9/11 is Patriot Day: a National Day of Service and Remembrance

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September 11, 2001 is a day that will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of Americans. It was the day when the nation was attacked by terrorists, leaving thousands dead and countless more injured. This tragic event gave rise to Patriot Day, a day of remembrance to recognize the selfless heroes who sacrificed their lives. On this day, we pay tribute to the police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who died in the line of duty, as well as the innocent civilians who lost their lives.

Patriot Day was officially recognized as a national holiday by President George W. Bush in 2002, a year after the attacks. The day serves as a reminder of the resilience of our nation and the courage of those who fought to defend it. We honor the heroes who rushed into harm’s way to save the lives of others, and we recommit ourselves to the values that make this country great – including democracy, freedom, and justice.

It’s important to remember that Patriot Day is about coming together as a community to honor those who have sacrificed their lives to keep us safe. While it may be challenging to explain the events of 9/11 to our children, it’s important to make sure they understand the significance of this day in a way that is both age-appropriate and respectful.

Meaningful and inclusive ways to commemorate Patriot Day with kids:

  1. Learn Together: Take the time to research and learn about what happened on 9/11 as a family. Use age-appropriate materials to explain the events and the impact on our country. Make sure to have conversations that allow for questions and emotions. Even young children can learn about empathy and compassion for others.
  2. Make Art: Art can be a powerful way to process emotions and commemorate important events. Children can create a drawing, poem, or letter that reflects the theme of courage, resilience, or hope.
  3. Participate in Service: Honor Patriot Day with an act of kindness. Volunteer as a family at a charity or nonprofit that serves others in honor of those who lost their lives during the attacks. Participating in service will allow you to honor the sacrifices made and also teach children the importance of giving back to their community.
  4. Have a Moment of Silence: Explain to children the United States flag is flown at half-staff on Patriot Day in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11. You can also observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. – the time when the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center – as an appropriate way to show respect.
  5. Participate in a Walk or Run: Community walks and runs have become a popular way to pay tribute to 9/11 victims, survivors, and first responders. Many cities host their own 9/11 memorial events, which provide a space for individuals and families to come together.

By participating in these remembrance activities, families can help their children express their emotions, connect with their community, and commemorate this important day. Let us come together, remember together, and honor together.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

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Every year from September 15 to October 15, the United States celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month. This observance appreciates the history, heritage, and immeasurable contributions of citizens who trace their roots to Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

The origins of Hispanic Heritage Month trace back to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. With a growing recognition of the Latin community’s contributions to American society, President Lyndon B. Johnson initiated the observance of Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. Later, under President Ronald Reagan, the celebration was extended to a month-long commemoration.

The start date of September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Additionally, Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, 18, and 21. Dia de la Raza, a day to celebrate Indigenous American and Spanish heritage, also falls within Hispanic Heritage Month.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with activities as diverse and vibrant as the community itself:

Food: Stop by a local bakery, market, or restaurant to explore unique ingredients and spices used in authentic Hispanic and Latino culinary dishes. Try out a new recipe at home, like savory paella or sweet tres leches cake.

Art and Literature: Visit the library or access online resources to experience the works of Hispanic artists like Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, Diego Velazquez, and Francisco Goya. Also, delve into books by Hispanic and Latino authors — many libraries will have dedicated displays and book lists, or watch recorded “story times” available on YouTube in English and Spanish.

Movies: Kid-friendly movies exploring Hispanic and Latino culture, like “The Book of Life,” “Encanto,” “Coco,” “Chupa,” and “Vivo,” offer fun, educational entertainment. There are also many television documentaries highlighting Hispanic and Latino culture and history.

Music and Dance: Introduce your child to the vibrancy of Latino dance styles. Learn the basic steps of salsa dancing or get moving to cumbias.

Celebrations: Host a fiesta that includes the ideas above, plus decorations like a piñata or papel picado, beautiful and colorful banners cut with intricate designs. Play games like Lotería (a lottery game similar to Bingo) or a bilingual memory card game.

Virtual Tours: Visit the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Latino online to explore the contributions of Latino communities. Then, take virtual tours of amazing places like Mexico’s Mayan Pyramids, the Galápagos Islands, or the Panama Jungle.

Festivals: Enjoy a local event that offers live music, dancing, art displays, and food vendors.

Online: Expand your social media community by following and supporting Hispanic and Latino artists and activists. Consider adding a social media bio or email signature that recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Support: Strengthen the Hispanic community by donating or volunteering time to Hispanic and cultural institutions or charities.

Hispanic Heritage Month is more than a celebration of culture and history. It’s a recognition of the enduring contributions of a diverse and vibrant community that has shaped the American landscape in countless ways. Let’s embrace and honor this rich heritage, not just for a month, but throughout the year.

Welcome Lori Frazier

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7–12 Principal at ASU Prep Academy Polytechnic

ASU Preparatory Academy is thrilled to introduce Principal Lori Frazier. With over 20 years of extensive educational experience spanning grades K–12, Dr. Frazier brings a wealth of expertise in both general and special education. Her academic credentials include a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Literacy, and a BA in English from Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!).

Dr. Frazier and her husband have been married for 34 years, raising three children and two grandchildren. With her deep love of family, it’s no surprise her favorite part of her job is the students, teachers, and families who make up the vibrant community of learners at ASU Prep Polytechnic. She wants every student to know that they are known and valued by their teachers and administrators, and that the entire team is cheering them on every day.

The culture at ASU Prep Polytechnic is centered around preparing students for college and career success. Dr. Frazier notes that the school’s unique location on the ASU campus encourages students to interact directly with college students and professors, expanding their horizons and providing them with role models –all while exploring college courses of their very own.

At the core of Dr. Frazier’s leadership is a continued commitment to STEM-centered education embedded across all subjects. This approach aims to create critical thinkers ready to solve the world’s problems. Dr. Frazier looks forward to seeing what her students will invent, create, and publish, and anticipates tracking their success beyond high school graduation.

With Dr. Lori Frazier at the helm, ASU Prep Polytechnic is undoubtedly set to continue its journey of innovation, critical thinking, and student success. Her vision and dedication promise an exciting future for the school community.

Principal Lori Frazier can be reached at: lfrazier@asu.edu

Welcome Marissa Schneckloth

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PreK–6 Principal at ASU Prep Academy Pilgrim Rest

ASU Preparatory Academy is pleased to welcome Principal Marissa Schneckloth. With her rich twenty-year journey in education, beginning with earning a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Arizona State University (Go Sun Devils!), Ms. Schneckloth has always been passionate about creating educational pathways for success for all scholars. Her extensive experience, including teaching preschool through 8th grade, earning a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and serving as a principal and district administrator has equipped her with a deep understanding of diverse school communities.

At the heart of Ms. Schneckloth’s vision for ASU Prep Pilgrim Rest is cultivating a strong sense of community between the staff, students, families, and local partnerships. She views these relationships as an integral component of the school’s culture.

One of Ms. Schneckloth’s favorite aspects of being principal is interacting with the students. From morning check-ins at drop-off to celebrating student accomplishments, she takes pride in building close relationships with every single student on campus.

Ms. Schneckloth has a husband and two children, Caden and Austin who she enjoys spending time with, traveling and playing soccer.

Principal Marissa Schneckloth can be reached at: mcweber3@asu.edu

ASU Prep COVID Mitigation Procedures Through Sept. 30, 2023

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As of August 24, 2023

ASU Preparatory Academy has carefully monitored the health and safety of our school communities since the COVID pandemic. ASU Prep takes all measures to ensure students can assemble in person and learn in the classroom setting.

Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan (ARP Act)

Please see below for the ASU Preparatory Academy plans, per campus, for a safe return to in-person instruction:

ASU Preparatory Academy ensures continuity of services through coordination between classroom teachers and families on work to be done at home to prepare for their return to school. Classroom teachers are provided with materials that can be done asynchronously. Student social, emotional and mental health needs are addressed with support staff such as counselors and social workers. Social service resources available in our local communities are provided to students and families and on our website on each campus’ Family Resources pages. Staff have access to these resources as well, along with access to our Employee Assistance Program, providing free and professional therapy to all benefits eligible employees who desire it.

ASU Prep’s Internship Program: Setting up Students for College and Career Success

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In honor of National Intern Day on July 27th, we want to shine a spotlight on ASU Prep’s internship program, designed to support high school students on their journey toward higher education and fulfilling careers. ASU Prep is dedicated to providing students with real-world experiences that spark their interests and prepare them for future success. The internship program is part of this commitment, guiding students on college and career pathways.

The ASU Prep Internship Program

ASU Prep offers multiple avenues for students to secure internships. They can either apply from the database of over 50 contacts provided by ASU Prep, create their own internship opportunities, or turn their existing jobs or volunteer experience into an internship. The program is flexible and accommodates different pathways, even allowing students to gain credit for their internship experiences.

An asynchronous digital course brings together students from across the ASU Prep network of campuses. Participants receive support and guidance from a dedicated instructor and are encouraged to collaborate with fellow students through discussion posts, as well as fun “show and tell” type activities where students can “show off” their internships with one another. Students also complete weekly reflections and submit their internship hours. The elective course can be taken twice to earn one full high school credit.

A Network of Strong Partnerships

While some students seek out their own internship opportunity, like one industrious ASU Prep Digital student who worked at a Lafayette, Louisiana police department, others rely on an impressive list of local partners, maintained by Felecia O’Neal, ASU Prep’s Network College and Career Coordinator.

These diverse partnerships have connected students to internships at the Mayo Clinic; Victory Legal Solutions, a female-owned local law firm; the Biltmore Resort; Arizona Department of Corrections, and many more.

And of course, ASU Prep’s relationship with Arizona State University opens up a whole world of internship opportunities. Ms. O’Neal points out Mathematics Professor Natalie B. Welcome as an ideal example of the level of mentorship available: “She not only walks students through how to be a professor, how to grade papers, and how to use rubrics, she also plans field trips so students will visit all the labs. Whether it’s art or science, she lets them connect to a variety of different places on campus.”

Some ASU Prep interns work with ASU’s SCience and ENgineering Experience (SCENE), getting the opportunity to complete science research in state-of-the art university labs. Digital students can even participate by working in a lab closer to home and meeting with their professors virtually.

The Impact and Benefits

By providing real-world experiences and hands-on opportunities, the ASU internship program instills determination and passion in students, igniting a desire to succeed beyond high school. Students gain insights into their fields of interest, explore various industries, and develop transferable skills that are invaluable for their future careers.

Ms. O’Neal explains the importance of these character- (and résumé-) building experiences: “Determination is when you have a vision or feeling that locks in that you are going to pursue success. You’re not just thinking about it in your head, but you’re actually working on doing meaningful work in a particular area. That determination helps you succeed and figure out how to be successful beyond high school.”

To learn more about ASU Prep’s internship program, students can contact their Academic Advisor or Learning Success Coach.

Visit ASU Prep to learn more about all of our programs dedicated to preparing students for success.

Summer Tips: Improve the Back-to-School Transition

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It’s the last week before school begins and time to enjoy a bit of calm before the hustle and bustle of car rides, homework, and extracurricular activities. These tips will help your family transition smoothly from summer into a new school year.

Tap into creativity through boredom:

If summer has been chock-full of activity, now is the time to rein it in. It is absolutely okay – and even good – for kids to feel bored. Given the chance, kids will easily find ways to resolve their boredom. Over the next few days, provide thirty minutes to an hour (depending on the child’s age) of non-structured “nothing time.” Encourage old-school play that does not include being entertained by screens or other people. If kids need some guidance to get started, set them up with items like cards, blocks, magnetic tiles, puzzles, dolls or art supplies – and then walk away. This is an opportunity for kids to entertain themselves and to discover what they enjoy and where they excel.

Another great option is to assign kids an independent, creative project and set them free to work on it. This could include planning and choreographing a show or dance. Provide them time to create a script, find a costume, create props, design a program, and set the stage before their big performance. If that is not quite your kid’s style, try an engineering project (like building a robot or bridge) that includes household items like boxes, popsicles sticks, plastic cups, and tape. 

Encourage independence:

Send kids back to school with confidence by encouraging practical skills. For younger kids, let them pick out their own clothes and dress themselves. Other skills they can do on their own or with minimal help: teeth-brushing, filling up their own water glass and tying their shoes. Older kids can get their own snacks and help with meal prep, whether it’s measuring, pouring, mixing or cutting. 

Age-appropriate chores that build competence include sorting laundry, making beds, unloading the dishwasher, and cleaning windows or mirrors. You can also have kids organize their dresser or desk drawers as a way to start fresh for the new school year. They’ll tap into their decision-making skills by choosing what stays and what goes.

These important life lessons teach kids that they’re capable of trying and accomplishing new things. As a result, you will be sending your kids off to school as more self-reliant, motivated and perseverant.

Ease into a Back-to-School Mindset:

Good sleep habits are probably the most difficult shift from summer into back-to-school mode, but we know it’s imperative for overall health and behavior. So start now by reestablishing a sleeping schedule that gradually includes earlier bedtimes and wake-ups. 

It might also be helpful to incorporate some aspects of school into daily routine. Maybe create an agenda that shows morning and afternoon activities, including planned reading time and set snack and lunch times. This also can help kids get back on their school-year eating schedule and say goodbye to the lax snacking habits of summer. 

Engage younger children in “playing school” to remind them of some basics. Activities can include writing their name and date, taking a mini spelling quiz, or practicing speaking skills through show and tell. Older kids will benefit from one “academic” activity per day, whether it’s writing a letter to a family member, completing a worksheet, practicing multiplication flashcards or finishing a crossword puzzle. 

One final idea as we say goodbye to summer is to have kids complete a journal highlighting some of their favorite summer moments. This can simply be leftover lined paper stapled together like a book. Young learners can draw pictures and label them by sounding out the spelling of the words; older learners can write a paragraph describing each memorable experience with illustrations optional.

Relax, get some rest and set healthy and happy intentions for a fun and successful school year! 

Summer Tips: Get Kids Out of the House

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Learning should be – and can be – fun. Summer is the perfect time to engage young learners in meaningful opportunities to be curious, to explore, and to discover new interests. Check out this list of fun yet educational (and often free) activities to get your kids out of the house and learning this summer.

Try Geocaching: A combination of technology and active outdoor time, “The world’s largest treasure hunt” involves searching for hidden items in a specific geographical area using GPS coordinates on your smart device. Create a free account on www.geocaching.com and download the app. Choose a cache to find based on area and level of difficulty and head out for adventure.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt: Apps like Monkey Spot or Goosechase include scavenger hunts kids can do outdoors or in everyday places like the grocery store, finding assigned objects. You can also search online for free printable scavenger hunts by topic — seasonal, outdoor or color/alphabet-themed. 

Explore Outdoors: Discover history and culture and connect with nature at a state or national park. The National Park Service offers a Junior Ranger program with interactive activities that give kids a chance to earn a badge and certificate. Bonus: Fourth graders can visit America’s National Parks for free with an Every Kid Outdoors pass. 

Roam a Local Garden: Let kids explore exhibits, feed fish, and identify types of flowers. The Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix offers free admission 5:00-7:30 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, and The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix hosts Community Day with free admission on the second Tuesday of the month. Search online to find more beautiful gardens and special deals to explore. 

Tour a Museum or Science Center: Check online for nearby museums of art or history as well as science centers for hours, special activities, and free admission opportunities. Some options near our ASU Prep campuses include Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Through Museums for All, families presenting their SNAP EBT card can gain free or reduced admission to participating venues, and some banks offer their cardholders free or discounted museum passes. Check out an Act One Culture Pass from a public library to gain free access to Arizona’s arts and cultural treasures. 

Visit a Zoo or Aquarium. Check out animal encounters, tour habitats, learn about endangered species, get involved in conservation efforts, and take advantage of play areas.

Try Something New: Research local kid-oriented classes and workshops like pottery, painting, cooking, bird-watching, coding, or photography. Consider looking into Lowe’s or Home Depot’s building workshops or events held at nearby craft stores. Perhaps a new physical activity like gymnastics, martial arts, indoor rock climbing, dance, or ninja warrior training would be a good fit.

Stop in the Local Library: Local public libraries don’t only offer books for free check-out, but also host story time and hands-on activities like crafts, as well as interactive demonstrations like a magic show or science experiment.

Can’t Get Out of the House? Take your kids on a virtual field trip from the comfort of home to places like the Louvre in France or the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Tune in to one of the many educational programs offered on YouTube or keep kids busy with an at-home scavenger hunt. 

No matter where this summer takes you and your family, try to include fun learning opportunities for the kids. When planning outdoor activities, be sure to consider the weather. Wear sun protection, hydrate, and have fun! 

Summer Tips: 5 Ways to Get Creative with Summer Reading

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Avoid the dreaded “summer slide” — a decline in reading ability and other academic skills — by encouraging your student to read this summer in fun and unexpected ways. While quiet time spent reading on the couch is fantastic, the following tips offer some easy and engaging alternatives for readers of all ages—even reluctant ones. Let’s get creative. Reading fun awaits! 

Make Real Life Connections.

Tie reading into already planned summer activities. Have your child research native plants observed on a nature hike or a favorite animal in conjunction with a visit to the local zoo. If headed on vacation, have the kids read up on the destination ahead of time in order to participate in the itinerary and packing list. If they’ve seen something interesting on the news or been cheering on a favorite sports team, encourage them to dig deeper and find out more by completing an online search. 

Host a Movie Night.

While summer nights are often a little slower (and later), consider a family read-aloud before bedtime with the plan of watching the film adaptation once you’ve completed the book. Get cozy on the couch with some popcorn or thematic treats and be prepared to be entertained while also spotting similarities and differences between the book and movie. The following titles offer PG-rated movie versions for a range of ages: The One and Only Ivan, The Magician’s Elephant, Wonder, Holes, A Wrinkle in Time, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the many adaptations of Roald Dahl’s collection. 

Borrow a Book.

The local library is a perfect spot to cool off indoors at no cost. Most public libraries participate in a collaborative, nationwide summer program for kids that offers free events (like storytime and crafts or guest entertainers), reading logs, and prizes. The inspiration and incentives may lead to checking out a few books. 

Ever spotted a Little Free Library while out and about? It’s a small wooden box that kind of looks like a large birdhouse, full of books that are free for the taking. The “Take a Book, Share a Book” mission is to build community, inspire readers, and expand access to books. Many neighborhoods have Little Free Libraries. Use the Little Free Library World Map to find one near you. 

Ready, Set, Read!

Challenge kids to read a certain number of books or amount of hours this summer by providing them with some guidance. A quick online search will display a multitude of downloadable reading challenges appropriate by age. Younger readers might appreciate Reading Bingo with each block assigning what or where to read: a book with a blue cover, with a stuffed animal, in a fort. More mature readers might prefer a bucket list-style challenge with tasks like reading a biography, a classic novel, an award-winner, or a book written by a local author.

Just Look Around.

There are opportunities to read everywhere you go! On the road, have younger children “help” navigate by reading road signs or make it a game by having them call out all the words they can find starting with a particular letter. At restaurants, encourage reading the menu or any advertisements at the table. Older kids can read food labels at the grocery store and once home, read the recipe while assisting with a meal. 

An absolute crowd pleaser for sneaking in reading and a whole batch of important skills (like collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving) is playing board games. Reading directions or task cards alone is great practice for kids, so really any board game will work, but there are also lots of fun games that amp it up, like Scrabble (or Scrabble Jr.), Boggle, Upwords, Letter Jam, and Bananagrams. 

Find the fun in reading this summer by sneaking it in at any time, in any place. Exposing kids to real-world reading opportunities builds necessary skills that will help in and out of school. So think outside the book this summer and get creative with reading!

2023 ASU Prep COVID Mitigation Procedures Update

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As of April 24, 2023

ASU Preparatory Academy is carefully monitoring the health and safety of our school communities in light of the COVID pandemic. ASU Prep is taking all measures to ensure that students can assemble in person and learn in the classroom setting.

Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan (ARP Act)

Please see below for the ASU Preparatory Academy plans, per campus, for a safe return to in-person instruction:

ASU Preparatory Academy will ensure continuity of services through coordination between classroom teachers and families on work to be done at home to prepare for their return to school. Classroom teachers will be provided with materials that can be done asynchronously. Student social, emotional and mental health needs will be addressed with support staff such as counselors and social workers. Social service resources available in our local communities will be provided to students and families and on our website on the campus Family Resources pages. Staff have access to these resources as well along with access to our Employee Assistance Program, providing free and professional therapy to all benefits eligible employees who desire it.