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Super Excited!

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We feel so incredibly blessed. For months now, we've known that we had won a spot in the Kindergarten lottery at a local charter school that is less than 2 miles down the road. They have earned an "A" rating from the state. They teach Core Knowledge Science, History, and Literature, Singapore Math, and have great P.E. and Music programs. It wasn't my first choice, though, for three reasons: They began as an elementary school, and though they are now slowly expanding into the middle grades, I don't see a clear vision of where they would like to "go;" They currently only have the one location, and we are hoping to move back to central Phoenix in the next few years; Their language arts program is "their own design," and seems a bit iffy. All I saw on the walls when I walked through twice were sight words. All that being said, I'm sure my son would have done well there, but now we have been given a second amazing opportunity: he has been offered a spot at a new (to this location) elementary school in the Great Hearts charter network. This particular location has had an upper school for some time, (In fact my much younger brother-in-law attended it) and they are now building a new building which will house the upper school and a new "Archway" lower school.


Despite the misgivings of it being a brand-new school (it is quite literally still being built), we are super excited. For one, they teach Spalding Phonics, Spelling, and Grammar. They also use the Core Knowledge sequence in History, Literature, and Science, as well as Singapore Math. Most importantly for our sons' future (the younger will be entering KG in two years), they have several locations in the Phoenix valley, including one very close to where we used to live (and wish to live again).


Anywho... this isn't really a question as such, just an update. The new location will be 9 minutes away from us, so we don't have to worry about extended commutes as I had previously mentioned.


I will be before/afterschooling with Miquon, Dreambox, and various fun things like iPad apps and Mathtacular. I'm not sure how to best encourage him in reading/spelling. I will have to see how he takes to Spalding. Most other elementary schools in the charter network use Riggs. I guess they leave it up to the head of school to choose between the two options. I had expected we would have Riggs at this school, as well, so it will require a bit of readjustment but hopefully not too much. For now we're just plowing through library books, and perhaps we'll return to the last two series of books from 3rplus.com. I may have him do the Explode the Code books as spelling books, because it would offer an opportunity for my second son to learn alongside my first. (He would be reading and spelling with letter magnets/tiles, the older would be writing). I had planned on using AAS if we were staying at the independent charter nearest us, and was really looking forward to teaching it to both boys simultaneously. I may just use the Simplex Spelling apps (there is a new CVC one coming out soon that would be the ideal 1st level) to do a makeshift AAS.


I love that the school uses the Core Knowledge sequence, because I can look at that in advance and know which topics they'll be discussing. We can plan our library books/documentaries/field trips around that.


The school teaches Spanish as a living language precursor to Latin, which they'll begin in the middle grades. I'm excited for that, as well. The other charter does French, which while very beautiful is not nearly as practical in this part of the world.



FYI: http://greatheartsaz.org/


This network is hoping to expand into other states, as well, so if you have charter laws conducive to new organizations, I recommend that you petition them (and your state) to consider a new location.

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Congratulations!! It is so nice to have choices available regarding where to send your kid to school. A year ago my son won a space in a lottery to attend a high performing magnet school in our district. I remember running to the mailbox after work to check the mail. It seems like Arizona has some really high performing charter schools. I wish we had more options here.

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