Microschools see surge in Arizona

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As we pass the two-year mark of the pandemic, we can see the devastating effects it has had on our education system.

Teachers left the profession in record numbers, and students have fallen behind academically; as much as three grade levels in some cases. Also, there have also been heated conflicts over mask mandates, not to mention debates over curriculum.

In the last year, a new type of school has emerged onto the scene.

Known as microschools, they claim to offer a more personalized education. “A microschool is a smaller, more personalized learning environment,” says Tamara Becker from Adamo. “We have one teacher with no more than 12 students. “We’re really able to customize the learning for students and give them different educational opportunities.”

The Adamo learning model features certified educators focused on providing authentic, hands-on learning. Quality attention is given to every child. Using proven, evidence-based, engaging curriculum, school staffers work in partnership with parents to create the optimal, flexible learning environment for each child.

“At Adamo Education, we believe every child can learn and every student can be successful,” states the website.

“As we were going through the pandemic, I thought it was time I really thought this was the time for education to do something different, and put the kids back in focus,” Becker told us.

On Arizona Horizon, Producer Shana Fischer and photographer Juan Magana took us on a field trip to Adamo Education in Fountain Hills. We got an up-close look at what microschools are all about.

Think of combining a one-room schoolhouse with home schooling. A microschool pairs up with a charter school and uses their curriculum to get federal funding. These schools are not regulated by the Arizona Department of Education or charter school boards. They also do not require teachers to be certified. In essence, anyone can teach.

“I really feel like working with children is definitely my calling,” said teacher Rosemarie Barker. She said she had been frustrated for years by things like large class sizes, a shortage of school supplies, and lack of support. Now, with microschools, she has found a more fulfilling opportunity. She says they give her closer relationships to her students’ families. “When you do have that close relationship, they can know what you’re working on,” she says.

Every microschool is a little different, At Adamo, students can enroll in grades K through 8. The students do a combination of in-class learning and at-home learning. Adamo only uses state-certified teachers. Students learn in grade pods and they also combine grades for socialization purposes.

Tamara Becker
Rosemarie Barker

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