Our School

  • Welcome to Cave Creek's Academy of Excellence!

    The Academy of Excellence is a fully online K-12 school that is a part of the Cave Creek Unified School District.

    Please take the time to learn how it works by reading through the following information.  This webpage will help you gain a better understanding of what’s involved, the time commitment needed, and the tools you’ll use to help you and your student prepare for a smooth experience with our Cave Creek fully online learning option.  Below are our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help you become familiar with the details of the school:
    Is my child a good fit for online learning?
    Online school is great for students who:
         -Need an alternative to a traditional school settinng
         -Are independently motivated to complete work
         -Need more time, pacing or flexibility in completing work
         -Have success with educational technology tools
         -Are required to receive homebound schooling due to an illness

    What are some of the requirements of a family to be involved with a full time online learner?
    Online school requires families to:
         -Provide ongoing guidance and encouragement
         -Dedicate time to keeping the student motivated throughout each day by organizing routines and structures
         -Be involved in their student’s education by monitoring progress and comprehension in the role of a “learning
         -Maintain regular contact with their child’s teacher(s)
    Encourage social activities outside of online school through contact with others through field trips, clubs and
          community activities

    Who will be the teachers for AOE and will they be teaching live each day?
    All students will be assigned to a certified CCUSD teacher, who will grade assignments, offer support at given time frames, and provide modules in an asynchronous (self-directed) format.  There will not be “live lessons” or group video sessions. AOE’s curriculum is set up in a self-directed module format with all lessons, resources, assignments and assessments pre-built and readily available for students to learn and work at their own pace.

    What curriculum will AOE be using?
    The online curriculum selected for grades K-12 has been specially created for online environments and is not the same as the curriculum being used in “brick and mortar” classrooms and in the distance learning platforms used in association with the option that eventually returns to school in CCUSD.  The online curriculum used at AOE is rigorous and is not what was used by CCUSD schools online in the spring virtual learning experience when schools were suddenly closed for the stay at home order. The AOE will be consistent with other completely online schools and their parameters.

    Grades K-5 students will learn Arizona State Content Standards through an approved high-quality accredited curriculum, Calvart Learning, provided by Edmentum. Edmentum’s curriculum provides instruction in a module-type format.  While Edmentum is the baseline for core content instructional curriculum, the student’s teacher may add additional material to support and/or enhance learning for each student in an individual manner if necessary.  Edmentum’s K-5 curriculum includes core math, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Art, and Art History as well as Health and PE electives.  

    Grades 6-8 students will learn Arizona state content standards through an approved high-quality accredited curriculum, Courseware, provided by Edmentum.  Edmentum’s curriculum includes a diverse variety of core content and electives.  Edmentum supports your student as more of an independent learner and is the baseline for core content instructional curriculum, however, the student’s teacher may add/change material to support and/or enhance learning for each student in an individual manner if necessary.  Edmentum’s course catalog includes core subjects, electives, career and technical education, college and career readiness courses and world languages.  High school students will need to ensure that their selected courses meet the requirements for their future college and career pathways.  

    Does AOE offer specials, electives or extra-curricular programs?
    In grades K-5, students will take a combination of art, art history, health and PE.  In grades, 6-8, students will have health as their elective.

    What options are offered for gifted students?

    We are working on a program that would allow gifted students in grades 3-8 to choose an alternative elective, one reserved specifically for identified gifted students.  These would be reserved for gifted students because they are dependent on our annual gifted grant funding from the state.  There may be limited space.

    For high school students, will there be a counselor to support students with course selections?
    High school students will be enrolled in the Cactus Shadows Falcon eCampus.  Students enrolled in the high school portion of AOE will work with a counselor or school support administrator to ensure that course selection is appropriate.  High school students will need to ensure that their selected courses meet the requirements for their future college and career pathways.  Please contact Laurie Umbarger at lumbarger@ccusd93.net for support with course selection and related details.

    Will AOE students ever need to submit work or take tests in person?
    Students in grades K-5 will submit all work and assessments online through the learning system.  Students will not have to visit any in-person location other than to take state mandated testing (such as AZM2 and AZELLA if applicable). Teachers will work with each student and parent individually to schedule the testing days and times.

    Students in grades 6-8 will not be required to attend an in-person location to take final exams.  Students will be required to take state mandated testing (such as AZM2 and AZELLA if applicable). Teachers will work with each student and parent individually to schedule the testing days and times.

    Will AOE students need to have a device and internet access?
    Yes. AOE’s curriculum is based entirely online and students will need to have a computer with internet access to the lessons and their interactive content. AOE students will be able to check out a Chromebook from CCUSD upon enrollment and will need WiFi to support their learning.

    Will AOE teachers offer small group and individual instruction?
    AOE’s instruction is provided mainly through an online module format.  AOE teachers will monitor learning progress and gaps with students and will communicate regularly with parents.  AOE teachers may schedule meetings and clarification support learning opportunities but will not hold regular/routine instructional small group or individual tutoring sessions.

    Will students and parents be able to meet with teachers in person for extra help or other meetings?
    AOE is a fully online school.  This means that all meetings and interactions will be done virtually or by phone.  Teachers will hold daily office hours.  The only time a student may need to visit an in-person location may be for a required exam.

    Does AOE work with students who have special needs?
    Due to the nature of online learning (different from distance learning), AOE may not be able to meet all of your child's special education needs.  In order to determine the most appropriate program for your child, and IEP meeting may need to be held to discuss FAPE.  AOE curriculum is able to provide for a number of accommodatins but not for modifications of the curriculum.  Learning is mainly asychronous, meaning that students will be going through the curriculum at their own pace and will not have direct instruction from their teachers.

    Will students be a part of a grade level class, cohort or other social group?
    Each student will be assigned a certified teacher based on their grade level and/or course content selection(s).  All students in AOE progress independently at their own rate and are not associated with a group or cohort of students. Students may engage in community building activities, discussions, with other students but will not be a part of an actual “class” with regular collaboration.  Parents are encouraged to support and arrange social interactions and activities outside of online learning time.

    Will students in AOE create projects and other hands-on learning experiences?
    Yes, in addition to the fully online curriculum, students will have opportunities to create and experience projects related to their learning in order to make real-world connections.  Our online curriculum includes project-based learning projects that are hands-on and encourage inquiry and exploration.

    Will AOE students receive workbooks and materials related to their learning?
    There are no printed paper materials or books that will go to your home.  While most of the work will be done within the online platform, there may be an instance where paper worksheets or note taking sheets are required.  Each family is responsible for providing any materials or printers for printing.

    What is the time commitment each day and will AOE students be required to follow a typical daily school schedule?
    Online learners are expected to work on learning objectives from 3 to 5 hours each day.  Because AOE is completely online, students will not have a formal time schedule to follow, however, it is highly recommended that the parent and student create a daily schedule similar to an in-person school day.  The schedule should include time for work in each core subject earlier in the day, a lunch break, movement breaks, time for specials and other instructional practice times.  Daily routines and responsibilities of an online learner are much different from “in-person” school. 

    How will academic honesty and integrity be ensured for students working in this online environment?
    Cave Creek Unified School District expects the highest sense of personal honor and integrity of all enrolled AOE students.  Details related to academic honesty are outlined in the school handbook (coming soon) and in the Academic Honesty Agreement you will complete upon final enrollment into AOE.

    Can students start the school year with AOE, go back to face-to-face learning at their previous CCUSD school and return back to AOE again later?
    Students may withdraw from AOE or join AOE later in the school year if desired.  We ask that students only move from one school to another during the quarter break (grades K-5) and during the semester break (grades 6-12).  The online curriculum selected for grades K-12 has been specially created for online environments and grades must be provided based on the learning option at the time.  

    If a student wants to return back to their original CCUSD “brick and mortar” school, will they be able to return to the teacher they want?
    Attempts to support school and teacher requests will be considered but cannot be guaranteed as staffing and student placement will be based on constantly fluctuating enrollment numbers.  When parents select to leave “face to face starting with distance learning” (Option 1) , it is understood that they are no longer enrolled in the CCUSD “brick and mortar” school that they previously attended. Every attempt will be made at quarter or semester end to try and place students back with their previously scheduled cohort, however, this may be difficult due to staffing constraints.