East Valley Academy K-6: No Common Core!
If you are the conscientious parent of a child/children in grades K-6 and live in Mesa, please consider this highly rated public charter school. East Valley Academy, 1858 E. Brown Road, is a small school sitting on an acre of land in a house that's been converted into classrooms. The school's leadership has steadfastly refused to incorporate the inferior Common Core and its adherence to "factory learning." All parents opted their children out of AzMERIT, the "high stakes test" that has never been validated or proven to be reliable.
Yet, for the past three years running, every student in EVA has met or exceeded every standard in reading, writing, math, and science across all grades K-6. EVA has a 100% passing rate. In fact, the school has been rated the #1 performing charter school in Arizona. Kindergartners learn to read by Christmas. In some classes, grades 3-6 learn together, at different levels. It isn't uncommon for a competitive 10-year old to strive to understand what the older kids are studying.
Sixth graders are required to complete 150 math problems a week, on top of daily, timed math facts drills. Perhaps that’s why one of EVA's graduates will be taking Algebra I at Heritage Academy this Fall as a seventh grader, with the opportunity to earn high school credit for the effort. To earn a citizenship pin, students in grades 3-6 must score 80% or better to pass the the same test that the State Department/Immigration and Naturalization requires of legal immigrants seeking citizenship. In contrast, the state of Arizona requires a minimal score of 60% for high school seniors to graduate.
I recently took a tour of EVA and was delighted to see books everywhere, including a set of encyclopedias, Open Court Readers, Harcourt Brace, Child Craft, Random House Classics, Baltimore Calvert, Saxon Math, Virgil Hillyer's A Chid's History of the World, Ed. Hirsch K-8, Frontline phonics, and much more.
You can find many of these books at very reasonable prices on amazon.com. Stick with editions previous to 2010. In order to remain competitive and stay in business, some of the newer editions have been forced to align with Common Core. East Valley Academy refuses to use any of the newer editions, however.
You won't find any computers at EVA that distract children from the joy of learning. There are no online textbooks and other reading materials that are inaccessible to the public.
There is, however, a huge globe of planet Earth in the main room, which is important in studying Geography. EVA uses the Gestalt method, so children learn everything possible about a particular continent, including its geographical location, geology, culture, food, language, flora, fauna, music, history, etc. (Yes, that's the principal Janet Ryan with a didgeridoo.)
Children study two continents every year. In academic year 2014-2015, students studied Europe and Asia. They also studied 100 years of modern history (from 1914-present) concurrent with the study of those continents.
Outside, there is a play yard, and girls have their own clubhouse, as do the boys. There's a basketball court, and a balcony for plays, such as Romeo and Juliet.
You won't find any sex education or gender identity (aka gender "confusion") classes in any of the coursework. What you will find are classes in vocabulary, spelling, math, history, science, geography, etc. And a lot of happy, well educated children.
Parents can contact the school at 480-946-3071 during the summer. Please leave a message, and Mr. or Mrs. Ryan will get back with you to arrange a tour and an interview. Click HERE to go to East Valley Academy's website.