- Neighborhood Boundaries – Our school has no attendance boundaries and students from all over Tucson and the surrounding areas are encouraged to apply for open enrollment. Every student at Innovation Academy is open enrolled and has gone through the same application process.
- This year – Parents who wish to enroll their child for the current school year should complete an “Open Enrollment” form and submit it online. Expect to be on a waitlist for the current year. You will be notified as soon as a space becomes available. Complete the same form for next year if you wish to be in the drawing, held in January.
- Next year – Parents who wish to enroll their child for the school year starting in August should complete an “Open Enrollment” form and submit it online. Forms are accepted from August – January 15th of the previous school year and a drawing is held in mid-January. Letters are sent in January to inform parents if their child has been accepted OR if they are on a waitlist.
- Acceptance – No testing is required for admittance. Innovation Academy follows the strict admittance guidelines which have been set forth by the School Board of Amphitheater Public Schools. NOTE: There is a registration deadline that must be met in order to secure your child’s spot.
- Transportation Form – Every student must have a transportation plan in place (form is available in the front office). Please make every effort to stick to your plan. If you need to make a change to your plan, please email the front office.
- Drop-off/Pick-up – Students may be dropped off and picked-up in the designated drop-off loop at the front of the school. We ask that parents stay in their car for this procedure as it makes things move along much more quickly. Pick-up is (usually) completed within fifteen minutes after the dismissal bell. We appreciate your patience.
- School Bus – Bus transportation (to and/or from school) is available from any of the 12 elementary or K-8 schools within the Amphitheater School District. Parent/guardian must take the student to the neighborhood school and see that they are put on the bus.
- Late/Tardy – If you arrive at school and the gate is closed, please park your car and walk in with your child. If you are running a few minutes late, there is no need to call the office. If your child will be more than a few minutes late, please call the front office.
- Absent – If your child will be absent, please call or email the school office. You may also wish to inform the teacher, but it is paramount that you let the office know.
- Leaving Early – If you must pull your child out of school early, please come to the front office. Remember to leave enough time for us to find your child’s class; as they may not be in the classroom. We will not call students out of class within fifteen minutes of the afternoon bell.
Parent/Guardian on Campus
- Volunteering – Parents/guardians are welcome to volunteer in a child’s classroom or on field trips. Arrangements must be made with the teacher prior to volunteering on campus.
- Visiting – Parent/guardians who are on the registration documentation are welcome to join students for lunch; though they are not permitted on the playground. If you wish to give permission for a visitor to come to lunch who is NOT on your child’s registration, please email the front office. (For example: Grandma is in from out of town and wants to visit for lunch)
- Birthdays – Please do not deliver balloons or flowers to school for your child. Instead, contact your child’s teacher to make arrangements to send pre-packaged snacks and treats. Treats must be individually wrapped by the manufacturer and have nutrition information on the package. Every classroom is different, so please do contact your child’s teacher. Party invitations will not be handed-out, unless every student will receive one. If you are having a party for your child and are only inviting a few students, we ask that you make those arrangements outside of the classroom.
- Holiday Parties – Every classroom is different and every teacher observes holidays differently. If you would like to make arrangements to help with a party or to have your child abstain from a holiday celebration, please contact your child’s teacher. We are happy to make accommodations.
- Where is the school located? The school is located in the Rancho Vistoso neighborhood in Oro Valley off of La Canada Dr. north of Moore Rd. The address is 825 W. Desert Fairways Dr., Oro Valley, AZ 85755.
- How many students can attend the school? The school has been designed to hold 500 students in grades K-5, or roughly 80 students per grade level.
- Why was the school built in this location? Back in 1987, when the planned community, Rancho Vistoso, was platted, two sites were set aside for schools. This land was donated to Amphitheater Public Schools by the developers and the district owns the land. One of those sites is the one on which the new STEM school was built. The other site sits in a location which still has no access via paved roads. In addition, the area surrounding this new site is one where future construction is likely. An area within a five-mile radius of the site is currently planned for 3,800 new homes over the next 10 years.
- Why a STEM school? Why did the district decide to build a STEM school? The mission of the district is to empower all students to become contributing members of society, equipped with the skills, knowledge, and values necessary to meet the challenges of a changing world. By the time students currently in elementary school graduate, roughly 60% of jobs will involve skill sets associated with science, math, engineering, or technology.
- What makes this a “STEM” school? Although STEM curriculum is available in ALL of our schools, the opportunity to build a school from the “ground up” which has the proper facilities and classrooms that have been designed with these STEM strategies in mind is unique. All instruction will incorporate some facet of science, technology, engineering and math, and the Scientific Method and the Engineering Design Process will be consistent themes throughout the learning experience. We have also designed the school to have spaces which are specifically designed for students to build, create, and explore science. Although the sciences will be incorporated into all aspects of learning, students will also receive a full well-rounded elementary education with reading, writing, social studies, art, music and physical education.
- How are the learning environments designed? The school building design is completely geared toward a STEM education. The school has three core instructional areas: one for kindergarten and first grade (Youngers), one for second and third grades (Middlers), and one for fourth and fifth grades (Olders). The youngers area has larger classroom spaces which will allow for more hands-on learning and projects within the comfort and security of their own classroom. The middlers and olders instructional areas each have six classrooms designed around a common learning area with space provided for small group activities and presentations in the center of the building, outside the classroom, but still within the safe oversight of their teachers. In addition, the middlers and olders buildings have large learning lab/maker spaces where teachers can work with their students on experiments and projects in a larger, specially equipped area with adequate storage space for materials and student work. These rooms have adequate electrical, sink/water, and technology connections. All three core instructional buildings have an outdoor learning space as well with water harvesting tanks, built in garden spaces, and places for students to conduct experiments and work together.
- How will it differ from the STEM curriculum being taught in other schools? All of our elementary schools have increased the amount of time children spend learning science. In addition, all teachers have received a “Science Guide” which provides resources for teaching science. Last school year, we added engineering basics at the elementary level district wide. Teachers in all our schools will have some training in STEM, and many teachers have already received training from the Arizona Science Center in this area. Teachers at the STEM school, however, focus their curriculum around STEM related topics and will dedicate more time to STEM related projects and activities. We have designed the school facility to have spaces which are specifically designed for students to build, create, and do science. All of the teachers in the new school will receive additional training and will specialize in STEM.
- What do children do in these STEM designed spaces? Students will have an opportunity to create, experiment and problem-solve based on a combination of guided lessons and student interest. Students will build, experiment, create, test, improve designs, experiment with materials, collaborate, and present their findings. For example, concrete slopes at various angles will be built into outdoor classroom areas to allow for experimentation in physics. Measurements of height in standard measurement and metrics will be marked on posts or walls, blank timelines will allow for students to post their research on historical events, circles on the floor of the physical education building will assist in teaching circumference and radius, places to hang pulleys will be accessible, and maker labs will be equipped to foster scientific and engineering design thinking.
- Will you still offer classes in fine arts (art, music, etc.) and physical education? Yes, we will still provide a comprehensive foundation in reading, writing, and social studies, and instruction in art, music and physical education, which are essential components of a quality elementary education. This school design incorporates the arts with the inclusion of a large art room with outdoor creative space and a music room with access to a performance area. Students will also have physical education classes in a gymnasium as well as outdoor fields and courts. Some schools now are adding an “A” (for the arts) to their STEM-focus model, which we are doing. However, we will still call this school a “STEM” school rather than a “STEAM” school because it is more commonly known.
- Will my child have to take a test to be admitted? No testing is required for admittance. It is strictly an open enrollment school and students will be enrolled on a first come, first-served basis.
- Will this school be able to accommodate students with special needs? Like all other schools in our district, all student services will be provided – gifted, English Language Learners (ELL), special education, speech therapy, etc.
- Are there special credentials/qualifications that teachers at this school will have? Yes, we have specifically designed a new job description for STEM school teachers. We want to hire teachers who have a background in STEM and experience implementing STEM-focused lessons.