Social and Emotional Learning Gives Students an Advantage in Life

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In high school, students learn about the Civil War, the basic properties of a cell, the structure of a sentence, and the right way to solve algebraic equations. But to get through high school, college, and the rest of their lives, they need a little more than that. This is where social and emotional learning (SEL) comes into play, and it may just be the most important aspect of a student’s high school career.

“I have a student named Lucas who recently moved to a new town,” Lisa Edgar, a Learning Success Coach (LSC) at ASU Prep Digital, said. “He expressed sadness over not having any friends and we discussed ways he could use his communication, sympathy, and empathy skills to find new friends and be a good friend to those kids when he found them.”

Not too long after their conversation, Edgar received a call from an overjoyed Lucas.

“I picked up the phone and he excitedly said, ‘I got a new friend, Ms. Edgar!’ and it was clear how thankful he was,” Edgar said. “This is why social and emotional learning is so important. It encompasses preparing whole students for the next phase of their life.”

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is defined as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”*


According to a recent study**, there is a 6 percent improvement in high school graduation rates and an 11 percent improvement in college attendance and degree attainment among students who receive SEL training. These students are scoring higher academically and reaping “lifelong monetary benefits for their healthy adult lifestyle.”


So how does teaching a student to communicate effectively and express sympathy contribute to their success in college, careers, and everything in between?

“Kids can’t go off to college and careers with just good grades and a good GPA to get them by,” Edgar said. “They need soft, transferable skills to be successful in life. This includes teaching them how to form friendships, how to be confident, how to deal with stress, and how to set goals.”

SEL training has been embedded into the instructional model at ASU Prep Digital since day one, specifically in the LSC role. In their core classes, students are being prepped for academic success. With their LSC, students are being prepped for social and emotional success. The combination of the three enables students to achieve their full potential in school and, more importantly, in life.

“The ‘whole student approach’ is at the core of what the LSC does,” Edgar said. “ASU Prep Digital has been ahead of this. We stress the importance of educating the whole student because we know it’s not just about the academics—it’s also about college and career readiness. It’s great to see the educational system getting on board with this.”

Schools across the country are beginning to incorporate SEL training into their curriculum as more research proves that it’s “critical to a child’s development, as it directly correlates to success and happiness as an adult.” ASU Prep Digital will continue to place an emphasis on SEL training, preparing students for college, careers, and everything in between.


Learn more about how we embed SEL training through our Own It! Program and how to get your child started with us.


* Definition from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
** Study performed by CASEL, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University, and the University of British Columbia

Staff Spotlight: Learning Success Coach

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Every student has their own unique vision of what their path to success looks like. At ASU Prep Digital, each student is assigned a Learning Success Coach in order to support their specific needs, from setting goals to figuring out what learning style best serves them and planning their path to college. Whether they want to become a better leader, be more independent, or manage their time more efficiently, their Learning Success Coach is committed to helping them achieve personal growth.

In the first meeting, your child will introduce themselves and express any fears, expectations, or ambitions before they begin designing their schedule. Are there any issues or obstacles they faced in their previous school that prevented them from achieving success? This is the perfect opportunity for your child to open up and allow the Learning Success Coach to get to know them on a personal level.

As they discuss what the future holds for them, they will develop short and long-term goals, and the Learning Success Coach will help them create a plan to stay on track. Does your child have the desire to start their own business or pursue a professional sport? Sharing important insights like this will allow them to craft a high school experience that will best support these goals. The Learning Success Coach will also guide them as they begin exploring potential college majors and career pathways. Whether they want to enroll in college courses in high school or plan a visit to campus, the success coach will help your child stay organized with applications and deadlines.   

After establishing a strong understanding of your child’s needs, the Learning Success Coach will work closely with you and your child’s teachers to establish the personalized learning environment that best suits them. Providing background information and context around your child’s specific situation allows teachers to better relate to your child. Students can customize their schedule based on their activities outside the classroom, giving them the flexibility to focus on their passions. For example, if their goal is to play soccer professionally and devote more time to training in the mornings, they can plan to study and complete coursework in the afternoon.

Additionally, they’re in control of setting their own pace based on their unique learning style, whether they want to spend more time on a challenging topic or move ahead quickly without having to wait for the rest of the class to catch up. The best part is, your child will be supported every step along the way. Teachers and learning success coaches are available to communicate with students based on their preferred method of contact, whether it’s through video chat, email, phone call, or text message.

If your child is ready to take charge of their education, we’re ready to welcome them into our community of independent learners. Schedule a call with an admissions advisor today and help them reach their full potential.

End of the Year Highlights

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It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is already upon us. With 2019 right around the corner, we wanted to take some time and reflect on all of the exciting moments and opportunities our community had this year. From hosting fun student celebrations to establishing long-lasting partnerships, here are a few things that happened in 2018 that we won’t forget:


Our First End-of-Year Celebration:

We were so excited to celebrate the end of our first year that we invited our students to celebrate with us on ASU’s beautiful Tempe campus. They were treated to a campus tour, a presentation by Annie Hale, sustainability professor at ASU, and the chance to demo a VR experience that will soon be available in a few of our courses, including U.S. History, English 9, Biology, and Physics. We loved getting to meet and mingle with some of our students and look forward to planning more in-person events for 2019.

NASA eClips Project:

This past summer, six students from ASU Prep Digital and ASU Prep Poly were invited to assist on a project with NASA eClips and the ASU Center for Education Through Exploration (ETX Center). They worked hard creating high-quality videos to uncover certain misconceptions about the moon, using scientific knowledge and research to support their efforts. By the end of the program, they had gained new friends and invaluable experience they’ll be able to add to their resumes!

Our Partnerships:

We have enjoyed cultivating relationships with various schools and school districts over the past year, addressing problems such as staffing gaps and narrow course catalogs. We have been able to provide substantial solutions and transform the learning experience for students and educators, giving them the tools they need to succeed.
We are excited to continue our partnerships with schools and districts in Arizona and around the country. Here are some highlights of the great work happening at our partner schools. We have designed a state of the art school model to demonstrate the excellence in blended learning at our very own ASU Prep Casa Grande school site. We trained local teachers to facilitate blended learning at Miami Junior/Senior High School. We designed a blended learning lab and provided highly qualified remote teachers to address staffing gaps within the Payson Unified School District. We provided personalized and flexible math content for students who were ready to advance beyond the current coursework at Pendergast Elementary School District, and we created an adaptive math curriculum to help personalize the math experience for students in the Yuma Union High School District.
We’re looking forward to fostering new relationships and transforming the learning experience for more schools and districts next year.
We can’t wait to see what 2019 holds. Interested in joining our community of learners? The spring semester begins on January 7, 2019, and we are currently accepting applications.


How to Be Productive Over Winter Break

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Your last assignment has been turned in, your last test has been taken, and your last live lesson has ended. That can only mean one thing: winter break has arrived! It’s time to spend quality time with family and friends, celebrating the holidays and decompressing from the semester. While it can be easy to forego responsibilities and resort to spending hours in front of the TV or computer, consider some different ways to be productive over winter break:

Finish college applications

For high school seniors, winter break is the last bit of free time you have before college applications are due between January 1 and February 1, depending on the deadline for each individual college. While it may seem like a drag, getting all the last minute details out of the way and sending your application off before the deadline will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy the rest of your vacation stress-free. For students in lower grades, winter break is a great stretch of time to start looking through college brochures, researching colleges online, or even spending some time looking through PSAT/SAT prep books.


This time of year always incites a feeling of giving, which means there’s no better time to donate to your community. There are plenty of ways to volunteer over the holidays, whether it’s serving food at a soup kitchen, taking care of animals at a shelter, or collecting donations for a charitable organization. Websites like Volunteer Match make it easy to find opportunities in your area, but don’t be afraid to ask around to see if there are any smaller organizations that are looking for an extra hand. Additionally, for students who are applying to, or starting to think about college, volunteer work looks great on your application and helps you stand out as a dedicated community member.  

Read a book

When was the last time you read for leisure? It can be tough to sneak a ‘fun book’ into your schedule during the school year when you have textbook material to consume and novels you have to read and analyze. Winter break is the perfect opportunity to finally start that book you’ve been meaning to read but didn’t have time for. If you’re not sure what book to read, try looking at a list of popular movies and TV shows that have been adapted from books and find one that aligns with your interests.

Get a head start on the spring semester

You don’t want to wake up the day before the new semester starts and realize you haven’t done anything to prepare. Use the last few days of break to get any materials you’ll need, such as notebooks, pens, or even a new computer to make sure you’re all set for your online courses. It also doesn’t hurt to check out your school calendar to see what’s coming up for the second half of the year. You’ll feel better entering the new semester knowing you’re fully prepared.

Having a productive winter break will make you feel more accomplished when January rolls around. But don’t worry—if you binge watch a Netflix show or two in between getting things done, we won’t tell.

Why Should You Enroll in a Concurrent Course in High School?

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Spring semester is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about what classes you’ll be adding to your schedule next year. As you explore various course descriptions and determine what classes you need before graduating, consider taking a concurrent course.

Concurrent enrollment is an excellent option for high school students. It allows you to enroll at a university and take courses that count toward high school and college credit. Still on the fence? Here are a few reasons why enrolling in a concurrent course in high school is a great idea.


Save time and money.

Concurrent courses offer an accelerated path to college and careers. This is your chance to take university courses and earn credits in your major while still in high school, saving you both time and money when you get to college. You’ll not only earn credits while exploring potential majors but also participate in the university experience and prepare for the future workforce.

Explore college.

It’s never too early to start thinking about college. A concurrent course gives you a taste of the college academic experience. You’ll learn from real university professors and collaborate with other students. At ASU, concurrent high school students have access to a wealth of resources, including mentorship and instruction from a world-class faculty that includes Nobel Laureates, MacArthur Fellows and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Learn how to communicate with professionals.

Taking concurrent courses in high school opens up new channels for communicating. Email, chat, discussion boards and video conferencing are common in college. You’ll quickly learn communication etiquette and how to properly correspond with professors and classmates in a professional and efficient manner.

ASU Prep Digital offers high school students the chance to take concurrent courses with Arizona State University. Check out the course catalog and find a class that fits into your schedule next semester. You can also explore the career pathways, which will put you on a personalized and accelerated path through high school, into college and on to a career.

The Benefits of Blended Learning

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We live in a modern age of education, in which technology and abundant information have allowed educators and administrators to significantly change and adapt the methods by which teachers and educators engage with their students in order to successfully meet their needs.

Considering the rapid development of online education in recent years, blended learning is an increasingly attractive approach to teaching that combines the in-person, communal education of a classroom with the personalization of online learning. This begs the question, what exactly is blended learning?

According to iNACOL, any time a student learns partly in a brick-and-mortar location away from home and partly through online delivery with an element of student control, they are engaging in blended learning. At its heart, blended learning is about empowering educators and students with the tools they need to find the right pathway toward maximum learning. Classroom learning allows teachers to engage with their students in person. Online tools add the benefit of providing data and being able to cater to students’ individual learning needs – a level of customization restricted by most school budgets and classroom time restraints. When combined, these blended methods create a holistic approach to education that enables students and teachers to make the most of their time and resources.

The benefits of blended learning are significant and far-reaching, for both students and teachers. Here are a few reasons why the blended learning approach could be a smart choice for your child or student.

The biggest benefit of blended learning lies in its definition: student control.

Roughly 2%-4% of students in the country attend some type of blended school, where online learning is a significant factor in their education. A large portion of these students are drawn to the blended learning model because it allows them to exercise more authority over their learning schedule. With extracurricular activities, sports, jobs, and socializing all competing for time in a student’s day, blended learning allows students to take a portion of their coursework that would otherwise be covered in class time, and engage with it at a time, place, and pace of their choosing. The flexibility that blended learning affords its students greatly increases the chances that they will engage with the material more intentionally. This model of learning also creates ample opportunities for students to build self-discipline and time management skills that will be essential in college.

Blended learning is as beneficial to educators and administrators as it is to the students themselves. Research has shown that not every student engages with curriculum material in the same way. This may have seemed obvious to parents and educators, but only recently, with advancements in education technology, have these differences in learning been accepted and addressed more directly. For example, online courses give teachers useful data about how their students learn, which they can use to build lessons and coursework that caters to each student’s needs and learning styles.

Blended learning also has the benefit of maximizing the value of a student’s time.

Whether a student needs to pick up a specific high school credit to include on a college application, or is simply trying to stay on course to graduate from their university on time, blended learning in the form of concurrent enrollment can make it possible for students to take all the courses they need to achieve their goals. High school and college classes usually fall within a pretty rigid schedule, whereas online courses can be taken during any free time a student has, morning, noon and night. This means that time spent outside the classroom can be utilized for additional academic purposes.

Concurrent enrollment is particularly attractive to forward-thinking and ambitious high school students, because it allows them to take college courses that earn them a two-birds-one-stone credit. Completing a concurrent enrollment class gets you closer to earning your high-school diploma and fulfills college prerequisites. For students who are interested in this approach to blended learning, ASU Prep Digital’s roster of online courses is a great place to start.


Top 6 Questions About Enrollment at ASU Prep Digital

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With the start of the new school year comes a lot of decisions to finalize your class schedule. If you’re considering enrolling as a student at ASU Prep Digital, here are answers to some of the biggest questions we hear about enrollment.


1. When is the deadline to enroll?

The only deadline is for students who are full time and live in Arizona. For part-time students (those taking courses to supplement their schedule) or students who live anywhere outside of the state of Arizona, we offer rolling enrollment at ASU Prep Digital. Rolling enrollment means that you can sign up for courses at any time throughout the school year. For Arizona full-time students, enrollment for the Fall semester closes on September 4th.

2. How much do courses cost?

We get this question a lot and the answer is, it can vary based on a few different factors. We created this tuition calculator to help determine what tuition will cost for you.

3. How do I start registration?

When you’re ready, just visit the enrollment page and click “sign up as a student” to get started. If at any time you need assistance during the process, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team, at 844.692.3372.

4. How long does registration take?

Not long at all! Plan to spend approximately 10-15 minutes to complete the application process. Once submitted, you’ll hear from an Admissions Advisor within 24-48 hours to verify your account information. After that, you will be paired with a Learning Success Coach to discuss your learning goals and course selection for enrollment at ASU Prep Digital.

5. What paperwork do I need to register?

This can vary based upon whether or not you are a full-time, part-time, out-of-state or in-state student. All students must submit a birth certificate, a copy of valid parent photo ID, an unofficial transcript and signed FERPA form. An Admissions Advisor will speak with you about any additional documents required.

6. Do I need my transcripts to register?

If you have any high school courses under your belt, yes. This will help us ensure that you have met the prerequisites for certain courses. Your transcript will also serve as a guide so that we can schedule you in the courses that align with your graduation plan.


If you feel ready to take your first online course, getting started is easy. If you or your parents have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team, at 844.692.3372. They’re real faculty here at ASU Prep Digital (they’re really nice) and they’re ready to help you through the process.