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GreatSchools Rating

Sonoran Sky Elementary School

Public | K-6 | 700 students

We are best known for self-contained gifted program.

 
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 15 ratings
2013:
Based on 18 ratings
2012:
Based on 2 ratings
2011:
Based on 11 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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84 reviews of this school


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Posted August 9, 2014

Ok, I was trying to post 2 reviews but the system wouldn't let me so I'll try to consolidate. Overall, this school is incredible! 5 Stars, all the way. The staff and teachers all look out for their students and the differentiation is top notch. The parents are involved, technology is used effectively (not too much, not too little). Academics are amazing. We have been thrilled since coming here from a Scottsdale school. It is not perfect and there are bumps along the way but overall Sonoran Sky provides a solid academic foundation and its students are well prepared for middle school and life. Having said all that, I do have to comment on the self-contained program as we came here for this. While it was great at first, it has changed significantly and not for the better. The District's Director is more focused on expanding to other schools and does not have a handle on the inner workings of the program she oversees. SSky does cluster and pull out honors extremely well so if you have a gifted child, I would highly recommend SSky and the honors program. If you feel strongly that your child needs self-contained, consider another school where the District is focusing resources.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 7, 2014

So let me understand. The 2013-2014 AIMS test results, that were just published, showed SSKY ranked 7th out of 925 Elementary schools in all of Arizona. It also was ranked as #1 in all of PVUSD . This is the highest achievement the school has ever received in all the years the test has been given. This also was accomplished during the first year of a new administration and replacement of teachers that left to other PVUSD schools. I think these results speak for themselves as a rebuttal to the inaccurate and unfair statements concerning the new Principal and a few teachers leaving. A persons prejudice and distortions can be discounted, facts and results cannot.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted July 31, 2014

Very misrepresented on school tour. New admin is worse than the old. They are inexperienced, reactionary & ineffective. Cruelty, intimidation & physical violence were excused. Children of those with influence or special diagnoses are protected from consequences while others suffer intimidation, taunts, threats & even physical abuse. Children, including ours, make mistakes, but we believe in addressing those situations to ensure it does not happen again. After a baffling half year struggle with nonresponsive/ineffective admin who could/would not ensure our children were safe and treated fairly, we threw in the towel. So this review is not about being invited back we left to ensure our children are safe with administrators who listen and take appropriate action. There are enough choices that are so much better I advise you to keep looking. There are many teachers in the lower grades - three are new and struggling with classroom dynamics. I wouldn't risk it.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted June 18, 2014

I got my sons scores today and we WILL be changing schools. I believed the hype, that things were still good and the school was not lacking. My child is gifted and all his teachers left. I wish we had gone with them. Now we have a wasted year and have to start over. I urge you to do what is best for your child. I wish I had.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 23, 2014

Whomever wrote the review about declining test scores and saying the school is going the "traditional route" is writing about the wrong school (there are at least 2 elementary schools named Sonoran Sky in AZ alone). Look at the Test Scores on this page. Yes, there is some fluctuation but, for the most part, scores are improving. With respect to technology, the school has a well-defined commitment to teaching 21st century skills. There are IPads and Chrome books for every class and we have a terrific full-time tech teacher with whom each kid spends at least one class period each week. Whole language, multiple intelligences, phonics, and many other teaching methods are employed, including, but by no means limited to, "traditional" ones. If you are considering this school (the one in Scottsdale), the best advice I can give is to ignore all these reviews and take a tour. Visit the dedicated science lab, the computer labs, the classrooms (each with computer stations), connect to the on-campus WiFi, meet with our principal, see the outdoor classroom, and then decide for yourself. Ask for the name of a PTO person to connect with to answer the rest of your questions.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 9, 2014

Sonoran Sky has really changed. Test scores have declined and they have taken the focus off technology. They are currently going the "traditional school" route, which I don't like and neither do my kids. We will be looking for a more modern option for the fall. I left a glowing review previously, but it really isn't the same school any longer.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 19, 2014

As these reviews pertain to an elementary school, let s do some simple elementary math. When you have at least 39 qualified teachers and staff, and 4 of them leave to start a new program at a new school that represents a change of staff of less than 10%. Simple statistical analysis shows that though 10% of a whole is worth mentioning, it is far, far from being notable or significant. So when reviewers, or one repetitive reviewer states ALL the good teachers left , their reason for making that nonobjective, exaggerated statement must be taken with less than a grain of salt . You can only conclude that there is some other agenda for those comments. Remember why those 4 teachers left; factually stated above. It is commonly known, even today, that Sonoran Sky has a reputation throughout the district and community for producing students who are well prepared and able to meet 21st Century educational requirements. This also is a fact borne out by AIMS test results and AZ State Certification. One more math problem to ponder is when the student population is maintained or continually grows than statically speaking the education being provided must be maintaining its high standards.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 14, 2014

Sonoran Sky was a really good school before all the good teachers left. They went to another school in the district. Now we are left with teachers counting the days until retirement. The principal has not been responsive to my concerns. I keep calling and his secretary makes excuses. If you are looking for a challenging school, I suggest looking elsewhere.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 8, 2014

Sonoran Sky in Scottsdale is a wonderful, challenging and nurturing environment. We are extremely happy with this school. The Principal is warm and very engaged. The VP is committed to promoting STEM. The PTO is extremely active and focused on supporting the teachers and students. They just approved funding a dedicated science lab and a separate outdoor classroom. Meetings are open to everyone and ALL parents are automatically members of the PTO! No mandatory dues, donations or "Community Investment Funds." The school focuses on teaching the individual child and works very hard to make sure each student is being appropriately challenged. They also devote time to character building. The teachers are very experienced and work as a team - so you get a whole staff educating your child not just one teacher. When you walk through the halls - they know you and your child. There is a full-time nurse and librarian. Diverse student body. The enrichment programs are amazing. Dedicated "specials" teachers in art, music, P.E., technology, gifted specialist, pull-out honors classes and so many other wonderful things that are "extras" anywhere else.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 4, 2014

Sonoran Sky was a school that welcomed our family and made us feel at home. Until this year. At the beginning of the school year, parents were asked what they liked best about the school, and the PTO took that information and seemed to do exactly the opposite of what was asked. Recently, they completely upended the administration, resulting in the loss of a wonderful principal. Since that time, there have been many other losses to the community, teacher resignations, long-term families leaving. If you are looking for a challenging academic environment for your well-adjusted child, look elsewhere.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 23, 2014

As you can tell by all of these comments, there is a great deal of unhappiness and power struggle at this school. This is not a healthy environment for students or teachers to be in. My children attended this school, and now they do not (thank goodness for open enrollment). The best part about the anonymity of this forum is that retaliation cannot occur by certain individuals. My experience and opinion is that this school currently falls short of providing a quality education to their students.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 20, 2014

The great thing about public schools is that you can choose which one you want to attend through open enrollment. If you're not happy with Sonoran Sky, then go to another school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 20, 2014

No, all our good teachers did not leave. To offer a comprehensive list of our good teachers would be impossible, because I can personally vouch for the dedication and caring of each and every one of them, as well as the staff, the aides, and the volunteers. Principal Dawson is a fantastic, empathetic, firm, fair, and honest leader for whom I cannot have more admiration and respect. Our building overflows with and benefits greatly from the support of our parent volunteers. If there is something else you feel can be done to improve Sonoran Sky, then I encourage you to step forward and do it, or offer your input in a constructive manner versus a destructive one. PTO meetings are the first Tuesday of every month in the Sky Lab of the library, where you can provide just as much input and influence as any other parent volunteer. We could do so much more with your help.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 16, 2014

I am not impressed with the school, teachers, or principal. Communication is subpar at best. I am not referring to the school emails sent, but the actual communication a parent needs from a teacher regarding their child's performance in class. I haven't found assignments to be engaging for the students. Occasionally, a project will arise and will spark a small interest, but that seems to only be the case because the general assignments are bland and distinctively AIMS driven. I also find it strange many teachers seem unwilling to regularly allow a parent volunteer into their actual classroom. This seems counterintuitive, considering a well managed volunteer is easily an asset to both the teacher and the class, simply by freeing up the teacher s time to concentrate on students that need more individualized attention. I find the lack of individualized attention is the primary issue with this school. There are interesting options available to students via the Community Ed program; that being said, it hardly makes up for the lack of creativity and individual attention in the classroom environment. The principal -he's hands off and has no control of his staff or the PTO.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 29, 2014

I strongly disagree with this report. While truly a lot of really good teachers did leave Sonoran Sky, they were replaced with extremely talented educators and an amazing Principal. When a door closes, another one always opens.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 3, 2013

We are open enrolled to this school and are so grateful to be here. Wonderful teachers, active and passionate parents and PTO. Class sizes are appropriately sized and interesting enrichment and extra curriculars offered. Artist-in-residence program, outdoor science lab, pond. Adminstration is open and approachable. Excellent pull-out and self-contained gifted but ALL kids taught to their individual levels and encouraged to succeed!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 6, 2013

I keep hearing again and again, "all the good teachers left. all the good teachers left." So I decided to take a look for myself. And yes. All the good teachers left. The entire gifted department cleared out. They moved on to greener pastures. Two award winning Kindergarten teachers: done! The awesome, amazing, bedazzling computers teacher: she left! Half of the first grade department: they are going, going, gone! Even the special ed teacher, whom I had no experience with (but heard was incredible) packed her bags and left. Sonoran Sky: All the good teachers left!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 6, 2013

My 4 kids love going to school every morning. It's nice to be part of school community that is truly focused on student learning. There is no question that Principal Dawson's #1 priority is the kids and learning. He is a great communicator and works hard at keeping everyone in the community on the same page. He is supportive of the staff and treats them as professionals. He is always accessible and a great listener. He has demonstrated amazing leadership since taking the helm. I can't remember a school event that he didn't attend and often he has his own children in tow. Rob Dawson is a passionate educator who is determined to make Sonoran Sky Elementary a great school for ALL students. If you have an issue just give him a call!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 27, 2013

This is my student's 4th year at Sonoran Sky. I previously wrote a glowing review because Sonoran Sky was truly a GREAT school, but that is no longer the reality. A serious word of caution to parents considering this school for their child...request the opportunity to interview the teacher of the class your child will be placed in BEFORE you enroll. After a chaotic classroom experience at the end of last year, we hesitantly re-enrolled after an unsuccessful search for an alternative. Our experience in the 2013-14 school year has been an excrutiating disappointment and our family (including the student) has unanimously agreed that we will not return and may not finish out the school year after Christmas. Huge disappointment...the joy-filled learning environment that sustained our first 4 years has been so distorted years that we no longer recognize it. Truly sad.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 14, 2013

This is a wonderful school! The community feel is fabulous and the new principal is so involved. We came from Scottsdale school district a few years ago and we are blown away by the higher expectation of academics and character building. Thank you Sonoran Sky!
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.
Math

The state average for Math was 69% in 2014.

2014

 
 
90%

2013

 
 
93%

2012

 
 
93%

2011

 
 
92%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 78% in 2014.

2014

 
 
97%

2013

 
 
94%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
98%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 62% in 2014.

2014

 
 
87%

2013

 
 
86%

2012

 
 
92%

2011

 
 
87%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 75% in 2014.

2014

 
 
94%

2013

 
 
96%

2012

 
 
99%

2011

 
 
96%
Science

The state average for Science was 58% in 2014.

2014

 
 
95%

2012

 
 
95%

2011

 
 
95%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 63% in 2014.

2014

 
 
90%

2013

 
 
91%

2012

 
 
84%

2011

 
 
84%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 80% in 2014.

2014

 
 
94%

2013

 
 
98%

2012

 
 
91%

2011

 
 
95%
Writing

The state average for Writing was 52% in 2014.

2014

 
 
86%

2013

 
 
95%

2012

 
 
86%

2011

 
 
80%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Math

The state average for Math was 61% in 2014.

2014

 
 
83%

2013

 
 
87%

2012

 
 
82%

2011

 
 
78%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 80% in 2014.

2014

 
 
99%

2013

 
 
95%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
96%
Writing

The state average for Writing was 56% in 2014.

2014

 
 
84%

2013

 
 
86%

2012

 
 
87%

2011

 
 
88%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2013-2014 Arizona used the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10. GreatSchools' profiles currently show AIMS mathematics, reading and writing results. 2013 AIMS grade 10 results represent on-track 10th graders for the 2013 test year. AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona learning standards. Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate. The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

  • In 2010-2011, this school was designated "Excelling".
  • In 2009-2010, this school was designated "Excelling".
  • In 2008-2009, this school was designated "Excelling".

About the tests


Arizona uses AZ LEARNS Achievement Profiles to indicate schools' overall performance each year. For elementary and middle schools, the profiles are based on current and historical aggregated AIMS results, MAP results and whether or not the school made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). For high schools, AIMS results, AYP status and graduation/dropout rates are used. Schools are identified as Excelling, Highly Performing, Performing Plus, Performing, Underperforming, Failing to Meet Academic Standards or Pending.

Source: Arizona Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2013-2014 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 68% 42%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 15% 3%
Hispanic 8% 43%
Two or more races 5% 2%
Black 3% 5%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 5%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 6%N/A47%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
Assistant principal(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Gardening teacher(s)
Gifted specialist(s)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
Math specialist(s)
Music teacher(s)
Nurse(s)
PE instructor(s)
Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
Reading specialist(s)
School psychologist
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by school officials and community members.

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School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
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Awards

Academic awards received in the past 3 years
  • A+ School of Excellence

Special education / special needs

Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Speech and language impairments

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Science lab

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Art room
  • Music room
  • Performance stage
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
  • Photography
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Orchestra
Performing and written arts
  • Drama

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • School psychologist
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Kitchen
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Gifted / high performing
Staff resources available to students
  • Gifted specialist(s)
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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School basics

Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Gifted / high performing
Specialized programs for specific types of special education students
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Speech and language impairments
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Gifted specialist(s)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Music teacher(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Poetry/Creative writing teacher(s)
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • School psychologist
Transportation options
  • School shares bus/van with other schools
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Audiovisual aids
  • Auditorium
  • Cafeteria
  • Computer
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Kitchen
  • Learning lab
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Performance stage
  • Playground
  • Science lab
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

Let your school shine!

School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
  • Photography
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Orchestra
Performing arts
  • Drama
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

Upcoming Events

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize cultural events
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
More from this school
  • Sonoran Sky has developed a comprehensive enrichment program that is held before and after school hours. For students that have been identified as gifted learners, we offer a cluster model for students in grades K-6, honors pull-out for students in grades 3-6 and house a self-contained gifted program for students in grades 1-6. Chorus, band and strings are additional programs offered.
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

Apply

 

TIP: Don't forget to ask about documents required for enrollment, such as your child's birth certificate, proof of address, or a record of immunizations.

 
Apply now
 

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Desert Shadows MS
Digital Learning Center at Sunrise MS
Horizon High School
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

12990 North 75th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Website: Click here
Phone: (602) 449-6500

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