Scottsdale Charros continue to be strong advocates of local public schools

The Scottsdale Charros celebrate Scottsdale teachers and students at a top-class banquet event honoring their accomplishments. (Submitted photo)

The Scottsdale Charros celebrate Scottsdale teachers and students at a top-class banquet event honoring their accomplishments. (Submitted photo)

The Scottsdale Charros have announced its annual education initiatives where the philanthropic outfit provides monetary resources, a liaison program and annual events honoring both students and educators of the Scottsdale Unified School District.

The 2015-16 Scottsdale Charros Education Initiatives — a scholarship and grant cycle in total eclipsing $250,000 — will touch upon 13 distinct needs within Scottsdale Schools, school and Charros officials say.

“My belief is that the public education has, overtime, lost the support. And, the advocacy in the community has diminished but the Charros are a constant advocate for public schools,” said Scottsdale Charro Jason Heetland in an Oct. 29 phone interview. “We use all of our resources in the community to just be an advocate for students and teachers in public schools.”

Mr. Heetland serves as the Scottsdale Charros’ education chairman for this 2015-16 school year and for the last 54 years the group Mr. Heetland is a part of have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

“We believe that a strong a Scottsdale starts with the education of our youth,” Mr. Heetland said of why the Charros take on the advocacy charge for Scottsdale Schools. “It starts with a strong education system — it’s a natural building block for a healthy community.”

But those building blocks are precious resources the Scottsdale Charros make stronger, according to Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent Dr. David Peterson.

“SUSD considers the Scottsdale Charros to be a valued community and strategic partner. The support and dedication of members of the Scottsdale Charros, enhances the classroom experience of all SUSD students and staff,” he said of their support. “The Charros provide vital support to our students and employees. We appreciate all that they do.”

Superintendent Peterson says the Scottsdale Charros offer local teachers an opportunity other district don’t always get.

“The Scottsdale Charros education initiatives recognize and reward those teachers by providing scholarships for continued education and supporting innovations in the classroom,” he explained.

“Each of our schools has their own Charro liaison that provides individualized support and partnership to the site leader. This relationship is cherished because the advocacy and interaction highlights the importance of education in our community.”

Scottsdale students are also recognized by the Charros for their hard work as their educational careers blossom at SUSD.

“Each year the Charros award $12,500 Education Grants to our schools,” Superintendent Peterson said.

“That grant money has a large impact on our sites and supports 21st Century learning in the classrooms. The grant money has gone a long way toward putting technology in each student’s hands, covering mobile laptop labs, Chromebooks and licenses along with professional development for our teachers. Additionally the Charros recognize and reward student academic and athletic achievement with scholarships presented at our three All City Banquets.”

Both SUSD administrators and Charros agree the latest initiative — a scholarship covering 75 percent of the cost for Scottsdale teacher’s pursuing national board certification — is and in future years will provide a keystone for educational excellence in both instruction and leadership.

“It is the same as getting your national board certification if you are a doctor. It pretty much means you are an All-Star teacher — you are covering all the best practices that are around nationally,” Mr. Heetland said. “The SUSD and districts around the country are really searching for candidates with national certification.”

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Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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