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GreatSchools Rating

Sonoran Sky Elementary School

Public | K-6 | 703 students

We are best known for self-contained gifted program.

 
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 10 ratings
2013:
Based on 19 ratings
2012:
Based on 2 ratings
2011:
Based on 11 ratings

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80 reviews of this school


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Posted yesterday

Sonoran Sky IS a really good school with fabulous teachers. Because we have such terrific teachers, the District moved a few to start a program at a new school - but, "all" the good teachers did not leave - most choose to stay. All the teachers, administrators and staff at Sonoran Sky are much better than just good. I've met and spoken with almost all of them and have been impressed with each one. I particularly like how they work as a team and how they create an individualize program for the kids. I appreciate the expertise of the fully certified (not classified!) specials teachers, the professionalism of the full-time nurse, the dedication of the VP and the open-door policy of the Principal. But, if you are considering Sonoran Sky - don't rely on these anonymous reviews (especially the one by the cranky person who keeps trying to tank our ratings), come on a tour. Talk to the parents, visit the classrooms, see the science experiments, the art projects, and meet the teachers. Visit the library, the dedicated science lab, the computer labs, the outdoor classroom, the pond, and nurses office. I am confident that when you see for yourself all that we offer, you'll be impressed.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted Monday, 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

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.
—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 December 1, 2013

Sonoran Sky is amazing. Our child has been both nurtured and challenged. We moved here from a nearby school and have not once regretted it - the difference in culture and expectations is dramatic. Sonoran Sky is truly an amazing school. There are some drawbacks to note - recess is so short it is almost non-existent and PE is only once a week. Drop-off and pick-up are hectic because there are so many out of boundary students. PTO meetings are EARLY! Classrooms are windowless and on the small side. But, these drawbacks cannot possibly outweigh the positives: experienced teachers; a high percentage of gifted and high-average students; a full-time nurse; a principal that knows what is going on and has an open door policy; a PTO that is focused on supporting the students and school not just socializing; special teachers that ROCK!; enrichment classes that include just about everything from gardening, cooking, CSI sleuthing, readers' theater, to ceramics and sports. a commitment to technology in each classroom; the best students and kids ever! There is not a single child at this school that I wouldn't love to have over for a play date. They are awesome kids.
—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


Posted October 5, 2013

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...
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 4, 2013

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.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 4, 2013

It seems to me there are two schools of thought when it comes to Sonoran Sky, and neither to two shall meet. So, when considering this school take ALL comments with a hint of bias for either side. That said, I am a parent at the school and consider myself very involved but know that there is always room for improvement, EVERYWHERE. We can all do better, strive for more, and expect more from our teachers, administrators, school boards, and PTO. I think the way to get that done is by helping with your time and new fresh ideas. Our Principal is wonderful! He has an open door policy and he is truly welcoming to all. I want him to be successful at his job, because he deserves it and because it will benefit my child when he is. He is the kind of Principal I think most kids want; friendly, but authoritative, a problem solver and good listener, a fabulous facilitator and an unbiased coach. Rather than setting him up for failure, lets support him so he can grow to his full potential. We need to tell the school district what we are looking for, as THEY make the curriculum decisions. No school is perfect, but I think this comes quite close, and is still a fabulous work in progress.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 2, 2013

We transferred to Sonoran Sky/PVUSD from SUSD and are thrilled! The atmosphere is friendly, professional and well organized with high academic expectations for their students and staff--with individual attention to student's needs! Everyone from the front office to the kindergarteners follow the same behavior rules. Teachers, front office staff, the principal and vice principal are friendly, knowledgeable, fun and approachable. Teachers have "office hours" where students can drop in for extra help when needed. Emails to teachers and/or staff are responded to promptly. We love that a computer class is in the "specials" rotation and "keyboarding" is taught along with other tech skills. Kids today may be able to play on computers but have no clue how to keyboard--a skill needed to complete research papers, reports, etc.! PTO is informative, professional and not in your face at every turn begging for money. PTO budget is 1/3 that of our old school with SO much more to show for it. The gist is, it is a great school, recommended by families that have either been there for years or who have also transferred their kids out of other schools/districts.
—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 2013.

123 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
93%

2012

 
 
93%

2011

 
 
92%

2010

 
 
85%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 75% in 2013.

123 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
94%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
98%

2010

 
 
93%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 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 65% in 2013.

120 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
86%

2012

 
 
92%

2011

 
 
87%

2010

 
 
86%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 77% in 2013.

120 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
96%

2012

 
 
99%

2011

 
 
96%

2010

 
 
94%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 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 2013.

77 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
91%

2012

 
 
84%

2011

 
 
84%

2010

 
 
71%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 79% in 2013.

77 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
98%

2012

 
 
91%

2011

 
 
95%

2010

 
 
91%
Writing

The state average for Writing was 56% in 2013.

77 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
95%

2012

 
 
86%

2011

 
 
80%

2010

 
 
83%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 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 2013.

92 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
87%

2012

 
 
82%

2011

 
 
78%

2010

 
 
79%
Reading

The state average for Reading was 79% in 2013.

92 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
95%

2012

 
 
96%

2011

 
 
96%

2010

 
 
95%
Writing

The state average for Writing was 53% in 2013.

91 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
86%

2012

 
 
87%

2011

 
 
88%

2010

 
 
95%
Scale: % meets or exceeds

About the tests


In 2012-2013 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 2012-2013 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 70% 42%
Asian 14% 3%
Hispanic 9% 42%
Two or more races 5% 1%
Black 3% 5%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 6%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2010-2011

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 4%N/A46%
Source: NCES, 2010-2011

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Art teacher(s)
Assistant principal(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Gifted specialist(s)
Math specialist(s)
Nurse(s)
PE instructor(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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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)
  • Math specialist(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse

Arts & music

Staff resources available to students
  • Art teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Music room
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
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • School psychologist
School facilities
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • 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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and more! Get started »

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)
  • Gifted specialist(s)
  • Math specialist(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Reading specialist(s)
  • School psychologist
School facilities
  • Cafeteria
  • Computer
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Multi-purpose room ("cafegymatorium")
  • Music room
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.

School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Volunteer in the classroom
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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