Legacy Traditional Charter School, Peoria (LTCS), a small charter school located in Peoria, AZ., is approximately 30 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix. Peoria is a city that covers about 179 miles and lies between both Maricopa and Yavapai counties (City of Peoria, n.d.). The school is located in the northernmost area of Peoria, where the population is just over 37,000 people (UnitedStateszipcodes, 2022). The school serves approximately 829 students in grades K-8. Legacy Traditional Charter School, Peoria all other schools in the charter are managed by the education management company Vertex Education in Gilbert, Arizona.
Legacy Traditional Charter School, Peoria is a single footprint, brick and mortar charter school with permanent classrooms; one playing field is utilized for physical education classes as well as for organized sports; a cafeteria for breakfast and lunch service; an auditorium that is multi-use for music and band learning and practicing, performing arts for theater and drama classes and fine arts performances; an indoor gymnasium for indoor sports or physical education classes during inclement weather; a computer science laboratory with 25 computers for both computer classes and independent student research needs; one science laboratory that is specially equipped with state of the art science equipment; a library with over 1,000 titles; and one large or double-sized classroom used for art classes. The master schedule provides students with the required core courses while also allowing for electives such as music, band, theater, drama, art, physical education, and various career and technical education introductory courses. The teaching and administrative faculty include the following:
• Certified Staff:
● 1 Principal
● 2 Assistant Principals
● 1 Academic Dean
● 2 Student Interventionists (At-risk Coordinator, MTSS, Special Education Coordinator)
● 1 Guidance Counselor
● 1 Curriculum Specialist
● 3 Special Education Teachers
● 6-8th grade core teachers: Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Science
● K-5th all subject
● 4 Physical Education teachers (2 also teach social studies and 1 also teaches 7th-8th grade math)
● 2 Sports Coaches
● 2 Career and Technical Education Teachers (robotics, equestrian)
● 2 G/T Teachers
● 1 Theater/Drama Teacher
● 1 Band Teacher/Director
● 1 Music Teacher
• Support Staffing:
● 2 front office staff
● 1 attendance clerk
● 1 Librarian
● 8 special education paraprofessionals (1 per grade level)
Legacy Traditional School, Peoria, is located in an affluent socioeconomic area. The median household income is over $100K (UnitedStateszipcodes, 2022). The housing in the area is made up of approximately 13,700 single-family homes, with more than 12,000 of them occupied year-round. The median home value is close to $300K (UnitedStateszipcodes, 2022), and many home values are well into the millions. Students who attend LTCS do so by choice, with no boundary restrictions because it is a charter. The school is situated in amongst the houses of one of the neighborhoods. Although the residents living in the neighborhood do not particularly appreciate the traffic the school creates, many of them send their children to the school. The Vice Mayor of the city lives across the street from the school and is one of the residents more displeased with school because of morning traffic.
Economically speaking, the community is relatively young and affluent, with a median age of approximately 38 (Census Reporter, 2019). Several high-profile athletes and many high-income earning professionals within the neighborhood, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, computer science engineers, and organization managers. The median household income as noted above is over 100K, with 42 percent of residents making between 100K and 200K annually, 28 percent earning between 50K and 100K, 17 percent of residents making over 200K, and only 13 percent under 50K (Census reporter, 2019). While most residents are affluent, there are families below the poverty line, 3.6 percent of families for that matter (Census Reporter, 2019). The school does receive federal Title 1 funding to provide for families. Legacy Traditional School relies heavily on donations from parents and community members. As the residents of the community are younger and more affluent than many of the surrounding communities, the parents have an expectation that their individual needs will be catered to, which in turn makes for a relationship in which they help out the school with what it needs. The school does what it can to meet the needs of the students. With that comes the unspoken norm of the school culture that parents expect that both administration and classroom teachers have open-door policies to speak to anyone, anytime they want to.
Schools Strengths and Challenges
● A-rated charter school
● 100% certified teachers
● High Parental involvement
● Technology-free (no 3rd party produced and purchased curriculum)
● Targeted Tutoring (after-school extracurricular activities delayed 1 hr for on-campus tutoring and is available to all, not just those participating in activities)
● Extra-Curricular activities – choir, art, dance, chess club, lego club, student government, sports teams for 6th-8th grade
● Interventions (We’re Here Wednesday)
● Available hybrid learning with technology and wifi provided at no additional expense
● Before and After School Enrichment, Legacy Kids Care Program
● 72% of teachers have more than 3 yrs experience
● Only 1 subgroup of any grade level exceeds 50% proficiency in ELA (Spalding)
● No subset of any grade level exceeds 40% proficiency in Math (Saxon)
● No PTO/PTA
● No regular newsletter
● School size fixed
Forced school closure of Covid and curriculum issues increased demand for this school because of its location. The district decided to change the school from K-8 to K-6 and build and build another K-8 nearby. LTCS footprint is fixed inside a neighborhood with no room for additional building.
To minimize the effect that COVID has on student learning, LTCS began a program called We’re Here Wednesdays. With Wednesday currently being a half-day on campus, the LTCS administration introduced intervention Wednesday for those students identified as struggling the most. The students stay on campus for an hour after mid-day release and work with both math and ELA teachers on the necessary interventions for them to be successful. In addition, the school director delayed the start time of all sports practices or extra-curricular activities to 4:00 pm. This hour is used for study hall and tutoring throughout campus. All administration, teachers, and staff remain on campus for this hour and use it for preparation time or tutoring. Legacy Kids Care is a before and after school program for students requiring before and after school meals through Title 1 funding.
The curriculum is transparent, and all parents/guardians can view the general lessons. All staff has google classroom and email communication set up with their student families to increase information flow. They can also access all assignments and submit make-up work through this portal. LTCS also employs paraprofessionals to assist in any needed targeted tutoring.
There is no Parent Teacher Organization throughout the charter system. There is no regular newsletter. The calendar is regularly updated on the website, and the families are emailed via an email blast. The email blast is not on a regular schedule and does not have consistent input from department heads. Better, standard, and consistent communication via email will mitigate the adverse effects of parental gossip.
Intervention Length of Time Available
The intervention Wednesdays and after-school tutoring programs have been in place since the school year began in August 2021. Department heads have monthly tracking devices set up to monitor success and adjust.
Results of Interventions
The Wednesday intervention has provided some students with success in getting back on track in their math and ELA classes. The 1-hour after-school daily tutoring has more attendance than the Wednesday intervention. This student engagement has the support of the teachers and parents. All students are invited to stay after school.
What is Working – Likelihood of Success
At the current time, it is too difficult to tell what is working and how successful the interventions will be long-term. However, LTCS students and parents are more involved. They communicate more regularly with the teachers. The general attitude on campus is changing from anger and frustration to commitment to getting back on track. The data for monthly intervention analysis via the department heads is currently unavailable. However, once the students in 3rd through 8th grades take their AzMerit exams, a better picture of whether the interventions are working or not will be available.
Arizona Department of Education. Legacy Traditional School, Peoria.
Census Reporter. (2019). Zip Code Lookup. https://censusreporter.org/profiles/86000US85383-85383/
City of Peoria. (n.d.). About Peoria, Arizona. https://www.peoriaaz.gov/residents/about-peoria
Peoria Unified School District. (2022). Peoria Unified – Your district of choice. https://www.peoriaunified.org/.
United States Zip Codes. (2022). Zipcode – 85383. https://www.unitedstateszipcodes.org/85383/
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