Education News Bites

News from Around Town

Your local schools and colleges are not just the places students go to learn new things. Casa Grande is home to public, private and charter schools that produce top-quality graduates, as well as colleges and trade schools that prepare your children for bright futures. There is big news to share here: Schools are celebrating significant anniversaries as well as new features and programs to keep students engaged and involved in their communities. We’re proud to share the news from your local schools in Golden Corridor Living.

A+ Charter Schools Comes to Maricopa in 2020
A+ Charter Schools is excited to open in Maricopa for the 2020-2021 school year. We strive to give students an education that not only prepares them academically but also for life. Our students participate in project-based learning, develop personalized learning plans, and engage in a character-based advisory program. Students also participate in career awareness and exploration through community partnerships, internships, vocational programs and college-level coursework aligned to their post-secondary goals.

ASU Preparatory Academy Casa Grande
Sharing the Goal of College Graduation
ASU Preparatory Academy is an innovative charter school where teachers, students and families share the same goal – college graduation. The inclusive, college preparatory high school is located on-site at the Francisco Grande Resort. Students benefit from a personalized approach to learning that includes a high use of technology and the opportunity to take Arizona State University courses for credit. ASU Prep Casa Grande also has a competitive robotics team, plus such fun extracurricular activities as StuGo and Yearbook.

Central Arizona College
Celebrating 50 Years
CAC will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2019-2020 academic year. Multiple activities are planned at the college’s five campuses.
Since September 1969, CAC has provided high quality and affordable educational opportunities for residents of Pinal County.
The College’s history of providing quality education and supporting student’s goals of achieving a certificate or two-year degree, transferring to a four-year institution, entering the career of their choice, or completing courses for personal enhancement remains a primary focus.

Casa Grande Union High School
100 Years of Graduates
Casa Grande Union High school has a rich 101-year history. This past school year students and staff celebrated the 100th graduating class and were honored with their final walk across the stage in May. At CGUHS, there are many exciting things happening on campus. Academically, we are proud to offer classes for our students at the level of rigor each student desires including Honors classes, AP classes, the Early College program and our STEM program. Career and Technical Education classes also are abundant at CGUHS and offer students the ability to experience real-world working conditions and to gain industry certification while still in high school. CGUHS also has many extracurricular offerings, including our award-winning band program conducted by Martin Hebda, the recipient of the George C. Wilson Leadership and Service Award, state champion drumline and spirit line teams, STEM Academy, FFA, JROTC and the Arts. Our students have the choice of 47 clubs and organizations including our DECA program in which several students placed in the top four statewide. CGUHS partners with CAVIT and offers classes that use state-of-the-art culinary arts and auto tech facilities, a student-run fully operational DECA store, plus two full-time preschools open to the public. Through all their academic and extracurricular endeavors, the graduating class of 2019 was offered approximately $5 million in scholarships.

Grande Innovation Academy
Learning with the SMALLab
Casa Grande’s Grande Innovation Academy is the only school in Arizona with a Student Multimedia Accelerated Learning Laboratory or SMALLab. The SMALLab is a classroom-sized, transformational 3D learning environment.
SMALLab technology helps scholars increase their achievement and performance in school. We have seen up to 86% increase in scholar learning, six times the engagement and more teacher effectiveness.
Scholars participate in SMALLab several times a month.

Mission Heights
Mission Heights Class of 2019 participates in 2nd annual College Signing Day
On May 1, Mission Heights Class of 2019 joined in the nationwide movement of College Signing Day for a second time. In support of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative to promote college-going students, Mission showcased her students in this special event. Seniors wore a “College Bound” or “I have Chosen” T-shirt decorated to reveal to the audience their future choices. Out of the 78 graduating seniors, 92% have proudly chosen their university, community college or military branch.

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School
School to Incorporate Program Helping Youth Learn and Grow
Students display the models they made of animal cells. Science class is a favorite for many of the middle school students. As they study the science standards, they are called upon to create cell models, erupting volcanoes, bridges that can hold 25 to 30 pounds and many other fun experiments that illustrate and test their skills in putting the science standards into practice. This year, Robotics will be introduced to the students through a grant received from the City of Casa Grande.

Blessing of Pets
Every year we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, who is the patron saint of pets. One of our priests comes to school and we celebrate Mass outside as the students sit with their pets: snakes, dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses and other animals in all variety of sizes. At the end of Mass, the pets are blessed with holy water and a special prayer. The students are thrilled to bring their pets to school and to show them off to all their friends. We, like St. Francis, love animals.

Pre-Kindergarten Program
St. Anthony of Padua School has a pre-kindergarten program. Three-and four-year-old children attend school in a smaller building that is designed just for their small bodies. Parents may choose from a half-day or whole-day program. Our program is geared to provide educational standards as well as social standards. Our PreK program is licensed by the state and is also part of First Things First. Scholarships are available to help with the tuition. We invite parents and children to come for a tour. (520) 836-7247.

10th Anniversary Brings New Classes
Vista Grande High School celebrates its 10th anniversary and is enjoying a year filled with academics and activities, and we are looking forward to adding new classes to next year’s schedule. In addition to our current career and technical education classes, we will add automation robotics and graphic arts/web design to our list of electives offered next year. Construction technology is in its first year, and we will be adding more classes to meet students’ needs. Our music program expanded with the addition of a jazz band and next year marching band, complete with new uniforms. Our Vista Grande VIP Program, in its second year, encourages vigilance, virtue and valor in our students daily. When students are “caught being good,” they are rewarded with a referral explaining what they were seen doing and are recognized for helping perpetuate the Vista Values. Our drama department put on three productions this year. The tech-theater class designed and built a circular moving platform for “Mama Mia!” to facilitate quicker scene changes. Two of our drama students have received state-level Starlight Awards, which can move them toward qualifying for a national Jimmy Award — high school’s equivalent to the Tony Awards. Our JROTC program is building a strong program; 13 seniors have signed up to join the military so far. We are proud of our Z Club members who have joined with United Way and the City of Casa Grande to help homeless folks in the community.
Vista Grande has various clubs, sports, and activities for students to join while getting the academics they need.