It’s been one year since the A-rated Litchfield Elementary School District pivoted to reinvent its time-tested approach to educational excellence in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Demand for online education was immediate, and the district seized the opportunity to create innovative programming for its kindergarten through eighth-grade students. As a result, LESD’s Digital Learning Academy is now the 17th school in the 104-year-old district’s educational family.
Marlene Capristo, a seasoned educator who has held several positions in the district, will serve as founding principal of this new online school that features live teaching lessons, award-winning social emotional learning, and the same academic rigor that positions Litchfield as one of Arizona’s highest achieving elementary school districts.
“COVID or not, it’s evident that many families want high-quality education in a virtual setting. They are comforted by Litchfield’s proven track record and excited about the convenience and flexibility that comes with online learning,” Ms. Capristo said.
“Principal Capristo is a warm and innovative leader. She is committed to live and engaging teaching lessons that are rooted in academic rigor and a caring school family,” LESD Superintendent Jodi Gunning said.
Ms. Capristo was serving as assistant principal and student adviser at Verrado Middle School in Buckeye when she was chosen to lead the Digital Learning Academy. She also has served as a writing instructional coach for LESD middle schools and as a fourth-grade teacher at Palm Valley Elementary School.
She holds a master’s degree in educational administration.
More than 700 students have enrolled in the new Digital Learning Academy for the 2021-22 school year. Online registration is available at www.lesd79.org.
With the addition of the DLA, the district operates 17 schools serving students in Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear and Litchfield Park, and is one of the largest employers in the Southwest Valley.
Litchfield Elementary School District prides itself on A+ schools, award-winning teachers, low administrative costs and a highly engaged community, the release stated.