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Kyrene Early Learning Academy Reimagines Preschool with Innovative Staffing Model

Kyrene School District is expanding preschool opportunities in the 2024-25 school year with the new Early Learning Academy at Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary School. The Early Learning Academy will transform preschool from a single classroom to a full preschool within the larger elementary campus.

“This has been a collaborative effort involving several departments and school staff,” said Kyrene Community Education Director Josh Glider. “We have a wonderful model that’s taking over almost an entire pod of classrooms to provide one seamless integrated program for students.”

The Early Learning Academy will utilize four classrooms at Kyrene de las Brisas. Each classroom will host learning environments with different focus areas for students to move between under the supervision of multiple teachers and educational support staff. This innovative team-teaching model surrounds students with educators and has already been successfully implemented at both the elementary and middle school levels in Kyrene.

“We’ve been using elements of the teaming model in Community Education for years,” said Glider. “This is the first time we’ve done a full-scale implementation, particularly with our preschool program.”

Kyrene’s innovative staffing models have been replicated in districts across the country, in response to the nationwide teacher shortage. Team-based teaching ensures consistency for students and allows educators more opportunities to collaborate with each other than are possible in a standard one-teacher-per-classroom setup.

“The Early Learning Academy at Kyrene de las Brisas is just one of the ways that innovative staffing is expanding in Kyrene,” said Kyrene Superintendent Laura Toenjes. “School leaders across the district are evaluating staffing to imagine how they, too, can surround students with educators in a way that best fits their school communities.”

The Brisas Early Learning Academy will be a hybrid of Kyrene’s Community Preschool program and its Integrated Preschool program, which serves students with disabilities as well as their typically-developing peers. There will be a sensory area as well as a space dedicated to providing therapy services for students with disabilities.

“With an anticipated 60 children within our program, they will be divided among our four classrooms,” said Brisas Integrated Preschool Teacher Anna Mantini, who will lead the new program. “This will ensure we maintain a lower child-to-teacher ratio.”

Like all Kyrene preschool options, the Early Learning Academy will incorporate age-appropriate activities to ensure children are ready for the future in Kyrene Kindergarten.

For more information about Kyrene's preschool options, visit

For more information about Kyrene’s innovative staffing models, watch this strategic plan video.