Personalized educational approach, smaller class sizes, and a global perspective.
Dr. Jennifer Herrera, our founder and superintendent opened the first TIA campus in 2002 with a dream of a school with smaller class sizes led by teachers who are free to teach, and a curriculum that prepares students for today’s global marketplace. Today here at Tucson International Academy, over 500 students attend and enjoy one of the best K-12 charter schools in Tucson.
Her vision includes two broad dimensions of educational experience:
- First, an experience that feels personalized, wrapped in a sense of community.
- Second, an experience that fosters a global perspective in the heart of each student.
Dr. “J” puts it this way, “We must prepare today’s student for life and work in a global society.”
Smaller Class Sizes Create Bigger Educational Impact
Dr. Herrera’s vision began when she realized that the sheer size, bureaucracy and impersonal nature of the large school setting does not allow for a true sense of community. She explains, “My time spent working in a large school setting was a good and positive experience, but I envisioned a less hectic, and more personalized school. I believe smaller class sizes and a more personal approach to education produce happier students and teachers. I believe this approach gives an opportunity for all the students to achieve the academic excellence they might otherwise miss.”
Let Teachers Teach
In her experience, Dr. Herrera discovered that many teachers in the traditional school setting simply don’t have enough time to be the best educators they can be. People become teachers because they care deeply about kids. However, in large school settings with ever expanding class sizes, there is never enough time to spend with individual students. Smaller class sizes and an intentional focus on community changes that dynamic. For example, there is time to ask a child about that worrisome test or to ask a parent how their surgery went last week. These kinds of personal interactions are often missing on larger more traditional, campuses.
Dr. Herrera leads a school that not only allows, but also celebrates, the creative innovation that draws most teachers to be educators in the first place. Encouraging teachers to think “outside the box” gives them the opportunity to bring a fresh and personal approach to the subjects they teach. That kind of enthusiasm and excitement about learning is contagious and the people who benefit most are our students. A bored teacher is boring. But a teacher excited about the subject can ignite a love for learning in every child in the class.
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