We have so many awesome parents who work really hard to make sure our kids and teachers have the best possible tools and materials every day. So many of you work so hard, making volunteering a part-time job, and put in so many hours at school - the vast majority of which is unnoticed. You are appreciated. Very much.
Sonoran Sky used to be the go to school for gifted education. They key words are "used to." When you go to the website it says, "This school is best known for our self contained gifted program." Unfortunately, that is no longer the case because all the stellar gifted teachers previously employed, left. The current gifted teachers do not have any knowledge or certificate. They basically just call themselves gifted teachers. My student is very highly gifted and we have suffered through this year. Sonoran Sky is just not equipped to teach gifted learners. In the fall we are going to a nearby school that can challenge a student working at a very accelerated pace. We are looking forward to a fresh start. I would like to warn parents of gifted students, that you will not be satisfied with this curriculum.
The teachers and administration work very hard to meet the needs of each individual child. Students are flex-grouped for math and language to ensure that they are being taught at their level and speed. There are cluster and self-contained classes for gifted students and Honors classes for math and language. Students are constantly evaluated (not tested - evaluated on their skills and learning) to ensure that their needs are being met. One of my children improved two reading levels in one year because his teachers were so committed to seeing him succeed (yes, multiple teachers because they are flex grouped and do not spend all day with their homeroom teacher, even in grades K-3). The differentiated math instruction allows my son to work ahead a couple grade levels in topics he has mastered and provides additional support for the concepts that are more difficult for him.
The teachers work together in a very cooperative environment. I also appreciate how teachers from different grade levels work with kids. This creates a wonderful environment where kids know all the teachers and the teachers know most of the kids. There is a waitlist at some grade levels, so if you can get one of the slots at this school, take it!
In 3rd grade and up, the kids have planners to write down and communicate assignments. The teachers don't send home a list of homework anymore. We've had a few tough nights in the beginning where my son did not write down his assignments and either didn't do his homework or did the wrong assignment, but it is a learning experience in and of itself to be responsible.
Graded papers are returned at the end of every week in the Friday folder and parents can log into the on-line grade book any time they want. The school website, PTO website and the Principal's emails keep our family up to date calendars and descriptions of events. Our classroom teacher is also phenomenal at communication via email, phone calls and in person meetings.
As a parent of a former student I feel I have to share my experience at Sonoran Sky hoping parents considering this school will be aware of some serious flaws of which I was unaware until after enrolling. First and foremost is a near complete lack of communication between my child's teachers and the parents. In order to have an accurate knowledge of what your child is working on and how he or she is doing it's necessary to have 1) class assignments graded and sent home 2) present classwork assignments and/or homework and 3) a lesson plan of what will be studied in the future. At Sonoran Sky we got 0/3 of these. No lesson plans just vague "we may study this or we may not", no emails about what's being studied currently and only after repeated requests did we get any graded work sent home and then discovered the teacher was not grading it properly. Some information was provided on a website but this was full of unclear descriptions, few dates and inconsistent grading scales. This lack of communication goes beyond the classroom however, things like field trips or class events will pop up out of nowhere or morph from day trips to overnight trips with just a few days notice. Very difficult if both parents work. But one might put up with all of this disorganization if the education was worth it. My child entered Sonoran Sky ahead of grade level math and left Sonoran Sky behind in math, so no it was not worth it. Children need consistency and predictability in order to focus on schoolwork and parents need communication. All the chaos and drama at this school is a serious distraction for students and parents alike, I would recommend looking elsewhere.
I want to say thank you to Ms. Haley for getting my son in the right program and incenting him to finish his work. Next I'd like to thank Mrs. Johnson for helping my son improve his confidence with his school work and instilling his love for school. I'd like to thank Ms. Cunningham for her firm teaching skills in helping my son learn to take responsibility for his actions and school work. Lastly, I'd like to thank Mrs. Bustos for allowing my son to play the piano at times during your class. By this you are encouraging his love for music!
The Make Your Day program has helped my son take responsibility for his actions. I love the EQ program as well. Finding the positive aspects of school and overcoming negative attitudes helps my son enjoy his school experience.
This school has helped my son thrive! He needed assistance with his speech which was affecting his school work. The teachers and his success team found the help that he needed. The changes in him are unbelievable! I love how the children are routinely assessed and placed in the classes that appropriately challenge them. Mrs. Cunningham is very firm, but kind with her students. These children will continue on with their education having the skills needed to succeed. I am thankful that this is my neighborhood school!