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SkySong fuels collaboration on teacher training


July 25, 2006

Working through SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, the university will collaborate with the Scottsdale Unified School District to create learning communities for Scottsdale teachers, and to address the health care needs of the community.

The collaboration is being launched with a $20,000 planning grant from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. Project leaders will develop programs to train teachers in the latest science and math educational concepts, and Coronado High School will be a focal point for that collaboration.

A community-based needs assessment also will be conducted, and a plan to link SkySong businesses, ASU units and southern Scottsdale schools will be developed.

SkySong is designed to be Arizona's center of global commerce, culture and innovation, as well as a force for revitalization of southern Scottsdale.

“Even as Arizona's most excelling school district, we want to be sure our children are connected to the world,” says John Baracy, superintendent of the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD). “Working with ASU at SkySong is a great way to do that. This collaboration gives Scottsdale schools a new, distinctive opportunity that could continue to boost our enrollment. We are delighted that ASU is focused on a vibrant K-12 system so early in the development of SkySong.”

Adds Eugene Garcia, ASU vice president of university-school partnerships and co-principal investigator of the Piper planning grant: “Our job is to listen to the community and work with SUSD leadership to develop creative ways to build distinctive competencies in southern Scottsdale schools. SkySong has given us a marvelous opportunity to expand our efforts in Scottsdale.”

Likely areas of collaboration between ASU and Scottsdale Unified School District would include global studies, arts and technology integration, parent empowerment training, teacher training, student internships and innovative applied student projects, such as engineering competitions. These themes make use of SkySong as a global innovation center and a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization.

It is estimated that the collaboration plan will be completed by the end of the year. ASU will occupy 80,000 square feet of space in the first phase of SkySong, which is scheduled for completion next summer.