Principal Letter

Walt Said What_

Cherokee Families –

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year!  We wrapped up 2018/19 with lots to celebrate and laid the groundwork for future successes. Our students performed well academically and the AzMERIT scores are now available on-line for you to see.  Our APT membership was up and our fundraising was at an all-time high.  We were also selected as the next school in SUSD to be rebuilt and the plans for the new Cherokee will be presented to the Governing Board in late August of 2019.  This year, we will continue to build upon our successes, address our short-comings, and provide your children with an educational experience that is second to none. An exciting year ahead is planned as we uphold our mission to ensure high standards of excellence in education by meeting the individual needs of all students through the cooperation of staff, parents, and community.  There are a few changes in store for Cherokee during the upcoming year and I want to take this opportunity to highlight a few things such as staffing, parent leadership, construction, routines and upcoming events.

We have added some new staff members to our roster this year and some teachers may have moved to different grade levels due to enrollment numbers.  One of our kindergarten teachers moved up to first grade, a second grade teacher moved up to fourth grade and we are in the process of hiring a new fifth grade teacher and possibly a third grade teacher.  We also added a handful of classified personnel, a new PE Coach, a new office team member, a new nurse, new SLP and psychologist. Names of all staff and positions will be shared once all positions are filled.

Kendra Scheer will serve as APT (Association of Parents and Teachers) President. Kendra has four children at Cherokee and brings lots of energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to the table.  Former President, Kate Fassett, will serve as her advisor.  Kendra has been working with her APT Executive Board this summer to plan new and exciting activities and events for our community. Kelly Shaughnessy, mother of three, will continue her role as vice-president and compliments Kendra’s style of leadership nicely.  We hope that everyone joins the APT this year and finds a way to continue supporting the Cherokee children.

Construction is on the minds of everyone and the school receives inquiries weekly on the topic.  SUSD and Cherokee contribute content to a construction web page that is directly linked to our Cherokee web page.  When you visit the Cherokee website you can click on the grey banner ‘Stay informed about the Cherokee Redevelopment Project’.  Clicking on this link will give you up-to-date information on the project.  If everything goes as planned, construction will start in December of 2019.  The first few months of school will not be impacted.

Parking and drop-off & pick-up routines can be confusing to some and can become challenging when people don’t understand, or choose not to follow, the procedures we have put in place. Please do your part to make sure that you fully understand our parking lot procedures prior to the start of the school year.  They are available in the APT Summer Mailer and linked to the Cherokee webpage under ‘Parking Information’.

There are three events that you will not want to miss. The first is our Orientation Celebration which will be on Friday, August 2nd from 1:00-3:00 pm.  We will then host our annual “Welcome Back Breakfast” which will be on the first day of school from 8:45-9:45 am in the café.  Your APT Board and I will be there to welcome you, and give you the latest information about the school year ahead.  We would love to see you all in attendance.  Lastly, we have scheduled our Back-to-School Nights, which will be held on the evening of August 12th for pre-school and kindergarten and August 13th for all other grades and special areas. You will report to your child’s classroom during this event, and have the opportunity to learn about the curriculum, policies, and procedures directly from your child’s teacher.  A flyer with detailed grade levels and times will be distributed during the first week of school. We hope you can attend.  The latter is a “grown-ups only” event.

We will continue to provide your children with an outstanding experience at Cherokee this year. I know you’ll be pleased with what we have to offer. I look forward to seeing you all soon!


Walt Chantler

Cherokee Elementary Principal

AZ Education Foundation A+ School of Excellence