About SVA

We are a free, public charter online K-8 school based on the award-winning school program housed at Sonoran Science Academy – Tucson.

We seek to provide a rigorous STEM education in an innovative online learning environment through: 

  • Rigorous curriculum and instruction 
  • Hands-on, student-centered learning
  • Innovative educational technology and proven online instructional methods
  • Academic and social – emotional supports for struggling students 
  • Strong, trusting relationships between all school stakeholders
  • A talented and dedicated staff of educators 
  • A safe, small-school environment

Dr. Kaitlin Lira
[email protected]

Learn more at an information session


What is the curriculum offered at SVA?

SVA’s curriculum mimics the curriculum of Sonoran Science Academy Tucson, which is consistently rated an A school by the Arizona Department of Education. Beginning in kindergarten, the curriculum is designed to educate the whole child and engage students in their learning.

Students in K-5 enjoy Art, Computer Science, and P.E. in addition to the four core subjects: Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Our teachers use the following core curriculum based on Arizona State Content Standards: Open Up EL Education for language arts, Ready Classroom for math, Amplify for science, and McGraw Hill for social studies.

The curriculum in middle school also enriches student learning with Art, Music, P.E., Foreign Language, and Computer Science. Our teachers use the following core curriculum based on Arizona State Content Standards: Engage NY for language arts, Carnegie and Open Up for math, Amplify for Science, and McGraw Hill for Social Studies.

Students who participate in our English Learner program receive specialized Structured English Instruction through a pull-out model. Students with IEPs receive services as outlined in their IEP document, although it is important to note that all IEP services are provided online through Zoom.

What opportunities does SVA offer for high-achieving students to be challenged?

SVA’s curriculum includes accelerated math classes for elementary and middle school students and the option for students to earn a high school elective credit for foreign language in middle school.

The goal of SVA, as with all Sonoran Schools, is to ensure every student is challenged appropriately and that no limits are placed on a student’s capacity to learn.

Is there a Gifted Program for elementary school students?

Yes! In addition to the option of accelerated math, SVA has a structured program for assessing students in grades K-5 for participation in a Gifted Program which will operate on a similar schedule to specials such as art or computer science.

Parents will have the opportunity to recommend their child be tested for their eligibility for this program early in semester 1. The only exception is incoming kindergartners who are eligible to test in semester 2 and, if they meet the requirements, to begin participating in the program at the beginning of 1st grade.

SVA will use the CoGAT to assess students. To qualify for the program, students need to achieve a score of 97% in one of the three sub-tests (verbal, non-verbal, quantitative). A composite score of 95% will also qualify students for the program. Parents of students who qualified for gifted services at a previous school may provide proof of testing and program qualification to SVA.

What is the instruction delivery method for SVA?

In recognizing that learning online is fundamentally different from learning face to face in a bricks and mortar classroom, Sonoran Virtual Academy (SVA) primarily utilizes synchronous learning opportunities to ensure a comprehensive educational experience for SVA students.

Synchronous instruction is live, real-time instruction that facilitates face to face interaction between the student, the teacher, and the class.

What are SVA’s school hours?

SVA is different from most online schools in that most of our instruction is conducted live on Zoom. Students follow a typical bell schedule with a lot of interaction with their classmates and teachers. SVA Elementary starts at 8am daily, while the Middle School starts at 8:15am. Bell schedules can be viewed on the ‘Parents’ page. Students will have some asynchronous assignments and online learning software to complete outside of class, similar to homework at any other school.

SVA follows the same school calendar as all Tucson-area Sonoran Schools, with the same school holidays, half days, and breaks.

What is the class size?

All of our classes are capped at 25 students, but many classes have far fewer students. We pride ourselves on providing individualized attention and instruction to our students. Our small class sizes allow the teachers to get to know students both personally and academically in order to best serve them.

What system does SVA use for online instruction?

SVA utilizes a variety of research-based, effective digital instruction strategies, appropriately balanced, to engage online students. That instruction is primarily delivered using Schoology (a Learning Management System) with Zoom access for all live classes. SVA students also access supplemental online educational programs via Clever, a single sign-on platform, and use G-Suite for Education’s products. Elementary students have access to an online coding program, online typing program, iReady for math and language arts, and EPIC reading. Elementary teachers also use other educational programs such as Xtra math to supplement as needed. Middle school students have access to educational platforms for online coding, CommonLit language arts practice, and other programs as determined by our teachers.

Are there any field trips?

Yes! Field trips are an integral and valued component of a student’s educational experience at all Sonoran Schools and this will be the same for SVA students. Field trips enrich curriculum, strengthen observation skills, increase knowledge, and expand student awareness.

SVA faculty will have a plethora of virtual field trips to choose from and the field trip expectation of SVA faculty will be the same as it is at all Sonoran Schools. Students in each grade level will have the opportunity to take two virtual field trips each year that engage students in guided, grade-appropriate learning and provide real world applications. Most virtual field trips will happen during online classes, but students will also have the chance to join optional, in person field trips on weekends.

Does SVA offer tutoring?

SVA students at all grade levels are able to access free tutoring sessions after school through Zoom. The tutoring schedule can be found on our website under parent resources.

Does SVA offer extracurricular opportunities?

Yes! Students have opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, both online and in person. Some extracurriculars, such as basketball, are site-based. Students may join site-based extracurricular activities offered at any bricks and mortar Sonoran School.

Other extracurricular programs are accessible to SVA’s students online.

My child is currently enrolled at another Sonoran School. Do I have to pick up any records from the current school or they will be automatically transferred to SVA?

Just like moving your child to any new school, all students must apply for   enrollment at SVA. Go to sonoranschools.infinitecampus.org/campus/OLRLoginKiosk/sonoran to complete and submit   an enrollment application.

 Once accepted to SVA, you need to notify your current school that your student   will be attending SVA next year so they may provide you with a withdrawal form.   SVA will request your student’s records from your student’s current school and   records will be electronically transferred.

Does SVA provide a computing device for my child?

SVA’s online instruction program is accessible from any device such as a   Chromebook or personal laptop. 

 SVA will provide a school-issued Chromebook to any student, upon parent request,   who needs a device. SVA will also provide guidance and support for any family   who does not have internet access.

 School-issued Chromebooks are the property of the School. Parents and students   issued a Chromebook will be required to acknowledge the School’s Chromebook   Use Agreement. How the Chromebook will be issued to the student will depend on   the student’s location.

 At all Sonoran Schools, families are asked to support every student’s access to   technology by voluntarily paying a Technology Fee. Payment of this fee is not   required for acceptance or attendance at SVA and a waiver, available from the   Principal, will be provided to any family who cannot or does not wish to pay the   fee.

 However, this fee is Arizona School Tax Credit eligible, which means you may claim   it as a credit on your Arizona taxes, and we hope you will consider supporting SVA   by paying the Technology Fee as follows:

 $80 each student for the first two students in a family; $0 for each subsequent   student in the family 

 $40 each student for the first two students in a family who qualify for free and   reduced lunch (FRL); $0 for each subsequent student in the family.

Is there a school uniform requirement for SVA?

No. SVA students are held accountable to the general dress code standards for   all Sonoran Schools when attending classes on Zoom, but uniforms will not be   required.

Does SVA faculty have specialized training specific to delivering SVA’s online curriculum?

Yes! All teachers participate in curriculum training prior to the start of each   school year as well as ongoing weekly professional development. SVA teachers   have specialized knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in a virtual   setting. All of our teachers have had at least one year of experience teaching fully   online, and they are expected to continuously improve in their teaching practice   and expertise with online instruction. 

How is SVA different than the distance learning provided by many Arizona schools during the COVID pandemic?

The necessity of providing distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic as   one of three instructional model choices was an invaluable experience and   provided the catalyst in the decision to apply to open a dedicated online   instructional program, as evaluated and approved by the Arizona State Board for   Charter Schools. As such, SVA offers a comprehensive STEM and college-prep   education to Arizona families who wish their child to learn exclusively online.

Are there any in-person opportunities for students to interact with each other and their teachers?

students to interact in person. Elementary students will also be invited to   optional weekend field trips throughout Arizona. The middle and high school   students are invited to after school activities at Sonoran Science Academy Tucson.   Some examples are monthly Friday movie nights, athletic events, and dances.

Learn more at an information session

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