Superintendent Update 5/27

 In Branding

Happy Wednesday San Tan Families,

 

As we move into summer I would like to provide some additional information regarding the upcoming school year as well as answers to questions that have been brought to administration’s attention over the past week. When additional information becomes available please know that my team will update appropriately.

 

School Options

San Tan prides itself in providing different learning experiences to meet the needs of families. As of today we have opportunities to participate in our Traditional (K-12), Gifted (K-12), and Montessori (PreK-6) Programs. We are excited to be expanding our Gifted experience down into Kindergarten with the addition of our Kinderversity program as well as the expansion of our Montessori experience up through 6th grade. We have also submitted our request to continue our Home Based Instruction platform for those family who have experienced the benefit of San Tan’s curriculum offerings at home and want to continue. Our Home Based Instruction platform will be offered as a stand-alone home based instructional model or blended with on-campus learning and socialization as well. Please be on the lookout for additional information over the coming weeks.

 

School Openings

San Tan will open our campuses back up to K-12 students Monday June 1st, with the start of our summer programs and the continuation of our preschool program. We understand with the times we are facing regarding COVID-19 that each family needs to carefully evaluate and consider what is the best first for them and what they are comfortable in terms of returning to campus. We understand this decision and fully support every family with this. We have been working with the Governor’s and Superintendent’s office for guidance along with the CDC on our phased opening. I am expecting this week to receive additional guidance for what next year will look like in terms of fully operational schools and will be meeting with our administrative team the week of June 8th.

 

Staff Turnover

The staff retention rate for this school year is 85%.

  • We have 4 staff retiring (3 have requested to be Guest Teachers next year, one is admin)
  • We have 2 moving up to teach at the College Level
  • We have 2 choosing to stay home and take care of their family’s needs
  • We have 8 that have either chosen to leave or were not invited to return

When you break it down it is not as large of a number of staff truly leaving for organizational issues. Adjusting the percentage for “other” reasons out of the school’s control as outlined above, it represents a 92% staff retention; in a typical year we would strive for a 90% retention rate. San Tan has an amazing way of attracting fantastic teachers and we have our hiring down to a San Tan Science. I am confident that the staff we have hired for this coming year will be what you have come to expect from our amazing San Tan staff.

San Tan invests over $25,000 a year for staff appreciation. In addition, this year we conducted staff focus groups to get feedback for needs. Some changes that have been made already include staff representation on our School Board, we have opened up 4 positions for staff members. There was a need for outside curriculum training and support, to meet that need we have partnered with Pearson Education to provide ongoing math training and support. Finally, there was a request to begin updating our curriculum so we brought together a group of teachers to recommend what they would like to see. I am happy to report that we will be investing over $50K next year to update our Math and Science Curriculums K-8.

 

Class Sizes

With the additions and expansions to our Gifted and Montessori programs and the new home building growth that the Morrison Ranch area is experiencing, we are growing too. When Rita and I started San Tan we truly believed that smaller class sizes were key, but defining that has been harder than we originally thought over the years; what is small to one community member is not to another. What I can share is that we have a sliding scale for class caps depending on grades and programs. For example, it is not uncommon to have 30 kiddos in a Montessori classroom because there is a teacher and assistant along with larger classroom spaces. As we fill classrooms over the summer, we have always put two additional kiddos on the roster as people move schools over the summer and forget to tell us that they have moved. So you might see 27 kiddos on a roster but only 24 students on the first day of school.

Below is a breakdown of class Gifted and Traditional caps;

  • Kinder = 22
  • 1st – 6th = 24
  • 7th – 12th = 30

 

Thank you for working together as a community to educate our greatest resources, your kiddos. Rita and I are always overjoyed how our dream of creating something different in the East Valley for our son (who just graduated from San Tan last week) has blossomed into a community that serves over 1,000 students.

Thank you for believing in and catching the dream and paying it forward with us. Together we can continue to make San Tan great for our children and future generations.

 

Educationally Yours,

Kristofer Sippel
CEO/Superintendent of Schools
San Tan Montessori School INC
2013 – 2018 East Valley Tribune Best Charter School
2014 Gilbert Chamber of Commerce Large Business of the Year

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