Deer Valley Unified hosts back-to-school rally | News

By Joe McHugh, Glendale Star Staff Writer
6 Min Read

The Deer Valley Unified School District hosted its back-to-school rally July 27 at Grand Canyon University to rev up the district for the coming school year.

With a packed crowd including teachers, staff and administration from the district’s institutions, the event was headlined by keynote speeches from Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) Superintendent Dr. Curtis Finch and performances.

This was the first rally since 2019 and was themed “Building Brilliance,” which alludes to the goals and vision the district has for its students and staff.

Opening with a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by the DVUSD staff choir, the lion’s share of the rally featured Finch, who first imparted inspiring life sentiments.

He related to his audience by sharing how he formed a positive, inspiring mindset and how some of his life’s struggles have made him the person he is today.

“If you’re struggling with purpose, start putting the needs of others over yourself, and then your purpose will become apparent,” he said as his closing remarks to the crowd.

Finch also gave an informal district presentation providing insight on DVUSD’s performance in past years and how the district expects to perform going forward.

“Deer Valley Unified School District just happens to be the future epicenter of Arizona,” he said. “But the future is now.”

He explained the importance of students staying within the school district for their 13 years of education, and taking what they learn in order to become “community contributors and effective communicators” and “problem solvers with a sense of purpose.”

Finch noted some achievements that have stemmed from DVUSD’s strategic plan, which guides the district’s future.

“(About) 92% of our schools are A or B (rated),” he said. “That is a big deal. We are ahead of our competitors as well. … We have the No. 1 online school in Arizona. Here is another one: We have 22 A-plus Schools of Excellence.”

He explained there is “excellence in accountability,” evaluating the cost per pupil and students per admin position. He depicted the district is around the peer average in cost per pupil but well above the state average in students per admin position — holding a student-teacher ratio of 16:2.

Finch also announced DVUSD has been named the back-to-back winner of the Forbes Best Midsize Employer Award for 2022–23, in addition to how a number of district benefits will be created due to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s location within district lines.

He finished off with the maintenance and operation override and bond, explaining that the district will be bond supported for additional safety improvements, resources for accommodation of student growth, technology improvements and upgrades, replacement buses and school vehicles and maintenance of their campuses.

Another keynote speaker, Dave Davlin, looked to inspire the crowd with his skills as a former basketball player.

With the assistance of DVUSD staff members, Davlin spun basketballs on pencils, performed his best flashy passes and fed a staff member pudding while spinning a basketball on top of the serving spoon.

He earned laughs and amazement from the crowd before jumping into his speech. He explained the three ways to make a positive life, achieved by recognizing the “person you become, the memories you make and the difference you make.”

In conjunction with the two main speakers at the event, DVUSD presented an abundance of fun and congratulatory performances and activities to round out the morning.

The district highlighted leaders in its community by presenting “difference maker” awards to 12 employees nominated by their co-workers, such as teacher Kelly Moore for the lengths she goes to support her students and staff members.

After the awards, the event then took a turn of levity, as the DVUSD staff band gave a performance of the popular earworm “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley — a song choice that got laughs out of the audience due to the popular internet joke “Rickrolling.”

Keeping on the trend of music, Arizona Diamondbacks organist Bobby Freeman was invited to the stage. Explaining that he has family roots in DVUSD, he took to 61 keys that made him famous, playing songs like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Let’s Go + Charge + Crowd,” among others.

Finch thanked everyone for all of their efforts in the district’s operation.

“I am looking forward to an awesome school year,” he said.

By Joe McHugh, Glendale Star Staff Writer

2023-08-07 07:00:00 , – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article

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