ASU Microschools Provide Possibilities

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Microschools, a learning model often referred to as a cross between homeschool and private school education, is the result of rethinking the traditional educational model to better prepare children for the future. With a passion to create flexible school program alternatives that offer high student engagement and inclusion, ASU Prep offered five microschool cohorts on three campuses this Fall.

ASU Prep Local

 ASU Prep Local is a year-long hybrid program for high school students who spend two days per week on an ASU campus and the other three days working virtually from home. Students can take ASU courses and receive concurrent credit for both high school and college.

This last semester, ASU Prep Local welcomed 100 students onto the ASU Media Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center, ASU West, and ASU Polytechnic campuses. At MIX Center location in Mesa, 31 students enrolled in the ASU Prep Digital Cinematography class facilitated by their on-site Personalized Learning Advisors (PLAs) and supported by ASU faculty. At ASU West, 39 of the 44 students enrolled in the Public Speaking ASU course (COM225).

Based on Fall semester grade reports, 95 percent of students received a grade of an “A” or “B” in the site-based local elective.

“We are so proud of the work that has been accomplished this year,” said Megan Hanley, Director of Strategic Initiatives at ASU Prep. “Currently, our seniors are outperforming all other grade levels, with a 93 percent passing rate in all content courses.” 

ASU Prep Experience

ASU Prep Experience is a single-semester program available to ASU Prep Digital students grades 9-11. Students spend one day on-site at an ASU campus and the remaining days work digitally. They attend faculty-supported workshops that focus on real-world, project-based learning and earn honors elective high school credit.

Twenty students enrolled in Fall for the ASU Prep Poly Experience in collaboration with the College of Integrated Sciences and Arts at the ASU Polytechnic campus.

 Another cohort sprouted this Spring with 22 students currently enrolled in the ASU Prep Tempe Experience in collaboration with the Center of Building Innovation at the ASU Tempe campus.  

“This is a very cool, integrative experience this semester with a focus on innovation, design, and architecture,” said Hanley. “Students are learning about the built environment. They get to build models of furniture for learning environments and think through what kind of seating or environments work for certain learners and learning styles.” 

Making an impact

 ASU Prep microschool programs have a significant impact on the students and communities they serve. The project-based learning approach encourages students to take an active role in their own education, which can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility for their learning.

“Our student-centered approach is building community for students,” said Hanley. “They’re on campus, welcomed by other students and faculty…they feel like they’re already college students. It’s a great chance for students to explore university degree paths and career options.”

Student retention is 91 percent—a good indicator that students are finding success with this learning model.

ASU Prep is continuing to look at enhancements and designs to further build out programming with plans to expand next year.