ARIZONA NEWS

Valley teacher rediscovers passion for education through online instruction

Jul 26, 2021, 4:45 AM
(Pexels photo)...
(Pexels photo)
(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX – Online learning may not be for everyone, but it definitely is for Alexa Ruona.

The second-grade teacher was ready to call it quits for her career in education just before COVID-19 hit.

But she grew a newfound appreciation for the job when the pandemic forced her school to transition to virtual learning last year.

“I have been teaching for eight years and I was just feeling burnt out and, like a lot of other teachers, feeling underappreciated and I was ready to leave,” Ruona told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday. “Then Aspire came about and I just fell in love with online learning.”

Aspire is the Deer Valley Unified School District’s brand-new online academy for grades kindergarten through 8th grade. This upcoming school year will be its first official year.

The concept of the new school was in the works within the district but since the pandemic changed life for many, the district pushed it out earlier than expected.

Now, roughly two weeks before school starts on Aug. 2, the demand is clear for the new learning model.

“We have seen, in the last few weeks, an uptick in enrollment and have been able to schedule our students accordingly,” Juliet Amara, director of online and virtual programs with the Deer Valley Unified School District, said.

“Right now we are reaching some of our maximums.”

To date, Aspire has one teacher per grade level for kindergarten through sixth grade, including special education services.

The school also has the traditional programming found in brick-and-mortar schools, such as reading specialists and other specials like music, art and P.E.

The overall goal is to meet the needs of today’s society and the different needs of families and students while also keeping up with the trends in education.

“My favorite part, and why I fell in love with online teaching, was the flexibility it gave me and families,” Ruona said. “Seeing kids learn in different places and not within the four walls of a classroom has been incredibly encouraging for me.”

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Gayle Galligan attributes the online learning success for the district’s students to the creative and dedicated teachers within Aspire.

The teachers use the online learning tool “Canvas,” but the curriculum goes beyond that with interactive lesson plans and field trips planned by teachers like Ruona.

“Any classroom is successful because of the teacher and Aspire has some amazing teachers,” Galligan said. “Those are teachers who chose online teaching because they felt like that was their niche.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

FILE - Kari Lake, Arizona Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters at the Republican...
Associated Press

Lake seeks election records in suit against Arizona county

Kari Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona governor, has filed a public records lawsuit demanding Maricopa County hand over a variety of documents related to the election.
1 day ago
Carey Johnson and her son Fabian Swain are photographed wearing face masks in their Germantown, Md....
Associated Press

After a year, omicron still driving COVID surges and worries

A year after omicron began its assault on humanity, the ever-morphing coronavirus mutant drove COVID-19 case counts higher in many places just as Americans gathered for Thanksgiving.
1 day ago
(City of Mesa Photo)...
KTAR.com

Merry Main Street with ice rink, other holiday activities returns to downtown Mesa

Mesa's annual Merry Main Street begins Friday and will offer multiple holiday activities for the whole family to enjoy each day through early January.
1 day ago
Joaquin Santiago Orozco (Mesa Police Department Photo)...
KTAR.com

Mesa police involved in shooting with man who allegedly rammed them with vehicle

Mesa police were involved in a shooting with a man late Thursday night who allegedly rammed them with a vehicle after failing to stop for a civil traffic offense, authorities said.
1 day ago
Brian Hanrahan (Courtesy Photo)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert canceled after missing 78-year-old man found safe

A Silver Alert was canceled Friday after a missing 78-year-old man last seen in Phoenix was found safe, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa, Arizona Government, Pexels Photo)...
KTAR.com

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for Nov. 25-27

The holiday season is officially underway and there are plenty of events around the Valley this weekend to get into the festive mood.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Valley teacher rediscovers passion for education through online instruction