Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rio Salado College Honors Teacher of the Year

Coach is the word that Jeremy Dittrich uses to describe his teaching career. His enthusiasm for physical education is inspiring and he shares that passion with his students. Dittrich taught P.E. at Centennial Middle School in the Kyrene School District and was recently honored as the 2010-11 Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year. The Excellence in Education program recognizes dedicated K-12 teachers throughout the Valley for their outstanding contribution to education. The program is sponsored by Rio Salado College and KEZ 99.9.

“Jeremy is a great teacher with very high expectations for all of his students,” said fellow teacher, Laurie Jake who nominated Dittrich for the recognition. “As a lifelong athlete himself, he makes learning fun, but more importantly he shares his great love of fitness with the students, which ignites their interest as well.”

Whether coaching in the classroom or on the sidelines, Dittrich looks for innovative and creative ways to engage his students. He has had students create ‘commercials’ for fitness gyms highlighting the benefits of exercise. He instituted a quarterly hiking field trip not only to help his students improve their fitness but also learn the value of lifelong physical activity. This program also added to the morale at the school as he enlisted other staff to volunteer for these activities. He has also coached basketball and wrestling, coached for Mountain Pointe High School football, served as an advisor and coordinator for Centennial’s Minitown event and serves as a youth leader in his church.

“Jeremy shows an unwavering commitment to improve the lives of young people,” said Jake. "He always has a kind word or comment to share with students and his fellow staff memebers."

Teachers are nominated by students, parents, colleagues and community members and are recognized monthly throughout the school year. The Teacher of the Year recipient is selected from those honored. Nominations for the 2011-12 school year will begin in August. To view a video montage of the 2010-11 Teachers of the Month visit

2010 -11 Teachers of the Month
Peggy Shupp, Desert Garden Montessori School, Phoenix
OctoberAngela Scafaru, St. Matthew’s Elementary, Phoenix
NovemberCarole Cardenas, Career Success High School, Phoenix
DecemberCarolyn Cain, Harris Elementary, Gilbert
JanuaryJeremy Dittrich, Kyrene Centennial Middle School, Phoenix
FebruaryArlen Sykes, Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School, Ahwatukee
MarchTammy Wildening, Cochise Elementary, Scottsdale
AprilKatie Gerrich, McClintock High School, Tempe
MayJeremy Rose, Melvin E. Sine Elementary, Glendale

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RISE Learning for Life Winds Down 2010-11

There are only two free classes left in the 2010-11 membership year at RISE Learning for Life.

The classes are a part of the organization’s special summer session which allows the community to participate in RISE classes at no cost.

On June 28, Officer Doug Lynch of the Surprise Police Department will present easy, common sense solutions to home safety concerns; and on June 30, Tom Lombardo will relate new theories about the brain to traditional questions of consciousness and the physical world.

RISE, a community based educational organization operating in the Rio Salado College Lifelong Learning Center, uses a trimester scheduling system offering fall, winter, and spring sessions. Classes are not offered between July and September.

In-person classes will resume for members starting on October 3. They are presented in a variety of formats ranging from seminars that last only a few hours to multi-part series that can last as long as eight weeks.

RISE treated members to a diverse range of topics this year including:

Women and Happiness- Discussion group to help women identify their own personal and unique goals.
How the States Got their Shapes- Review of the political, economic and ideological factors involved in drawing state borders.
Creation Stories You’ve Never Heard- Exploration of creation stories/myths from a variety of sources.
History of the U.S. Navy- Lecture and discussion on major battles, technological innovations and a timeline of events.
The Decision to Drop the Bomb- Examination of influencers and events leading to President Truman’s decision to drop the Bomb.

RISE also offered traditional self-improvement topics throughout 2010-11 such as conversational French, efficient investing, and chair yoga.

RISE Members pay an annual fee of $45 which entitles them to take as many courses as they like. The Membership year runs from July 1 until June 30.

Any adult living in Maricopa County can join RISE by calling (480)377-4250 or visiting for more information.

Monday, June 20, 2011

MCTV Receives International Awards

The dedication, creativity and hard work of the staff at Maricopa Colleges Television (MCTV) was recently recognized by receiving four Telly Awards, seven Videographer Awards and a Summit Award. MCTV serves the greater Phoenix area through production and broadcast of original programing which highlights the programs and activities of the ten colleges within the Maricopa Community College District and is supported by Rio Salado College.

“MCTV produces original programs for community members across the Valley. Many who are considering a career-changing decision, are looking to reinvent, retool or reconnect or someone who is about to exit high school and is looking for real, viable educational options,” said RenĂ© Blatte, director of MCTV.

MCTV programming can be viewed on Cox Cable Channel 115. MCTV’s Maricopa Now !,and Inside Maricopa Sports can be viewed on Cox Channel 11 city channels throughout Maricopa County.

“Producing meaningful television programs takes hard work and dedication. It is very rewarding to receive peer recognition of the hard work MCTV team members are committed to providing each day,” said Blatte.

Telly Awards
This year’s 32nd Annual Telly Awards received more than 13,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents. The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world.

MCTV was awarded Bronze Telly Awards for the following productions:
Maricopa Now Education
Inside Maricopa Sports Sports
Rock n Roll, Part I Nature/Wildlife
Rock Band News segment

Videographer Award
The Videographer Award is in its 15th year and is an international competition designed to recognize excellence in video productions, TV commercials/ news/ programs and new media. The organization is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, an international organization that recognizes talent that sets benchmarks for the industry and exceeds a high standard of excellence. Awards of Excellence, Distinction and Honorable Mention are awarded on a competitive basis.

MCTV received Awards of Excellence for the following:
TV Programs:
180 View: Indigenous Plants, Nadia Petryk

TV Programs/Public Affairs:
Enfoque En Tu Futuro: April 2011 edition, Lily Antonini and Ruben Veloz

TV Programs/ Information:
Maricopa Now!: April 2011 edition, Julie Ruiz-Esquer and the MCTV Storytelling Staff

News Feature/Story:
Rock Band, Courtney Carlmark

MCTV received Awards of Distinction for the following:
TV Programs/Sports
Inside Maricopa Sports: April 2011 edition, Mike Carotenuto, Kandace Hurdle, Jeff Lowery

Rock N Roll, Parts 1 & 2, Rick Rothen and Isaac Mendoza

Rock N Roll, Parts 1 & 2, Greg DeLauro

Summit International Awards
The Summit International Awards are dedicated to furthering excellence in the communications industry. MCTV received a bronze award in the Summit Creative Award competition for the Maricopa Now! May 2010 Edition.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rio Salado College @ PV Mall is Moving!

In an effort to expand student services, Rio Salado College at Paradise Valley Mall is moving to a new location on June 24-26, 2011. The new facility will be located at 1715 W. Northern Avenue in Phoenix. The Rio Salado College @ Northern facility will feature a testing center, computer lab, ABE classes and WestMEC’s clinical dental assisting program.

The new facility opens for business on Monday, June 27. For updated information about the move, and additional testing locations during June 24-26, visit

Monday, June 13, 2011

For One Outstanding Volunteer, Reading is an Act of Love

Frank Williams’ love of reading was cemented at a young age. Late in the evenings, after he’d gone to bed, he would listen through the walls of his boyhood home as his father read aloud to Frank’s mother.

“I’ve come to see that as a tremendous act of love - to read aloud to someone,” Williams said.

Today Williams, a Tempe resident, shares that act of love with thousands of Arizonans who hear him read aloud each week at Sun Sounds of Arizona, a state-wide reading service for people with disabilities who cannot use print.

In May Williams received the Gold Mic Award, given to the Sun Sounds Volunteer of the Year for outstanding service. He accepted the award in his typical passionate yet humble style.

“I’m embarrassed to receive praise for doing what I feel is reward enough in itself,” Williams said.

Williams began his volunteer work at Sun Sounds in 2008, reading The Arizona Republic live each week, and pre-recording other magazine programs. In three years he has recorded more than 10 novels for the nightly book programs, “A Good Book” and “Bookworld.” He also serves as an Ambassador at monthly speaking engagements, educating the public and potential listeners about the service.

Williams cites an incident of temporary blindness as a young adult which solidified for him the importance of reading. As a Green Beret stationed in Okinawa, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage which resulted in spending a week in a darkened room, unable to see.

“I was most scared by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to read, something I’d cherished all my life,” he said.

Once his vision returned he promised that sharing the gift of reading would be part of his life’s work.

“Reading to those who cannot is an act of love, mercy, and kindness – “holy work” that I am deeply honored to share with the volunteers of Sun Sounds,” Williams said.

Sun Sounds of Arizona salutes Williams and the 200 volunteers who give more than 22,000 hours annually to provide access to information for print-disabled people.

A service of Rio Salado College, Sun Sounds of Arizona broadcasts from the Tempe campus, as well as from affiliates in Flagstaff, Tucson and Yuma. 49,000 people in Arizona hear six daily local and national newspapers, nearly 200 magazines, books, circulars and newsletters read aloud over radio, cable systems, telephone and the internet.

For more information visit

Article contributed by Heidi Capriotti, Sun Sounds of Arizona marketing coordinator.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Concurrent Enrollment: Make the Most of Summer Break | Rio Salado College

Lounging around the house watching re-runs and playing video games may not be the most productive way for a teenager to spend their summer break.

Outdoor activities aren’t always practical in the Arizona heat and at $500-$1,000 a week, summer camps have become too expensive for many families.

Parents looking for creative, cost-effective ways to keep their teenagers busy this summer may want to consider concurrent enrollment options offered at Rio Salado College.

A three credit hour online course lasts anywhere from 8-16 weeks and costs $228 dollars. In many cases the credits count toward both high school and college requirements and can also be transferred to a university.

High school students are welcome to learn a new language or get a head start in college, but to truly take advantage of the program, it might be better to pick a topic that really resonates with the student.

Rio Salado’s entire course catalog is available for concurrent enrollment. As long as students meet the class prerequisites, they can choose any class that sparks their interest.

Recommended Summer Courses
Introduction to Popular Culture (HUM225): familiarizes students with the impact of pop culture at local, national and global levels.

Introduction to Cinema (HUM 205): examines the history of filmmaking and illustrates how movies reflect and interpret major cultural events.

Flash: Digital Animation (CIS120DC) or Computer Graphics: Adobe Illustrator (CIS120DB): both teach students how to use industry standard programs to create and manipulate graphics or animations.

Introduction to Creative Writing(CRW150): acquaints students with the elements and techniques of creative writing. This course is recommended as a precursor to classes in screenwriting, fiction writing, and poetry.

Sustainable World (SUS110): Introduces students to the field of sustainability and the relationship between humans and natural global systems.

Socially conscious teens may enjoy a humanities course that will encourage critical thinking, while technically inclined students might like to learn a new software application or programming skill.

Either way, concurrent enrollment is a proactive option for parents who want to make the most of their high school student’s summer break.

For more information about concurrent enrollment, contact Rio Salado College.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rio Salado VP Appointed to EDUCAUSE Board of Directors

EDUCAUSE, the association for information technology in higher education, recently announced that Vernon C. Smith, vice president for academic affairs at Rio Salado College, has been appointed to the EDUCAUSE Board of Directors. Smith assumes the seat vacated by Linda Thor, chancellor of Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, who recently resigned due to conflicting commitments.

Smith has an extensive background in organizational effectiveness, including strategic planning and change. As faculty chair for foreign languages, Smith was a pioneer in online language courses and programs and served as faculty senate president. He has an extensive background in distance learning issues and practices, including effective assessment and retention strategies and predictive modeling for student success.
Smith earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Latin American studies and Spanish at Brigham Young University, graduating magna cum laude. He has a master of organizational behavior from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University. He earned a doctor of philosophy in organization and administration of higher education from the Center for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Arizona.

Smith’s research interests include high-quality, cost-effective production models for online courses, the unbundling and re-bundling of the faculty role, adjunct faculty issues, academic integrity, and teaching and learning. He serves on the membership and data working groups for Transparency by Design, a national higher education accountability initiative.
EDUCAUSE President Diana Oblinger stated, “Vernon’s diverse background in academic, administrative, and technical leadership roles makes him a superb addition to the EDUCAUSE Board. As an active EDUCAUSE member, community college leader, and IT innovator, Vernon has been at the forefront of change in our profession throughout his career, and I look forward to benefiting from his insight and experience.”

Smith has received the Dolores Brown Award from the Arizona American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) and the Administrator of the Year Hallmark Award from Phi Theta Kappa and has been recognized for outstanding teaching, presentations, and service, including the Homer Sarasohn Award for Meritorious Service.
His board term runs through 2013.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. EDUCAUSE programs and services are focused on analysis, advocacy, community building, professional development, and knowledge creation because IT plays a transformative role in higher education. EDUCAUSE supports those who lead, manage, and use information technology through a comprehensive range of resources and activities.

Rio Salado College was founded in 1978 and serves one of the largest online enrollments nationwide. The college was recently recognized as one of eight highly productive institutions of higher education in the nation by McKinsey & Company. Rio Salado offers general education courses as well as a variety of degree and certificate programs with more than 62,000 students enrolled annually. It is also Arizona’s largest provider of Adult Basic Education.