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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This web site and comments made about SSES were recently brought to my attention. I have reviewed most if not all the comments made here. Though a couple of the negative comments have some validity, the majority of them seem to me to be a case of sour grapes . It is easy to sit back from afar and make disparaging remarks with anonymity. It is also easy to find fault and weaknesses without offering solutions or support. I wonder if the individuals that made the comments have even attempted to involve themselves with the PTO to make it a more positive and supportive organization. Leaving comments, criticisms and generalizations in a veiled environment is unfair and not productive. The PTO is an all-volunteer organization that requires commitment, fairness and dedication. It is a difficult job under difficult circumstances. Instead of contempt for the parent volunteers, empathy should be the prevailing emotion. Empathy breeds proper judgment. Contempt breeds arrogance. If you truly feel strong about your criticisms concerning the PTO, and can offer solutions to its short comings, please contact me. My name is Joe Muth and I am a parent and a PTO volunteer.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Probably worth waiting a couple of years and then visit Sonoran Sky to check on progress... The current admin cannot carry this school forwards as needed. My children has attended this school for three years + and have seen much change but always for the better. I hoped this would continue but due to the recent treatment of parents and the mass exit of all the good teachers we now have difficulty trusting the current admin and PTO. The PTO is creating a non-objective and emotional environment that opens the school up to conflict of interest. Not good for the parents and not good for the school, proven in many recent decisions and results. The potential for a large switch out of admin, teachers, parents and kids for the next academic year is highly likely and should be considered when looking at the risk/reward for Sonoran Sky. I would wait and see how the next 1-2 years goes and revisit...
We are a long time S-Sky family and up until two months ago, I would have recommended the school for anybody. While never perfect, the school worked with and listened to the parents. Very sadly though, I can no longer recommend the school in good conscience. The principal leaving was just the beginning. The PTO does not believe the parents can think for themselves regarding what is best for their child. The PTO works in secrecy until the point where they realized there was a mass exodus at the school. Now they decide to try to share and what they are sharing is very upsetting. Unfortunately, their direction they are only half sharing is not the best for our kids. They hired a principal (former teacher) who is a good person, but has no experience in managing faculty or dealing with kids younger than 3rd grade. The community, family feel of the school is gone. I truly hope S-Sky can get back to the fabulous place they once were but until that time, please do your research if you are looking at the school.
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