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Kyrene de las Manitas Innovation Academy

Kyrene de las Manitas Innovation Academy is committed to engaging students in a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence and prepares them to be innovators and leaders of tomorrow. They deploy educators in non-traditional ways by creating new roles and staffing structures in an effort to attract and retain high-quality staff and to reinvigorate the teaching profession.
Each student is a member of a learning studio, which is a multi-age group of 70–120 students. Students in most learning studios are supported by core teams of up to six dedicated educators: one Teacher Executive Designer, two team teachers and three teacher candidates.

Additionally, special education teachers, special area teachers, specialized paraeducators, academic interventionists and community educators join the core educator team to support learners. The school will expand to K–8 in 2023–24.

Read on to find out how the school, formerly called SPARK School at Kyrene de las Manitas, is implementing a team-based Next Education Workforce model.

Hear from Principal Melissa Gradnigo-Taylor about what makes Kyrene De La Manitas Innovation Academy unique.

How Kyrene de las Manitas Innovation Academy came to be

The school first piloted a team-based approach in the fall of 2019, with a single educator team serving a multi-age band of about 75 third- and fourth-grade students.

The pilot was the result of a collaborative effort between Kyrene district leadership, a core design team of Kyrene stakeholders and a team of faculty and staff at MLFTC, who set themselves the task of designing and launching a “school of the future.”

In response to strong interest from families, they grew the program each subsequent year. In fall 2022, they adopted a whole-school Next Education Workforce model, which is now Innovation Academy.

View earlier resources from SPARK School.