Best in Class: ASU Preparatory Academy secondary learning


High school students at ASU Preparatory Academy have various interests and strengths, but they all have one goal in common: postsecondary graduation.

ASU Preparatory Academy is a charter school system with multiple campuses-including online- throughout the Valley. It serves students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade and focuses on preparing students for postsecondary achievement.

“ASU Prep Poly High School is a college-going STEM high school [that] really looks to personalize the education for students through all sorts of different ways in connection with the university and really having a full immersed university-bound experience,” Chrystal Keller, ASU Preparatory Academy Polytechnic STEM High School director of secondary learning, said.

The high school is located on the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus, allowing students to engage with the university and even take university courses.

Keller explained that about 27 percent of ASU Preparatory Polytechnic High School STEM (ASU Poly High School) students are in the free and reduced lunch program. A diverse mix of students from various backgrounds makes up 53 percent of the student population, while the remaining 47 percent are Caucasian.

“I think you’ll find in the East Valley that’s quite a bit more diverse than many of the schools in this area, and we really take pride in that and we really encourage that,” Keller said.

Students in their senior year take the Senior Seminar class, which helps prepare them for college through application support and other tools that put them on the path to postsecondary success.

“This year, we have a 97 percent acceptance rate into Arizona State University and 100 percent acceptance rate into four-year university in general. So, all of our seniors have been accepted into a university,” Keller said.

She added that ASU Poly High School’s average ACT score is 24, which is 6.8 points above the state’s average of 19.2.

“One of the great things about being here at ASU Poly [High School] is the amazing programs on the ASU campus here. Our students get hands-on experience in the wind tunnels, in the aviation simulation labs, in the STEM labs,” Keller explained. “Really, anywhere on campus that there’s an interest, they get to go in and work hands-on.”

High school students attending the ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix Campus also benefit from the charter school’s postsecondary-focused model.

ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix Campus serves about 1,200 students. It is located in Downtown Phoenix and was chartered by Arizona State University about seven years ago.

Much like the ASU Prep Poly High School campus, the students at ASU Prep Phoenix prepare for postsecondary education throughout their time with the charter school.

During the students’ senior year, “they have a college-going advisor that really works with them on their career plans,” Adrian De Alba, ASU Preparatory Academy Phoenix Campus director of secondary learning, explained.

While postsecondary achievement is on students’ minds, they also address real-world issues and engage with the community.

For a tenth-grade project, students tackle a community issue and try to develop a solution through a capstone course. That course allows them to strengthen problem-solving skills and get involved with the community.

Sierra Ciaramella

Nick Serpa

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