Expanding excellence: Arizona Charter Academy

The West Valley’s Arizona Charter Academy is one of five recipients of a grant from the A for Arizona Expansion Fund. The school will put the money toward expanding and renovating its facilities. 

The A for Arizona Expansion Fund is designed to accelerate the growth of Arizona’s best public schools – district, magnet and charter schools – especially those in low income communities. It provides targeted grants to ‘A’-rated schools.

The Arizona Charter Academy (ACA) stood out to A for Arizona for its dedication to a high-minority student population and its A-rated academic performance.  

“We’re a mission-driven school. And, really our passion is to defy the odds. We have a lot of high poverty minority students that we believe every student is entitled quality education regardless of their zip code and every student can learn,” said Melissa Holdaway, ACA CEO. 

Founded in 2001, ACA is located in Surprise and serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. 

ACA plans to provide more students with a high-quality education thanks in part to support from the Expansion Fund. 

“Our plans for expansion include a two-story 12-classroom building, which will help us accommodate 200 more students. Along with, we’re going to re-do our playground to make a more usable play space, so our students have more access to that,” Holdaway said.

“And, we’ve also done some tenant improvements where we’ve created larger classrooms or classrooms that were smaller to become more effective for students,” she added.  

ACA is located in the Surprise Original Town Site, which is a high-poverty area. More children in the economically disadvantaged area will have access to the ACA’s high-quality education when the school expands.  

“I think it’s critical that we look at high quality schools and we fund those schools in order to continue to give excellence to all students. Arizona, we have our work cut out for us and I believe it’s so critical that we find excellence, we replicate that excellence and we give students what they deserve,” said Heather Henderson, ACA chief academic officer. 

“There just continues to be a need for a school like ours that really focuses on students and excellence and providing not only that quality education, but kind of all those extracurricular activities, and leadership development and training, and community involvement- all those things I think are a part of who we are,” Holdaway said.

ACA works with the business community and nonprofit community to receive funding and resources that benefit students. 

“We value the community and it’s not us against them or ‘What do we do by ourselves?’” Henderson said. “It’s ‘What do we do together to create an amazing place?’”

Sierra Ciaramella

Graham Bosch

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