AZ Academy is a united community, an extended family that embraces the individual and celebrates successes and character education throughout the week! For example, we begin and end our week together in an opening/closing ceremony, which is a full-school assembly that is lots of fun. In these assemblies we act-out our mission statement, complete team and character building activities, recognize a student of the week in each grade, and dance to songs like the Cha-Cha Slide. We also have divided the school into a blue and a silver team – our school colors, and every month we have spirit events to compete and build community. Finally, the first half hour of every school day is dedicated to character education in a format called “morning meeting”.
Academically, the school maintains an extremely low teacher to student ratio, which is about 1:8. This allows instructors to focus on individual’s needs in each class period every day. With a school-wide language arts and math block that are each one hour and fifteen minutes, there is also lots of on-task time to maximize student growth in reading, writing, and mathematics. By using a standards-based approach to education, the school ensures that learning goals are vertically aligned in a scaffolded way that leads to learning success. Progress is reported to parents quarterly in traditional ways – by grades and comments, but AZ Academy also produces a student portfolio and reports standards that have been taught each quarter as well.
Finally, AZ Academy integrates technology into the classroom campus-wide. Every classroom has a SmartBoard with attached sound systems, which allows teachers to seamlessly incorporate technology into their lesson plans. This media rich learning environment is critical to engaging today’s learners. In addition, all students in grades 5 and up are issued an iPad. Beginning in 7th grade, students get to take it home, and as a result, teachers are able to put novels, textbooks, and apps that support themes onto each iPad. Students also do assignments on the iPad and record their homework there, too – which makes AZ Academy greener by being more paperless!