Grande Innovation Academy

Grande Innovation Academy will begin offering a new online academy option in the 2020-21 school year.

CASA GRANDE — The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools on July 20 unanimously approved a plan to allow Casa Grande-based Grande Innovation Academy to begin an online academy for students in the fourth through eighth grades.

The online academy, named “Path-to-Potential,” will be an additional education option for GIA students in the upcoming 2020-21 school year, said Patty Messer, GIA executive director and charter representative.

Plans for Path-to-Potential began years ago, when Messer created Grande Innovation Academy, an in-person public charter school that serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

When she opened the charter in 2016, her long-term goal was to also offer an online program for students.

Messer and GIA Online Program Director Ashlee Miller began working on the process to add the online schooling in October 2019, long before the COVID-19 pandemic began causing school closures.

“I feel like my magic eight ball was working when we started writing the online amendment. No one had any idea how needed the online academy was going to be,” Messer said in a press release.

Messer said originally, the program was being developed to better serve students who work better from home due to various circumstances, including developing talents and other interests.

“We have scholars who need to leave Casa Grande early during the school week to develop their gifts and talents,” Messer said. “We have a few students that are advanced in music or sports who go to the Valley for practice and club teams. They need to leave by 1-2 p.m. and end up missing out on school. The Path-to-Potential will serve them well as they can work at their own pace in addition to developing in their talent area.”

Registration is open for the Path-to-Potential program.

Those who would like to schedule a registration appointment with Miller may send an email to amiller@giaowlsmail.com or call 520-381-2360.

Grande Innovation Academy is at 950 N. Peart Road.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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