Governance

The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools exists to improve public education in Arizona by sponsoring charter schools that provide quality educational choices. To learn more about Charter Schools in Arizona, please visit their website.

AZ State Board for Charter Schools
AZ Administrative CODE
Title IX Regulations
Title IX Policy
Title IX Training Materials
AZ Parental Rights Handbook
Helping Your Child with Reading
McKinney Vento Act
Parent Information – English
Parent Information – Spanish
Letter to Parents
For School and Beyond
Title 1 Parent Involvement
Title I Part A LEA Level Policy

Meet Our Governing Board

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 Master’s 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.

Amanda Mace graduated with her B.A. from Grand Canyon University with a double major in English Literature and Communications: Public Relations. She also obtained her M.Ed. from Grand Canyon University with an emphasis in Secondary Education. She spent her first year teaching English at a junior high school in Phoenix, but moved to the college level and taught as an English professor for 8 years at Arizona Christian University. Mrs. Mace moved to Casa Grande in 2010 and has been at Mission Heights Preparatory High School since its doors opened in 2011. While at MHP, she has held roles as an English teacher, Dean of Students, Curriculum Coach, and Assistant School Leader. She became MHP’s School Leader in 2018. Mrs. Mace is passionate about seeing kids in the Casa Grande area succeed in and out of the classroom and pursue their college journeys, while also learning to give back to their community. She lives in Casa Grande and spends most of her free time with her husband and four kids.

Leah Bowers
Leah Bowers has been an educator in Arizona for 36 years. She began her journey in the Pendergast School District teaching 3rd and 4th graders. Later, her career continued in the Peoria Unified School District where she spent several years teaching the 5th – 7th grades at Ira A. Murphy. Peoria has a school within a school for gifted students and Leah taught 6th grade there for 3 years.

Leah is a member of the Arizona Association of the Gifted and Talented, AAGT, and has served on the board. Leah is currently teaching gifted students and 5th – 8th-grade creative writing at the Calibre Academy in Surprise, AZ. Leah has two children. Samantha, who is an IB History and English teacher at Ironwood High School in the Peoria District, and Grant, who works for EdVantage Partners providing charter schools help and support with financial needs.

Ray McCormick is a native of Durham, NC. He graduated from Pensacola Christian College in 1996 with an emphasis in youth ministry. Mr. McCormick and his wife Robin first moved to Arizona in 2000, where Mr. McCormick served as a youth pastor at Sun and Shield Baptist Church in Marana, AZ. In 2009, he moved to North Carolina to become senior pastor at East Side Baptist Church in Asheboro, NC. The McCormick family moved back to Arizona to begin the NewLife Baptist Church in Casa Grande, AZ. The NewLife church started in the Grande Innovation Academy, and they’ve grown so much they’re currently building their own building. One of Mr. McCormick’s passions is for the youth of America. He frequently travels and speaks to young people all over the United States. He and his wife Robin have five children and one granddaughter.

Additional Resources

Board meetings for Grande Innovation Academy will be held at 950 N Peart Rd, Casa Grande, AZ 85122 in the conference room. 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.

A call to the public is made during the meeting. If you would like to talk during a board meeting the speaker registration form must be presented at least one hour prior to the start of the board meeting. The speaker registration form can be completed online and submitted via email to:pmesser@giaowlsmail.com or presented in person.

If a decision is to be made the board will rule on it at the following board meeting once all information is gathered. If an executive session is scheduled, a notice of the executive session shall state the provision of law authorizing the executive session, and a notice will be posted 24 hours prior to the meeting. A.R.S. § 38-431.02

Board Meeting Notices:

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

January 22, 2020, Notice

February 17, 2020, Notice

March 12, 2020, Notice

April 13, 2020, Notice

May 14, 2020, Notice

June 9, 2020, Notice

June 30, 2020, Notice

July 29, 2020, Notice

August 6, 2020, Notice

August 13, 2020, Notice

September 14, 2020, Notice

November 2, 2020, Notice

November 9, 2020, Notice

December 4, 2020, Notice

February 9, 2021, Notice

March 23, 2021, Notice

April 20, 2021, Notice

June, 18, 2021, Notice

July 2, 2021, Notice

August 21, 2021, Notice

September 15, 2021, Notice

November 9, 2021, Notice

February 9, 2021, Notice

April 21, 2022, Notice

May 2, 2022, Notice

June 11, 2022, Notice

June 12, 2022, Notice

June 28, 2022, Notice

Parents have the right, as well as the responsibility, to direct their children’s upbringing in a manner consistent with their beliefs and with knowledge of each child’s unique needs, talents, and abilities. The United States Supreme Court and the state of Arizona recognize this fundamental right and therefore have a robust set of laws that protect parental rights to direct a child’s upbringing, education, and health care. Download your copy of the Arizona Department of Education Parental Rights Handbook here.

Child Find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’04) that requires Public Education Agencies (PEA) to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth through 21, located within their boundaries of responsibility who are in need of early intervention or special education services.

AZ Find

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.

The Grande Innovation Academy recognizes that sustaining safe operations to maximize in-person instruction and has implemented strategies to ensure a safe return to in-person school with continuity of services to address our scholar’s academic needs, and our scholars’ and team members’ social, emotional, and mental health.

Please download the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services form to read more about the Grande Innovation Academy’s plan.

The purpose of this school safety policy is to generally set forth the principles by which The Grande Innovation Academy responds to threats against the School and its students, employees, and volunteers. Given the sensitivity of the subject matter contemplated by this policy, this is intentionally a non-exhaustive consideration of the School’s safety protocols; therefore, this policy supplements but does not replace any other safety protocols or applicable state or federal laws governing the School’s obligations to maintain a safe learning environment.

The School’s  Executive Director or their designee, will report to local law enforcement any suspected crime against a person or property that (i) is a Serious Offense or involves a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument or Serious Physical Injury; or (ii) any conduct that poses a threat of death or Serious Physical Injury to a School employee, student, or other person on the School’s property (collectively, “Suspected Criminal Conduct”). All capitalized terms in this paragraph have the meaning set forth in Arizona law.

In accordance with applicable state and federal law, including FERPA, the School’s Executive Director or their designee, will notify the parent or guardian of each student who is involved in Suspected Criminal Conduct. School employees are expected to report and document any Suspected Criminal Conduct by immediately notifying any member of the School administration of the incident and promptly preparing a written report of the incident and providing the report to a member of the School Administration. The School may, in its discretion, discipline any School employee who the School believes failed to properly report and document Suspected Criminal Conduct, and the School will maintain a record of such disciplinary action. In accordance with applicable law, the School will, upon reasonable request, make such a disciplinary record available to a public school considering hiring that employee.

In accordance with applicable state law, if the School determines a student has been harassed, threatened, or intimidated on School grounds or in a manner that substantially disrupts the School’s learning environment, the School’s Executive Director or their designee, will notify the parent or guardian of that affected student.  Threatening or intimidating behavior and harassment have the meanings set forth in A.R.S. § 15-186.01.

To download a copy of the School Safety Policy, please click here.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Student Assistance Act protects the rights of all homeless/highly mobile students. The act defines homeless children as youth between the ages of 2 to18 years old who lack a fixed regular and adequate nighttime residence and may:

  • Live in a hotel or motel;
  • Live in a shelter/transitional housing program;
  • Sharing housing with another family due to loss of housing, stemming from hardship;
  • Live a trailer park or campsite due to the lack of adequate living accommodations;
  • Live in an abandoned building, parked car, or other facility not designed as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
  • Lives with another person due to the death or incarceration of a parent
  • Lives as a youth on their own due to abandonment or runaway status

Students are identified by the District Homeless liaison or through referrals made by District employees, community members, city agency employees or self-referrals. If you think your children may be eligible contact the local liaison to find out what services and supports might be available.

Please download the McKinney Vento Act for more information regarding the rights of eligible students.

For more information, refer to the Arizona Department of Education resources for homelessness. 

Frank Migali
Homeless Education Coordinator
Arizona Department of Education
1535 W. Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-4963

If you need further assistance, call the National Center for Homeless Education at the toll-free HelpLine number: 1-800-308-2145.

If your family lives in any of the following situations:

  • In a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground
  • On the street
  • In an abandoned building, trailer, or other inadequate accommodations, or
  • Doubled up with friends or relatives because you cannot find or afford housing

Then, your preschool-aged and school-aged children have certain rights or protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.

Your children have the right to:

  • Go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there. They must be given access to the same public education, including preschool education, provided to other children.
  • Continue in the school they attended before you became homeless or the school they last attended, if that is your choice and is feasible. If a school sends your child to a school other than the one you request, the school must provide you with a written explanation and offer you the right to appeal the decision.
  • Receive transportation to the school they attended before your family became homeless or the school they last attended, if you or a guardian request such transportation.
  • Attend a school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless. Children cannot be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless.
  • Enroll in school without giving a permanent address. Schools cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay school enrolment.
  • Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrolment.
  • Enroll and attend classes in the school of your choice even while the school and you seek to resolve a dispute over enrolling your children.
  • Receive the same special programs and services, if needed, as provided to all other children served in these programs.
  • Receive transportation to school and to school programs.

When you move, you should do the following:

  • Contact the school district’s local liaison for homeless education (see phone number below) for help in enrolling your child in a new school or arranging for your child to continue in his or her former school. (Or, someone at a shelter, social services office or the school can direct you to the person you need to contact.)
  • Contact the school and provide any information you think will assist the teachers in helping your child adjust to new circumstances.
  • Ask the local liaison for homeless education, the shelter provider, or a social worker for assistance with clothing and supplies, if needed

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.

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.

Title I

Title 1
Title 1 Parent Involvement
Title I Part A LEA Level Policy

Being a Title I school means receiving federal funding (Title I dollars) to supplement the school’s existing programs. These dollars are used for:

  • Identifying students experiencing academic difficulties and providing timely assistance to help these students meet the State’s challenging content standards.
  • Purchasing supplemental staff/programs/materials/supplies
  • Conducting parental Involvement meetings/trainings/activities
  • Recruiting/Hiring/Retaining Highly Qualified Teachers

The Grande Innovation Academy’s Title 1 program is a schoolwide program which means that the Title program serves all children in the school.  All staff, resources, and classes are part of the overall Schoolwide program. The purpose is to generate high levels of academic achievement in core subject areas for all students, especially those students most in need.

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Title IX regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender-based and sexual harassment discrimination, in the School’s educational programs and activities, including employment. The Grande Innovation Academy is committed to maintaining an educational and working environment free from sex discrimination and harassment and encourages any student or employee who believes they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, whether by students or by School employees, to utilize this procedure.

TITLE IX TRAINING LOGO

The Grande Innovation Academy has completed Title IX training and certification with top practitioners from ATIXA – Association of Title IX Administrators.

For more information on Title IX please download our policy. For more information on Title IX Decision Makers, download our information sheet.

Title IX Regulations
Title IX Policy
Title IX Training Materials

AZ Find

Az Find Logo
AZ FIND
CHILD FIND REFERRAL FORM

AZ FIND provides information and resources to parents, public education agencies (PEAs), state agencies, and professional organizations regarding child find statutes, policies, and procedures.

Child find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA ’04) that requires Public Education Agencies (PEA) to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth through 21, located within their boundaries of responsibility who are in need of early intervention or special education services.

ESSER III Plan

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Title IX regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender-based and sexual harassment discrimination, in the School’s educational programs and activities, including employment. The Grande Innovation Academy is committed to maintaining an educational and working environment free from sex discrimination and harassment and encourages any student or employee who believes they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, whether by students or by School employees, to utilize this procedure. For more information on Title IX please download our policy. For more information on Title IX Decision Makers, download our information sheet.

ESSER III Plan

The Arizona Department of Education

The Arizona Department of Education is the state agency tasked with overseeing Arizona’s K-12 public education system. The Arizona Department of Education is led by a publicly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction and has over 600 staff members working to serve Arizona’s students, families, educators, and school communities.

AZ Department of Education logo
AZ Department of Education

The Department of Education is a great resource for additional information regarding high school graduation requirements, gifted education, advanced placements, transcripts, test scores, health and nutrition services, project A.W.A.R.E., and state and federal grants. In addition to services offered at the school level, the Department of Education offers information for parents regarding drug abuse, internet safety, social media guidelines and drivers education. The office of English language acquisition services supports educators, families, and students who are multilingual, experiencing homelessness, placed in foster care, or are part of migrant families. The Arizona Department of Education facilitates grants and funding that support our schools at both the state and federal level.