Innovation at Kyrene de las Manitas
Team Teaching. Dynamic Learning. Innovative Spaces.
Kyrene School District is committed to providing engaging, challenging educational environments which promote and inspire passion for learning, leading, and achieving. In 2019, the District launched a pilot program on the campus of Kyrene de las Manitas that reimagined the standard classroom structure by combining innovative practices in learning environments, methods and staffing.
Each learning studio within the program can serve up to 120 students, taught by a core team of educators: one Teacher Executive Designer (TED), along with certified teachers and teacher candidates. Manitas opened a second studio the following year and, in 2022, the Kyrene Governing Board voted to expand the program school-wide and to make Kyrene de las Manitas a K-8 Innovation Academy.
Member of the teaching team engaging with students
The Learning Experience
Learning studios at Kyrene de las Manitas look, sound, and feel different from a typical classroom. The studios are open and dynamic, with fewer walls and a variety of learning spaces, all equipped with state-of-the-art technology and furniture designed for flexibility and collaboration. The staffing and curriculum are designed to prepare students for colleges and careers that are changing rapidly. Students have a chance to explore real-world issues and meaningful topics over the course of several weeks, to build knowledge on each topic through literature, research, and hands-on practice. Students simultaneously master grade-level standards and work toward a final project that puts all of their learning to work. Teachers encourage and facilitate discussion, collaboration and healthy debate. Students learn to question themselves and their peers, to foster a growth mindset.
Kyrene de las Manitas offers a personalized, project-based learning approach in an extremely innovative environment. Our central location offers access to families both resident and non-resident to experience our unique teaching and learning opportunities. Currently, we have 3rd-6th grade students in the pilot program, called "SPARK." In 2022-23, we will continue our grade level expansion to a K-7 model, and the Kyrene de las Manitas Innovation Academy will be a full K-8 school in 2023-24.
Students in the SPARK pilot program utilize a project-based learning (PBL) model. PBL has been shown to promote independence, active learning, and encourage problem-solving skills. The learning is experiential, embodied and blended. Students develop interpersonal skills, as well as skills working in a team, while having their social emotional needs met in a safe, caring environment. Curriculum is delivered in a multi-disciplinary format, with learner-centered activities, cooperative lessons and authentic assessments. Students use technology in lessons, to make learning more interesting and engaging, and to reduce the need for printed material. We offer true personalization of learning to students with the specific technology in the program. This has given students the opportunity to build technology-based skills and utilize tools they are sure to use in the future.
Enrollment for Kyrene de las Manitas Innovation Academy is now open for the 2022-23 school year. Manitas will expand to serve students through grade 7 in 2022-23 and grade 8 in 2023-24. A limited number of spots may be available in the SPARK School pilot program in the current (2021-22) school year. Interested families are invited to enroll online.