Honor for Mission Manor science teacher

Donita Montgomery, a fifth-grade math and science teacher at Mission Manor Elementary School, has been presented with the Tucson Values Teachers’ December Teacher Excellence award.

Montgomery has taught for 19 years and for the last three at Mission Manor, in the Sunnyside district. In addition to teaching, she leads the school’s tutoring program, which serves more than 200 students.

Montgomery’s daughter, Adriana, nominated her for the honor. Adriana said her mother deserves the award because she goes above and beyond for her students every day.

“My mom gets to work two hours early, tutors, then teaches a full day, and then stays after school for two hours to tutor again before coming home to my brother and me to help us with our homework,” Adriana said, according to a news release.

To nominate a deserving teacher for the award, visit TucsonValuesTeachers.org

East-side charter closes after 19 years

Desert Springs Academy, a K-5 charter school, closed its doors Friday, Dec. 21.

Desert Springs announced in a Dec. 17 letter that it wouldn’t reopen after winter break because of low enrollment, new charter schools opening nearby and unforeseen circumstances. The school declined to comment further on the closure.

“It has been an honor for us to educate your children and we are grateful to you, the parents who have entrusted their well-being to us for all these years,” a press release read.

The east-side school is located at Speedway and Houghton Road and originally opened in 1999.

Welding instructor named CTE Champion

Marana High School welding instructor Kenton Webb has been honored with Realityworks Inc.’s, CTE Champion Award.

The award recognizes the methods Webb has used to engage his welding students in viable career opportunities and help them develop in-demand job skills.

“My ultimate goal is to help these kids get a successful career so they’re not walking away from high school with just a diploma — they’re walking away with a skill they can use,” said Webb.

About 250 students participate in Marana High School’s welding program annually, an increase of almost 200 students from when Webb began the program 10 years ago.

In the last nine years, the program has come to be one of the premier high school welding shops in the state.

Amphi fifth-graders get free telescopes

The Oro Valley/Sun City Astronomy Club has given Coronado K-8 School fifth-graders an early Christmas gift.

The astronomy club gave Coronado’s 70 fifth-graders new telescopes, according to a press release. The club has donated telescopes to Coronado since 2009.

Club members also taught the students how to use the telescopes.

La Paloma students give toys to hospital

La Paloma Academy Lakeside students collected more than 800 toys as part of their third annual Diamond Children’s Toy Drive.

The students exceeded their goal of collecting 700 toys in December for Diamond Children’s Medical Center.

Contact reporter Brenna Bailey at bbailey@tucson.com or 520-573-4279.