Cave Creek AZ Public Schools as a district ranked 4th in the State! What an accomplishment! I have two elementary age children in the district and remember the process of deciding schools, districts. A very overwhelming and nerve wracking decision. So, here is a local perspective...
Starting from the top, Cactus Shadows High School has had a bad reputation in the past; however, as my kids get closer to that transition, I have been forced to evaluate it more closely. I have discerned that drugs are a part of every high school... With 1,800 kids, CSHS feels like the small school you would expect; however, 90% of their graduates continue on to high learning. They also have an International Baccalaureate Program with accelerated learning (my daughter will be less than thrilled, but she will be excited about college credits being earned in High School).
Middle school can be a challenging time - even for the Cave Creek AZ Public Schools. In 2009, due to budgetary constraints, Desert Arroyo Middle School was slated to be closed. The following year, with mixed reviews, the school was closed. Each school added a 6th grade classroom and Sonoran Trails became exclusively 7th and 8th grade for Cave Creek AZ public schools.
Cave Creek AZ public schools has identified that with open enrollment, families can send their children anywhere (as long as you are willing to drive). I presume in an effort to retain students, they have created elementary schools with individual niches. Here is the break down...
Lone Mountain - a STEM school focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. In addition, they are a Kids at Hope campus encouraging kids to vision their success. Check out the Kids at Hope website - I was impressed! www.kidsathope.org
Black Mountain - has implemented the CORE KNOWLEDGE program where a standardized curriculum is taught in every grade and ultimately mastering the concept. Check out the website, it is an innovative program http://www.coreknowledge.com
Desert Sun - is classified as an academy, where children where uniforms and have the opportunity to stay on campus through 8th grade. Additionally they offer a very cool program called Odessey of the Mind to encourage team work, creative problem solving, etc... I have heard really great things about this program - http://www.odesseyofthemind.com
Desert Willow - has a Spanish Immersion program where the children are taught math and science in spanish (english is prohibited) and laungauge arts and social studies in English. My children are involved and my oldest (6th grade is completely fluent).
Horseshoe Trails - was the recipient of a Confucsius Classroom grant where along with ASU, have implemented a Mandarin world language program. Additionally, they offer and equine program called Horsemanship- Character Counts.