Welcome

Welcome scholars and families! Together we have developed a strong sense of pride in our school, our mission to learn and our desire to explore. Our core values are the center of our culture. Our culture is designed around a set of core values that focus on teamwork and high achievement. We encourage our scholars to challenge themselves, develop their talents, make an impact on the local community and seek ways to positively effect change throughout the world.

We focus on all elements which affect our scholars and their life achievements, putting emphasis on physical fitness and nutrition as well as their academic endeavors. We infuse technology into all aspects of our program, as well as including multiple language acquisitions, arts, music and hands on learning techniques.

We will continue to soar, growing our program tailored to the needs of our Casa Grande scholars. If you have any questions after reading our informational packet, please feel free to contact our front office and we will be happy to assist you. We strive for excellence and we are excited to continue our academic journey with you and our scholars.

Sincerely,

Patty Messer
Executive Director

Contact Information:
Office Hours are Monday-Thursday, 7:00 am-5:30 pm

Phone: (520) 381-2360

Fax: (520) 413-9397

Attendance: info@giaowlsmail.com

Location: 950 N. Peart Rd, Casa Grande, AZ 85122
(Off of Peart Road; located behind the Home Depot)

“Growth comes from person-to-person communication, from the powerful standards of ‘people like us’. And it comes from activating people who are ready to be activated.  -Seth Godin

Culture

The Grande Innovation Academy’s mission is to provide our scholars with an innovative 21st Century education. With our enduring commitment to foster an innovative and creative campus of nationally competitive individual thinkers. The Grande Innovation Academy is dedicated to the pursuit of higher knowledge and excellence, striving to make a difference in the educational field.
The Grande Innovation Academy’s vision is to prepare scholars to assume leadership roles in the community, be socially responsible collaborators, while exhibiting self reliance in a global market.

  1. All scholars will think critically and develop new processes as they pursue discovery by expanding their knowledge and always asking questions.
  1. All scholars will experience creative spaces to learn and develop academic skills and strong leadership traits in order to enhance each scholar’s uniqueness.
  1. All scholars will develop a growth mindset of excellence and make the commitment to learn something new everyday.
  1. All scholars will demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes.
  1. All scholars are provided a well-rounded academic education and cohesive character development that will strengthen the Casa Grande community as a whole.

Mindset chart

“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.  -Ken Robinson

Some of the most frequently asked questions fielded by our front office staff.

Read FAQ's

Charter School Facts

  • Charter schools are public schools.
  • Charter schools do not charge tuition.
  • Charter schools use non-discriminatory enrollment processes.
  • Scholars do not test-in to attend a charter school.
  • Charter schools participate in the state assessment tests.
  • Charter schools are subject to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • There are more than 6,800 charter schools serving nearly 3 million children across the country (as of February 2016 – Reference www.edreform.com).
  • Charter schools give families an opportunity to pick the school most suitable for their child’s educational well-being.
  • While charter schools must adhere to the same major laws and regulations as all other public schools, they are freed from the red tape that often diverts a school’s energy and resources away from educational excellence. Instead of constantly jumping through procedural hoops, charter school leaders can focus on setting and reaching high academic standards for their students.
Mythbusters about Charter Schools

What other parents and teachers are saying…

As a parent I couldn’t be happier with GIA…Jake is getting an amazing education from caring teachers. He actually likes doing his homework and every class is his favorite. So happy he loves school. Thank you GIA!
Cenci Rodriguez
As a retired teacher, I was impressed with their mission statement, vision, and core values listed on their web site. The growth mindsets made me smile…the scholars thought process into adulthood is of importance!
Roswitha Bartsch
I love Grande Innovation!! They are amazing and they adapt to your kids, giving them what they need. They have a garden and so many fun activities.
Tina Lowenthal-Whitmore
I have a kinder at GIA and he loves it…. i love hearing his stories.. Couldn’t of made a better choice…. We love it!!!! Everyone is amazing and make you feel so welcome!!!! It’s like we are all a huge family everyone knows everyone!!!
Yoana Verduzco-Briseno
Our little lady LOVES Grande Innovation Academy ! They have parenting work shops on Love and Logic so families and educators have the same approach with scholars. ❤ They have a great community!
Jaclyn Tate
As a parent I really love GIA school. Not only do they have a great curriculum but they work with the kids one on one when they have issues be it educational or just personal. All kids are different and they let the kids be kids while being educated. My son loves going to school because of their staff. I honestly hated going to school many moons ago and wish I would’ve attended a school like GIA. Principal Patty Sturm Messer is very hands on as is the rest of the staff. My 4 year old will start kindergarten there next year I hope.
Bones Elias
I love GIA! ❤ ❤ ❤
Jelle Romero Canales
I’ve noticed the difference in my children’s overall happiness. I think it’s indicative of the teachers being allowed to pursue their passion of teaching. We are satisfied being parents of two children who attend.
Anonymous

Admissions

  • GIA In Action
  • GIA In Action
  • GIA In Action

Complete the Application for Student Admission and Necessary Documentation

Applications must be turned in within our Open Enrollment period to be eligible to enter into the lottery. Applications received after the Open Enrollment deadline will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis behind applications received during the open enrollment period.

The following documents must be provided in order for the application to be entered into the lottery or accepted:

  • Completed Application for Admission with all questions answered and all required signatures.
  • Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Up-to-date record of immunizations
  • Copy of discipline records
  • Custody papers if applicable
  • Current IEP, Psychological Report and Eligibility Statement if a student is identified as Special Education
  • Gifted testing scores if student is identified as gifted

Our Open Enrollment period is NOT first-come, first served. If, for any grade level, the number of applicants exceeds the number of openings, there will be a lottery to determine enrollment and waitlist numbers. Only applications submitted during the OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD are included within that lottery pool. Open enrollment will run from December 5, 2016 to January 31, 2017. The lottery will be held on February 10, 2017 and results will be available February 23, 2017.
When your applications reaches the top of the list a spot becomes available to you, the school will contact you immediately.

It is not possible for us to determine your child’s chances of being offered a spot. Once our classes are full, any spots that open up are the result of student withdrawals. Although we do typically see a number of spots open up before the start of school, we have no way of knowing in which grades spots will open up or how many spots will become available.

It is possible you may move up or down on the list. Don’t be too worried if you move down a few spots; this occasionally happens. For example, a 1st grade student is called from the waitlist because someone declined a spot. The 1st grader has a sibling who is #50 on the waitlist for 3rd grade. This sibling must (by law) be given “sibling preference,” so she moves up to the top of the 3rd grade waitlist (or near the top; there may be other siblings ahead of her). Therefore, if your 3rd grade child had started at #49, s/he will now be bumped down to #50.

1 See A.R.S. § 15-184(J).
2 See A.R.S. §§ 15-828, -872.

tree graphic

Submit your pre-enrollment information online today.

Currently, the pre-enrollment form is for the 2017-2018 school year and does not guarantee placement.
Pre-Enroll

Little Innovators Preschool Admissions

The Grande Innovation Academy is proud to announce the opening of the Little Innovators Preschool for the 2017-2018 school year!

The Little Innovators Preschool provides preschoolers a developmentally appropriate early childhood experience that centers on play, group collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking, allowing them to develop a growth mindset to help them excel in elementary school.

The Little Innovators Preschool is a place for your preschooler to start creating and innovating.

● Follows the established Grande Innovation Academy school calendar.
● Follows the Early Childhood Standards established by the Arizona Department of Education.
● Invoices families in equal monthly tuition installments that have been pro-rated to reflect the school calendar breaks.
● Provides an integrated experience for students with varying abilities and levels.
● Lunch is included.

Curriculum

The Little Innovators Preschool follows the HighScope model for our curriculum. The HighScope Curriculum uses a carefully designed process — called “active participatory learning” — to achieve powerful, positive outcomes. We believe children should be actively involved in the learning process. The HighScope preschool curriculum focuses on the following eight areas to promote school readiness:

  •  Approaches to Learning
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development and Health
  • Language, Literacy, and Communication
  • Mathematics
  • Spanish
  • Creative Arts
  • Science and Technology
  •  Social Studies

Our preschool will encourage child-initiated learning in an active environment, building upon children’s natural curiosity and promoting imaginative play and learning.

Application Requirements:

Your child must be four years old by September 1st and mastered toilet training. Registration fee must accompany the application when turned in. Visit www.LittleInnovatorsPreschool.com to download your registration packet or call our office at (520) 381-2360 to schedule a tour.

Careers

The Grande Innovation Academy aims for excellence in all we do, determined to make a difference in the field of education. If you’re a professional, dynamic Path Leaders with a positive attitude and shares our vision, please click on the apply button.

Apply Here Button Table Sign

Partners

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

Fruit Orchard Grant

In the spring of 2016 we received 35 trees from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. Planting the trees was a schoolwide event.
Tri Valley Landscaping

Tri-Valley Landscaping

Scholars with Shovels Program

In 2014, Tri-Valley Landscaping presented the Grande Innovation Academy with a donation for our Scholars with Shovels program.

Monsanto Fund

Scholars with Shovels and Spoons

In 2017, Monsanto Fund awarded the Grande Innovation Academy with a $5,000 grant.

Walmart

Scholars with Shovels Program

In 2014, Walmart presented the Grande Innovation Academy with a donation for our Scholars with Shovels program.

Arizona Stem Network

Fab Lab Grant

In 2014 we received a grant from the STEM Club of Arizona for our Fab Lab.

Chef Ann Foundation

Chef Ann Foundation

In the fall of 2016, we received a grant for $2,500 from the Project Produce.

Skoop and the Chef Ann Foundation have teamed up to launch Project Produce: Fruit and Veggie Grants for Schools.

Tee Pee Sand and Gravel

Tee Pee Sand and Gravel

In 2017 Tee Pee Sand and Gravel generously donated the gravel for our Rocking Kindness Classroom.

Building Expansion

The Grande Innovation Academy has plans for a building expansion beginning when 6-plex portables will be moved onto the lot in June. All connected with a central hallway, the gym is 8,000 s.f., with retractable basketball hoops, volleyball, rock climbing, bleachers, bathrooms, an alcove for raised stage and is a permanent structure. Take a look at our plans!

Governance

Board meetings for Grande Innovation Academy will be held at 950 N Peart Rd, Casa Grande, AZ 85122 in the conference room. Meetings begin at 12:00 p.m. The meeting agendas are posted on this website below. Agendas will be posted no less than 24 hours prior to the meeting. Meeting Minutes from any prior meeting not posted are available upon request.

Governing Board 2017-18 Meeting Schedule

Dates:

August 10, 2017
September 14, 2017
October 12, 2017
November 9, 2017
December 14, 2017
January 11, 2018
February 8, 2018
March 8, 2018
April 12, 2018

There will be a meeting in May, date to be determined. This meeting is to review the proposed annual 2018-19 budget.

Then there will be a meeting in June, date to be determined. This meeting will be to adopt the proposed 2018-19 budget.

A call to the public is made during the meeting. If you would like to talk during a board meeting please email Kristin Boatright, kboatright@giaowlsmail.com, with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of meeting
  • Topic

Board members will listen and take notes. If a decision is to be made the board will rule on it the following board meeting once all information is gathered.

Board Meeting Notices:

Notices are in chronological order. Please scroll to the bottom for the most recent notice. 

January 8, 2016 Notice

February 5, 2016 Notice

March 4, 2016 Notice

April 1, 2016 Notice

May 6, 2016 Notice

June 6, 2016 Notice

July 1st, 2016 Notice of Public Hearing – Expenditure Budget for 2017, 10:30 A.M.

2016-17 Meeting Schedule

August 5, 2016 Notice

September 1, 2016 Notice

October 7, 2016 Notice

November 7, 2016 Notice

January 8, 2017 Notice

February 6, 2017 Notice

March 6, 2017 Notice

April 10, 2017 Notice

May 20, 2017 Notice

Governing Board 2017-18 Meeting Schedule

August 6, 2017 Notice

September 11, 2017 Notice

October 8, 2017, Notice

Patricia Messer, Board Member, President
Mrs. Messer is a native of New Jersey and has lived in Arizona since 1976. Mrs. Messer has been in the educational field for 26 years. She began her career as a third grade teacher and quickly discovered that gifted education was her passion. She pursued first her gifted endorsement and then her Masters in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in gifted education. She has done professional development and consulting with various school districts and charter schools in the areas of gifted strategies, creativity and differentiation. Mrs. Messer was a gifted coordinator in a public school district before joining The Odyssey Preparatory Academy in 2011. She began as their curriculum coordinator and instructional coach before moving to Casa Grande to become the principal of that campus. Mrs. Messer is an adjunct instructor for Maricopa Community College where she wrote six courses for teachers to earn their gifted endorsement. She is also the current President of the Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented. Mrs. Messer is married with two children.

Leah Bowers, Vice-President/Treasurer
Mrs. Bowers is a native of Michigan and has lived in Arizona since 1979. She received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Arizona State University. She has been an educator for 30 years for both general education and gifted students in grades 3rd-8th. Mrs. Bowers has also been an International Baccalaureate (IB) Language A teacher, before becoming an IB Middle Years Coordinator at Calibre Academy in Surprise.  Mrs. Bowers is also the founder and President of Northwest Valley Supporter’s of Gifted an Arizona Association for Gifted Children affiliate group formed to support parents & educators in their understanding and knowledge of gifted children. Presently serving on AAGT board in the capacity of the Chair of the Membership and Affiliate Committee as well as co-chair for Annual Parent Institute. Mrs. Bowers is also the co-owner of L & L Bowers Trucking in Surprise, AZ.

Kristin Boatright, Board Member, Secretary
Mrs. Boatright is a native of Southern California but has since been around the world as her husband served in the military.  In 2004, her family received orders to return stateside and ended up in sunny Arizona. Fortunately the change in careers proved to be a great one as Mrs. Boatright discovered her passion for education.   The years following included several grade and subject changes.  Since then she has accumulated credits in many areas of education to include an endorsement in gifted education. Most recently Mrs. Boatright has taught Gifted Education for the Department of Defense schools in Yokota, Japan where she helps teachers in differentiating their classroom centers, instruction, and homework to meet the needs of every student in addition to proving enrichment for the gifted population grades K-5.

Mrs. Boatright has been Grade Level Chair/ team leader (2 years) as well as a member of the Executive Continuous School Improvement Committee (CSI) for 3 years where a team of professionals prepared the school for the AdancEd inspection and analyzed student data to develop school wide goals and assessments.  She was also a member of the Pre Inspection Team who visited other schools in Japan to verify and justify curriculum fidelity, best practices, and assuring the use of data for student’s goal development.

Grande Innovation Academy (“GIA”)

Policy Regarding Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Records Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA affords parents and students who are 18 years of age or older (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records and creates certain obligations on the part of an educational institution.

This Policy sets out the procedure to follow in situations in which GIA releases personally identifiable educational records to a third party or agent of the school.

Generally, under FERPA, a school must obtain written consent from a parent before the school discloses personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

GIA may disclose PII without prior written consent from parents in the following situations:

  1. To school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel) or a person serving on the school board. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service of function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist; a parent or student volunteering to serve on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent, student, or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  2. To officials of another school, so long as the student is enrolled or preparing to enroll in that school and the disclosure is for the purpose of the student’s enrollment or transfer.
  3. To authorized representatives of the Comptroller of the United States, the Secretary of Education of the United States, or state and local educational authorities.
  4. If the disclosure is in connection to financial aid for which the student has applied or is receiving, so long as the disclosure is necessary to determine eligibility for the aid, the amount of the aid, the terms and conditions of the aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  5. To state and local officials or authorities to whom student information is permitted or required to be disclosed by statute.
  6. To organizations developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, or improving instruction on behalf of or for the school so long as the disclosure is pursuant to a written agreement that meets the requirements of 34 C.F.R. § 99.31(6)(iii).
  7. To accrediting organizations for the purpose of carrying out accreditation.
  8. To the parents of a dependent student as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  9. To comply with a judicial order or lawful subpoena, so long as the school first makes an effort to notify the parent of the student in advance, so that the parent may move to quash the subpoena or order if desired, or where the parent or school has initiated legal action against the other and the records are relevant to the issue in the action.
  10. Where the disclosure is in connection with a health or safety emergency.
  11. Where the disclosure is of information that has been designated by the school as “directory information” and the conditions of the directory information notice have been met.
  12. To the parent or eligible student.
  13. Other such disclosures that are permissible under 34 C.F.R. § 99.31 and determined appropriate by the Director of the school.

It is GIA’s policy that any disclosures of PII made without parent consent, even where those disclosures are permitted as described in this policy, must be approved by the Director of the School or his/her designee, except in the case of a health or safety emergency. Failure to obtain approval prior to disclosure under this policy will result in disciplinary action, which can include termination.

Recordkeeping. GIA will maintain a record of all disclosures of PII made pursuant to this policy. That record will be maintained as long as the PII records are maintained for the student.

The record will include:

  • The name of the individual or entity that requested or received records.
  • The provision under which the disclosure was made (court order, litigation involving the
    student, etc.).
  • The names of State and local educational authorities and Federal officials and agencies
    that may make further disclosures of the PII without consent.

Where the disclosure was pursuant to the health or safety exception, the record will include the
following information:

  • The articulable and significant threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals that formed the basis for the disclosure; and
  • The parties to whom the information was disclosed.

The parent of the student has the right to review the record of disclosures. The record of disclosures will be maintained in the student’s cumulative file.

THE GRANDE INNOVATION ACADEMY
WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY
General
THE GRANDE INNOVATION ACADEMY (the “Corporation”) requires directors,
officers and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the
conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As employees and representatives of the
Corporation, we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and
comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
Reporting Responsibility
It is the responsibility of all directors, officers and employees to report ethics violations
or suspected violations in accordance with this Whistleblower Policy.
No Retaliation
No director, officer or employee who in good faith reports an ethics violation shall suffer
harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequence. An employee who
retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to
discipline up to and including termination of employment. This Whistleblower Policy is
intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns within
the Corporation prior to seeking resolution outside the Corporation.
Reporting Violations
The Corporation has an open door policy and suggests that employees share their
questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with someone who can address them
properly. In most cases, an employee’s supervisor is in the best position to address an
area of concern. However, if you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor or
you are not satisfied with your supervisor’s response, you are encouraged to speak with
someone in management whom you are comfortable in approaching. Supervisors and
managers are required to report suspected ethics violations to a member of the
Corporation’s Executive Committee. For suspected fraud, or when you are not satisfied
or uncomfortable with following the Corporation’s open door policy, individuals should
contact a member of the Executive Committee directly.
Executive Committee
The Executive Committee is responsible for investigating and resolving all reported
complaints and allegations concerning violations and, at its discretion, shall advise the
Corporation’s Executive Director and/or the Board of Directors.
-2-
Accounting and Auditing Matters
The audit committee of the board of directors shall address all reported concerns or
complaints regarding corporate accounting practices, internal controls or auditing. The
Executive Committee shall immediately notify the audit committee of any such
complaint and work with the committee until the matter is resolved.
Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting
in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed
indicates a violation. Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove
to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious
disciplinary offense.
Confidentiality
Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the
complainant or may be submitted anonymously. Reports of violations or suspected
violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to
conduct an adequate investigation.
Handling of Reported Violations
A member of the Executive Committee will notify the sender and acknowledge receipt
of the reported violation or suspected violation within ten business days. All reports will
be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by
the investigation.
The Grande Innovation Academy Local Wellness Policy covers our goals for nutritional standards, promotion, and education, goals for physical activity, our school wellness committee and membership, implementation of our program and community engagement.  Download the Wellness Policy here.