Meet Elsa an 8th grader at CASAS Christian School in Tucson. She has an interesting story to tell for her Student Spotlight.
When I was born, my family lived in China. My parents are linguists who study the minority languages of China, most of which are spoken in remote rural areas. Every few years, our family would come back to the US so that my brother and I could have a full school year here. Altogether, I’ve spent six years in China and seven years in the US. We spoke English at home, but I also learned Chinese. Because my family sometimes lived in cities and sometimes lived in smaller country towns, I had a lot of different types of schooling. When we were in China, some years I was home schooled, some years I was at a Chinese school, and some years I was at an international school. Because of this, my education has been more like a patchwork quilt than it is for most kids a traditional school environment in Arizona.
Two years ago, my family moved back to Arizona so my brother and I could finish middle and high school without moving around so much. My parents chose CASAS Christian School because, as a small private school, they were able to flexibly adapt to my needs. My parents also appreciated that I could continue to study Chinese at CASAS. What I like about it is that the other students are really friendly, and the teachers make the lessons easy to understand. My favorite subjects are Language Arts and Art. I’ve been able to play on the volleyball and basketball teams, and I’ve been in National Junior Honor Society since last year. I love sketching, painting, and digital painting, and I love to read, especially fantasy books. I’m thinking about attending the University of Arizona to study visual art. I think I’d enjoy working in animation someday.
Since my parents still work for a non-profit development organization, their income is based only on donations from others. Without the Arizona tax credit program, my only choice would be to go to a public school. Because of my unique history, though, that could be hard in some subjects, and not challenging enough in others. CASAS is flexible enough that they can tailor my education so it fits me well. I’m very grateful that the Arizona Leadership Foundation scholarship has helped me to attend CASAS!
About CASAS Christian School: We are a K-8, dual accredited school located in Oro Valley, Arizona. Despite serving in K-8 academia for almost five decades, we refuse to rest on our experience and therefore continually evaluate and reflect on our program to ensure that we are effectively meeting the needs of our student body. Our highly-qualified team provides a differentiated, stimulating program for every student enrolled. As a school community, we are wholeheartedly invested in walking out our faith, both inside and outside our school walls. At CASAS Christian School we care about the spiritual, emotional, physical and academic well-being of each child enrolled, and strategically ensure that each child encounters a rigorous, relevant, but still relational educational experience.
By leaving behind the “one size fits all” model and removing the grade level cap that often accompanies those classroom settings, we are able to really see incredible growth at CCS! Allowing students who are ready for more to soar, while still providing much needed scaffolding for those students who are continually left behind, is what makes CCS so unique. To ensure that our students are met where they currently are on their readiness journey, we follow the Gradual Release Model of Responsibility at CCS. This model not only ensures that the cognitive load is moved away from the teacher and placed more on the student, but also provides space within the lesson to dial in to the individual needs of our students and differentiate as needed to ensure individual growth. It also aims to grow collaborative and independent skills which are incredibly valuable in the 21st Century workforce.