Math Department Introduces ALEKS to Fenster!

ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) is an artificial intelligence-based system for individualized learning and is available 24/7 over the Internet (see It allows us to customize the mathematics program for each student. ALEKS begins with a comprehensive assessment to determine what your student has already mastered and what your student is ready to learn next. Based on their assessment, students are presented with choices of what to learn next. This continues until the entire curriculum is mastered.

ALEKS is an online learning tool, and is available wherever and whenever students have internet access. With WiFi available all over our campus, ALEKS is a very convenient option for our students. However, to maintain academic integrity, we control where and when scheduled assessments are taken.

The assessment is a true marvel of ALEKS. Using artificial intelligence, the assessment is thorough without asking hundreds of questions. It is automated, but it doesn’t use multiple choice questions (and gives a tutorial on how to format answers). It gives instant feedback and detailed reports. It accurately determines the topics students have already mastered, which is the key to determining the topics the students are ready for in learning mode.

In learning mode, students can select among a range of topics to work on. The topic list is completely individualized – and shows only those topics for which the student has already mastered all the prerequisites. Students are more successful because they are ready to learn the topic. Success leads to increased confidence and self-esteem. ALEKS also fosters independent learning by providing multiple explanations and worked out solutions.

ALEKS helps us identify and meet the needs of all of our students in the mathematics program. It helps us identify what students have already learned, what they are ready to learn, and provides resources to help them learn.

Arundo Removal Project…..

Fenster students are working to remove an invasive species of grass, called Arundo, from Sabino Canyon Creek. This is a conservation and community service project in conjunction with Arizona Rivers and Friends of Sabino Canyon. Volunteers from the University of Arizona Eller School of Business and the Sky Island Charter School also lend a hand. Contact: John Jorgensen, Fenster School science teacher.

Dia de los muertos,

or Day of the Dead, is a celebration that combines pre-Colombian practices in the Americas with those of Roman Catholicism. It is a celebration that honors the dead with festivities, altars, food, song, and the decorating of grave sites. Many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans celebrate this holiday which coincides with celebrations of All Souls’ Day.

Tucson, rich in Mexican heritage, offers a few different ways to partake in this holiday. Christina Negrete, Spanish teacher, and Amy Breck, art teacher, combined lessons this quarter which encompassed the history of the holiday, Spanish vocabulary, comparisons and contrasts  to Halloween in the United States, exploration of the artist Jose Guadalupe Posada, decoration of personal sugar skulls, adornment of a school altar, and attendance at the local All Souls’ Parade.

On Sunday, November 7, 2010, the students of Spanish and art classes accompanied Mrs. Negrete and Ms. Breck with their painted skeleton faces (part of the tradition) and joined the All Souls’ Procession through downtown Tucson. The parade was attended by over 20,000 people who enjoyed the music and revelry that paid tribute to the deceased and celebrated their lives here on earth.

This past summer Fenster collaborated with EXIT Marketing of Little Rock, Arkansas, to develop a new brand identity system emphasizing our focus on academics, our distinctive campus, and our deep commitment to helping students from around the country and the world realize their full potential.

Our new academic logo transforms a familiar southwestern motif into an open book and is inspired by the Hohokam tribe who once lived on the School’s grounds nearly a thousand years ago.  Our athletic mascot is the Thunderbird, a traditional Native American symbol of protection, which also appears in the academic logo as a simplified southwestern symbol hovering above the book.  All together, the symbol is reminiscent of a protective shield, which provides continuity with the School’s original crest design.

The logo is also now part of a comprehensive identity system that includes a new Thunderbird athletics mascot and a formal school seal.  The full system features a corporate identity standards manual to help maintain brand consistency and is being rolled out with various marketing tactics including new campus signage, a redesigned web site, stationery, print advertising, and various promotional materials.