Top-rated high schools in Phoenix (2024)

« Back  |  

Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is known for its sunny weather and vibrant culture. With a strong local economy and robust job market, it’s no surprise for the growing population. But beyond its bustling city life lies a thriving education system that has produced some of the top-rated high schools in the country—including public schools, charter schools, and private schools.

With family-friendly neighborhoods like Ahwatukee Foothills, Camelback East, Deer Valley, Encanto, Paradise Valley, and Desert Ridge, Phoenix offers quality schools, parks, and community events.

If you’re a parent looking for the best education opportunities for your child beyond middle school in Phoenix, you’re in the right place. With a variety of options and programs available, there’s something for every student here.

What to look for in a Phoenix high school

With ​​​​Phoenix being home to 325 public schools in 30 school districts along with more than 200 charter and private schools, finding the best fit for your child can be a challenge and overwhelming to say the least.

When it comes to selecting the right high school for your child, there are a few key factors to consider. You’ll want to look for schools with high graduation rates, strong test scores, and rigorous curriculum offerings.

But academics isn’t everything. It’s equally important to assess extracurricular activities and opportunities that align with your child’s interests and passions. This can include sports teams, clubs, music or art programs, internships, early college options, and more.

Another important factor to consider in a high school is diversity. A diverse student body not only provides a well-rounded educational experience but also prepares students for the real world where they will interact with people from all backgrounds.

Students and teacher

The best local high schools in Phoenix, AZ

When we put together our list of Phoenix’s top high schools, we explored what makes a great educational experience. We examined academic programs, extracurricular activities, early college opportunities, personalized learning, student support, school rankings, and lots more.

Knowing how crucial high school is in a student’s education journey, 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 Phoenix High School

ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix High School is our top choice for high school education in Phoenix. Open since 2009, this tuition-free PreK–12 public charter school provides a personalized experience that sets students on the path to college and career success.

Personalized curriculum allows every student to work at their own pace, developing critical thinking and social-emotional skills through relevant projects and activities.

Chartered by Arizona State University, the school provides the unique opportunity for students to earn university credits from ASU while still in high school. This, coupled with a selection of internship opportunities in a diverse and supportive community of learners sets students on a path to achieve their future goals. Students are empowered to get ahead through a rigorous curriculum and encouraged to to set goals and become active participants in their own education.

ASU Prep Phoenix High School boasts a range of opportunities to get involved. From participating in student clubs such as Robotics, National Honor Society, or Student Government to attending ASU Prep community events, there’s plenty of ways students can pursue their passions, achieve their goals, and build a lifelong love of learning.

The school’s rigorous yet inclusive approach, combined with its focus on early college opportunities and personalized learning, positions it as the top choice for families seeking an exceptional high school education in the Phoenix area.

ASU Prep Phoenix provides continuity of exceptional education for students of all ages, with their elementary school, middle school, and high school housed all on one campus.

Name: ASU Prep Phoenix High School
Address: 735 E Fillmore St., Phoenix, AZ 85006
Contact Number: (602) 899-1180
Website: https://asuprep.asu.edu/phoenix-elementary

To learn more about ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix High School, please visit their Instagram.

2. ASU Preparatory Academy South Phoenix High School

ASU Prep South Phoenix High School is a tuition-free public charter school, located in the heart of Phoenix. Offering students personalized paths to college and career success in a diverse community, ASU Prep South Phoenix provides exceptional educational opportunities for students in Pre–K through grade 12.

A challenging curriculum empowers students to progress at their own speed, fostering critical thinking and social-emotional skills via engaging projects and activities grounded in real-world scenarios. In addition, students at ASU Prep South Phoenix have the unique opportunity to take Arizona State University courses for credit at no cost to them. This allows students to explore college majors and earn university credit, reducing both time and cost toward their future degrees.

ASU Prep South Phoenix High School features small class sizes, and a supportive environment with a community-focused approach to education. With opportunities to interact with a diverse range of learners on all levels, our students build lasting relationships with those who share similar interests and academic ambitions.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in student clubs, including: Student Government, Yearbook, Robotics, and Marketing as well as paid internship opportunities through Chicanos Por La Causa.

Family involvement is encouraged through ASU Prep community events and a special partnership with The Salvation Army Kroc Center Phoenix, with a focus on holistic student development.

Overall, ASU Prep South Phoenix’s mission to make academic dreams a reality, combined with its comprehensive educational approach and community-focused initiatives, makes it the ideal destination for students aspiring to achieve academic and career success.

Name: ASU Prep South Phoenix High School
Address: 4445 S 12th St, Phoenix, AZ 85040
Contact Number: 602-842-1722
Website: https://asuprep.asu.edu/south-phoenix-intermediate-high

To learn more about ASU Preparatory Academy South Phoenix High School, please visit their Instagram.

3. Basis Phoenix

With a commitment to inclusivity for over 25 years, BASIS Phoenix provides a tuition-free K–12 STEM-based curriculum.  BASIS Phoenix, established in 1998, is a part of the globally recognized BASIS Charter Schools network—consistently named among the top schools in the nation, with 10 of the top 20 charter high schools in the U.S according to U.S. News & World Report 2023 rankings.

BASIS Phoenix High School aims to empower students to achieve at globally competitive levels and foster a love of learning, natural curiosity, and a desire to excel. BASIS teachers’ are experts passionate about broad ideas and innovative thinking. They’ve tossed aside a one-size-fits-all approach in favor of tailored attention for each student.

The faculty at BASIS encourages a unique community within the school, promoting a sense of belonging not seen in other educational settings. They believe being creative and solving problems comes from openly sharing ideas—that’s why they got rid of school uniforms. Now, students can showcase their individual style.

Students are engaged in their education, spearheading discussions, collaborating on projects, and owning their successes and failures. They develop life-long skills to learn how to handle and manage disagreements.

This educational program demands effort. Students utilize communication journals that track their progress, these journals facilitate understanding across students, teachers, and families.

For parents looking for a learning curriculum that includes Mandarin, engineering, classic literature, linguistics, and economics, check out one of their six campuses across Arizona.

To learn more about Basis Phoenix, please visit their Facebook.

4. Great Hearts Academies – Veritas Preparatory

Veritas Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free school, strives to provide an outstanding education to all families in Phoenix. It’s founded on the belief that every child should have access to a top-quality education to prepare them for future challenges and opportunities. This commitment to accessibility and excellence means its doors are open to everyone.

Veritas Preparatory Academy prides themselves with their commitment to “cultivate the hearts and minds of students through the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.”

High school students focus on the exploration of classical liberal arts. Veritas Academy’s rigorous high school curriculum challenges and inspires them to prepare for college and the wider world. It improves their analytical and critical thinking, shaping them into thoughtful, well-rounded leaders.

The faculty are dedicated educators motivated by each student’s success and growth. More than just teachers, they act as mentors, helping students succeed in their studies and personal development.

They also have a commitment to those students who may need additional support and resources for their development. Veritas Prep provides a free and suitable education for students with disabilities. If a student already qualifies or is found to qualify for special help and extra services, they can receive this education which falls in line with their philosophy of enriching the lives of all children.

Veritas Preparatory Academy is more than a school—it’s a community celebrating intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, and moral virtue. The academy looks forward to developing scholars, virtuous citizens, and future leaders. For parents looking for a holistic educational experience, Veritas Prep may be a good fit.

Veritas also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities. From athletics including tennis, beach volleyball, golf, and more, to getting involved in clubs like newspaper and choir—the options are endless.

To learn more about Veritas Preparatory Academy, please visit their Facebook.

5. Phoenix Union Bioscience High School

If large class sizes and sprawling campuses aren’t the environment you’re looking for, Phoenix Union Bioscience High School might be a good one to take a closer look at. Their small school approach is unique to the area and core differentiator from other options.

Bioscience High School stands out as a distinctive, cooperative institution at the core of the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus, surrounded by leading entities in biomedicine and engineering.

All students undertake a “Better World Project” in addition to their standard classes each year. By their junior and senior years, students focus on a biomedical or engineering track. Senior year includes a rare opportunity for an off-campus internship with a partner or an organization, selected by the student.

PXU provides transportation, so wherever you live in the city your child can attend a magnet program. With lots of program options to choose from, students can learn to fly an airplane, earn a scuba certification, travel to other countries, or become a DJ at the school radio station.

Academic excellence is a top priority for all PXU students. However, equally important is their inclusive community where each student feels valued. The school utilizes a grade-level team model, ensuring students form close bonds with peers and teachers. Graduates of PXU are known to secure admissions in prestigious post-secondary programs, earn substantial scholarships, and are well-equipped to create positive change in the world.

If a robust list of athletics or extracurricular activities is a must-have on your list, this may be one to pass on. While they do offer numerous opportunities to get involved, their options aren’t as extensive as other schools on our list.

To learn more about Phoenix Union Bioscience High School, please visit their Facebook.

6. Horizon Honors Secondary School

Horizon Honors Secondary School, a public charter school in Phoenix, offers a traditional back-to-basics education for students in 7th grade and up. The school’s philosophy, safe environment, and commitment to academic excellence create a strong foundation for student success.

HHS provides students with a small learning environment and a rigorous college-ready curriculum. Students have the option of taking advanced placement courses or participating in dual enrollment. Parents can rest assured that students gain career advancement experience while focusing on communication and collaboration skills in the classroom.

In addition to their tailored approach to learning, Horizon offers extracurriculars and athletic programs that rival larger schools. You can expect to see Eagles shining both in the classroom and exploring their extracurricular interests.

An emphasis on integrating community service is an important part of Horizon Honors. They believe service to others and character-building lessons help students develop social excellence.

At HHS the Student Councils, National Honor Society, Key Club and athletics teams organize students in community outreach, charity drives and a variety of projects throughout the Valley. All high school students are required to complete 40 hours of community service each school year, in addition to their course curriculum.

To learn more about Horizon Honors Secondary School, please visit their Facebook.

7. Ridgeline Academy High School

Not to be confused with another Eagles schooling option, Ridgeline Academy is one of the best high schools in the Phoenix area. Ridgeline Academy embraces the changes in our rapidly advancing technological world, and strives to promote positive self-image and ambassadors of acceptance that uphold strong community values.

Eagles have access to a Pathway Program, designed to introduce students in high school to multiple career opportunities through their coursework. Students are allowed to explore their interests by taking courses at school and participating in internships with community partners to find their passion. Parents enjoy the opportunities their children get in interning early to explore career opportunities and eliminate some of the trials of career navigation in early-adulthood.

The Ridgeline Academy High School Leadership Team focuses on transforming students into eager learners prepared for further education. Diversity is celebrated and explored. Efforts are made to boost students’ confidence and ensure a positive school culture that values all individuals and promotes good character.

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

8. Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center College Prep High School

Changing the landscape of public schools since 1997, Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center College Prep High School (AAEC) is a tuition-free accredited public charter high school, aimed to prepare young adults for excellence in academics, social responsibility, industry employability, and lifelong learning. With seven public charter school locations throughout Arizona, parents have several brick-and-mortar options to choose from.

The goal of AAEC is to move students ahead when it comes to post-secondary education with accessible and cost-effective options. A cornerstone of this program is the agricultural component for students looking to pursue pre-med, pre-vet, and animal science-based careers.

Its locations close to Maricopa Community Colleges and the Prescott Valley campus near Yavapai College have helped students earn college credits, Associate Degrees, and save families money over the last 24 years. Their challenging online course curriculum ensures students’ have the access to resources to ensure success.

Its online courses follow a rigorous curriculum that meets state standards and is straightforward. AAEC Online allows students to take college courses for free while still in high school. One potential downside to this option is the access to extracurricular clubs and athletics. These are held at the nearest physical campuses, but aren’t as robust or as accessible as some of the other options.

To learn more about AAEC, please visit their Facebook.

9. Desert Vista High School

Home of the Thunder, Desert Vista High School (DV) inspires students to strive in a variety of Advanced Placement and honors courses. This sprawling campus is a showstopper to say the least. If you’re looking for a traditional schooling environment with bells and whistles, this could be it.

DV believes in bridging the classroom curriculum with extracurricular activities to encourage community and prepare students for life after high school. One of the unique aspects of their vision is emphasizing time-management skills while incorporating project-based collaboration. This gives students the opportunity to bridge the gap between extracurricular activities such as athletics and academics.

Both students and parents rave about the opportunities given to students to branch out beyond the classroom, like their work-study program. This program allows them to get hands-on experience, before post-secondary education.

Invested in fostering an environment for students to explore any passion or interest is the heart of Desert Vista. Students are seen participating in extracurricular activities including athletics, HOSA-Future Health Professionals, National Honor Society, Speech & Debate, and the Thunder Theatre Company. Desert Vista is so heavily invested in their students’ interests, that if a student doesn’t see a club for their interest they are encouraged to create one.

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

10. Pinnacle High School

Pinnacle High School, a public high school located in North Phoenix, opened its doors in 2000. Now being recognized as having an award-winning fine arts program and offering innovative STEAM experiences, this school has quickly garnered attention from students and parents alike.

PVS focuses on students’ journey to excellence, whether that be through academics or the arts. Their curriculum has a focus on increasing student achievement through teaching standards and research-based educational programs to deliver effective and differentiated instruction.

They do this by partnering with schools, families, and the diverse PVS schools community. As part of the Paradise Valley Unified School District, students also have access to a college and career readiness portal making college and career decision-making easier.

Students have access to interest surveys, career exploration, and can even schedule college visits to take successful steps toward their future.

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

ASU Prep faculty and students

Comparing top-rated Phoenix high schools?

ASU Prep Phoenix High School and ASU Prep South Phoenix High School are tuition-free public high schools offering personalized paths to college and career success.

We’re making higher education a reality for our diverse and thriving student community. Our goal is that each ASU Prep student will graduate with a minimum of 12 ASU college credits at no cost to our families. We offer every student the chance to take university or concurrent courses while in high school, saving them time and money when they get to college. We believe all students can achieve success at the highest levels, and it’s why our education is personalized, project-based, and delivered at a pace that meets students where they are.

Chartered by Arizona State University, ASU Prep 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 Academy, please visit our website.

ASU Honors Black History Month with Community Events

« Back  |  

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.

Strong foundations start in Kindergarten.

« Back  |  

ASU Prep Academy is hosting several Kinder Round-Up information sessions at our four elementary locations in the metro Phoenix area.

At the event, families will have an opportunity to meet our teachers, tour our campuses, and learn more about our Kindergarten program, which features:

  • Tuition-free full-day options
  • One-to-one technology devices
  • Individualized learning plans
  • Gifted program options in Spring semester
  • After-school programming

To learn about Kindergarten eligibility and VIP on-site enrollment, click here.

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

« Back  |  

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

« Back  |  

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

« Back  |  

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

« Back  |  

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 asuprepdigital.org/professional-development.

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

« Back  |  

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 Forbes.com 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

« Back  |  

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.

Neighbors, nurturing community bonds: ASU Prep South Phoenix and The Kroc Center

« Back  |  

This school year, ASU Prep South Phoenix and The Salvation Army Kroc Center Phoenix have become more than just neighbors. Thanks to a special partnership, every ASU Prep South Phoenix 7–12 student and all K–12 staff members will now enjoy gold membership access at the Kroc Center.

Intermediate and High School Principal Patrick Gibbs credits the support of ASU Prep’s senior leadership Amy McGrath and Betsy Fowler, along with the Kroc Center’s community-driven generosity for making this possible. The Kroc Center already offers a discount for nonprofit partnerships but also extended an additional neighborly discount, making it possible for ASU Prep to purchase memberships for staff and students.

“We wanted to make sure that it was 100% accessible to all students,” says Gibbs. The partnership doesn’t stop at students and staff—50 families have also been offered a discounted family membership that allows for up to 6 members. This way, parents/guardians and siblings can benefit too.

A shared vision

This partnership between ASU Prep South Phoenix and The Kroc Center is a testament to the strength of community collaboration. It’s about more than just sharing resources—it’s about shared values, shared goals, and a shared commitment to uplifting individuals and families.

As Principal Gibbs notes, “The Kroc Center is doing good work and we’re doing good work. It just makes sense for organizations that have that same goal of uplifting people and creating safe community spaces to work together.”

Captain Caroline Rowe, Corps Officer and Administrator at the Kroc Center, agrees, “ASU services the same individuals we seek to serve, so it is such a pleasure to have these children and families come and use The Salvation Army Phoenix Kroc Center.”

ASU Prep South Phoenix is more than a school—it’s a close-knit community. Many of the students are on the path to becoming first-generation college students. Their families send them to ASU Prep South Phoenix for its challenging college and career preparatory programs that include a dependable support network. Sometimes that support comes from family members who are also at the school. Whether it’s classmates who are cousins or a staff member who holds the title of godfather, many individuals at ASU Prep South Phoenix share connections and look after each other.

And now this network of support extends to the neighboring Kroc Center. The Kroc Center, since its opening in May 2012, has served more than a million people with its programs in arts, education, recreation, wellness, and spiritual guidance. It was developed thanks to a $90 million grant from a bequest to The Salvation Army by the late Mrs. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. Captain Rowe says, “We believe this facility is here as a beacon of light and a safe place for the children and families in this community.” She’s happy to see all the new faces making use of the membership opportunity and all it has to offer.

The benefits

The Kroc Center is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., providing an accessible and safe space for students to use exercise equipment or study areas, before or after school. This is especially beneficial for students navigating parents’ work schedules that don’t align with school drop-off and pick-up times. Students enjoy the athletic opportunities, like basketball, volleyball, and the state-of-the-art Aquatic Center.

Students who are weightlifting might spot the school’s security guard or their math or English teacher. There might even be some students attempting to out-bench one of their teachers. Principal Gibbs says some teachers walk the indoor track at lunch, saying, “That’s a super cool bonus to help with teacher wellness and balance. It’s also really fun for the kids to see the teachers living a healthy lifestyle.”

Because of the close proximity of the Center, within walking distance, ASU Prep South Phoenix has even been using the facilities for regular P.E. classes. The school also takes advantage of the gaming lounge to host their weekly eSports club, a competitive electronic sports team.

Founder Joan Kroc’s vision for the Center was “A place where you will feel welcomed and supported no matter what your physical, educational, or social goals, and every person in our community is a critical component.” This collaboration recognizes and uplifts the staff and students of ASU Prep South Phoenix as the critical components they are—honored members of our community.

Learn more

To learn more about ASU Prep South Phoenix, visit asuprep.asu.edu. For more information about The Phoenix Kroc Center, visit krocphoenix.org.