Love Your School is pleased to share the recipients of the A for Arizona Expansion and Innovation Fund Small Learning Communities (SLC) grant. It’s with great excitement that we introduce the seven incredible schools that were selected because of the innovative in-person options they are launching that will directly impact Arizona students and their families. Love Your School will work to promote these new options for families and assist in connecting students to these opportunities.
Arizona Autism Early Learning Center
The Early Learning Center (ELC) is critical for creating an ideal learning environment for small clusters of Arizona Autism Charter School’s youngest learners. The ELC allows working families to return to work and other activities during the pandemic and will alleviate concerns about where their young special needs children will go during the day.
CASA recognizes how critical third grade is for long – term student achievement, and identified for improvement in closing education gaps and supporting students’ social and emotional needs. Many CASA families lack the resources to pay for tutoring programs, but with targeted interventions for younger students through new small learning communities, CASA is aiming for 100% of students scholars to move into fourth grade with true skill mastery.
Gowan Science Academy
Teacher feedback indicates that an outdoor learning environment may be preferable at times compared to indoor. Research also highlights that student time in a natural classroom increases student engagement and has a restorative effect on kids. This new learning hub provides a space for students to return to campus for in-person learning experiences and engage in city programs on nights and weekends. This innovative space for – non-traditional learning will be the first of its kind in Yuma.
Edison School of Innovation
Responding quickly to current student needs, parent surveys, and caregiver communication, Edison was able to identify a need for an alternative to distance learning that is interactive and away from the screen. The Edison social-emotional learning hub aims to increase the level of learning engagement, improve student behavior, and expand social-emotional skills. This model will allow students to improve focus, physical, and mental health and also have access to counseling services for additional social-emotional support when needed.
Patagonia Elementary School
Patagonia is building scalable after-hours public Creative STEM learning pods – proving what’s possible and accessible for more rural families. Each blended pod will host 10 elementary students at no cost, with virtual options available to remove geographic barriers. Patagonia is utilizing its expert math and science teachers and reverse engineering approaches to ensure that students will make academic progress exceeding their grade level and closing learning gaps.
Tanque Verde High School
Tanque Verde High School is open for in-person learning and as a result is experiencing an enrollment boom as families look for high-quality on campus instruction. Over 200 students have applied to attend Tanque Verde High School since July. The district also has a unique halfway house/treatment center for parents battling addiction to drugs and alcohol where they can keep their children with them. These children often fall through the cracks due to the tremendous trauma they have experienced. The TVHS proposal focuses on providing support, academic achievement and high expectations for these students through a new, in-person, school-within-a-school option.
Vail Unified School District
Vail is successfully modeling public stackable education with a unique menu of services and options to enhance learning through a service-provider approach. Under this new option, families can choose which components of district support they would like to opt in to: academic, social/emotional, or extracurricular. Families who opt in are eligible to receive special services including two, full-time special education teachers housed at the Vail Innovation Center, a full-time counselor, a speech pathologist, and a school psychologist. Vail will target three subgroups of students that have fallen behind due to challenges brought on by COVID.
Despite the hardships brought on by COVID-19, families, their students, teachers, and administrators are working together to provide new Small Learning Communities in person. Options like learning hubs and schools-within-a-school will address a variety of needs and continue to bridge achievement gaps, provide critical social emotional learning options, personalized special education instruction, creative STEM approaches, unique outdoor learning experiences, and more.
Love Your School is thankful to work with organizations like A for Arizona to promote these unique and exciting educational opportunities for Arizona families. We are grateful for the priority that Governor Ducey has placed on educational choice in our state, and look forward to continuing to highlight the impact of these Small Learning Communities that will impact hundreds of Arizona students and their families.
Think one of these programs might be a fit for your child? Interested in launching one at your local school? Apply and inquire here!