Top-rated Casa Grande high schools 2024

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Casa Grande is a fast-growing city about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, in the heart of the Arizona Innovation and Technology Corridor. The 2020 census estimated the population to be nearly 56,000. Casa Grande is the manufacturing, logistics, health care, retail and commercial hub in Pinal County, with exciting development projects on the horizon.

Poised for growth and development, Casa Grande offers multiple high schools to choose from. Finding the right high school in Casa Grande starts with identifying what’s important to your student and family. What type of environment will your student thrive in? Are you looking for high rankings, in-person instruction, online curriculum, or a hybrid program with the flexibility to do both?

You should also consider the school’s technology, pedagogical approach, curriculum and instructional style. Does your student need personalized instruction or have any special needs?
In the end, your student should have a sense of belonging and feel comfortable doing their best work. That involves the right support and a good balance of family involvement.

Casa Grande

The best local high schools in Casa Grande

Some of the best Casa Grande high schools are focused on college readiness and preparing students for success in life, regardless of what path they choose after graduation. When it comes to choosing the best high schools in Casa Grande, we selected area schools with a track record of student success, personalized support, and a focus on preparing students to excel after graduation.

1. ASU Preparatory Academy Casa Grande

View their Instagram post here.

ASU Prep Casa Grande is a tuition-free public charter school for grades 7–12 offering personalized paths to college and career success. ASU Prep meets high school students where they are, academically and emotionally. With the support of Arizona State University, the school delivers on its mission of creating successful pathways to college, making academic success a reality for students.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of their learning approach, encouraging students to work together to solve local and global issues. Additionally, community service is deeply embedded in the school culture, allowing students to apply their skills meaningfully within their local community.

They work closely with families to create a positive and productive educational environment, ensuring that students are not only academically prepared but also well-rounded, ready for college, and equipped for future careers.

The school recognizes the crucial role of family engagement and support in student success and provides a nurturing environment with multiple layers of personalized instruction, academic coaching, and emotional support.

This unique blend of advanced curriculum, emphasis on real-world skills, community involvement, and strong support systems is why students love ASU Prep Casa Grande. It’s not just a school; it’s a community where students are encouraged to dream big and equipped to achieve those dreams.

ASU Prep Casa Grande high school is located at Grande Sports World on the Francisco Grande resort, home to the Barça Residency Academy USA, a world-renowned soccer club and youth residency soccer development program.

The school schedule is 4 days per week with bus service available, giving high school students the flexibility to explore internships and complete school work from home.

Name: ASU Prep Casa Grande
Address: 2612 W Gila Bend Hwy, Casa Grande, AZ 85193
Contact Number: 520-374-4200

2. Mission Heights Preparatory High School

View their Instagram post here.

Opening its doors in 2011, Mission Heights Preparatory High School serves a diverse group of students looking for the opportunity to succeed at the nation’s top institutions of higher learning.

The primary objective of the school is to equip every student with the tools and guidance needed for successful transition into the college or university of their choice. They are committed to developing a college prep environment.

The school has many options for students to get involved, including multiple sports teams and other extracurricular activities that serve to create a well-rounded student body experience.

As an AVID Site of Distinction, Mission Heights Prep focuses on providing students with the tools to prepare them for the classroom today and their futures tomorrow.

To learn more about Mission Heights Preparatory High School, please visit their Facebook.

3. Vista Grande High School

View their Instagram post here.

Vista Grande is a four-year co-educational public high school with an enrollment of 1,860 students. Accredited by AdvancED, Vista has students enrolled in grades 9–12. Based on 2022 graduation rates, 43% of the students are attending a two-year community college, 19% attending a four-year college, the remaining 38% pursuing full-time employment, military, or vocational training.

Vista Grande boasts diverse enrollment with many Spanish-speaking students. The school has many successful athletics teams and several student-athletes go on to play at the collegiate level after graduation.

There are many areas of specialization in the classroom and Departments and Programs of Instruction include Art, Automation and Robotics, Construction, Culinary Arts, Dance, Drama, Early Childhood Education, English, Exceptional Student Services, Graphic Design, Marine JROTC, Marketing, Math, Music, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Software and App Design, Technical Theatre, and World Languages.

To learn more about Vista Grande High School, please visit their Facebook.

4. Casa Grande Union High School

View their Instagram post here.

Casa Grande Union High School (CGUHS) is a public, comprehensive high school with more than 100 years of excellence serving the Casa Grande community. It has earned a school-wide Title 1 accreditation by Cognia. It is part of the Casa Grande Union High School District #82 and serves 2,130 students in Grades 9–12.

The Mission of CGUHS is to inspire excellence by providing globally competitive educational opportunities for all students. With a strong emphasis on STEM education, CGUHS is developing students with the skills to excel in college and beyond. The school has a track record of success in band, dance, and many interscholastic sports.

To learn more about Casa Grande Union High School, please visit their Facebook.

5. Pinnacle High School – Casa Grande

View their Instagram post here.

Pinnacle High School – Casa Grande provides a tuition-free education for students to find the right fit for their academic needs. Enrollment is open to all students from grades 9 to 12, and new groups start every week throughout the school year. Pinnacle provides opportunities for every student to find the right fit for their academic needs.

Students have the resources to develop life skills and social sustainability skills to prove themselves career and college ready. They have excellent intervention and advice to prepare themselves as per their choices and needs for community college, higher education, entrepreneurial ventures, and armed forces.

To learn more about Pinnacle High School – Casa Grande, please visit their Facebook.

6. PPep Tec High School – Alice Paul Learning Center

View their Facebook post here.

PPEP High Schools are available for students looking for an alternative to a “traditional” education. With small student-to-teacher ratios, they provide more of a one-on-one learning experience.

The Alice Paul Learning Center offers an alternative educational option for students ages 14-21, grades 9–12, and a comprehensive high school curriculum taught by highly qualified and caring teachers. In addition, depending on student commitment, they offer accelerated learning opportunities that will enable a first-time freshman to graduate in as little as 3 years.

The school has a four-day week with Fridays as an option to participate in extracurricular activities or catch up on missed assignments.

To learn more about PPep Tec High School – Alice Paul Learning Center, please visit their Facebook.

7. PACE High School

View their Facebook post here.

PACE (Pathways Accelerating Career Experiences) High School is a face-to-face campus that is the flagship for what is possible in student academic achievement. It is rooted in skills mastery, project based learning, and social emotional growth.

PACE students participate in mentoring and internships with Lucid, Nikola, Kohler, and other potential community partners. PACE graduates will carry with them marketable and college-ready skill sets, including a bilingual literacy certificate.

The mission of PACE is to collaborate with the community to personalize student learning using learning pathways, projects, and a comprehensive approach to skills development. The school prides itself on personalized learning at the pace needed for each student to achieve success.

To learn more about PACE High School, please visit their Facebook.

8. Heritage Academy Maricopa

View their Facebook post here.

While technically not in Casa Grande, Heritage Academy is in the nearby city of Maricopa and is a good option for families interested in exercising their universal school choice rights when selecting a high school.

Heritage Academy is one of Arizona’s oldest charter schools and a “Top Charter School in Arizona.” Heritage offers a classical education for the leaders who will shape the 21st Century.

The school works with grades 6–12 and is known for high standards, award-winning academics, and supportive administration. At the center of everything they do is the desire to build strong character that is reflected in the families and communities of their students.

Heritage Academy is tuition-free and offers high-academic standards, giving children a high-quality education combined with some of the best teachers in the state. It features a 4-day school week with Fridays off and has a wide variety of classes with small class sizes for tailored instruction.

To learn more about Heritage Academy Maricopa, please visit their Facebook.

Faculty standing outside ASU Prep Academy

Comparing top-rated Casa Grande high schools?

ASU Prep Casa Grande is a top-rated tuition-free public school for grades 7–12 offering personalized paths to college and career success. We meet students where they are academically and emotionally, creating successful pathways to college, making academic success a reality for our students.

Chartered by Arizona State University, ASU Preparatory Academy students are Sun Devils from day one, receiving regular opportunities for mentorship by ASU students and faculty. It’s how we’re helping students discover and pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and build a lifelong love of learning on their journey to success.

To learn more about ASU Prep, please visit our website.

ASU Honors Black History Month with Community Events

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Black History Month is an annual celebration of the profound contributions that African Americans have made to all facets of society. Throughout this month, we come together to honor the legacies and ongoing achievements of Black individuals. Here is a sampling of Black History Month events hosted by our ASU community:

George Floyd Global Memorial to present ‘Twin Flames’ exhibit

This arts experience is a unique partnership between the ASU Art Museum, the ASU Center for Work and Democracy, and the George Floyd Global Memorial. Enjoy an insightful guided walkthrough in addition to a food truck with delicious bites, mocktail bar, and entertainment.

Color Cabaret by Music Theatre and Opera

This entirely student-led cabaret helps provide an opportunity for composers, lyricists, librettists, and performers of color, formed through personal connections, friends, and colleagues from all over ASU, to share their creativity.

Black Liberation Through the Marketplace with Rachel Ferguson

Join author Rachel Ferguson as she discusses Black Liberation Through the Marketplace, and come away with a better understanding of Black history and creative ideas for how to make this nation truly one with liberty and justice for all.

International Jazz Day AZ Foundation’s co-presents JADE

Jade Johnson has performed beloved renditions of the National Anthem at Suns, Mercury, Diamondbacks, Clippers and Lakers games, and landed acting roles on TV’s “Blackish” and in theater Off Broadway. From jazz and pop to R&B, hear a focused singer-songwriter hitting her stride.

This is Melanin

Step into a world brimming with entertainment and education. This all-ages extravaganza includes food trucks, music, games, vendors, speakers – and good vibes. Brace yourself for thought-provoking panel discussions and workshops focusing on vital community empowerment topics such as finance, home-buying, and more.

A-rating: ASU Prep Casa Grande High School excels on school report card

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We are thrilled to announce ASU Preparatory Academy Casa Grande has been recognized as the only A-rated high school in all of Pinal County. This remarkable achievement is a testament to excellence in education, backed by data, a nurturing culture, and a team effort.

Quantifying excellence: Looking at the data

According to Jeni McClue, ASU Prep’s Director of State Assessment and Accountability, ASU Prep Casa Grande excels in various key areas on which the Arizona Department of Education bases school rankings.

The class of 2023 showcased exceptional readiness for the next chapter of their lives. Here are some highlights:

  • ACT Composite scores surpass both the state and national averages, exceeding the state passing rate by 25% in English Language Arts and by 14% in math.
  • Tremendous graduation rate above 95%.
  • Nearly all students earned college credits in core academic subjects while still in high school.
  • Many students took advantage of career-readiness opportunities, such as internships and the Armed Services Vocational Assessment Battery (ASVAB) assessment.
  • 100% of students were admitted to a post-secondary school, with the majority earning acceptance to a four-year university.
  • 77% of students were offered scholarships, totaling over $4 million.

It’s more than just data: Casa Grande’s unique culture

Beyond these impressive statistics, ASU Prep Casa Grande 7–12 Principal Gayle Taylor highlights the unique culture and atmosphere that sets the campus apart. With a small school size of 272 students and a staff of only 15, ASU Prep Casa Grande actively fosters strong relationships among students and faculty. Principal Taylor explains, “There’s lots of communication. It’s a very supportive and personalized environment. It’s the connectedness that leads to success.”

Principal Taylor also emphasizes the wide range of college and career opportunities ASU Prep Casa Grande provides for students. From taking college classes in high school to participating in the ASVAB assessment and career fair, ASU Prep Casa Grande ensures students are well-prepared for their future endeavors. The school’s student-driven clubs, including an award-winning robotics team, further enhance the diverse extracurricular offerings.

The school’s unique partnership with Barça Residency, a soccer academy, adds another layer of support for student-athletes who make up about half of the student population. 

ASU Prep Casa Grande’s rich tapestry of student backgrounds, with student-athletes hailing from different parts of the world and other students coming from nearby communities, enriches the overall experience at ASU Prep Casa Grande. Principal Taylor marvels at the commitment of many students who travel quite a distance by bus to attend the school: “Students are really interested and want to be here and work with us.”

Success is a collective effort

Brian Ross, Dean of Students, credits the achievement of earning an “A” school grade to the collective efforts of the entire school community. He proudly shares, “All our teachers, administrators, staff—everybody in the building—is committed to student success. We’re committed to the ASU Prep mission to prep students for college and careers.”

ASU Prep Casa Grande’s distinction as the only A-rated high school in Pinal County is well-deserved. The school’s commitment to academic excellence, nurturing culture, and team effort has created an environment where students thrive and are academically and personally prepared for their future endeavors.

Learn more about ASU Prep Casa Grande’s rigorous university preparatory curriculum that puts students on a personalized path to success with opportunities to explore college and careers while in high school.

Día de los Muertos event celebrates the magic of tradition and community

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Recently, ASU Preparatory Academy South Phoenix transformed into a vibrant fiesta of colors and sounds, paying homage to the rich tradition of Día de los Muertos. The community gathered for a night bursting with entertainment.

On November 4, the campus filled with families, their faces painted in vivid designs and many had heads adorned with floral crowns, eager to participate in the festive activities offered throughout the night. Guests danced alongside the lively mariachi, watched the twirling baile folklórico dancers and marveled at a daring aerialist performance.

There was authentic cuisine and craft stations to create sugar skulls and paper flowers, but the heart of the celebration was the breathtaking Cihuapactli Collective Altar, where guests paid tribute to loved ones.

The event was a chance for attendees to soak in the spirit of the ASU Prep community as the South Phoenix campus buzzed with excitement. Student Nataly Garcia shared what makes the school special, and therefore, the event: “It’s a small school and everyone here knows each other. The teachers and staff support each kid individually.” Alejandro Bonfil added how fun it was to hang out with friends and classmates at the celebration.

About the festivities, student Zain Gehrig said, “I would totally recommend this. It’s so much fun being here. I’m having the time of my life.” The pictures and memories of this year’s event will linger on, and are already fueling anticipation for next year’s celebration. As Garcia puts it, “You want to make sure you come next year because you don’t want to miss this fun, amazing party that ASU Prep South Phoenix has offered to everyone!”

To see a recap of the event, please visit our YouTube channel.

No need to wait until next year to join in the fun. ASU Prep is hosting more free community events, including the upcoming Creative Fusion Fest at ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest and Let it Snow at ASU Prep Phoenix Downtown. Find out more about upcoming events here.

The legacy lives on: celebrating Native American Heritage Month

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November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to reflect on the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native Americans and to acknowledge their valued contributions.

In his National Native American Heritage Month proclamation, President Joe Biden stated: “Native Americans are essential to the fabric of the United States. They serve in the United States armed forces at higher rates than any other ethnic group. They continue to steward so many of our great lands. Their contributions to science, humanities, arts, public service, and more have brought prosperity for all of us. Their diverse cultures and communities continue to thrive and lead us forward.”

This month, and all year long, take the time to educate, advocate, and raise greater awareness for the rich traditions and histories of Indigenous communities.

The history of Native American Heritage Month

The journey to recognition was not an easy one. It started with Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a descendent of the Seneca tribe and the director of the Rochester Museum and Science Center, who was one of the first proponents of an American Indian Day back in 1915. His efforts, combined with the relentless work of Red Fox James, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, led to the declaration of the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day by the governor of New York.

Years later, in 1990, President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November as “National American Indian Heritage Month”. Since then, this commemoration has evolved into what we now know as Native American Heritage Month. It is an opportunity to educate the public about tribes, raise awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and honor the vital role they play in enriching our nation.

From the Iroquois Confederacy’s influence on the U.S. Constitution to the Navajo Code Talkers’ contribution during World War II, the impact of Native Americans is deeply woven into the fabric of American history.

Honoring the vital role of Native Americans

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month can come in many forms. One of the most meaningful ways is through education. Take the time to learn about the different tribes, their histories, and their contributions. Many museums, libraries, and educational institutions like ASU offer exhibits, discussions, and resources during this month.

Participating in cultural activities is another great way to honor this month. Many communities host powwows, dance exhibitions, craft fairs, and other cultural events. These gatherings are not only fun but also provide a deeper understanding of the rich cultural diversity of Native Americans.

Consider supporting Native American businesses and artists to show respect and appreciation. By purchasing Native American art, jewelry, food, and other goods, you’re helping to sustain their traditions and support their communities.

Learn about the important contributions of barrier-breaking Native Americans who continue to shape our society, lead their communities, and impact our culture today. Research Marine Colonel Nicole Mann, the first female Native American to travel to space or Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who became the first Indigenous Cabinet member in U.S. history, among countless others.

Lastly, advocacy is a powerful way to celebrate. Stand with Native communities in their fight for recognition, rights, and respect. Advocate for policies that protect their lands, cultures, and identities. Arizona State University has taken steps to increase awareness & appreciation, as well as motivate advocacy, through the ASU Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, recognizing its campuses are situated on the homelands of many indigenous communities, many of whom continue to live in the area.

Continue to celebrate, learn, and honor

Native American Heritage Month is a reminder of the enduring and resilient spirit of Native people. The richness of their cultures, the depth of their wisdom, and the strength of their spirit continue to inspire us all. In honoring their heritage, we enrich our own understanding and become more compassionate and informed citizens.

This November, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate, learn, and honor the first people of this land. Let’s remember that every day is a good day to respect and appreciate the diverse cultures and contributions of Native Americans.

Accelerating Math Skills: ASU Prep’s Math Momentum Program

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ASU Prep’s Math Momentum program, a testament to the power of innovative, personalized education, seeks to bolster math education by equipping educators with a diverse set of strategies and teaching models. The initiative, now in its third successful year, supports schools across Arizona, particularly those in rural locations and tribal lands, where access to technology and qualified staff may be lacking.

“Math has always been an area of opportunity in the state,” says ASU Prep Digital Principal Brian Austin. The program, a collaborative effort between ASU Prep and the Arizona Department of Education, rises to the challenge of addressing the pressing need for improved math performance and teacher support in grades five through nine across Arizona.

Unique, Data-Driven Approach

“Everyone can do math at the highest levels,” asserts Austin, and Math Momentum is making the opportunity accessible and possible.

To implement Math Momentum, program leaders analyze student performance data, gather teacher feedback, and review existing curricula. Based on these findings, they design the best model to address gaps using the latest research in math education and evidence-based pedagogy.

As a result, Math Momentum is able to offer bespoke solutions tailored to the unique needs of each participating school. From fully virtual to hybrid program options, the educational experience can be customized to each school’s unique needs. In cases of math staffing gaps, a highly qualified ASU Prep Digital math teacher may lead instruction with the support of onsite facilitators. For schools with strong math teachers aiming to boost student performance, the ASU Prep Digital math teacher is available for team-teaching, working with small groups on more individualized instruction.

Through the program, teachers also have access to the Math Institute, which provides professional development and training opportunities for teachers and staff. This includes workshops, seminars, and coaching sessions to ensure educators are well-equipped to effectively deliver the program and support student learning. Mr. Austin is optimistic about the future impact of the program, stating, “We’re breaking new ground and opening up new territory for them to reach their students in a different capacity. That practice will continue impacting their future students in the coming years.”

ASU Prep Digital Learning Success Coaches play a pivotal role in the success of Math Momentum, managing partnerships and supporting students. Coaches provide instruction and resources for cultivating critical math mindsets that foster essential life skills such as problem-solving, persistence, resilience, and collaboration.

Measuring the Impact

The success of the Math Momentum program is measured by both quantitative and qualitative data to assess program effectiveness and impact on student learning.

By year two of the statewide Math Momentum program, every grade level exceeded Exact Path beginning-year to end-year growth goals. The Exact Path Diagnostic revealed that for students who remained in the program for the school year, 88% of students in rural settings maintained or grew their overall math proficiency level, while 93% of students in urban settings maintained or grew their overall math proficiency level.

The Math Momentum program also had a positive impact on teachers. Many onsite teachers expressed satisfaction with their personal development as math educators or facilitators. “The response has been incredible,” says Mr. Austin. “We have many partnerships where those teachers find that Math Momentum is crucial to their instruction now. We’ve had schools that have asked us to expand to their entire math team. And that’s because they’ve seen the results.”

Looking Ahead: Expanding the Momentum

The mission continues to grow, with the goal of extending the Math Momentum opportunity to more schools throughout Arizona and beyond, promoting math excellence and preparing students for college and career success.

“What’s great about Math Momentum is it’s happening directly in the classroom. This isn’t only for those students who have access to transportation or access to technology at home. This is for everyone. I hope to continue serving our Arizona students with Math Momentum,” shares Mr. Austin.

Learn more about Math Momentum and how the program is improving math mindsets and boosting math and digital literacy skills across Arizona.

ASU Prep’s Science of Reading training program is empowering educators and achieving student success

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Ensuring students can read proficiently is a critical goal for schools and educators. ASU Prep is proactively addressing literacy challenges with its Science of Reading training program, which aims to empower educators and improve student literacy. The program is approved by the Arizona State Department of Education, demonstrating the commitment to science-backed teaching methods and student-centered learning.

The primary goal of the program is to equip teachers with the knowledge to make data-driven decisions in the classroom, aligning curriculum with research and data. ASU Prep’s program recognizes many students enter early grades without strong foundational reading skills, relying on pictures rather than phonics-based skills. Teachers are shifting their focus toward addressing the unique needs of their students, as opposed to strictly adhering to a predetermined curriculum or scope and sequence. This shift signifies a move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to education, promoting a more student-centered learning environment.

By focusing on early intervention and equipping teachers with the tools to identify and address struggling readers’ needs, ASU Prep aims to ensure students are proficient readers by the time they reach third grade. This proactive approach can help prevent reading difficulties and empower young readers to become lifelong learners, even though the transition may be challenging. ASU Prep fosters open dialogue and peer collaboration among educators to ease the process.

The success of the program will be measured through pre- and post-assessments for teachers and student outcomes, evaluating knowledge growth and literacy proficiency improvements, and promoting a student-centered learning approach. Student assessments will help determine whether the program leads to increased literacy proficiency.

The Science of Reading training program comprises nine sessions, each focusing on essential components of effective reading instruction, including research findings, structured literacy, phonological awareness, word study, scaffolding instruction, understanding dyslexia, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and language structure. The program also offers further learning opportunities through an asynchronous Camp Reading course and a book study on Equipped for Reading Success A Comprehensive, Step-By-Step Program for Developing Phonemic Awareness and Fluent Word Recognition by David Kilpatrick.

Ms. Heidi Morton, Training Specialist and Professional Learning Program Manager, has already observed a notable benefit in the evolving mindset of the teachers enrolled in the training. Within finishing one session, Ms. Marilyn Monroy, a teacher in the program, noted a correlation between Science of Reading lessons and improved test scores among her students. Ms. Monroy praised the implemented mini lessons for improving student assessments, with her students improving on spelling tests and even achieving perfect scores.

The initial 45 hours of the Prep Reading Endorsements are scheduled from August 2023 to May 2024, with the next 45-hour segment happening in the subsequent year for a total of 90 hours, further enhancing student-centered learning opportunities.

ASU Prep’s Science of Reading training program represents a forward-thinking and proactive approach to addressing literacy challenges in education. ASU Prep aims to transform students’ reading outcomes and equip educators with the skills to meet the diverse needs of each individual student. As the program continues to evolve and gather data, its impact on students’ literacy development will become increasingly evident.

For more information about ASU Prep’s training programs, including the Science of Reading training program, visit

Exciting news: ASU Prep Global named a 2023 Yass Prize Semifinalist!

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ASU Prep Global is proud to be named a 2023 Yass Prize Semifinalist, selected from nearly 2,000 applications representing 27 million students in grades PreK–12 across all 50 states.

The prestigious $1 million Yass Prize, to be announced December 13 in New York City, is considered the “Pulitzer of Education Innovation.” The Yass Foundation for Education, powered by the Center for Education Reform (CER) in partnership with Forbes, calls the 33 distinguished semifinalists “the guiding light…who deliver the most innovative education across the country.”

Semifinalists: influence and impact

Celebrated in style at the inaugural Yass Summit, the Yass Prize semifinalists each received $200,000 as they await the next stage of the Yass Prize journey. Semifinalists, including ASU Prep Global leaders, are invited to a four-week business accelerator program, gaining exposure to top-tier resources and collaborating with other industry innovators and entrepreneurs, as well as experts in journalism, finance, and politics. This is an opportunity for ASU Prep Global to strengthen the mission to provide innovative education that raises academic achievement for all learners.

The semifinalist cohort will also have the opportunity to collaborate even after the initial program is over, accelerating educational change through national exposure and access to the media, attendance at global events, contributions on and sharing with policymakers how best to replicate their good work.

If awarded the $1 million Yass Prize, ASU Prep will continue to expand its own ASU Prep Microschools, in addition to launching the Microschool Fellowship Program, which is designed to empower parents, educators and local entrepreneurs to design customized microschools powered by ASU Prep curriculum, adaptive tools, teachers and Learning Success Coaches. “ASU Prep is deeply committed to accelerating new models of education that raise academic achievement for all learners,” said Amy McGrath, ASU Vice President of Educational Outreach and Managing Director of ASU Prep.

PLEASE VOTE: Parents Choice Award

This year, each Yass Prize semifinalist is in the running for the Parents Choice Award, chosen by a nationwide vote through November 25. The winner will be announced at the December Yass Prize gala, receiving an additional $100,000 for school community or organization improvements.

Please vote today – and EVERY day until November 25! Encourage your family and friends to vote as well!

ASU Prep Global’s 21st century, personalized approach

The Yass Foundation for Education recognizes “best in class education providers who can tackle the big education challenges of the day and deliver an education for students that is Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless.” Let’s highlight some of the ways ASU Prep Global’s personalized, online education earned this significant honor.

Sustainable education

With Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) funds, families have the flexibility to choose educational offerings that best meet their learners’ needs. ASU Prep’s Global microschools offer the convenience of online courses plus the benefits of in-person interaction.

Transformational learning

The blend of digital and in-person learning in our microschools offers students ultimate choice in their day. Each learner’s academic journey is supported and guided by passionate teachers and Learning Success Coaches. With immersive and innovative technology, students can explore a living cell in biology class or interact with a museum statue during history.

Outstanding results

ASU Prep Global’s model has proven outstanding, with a 96% retention rate and a 90% overall satisfaction rating in the 2022-2023 school year. Parents are actively engaged in their children’s learning, providing feedback, and supporting their academic journey. Learners have the flexibility to self-pace and blend learning styles, leading to improved engagement and success.

Permissionless innovation

ASU Prep Global microschools can adapt lessons based on student interests and choice. This fluidity fosters an environment where pace, place, and experiences are personalized, not standardized.

What’s next

As ASU Prep Global waits for the Yass Prize finalists and $1 million winner to be revealed, we look forward to engaging in unique conversations with industry experts and advocating for change. We are excited to continue fueling new pathways that enable more students to access our offerings and transform their educational journeys.

Learn more about the Yass Prize here, and be sure to vote every day through November 25 for ASU Prep Global to win the Parents Choice Award and an additional $100,000.

To Be Globally Competitive, the U.S. Must Value STEM as Much as Literacy

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Originally published on The74.

K-12 education needs to be rethought and redesigned: The engine for STEM learning is curiosity and imagination.

Curiosity is king. Students start their educational journey curious, creative and thirsty for knowledge. This is what drives STEM, particularly science. Our job is to cultivate that and not let a standardized approach to education quash those highly valued traits of a learner.

The world is dependent on innovations, systems and equipment that are designed and sustained using science, engineering, technology and mathematics. This means the nurturing of STEM talent cannot be reserved for a slice of our student population but, instead, an essential component of every student’s educational journey.

It turns out, industry agrees.

Our colleagues in the semiconductor community report the need for curious and creative professionals who can work in teams to solve the toughest problems encountered in the fabs and labs of our most advanced workplaces.

Because innovation is happening at a quickening pace, readying students through the curriculum for every workplace scenario will be impossible. The ability to design solutions from scratch, in real time, is necessary to the innovation enterprise.

Whether this is perceived as an issue of equity or economics, the goal is the same: To value STEM knowledge in the same way we value reading.

K-12 needs to be rethought and redesigned or it will not only fail to meet the needs of a STEM-dependent world, it will fail to meet the needs of a unique generation of students who learns, thinks and engages with the world around them differently than any before.

Millennial and Gen Z parents are tech-integrated and experience-driven. Their children are hard-wired to be the same. Practically, this means they innately use technology to learn anytime, anywhere. But it also means they want to learn by doing. They consider technology their guide but want in-person engagement for connection, collaboration and support.

These were the trends and challenges we had to consider when designing ASU Prep. ASU Prep is a P-20 system of schools and educational services embedded in a larger learning enterprise at Arizona State University. The needs and preferences of our student body is what drives our iterative design. Students become masters in various learning domains from home, at a K-12 campus, on a university campus, at their parent’s workplace or even with peers at a coffee shop.

Thanks to the innovative K-12 policy environment in Arizona, students who can do a day’s worth of school work in less time can fill the remaining hours getting ahead in courses, catching up on concepts where they struggle, working, pursuing an interest in music, theater, Olympic sport or even launching their own small business.

Online learning should not be remote from people. We pair students with Learning Success Coaches to help students build personalized educational pathways into their desired future career. From kindergarten on, ASU Prep students build their own learning plans in concert with a guide and present it to their parents.

Our students are exposed to ASU courses as soon as they are ready and can take any of the 4,000-plus courses on the ASU catalog: in person, online or through our Universal Learner Platform. High school students at ASU Prep are applying their learning via paid internships and hybrid high school/university schedules.

It’s working. With graduation and college-going rates that exceed the averages and large numbers of students matriculating to STEM careers, we believe that we are the school system of the future. As part of ASU’s New American University, ASU Prep is wired like no other K12 system in the country and is poised to design and open access to a K12 model fit for the future of work.

We do all these things not to simply grow enrollment but to develop a knowledge base of what works to share with the broader community and the ASU teams that are increasing university enrollment in underrepresented communities.

Stakes are high for both our country and the families striving within. We embrace the efforts laid out in the New Essential Education Discoveries (NEED) Act to evaluate what is happening right now in the most innovative systems in the United States and apply those lessons rapidly for the benefit of all students.

There is brilliance in every household. We believe it’s our job to design new educational models that value curiosity and show every student that they do, in fact, have a path to a successful future.

Amy McGrath is an educator, vice president for ASU, and managing director of ASU Preparatory Academy, a system of schools and innovations designing new models for all learners.

Here’s how Arizona teachers are adapting — not attacking — AI

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Originally published on AZ Big Media.

A teacher’s response to learning about artificial intelligence is comparable to a child’s face after eating ice cream, bulging eyes and happy smiles. “We’re like the happy cheerleaders for AI,” said Janel White-Taylor, clinical professor at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

From K–12 classrooms to university lecture halls, artificial intelligence continues to be tested and Arizona State University is taking a lead in discovering the untold world of AI.

At Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, instructors are formulating a training program that can prepare students who are going to be teachers in a few years to use and understand the technology. In order to teach the students that artificial intelligence is still learning new algorithms, the goal is to identify what it isn’t accomplishing, Jennifer Werner Instructional Designer Senior at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College explained.

Taylor adds that ASU faculty are exploring new methods to incorporate AI into courses, particularly one on problem-solving using digital technology applications, in which students can learn how to write a script or create a piece of artwork using intelligence.

Arizona State University Preparatory Academy partnered with Khan World School, a virtual learning platform teaching grades 6 through 12 virtually at the charter school. The instructors who are apart of this learning environment refer to themselves as guides rather than teachers.

“Their (guides) in a digital environment and are actually facilitating the learning,” Rachna Mathur, the STEM strategist for Arizona State University Preparatory Academy said.

The goal is for instructors to include AI in their classes and begin modifying their lesson plans. Teachers claim that rather than worrying about students cheating, they should be worried about whether their assignments are motivating them.

Taylor gave an illustration of how teachers might revamp their lesson ideas. Instead of merely having a student summarize an article, educate them to request the summary from artificial intelligence. Then, let the student evaluate if the summary was accurate.

“What educators are increasingly seeing is that it is an incredible teaching can help foster the creative process,” Punya Mishra the Associate Dean of scholarship and innovation and professor at Mary Lou Fulton teachers college said.

AI has advanced to an extent where it is now the new kid on the block within certain workplaces.

Are educators worried about losing their jobs?

Professors expressed that students will always need a human connection in order to fully learn and there is a possibility that artificial intelligence might have a bigger role in lessons.

“A large reason of why we go to school is to learn how to engage and interact with people, learn views, it’s not just about learning math and chemistry,” said Mirsha.

The accepted norm today in education is for kids to learn how to use computers “before” they learn how to compose sentences.

“It’s more of a new relationship with this learning system…its a different type of thinking,” said Mathur.

It can also be a era of going back to basics and having children read books out loud and having a designated writing time, “its all about strategy,” said Taylor.