This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Sonoran Sky Elementary School4
Posted August 09, 2014
- a parent
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.
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.
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.
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.