Cave Creek Academy presents opportunities for gifted children

By Linda Bentley | April 28, 2010

| More

Private K-8 school to offer relief from 'untenable' public school options
cave creek academyCAVE CREEK – Cave Creek Academy (CCA), a new K-8 private school, will be opening in August.

The school’s owners are Michael Chapin, a former child actor and businessman, and Martha Harvey, a lifelong educator experienced in “everything from pre-school art and Spanish to college physics and adult literacy.”

Chapin, who owned and operated Montessori schools for many years, primarily in southern California, called the public school option “untenable” and decided to use the money he’d made in acting to start his own school, something Harvey has always longed to do.

Harvey trained in gifted education and became an advocate for the support of the special needs of extraordinary children within the system, something she found futile and frustrating.

Harvey said both she and Chapin are passionate about their faith, in God, in America and in the best way to unlock the joy of learning.

Although they’ve not yet settled on a venue in Cave Creek, Harvey said they’ve been drawn to the former Epicurean Palette location because of its “aesthetics and big open space.”

CCA is dedicated to “focused learning for gifted, talented, creative and determined learners,” touting a student-teacher ratio of 12:1.

Harvey said students will be grouped by similar learning styles or interests rather than the age grouping typical of most public and charter schools. Each student will be expected to make a year’s progress, regardless if they started from a place where they have already excelled beyond the state standards.

They chose the nautilus for CCA’s logo because a nautilus grows exponentially on its own, as do gifted students, when placed in the proper environment.

Teachers at CCA act as leaders, counselors and guides. Students design the projects, investigations and experiments, negotiate their learning contracts, track their progress, evaluate their efforts, and name their own reward for a job well done.

Harvey said, “Because stress is anathema to learning, positive brain states are maintained through art, music, high-interest activities and physical effort.” She also believes having an aesthetically pleasing environment is important.

A fifth grader who interviewed Chapin and Harvey over the weekend to decide if he wanted to attend their school next year asked, “What is your policy on questions?”

Puzzled, Chapin asked, “What happens now [when you ask a question]?”

The fifth grader responded, “They tell me to put my hand down.”

Chapin told the student, “Asking questions is the only way to learn.”

The student subsequently enrolled to attend CCA for 6th grade.

Tuition is $10,800 per year and includes both before and after care until 6 p.m.

CCA is scheduled to open for the fall term on Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. E-mail or call 480-544-3704 to request an enrollment application.