Vin Suprynowicz -- A year ago, hundreds of Chaparral students gathered outside the local high school, chanting "Let's go, Cowboys!" and "We are Chap!" as expressions of support for teachers and staff who'd just been told they faced being replaced for academic failure.
Since its founding in 2002, EKA has used its academic flexibility to institute a project-based learning method, where students create projects — presentations, plays, dances and dioramas — to demonstrate their knowledge. Last school year, EKA began a pilot program with 25 iPads to help students research and craft more interactive projects, such as digital slideshows, movies and songs.
Previously, teachers used their own exams to determine a student’s grade in algebra and geometry. But the district wanted a uniform measure of how well students were learning the material and whether they would be ready for a tougher statewide proficiency exam that debuts next year.