Black Mountain Elementary School Preparing students for the global stage

I am so excited to share the exciting news! BMES has received the distinction of being named an A+ School of Excellence by the Arizona Education Foundation. This prestigious award recognizes the exceptional work by BMES teachers, staff, students, family and community. According to the Arizona Education Foundation, schools that ultimately earn the A+ School of Excellence™ designation consistently share the following traits:

  • Model quality and equity
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to academic excellence
  • Respond successfully to the changing environment of education
  • Cultivate learning-centered, safe school environments
  • Encourage innovative instruction by supporting teachers
  • Actively address students' social, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs
  • Demonstrate superior ability to go above and beyond the norm in providing services to children, families, and the local community

I thought I would share some of the congratulatory letter from the Arizona Education Foundation. Read below:

On behalf of the Arizona Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees and its donors, congratulations to the entire community at your school on earning the 2020 A+ School of ExcellenceTM award. In the coming days, your school will receive a letter with a check for $500 which may be used in any way your school deems appropriate.

The A+ School of ExcellenceTM award has been in existence since 1983 and is the only statewide school award program that identifies and recognizes schools for achieving overall excellence. Your community can be proud of its exceptional students, staff, parents, partners, programs and practices. Your school serves as a model and a beacon of success to schools throughout Arizona and the nation.

Way to go BMES! This is definitely cause to celebrate!

Parent / Teacher Conferences

Parent Teacher conferences are just around the corner. A link was emailed on Wednesday with a link to sign up for a conference time. If you missed it, you can click here to sign up for your time. All conferences will be conducted virtually.


The Cave Creek Unified School District Governing Board is in the process of searching for a new District Superintendent. On October 14, 2020, the Board will have an opportunity to select finalists for the position. As a component of the interview process, the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) will conduct a question and answer event with the finalists that will be recorded and made available for District stakeholder viewing. Information will be forthcoming regarding how to view the Finalists Q & A Event and how to communicate your thoughts regarding the finalists to the Governing Board.

The Board would like the questions asked of each finalist to be provided by District stakeholders. To submit a question, please click HERE for access to a Google document that provides this opportunity. It is expected that far more questions will be submitted than time will allow. Hence, ASBA will categorize submitted questions and select questions to be asked that represent a variety of topics. Stakeholder questions will be collected through 9:00a.m. on October 16, 2020. At that time questions for the Q & A Event will no longer be accepted.

Our kindergarteners are exploring things that help you stay healthy. This week we are working on the food groups and where our food comes from. Here are some pics of kindergarteners “milking” cows and taking care of their flock of chickens! When you can’t go to the farm, the farm must come to you!
One of my absolute favorite classes to visit. The dance program at BMES is such a unique and important part of growing the whole child.

Hello everyone! My name is Kaitlyn Williams, and I am so excited to be Black Mountain’s new Health Office Assistant and to be a part of the Bobcat family! I was born and raised in Cave Creek, and have been a student in the Cave Creek Unified School District since I was in Kindergarten. I graduated from the University of Arizona (Bear Down!) in May with a Bachelor’s of Science in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences, with an emphasis in Neurobiology. I am an aspiring Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and will be attending nursing school next fall! I am currently a Licensed Nursing Assistant and have extensive experience working in health care with patients of all ages. I have always been passionate about working with kids, and am eager to keep everyone happy and healthy for this school year! ☺


We received an email from DonorsChoose regarding Ms. Amanda Barnes, Black Mountain Elementary School teacher, being appointed a volunteer Teacher Ambassador. In their email, DonorsChoose said they're teaming up with some of their most passionate and successful teacher leaders to spread the word. Ms. Barnes answered a nationwide call they made to become a DonorsChoose Teacher Ambassador, helping new teachers access the funding and resources on their site. From thousands of applications, Ms. Barnes stood out!

DonorsChoose is a nonprofit website that engages the public in supporting public schools. Teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests that are fulfilled by generous citizen donors as well as corporations and foundations that want to support our nation’s students. DonorsChoose has been able to empower teachers to bring resources to over 500,000 classrooms, and are excited to bring even more funding to Arizona.

Ms. Barnes will be working with teachers across the state and at Black Mountain Elementary School to post their first DonorsChoose classroom request. The work that Ms. Barnes will be doing is above and beyond her classroom duties, and shows her commitment to public education, her school pride, and her unwavering belief in the potential of all students.

Want to support a BMES classroom? Consider donating to a Donors Choose project.

Generous families and businesses have brought amazing projects to life and directly impacted hundreds of BMES students with over $34,000 in donations. View current BMES projects below.

One of our 2nd grade parents set up this fundraiser to help fund the project above. Too cool!

Another project for our kids that you may want to support

We have started a sensory room to help students in our positive learning center (a special education program on the BMES campus)

We understand that students of all abilities need a safe place to self-regulate, rebalance and have their sensory needs met in order to be successful in the classroom. Our teachers have been working hard to prepare this room but we have a long ways to go to provide these children with what they need. Below is a wishlist of items that our teachers have put together.

Here is another shot of the room with the lights out. The special lighting about would really make this room shine!

On October 8th, the BMES community was given information regarding a possible positive COVID case at BMES. The parents/guardians of students who may have been in contact with the individual were contacted and anyone with a possible exposure was sent home. As we continue to field questions about the school’s response to this incident, I wanted to provide you with some information that may help. If you have any questions that are not answered below, feel free to contact our district nurse at lkillingbeck@ccusd93.net or you can contact me anytime.

We work closely with the Maricopa County Health Department to ensure accurate reporting and appropriate responses. We follow the guidance that they have outlined for schools as well as the specific recommendations provided for each situation.

Once we become aware of any positive Covid test and/or exposure, we immediately ensure that no further exposures take place and begin the process of contact tracing for any possible exposures. According to the health department, only students in direct contact (6ft or closer for 10 minutes or more) to the positive individual should be quarantined. Any individual with a secondary exposures (being exposed to a person who was possible exposed) is not recommended for quarantine. Again, we follow the guidance set forth by the Maricopa County Health Department for these decisions.

You may find the following graphic from the screening tool helpful in understanding the schools response to symptoms, positive tests, and exposures.

I have also received a few other questions regarding other protocols in place. We are confident that the precautions we take every day majorly limit exposer to students as classes are kept separate in all locations and we are diligent in following all recommendations. These include specialized schedules, detailed transition pathways, daily disinfecting procedures, and more. In addition to all other safety protocols outline by the Cave Creek Unified School District informed by health organizations, we immediately began working with our district facilities department for deep cleaning of all areas on campus that the individual had been. The BMES community was also informed out of caution as we all must exhibit caution and be aware. Again, if you have any questions beyond what has been presented in this newsletter or in the emails sent home, please reach out.

For questions related to COVID-19, please either email COVIDparenthotline@maricopa.gov or dial 2-1-1, select option 6 (for COVID-19), and then select option 3 (for the COVID Parent Hotline) or visit www.Maricopa.gov/Covid19

October is National Book Month and we are celebrating all month long with Readathon! Here is a snapshot of where we are so far:

  • 10/15 & 10/16 Early Release - Students dismissed at 11:50 am for Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 10/19 & 10/20 No School. The 19th is Fall Break and the 20th is for professional development.
  • 10/20 Parent Forum on the Teen Brain
  • 11/3 Election Day (BMES students will be voting today too)
  • 11/4 Early Release - Students dismissed at 11:50 am
  • 11/11 Veterans Day Observed - No School
  • 11/18 PTO General Meeting at 6:00 pm
  • 11/25-11/27 No School - Thanksgiving Break
  • 12/5 2nd Annual Community Give Back Day
  • 12/18 Early Release - Students dismissed at 11:50 am
  • 12/18 End of 2nd Quarter
  • 12/21-1/1 Winter Break


  • 1/4 School resumes
  • 1/18 No School in observance of MLK Jr.
  • 1/27 Early Release - Students dismissed at 11:50 am
  • 1/29 Bobcat Family Science Night
  • 2/15 No School - Presidents Day
  • 2/16 No School - Teacher Professional Development Day
  • 3/8 BMES Excellence Awards at the CCUSD Board Meeting
  • 3/12 - End of 3rd Quarter
  • 3/18 & 3/19 Early Release for Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 3/22-3/26 Spring Break
  • 4/2 No School -Spring Recess
  • 4/5-4/23 State Testing Window for students in 3-6
  • 4/7 Early Release - Students dismissed at 11:50 am
  • 4/27-4/29 5th Grade AzSci Field Test
  • 4/28 Early Release - Students dismissed at 11:50 am
  • 5/3-5/7 Teacher Appreciation Week
  • 5/20 Move Up Day (All BMES students visit the grade level they will be entering next year
  • 5/20 Early Release - Last Day of School

October is National Book Month and we will be celebrating all month long with a Whooo's Reading read-a-thon event and fundraiser. For those of you who have been at BMES for a few years, and have done this event in the past, you know how excited our kiddos get about this! Not only does the program get kids excited about reading and interacting with their classmates virtually, but it is a lucrative fundraiser for BMES. And....it is 100% digital and safe in today's environment!

Individual login instructions came home last week, so be sure to check those folders! You will also find information there on how to authorize your child’s account! Be sure to keep an eye on social media for announcement of special incentives that earn your Bobcat entries into our drawing for one of THREE $100 gift cards at the end of the event!

It’s October and that means our Hospitality and Appreciation committee needs your help! Please see the link below to see if you can contribute!

Help us spoil our teachers with a little sweet surprise! Items for BOO BAGS will be collected at pickup and drop off lines 10/21, 10/22, 10/23 and 10/26. If you have something outside this list that our teachers just need for a great Halloween treat please feel free! All edible items need to be wrapped!

Come on out and support your Bobcats at Rubios on Wednesday 10/21 from 4pm-8pm and at Cherry on Top ALL DAY!!! Rubio's will donate 30% of all sales and Cherry On Top will donate 10% of ALL SALES that mention this fundraiser right back to our AMAZING school! Good on dine-in, carry-out, and catering!!!

Ordering online or with the app? Be sure to enter promo code "RubiosDonates" at checkout for BMES to receive 30% of sales!

Two ways to guarantee your purchases count:

*Enter promo code "RubiosDonates" when ordering with app or online

*Show the cashier a digital flyer prior to paying

*Show the cashier a paper flyer prior to paying

Boo Grams are coming! Boo Grams are coming! Sales start Monday for these Spooktacular Skeleton Treat Bags!! Watch for order forms coming home early next week and get excited because starting Monday, you will also be able to order online at www.bmespto.org!! Woo hoo!!!

Or is it....BOO HOO?? BOO BOO?? WOO BOO?? Meh, no matter how you say it, we're stoked!! Order yours while supplies last!!

Get excited! Bobcat Birthday Blast (or "The Triple B" as the kids call it these days....just kidding....they call it the "How COOL are my parents for putting my name in lights for my Bday?!?!?" Blast) is back!!

That's right, for just $10, you can wish your Bobcat(s) a very Happy Birthday with their name on lights for all to see - or at least anyone who drives down 60th Street during their birthday week!

Forms sent home in backpacks last week! Didn’t see it? Click here to download your form today: https://www.bmespto.org/uploads/1/2/2/8/122837805/birthday_blast.pdf

Calendar found at https://www.arizona.vote/

Governing Board:

  • Kathryn Hill, President
  • James Rich, Vice President
  • Scott Brown, Member
  • Janet Busbee, Member
  • Beth Hatcher, Member


Dr. Debbi Burdick, Superintendent; Matt Owsley, Principal
Created By
Matt Owsley


Created with images by PDPics - "award cup lights"