QC education expert opening micro school

Adamo Education’s micro school in Fountain Hills provides a wide range of in-person and virtual learning experiences. (Special to the Tribune)

Tamara Becker’s experience as educator has not only spanned a variety of positions but also covered just about every kind of education venue there is – from traditional and charter schools to online and hybrid models.

Now, Queen Creek resident, is the CEO of Adamo Education, an education provider that she packages the best of all her past worlds “to create a positive, personalized environment where children love to learn” in the form of “micro schools.”

She defines micro schools as kind of 21st century one-room schoolhouses that “establish safe locations convenient for its families, anywhere in the Valley.”

“Learning takes place best when children of different age cohorts interact with one another,” according to Becker’s website, adamoeducation.org. “Class sizes are intentionally small so students receive the personal interaction they need. And, all of our teachers are certified, so children learn from subject matter experts.”

With one micro school already in operation in Fountain Hills, Becker is set to open one closer to home and has started enrollment for K-8 students for the coming school year.

The Queen Creek Adamo Education micro school will combine in-person learning with distance learning, “depending on the needs of students, families and their teachers.”

Adamo Education partners with a large charter network in Arizona called Edkey, Inc. The students are fully accredited to move on in the public school system and there is no tuition.

The pandemic propelled Becker’s embrace of micro schools.

“Micro schools aren’t new and have been around for a while, but really started to develop during the pandemic,” she explained. “I saw an opportunity for education to innovate itself, but sadly we went back to doing things the same way after the pandemic. That’s why I started Adamo.”

“The difference is we use only certified teachers and we provide direct instruction aligned to the state standards and project-based learning opportunities.”

The Fountain Hills micro school debuted for the beginning of the current school year.

At Adamo schools, the ratio is one teacher for no more than 12 students, Becker said. The student’s schedule can be flexible and customized for the parents and students. Students may come to morning or afternoon sessions or full days.

“Adamo’s model is different than anything else available today,” she said. “We’re taking the best pieces of digital, traditional and at-home learning to develop our program.”

For example, students through projects can learn about space exploration and the solar system, incorporating the subject areas of reading, writing and math, she explained.

“I wanted to put students back at the center of education,” she said. Students get a “smaller, more personalized learning experience and a stronger connection with the teacher” at Adamo.

“Because I partner with a charter network, the students will be accredited for their learning and will be able to move on to high school,” she said.

Lindsay Nagela, the mother of a third grader at Adamo School in Fountain Hills, said she moved her daughter out of the public school in November when she noticed her daughter’s “handwriting and spelling were declining,” and her work ethic lagging.

Her daughter had “a lot of substitute teachers” at the public school and “a lot of kids in the class,” Nagela said, which she blames for her daughter’s inability to focus.

Her daughter’s teacher at Adamo used to teach at the public school in Fountain Hills and Nagela knew her, she said. She moved her daughter because she “thought the change would be a positive thing for her daughter.”

“(My daughter) went from about 30 students to now maybe 10 – she’s getting way more attention,” she said. “Even just her confidence level has completely changed. She wants to go to school.

“I notice a huge change in just the way she feels about herself” since moving to Adamo, she said.

Her daughter “thrives” at the school and has several second-grade friends in her class, she said. “She likes helping the younger kids with their work.”

Next year, her class will consist of just 4th and 5th graders, she said.

Nagela wants to “emphasize” that her daughter has much more one-to-one attention from the teacher, “not comparable to the regular school.” Nagela also is able to talk with the teacher on a daily basis or text her about her daughter’s home work.

Which is pretty much Becker’s goal: “Our positive, encouraging culture is an important part of the educational process. Adamo Education students learn to be respectful, considerate and kind, which lays the groundwork for positive, productive citizenship in the future.”

Information: adamoeducation.org or 480-209-2429.