ASU Prep STEM Team Wins Flight Opportunity in NASA’s TechRise Student Challenge

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We’re proud to announce a team of ASU Preparatory Academy Polytechnic High School students was chosen as a winner in the inaugural NASA TechRise Student Challenge. NASA selected 57 winning teams in this nationwide challenge designed to attract, engage, and prepare future STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals.

The NASA TechRise Student Challenge is a nationwide contest inviting teams of students to design, build, and launch experiments on NASA-supported test flights. Administered by Future Engineers, the challenge aims to inspire students to seek a deeper understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, space exploration, coding, and electronics, as well as develop an appreciation of the importance of test data. Nearly 600 teams applied, representing 5,000 students in grades 6 through 12. Proposals were evaluated on criteria including the originality of the flight experiment idea, its impact on education or society, and the quality of the build plan.

With the help and guidance of their instructor, ASU Prep Poly’s team, also known as the Hydrophobes, designed an experiment to explore how hydrophobic and non-hydrophobic sponges will react with water in microgravity. Now that the Hydrophobes’ experiment design was selected as a winner, the team will receive $1,500 from NASA to build their experiment, along with a suite of materials for preparing their payloads, including access to flight simulator software, and technical support from experts. They also will get an assigned spot to test their experiment on an upcoming suborbital rocket flight, expected to launch in early 2023. 

The upcoming NASA-sponsored suborbital flights will be operated by either Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket or UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft rocket. Each flight will be approximately 11 to 16 minutes and will experience up to three minutes of microgravity, or weightlessness. After the suborbital rocket flight is completed, Blue Origin and UP Aerospace will collect the payloads and send them back to the winning teams so students can analyze their experiment data and results.

“At NASA, we educate and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The TechRise Student Challenge is an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience designing, building, and launching experiments on suborbital vehicles. I’m so impressed we received hundreds of entries from across the country, and I want to congratulate the winning teams. I can’t wait to see these incredible experiments come to life!”

Watch the Arizona ABC 15 news story.

For the latest NASA TechRise Student Challenge news and to follow the student teams’ progress, visit futureengineers.org/NASATechRise. To learn about ASU Preparatory Academy, please visit asuprep.asu.edu.

ASU Prep Keeps ASU in the Family

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For more than a decade, ASU Preparatory Academy has served K-12 learners as a conduit for young Sun Devils to receive a top tier college preparatory education—and in that time, Prep’s schools have grown and expanded their reach:

  • ASU Preparatory Academy now has three K-12 immersion campuses in the metro Phoenix area, and a high school in Casa Grande.
  • ASU Prep Digital has a digital K-12 school that supports student success within an interactive and enriching remote learning environment with flexible full- and part-time program options.
  • ASU Prep also supports hundreds of schools around the state to lift up communities in need and increase academic achievement for all learners.

The K-12 learning landscape has changed in response to the variables surrounding the pandemic. Many schools began to design new options to support learners in multiple modalities when we went into quarantine. ASU Prep was ready prior to the pandemic, and seamlessly shifted its immersion schools to virtual learning when needed, with no gaps in student learning.

ASU Prep high school students are encouraged to take ASU courses beginning their freshman year with the cost of two courses each semester covered by Prep. By the time they graduate, students can earn more than 24 ASU credits while simultaneously completing the requirements for their high school diplomas. Prep’s college-going culture is further enhanced by collaborations with the university’s academic colleges, where students explore deep pathways to their desired major or field of study.

“ASU faculty and staff receive priority for student enrollment in the case of a waitlist,” said Julie Young, Vice President and Managing Director of ASU Prep. “If your family is looking for a college preparatory K-12 option, I invite you to explore ASU Prep where K-12 students are already Sun Devils and on the path to ASU.”

To learn more about ASU Prep and schedule a time to talk or tour a campus, please call 844-692-3372 or visit https://asuprep.asu.edu/.

ASU Prep COVID Mitigation Procedures Update

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As of April 26, 2022

ASU Preparatory Academy is carefully monitoring the health and safety of our school communities during 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 at https://asuprep.asu.edu/families/family-resources. 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.

The Academies at ASU Prep Polytechnic

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Prep formally announced the Academies at ASU Prep Poly High School for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. ASU Prep Poly STEM Academy High School will be the focus of our second year in our design partnership with Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. You may be aware that we focused year one of the design on the launch of the 7th and 8th grade Spark Institute, our school-within-a-school model for middle school learners. Next, is our focus on the continued enhancement of the high school learning environment.

What are the key enhancements students and families will see for next year?

  • Increased College Course Access: ASU Preparatory Academy will expand college course-taking, investing in our high school learners for the first two university courses they take per semester for most courses (subject to approval for some courses). We will encourage all learners to graduate with as many college credits that they are ready to take on their pathways. No other Arizona schools offer such a direct link to a Research 1 University for all learners. Students will no longer need to test for credit; rather they will be able to enroll directly into rigorous ASU courses.
  • Choose an Academy: Our ASU Prep Poly STEM students have the unique advantage of being part of the physical ASU Polytechnic campus. We plan to organize our school structure to leverage all that ASU has to offer our students. 9th-12th grade students will select an Academy to join as part of the course registration process. This is similar to a school-within-a-school model or the “house” concept in some other school models. Students will also select a graduation pathway that will help advise their course taking in their academy, and some academies will have multiple graduation pathways.
  • New Personalized Approach to Electives: All high school students will take a project based learning course each year. Rather than have to choose from a limited number of electives which are subject to staffing and numbers, students will be able to incorporate several elective areas into their project based learning course. For example: the Business Academy Project Based Learning Elective might incorporate:
    • Music-focused project
    • Digital photography project
    • Sustainability project
What are the Academies at Poly High School?

Academies

The Academies connect directly to the different colleges and programs offered right at ASU Polytechnic campus.

Note that the College of Integrated Science and Arts incorporates a broad number of interests including sciences, humanities, communication, and public service.
The counselors and teachers will invest time and programming for our 7th and 8th graders, and this year’s high school students, to learn more about the academies ahead of making a choice. There will be a procedure in place for requesting an academy change at a semester, as we realize students may still be exploring their passions and interests.

What makes the Academies at Poly High School different from other popular East Valley school options?

  • The Academies are available to all learners. Our ASU Charter challenges us to ensure that we create opportunities for all learners to be included and succeed.
  • The Academies encourage learners to graduate with at least 12 credits of college, though we anticipate more learners may be ready to take additional courses. Universal Learner courses are no cost to our ASU Prep students. No other east valley programs include the cost of college tuition as part of the program.
  • The Academies provide direct access to faculty and community resources as part of the project based learning focus.
  • The Academies incorporate new and innovative approaches to deeper learning that matters to students through project based learning based on their interests and passions.
  • The Academies partner directly with Barrett, the Honors College to uniquely prepare our students to be strong applicants into a college-level honors program.