In its 16th year of operation, East Valley Academy, a K-6 charter school in Mesa, continues to make big strides in redefining quality education.
Initiated by husband and wife Ken Ryan and Janet Stoppelmann, who are the school’s sole teachers, East Valley Academy offers a challenging environment with small class sizes — no more than 35 students making up the total enrollment.
“We find that with smaller classrooms students tend to learn best from one another, whereas in classrooms with 30 or more students, students sometimes learn the worst from each other,” said Stoppelmann, who along with Ryan has an extensive background in the education field.
Unlike the typical classroom, East Valley Academy divides its students into two classrooms – one for kindergarten through second grade, and one for grades three through six.
“The structure allows students to learn from one another, with more advanced students helping students that are struggling,” said Stoppelmann.
The school’s overall goal is to provide students with a curriculum that will best prepare them for junior high. In her experience as a teacher, Stoppelmann said often students at the high school level were struggling because they did not learn what they should have during elementary school.
“What I learned is that kids don’t drop out in the 10th grade, they drop out in the third grade,” said Stoppelmann. “If you can’t properly teach children things like reading and writing during elementary school, you’re cheating them, and many of them will drop out later because they’re struggling. Kids who have graduated with us have done extremely well, many receiving scholarships or ending up at the top of their class.”
East Valley Academy is enrolling for the fall semester on Aug. 4, and the first day of school is Aug. 11. Visit http://evacschool.wix.com/chartereva for more information.