Programs & Services
Brisas strives to meet the academic needs of our diverse population so every student achieves a minimum of a year of academic growth. A major focus of our Vision is to empower students to reach their potential. We use multiple measures to identify students’ academic needs; the Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessment and reading, writing, and math benchmark assessments are administered as part of our School Improvement Plan (SIP). District end-of-grade tests and Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) are used to measure mastery of grade level standards. Content area diagnostics and screeners are used to identify specific gaps in learning.
We meet students’ individual needs through differentiation and intervention for all students of all ability ranges. This begins with our master schedule and class placement processes. The strategic use of instructional time is a key factor in supporting student achievement; we ensure that every teacher’s master schedule includes 110 minutes of uninterrupted reading instruction daily (80 minutes for core + 30 minutes for IFG) and 90 minutes of uninterrupted math instruction daily (60 minutes for core + 30 minutes for IFG). Based on data, students are regularly grouped and regrouped in Instructional Focus Groups (IFG) to meet their needs for remediation and extensions.
At Brisas, we are serious about the growth of every student. Any student showing learning or behavior difficulties receive some level (tier 1, 2, or 3) of differentiated instruction using our Response to Intervention (RTI) model. Every grade level has a Kyrene Student Intervention Team (KSIT) that meets regularly to identify students needing extra academic and/or behavioral support, define goals and appropriate interventions, and track student progress. Our school-wide KSIT Committee ensures consistency across grade levels.
Students who display characteristics of high intelligence are identified and evaluated through the Gifted Program. Teachers of gifted students in grades K-3 are guided by Individual Learning Plans (ILP) and supported with resources provided by the gifted teacher. In 4th-5th grade, a pull-out model provides rigorous above-grade-level instruction in reading and math. K-5th grade gifted students are clustered in classrooms with other students so as to extend their infectious need for challenge and growth into the general classroom setting.
English Language Learners (ELL) are identified by the Arizona English Language Learner Assessment. They are given an Individual Language Learner Plan (ILLP) created by the Structured English Immersion (SEI) teacher who sets appropriate goals for students and designs instruction that meets the individual language learning needs of the students aligned with the Arizona State English and Language Proficiency (ELP) standards. These students receive instruction in reading, writing, listening and speaking, vocabulary and grammar as prescribed in the SEI model (mainstream into regular classroom and an ILLP for each student). All Brisas teachers hold SEI, ESL, or Bilingual endorsements.
For students with identified special needs that require more extensive remediation, our special education staff provides a variety of instructional supports. Each qualifying student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that outlines the goals and any required modifications or accommodations the child may need to access the general education curriculum. For some students, the least restrictive environment is either a co-taught model, in which the special education teacher teaches alongside the general education teacher, or a full inclusion model. For some students, a pull-out model is most appropriate for delivering specialized instruction. In some cases, it can be a combination of models. IEP goals are reviewed and revised annually to adjust for learning and identify new goals. Based on individual needs, students may also receive support services from speech, occupational, and physical therapists, behavior interventionists, and assistive technology specialists. Some non-special education students who have a life condition that requires special accommodations are eligible for a 504 Plan, which is also reviewed annually to ensure that each student has optimal learning and assessment opportunities.
Our Mission, to do what’s best for kids to ensure their success, includes meeting the nonacademic needs of each student. The Kyrene Family Resource Center provides families who need assistance with food, clothing, and school supplies. Our cafeteria provides free/reduced breakfast and lunch to qualified students. Vision and hearing tests are given to all incoming students. Low cost health care plans and flu shots are made available to families in need.
Our school psychologist, Dr. Paula McCall, offers individual and small group Counseling Services based on identified student needs. Brisas has offerred the following counseling groups: 1) a social skills group, which used ideas from Feeling, Thinking, Behaving by Ann Vernon, an emotional education/social skills curriculum focusing on aspects such as self-control and interpersonal relationships; 2) a social skills group, which used materials from PREPaRE®, a school crisis and prevention response curriculum utilizing a method of direct social skill instruction with modeling and role playing scenarios; 3) an anger management group, which used materials from Seeing Red, an anger management and peacekeeping curriculum; and 4) a GIRLS (Girls In Real Life Situations) group, which explored coping skills and self-esteem within a small supportive network of female peers to encourage them to help each other in the transition to middle school.
To support our Vision, to nurture students in a culture of PEACE, particularly focusing on our Core Value of Character, each week a new Lifeskill® (respect, organization, responsibility, etc.) is introduced and modeled by students on morning announcements and then practiced and recognized by staff throughout the week. This program has been instrumental in creating a safe, nurturing environment at Brisas.
Hope, engagement, and well-being are key factors that drive student grades, achievement, and future employment. Brisas measures these nonacademic factors by administering the national Gallup Student Poll© each year. We know that our students’ beliefs shape their actions, impacting their behavior and academic achievement. At Brisas, we’re committed to giving students the 21st century skills they need to foster emotional intelligence, influence their mentality and affect their motivation to learn. It is for this reason that it is our goal to not only teach Lifeskills®, but also essential Leadership principles. At Brisas, all 3rd-5th grade students receive Lens of Leadership curriculum, a signature program developed and taught by Mike Sissel. KaleidoEye, the name of Mr. Sissel's company, provides students weekly lessons that guide them through tasks such as creating their own mission statement, discovering the power of positive influence, and role-playing problem resolution strategies. He also provides similar trainings for parents.
At Brisas, we make every effort to minimize the effects of negative factors on school climate and student achievement. Serious discipline problems are addressed immediately so learning can continue for all students. Our attendance clerk helps to minimize absenteeism by checking daily on all students who are not at school. If a student has repeated unexcused absences or tardies, parents are called and a follow-up letter is sent from the principal to the student’s home. Students who have 5 or more unexcused absences (or excessive absences) are considered “truant”; Brisas partners with the Maricopa County Juvenile Court to utilize the Court Unified Truancy Suspension (CUTS) program to address our most serious absenteeism issues.