ASU Prep Digital CEO, Julie Young, Discusses Education on the Getting Smart Podcast

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In case you missed it, our very own Julie Young was recently interviewed on the Getting Smart podcast.

Young discusses how she applies her knowledge and experience as a pioneer in online learning to her position at ASU Prep Digital. From fostering relationships with school districts to finding new, innovative ways to teach students in both high school and college level courses, Young is dedicated to providing all students with an education that puts them on an accelerated path toward university admission and future careers.

Listen to the episode here.

ASU Prep Digital CEO, Julie Young, Interviewed on the Discover Your Talent Podcast

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The Discover Your Talent Podcast:

Ep: 640 with Julie Young

In case you missed it, Julie Young was recently interviewed on the Discover Your Talent.  

Julie, started her career as a small classroom teacher. It was when her husband received a job transfer that she found herself in a new school. She asked for a computer, and ultimately that changed everything. This was the first step that launched Julie’s career of revolutionizing the K-12 Online Educational experience on a Global Scale. She is currently the Deputy Vice-President of Education Outreach and Student Services for Arizona State University and the CEO of ASU Prep Digital High School.

Hearing Julie talk about struggles we all face helps provide a level of perspective we wouldn’t otherwise have. It is always interesting to hear what successful people do to be successful, which is the main premise of the Discover Your Talent podcast. Although, what truly stands out here is the issue that Julie highlights:

Are people investing in what they really want to do and if not, then how can we help correct that developmental process?


“So when I graduated in 1981 with my elementary education degree, it was a time in Lexington where there were no jobs, there was a glut of teachers and I ended up with my first job being in a very small, little Catholic school in downtown Lexington Kentucky, St Peters. And I had 9 students in my classroom, they were all African-American students and I fell in love with teaching the day I walked in the door. And I fell in love with those students. And about 6 weeks after I started that job that I loved so much, my husband got an opportunity in Florida, which was very unexpected. He went down to Jupiter, Florida to have an interview.

Then he called form what would be the office, which overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. He said “honey, if we are ever going to make a move or do something adventurous in our lives, I think we should do this.'”


“Oh, what was he doing?”


“He actually graduated as a civil engineer and worked as an engineer in Lexington as a Civil Engineer and he hated it. He loved the people, they were wonderful people but he hated sitting a table designing bridges, drafting work, etc.

And that story is in of itself a driver for me; I’m terms of how we at ASU Prep Digital really want to expose students to careers, relevant exposure to careers at the earliest age possible.  

There were so many people that graduated at the same time as I did, that never went into the field that they graduated in because they did an internship their SENIOR year or spent two years in the field and went ‘oh my gosh, I can’t do this.'”


“It is an epic problem”

In summary, growing up and going through school we are all asked about a million times, “what do you want to do when you grow up?” However, not everyone receives the opportunity to really go out and experience the “workforce” until much later. Throughout this episode of the Discover Your Talent podcast, Julie asks “what if?” She elaborates on details that make you wonder. For example, what if we all had the opportunity to contact our teachers at any time? What if we all had the opportunity to intern at a younger age? What if we all had the opportunity to ask real professionals, real questions BEFORE we chose what we wanted to do?

Julie explains that when she started with her previous role with Florida Virtual School, she had the opportunity to ask “what if”, and that question has truly contributed to the success of these programs, a success that can be defined as discovering your true talent and doing what you love. ASU Prep Digital is doing our part to improve on this process.

Click here to hear the full episode and more about how the success of Julie Young speaks back to the success of her work with ASU Prep Digital.

ASU Prep Digital COO Discusses Online Education on EdChoice Chats Podcast

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Earlier this year ASU Prep Digital COO, Amy McGrath, sat down with Mike McShane from the EdChoice Chats Podcast to discuss online learning, policy and the mission of ASU Prep Digital.

McShane and McGrath had a great conversation, really shedding light on what it is like to start a new learning option for students in our current education landscape. To hear the full episode, visit the EdChoice website or check it out on iTunes

Mike McShane: “I’m curious, you’ve been involved in this space and you’ve lived in these. Just given this particular venture, I would love to know sort of what were the hardest thing that you all have had to overcome. I know you’re sort of early in the process now, but to actually get this thing up and running, what were some hurdles that you had to clear?”

Amy McGrath: “It continues to be a hurdle, and I think that’s because most of what works right now for students at scale is tied and anchored to a school model that I think there are really great school models out there and some progressive leaders in the space. But to truly focus on the learner as opposed to the actual system, the machine, it gets very difficult to plug into that. So creating these complex adaptive systems from a technology standpoint that can kind of jump in with the students and the entry point is the school, there tends to be friction there. Not even from the people, just from the actual system.

So that would probably be one of the many, but when we talk about how online kind of permeates all of the different ways that students learn, that’s been the bright spot. Kids are coming to us and we’re seeking out a lot of student feedback in terms of this is how we want to learn; this is what we want learning to look like. We know we’re moving in the right direction, I think it’s the adults that kind of have to figure it all out, but the kids have already figured it out.”

Mike McShane: “Sure, no absolutely. And I’m curious on the policy front, obviously, we here at EdChoice do a lot of writing about and researching policy, a lot of my background comes from doing research on policy. Are there sort of concretely maybe two or three sort of policy barriers that you run into? I know as you mentioned, there’s culture barriers and there’s sort of systemic issues, but are there specific policies that make your life difficult?”

Amy McGrath: “I think part of that is us demonstrating a progressive model that we hope policy will follow. Arizona is really nice in terms of the landscape there and offers quite a bit of autonomy. I’m thinking right now of our ESA situation right now and we’ve got some of our students that are actually leveraging the empowerment scholarship, so I think we have some small wins there but we’d like to see more volume behind that. And additionally, I think we’re really after kind of the student-centered decisions, and part of that will be students being able to make a decision based on the right instructional choice for them. And that might be parents doing that as well, and so what does that look like from a policy standpoint?

In Florida we had, when we established Florida Virtual School, we had the backing of the legislature and that was very helpful for us. And a part of our growth, our spike in enrollment, was really due to the fact that we worked with the legislature on this and a law was passed for all students in high school to take an online course before graduating. And so, of course, we saw kind of an avalanche from that. There are various pieces of policy that will drive us forward from an enrollment standpoint, but we’re also very hopeful that we’re going to see some legislation that backs kind of a “move on when ready” and “advance when ready” type of mentality where students are not tied to seek time, rather performance.”

Listen to the full episode here. To learn more about ASU Prep Digital courses, visit