Jula Keturatana’s eighth birthday celebration wasn’t quite what you might call ordinary. Instead of receiving gifts for herself, she asked family and friends to donate supplies for the animals at the Arizona Humane Society. Actions such as this are just one component of what Jula learned through
As a result, Jula, who now attends Madison No. 1 Middle School, was nominated and awarded the 2018 recipient of the Arizona IB Primary Years Programme Student of the Year award while a student at Simis Elementary.
Through the IB curriculum at the Madison School District, students become independent learners capable of in-depth research, report writing, and taking action. Students inquire within the six IB transdisciplinary themes to become internationally minded.
“The benefits of IB are that you learn the parts of being a good person and how to show that every day in what you do,” said Jula, a fifth-grader who plans to have a career as a teacher or a zookeeper. “IB has made me confident, it has given me a good personality to help me make more friends, and it has shown me how to be a good person in life.”
Melissa Powers, the IB Coordinator at Madison Simis Elementary, nominated her for the award. Jula said she was proud and overjoyed to win the award, the first student ever to win the AZIBS Primary Years Program Student of the Year.
Her parents, Cathy and Kevin, are proud as well. They have seen how hard Jula has worked for the past five years and are delighted to see her efforts recognized. They credit the IB program for developing Jula and her younger sister, Lucy, into critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.
“I think the IB program is an excellent way to build character, to expand a child’s worldview, and to help them understand the impact of their actions,” Kevin Keturatana said. “It helps children understand what it means to be a good citizen in their community, their country, and their world.”
Cathy said she has noticed that her children are more curious about things in their world, ask questions, and feel empowered to seek and find answers. She would recommend the IB program to other parents and suggests they become familiar with the Learner Profile traits and units of inquiry and look for ways to make connections at home.
“Support your children in their efforts to take action both at home and at school.” Cathy said.
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About Madison Elementary School District
For more than 125 years, Madison Elementary School District (Madison Schools) has been one of the top elementary school districts in the state with its eight schools consistently earning high honors. Founded in 1890, Madison Schools serves approximately 5,800 students in the heart of Phoenix from 32nd Street to 7th Avenue and between Indian School and Northern.
Five of its schools are in the top 10 Phoenix public elementary schools through AzMerit scores and nearly 50 percent of its students come from outside the District. This means nearly 2,800 families choose a Madison Schools education over their neighborhood school.
The district has been recognized locally and nationally for its outstanding “signature” educational programs including the International Baccalaureate program, Spanish Immersion, REACH program, Visual and Performing Arts, Traditional curriculum, and Spanish Fluency, For additional information about Madison Schools, please visit
For more information, please contact Heather Austin, public relations for Madison Elementary School District at (602) 738-9252 or