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This past June, Dr. Hudak (Dean of Academics), Ms. Banek (2nd Grade Teacher), and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Finland with a group of educators from Global Education Alliances (GEA). There, we embarked on a study of the country’s highly performing, world-class education system to gain insight and knowledge that we could apply to our work. We visited their Ministry of Education and learned of their well-developed system of lifelong learning and culture of trust. We toured several schools and centers for education, meeting several administrators and teachers, even students, and learning of their experiences, policies, practices, and outcomes. We examined Finnish ways of life, its history, and its people. Each day brought inspiration and light. One day, our schedule included a visit to Helsinki’s central and masterfully designed community library and learning center. Cast in a stunning circular stairway between Floors 1 and 2 were hundreds of words that described “all the people who could possibly come to the library and benefit” - in other words, everyone. Every Finnish citizen had an open invitation to partake, regardless of walk of life or circumstance. The words on the wall naming the various characteristics of people were varied and far reaching, even entertaining. We marveled at the site, not only because of its design, but also the richness of opportunity available. It was clear this country places a high priority on learning, growing, and reaching potential. Our group was invited to gather in the stairway to hear the meaning of the words and consider where we fit. As our guide from GEA began translating the words to English, one particular word stood out to us as Candeo educators: Tiedonhaluisille. This awesome word means “people who seek knowledge,” or “inquisitive people.” To us, this holds great meaning and relevance. As a “Knowledge Building School,” our work centers on carefully and scientifically building a rich bed of knowledge year by year and throughout each grade level for every student. In everything we do, we ask questions. We even train ourselves and our students to question well. We want to know. And in this inquisitive place, we inspire love for the content before us and increase our capacity to “more fully become.” What we

study is considered most useful for comprehension, vocabulary, and civic life in society. Together as students and teachers, we discover truth, beauty, and goodness in mathematics, science, literature, the arts, language, and history through the tools of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. All of this crafts a thriving culture of learning that yields incredible results for anyone who works and learns here. It is a place we want to be. It is a place that transforms us. Yes, Tiedonhaluisille is our word. As our school year continues to unfold in front of us, let us each remember to hungrily seek knowledge and ask questions, to grow in wisdom and virtue, and to live well. That, after all, is our invitation, our aim, and our purpose as educators at Candeo.


WHY CANDEO By Koren Lane, Administrative Fellow

It’s rare as a professional that one gets to choose to work in an environment that meets both their professional needs and personal beliefs. I have always been fortunate to be a part of learning communities that have allowed me to question, absorb professional knowledge and grow, leading me to the next phase of my career. When asked recently how I ended up back in education, and more specifically, why Candeo was my school of choice, I saw an opportunity to share a story that very simply answers this question. It starts with the story of a little girl in the Chicago suburbs, during the progressive 1980’s education era. In 1981, this five-year-old little fire-cracker told her mother that she wanted to go to a school that did NOT teach reading. My mother chuckles about this now, but I was serious...I had no interest in reading. I typically only read when I had to, or perhaps if I was grounded from my toys, and when I learned how to write my (maiden) last name, I dramatically draped myself across the kitchen table in a kerfuffle at having to write all 11 letters at once. My poor parents had met their match. I did not become a true learner and lover of knowledge until I was a young adult in college. I chose a Classical Liberal Arts school, not for classical education, but rather the teaching program. Little did I know the basis and backbone of all of my studies was a Classical Liberal Arts curriculum. It was there that I had my first real exposure to classic Literature, Theology, and Philosophy. I was interested in it, and more importantly, I absorbed it. My favorite class in college was Art History, and although I knew almost nothing about Art, my History, Literature and Theology classes complemented the course and gave me the rich context I needed to see the beauty, history, and story in every piece. I read and understood Philosophy and could reason and argue moral imperatives and syllogisms, especially as we read the associated historical and political context. I learned about

world religions, again in the context of history and literature, and I dove into the classic literature, written in the most intricate, complex, and beautiful language I had ever encountered. Somehow, somewhere, I realized that I am a classicist at heart, and much to my mother’s delight, a classicist who loves to read.

“I chose Candeo because the expectation is that all classrooms are filled with wonder and awe...”

I chose Candeo because the educators are passionate about their craft of teaching through a knowledge-rich curriculum. I chose Candeo because the curriculum is logical, sequential and includes everything children need to know about civility and virtue. I chose Candeo because the expectation is that all classrooms are filled with wonder and awe and I get to experience that wonder and awe with our students every day. I chose Candeo because the teachers and staff are encouraged to continue their personal and professional studies, and learn as much about the Core Knowledge content as possible. I chose Candeo because it has made my reading list grow exponentially. I chose Candeo because the school leadership exudes kindness, respect, and professionalism. I chose Candeo because I am surrounded by the finest educators, with a common philosophy and purpose, and a love of all things true, good, and beautiful. Most importantly, I chose Candeo, because professionally and personally, I am home.

Message from KPG CONNECT KPG Connect is pleased to be working with Candeo Schools in bringing this publication to the students and parents. We thank Head of School, Dr. Stephanie Musser, for sharing her vision for the publication, and Marketing Specialist Kristin Beers for the tireless hours of creating, editing, and proofing the content for the Candeo Clarion. And, special thanks to the many students, parents, and staff of the school - this publication is for them.


John Kindler

Creative Director Tawny Morgan

Content Manager Rachel Pribyl

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Sponsorships: For sponsorship information for a business you run or own, or for one you have used that has done great work, please reach out to John.Kindler@ or 480-204-7934. Disclaimer: While thankful for the sponsors contained within this publication, neither KPG Connect or Candeo Schools may be held liable or responsible for business practices or services offered by these companies.

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The Annual Classroom Giving fund is a tax-deductible donation used to strengthen our ability to deliver the world-class education for which we are so well known. We believe passionately in our program of education. Since opening our doors in 2008, Candeo has consistently ranked in the top 1% of all schools in the state of Arizona, including both district and charter schools.

Annual Classroom Giving Fund donations help us: • Sustain competitive and aggressive salary • Hire additional teachers and specialists in structures for teachers that meet and exceed industry norms;

• Provide generous performance pay and

bonuses for teachers, rewarding and recognizing their high-quality efforts and outcomes;

the classroom, to include Teaching Fellows, Specialists, Interventionists, and Teacher Assistants, dramatically dropping our student-to-teacher ratio and providing an additional layer of support for our teachers and students; and

• Ensure not just basic, but all teacher-requested resources are fulfilled in every classroom.

As a non-profit public charter school, we are commissioned to meet the demands of our program utilizing both public and private funds. The funding we receive from the State is roughly $1500 less per student, on average, than public district schools, and fully $15,000 - $20,000 less per student than what private schools receive through tuition. While we work carefully with every dollar we are given, there are always clear opportunities to brilliantly expand our program. Any amount you give makes a big difference to the Candeo community. Donations can be made on our Parent Portal or


By Dr. Michele Hudak, Dean of Academics

In middle school, students participate in additional studies to enhance our Core Knowledge curriculum. One such course is the study of civility in sixth grade. The study of civility dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times as empires began to become more civilized--preferring peace over war. The Latin word “civitas” originated in Rome and meant good citizenship or orderly behavior. Today, Merriam-Webster provides three definitions of civility: civilized conduct; a polite act or expression; training in the humanities (archaic). While training in the humanities appears to be an archaic definition of civility, we believe that all three definitions have merit in today’s society, especially as our students’ exposure to the world becomes greater as a result of technological advances. A core tenant in classical education is to study that which is true, good, and beautiful. The study of civility is a perfect course for our middle school students as they become increasingly independent, are exposed to leadership opportunities, engage in inter-school activities, and job potential is on the horizon. It equips students with useful tools and provides opportunities for role-play to refine their skills in a non-intimidating environment. Civility provides a strong foundation for entering unknown situations with confidence and poise. In Civility, after studying its history, students engage in the study of the art of communication. They learn how to make introductions, shake a hand properly, engage in

thoughtful conversation, and understand the power of non-verbal communication; they understand the differences between the terms character, morals, standards, and ethics; they practice how to act in various social situations both in school and in their world. In essence, they continue on their journey of learning how to be a good human in a more formalized setting. Larry Shaefer sums up the study of civility beautifully: “It is the proper understanding of the human condition, of human relationships, and the power of human heartedness. It recognizes the qualities of humanness that bond us is formed in the proper study of the humanities--those studies that explore and honor the human struggle and human condition.” Learning the art of civility in a formal setting is unique to Candeo and so helpful and necessary in today’s ever-changing world.


PASSION By Kimberlee Easton, Theatre Teacher

I have a deep passion for singing, acting, and dancing and grew up performing, but found a profound love for directing in college, specifically directing youth. I adore teaching theater because of the incredible value it brings to my students’ development. Theater helps students overcome fear and improve oral communication and creative problem-solving skills while building self-confidence. It allows them a place to express emotion, think in new ways, and appreciate the talents of others. “No one would argue the importance of literacy or math skills, but study after study has shown that consistent participation in theater and the arts greatly improves academic performance and significantly raises standardized test scores,” says the American Alliance for Theatre & Education. As a teacher/director, I get my reward as I see my students’ faces after a performance. They have a look of total accomplishment and pride. That experience is priceless, and only comes through hours of hard work! I love it when other teachers tell me they have seen a confidence change in a student, or that a student nailed their presentation because of skills they have practiced in theater.

“I feel I have a gift in seeing the potential in someone and bringing it out of them.”

I relish teaching in the classroom, but directing and producing is an awesome, tiring, and stretching experience. I often get asked how I pick the shows every year. I spend hours reading new scripts and listening to music. I keep a file of those I like. I “see” the show like a movie in my mind. That’s when I know I can create it. I NEVER precast, however, as the new school year approaches, I do consider the students I think might be involved. I delight in discovering new talent through the auditioning process. I feel I have a gift in seeing the potential in someone and bringing it out of them. The beautiful experiences and skills theater education creates directly speaks to our mission here at Candeo. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play a small part in so many students’ lives. Sharing my passion for theater with them, watching them, learning and growing with them have created some of the most priceless experiences in my life.


In August, the 2019 production of The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree, received 16 nominations and eight wins at the 14th Annual National Youth Awards. Outstanding Production The Lady Pirates of Captain Bree* Outstanding Direction Kimberlee Easton* Outstanding Lead Performance Camden Murphy* Jade Robey* Outstanding Supporting Performance Madison Altenbach Bodhi Bettes Kenzee Easton* Weston Proudfit Samantha Randolph Cece Schinella Ella Sutton* AnnaLeah Thurber* Outstanding Featured Performance Gavin Lentz Sophia Pribyl* Outstanding Ensemble Outstanding Costume Design * indicates win

CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS Details can be found on the Candeo Calender on the Parent Portal


8 Veterans Assembly 11 School Closed 12 Governing Board Meeting 15 Fall Festival 20 REACH Assembly 25-29 School Closed


18 REACH Assembly 20 Early Release 23-31 School Closed


1-6 School Closed 14 Governing Board Meeting 20 School Closed 21 Candeo Connect 24-25 MS Musical Performance 29 REACH Assembly


By Scott Moeller, Middle School Teacher

On Sunday, May 26, Candeo seventh and eighth graders, accompanied by Mrs. Meiners and Mr. Moeller, embarked on a four day trip to Washington DC. The trip was organized in conjunction with the Close Up organization whose mission is to partner with educators and schools to “help young people develop the skills and attitudes to become informed and engaged citizens.” The program is designed to give students hands-on opportunities to interact with government and history in Our Nation’s Capital, using the city’s key institutions and historical sites as interactive classrooms to help students explore the links between history and the rights and responsibilities of citizens today. After an introductory meeting with their team coaches on Sunday night, the students hit the ground running on Monday morning with visits to monuments located around the Tidal Basin, including the Jefferson Memorial, the MLK Memorial, and the FDR Memorial. The afternoon consisted of a visit to the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, made extra meaningful as it happened to be Memorial Day. After an early morning of workshopping and conducting a simulation considering a bill in Congress, the group ventured to Capitol Hill which included an observation of the Senate floor. It was then on to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and a photo opportunity outside the White House. The evening concluded with a night tour of the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. On Wednesday, the students loaded the busses for the 90-minute drive north to Gettysburg for a visit to the museum, including the awe-inspiring viewing of the cyclorama, a 360-degree painting completed in 1883

depicting Pickett’s Charge on the third day of the battle. After lunch, it was back on the bus for a tour of various battlefields and the village of Gettysburg. The final day of the trip included a visit to the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, better known as the Iwo Jima Memorial and a few hours at the Smithsonian American History Museum. In addition to the student program, Close Up offers a teacher program that provides professional development opportunities for educators. Mrs. Meiners and Mr. Moeller participated in a study of the US Holocaust National Museum, a walking tour focusing on espionage in DC, and a visit to the Embassy of Turkey including a discussion with a diplomat from that nation. Students were easily able to connect ingredients of Candeo’s Core Knowledge curriculum with the sites and information presented by the Close Up teachers. Many students stated how much more they now understood what they had learned back home at Candeo and many gained a better appreciation for our nation and the principles upon which it is built. Although exhausted and eager to return home, students were still hungry for more and lamented that they would welcome a few more days of exploring that great city. Candeo intends to continue to work with the Close Up organization in the future with plans to make this opportunity available on a semi-annual basis for 7th and 8th graders. The next trip is planned for the Summer of 2021.



We are thrilled to introduce this group of talented individuals to our Candeo staff. Back Row, left to right: Luis Moreno-Polanco, Christina Waldren, Thomas Andrews, Kelly Meeks, Sarah Lyman Front Row, left to right: Taler Stanton, Desiree Coleman, Torey Tryon, Jen Keller

Financial donations to the school can be made in a variety of ways and all are welcome. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the available options.

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MRS. EASTON When meeting Candeo’s Theatre Teacher, Kimberlee Easton, for the first time, one is instantly drawn in by her sparkling eyes, engaging smile, and effervescent personality. Middle School students clamor to audition for an opportunity to be cast in the annual Candeo musical; in part for the unparalleled experience, in part to be consistently in her presence. Ousted from her director’s chair and thrust into the spotlight, Mrs. Easton graciously allowed a backstage pass into her world.


Q: How old were you, and what was the event that triggered your passion for theatre? A: I was awestruck at five years old! My parents took me to see Annie on Broadway. I immediately got the record and listened to it over and over again, singing all the way through. Q: In what roll were you first cast? A: At seven, I was cast as Marta in The Sound of Music at the Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City. (Laughs) I may have gotten the part because of how loud I could sing. Q: Do you have an outlet for theatre outside of school? A: Yes! Last year, I started my own company, Stage Right Acting Company. I started it to create a safe place for youth to express their love for all things theatrical and feel the power of success. Also, I am getting back into community theatre so I can practice what I preach to students! Q: If successful acting could be simplified into a recipe, what would the ingredients be? A: Having thick skin is a must. Hard work, dedication, determination, being a team player, being teachable,

taking direction well, and a willingness to take risks. These are the traits I look for when students audition. Q: Once the final curtain closes on a production, how do you feel? A: Every part of me is happy. Nothing compares to the look on my students’ faces after they perform. They glow! They feel strong and accomplished. In that moment, I know lives have changed. There is also relief as so much emotion has been invested throughout the process. Every play changes me. They leave memories on my heart. Q: Why do you choose to teach at Candeo? A: I believe in classical education and value the philosophy to educate the whole child. I enjoy the formality of the classroom as well as the controlled mayhem of the stage. Theatre is a positive outlet for emotions, develops skills and confidence, and is accessible to everyone. Some students excel in academics, some in athletics, some in music or Latin or art. Candeo’s theatre program provides yet another opportunity for students to shine.

The American Alliance for Theatre Education used data collected by the College Entrance Examination Board to determine that students involved in drama coursework outscored non-arts students on the SAT by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component.


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Candeo - October 2019  

Volume 2 Issue 5

Candeo - October 2019  

Volume 2 Issue 5