Dysart tries to connect with students leaving Arizona Charter high school

When Arizona Charter Academy converts to a K-8 school from K-12 next year, this building will change from the home of the high school to the sides of the grades six through eight middle school. [Independent Newsmedia file]
By Jennifer Jimenez
Special to Independent Newsmedia

The transition has been in place for Arizona Charter Academy high school students now looking for a new school to call home for the 2017-18 school year.

ACA has taken a very individualized approach to assist students in the process, Chief Operating Officer Melissa Holdaway said.

“We held multiple parent nights, taken students on tours of other high schools, met individually with both students and parents to determine which school would be the best fit and assisted them in completing required paperwork,” she said. “It is our goal to ensure each student transitions to a school that is a good fit for them.”

In January Arizona Charter Academy made the decision to move to a K-8 school and drop the high school. Ms. Holdaway said two key factors attributed to the closure, including running out of space and the current as well as growing teacher shortage.

“By moving to K-8, it allows ACA to respond to the needs of our community by opening up additional classes in our exceptional K-8 program,” Ms. Holdaway said.

The Dysart Unified School District is ready and willing to start accepting students into their four high schools. Zach Fountain, Director of Communications and Public Relations for the district, said one of the district’s greatest attributes is open enrollment, which allows students to pick the particular type of program they are interested in and go to that corresponding school.

“We have processes in place to where we work with families so we can make sure we maximize the best outcome for students making the transition,” Mr. Fountain said.

As far as concerns regarding athletes transferring and the Arizona Interscholastic Association bylaws, Mr. Fountain encouraged parents to contact the athletic director at their prospective high school to get everything squared away on their end before making the transition. Academically, he said the district strives to make a personal connection with families at their schools.

“They can come by and ask questions so we can connect with them and make sure they understand their options,” Mr. Fountain said.

Dr. Steven Poling, Assistant Superintendent for Education for Dysart, said he encourages parents to log on to their website and familiarize themselves with the high schools. He said families have already been reaching out to the district about their options.

“Parents can make appointments with our counselors or principal to get a tour and answer any questions they may have about the transition into Dysart,” he explained.

The process is rather simple. Students can register at the particular school they are interested in and then submit a transcript to the counselor.

Counselors can create a plan for each individual student to ensure they stay on track for graduation, Dr. Poling said.

He said the district focuses on starting students early with connections to college and industry work, as well as internships. He said they are making sure students have the opportunities to thrive and learn skills now that they will need as the move on after high school.

“We truly have great programs and great community schools with a comprehensive nature, which makes Dysart a great choice for families,” Dr. Poling said.

For information on the district log on to www.dysart.org.

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Jimenez is a Peoria-based freelance writer.

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