Hugh Lorch

Sonoran Sky Elementary School10

Scottsdale, AZ | Maricopa County

Quality
Principal
Teachers
Activities
Parents
Safety

August 9, 2014


Ok, I was trying to post 2 reviews but the system wouldn't let me so I'll try to consolidate. Overall, this school is incredible! 5 Stars, all the way. The staff and teachers all look out for their students and the differentiation is top notch. The parents are involved, technology is used effectively (not too much, not too little). Academics are amazing. We have been thrilled since coming here from a Scottsdale school. It is not perfect and there are bumps along the way but overall Sonoran Sky provides a solid academic foundation and its students are well prepared for middle school and life. Having said all that, I do have to comment on the self-contained program as we came here for this. While it was great at first, it has changed significantly and not for the better. The District's Director is more focused on expanding to other schools and does not have a handle on the inner workings of the program she oversees. SSky does cluster and pull out honors extremely well so if you have a gifted child, I would highly recommend SSky and the honors program. If you feel strongly that your child needs self-contained, consider another school where the District is focusing resources.

Submitted by a parent

August 7, 2014


So let me understand. The 2013-2014 AIMS test results, that were just published, showed SSKY ranked 7th out of 925 Elementary schools in all of Arizona. It also was ranked as #1 in all of PVUSD . This is the highest achievement the school has ever received in all the years the test has been given. This also was accomplished during the first year of a new administration and replacement of teachers that left to other PVUSD schools. I think these results speak for themselves as a rebuttal to the inaccurate and unfair statements concerning the new Principal and a few teachers leaving. A persons prejudice and distortions can be discounted, facts and results cannot.

Submitted by a parent

July 31, 2014


Very misrepresented on school tour. New admin is worse than the old. They are inexperienced, reactionary & ineffective. Cruelty, intimidation & physical violence were excused. Children of those with influence or special diagnoses are protected from consequences while others suffer intimidation, taunts, threats & even physical abuse. Children, including ours, make mistakes, but we believe in addressing those situations to ensure it does not happen again. After a baffling half year struggle with nonresponsive/ineffective admin who could/would not ensure our children were safe and treated fairly, we threw in the towel. So this review is not about being invited back we left to ensure our children are safe with administrators who listen and take appropriate action. There are enough choices that are so much better I advise you to keep looking. There are many teachers in the lower grades - three are new and struggling with classroom dynamics. I wouldn't risk it.

Submitted by a parent

June 18, 2014


I got my sons scores today and we WILL be changing schools. I believed the hype, that things were still good and the school was not lacking. My child is gifted and all his teachers left. I wish we had gone with them. Now we have a wasted year and have to start over. I urge you to do what is best for your child. I wish I had.

Submitted by a parent

May 23, 2014


Whomever wrote the review about declining test scores and saying the school is going the "traditional route" is writing about the wrong school (there are at least 2 elementary schools named Sonoran Sky in AZ alone). Look at the Test Scores on this page. Yes, there is some fluctuation but, for the most part, scores are improving. With respect to technology, the school has a well-defined commitment to teaching 21st century skills. There are IPads and Chrome books for every class and we have a terrific full-time tech teacher with whom each kid spends at least one class period each week. Whole language, multiple intelligences, phonics, and many other teaching methods are employed, including, but by no means limited to, "traditional" ones. If you are considering this school (the one in Scottsdale), the best advice I can give is to ignore all these reviews and take a tour. Visit the dedicated science lab, the computer labs, the classrooms (each with computer stations), connect to the on-campus WiFi, meet with our principal, see the outdoor classroom, and then decide for yourself. Ask for the name of a PTO person to connect with to answer the rest of your questions.

Submitted by a parent

May 9, 2014


Sonoran Sky has really changed. Test scores have declined and they have taken the focus off technology. They are currently going the "traditional school" route, which I don't like and neither do my kids. We will be looking for a more modern option for the fall. I left a glowing review previously, but it really isn't the same school any longer.

Submitted by a parent

April 19, 2014


As these reviews pertain to an elementary school, let s do some simple elementary math. When you have at least 39 qualified teachers and staff, and 4 of them leave to start a new program at a new school that represents a change of staff of less than 10%. Simple statistical analysis shows that though 10% of a whole is worth mentioning, it is far, far from being notable or significant. So when reviewers, or one repetitive reviewer states ALL the good teachers left , their reason for making that nonobjective, exaggerated statement must be taken with less than a grain of salt . You can only conclude that there is some other agenda for those comments. Remember why those 4 teachers left; factually stated above. It is commonly known, even today, that Sonoran Sky has a reputation throughout the district and community for producing students who are well prepared and able to meet 21st Century educational requirements. This also is a fact borne out by AIMS test results and AZ State Certification. One more math problem to ponder is when the student population is maintained or continually grows than statically speaking the education being provided must be maintaining its high standards.

Submitted by a parent

April 14, 2014


Sonoran Sky was a really good school before all the good teachers left. They went to another school in the district. Now we are left with teachers counting the days until retirement. The principal has not been responsive to my concerns. I keep calling and his secretary makes excuses. If you are looking for a challenging school, I suggest looking elsewhere.

Submitted by a parent

April 8, 2014


Sonoran Sky in Scottsdale is a wonderful, challenging and nurturing environment. We are extremely happy with this school. The Principal is warm and very engaged. The VP is committed to promoting STEM. The PTO is extremely active and focused on supporting the teachers and students. They just approved funding a dedicated science lab and a separate outdoor classroom. Meetings are open to everyone and ALL parents are automatically members of the PTO! No mandatory dues, donations or "Community Investment Funds." The school focuses on teaching the individual child and works very hard to make sure each student is being appropriately challenged. They also devote time to character building. The teachers are very experienced and work as a team - so you get a whole staff educating your child not just one teacher. When you walk through the halls - they know you and your child. There is a full-time nurse and librarian. Diverse student body. The enrichment programs are amazing. Dedicated "specials" teachers in art, music, P.E., technology, gifted specialist, pull-out honors classes and so many other wonderful things that are "extras" anywhere else.

Submitted by a parent

April 4, 2014


Sonoran Sky was a school that welcomed our family and made us feel at home. Until this year. At the beginning of the school year, parents were asked what they liked best about the school, and the PTO took that information and seemed to do exactly the opposite of what was asked. Recently, they completely upended the administration, resulting in the loss of a wonderful principal. Since that time, there have been many other losses to the community, teacher resignations, long-term families leaving. If you are looking for a challenging academic environment for your well-adjusted child, look elsewhere.

Submitted by a parent

March 23, 2014


As you can tell by all of these comments, there is a great deal of unhappiness and power struggle at this school. This is not a healthy environment for students or teachers to be in. My children attended this school, and now they do not (thank goodness for open enrollment). The best part about the anonymity of this forum is that retaliation cannot occur by certain individuals. My experience and opinion is that this school currently falls short of providing a quality education to their students.

Submitted by a parent

March 20, 2014


The great thing about public schools is that you can choose which one you want to attend through open enrollment. If you're not happy with Sonoran Sky, then go to another school!

Submitted by a parent

March 20, 2014


No, all our good teachers did not leave. To offer a comprehensive list of our good teachers would be impossible, because I can personally vouch for the dedication and caring of each and every one of them, as well as the staff, the aides, and the volunteers. Principal Dawson is a fantastic, empathetic, firm, fair, and honest leader for whom I cannot have more admiration and respect. Our building overflows with and benefits greatly from the support of our parent volunteers. If there is something else you feel can be done to improve Sonoran Sky, then I encourage you to step forward and do it, or offer your input in a constructive manner versus a destructive one. PTO meetings are the first Tuesday of every month in the Sky Lab of the library, where you can provide just as much input and influence as any other parent volunteer. We could do so much more with your help.

Submitted by a parent

March 16, 2014


I am not impressed with the school, teachers, or principal. Communication is subpar at best. I am not referring to the school emails sent, but the actual communication a parent needs from a teacher regarding their child's performance in class. I haven't found assignments to be engaging for the students. Occasionally, a project will arise and will spark a small interest, but that seems to only be the case because the general assignments are bland and distinctively AIMS driven. I also find it strange many teachers seem unwilling to regularly allow a parent volunteer into their actual classroom. This seems counterintuitive, considering a well managed volunteer is easily an asset to both the teacher and the class, simply by freeing up the teacher s time to concentrate on students that need more individualized attention. I find the lack of individualized attention is the primary issue with this school. There are interesting options available to students via the Community Ed program; that being said, it hardly makes up for the lack of creativity and individual attention in the classroom environment. The principal -he's hands off and has no control of his staff or the PTO.

Submitted by a parent

January 29, 2014


I strongly disagree with this report. While truly a lot of really good teachers did leave Sonoran Sky, they were replaced with extremely talented educators and an amazing Principal. When a door closes, another one always opens.

Submitted by a parent

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