“Kids Deserve It!” author visits Cactus Canyon Junior High in Apache Junction

At right, Courtney Castelhano, principal at Cactus Canyon Junior High School, receives a signed copy of “Kids Deserve It!” from author Adam Welcome. (Photo courtesy of Apache Junction Unified School District)

“Kids Deserve It!” author Adam Welcome decided that teachers deserve a little appreciation too and stopped by the Cactus Canyon Junior High School campus, 801 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction, to meet with faculty, staff and students. “Kids Deserve It! Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking,” is part of a book study by CCJHS staff.

Mr. Welcome, who co-authored the book with Todd Nesloney, has been in contact with CCJHS staff through Twitter. When he traveled to Arizona for a conference, he made arrangements with CCJHS Principal Courtney Castelhano to travel to Apache Junction to meet staff, tour the campus and sign copies of his book.

The book is a motivational book designed to inspire educators to embrace technology, innovation and alternative methods to help kids learn and not be limited by conventional thinking. While touring the campus Mr. Welcome observed Regan Roach’s science class where she challenged students to design Christmas ornaments based on elements from the periodic table. While Mr. Welcome observed the students’ work, he asked Ms. Roach if he could make a suggestion about a free drawing program. Ms. Roach agreed and several of the students began using the program to help them with their assignment.

“She was totally open to it,” Mr. Welcome said to Mrs. Castelhano about Ms. Roach’s willingness to make instant decisions to help kids learn. “That’s exactly the type of things we talk about in the book.”

Several faculty members, as well as Mrs. Castelhano, have read the book and embraced its message.

“I’ve read a lot of books about education in my career, but this one really resonated with me and the staff,” said Mrs. Castelhano. “Sometimes it’s about innovation, sometimes it’s about kindness, and sometimes it’s about having the wisdom to challenge old ideas that no longer serve our students. We are very excited that Adam took the time to visit us, and we look forward to exploring more ways to empower our students to succeed.”

The Apache Junction Unified School District serves over 3,600 students in a 217-square mile area that includes the city of Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Peralta Trail, Queen Valley and the unincorporated areas of the Superstition Mountain foothills. It was formed in 1952. For more information call 480-982-1110, or visit www.ajusd.org or www.facebook.com/ajusd43.

Editor’s note: Sally Marks is a public relations specialist for the Apache Junction Unified School District.

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