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Articles from December 2015

Laveen Elementary School District Breaks Ground on Eighth School

The Laveen Elementary School District broke ground on its eighth school September 28, 2015.

The new school is located within the Paseo Point community near 55th Avenue and Dobbins. The future school will hold up to 1,000 students in Grades PK-8. It will feature a U-shaped, two-story classroom wing allowing for separation of grade levels, three preschool rooms with a separate play area, STEM classrooms, art and music rooms, and a second floor library with window views. The new school will offer a dual language program in Spanish.

The school is necessary as the other seven Laveen schools are quickly nearing capacity. “The district has grown by 900 students since the last school opened in 2012,” explained district superintendent Dr. Bill Johnson.  “The Arizona School Facilities Board estimates that Laveen will grow by an additional 3,000 students over the next 10 years.”

The site was acquired by the district in 2007 with funding through the Arizona School Facilities Board. Construction will cost $13 million and is being fronted by the district. “Unfortunately, due to legislation passed in 2013, the state will no longer approve new construction until student enrollments have reached or exceeded maximum capacity,” Johnson said. “This law does not take into account the time it takes to actually design and build a new school. We cannot let our schools become overcrowded and so we are relying on our local community to start the project.” Laveen has a bond question on the November ballot that, if approved, would help offset the cost.

The school was designed by EMC2 Architects and is being constructed by Chasse Building Team. It will open in August 2016.

Photos from the event can be found on the district’s flickr page.


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Laveen Exceeds Technology Goal

The Laveen Elementary School District met their goal of achieving a 2:1 student to computer device ratio. Rogers Ranch, which is a STEM-focused school boasts a 1:1 student to computer ratio.

Students in Kindergarten and 1st grade use iPads; all other grade levels use Chromebooks. All classrooms have a document camera, speakers, and a projector.

“Arizona’s academic standards require students to use technology and digital media to research, collaborate, and demonstrate their learning. Our students are getting daily practice to prepare them for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society,” said Executive Director for Academic Services Kathy Davis. “Our English language arts and mathematics curriculum both have a digital platform so students can use the technology to access these resources online.”

In addition to managing these thousands of devices, the Laveen technology department spent the summer adding even more technology.

One hundred SMART Boards were installed in K-3 classrooms. At the start of this school year, every K-8 classroom and resource teacher was equipped with a SMART Board. SMART Boards act as interactive whiteboards and allow students to manipulate the screen by touch, similar to that of an iPad. They help keep students engaged through physical participation in the lesson.

Additionally, 1,800 iPads were reconfigured to allow for centralized management and app distribution. Over 900 additional Chromebooks were also purchased to maintain the district’s 2:1 student to device ratio.

New internal systems were launched this summer as well, including a new point-of-sale system for all school cafeterias and a new employee time clock system. The previous systems were antiquated and did not communicate with each other as well as needed.

The increased technology was made possible by Laveen voters who approved a capital override in 2012.  “Our students are fortunate that the community believed in and supported the added technology,” said Laveen Superintendent Dr. Bill Johnson. “It will undoubtedly better prepare them for high school, college, and beyond.”


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