Kyrene de las Brisas is located in a quiet residential community in Chandler, Arizona, adjacent to beautiful Desert Breeze Park. The name Brisas means “gentle wind”, and our school mascot is the gecko, both reflective of our native desert habitat. In 1994 we opened our doors to welcome our first 341 students; we have now grown serving over 800 preschool to 5th grade students. We are a child-focused, family-friendly school, recognized as an A+ School of Excellence™, which continues to engage parents in every aspect their children’s education.
Our facility and grounds are uniquely designed with Brisas in one wing and Aprende Middle School in another with a shared media center in the middle. Just inside our front gate is our Peaceful Garden with plots tended lovingly by students and staff. Our distinctive courtyard exemplifies our school’s spirit. It contains a heart shaped mosaic tribute to retired Brisas staff; four colorful mosaic wall designs handmade by our inaugural student body; and hand-painted legacy tiles created by Brisas families which embellish the masonry walls that divide this inviting outside area used for instruction and school events.
We are particularly proud of our accomplished staff’s commitment to on-going professional development. In 2010-2011, we became the first school in our district to implement Thinking Maps®, a teaching and learning strategy that promotes critical thinking, an essential 21st century skill. In 2011-2012, Brisas became the first school in our district to have 100% of our teachers trained in Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI). In 2011-2012, Brisas staff also completed a total of 1,879 hours dedicated to their professional growth. Brisas also boasts two National Board Certified Teachers and a Silver Apple Award winner. In addition, Brisas is a teacher training campus mentoring 19 interns and 26 student teachers in 2011-2012 including the Student Teacher Achievement of the Year recipient. With so many master teachers, it takes someone like our principal Christie Winkelmann, an amazing, energetic and visionary leader, to support and guide our students and staff to continually accomplish our goals.
At Brisas, we recognize that our charge is to educate the whole child and lead our students to become responsible and productive citizens with strong character. Our challenge is to ensure students know that they are important and have unique gifts to give the world. By empowering students to become the leaders of tomorrow, we can make real our Vision of students, who love learning, strive to reach their potential, and have PEACE in their hearts and minds.
Recognized as an Excelling School since 2005, we’ve set the standard for excellence in all that we do. We are proud of our history of outstanding student achievement with AIMS scores that consistently outperform other schools in the state with an average of 16.7% higher achievement in Reading, 16.8% in Mathematics, and 12.7% in Writing.
There is a special spirit that you sense as you enter our campus, an obvious pride of ownership that this is our school and that we are a family. The vast majority of our parents regularly participate in school-wide activities, volunteer in the classroom, and take on leadership roles on our Site Council and PTSO. We have many community collaborative alliances and business partnerships that support our Mission, to do what’s best for kids to ensure their success. Especially noteworthy is that 52% of our students come from families that live outside our school boundaries and more than half of those live outside the District’s boundaries; these students’ parents intentionally chose Brisas to provide an education for their children.
We inspire, empower and nurture students through our abundant and varied educational programs. Student leadership opportunities include our Student Council with representatives from every classroom, the Gecko Gazette student-led school newspaper, and Kyrene’s first chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS). All of our Arts programs, including our distinctive Mallet Masters percussion group and Gecko Players theatre group, are top quality! Our innovative use of technology has received national attention as reported in the New York Times (September 3, 2011). We also hosted the National School Board Association’s Technology and Learning Site Visit in 2008 and again in 2010. We have many traditions at Brisas, but what garners most attention is the annual theme that unites staff and students.