South Chandler Edition - October 2021

SOUTH CHANDLER EDITION

VOLUME XX, ISSUE XX  XXXXXXXXXX, 2021 2021 P U B L I C E D U C A T I O N E D I T I O N

ONLINE AT

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 3  OCT. 19NOV 14, 2021

Test scoresdipas local educators confront unnished learning

MINDING

THE GAP

Chandler USD, like other districts across the state, saw a decrease in English and math state standardized test scores in 2021 compared to 2019, according to data from the district. The drops in both categories were similar across districts of the same size and student demographics, according to district ocials.

BY ALEXA D'ANGELO

Jennifer Fletcher, executive direc- tor of accountability, assessment and research for CUSD, said the district is on par with the rest of the school dis- tricts across the Valley—many of which saw similar drops in prociency in English and math across all student groups. “Chandler always has and should continue to outperform the state,” Fletcher said. “The other piece here is that we outperformed all the dis- tricts similar to us in ELA, and in terms of math we are in the top three CONTINUED ON 14

Educators, district ocials and edu- cation advocates are actively search- ing for ways to mitigate the eects of COVID-19 on kids in school—includ- ing addressing a gap in learning many attribute to online learning. Chandler USD saw a 1% decrease in overall English language arts state standardized test scores in spring 2021 compared to 2019—the last time the standardized test was administered. The district also saw a 9% dip in pro- ciency levels in math from 2019, according to data from the district.

SCHOOL DISTRICT COMPARISONS

English language arts (ELA)

Math

Gilbert Chandler

Peoria

Arizona

Chandler

Gilbert

Peoria

Arizona

-1%

-1%

-3%

-9%

-3%

-11%

-13%

-4%

SOURCE: CHANDLER USDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Chandler pilotsnew tech inmockelection

In August 2021, Chandler City Council approved a $50,000 agreement with Voatz Inc. to conduct a blockchain technology pilot using mobile voting—meaning residents will vote from their phones in a test-run of the technology in November. Blockchain technology allows information to be recorded in a way that makes it dicult to change information or hack into the sys- tem, according to the city. “Think of a blockchain as a digital led- ger,” reads a city webpage on the topic. CONTINUED ON 17

CHANDLER MOCK ELECTION The city of Chandler is going to test out mobile voting backed by blockchain technology in November, following the city’s regular Nov. 2 election.

BY ALEXA D’ANGELO

Regular election NOV. 2

Advertising for pilot begins NOV. 8

Pilot Begins NOV. 9

Pilot ends NOV. 30

Tabulation & audit DEC. 13

Report to council DEC. 9

On the heels of a monthslong eort to recount ballots cast in the November 2020 presidential election, the city of Chandler is piloting new technology that could poten- tially change the way local elections are con- ducted in the future.

SOURCE: CITY OF CHANDLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

2021

PUBLIC EDUCATION EDITION

XXXXXXX STATE TEST RESULTS

XX 13

IMPACTS

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THIS ISSUE

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Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMAMY: The city of Chandler is bringing to residents a new mobile voting pilot program in November following the Nov. 2 election. Our front-page story this month highlights what the city hopes to gain by utilizing mobile voting technology, why the city is doing it now and what it will look like for residents. Amy Lawson, PUBLISHER

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FROMALEXA: For the better part of two years people have speculated as to what the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will have on children. Recent state standardized test scores underscore that one of the eects of the pandemic has been an idea of unnished learning. In our front-page story this month, we talk to education leaders about what the impact of COVID-19 has been, what the test scores mean and where districts can go from here. Alexa D’Angelo, EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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SOUTH CHANDLER EDITION • OCTOBER 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant

Lola's Liquors

CHANDLER

COURTESY COOPER’S HAWK WINERY & RESTAURANT

ALEXA D'ANGELOCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

W. BOSTON ST.

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5 Genoa Healthcare , a provider of pharmacy services for people with mental illness, substance use disorders and other chronic conditions, opened a new pharmacy in Chandler. The new pharmacy is located onsite at Southwest Network’s San Tan clinic in Chandler at 1465 W. Chandler Blvd., Ste. A. 480-786-8200. www.southwestnetwork.org COMING SOON 6 Signage for K-38 Beach Mex Cantina has gone up at 1155 W. Ocotillo Road, Ste. 1, in Chandler—a spot that has been vacant since Coconut’s Fish Cafe left the spot in the fall of 2020. It is not yet known when the restaurant will open. Contact information and a website were not immediately available for the business. 7 Construction is underway for a Neighborhood Goodwill on the north- west corner of Cooper Road and Chan- dler Boulevard. It is not yet known when the business will open. www.goodwill.org 8 Pork on a Fork , a barbecue restau- rant, is expected to open its Chandler lo- cation in early November. This marks the second location for the business, with the rst opening in Deer Valley 10 years ago. The restaurant is located at 1972 N. Alma School Road, Chandler. 602-884- 8227. www.porkonafork.com 9 Dog Haus , a gourmet hot dog shop based out of California, is expected to open a Chandler location in early 2022. The Chandler location will mark the third East Valley location for the company. The restaurant will be located at 2780

W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler. https://doghaus.com/

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10 85°C Bakery & Café will open its rst Chandler location in the same plaza as the 99 Ranch Market. The business oers a variety of coee, bubble teas, breads and cakes. It is not yet known when the business will open. It will be located at the Chandler Ranch shopping center at the corner of Chandler Boule- 11 Somisomi Soft Serve & Taiyaki is expected to open at Chandler Ranch shopping center in early 2022. The busi- ness will take over the space previously occupied by Tao Healing at 1840 W. Chandler Blvd., Ste. D7, Chandler. www.somisomi.com 12 Lola’s Liquors , a new bar concept, is coming soon to downtown Chandler. Signage has gone up at the space located at 64 S. San Marcos St., Chandler, al- though an opening date has not yet been announced. The business comes from Liquid Sunshine Projects and marks the company’s fourth concept. www.facebook.com/lolasliquors 13 A new Whataburger location is vard and Dobson Road. www.85cbakerycafe.com coming to south Chandler. Construction has started at 3077 E. Queen Creek Road, Chandler, and signage on the fence indi- cates the space will be a Whataburger. It is not yet known when the fast-food burger chain will open in this location. https://whataburger.com/ ANNIVERSARIES 14 The Stillery in downtown Chandler celebrated its one-year anniversary

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TM; © 2021 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 Can8 , a coee and tea shop, opened in Chandler on Sept. 25. The business oers everything from coee to Red Bull smoothies and energizer teas. It is locat- ed at 3377 S. Price Road, Chandler. 480-801-9881. www.can8chandler.com 2 LOOK Dine-In Cinemas opened its downtown Chandler location at 1 W. Chandler Blvd. on Oct. 14. The dine-in movie theater concept is taking over the space previously occupied by Flix Brewhouse. In celebration of its grand opening, LOOK Dine-In Cinemas is run- ning a special two-week-long promotion, giving moviegoers a chance to explore

the menu and receive 25% o food and nonalcoholic beverages through Oct. 28. www.lookcinemas.com 3 Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants opened its Chandler location Sept. 27. The restaurant and wine bar is located near Chandler Fashion Center at 3325 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler. The Chandler location marks the second Valley location for the business. 480-936-7711. https://chwinery.com 4 Fu Belly opened its Chandler loca- tion in late September. The Vietnamese restaurant is located at 5055 W. Ray Road, Ste. 8, Chandler. It serves a variety of pho, egg rolls, pad thai and other

dishes. 480-306-6692. https://fubellyaz.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODOLIST

October & November events

COMPILED BY ALEXA D’ANGELO

OCTOBER 02 THROUGHMAY ATTEND THE DOWNTOWN CHANDLER FARMERSMARKET The Downtown Chandler Farmers Market is back with local vendors and yoga classes in the park every Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. from October through May. The rst Saturday of every month will also feature games and prizes for kids as well as a chance for children to read at the Chandler Public Library. The event is located at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park at 3 S. Arizona Ave. https://downtownchandler.org NOVEMBER 05 SEE RUN BOY RUN Run Boy Run, an Americana and Bluegrass band, will bring its ddle, cello, bass and mandolin to the Chandler Center for the Arts on Nov. 5. 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $36 to $56. Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler. The Chandler Center for the Arts is adding more and more events to its lineup in the fall and winter. Event details can be found on the venue’s

operating company within the Raley’s enterprise and will maintain its corpo- rate headquarters, stores and distribu- tion center in Arizona, according to the release. Signage will remain the same and additionally there will be no chang- es to local store leadership, according to the release. There are no planned chang- es to employee roles, compensation or benets as a result of the transaction. www.bashas.com IN THE NEWS 15 On Oct. 18, Gila River Hotels & Casinos was expected to break ground on its fourth casino, located near Hunt Highway and Gilbert Road. Gila River Hotels & Casinos announced earlier this year plans for the new facility, but de- tails on the size of the casino or possible amenities were not released as of press time. The new casino was made possible through an update earlier this year to the state’s gaming compact. https://playatgila.com/ CLOSINGS 16 Factory Expo Furniture will close its Chandler location. The store was having a liquidation sale as of Oct. 7, but it was not clear when the business would ocially close its doors. The business is located at 4320 W. Chandler Blvd., Ste. 12. 602-610- 8484. www.factoryexpofurniture.com

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Whataburger

ALEXA D'ANGELOCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Oct. 3. The bar and restaurant out of Nashville features live country music every day and a variety of signature cocktails. The restaurant is located at 130 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler. 480-590-1409. www.stillerychandler.com ACQUISITIONS Chandler-based Bashas’ Family of Stores announced Oct. 1 that the company signed an agreement to be acquired by Raley’s Holding Co., an independent regional grocer based in California, ac- cording to a news release from Bashas’. Bashas’ will continue to serve customers across Arizona and New Mexico, as well as its Tribal Nation Partners, including the Navajo Nation, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache, and Tohono O’odham. Bashas’ will be a fully formed

Chandler’s Field of Honor will be celebrated on Veteran’s Day. (Courtesy city of Chandler) FEATURED EVENT 11 FIELDOF HONOR MEMORIAL RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY Chandler will honor the city's veterans and the completion of the Field of Honor Veterans Memorial during a dedication ceremony Nov. 11. The event will be at Veterans Oasis Park located at 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road, Chandler. Anyone is welcome to attend the free

event. 480-782-8261. www.chandleraz.gov

website. 480-782-2680. www.chandlercenter.org

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SOUTH CHANDLER EDITION • OCTOBER 2021

CITY&SCHOOLS

News from Chandler & Chandler USD

COMPILED BY ALEXA D'ANGELO

CITYHIGHLIGHTS CHANDLER The Chandler City Council approved an agreement with the Maricopa Association of Governments on Sept. 23 for regional reimbursement of construction improvements to Chandler Heights Road for $7.7 million. The construction on Chandler Heights Road has been located between Gilbert and Val Vista roads. CHANDLER The Chandler City Council approved an agreement with Northern Arizona Technology and Business Incubator for the Innovation Incubator management services in an amount not to exceed $250,000 for a one year period. CHANDLER USD On Sept. 22, the Chandler USD board approved a memorandum of understanding between Child Crisis Arizona formally Homeward Bound and the district. Child Crisis Arizona is the scal agent for the Destination Chandler Diploma program. This is a program that supports students who nd themselves in vulnerable situations due to variability in their living circumstances and helps them to stay in school and graduate. DISTRICTSWE COVER Our coverage area includes schools from the following districts. For breaking news out of these districts, visit our website. • Kyrene Elementary School District • Tempe Union High School District • Mesa Public Schools • Chandler USD Chandler City Council Nov. 1, Nov. 14, 6 p.m. 88 E. Chicago St., Chandler 480-782-2181 • www.chandleraz.gov Chandler USD board Nov. 10, 7 p.m. 1525 W. Frye Road, Chandler 480-812-7000 • www.cusd80.com MEETINGSWE COVER

Newmakerspace debuts at Chandler Downtown Library

ChandlerUSDmakes nextmove in superintendent search CHANDLER USD The Chandler USD governing board voted 4-1 to approve direction to the board’s legal counsel regarding the super- intendent search. The direction to legal counsel was discussed Sept. 22 in executive session, and no detail was provided after the session. Lara Bruner was the lone dissent- ing vote. The superintendent search began when former superintendent Camille Casteel announced she would retire at the end of the 2020-21 school year. Interim Superintendent Frank Narducci was appointed to ll her position for one year. No further information on the superintendent search was provided by the board or the district.

Arizona College Prep stadiumnamed to dream up—all while growing their own skills and nding their passions,” according to city of Chandler ocials. Located on the second oor CHANDLER Chandler Public Library opened its new makerspace, The Makery, Oct. 12, according to a news release from the city. The makerspace was made possible through a grant and support from Chandler City Council, according to the release. The space will be located at the Chandler Downtown Library, 22 S. Delaware St. “The Makery is a state-of-the-art space where the community can turn an idea into reality, develop a product or start a business, and create something they only dared CHANDLER USD The Chandler USD governing board Sept. 22 unanimously voted to name the stadium at Arizona College Prep High School after Fred DePrez. A longtime principal in the district, DePrez retired six years ago, he said during the meeting. “I am just very grateful to all of you,” he told the board. “At my age ... getting to see all the work you all are doing is so special. I’m honored.”

of the Downtown Library, the 981-square-foot space is outtted with three inventive areas: The Pro- gramming Room, The Lab and The Studio, according to the release. Upon completion of mandatory ori- entation sessions, makers will have access to emerging technology and traditional fabrication equipment.

Downtown Chandler Library now has a makerspace.

Council approves plan for newhotel CHANDLER The Chandler City Council approved Sept. 23 a pre- liminary development plan for the Woodspring Suites Hotel to be located on 2.7 acres at the Chandler Airport Center on the northeast cor- ner of Cooper and Germann roads. The vote came as the city is in the process of updating the Airpark Area plan, a guiding document for the area outside the airpark. The updated plan included a recommen- dation of adding a hotel in the area.

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The vote was unanimous. It is not yet known when construction will begin or when the hotel will open. This marks the rst hotel in the Chandler Airpark Area, according to city of Chandler ocials.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

60 TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY ALEXA D’ANGELO

W. GUADALUPE RD.

Status: Crews have completed installa- tion of a water line on Cooper from Blue Ridge Way to Chandler Heights and are conducting pipeline testing over through mid-October to put the newly installed line into service. Residents will be notified in advance of any planned disruption to water service. Grading crews are working to grade for block wall foundations on the west side of Cooper from Victoria to Chan- dler Heights, and as the foundation work moves north, block wall installation will follow, which began the week of Aug. 9. Timeline: February 2020-September 2022 Cost: $17.17 million Funding source: city of Chandler

north side of Loop 202 between Lindsay Road and Gilbert Road. Status: Traffic restrictions on Lindsay be- gan in March and will remain throughout the remainder of the project. The project is coordinating traffic control with the Ger- mann Road improvements project. Timeline: October 2020-November 2021 Cost: $18.15 million Funding sources: town of Gilbert bonds and funds, Maricopa Association of Gov- ernments, developer contributions 3 Alma School Road improvement An effort is underway to expand Alma School Road in a multiphase project set to span several years. As of press time, construction was on Alma School from the Pecos Road intersection to approximately Fairview Street. Status: Restrictions on Alma School Road recently included, left turns in and out of The Casitas at San Marcos were not permitted as construction crews work in the center of Alma School on the median islands. Crews continue to work on median islands on Alma School Road, including landscape irrigation. Also beginning Sept. 27, the northbound and southbound curb lanes were closed during off-peak hours as electrical crews begin installation of electric conduit for traffic signals and as work began to conduct concrete removal on the outside

of Alma School. Access to businesses and residences is being maintained during this work. Timeline: May-December Cost: $2.7 million (Phase 1) Funding source: city of Chandler COMING SOON 4 Chandler Heights Road improvement The city of Chandler is preparing for construction improvements to widen Chandler Heights Road from McQueen Road to Gilbert Road to four lanes—two through lanes in each direction—with raised medians, bike lanes, a center turn lane, curb, gutter, a sidewalk, street light- ing, drainage improvements and utility relocations for the project. Status: Construction is scheduled to begin in early December, according to city of Chandler officials. Timeline: December 2021-2023 Cost: $41.35 million Funding source: city of Chandler

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ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Cooper Road improvement

An effort is underway to expand Cooper Road to four lanes—two lanes in each direc- tion. The project begins about 3,500 feet north of Chandler Heights Road to Riggs Road. Improvements include the construc- tion of raised medians, bike lanes, left-turn lanes, sidewalks and traffic signals.

2 Lindsay Road/Loop 202 interchange An interchange at Lindsay Road and Loop 202 will be built to provide access to Loop 202 and a frontage road system on the

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UP TO DATE AS OF OCT. 11. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT CHNNEWS@ COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

7

SOUTH CHANDLER EDITION • OCTOBER 2021

La Ciudad de Chandler llevará a cabo una Elección Especial de Bonos el 2 de noviembre de 2021 Una elección de bonos es una oportunidad para que los contribuyentes de impuestos decidan qué mejoramientos o realces comunitarios están dispuestos a pagar a través de los impuestos sobre la propiedad. ¿Aumentarán sus tasas de impuestos sobre la propiedad? No . Aprenda más sobre lo que esta elección de bonos significa para usted y nuestra Ciudad en el sitio web a continuación.

The City of Chandler will hold a Special Bond Election on Nov. 2, 2021 A bond election is an opportunity for taxpayers to decide what community improvements or enhancements they are willing to pay for through property taxes.

Will your property tax rates increase? No .

Learn more about what this bond election means for you and our City at the web address below.

chandleraz.gov/BondElection

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

BUSINESS PROFILE

BY ALEXA D'ANGELO

Spooky’s Swirls specializes in horror-themed cupcakes year round. (Photos by Alexa D’Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Chris Szydlowski (left) and Lola Forbes own and run Spooky’s Swirls in Chandler. The bakery also has amoviemuseumwith costumes, props and set pieces from fan-favorite horror icks.

Spooky’s Swirls Gluten-free bakery melds horror and sweet treats C hris Szydlowski and Lola Forbes did not know when they opened their Chandler from movies like “Beetlejuice” in the storefront that doubles as a museum

BAKING THE GOODS The business partners work all week to bake sweet treats for the weekend. Below is an assortment of oerings.

to spooky movies over the years. The bakery is operating for curbside pickup, but Szydlowski and Forbes said they hope to open the storefront and museum for customers soon. “It’s really special,” Szydlowski said of the ode to movie history. “We want to get back to a place where people can come in and enjoy it, too.” The bakery specializes in glu- ten-free goods, catering to a pop- ulation that often has a hard time nding dessert options. “We had a little girl get her birth- day cake here a while back,” Forbes said. “Her mom said it was the rst birthday cake she had since being diagnosed with celiac disease. She said she has a specic journal that she writes in every time she comes here—a Spooky’s Swirls diary. Her mom sent us a video of her reading from it. We were both in tears. That’s why we do what we do. We want to have those experiences all the time.”

storefront that they would have a line wrapped around the shopping center. They gured that rst week- end in summer 2019 was a uke—that many people could not really love their horror-themed bakery. But week in and week out, the duo behind Spooky’s Swirls spend four days prepping the bakery for when they are open on the weekends. “We had no idea,” Forbes said. “We hoped we would do well, obviously. But it has been so much more than we thought it would be from the time we opened. It’s been incredible. In our rst few weeks open, we completely ran out of sugar, our— everything. We always overestimate how much we think we will need of something and without fail, by the end of the weekend, we are out of everything.” Szydlowski is able to meld her love of horror, baking and her impressive collection of props and costumes

Batty Brownies & Bars

Bizarre Bakery

The bakery will have special cupcakes and brownies for Halloween.

Chilling Cakes

Creepy Cookies

The bakery also does cakes and custom cake orders.

Diabolical Donuts

Mun Madness

Spooky’s Swirls 3029 N. Alma School Road, Ste. 117, Chandler 707-776-6597

www.spookysswirls.com Hours: Mon.-Thu. closed, Fri.-Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

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Come Celebrate with us! Beer and Brats Live PolkaBand NOVEMBERFEST Holiday carnival for all ages! JINGLE JAM CHANDLER SYMPHONY HOLIDAY CONCERT COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS CONCERT

Sat., Nov. 6 4 - 7 pm

Sat., Dec. 4 4 - 8 pm

Sun., Dec. 5 3 pm

Sun., Dec. 12 2:30 and 4:30 pm

Tickets available through the Symphony

Free - benefits go to Chandler Food Bank

Tickets: $7(advance) $10(at the door)

Free

23620 S. ALMA SCHOOL RD, CHANDLER, AZ 85248 • 480.895.6782 • RSLCS.ORG

9

SOUTH CHANDLER EDITION • OCTOBER 2021

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JOIN US AS WE SUPPORT THE CAUSE TO RAISE FUNDS TO MAKE MORE TOMORROWS!

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DINING FEATURE

BY ALEXA D'ANGELO

BKD’s has a smoker and smokes much of the meat on the menu. (Courtesy Mark Coakley)

BKD’s Backyard Joint owners and Chef Mark Coakley (right) proudly support veterans and other local causes.

PHOTO COURTESY ERIN COOPER

BKD’S BACKYARD JOINT BY THE NUMBERS The owners said they want to make sure there is something for everyone at BKD’s. 12 wing avors 10 burgers and sandwiches 34 TVs showing sports, including NFL, NBA, MLB, WNBA, NHL, NCAA, PGA, LPGA, NWSL, UFC, NASCAR and FIFA 24 beers on tap Monthly events such as Creative Night Out, Jack Trivia, karaoke, Jack Bingo and Fight Night

Chef Mark Coakley said he takes pride in every dish at BKD’s Backyard Joint. (Courtesy Mark Coakley)

BKD’s features a new cheesecake each week. (Courtesy Mark Coakley)

BKD’s Backyard Joint Neighborhood spot aims to be community watering hole B randon Sirochman, Dan Arndt and Kelly Cooper got together to create a space where all felt welcome and where the quality of food

desserts—including a rotating menu of cheesecakes made by Coakley’s daughter, who also works at the restaurant. “We want people to come back and try dierent things on the menu,” Coakley said. “We are happy when they come back.” Cooper said engaging with the community is import- ant. The restaurant hosts a variety of evening activities— such as paint night, trivia night and karaoke—but also selects a charity every month to give back to. Cooper, a former Marine, said the restaurant has also become a place where people from various military branches congregate. “We celebrate the Marine Corps birthday every year, and that is always standing room only,” Cooper said. “But we want people to know that they can come here. If they are looking for community, they can nd it here.” Cooper said BKD’s Backyard Joint was modeled loosely after an Illinois bar he frequented. “The heart of the community, that’s what we want to be,” Cooper said. “We want to have that culture.”

BKD’s Backyard Joint 980 E. Pecos Road, Chandler 480-935-2537 www.bkdsbackyard.com Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-midnight, Sat. 10 a.m.- midnight, Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

matched the friendly atmosphere. Together, they made BKD’s Backyard Joint, which debuted in Chandler in January 2019. The men had all previously worked in restaurants—par- ticularly with restaurant chains—and wanted to strike out on their own. “We all come from upscale restaurants with high-qual- ity ingredients and high-quality menus,” Cooper said. “The dierence here is heart.” Heart, Cooper said, and chef Mark Coakley. “This is a neighborhood place, and we built our menu for the people who come here; we’ve made a lot of adjustments based on what they wanted and their feed- back,” Cooper said. “Everything here is heart cooking. The food is the heart of this place. Mark’s passion and recipes bring it all to life.” BKD’s has a smoker, burgers, brunch options and

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SOUTH CHANDLER EDITION • OCTOBER 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CAMPUS DATA

2 0 2 1 P U B L I C E D U C A T I O N E D I T I O N

STATE STANDARDIZED TEST RESULTS COMPILED BY TOM BLODGETT

The AzM2 test scores from spring 2021 were released this fall, and experts say the eect of COVID-19 accounts for a drop in overall scores compared to 2019 scores. Students were not tested in the spring of 2020 due to the rst months of the coronavirus causing schools across the nation to move to virtual learning. The table identies the district, school and percentage of students who passed.

Percent procient

JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS

ELA

Math

Chandler USD

Percent procient

32 Arizona College Prep Oakland Campus

88% 89% 52% 43% 32% 20% 57% 46% 53% 46% 37% 28%

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

ELA

Math

33 Bogle Junior High School

1

Anna Marie Jacobson Elementary School

68% 58% 78% 66% 62% 48% 72% 62% 87% 86% 74% 70% 50% 41% 64% 68% 70% 58% 60% 54% 39% 21% 26% 15% 30% 14% 69% 61% 35% 30% 69% 55% 56% 45% 70% 63% 43% 36% 97% 92% 60% 48% 62% 54% 68% 59% 70% 64% 25% 14% 31% 22% 24% 15% 70% 63% 34% 23% 52% 44% 95% 94%

34 John M. Andersen Jr. High School

2 Audrey & Robert Ryan Elementary

35 Santan Junior High School

3 Basha Elementary School

36 Willie & Coy Payne Jr. High School

4 Chandler Traditional Academy-Goodman 5 Chandler Traditional Academy-Independence 6 Chandler Traditional Academy-Freedom 7 Chandler Traditional Academy-Humphrey 8 Chandler Traditional Academy-Liberty 9 Charlotte Patterson Elementary School 10 Dr. Gary and Annette Auxier Elementary School

37 Willis Junior High School

HIGH SCHOOLS

ELA

Math

38 Arizona College Prep Erie Campus

82% 90% 61% 60% 32% 24% 53% 45% 49% 49% 51% 48%

39 Basha High School 40 Chandler High School

41 Dr. Camille Casteel High School

42 Hamilton High School 43 Perry High School

11

Dr. Howard K. Conley Elementary School

12 Frye Elementary School 13 Galveston Elementary School 14 Haley Elementary School 15 Hartford Sylvia Encinas Elementary 16 Ira A. Fulton Elementary School 17 Jane D. Hull Elementary School 18 John & Carol Carlson Elementary School 19 John M. Andersen Elementary School

Kyrene School District ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Percent procient

ELA

Math

1

Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary School

57% 48% 69% 63% 67% 62% 52% 46% 47% 40%

2 Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School 3 Kyrene de la Mirada Elementary School 4 Kyrene de La Paloma Elementary School

20 Knox Gifted Academy

5 Kyrene Traditional Academy

21 Navarrete Elementary School 22 Riggs Elementary School

MIDDLE SCHOOLS JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS 6 Kyrene Aprende Middle School 7 Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School

ELA

Math

23 Robert and Danell Tarwater Elementary 24 Robert J.C. Rice Elementary School 25 Rudy G. Bologna Elementary School 26 Sanborn Elementary School 27 San Marcos Elementary School 28 Santan Elementary School 29 Shumway Leadership Academy 30 T. Dale Hancock Elementary School

55% 45% 32% 47%

Mesa Public Schools

Percent procient

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

ELA

Math

1

Pomery Elementary School

48% 37% 30% 24% 53% 43%

2 Sirrine Elementary School

3 Summit Academy

31 Weinberg Gifted Academy

SOURCE: ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SOUTH CHANDLER EDITION • OCTOBER 2021

CONTINUED FROM 1

Chandler USD outperformed the state in both English and math AzM2 test scores, according to the data. But ocials are still looking for ways to help students catch up. Below is a grade level breakdown of grades that were tested.

Chandler USD Peoria USD

Gilbert USD Arizona average

Key:

70%

70%

ELA

Math

60%

60%

50%

50%

40%

40%

30%

30%

20%

20%

10%

10%

0

0

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 7 Grade 6

Grade 8

Grade 10

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 7 Grade 6

Grade 8

Grade 10

SOURCE: CHANDLER USDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

of districts of similar size and stu- dent demographic. We are not talking about a massive spread in the pro- ciency levels.” Still, a gap exists for many students, and Arizona schools have spent mil- lions of federal dollars to combat unnished learning through summer school, and before- and after-school tutoring. Chandler is expected to get another $30 million in funding, and 20% of that is dedicated to mitigating unnished learning. “Anecdotally, I think you hear about this idea of learning loss and how horrendous and bad it was,” Fletcher said. “But for us as a district, and I’m not trying to undermine anything, it wasn’t as horrendous as people are trying to claim it to be. Schools saw far worse declines than we saw. But this helps us to see what we did well and see what we can improve.” Fletcher attributes part of the dis- trict’s smaller test score decline from 2019-21 to the district only using vir- tual learning for the end of the 2019- 20 school year and the rst quarter of 2020-21. Also, the district did not see a large drop in the number of students who tested, she said—about 3,000 fewer students took the test com- pared to the previous year. “If you look statewide, Phoenix Union [High School District] never went back to in-person instruction, and the number of students they tested decreased by thousands— one-sixth of their students tested,”

Nash said knowing there are gaps and working to bridge those gaps in learning is all teachers and the district can do. “We are calling it unnished learn- ing instead of learning loss because they haven’t lost anything,” Nash said. “A loss would be they went through a school year and then it’s gone. They didn’t get to do everything that year, so it’s unnished. Not gone forever. I think kids internalize that language. It’s more of a growth mindset, unn- ished learning.” Bridging the gaps Three rounds of federal funding called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds—more commonly known as ESSER—have been administered to districts across the country to combat COVID-19 issues in schools. The rst two rounds of funding for CUSD were used for technology, extra cleaning supplies and internet. A stipulation of the second and third rounds of funding is that some of it is to be used on addressing unn- ished learning. The district received just over $16 million in the rst two rounds of funding. An additional $30 million is expected in the third round of ESSER funding for the district, but a breakdown on how, ocially, that will be spent has not been released. Fletcher said the district is still writing its proposal for ESSER III funding, but she said the plan will

all that,” Nash said. “They think that’s how you behave. You kick and scream and call names to get your way.” Declining test scores, Nash said, are giving an incomplete picture of the eect of COVID-19 on students. “Scores in Chandler didn’t dip that much, but we were in person for three of the four quarters,” Nash said. She also highlighted that some of the district’s more auent students may not have actually taken the test if parents had the means to keep stu- dents at home learning online. “What we could have seen is our top kiddos weren’t the kids who took the test, but the kids who may typi- cally underperform and are under-re- sourced, that’s whose data we might be seeing,” she said. “That’s not a bad thing. It calls out the fact that we need some interventions.” Fletcher said math, especially, requires students to comprehend one lesson to move onto another, and some of that may have been inter- rupted by virtual learning, which may have contributed to lower test scores. “Math is completely dierent,” Fletcher said. “It’s harder to target instruction. Teachers can’t see kiddos faces when they are completely per- plexed when they aren’t in the same room. Online, you submit a nal prod- uct, but in person you canwalk up and down the classroom and help along the way. I’m not making excuses. This is just really what we are seeing across the nation.”

Fletcher said. “You had to come in person for the tests, and some par- ents were hesitant to send their kids to school for testing. For this reason, you can’t really put all your eggs in the AzMerit basket. Formative assess- ments are a piece of the puzzle, but not the whole puzzle.” COVID19 eects on students Katie Nash, a teacher at Chandler High School and president of the Chandler Education Association, said she is seeing and hearing about behavioral changes in students that may be concerning results of the ongoing stress of the pandemic. “I think that we can’t necessar- ily measure all the changes we have seen in our kids,” Nash said. “We are seeing a rise of issues with behavior. Students are more unprepared to be in a classroom for six or seven hours a day. In the [younger grades], you have a bunch of kiddos who can’t regulate their emotions. In junior high, we are seeing discipline referrals from kids you wouldn’t expect it from. As much as peoplewant to say kids are resilient, there is a desperate need for teaching kids how to regulate emotions.” Nash said teachers across all grade levels are grappling with behavioral issues in class. “These kids don’t know how to deal with a pandemic; then you have the political climate here in Arizona and theway they are seeing stuportrayed in the media—they are internalizing

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

2 0 2 1 P U B L I C E D U C A T I O N E D I T I O N

CHANDLER COMPARED TOARIZONA

ESSER FUNDS

Historically, Chandler USD has outperformed the state of Arizona on state standardized test scores. Chandler USD State average

School districts were granted federal funding in three dierent rounds to address issues caused by COVID-19 in the form of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).

ELA

Math

Must be spent by Sept. 30, 2022

57%

60 50 55 40 45 30 35

60 50 55 40 45 30 35

58%

58%

56%

56%

Must be spent by Sept. 30, 2023

49%

Must be spent by Sept. 30, 2024

ESSER I 3.2 million

ESSER I 13.5 million

ESSER I 30.6 million

42%

42%

41%

38%

Funds used for: • teacher salaries for Chandler Online Academy • summer academy recovery

Funds used for: • 4,466 Chromebooks • 1,547 HP EliteBooks

36%

The district intends to use ESSER III funding for tutoring and summer school for unnished learning.

$47.3 Million in ESSER funding

31%

0

0

SOURCE: CHANDLER USDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 2019 2020 2018

2018

2019

2020

include summer school and tutoring to address the knowledge gaps across grade levels. State Rep. Jennifer Pawlik, DChan- dler, said she believes what would really help students is smaller class sizes and more individualized instruction. “Having smaller class sizes and adding trained instructional aides to classrooms, I think, would help stu- dents the most,” Pawlik said. “But that is an expensive proposition.

Those ESSER funds need to be spent by 2024, and if districts use that fund- ing to establish new positions, they would have to nd a dierent way to fund those positions after 2024. It’s not a sustainable source of funding for personnel.” Pawlik said Arizona has faced dif- culties in education funding for the better part of three decades, and even recent measures—like the passage of Proposition 208 in 2020—to get more funding for schools has not bridged

the gap between what the districts have and what they need. “Really, we need to be giving grace to educators,” Pawlik said. “They are professionals, and they are doing the best they can with what they have. They are working so hard to get kids where they need to be.” Rebecca Gau, executive director of Stand for Children Arizona, said she believes the state needs more data to see where students are and what strategies can be employed to help

them get to where they need to be. “Common sense would suggest that unnished learning is more pro- nounced in families with less access to technology,” she said. “Then you have these age-appropriate mecha- nisms to determine pretty clearly how far a student needs to go to be at the appropriate level.”

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