ASU Prep Global, trailblazer in education, announced as Yass Prize Quarterfinalist

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Selected from nearly 2,000 applications representing 27 million students in grades PreK–12 across all 50 states, ASU Prep Global is proud to be named a 2023 Yass Prize Quarterfinalist, a prestigious recognition from the Yass Foundation for Education, powered by the Center for Education Reform (CER) in partnership with Forbes.

The $1 million Yass Prize, to be announced in December, is considered the “Pulitzer of Education Innovation,” and along with the STOP Awards, will distribute nearly $13 million to the winners.

According to the Yass Foundation for Education, ASU Prep Global stands as one of 64 trailblazing “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.

Looking to the future
As ASU Prep Global moves forward in the Yass Prize journey, 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.

ASU ranked No. 1 in innovation for 9th straight year

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Originally published on ASU News.

US News & World Report accolade joins university’s series of top rankings in areas that matter

For the ninth year in a row, Arizona State University is No. 1 in innovation among American universities, ahead of Stanford, MIT and Caltech, in the newly released annual “Best Colleges” 2024 rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The continued recognition underscores ASU’s commitment to being a New American University — an enterprise dedicated to the simultaneous pursuit of excellence, broad access to quality education, and meaningful societal impact — and joins a series of top rankings that ASU has earned in high-impact areas.

In the past three years, ASU has been named:

  • No. 1 in global impact, by Times Higher Education (2020–23), ahead of MIT and Penn State.
  • No. 1 in research expenditures for geological and earth sciences, anthropology, and transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and other sciences, by the National Science Foundation (2021), ahead of such universities as Caltech, Harvard and Johns Hopkins, respectively.
  • No. 1 in engineering technology enrollment, by the American Society for Engineering Education (2021), ahead of Texas A&M, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
  • No. 1 journalism school in top overall awards for news, by the Broadcast Education Association (2023), ahead of Syracuse, the University of Florida and the University of Southern California.
  • No. 1 in visual and performing arts doctorates, by the National Science Foundation (2022), ahead of UCLA, Harvard and Yale.
  • No. 1 public university in the U.S. chosen by international students, by the Institute of International Education (2022), ahead of UCLA, UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • No. 1 in homeland security and emergency management, by U.S. News & World Report (2023), ahead of George Washington University, Columbia University and the University of Southern California.
  • No. 1 business online bachelor’s programs, by U.S. News & World Report (2023), ahead of Penn State University-World Campus and the University of Arizona.

“The world is changing faster than ever, and outmoded approaches are not enough to counter the increasingly complex problems facing our planet,” said Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow. “ASU’s innovation mindset attracts creative and dynamic minds who tackle society’s biggest challenges — from ending health disparities to ensuring a habitable planet to advancing our national security — in ways both inventive and effective.

“Bolstered by collaboration across disciplines and sectors, we are perpetually inspired to demonstrate how optimism and ingenuity can yield better outcomes for all.”

ASU has ranked No. 1, ahead of MIT and Stanford, every year since the “most innovative” category was created by U.S. News & World Report magazine. Institutions are nominated by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans across the country, and schools are chosen based on who is making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.

In the past year, ASU has announced several initiatives that will have a huge impact on the local and global stage:

  • The university will launch the ASU School of Medicine and Advanced Medical Engineering, which will integrate clinical medicine, biomedical science and engineering. The new school highlights a comprehensive new effort to help improve health outcomes across Arizona, which ranks near or in the bottom quartile of many health system performance indicators.
  • In partnership with Applied Materials Inc., ASU will build a $270 million research, development and prototyping facility — the Materials-to-Fab Center — in the university’s MacroTechnology Works building at ASU Research Park. This effort will help advance Arizona’s burgeoning semiconductor industry, key to the nation’s security.
  • ASU won $90.8 million — the largest National Science Foundation research award in the university’s history — to advance groundbreaking research in X-ray science by building the world’s first compact X-ray free electron laser, or CXFEL, on the Tempe campus. This one-of-a-kind, room-sized X-ray laser instrument will fill a critical need for researchers to explore the intricacies of complex matter at atomic length and ultrafast time.
  • The university was chosen to lead the Arizona Water Innovation Initiative to provide immediate, actionable and evidence-based solutions to ensure that Arizona will have a secure future water supply. The governor has asked ASU to work with industrial, municipal, agricultural, tribal and international partners to rapidly accelerate and deploy new approaches and technology for water conservation, augmentation, desalination, efficiency, infrastructure and reuse.
  • ASU has widened access to higher education through Study Hall, a partnership with YouTube and Crash Course in which learners can now earn college credit through courses that begin on YouTube. The first four courses, which launched in March, create a flexible new pathway to higher education that provides up to 12 transferable college credits.

Latest rankings

In the new U.S. News & World Report rankings, the university placed in the top 20 in other notable categories, including tied for No. 13 among U.S. universities in undergraduate teaching; tied No. 16 for senior capstone programs; and tied for No. 16 for first-year experiences.

ASU also had distinguished rankings among several of its undergraduate degrees and programs including:

Business

For undergraduate rankings, the W. P. Carey School of Business was tied for No. 29 in the country, ahead of Brigham Young University, Babson College and the University of Rochester. The school also had 10 undergraduate disciplines or departments ranked in the top 30, including: No. 2 for supply chain management and logistics; No. 9 for analytics and No. 9 for business management information systems.

Engineering

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering tied for No. 34 overall and placed in the top 20 for public engineering schools, ahead of the University of Florida, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of California, Irvine. Four undergraduate programs ranked in the top 20 for their categories: civil engineering (No. 16), cybersecurity — computer science (No. 16, tied), computer engineering (No. 16, tied) and electrical engineering (No. 17, tied).

Education

The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College ranked in the top 20 for two undergraduate programs: elementary teacher education and secondary teacher education, which both ranked No. 13.

Find the full rankings on the U.S. News & World Report website.

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.

Celebrating Excellence in Education

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We are shining a spotlight on two remarkable individuals who have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to ASU Prep. Allow us to introduce Eric Roth, math marvel and esteemed 2023 Teacher of the Year, and Allison Voltaire, exemplary elementary principal and 2023 Staff Member of the Year. They both embody the spirit of excellence, innovation, and unwavering commitment to student success that defines ASU Prep.

Meet Teacher of the Year: Eric Roth

In the realm of education, there are teachers who leave an indelible mark on their students and inspire them to reach for the stars. Eric Roth, a middle school math teacher at ASU Prep Digital, is one such educator. Since joining the ASU Prep team in the fall of 2020, Mr. Roth has made a profound impact on his students and the school community, earning him the well-deserved title of Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Roth explains what led him to a career in teaching math. “My parents and grandparents always told me if I set my mind to it, I could accomplish anything. I also had several professors during my undergraduate program that supported me. What better way to give back then do the same for others.” Prior to joining ASU Prep Digital, Mr. Roth dedicated more than a decade to teaching math at Coconino High School in Flagstaff, Arizona. During these years, he also demonstrated impressive versatility and commitment by working as a special education teacher for pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade during the summer, and grades 9–12 during the school year.

What sets Mr. Roth apart is his meticulous attention to detail, exceptional communication skills, and his innate ability to make each student feel special. He creates a welcoming classroom environment where every student is valued and encouraged to strive for academic and personal growth. His knack for pinpointing each student’s strengths and providing any necessary support has had a positive impact on their overall success. He instills confidence in his students, showing them that they are capable of accomplishing anything they set their minds to. Mr. Roth says, “Acknowledging the small things students do add up: participating in the live lessons, attending help sessions just to say hello, or sending me a text message to let me know what is going on in their lives. Pointing out these behaviors and thanking students for doing such things helps build a rapport with them.”

Mr. Roth appreciates the opportunity to interact with students from different parts of the state, country, and even the world. This diverse interaction is something he cherishes, as it gives him the opportunity to facilitate learning among students from various backgrounds.

Another aspect he enjoys is seeing students lift one another up. “There are many times during a live lesson or help session that students compliment each other. Whether it be a new haircut, a shirt they are wearing, or an answer they gave to a question, these are the moments that I enjoy most and I make it a point to show how proud I am when these behaviors are displayed. The care and concern they have for each other really displays how awesome our middle school marvels are.”

Mr. Roth’s hero, Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch woman revered for helping many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust, reflects his own values of selflessness, service, and faith.

An Ohio native, currently residing in Flagstaff, Mr. Roth spends his free time embracing the beautiful terrain and scenery of Northern Arizona. He enjoys biking, running, and hiking. Mr. Roth’s well-rounded character and dedication have rightfully earned him the title of ASU Prep’s 2023 Teacher of the Year.

Meet Staff Member of the Year: Allison Voltaire

Allison Voltaire, ASU Prep Digital Elementary Principal, began her teaching journey as a 6th grade teacher before transitioning to virtual roles in middle school math, 4th Grade, and 5th Grade. Her passion for leadership led her to earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and another in Curriculum and Instruction: Technology for Educators, and ultimately to ASU Prep in 2020.

Living on the Space Coast of Florida with her husband and two children, Ms. Voltaire manages her role virtually, valuing each interaction with ASU Prep stakeholders as an opportunity to reinforce her commitment to the school community. At the heart of Ms. Voltaire’s leadership approach is communication and teamwork. She explains, “We call this the tripod effect when a student, parent or home educator, and the teacher/Learning Success Coach work together as an academic team to support each student.” This approach centers the student and fosters engagement, motivation, and dedication within the school community, creating a vibrant learning environment.

Ms. Voltaire’s vision aligns with ASU Prep Academy’s promise to help students “Prep for college. Prep for careers. Prep for life.” She prioritizes academic excellence alongside the development of critical thinking, problem-solving, and socialization skills. Embracing the digital nature of the school, she equips students with digital literacy and technology fluency, enabling them to confidently navigate digital tools and platforms for effective learning.

By fostering a personalized learning environment, Ms. Voltaire encourages students to take ownership of their education, setting goals, and embracing self-directed learning. She also aims to cultivate global awareness and cultural competence, preparing students to become responsible global citizens. “By appreciating diversity, demonstrating empathy, and understanding different cultures, our students will be better prepared to become responsible global citizens, making positive contributions to the world.”

Ms. Voltaire shares, “My ultimate goal is for our students to develop a lifelong love for learning, extending well beyond their time at ASU Prep Digital. By fostering this love for learning, I hope to nurture individuals who are eager to explore new ideas, pursue knowledge, and continue growing throughout their lives.”

Reflecting on her time at ASU Prep Digital, Ms. Voltaire recalls the second year of the elementary school as a defining moment. This was when perceptions shifted post-Covid pandemic, and ASU Prep Digital was recognized not as a mere fill-in option, but as a truly extraordinary digital school offering unparalleled opportunities for personalized learning. This shift embodies the mission of the school and reflects the dedication and hard work of the entire community.

As the 2023 Staff Member of the Year, Ms. Voltaire extends her heartfelt gratitude to the school community for their unwavering commitment to shared vision. Honored to be part of this remarkable journey, she looks forward to continuing the path of excellence and innovation at ASU Prep.

Thank you Eric Roth and Allison Voltaire for your exceptional service. From all of us at ASU Prep, congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. Here’s to another year of growth, discovery, and countless achievements.

Discover New Reads Just in Time for Book Lovers Day

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Picture a cozy nook as you immerse yourself in the pages of a captivating story. Welcome to the enchanting realm of Book Lovers Day, a celebration of literature and the transformative power of reading, recognized on August 9.

Studies have shown reading is not just a source of entertainment but also a gateway to numerous health benefits. As you embark on literary adventures, you simultaneously stimulate your mind, improve memory retention, reduce stress levels, and even enhance your social skills. It’s like a workout for your brain, leaving you feeling refreshed, inspired, and intellectually invigorated.

What better way for bibliophiles around the world to celebrate Book Lovers Day than to share in new authors, different genres, and a love for books with fellow enthusiasts? Recently, ASU Prep staff and students shared their favorite literary treasures. Let’s take a look at their recommendations.

Student Recommendations

Or Give me Death by Ann Rinaldi, historical fiction, is a Revolutionary War tale about Patrick Henry’s family as told by his daughters about their mother Sarah, who is locked in a cellar due to her mental illness.

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton, contemporary young adult, is the tale of two mismatched classmates on a mission to make their high school a little less awful.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garica, gothic horror, is set in glamorous 1950s Mexico and follows a young woman investigating her cousin’s claims that her husband is trying to murder her.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, young adult mystery, is a series about an investigation turned obsession when a student re-examines the closed case of a murdered schoolgirl.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean, young adult fiction, tells the story of a Japanese American girl discovering her father’s true identity—the Crown Prince of Japan—and being caught between two worlds.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, fantasy fiction, is a two-book series following the Shadow and Bone trilogy that tells the story of a criminal prodigy and his crew on an impossible heist.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, young adult romance, is a trilogy that follows Belly’s most memorable summers, growing up and falling in love.

Some notable reliables that were also recommended by students include the fantasy series Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as coming-of-age classics Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Staff Recommendations

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman, nonfiction, combines commentary on product design and the principles of cognitive psychology.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams, memoir, is an engaging and funny recounting of the author’s journey to the historic site.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, historical fiction, recounts the lives of two half sisters, one living in a castle, and the other sold into slavery and imprisoned in that same castle.

Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick, biography, tells the story of legendary musician Elvis Presely like never before.

The Human Target by Tom King & Greg Smallwood, detective story, follows the mystery of who is out to murder DC Comics villain Lex Luthor.

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr., nonfiction, delves into the life of a reclusive heiress, tracing her family’s immense wealth from the Gilded Age opulence to a twenty-first-century legal battle over inheritance.

Many staff members recommended nonfiction instructional books including: The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, and Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Tawwa.

Contemporary fiction novels often seen on book club lists were also common suggestions, including This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub. His and Hers by Alice Feeney was recommended and may lead to reading more of her popular thrillers. The same is true for The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which may turn readers into superfans of her many bestselling books.

Celebrate Book Lovers Day

Whether it’s a thrilling mystery, a heartwarming romance, or enlightening nonfiction, there’s always something new to discover in the pages of a good book. Join ASU Prep in celebrating Book Lovers Day by checking out one of these recommendations or sharing your own recommendation with our ASU Prep community on Instagram using #ASUPrepReads. Remember, every book you haven’t read is a new adventure waiting for you.

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: Making Financial Literacy a Healthy Habit

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We spend a lot of time encouraging children to maintain healthy habits, from eating their veggies and brushing their teeth to practicing internet safety and being kind to others. Let’s add another healthy habit to the list: financial literacy.

Financial literacy should be introduced when kids are young and should include understanding “money basics” like expenses, budgeting, and saving. Learning money management is a healthy habit that will help kids make better decisions long-term. Try the following tips this summer to practice financial literacy with all ages.  

  1. Talk about money. When making money decisions, think aloud to model this behavior for kids. When shopping, let them know when you’re comparing costsconsidering sale prices or inspecting tags for the unit price, for example. Point out the use of coupons, weighing your needs versus wants and price markups in certain situations like entertainment venues. 
  2. Assign money-related tasks. Have children assist with bill-paying when dining out. Younger kids can simply hand a server credit card or cash (then deal with the change), while older children can help calculate the tip and total cost. When shopping, encourage kids to scan items at the self checkout so they can see the items add up and be more aware of the growing total, as well as the role of tax. 
  3. Create a budget. Include children in budgeting for summer plans. Whether it’s for summer camps or a family outing, define an allowance and have kids help determine how to spend it. For example, set aside $50 for family night and let them figure out if that’s enough for a movie plus snacks at the theater or if it would be better spent with dinner out and a movie at home. 
  4. Play games. Make learning about money fun through gameplay. Monopoly (or Monopoly Jr.) is a popular board game where players buy and trade properties and deal with rent. Other games that involve money are The Game of Life, Payday, Money Bags, or The Allowance Game. There are also apps focused on financial literacy, such as Peter Pig’s Money Counter or Cash Puzzler.
  5. Teach value through ownership. When children earn their own money, whether through chores or a part-time job, they will be more likely to value it. Have them track their hard-earned funds using an age-appropriate app like Rooster Money or Bankaroo. Older children might be interested in Greenlight, a debit card for kids that requires parent oversight. Discuss options for managing money responsibly, from a savings account to investing in stocks.

Being confident when it comes to interacting with money is a healthy habit that sets up kids for success well into their future. With the extra expenses of summer, like camps, vacations and meals, it is an ideal time to start a conversation and include children in money matters. 

Minority Mental Health Month: Tips for Prioritizing Wellness

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Observed in July, National Minority Mental Health Month brings awareness to the unique challenges faced by our nation’s diverse minority groups. Due in part to a history of cultural stigma and lack of access to health care services, these groups often struggle to receive diagnoses for behavioral health issues. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that health disparities faced by underrepresented communities “negatively affect the mental and physical health of millions of people, preventing them from attaining their highest level of health and consequently affecting the health of our nation.”

When it comes to managing mental health, this year’s theme centers around culture, community, and connection. Check out the following suggestions to get started prioritizing mental wellness for the whole family. 

  • Create Connections with Others. It is important to feel a sense of belonging and security within our neighborhoods. Activities like shopping, dining, exercise or worship bring an opportunity to build social connections. This can lead to an extended support network of people to assist with childcare or meals when needed, as well as shared family friendly gatherings. Meaningful interactions and having people to call upon are essential stress relievers.   
  • Be an Active Community Member. Community brings more than social connections; it’s also an opportunity to find purpose. Take pride in where you live and work to make it a better place through volunteering and advocacy work. Get involved in issues you care about (like education or health services) through rallies or town hall meetings. Be sure to enlist children’s help when appropriate, like charity walks or collecting donations.   
  • Take Time for Self-care. Be sure to care for both your body and mind. To reduce stress and anxiety, consider meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga — find helpful guides on YouTube or in the app store. Listening to music, keeping a gratitude journal, praying, or reading are also healthy calming practices. For physical health, aim for a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains and limit simple sugars and saturated fats. A routine of regular exercise and sufficient sleep round out a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Talk Openly about Mental Health. Develop an environment of openness and trust that allows you and others to feel comfortable discussing mental health. Some pointers for these types of conversations include setting aside appropriate time and space, being honest, and validating emotions without downplaying or dismissing them. This can no doubt be difficult, but increasing visibility of mental health issues within minority communities breaks the stigma and encourages people to get support when needed. 
  • Seek Resources. In addition to commonly experienced life stressors, minority groups may also be impacted by additional trauma. Therapy provides tools so you can better handle the past, present and future in a healthier way. Seek a culturally competent therapist who is respectful of differences, appreciating that everyone has a unique identity and set of needs. To find a mental health program or resources that are a good fit, check out FindTreatment.gov, search the directory at Mental Health America or American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s extensive list of inclusive resources organized by community. For free, immediate, and confidential support at any time, call or text 988, the Suicude and Crisis Lifeline.

When focusing on mental wellness, remember to keep in mind the importance of culture, community, and connection. When intertwined, you’ll find support and belonging to help you better navigate daily life.

 

Nurturing Children’s Mental Health

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ASU Prep recognized May 11th as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, which highlights the importance of children’s positive mental health as part of their overall development. When children are in good mental health, they will be more successful at home and school, better able to participate and socially engage, learn new things and exhibit good decision-making.

Families can promote good mental health in what they say, how they act, and through the environment they create. Take a look at these suggestions for fostering a supportive environment for children and teens. 

Recognizing Emotions

It’s important for children to be able to recognize their feelings as the first step in processing them. For younger children, this might mean using a mood chart that allows them to identify a graphic depicting their current emotion. This check-in opens up the conversation for them to better share and get support. For older children, a journal with blank pages or guiding prompts is a positive and personal way to process feelings before discussing them.

Create a Safe Setting 

Nurture relationships by spending quality time together talking without judgment. A helpful technique is “High, Low, Buffalo,” in which each family member shares a “high” point from their day, a “low,” and a “buffalo” — a random tidbit. An Internet search for “conversation starters” can also be a fun way to ignite meaningful discussion with older children. 

A safe home environment also means setting boundaries on media use. Monitor use by discouraging screens in the bedrooms when possible to allow you to supervise both content and time spent on a screen, as well as any interactions through social media or online games.

Model & Encourage Healthy Behavior

Don’t be afraid to show kids when you struggle or make a mistake. It’s normal, and as they’re watching, they’re learning valuable coping skills.

Be a role model by taking care of your own mental health—discussing feelings and modeling what it looks like to make time for feel-good activities like reading, exercising or relaxing on the porch. 

Establish routines for the whole family that prioritize a nutritious diet, regular physical activity and plenty of sleep. 

Get Professional Support

Being involved in children’s lives allows us to regularly observe their well-being and track any signs that a child is experiencing changes in their thinking, feelings or behavior, as well as physical changes. 

As children navigate developmental and emotional milestones, continue to show them encouragement. Connect with them, reminding them that you care and are there for support.  

Need help? Call your child’s pediatrician or seek out additional resources, such as:

ASU Prep’s Family Resources — provides a sampling of social services available to our local community

Mikid — Arizona-based organization focusing on behavioral health and wellness with family-centered approach 

Crisis Text Line — offers free help via text message 24/7. Text ‘START’ to 741741 to text with a trained counselor.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline — provides 24/7 free, confidential support. Text 988 to connect to a skilled, trained crisis worker.