oracle, Arizona are attending the A+ Summer Middle School Institute at Stanford University this June 23-28, 2019. The A+ Summer Middle School Institute immerses students in an environment that encourages advanced thinking, problem solving and creativity. Both Sebastian and Aubrey will collaborate with students from across the United States as they explore their potential as strategists while reading, writing and using math and science.

This will be the fifth year that students from Mountain Vista K-8 School have participated in the A+ Summer Middle School Institute at Stanford University due to the generosity of the Reach Scholarship, created by Alan and Betsy Levenson, Chris and Larry Crum and the Oracle Schools Foundation.

Sebastian and Aubrey were selected as recipients of the Reach Scholarship based on their exceptional work ethic, their commitment to their community and their academic achievement. Both Sebastian and Aubrey are excited to travel to California and spend a week living in a dormitory on the Stanford University campus.

Sebastian, Aubrey and past recipients of the Reach Scholarship are invited to attend the Oracle Schools Foundation Gala on Sunday, October 20, 2019, at the SaddleBrooke One Clubhouse. The students will share with gala attendees how participation in the A+ Summer Middle School Institute has made an impact on their personal goals and educational experience.

Mountain Vista K-8 School thanks Alan and Betsy Levenson, Chris and Larry Crum and the Oracle Schools Foundation for supporting our district’s vision of embracing small town roots while having global expectations for our students.

Champions for Children returns

Maria Menconi

For Oracle Schools Foundation Champions and those who would like to become Champions, fall will be here before you know it! And an annual fall event here in the Brooke means it’s time for the Oracle Schools Foundation Gala, Champions for Children!

Please hold the following date for this year’s exciting event: Sunday, October 20, 2019, 5:00 p.m. at SaddleBrooke One, The Vistas.

In addition to lots of time to socialize with friends and a wonderful dinner by Chef Dave Bishow, we are proud to announce our speaker will be Kathy Hoffman, Superintendent of Public Instruction. She will update us on the state of public education here in Arizona and give us insight into her ideas and initiatives. New this year to the Gala, are Fixed Price events which were a big part of the success of the SaddleBrooke Treats and Talents Auction for several years. Fixed price events include such things as dinners, cocktail parties, martini parties, a Mexican fiesta, and theme events such as the Beach Boys Blowout or the Fifties Fling, where attendees ate, drank and danced the night away. The great thing about these events is that you don’t bid on them; you sign up at the auction and pay a set fee to attend on a designated date. If you would like to get a group of people together to host an event as a way of raising money for the Oracle Schools Foundation, please contact our Fixed Price Chairperson Chris Crum at [email protected] Keep checking the newspapers and the Oracle Schools Foundation website for updates on specific fixed price events that will be part of the Gala. Our ever popular 50-50 raffle returns, along with a live auction filled with fun events and items for you to take home.

Best of all, Champions for Children continues to support the Mountain Vista Pre-School in the Oracle School District and other literacy and leadership programs benefitting the students there. We can’t wait to see you there!