Critters visit Desert Vista Elementary School in Apache Junction


Members from the Arizona Humane Society and Phoenix Zoo recently visited Caerensa Klauss’ fifth-grade classroom at Desert Vista Elementary School, 3701 E. Broadway Ave. in Apache Junction.

The humans weren’t the only guests --- they brought a variety of critters with them. Students learned about Madagascar hissing cockroaches, blue tongued skinks, a hedgehog, tortoises the regal Chinese water dragon and more.

“It was a very engaging and informative program,” said Caerensa Klauss, who was recently named Teacher of the Year for K-5 students by VFW Post 7968 in Apache Junction. “Plus the kids really had a blast.”

Prior to the visit the students researched and wrote animal reports. Ms. Klauss specifically reached out to the Phoenix Zoo so the students could see the actual animals they wrote about and be offered a hands-on experience that would better help them commit their theoretical research to long-term memory.

Registration is underway for the 2020 school year. For more information about Apache Junction Unified School District schools, call 480-982-1110, or go to

Editor's note: Sally Marks is AJUSD's public information officer.