What is the difference between a public charter school and a public traditional district school?
Charter schools and traditional schools are both tuition-free public schools that are publicly funded and required to comply with all state and federal laws.
Charter schools are held accountable to the same state instructional standards and standardized testing as traditional public schools.
The main difference is that charter schools are an independent entity, established to develop a particular focus and mission while still being held accountable for improved student achievement.
Charter schools accept all students, including students with disabilities and English-language learners regardless of prior academic performance.
“Arizona charter schools have also raised the bar academically. From 2015 to 2021, charter schools had higher State test score passing rates than the state average. Nearly every racial and ethnic subgroup of students in every grade level posted higher pass rates in charter schools than their district peers. Use the dashboard below to explore trends in State Test Scores 2015 to 2021.” (Arizona Charter Schools Association) https://azcharters.org/impact/
Who can attend Sonoran Schools?
Our schools are open to all Arizona students and are not restricted to students from any boundary area.
Do you have bus service?
Some of our schools provide bus service. Please contact the school in which you are interested to discuss transportation options.
Are your schools part of the federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program?
Yes, the Free and Reduced Federal Lunch Program is available at all brick and mortar Sonoran Schools.
Is there a hot lunch program?
Yes, there is a hot lunch program at all brick and mortar Sonoran Schools. Hot lunch is provided using a catering company that has been approved by the state. The catering company is required to follow the same food safety regulations as traditional school on-site catering services.
Are uniforms required?
Yes, uniforms are required at all brick and mortar campuses. Uniforms comprise school logo tops and restrictions on bottoms (colors and style). School uniform tops are affordable priced and ordered online through a third-party vendor.
What are the qualifications of your teachers?
We require our teachers to be certified in their specific academic content area or, at minimum, to hold a Bachelor’s degree and complete exams/certifications specific to the subject they are teaching. A Master’s degree is highly preferred, and many of our teachers hold Master’s Degrees as well as additional specialty certifications. Depending on subject area, many teachers are also required to hold a certification of Highly Qualified through the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments or National Evaluation Series testing processes.
Due to the ongoing teacher shortage, in rare instances (e.g. to fill a hard to fill position, such as physics) an individual who does not meet our minimum criteria but who does meet the state of Arizona’s criteria may be hired.
Do all your teachers have fingerprint clearance?
All school personnel are required to hold a current Arizona IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card.
How do you challenge students who are ahead of their peers?
We use different methods, depending on the student, school and subject: we place students according to skill level in math and use in-class differentiated instruction and individualized learning programs. High school students can take Advanced Placement classes and Dual Enrollment classes to earn college credit while still in high school.
What type of support is offered for a student who is struggling academically?
One-on-one support is always available with individual teachers, academic advisors and learning specialists. We also offer free after-school tutoring, home visits, homework clubs and special interest clubs and activities to keep students motivated and succeeding. Our instructional methods include in-class differentiated instruction and individualized learning, which means that instruction is tailored to each student’s unique needs. For struggling students, we have a structured Response To Intervention program at all of our schools.
Are high school students permitted to leave campus for lunch?
Our campuses are closed and secure campuses. All K-10 students remain on the school grounds for lunch. Depending on the campus, juniors and seniors may leave for lunch after all appropriate forms and parental permissions have been received and approved.
How do you communicate with parents?
The methods all schools use to communicate with parents include:
- Parent-Teacher individual meetings, emails, and calls, and formal parent-teacher conferences
- Weekly or monthly principal newsletters
- Email and phone announcements
- Infinite Campus and Schoology, our student information systems where parents can check academic progress, absences, discipline information, etc.
- Home visits
- Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter
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