Tag Archives: Scottsdale

BASIS Schools to open north Phoenix campus

BASIS Schools, Inc. will open a new Phoenix location for the 2012-13 school year. The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools approved the new campus at its meeting yesterday.

BASIS schools have gained national recognition for accelerated curriculum and extraordinary student achievement results. Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post all named BASIS Tucson among the top 10 high schools in the nation and BusinessWeek named BASIS Scottsdale the #1 Arizona [High] School for Overall Academic Performance. The schools were featured in the 2009 documentary “Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution.”

BASIS currently operates schools in Chandler, Flagstaff, Oro Valley, Peoria, Scottsdale and Tucson.

BASIS Phoenix will serve students in grades 5 through 10 in its first year of operation, the 2012-13 school year. The school will add one grade per year until it becomes a 5 -12 campus in the 2014-2015 school year. While a specific site for the new campus has not yet been determined, BASIS representatives are working to secure a location in the north Phoenix area.

“We have had incredible success opening schools in Arizona and we have every reason to believe BASIS Phoenix will follow in the footsteps of its sister schools,” says Nick Fleege, new school development director for BASIS Schools. “Last year we opened three new Arizona campuses – BASIS Chandler, BASIS Flagstaff and BASIS Peoria. We completed construction on time and exceeded enrollment expectations at all three locations.”

“We are so pleased to be able to extend our academic program to students in Phoenix,“ says Sheri Pierce, new schools curriculum director for BASIS Schools. “With the mature BASIS schools earning top spots in national rankings, our goal now is to offer that same great education to more students in Arizona and beyond.”

Registration for the 2012-13 school year will begin in January 2012. Details will be announced to members of the BASIS Phoenix Interest List via email as that time approaches. Add your name to the list by visiting basisschools.org and clicking “Sign Up.”


BASIS opens Chandler campus

BASIS Schools will celebrate the opening of a new campus in Chandler tomorrow with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at which Gov. Jan Brewer will speak.

The BASIS Chandler campus will offer a rigorous curriculum for fifth through 10th grade students this August, expanding to fifth through 12th grades by the fall of 2013.

BASIS has been operating charter schools in Arizona for a decade. The school’s first two campuses opened in Tucson and Scottsdale, and both have received top national rankings by such publications as Newsweek, BusinessWeek, US News and World Report, and the Washington Post. A third campus in Oro Valley opened last year.

The ceremony commences at 9 a.m., and will take place at the new campus, located at 1800 E. Chandler Boulevard.

Seating is limited, so RSVPs are required for the event. To reserve a seat, call 480-289-2088 or email arwynn.gilroy@basiseducation.net. — Sadie Smeck

SRP funds new math, science programs

Salt River Project has donated a total of $124,000 to implement special programs that support math and science education in 29 Arizona schools.

Recipients of Learning Grants by SRP are schools representing elementary through high grades all across the state. Grant funding will enable robotics and engineering courses and clubs, water testing and analysis, ecological conservation programs, gardening projects and more.

Below are just a few examples of the incredible programs being developed at a few of the recipient schools.

Photo courtesy of St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary.

Avondale. St. Thomas Aquinas will implement a program in which students will learn about the role water has played in Arizona’s history, work with water-saving devices and show their parents and fellow students what they’ve learned at a Water Conservation Awareness/Science Night.

Photo courtesy of Verde Valley Montessori.

Cottonwood. Verde Valley Montessori will now have a garden space at the Cottonwood Community Garden. Through the Life Cycle of a Garden Project, students will test soil, chart plant growth, prepare a meal from their crops and donate surplus of the harvest to a local food bank.

Fountain Hills  

Fountain Hills High School engineering students will construct and equip a solar-powered, fully robotic and automated astronomy observatory on the roof of the school’s science building with live Internet video feed. The district’s teachers will have access to the system to use as a teaching tool in their own classroom, and astronomy classes at Fountain Hills High School will also use data and images from the observatory for their own research projects.


Gilbert Elementary will combine social studies and science to create a year-long theme that will incorporate the study of water throughout Arizona’s history. Students will use GPS devices for geocaching treasure hunts, study Theodore Roosevelt Dam, visit the Desert Botanical Garden and more, ending with a “Water Night” for parents and community members.


The Cesar Chavez High School robotics team students will compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (beginning level robotics engineering), FIRST Lego League (intermediate level robotics with an emphasis on climate connections), and FIRST Robotics Competition (an expert level engineering competition involving improving the functionality of a robot system). They will also mentor elementary school students interested in learning about engineering.


Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona math and biology students will gather ecological and hydrological samples from the Nina Mason Pulliam Audubon Rio Salado restoration area in Phoenix. They will compare their data to 2008 data to determine changes in the habitat and hydrology, and will present their findings.


Mountainside Middle School sixth graders will lead a campaign for an energy-free day – “Lights Out Day” – to raise awareness about renewable technologies and saving energy. They will participate in several data analysis activities to determine the cost and energy savings for one day of no-energy use.


Desert Vista High School’s Engineering Academy students will participate in the Shell Eco-Marathon and design hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. They will design and build three test vehicles with the goal of acquiring the highest miles per gallon, comparing different designs, constraints, and materials.

Find the complete list of recipients here. SRP annually gives more than $1.3 million in  contributions to educational programs and partnerships that provide teacher training, mentoring and hands-on learning. For more information, visit srpnet.com/education.

SUSD Preschool expands to south Scottsdale

Last year, the Scottsdale Unified School District moved its preschool, the Early Childhood Campus Cholla, to what used to be the campus of the Cheyenne School in north Scottsdale.

This year, the preschool will expand to include a second location, the Early Childhood Campus Oak, on the existing Sierra Vista Academy campus at 7501 E. Oak St. in south Scottsdale.

Before- and after-school programs are offered at both two locations. The Oak Street campus will also include a Head Start program, a no-cost childhood development program for families in need. Tuition rates will remain the same for infant through pre-K students (ages 1-4).

The preschool will subdivide by age group into three programs, all of which will be taught by certified teaching staff:

The Toddler Program (ages 1-2) promotes early learning, as well as social and physical development.

The Preschool Program (age 3) explores such subjects as introductory literacy, mathematics, science at an age-appropriate pace and level and social and physical development.

The Pre-Kindergarten Program (age 4) aims to prepare each child with the cognitive tools they need to begin kindergarten, with a special focus on developing essential language skills for reading and writing.

About 50 children are expected to fill the new campus’s six classrooms, which will open for school on Aug. 8.

Applications and registration are currently available online at www.suds.org/communityschools. For more information, contact Carla Partridge at 480-484-6223 or cpartridge@susd.org. — Sadie Smeck

Celebrating art, culture and giving back

Camelback Desert School’s Annual Art Walk celebrated innovation and cultural awareness while honoring and raising funds for Japan. Some highlights from last week’s event:

All students in grades 3-8 play violin, so they performed during the walk. Younger students read creative poetry and short stories over the microphone.

Students have been learning about Japan’s food, language, music, history and significant contributions to world culture. They combined their cultural studies with a fundraising effort for tsunami relief and a moment of silence was held  to increase awareness of the still unfolding tragedy.

"Juice for Japan" was just one example of fundraising the students have undertaken to benefit tsunami relief in Japan. On Friday, students could "pay" $1 to wear their regular clothes, instead of school uniforms, with proceeds going to Japan relief.

Of course an Art Walk isn’t complete without art. Here are some examples:

Student sculpture.

Colorful paintings.

“In today’s global marketplace, it’s important for schools to encourage learning through arts, cultural awareness and technology to compete through innovation and ideas,” says Principal Jen Estes.

Camelback Desert School is a preschool-grade 8 private school offering a rigorous, standards-based curriculum with technology focus, small class sizes, personal assessment and learning plans and integration of 21st century skills in academic instruction. The school is located at 9606 E. Kalil Dr. in  Scottsdale. To learn more, call 480-451-3130 or visit camelbackdesertschool.com.

Gateway Academy open house April 2

Gateway Academy is showing off its new facility Saturday from 10am-noon. The school is located at 9659 N. Hayden Rd. (Mountain View Plaza) in Scottsdale. It serves students in grades K-12 who have Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, and  PDD-nos. Because it caters to a specific population, the school can adapt the curriculum as well as the facility to meet students’ needs.

Colors are consistent throughout and the low 6:1 student-teacher ratio keeps classes personal and quiet. Of course not so quiet in the Rock Band class seen below. The amps weren’t plugged in the day I was there but no one plays “Smoke on the Water quietly.

Rock Band at Gateway Academy

Rock band class with Michael Plunkett at left with students and music teacher Gabe Hall-Rodrigues on accordion in the background.

The PE class is adapted so that team sports are individualized.

Geoff Rubin leads a PE class.

As with any school, there is plenty of technology in all classes, including biology (where students do virtual dissections) and math. —Dan Friedman

This area is in the lower school, grades 3-5.