Mountain Pointe Principal Bruce Kipper said building a strong academic base requires a physically active student body. Since he took over at the school four years ago, the amount of students in extracurricular activities has gone from less than 60 percent to nearly 80 percent.

The drive to get kids active, through a number of clubs, sports and activities, has shown the school continues to improve on a yearly basis. They are seeing the results not just in numbers, but in recognition as well.

Mountain Pointe Clubs and Extracurricular Activities were selected as the Outstanding Afterschool Program for 2011 by the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence.

"The key is we have the goal to improve, and we also have strategies to help us to reach that goal every year," Kipper said. "I think this award is a testament to the hard work of our students and staff like (vice principal of activities) Pat Goolsby, who, without them, we might not be where we are today."

One area where they looked at is the kids from Maricopa who were being bussed in everyday. There were four busses, and all of them left to Maricopa immediately after school. Kipper said he and the staff looked at keeping one bus later, so those kids could participate, and there was enough interest.

"We wanted to find a way for the Maricopa kids to stay after school and join clubs and activities, and get academic help," he said.

The school has three goals that it works on every year. One is to get 100 percent of its students to participate in extracurricular activities; another is to get 100 percent passing on the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS); and the last is to see 100 percent of students able to utilize current technology.

"When I first started as principal, we took a look at setting really lofty goals," Kipper said. "When you set the goal at 100 percent, you are going to look at the kid in front of you and say, ‘How can I make them successful?'"

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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