ASU Prep, Tempe Union High School District team up to help students advance

By Jamar Younger

A public charter high school with a college preparatory focus is entering into a unique and potentially groundbreaking partnership with a union high school district to provide more options for students in Tempe.

ASU Prep, a K-12 public charter school network with nine campuses spread across Phoenix and Casa Grande, has joined with the Tempe Union High School District’s Compadre Academy to open a joint school that will integrate ASU Prep’s rigorous college preparatory focus with Compadre’s flexible, self-paced, non-traditional program.

The schools will merge to form ASU Prep Compadre High School in Tempe.

This initiative is designed to provide disadvantaged students equal access to higher level college preparatory classes, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Compadre is an alternative school that serves about 400 high schoolers with a program that allows students to catch up on credits, advance through their studies and graduate early while pursuing their education in an environment suited to their individual needs.

ASU Prep operates a rigorous college preparatory program that uses the Cambridge International Curriculum, an advanced course of study designed to enhance college readiness in high school students. The public charter school also allows students to take ASU courses for college credit.

The charter school boasts a 98 percent four-year graduation rate, with 100 percent of the 2017 graduating class accepted to college or the military.

ASU Prep CEO Beatriz Rendon

“Through this innovative partnership, we will integrate and align the efforts of Tempe Union, ASU Prep and Arizona State University to increase college-access and career opportunities for all students, making Tempe a pioneer in the education space,” said Beatriz Rendon, CEO of ASU Prep. “A college-going culture sets high expectations for all students and provides them with the academic preparation, resources and support needed to meet those expectations.”

ASU Prep Compadre will enroll about 100 additional students in grades 9-12, eventually expanding to serve 400 students.

Teachers and administrators at each school will join forces to share professional development and mentoring, including access to ASU faculty, a self-paced digital curriculum for students, and other resources in an effort to boost student achievement, graduation rates and college attendance.

This isn’t the first partnership between a charter school and school district, but the merging of a rigorous college prep program and a self-paced alternative school is noteworthy.

“The partnership between ASU Prep and Compadre is unique and sets the standard for how to effectively transform public education in the state of Arizona. We share in our commitment to provide students with the best tools and opportunities to be successful,” said Dr. Kenneth Baca, Superintendent of the Tempe Union High School District.

Educators from ASU Prep and Tempe Union High School District, along with program supporters, envision this partnership setting a standard for how schools can combine resources to improve outcomes for any student.

“I am excited for the collaboration of subject matter experts of our public schools – district and charter – to craft individual education programs,” said Rep. Jill Norgaard, R-Phoenix. “Breaking down the barriers and embracing new models is innovative for our district,” she said.