School highlight: Ambassador Academy - Ahwatukee Foothills News: School Highlight

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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:56 pm

Ambassador Academy • 3820 E. Ray Road

With a guarantee of small class sizes and focused attention to its current 47 enrolled students, the 5-year-old public charter school also aims to “prepare future leaders today.”

The small, K-5 charter school moved to its new location in July 2010, offering a larger space to its diverse student body.

Principal and Superintendent Dr. Elba Iris Reyes said her students have performed in the top two schools for Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) reading in Arizona, and in the top three for math.

“Our teachers have high expectations for all students and provide the opportunities for the children to achieve those expectations,” Reyes said in an email.

The academy’s elementary-aged students have started a few clubs around the school including Earth Crew, which focuses on earth sustainability that spearheads a plastic water bottle and cans recycling program. Students have also created the Loose Change Campaign, collecting loose change which they in turn donate to World Vision. For the past two years, according to Reyes, the group’s campaign has resulted in providing chicks, goats, animal food, and husbandry training to starving villages in Africa.

“While most charter schools have a specialty focus, Ambassador Academy has two areas of focus: academic excellence in teaching and learning, and leadership/character development,” Reyes added.

For more information, visit or call (480) 961-2214.

• Compiled by Diana Martinez, reach the reporter at

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing

For more information, visit

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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