Garden Lakes Elementary School

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Message from the Principal

  • Jill HellandHello Garden Lakes Community,

    We are so excited about starting this new school year with our A+ community! This will be our first full year as recipients of the Arizona Educational Foundation A+ Award! Schools that 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 a superior ability to go above and beyond the norm in providing services to children, families, and the local community (

    Our teachers and staff have worked hard over the summer months to ensure that our students receive a high-quality education in a safe and supportive learning environment. We are also continuing our work toward full implementation of a Garden Lakes Elementary, K-8 grade Engineering Design Process Academy! We are ready to engage in this process as we utilize the steps: “Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Test, Improve, and Share.” Additionally, our team worked to refine our project-based learning (PBL) experiences, where students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. Be on the lookout for Engineering Design activities and PBL showcases throughout the school year where families will be invited to participate!

    Our theme this school year is, “It Takes a Village to Meet Our Goals!” Each one of you is an integral part of our Garden Lakes village! One of our primary goals this school year is to ensure that each of our 900 students increases their academic growth and proficiency! We want to prepare every Diamondback to be fully ready for the next grade level and on track for 8th-grade promotion, high school graduation, and beyond! We want our students to be able to accomplish and achieve their personal goals - academically, socially, and emotionally! We can only accomplish this goal with the help of our staff, parents/guardians/families, students, and community partners!

    One of the ways we will achieve this goal is by having every student set weekly goals, reflect on their progress, and track their data! As a staff, we will meet weekly to analyze current data in order to determine how to best meet your child’s needs - through reteaching, interventions, enrichment, acceleration, etc. We will also share your child’s data with you quarterly along with suggestions for how you can help your child at home! 

    We encourage you to use our new communication platform, Parent Square, to regularly communicate with your child’s teacher. Please read or listen to our weekly “Friday Flash” and read our monthly newsletters. We will keep you updated on our school improvement goals and our progress! We strive for continuous improvement! I also encourage you to attend our monthly PTA meetings and quarterly school improvement meetings to share your input and suggestions! We want to hear from you as key stakeholders in our Garden Lakes village! We also look forward to seeing you at Parent/Teacher/Student conferences and family fun nights!

    Thank you for being part of our village! We look forward to connecting with each of you this school year and working together to ensure every student reaches their full potential!


    Mrs. Jill Helland