September Events at ASU You Need to Know About

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A Few Highlights From the ASU Septemeber Events Calendar

As the new semester kicks into high gear, so do a wide range of exciting activities organized by ASU. Whether you’re a college student, enrolled concurrently with ASU Prep Digital, or a high school student exploring college options, there’s always something on the events calendar to keep your interest piqued. Here are a few great events to consider from the ASU September Events Calendar:


Beyond Beyond

When: September 4-29

This on-campus exhibition features riotous collages by artist Ai Kijima. Kijima’s collages use meticulously pieced and fused textiles to colorfully reflect on the history, preoccupations, and social politics of the U.S. and Kijima’s home in Japan. This is a must-see for anyone with an interest in contemporary art. Best yet, the exhibition is free to the public.


Digital Humanities Coffee Hour

When: September 6, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

This monthly meeting will be of particular interest to ASU Prep Digital students, as it invites students to discourse with leading scholars about the role of Digital Humanities in the modern world. The inaugural Coffee Hour of the semester will feature a conversation with Elizabeth Grumbach about the inherent collaborative and inclusive nature of Digital Humanities. 


Career Days: ‘21 Jobs of The Future’

When: September 12, 10-10:50 a.m.

Looking to land that dream job? If so, then you’ll want to grab a front seat at this unique career days event, which could even introduce you to careers that don’t yet exist! Even as automation grows and we careen towards a “jobless future,” Rob Brown of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work believes that 21 new job types will emerge in the next 10 years and will become cornerstones of the working world. Don’t miss out if you want to learn more about our own version of The Jetsons era. This event is free for ASU students and alumni. Community members can register to attend for $50.


Fall Service Plunge

When: September 15

Education is as much about what you contribute as it is about what you receive. With that in mind, ASU’s Service Plunge is a great way to kick off the school year by giving back and getting plugged into the community. This all-day event offers an ideal setting to meet other service-minded students.


Walls of Sound: The Ecology of The Borderlands

When: September 16, 2:30-4 p.m.

This one’s a triple whammy. Lovers of music, science, and nature alike will get a kick out of this unique workshop. In it, Goldman Professor of Organ Kimberly Marshall and Fulbright Scholar Alexander Meszler create a sonic exploration of the border wall using the Fritts and Traeri organs. Consider our minds blown. Tickets are $22 for adults; $16 for faculty, staff and alumni; $15 for seniors; $12 for students.

How These Parents Catered to Three Learning Styles With Online Education

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The greatest misconception about online high school is what it means. Like an abstract painting, online education takes on a new definition and purpose depending on the needs or learning styles of the individual student.

There’s no better embodiment of that than the Lisciarelli family.

Parents Randy and Heather have deep roots with Arizona State University (ASU). Randy’s father is an ASU alumnus.

“My dad was one of the first to get a personalized [ASU Sparky] license plate,” he says. Randy and Heather followed suit when it came time to pursue their own higher education. They met in community college 29 years ago, and soon thereafter enrolled at ASU — Randy at ASU West and Heather at ASU Tempe.

In high school and college, Randy and Heather had just one choice for their schooling: traditional, brick-and-mortar institutions. They were expected to take the usual courses in high school before shipping off to college to explore and ultimately settle on a career choice.

Twenty-five years of marriage and three kids later, Randy and Heather are facing a vastly transformed education system. And they haven’t hesitated to make full use of those advancements in education with their children: Joshua, 18, Matthew, 15, and Amber, 12.

Lisciarelli Family - ASU Prep Digital Student Spotlight

Joshua was the first to enroll in online high school after experiencing severe bullying in middle school.

“He has Asperger’s and ADHD, and the middle school environment was very traumatic for him. He went through a tremendous amount of bullying and teasing. It was just a really bad situation,” recalls Heather.

Joshua enrolled in online high school courses in ninth grade and eventually took a few college courses from Grand Canyon University. The change was transformative. Instead of experiencing the drain of mental and emotional energy that came with the brick-and-mortar environment, Joshua could fully dedicate himself to his schoolwork. He was able to engage in extracurricular activities that aligned with his interests and personality, which resulted in positive and uplifting social interactions — in stark contrast with his experiences in traditional schooling.

As co-owners of VeraPax, a digital marketing, and promotional printing company, Randy and Heather have a unique perspective on their surroundings — namely, they see everything within the context of the global economy. That globalized vision influenced their decision to enroll their kids in online education full time. “That was the driving force for me, wanting them to be more prepared for the global workplace they’ll be involved in,” says the father of three.

Part of operating successfully in a bustling global economy is the ability not only to find your path but also to motivate yourself to advance along that path. An online high school education allows students to learn real-life skills that allow them “to do things on their own, show their own initiative, learn it, study it, do it at their own pace, as well as participate in extracurricular activities,” which Randy says, he ranks as a high priority for his kids’ education.

The Lisciarellis soon found themselves facing a completely different challenge with their middle child, Matthew. “Growing up, he had quite a bit of asthma and allergies. In the beginning of fifth grade, he was out of school for like two weeks. He was having a horrible time. So at that point, he was asking, ‘Can I try this also?’,” explains Heather.

By then, Heather and Randy had seen Joshua blossom in the digital classroom. As small business owners, finding space in their Scottsdale Airpark offices to give Joshua and Matthew a comfortable and quiet learning environment was a simple task. During the school day, the boys focus on their schoolwork. When they are done with school each day, they are able to help in the business with bookkeeping, graphic design, running machines, and even working with employees on projects. Away from the germ-ridden environment that once caused such severe health flare-ups, Matthew soon found his digital stride. In ninth grade, he transferred to ASU Prep Digital, where he has discovered a passion for Criminology.

Matthew especially thrives in an environment that allows him to take charge of his education.

“It’s really up to me to succeed,” says the high school sophomore. “If I don’t push myself and realize that this is my education that I’m living, and if I don’t succeed, then this is not going to get me anywhere. That gives me the perseverance to succeed.”

But, as many parents come to realize, every child has their own distinct learning style.

“[Online education] almost has a culling effect. Those students who understand a big picture, who are self-motivated, goal-oriented and can be disciplined enough to do it, the online environment provides that for them. Some aren’t ready and then some are just not interested in the classes,” says Randy.

Such was the case with their youngest, Amber, who didn’t connect with the online learning environment in the same ways that her brothers had.

“It was just not working,” says Heather.

“That was really as a result of her personality,” explains Randy. “She just wasn’t motivated enough and didn’t quite understand how to do that and learn those skills; whereas both of the boys picked it up and excelled in it. So we’ve had a unique blend.”

Instead, Amber is flourishing at an arts academy charter school. Her parents hope to try online education with her again in the future but are perfectly happy seeing her learn and succeed in her current environment.

Aside from making full use of online education to suit each of their kids’ personal needs and learning styles, the Lisciarellis are seeing just how much more efficient and cost-effective online education can be long term.

Randy explains that the traditional institutional model encourages students to explore possible majors after they enroll in college, which can feel like a misuse of precious time and tuition costs.

“Because [Matthew] has the ability to take those college-level classes earlier rather than later, he’s able to explore what interests him [before] being graduated. That is one of the things that I identified as a huge upside right away.”

The Lisciarellis have found a modern, connected and entrepreneurial learning solution that flows with their family’s changing tides. As their kids continue to grow and evolve on their individual paths, Randy and Heather hope to show how a customized and creative approach to education can transform a student’s formative experiences.

Online high schools can help families like the Lisciarellis cater to the unique needs of their children’s learning styles. To learn more about what it’s like to take an online high school course, read this blog post. To learn more about the most common fears of online education, check out this blog post

Back-to-School Prep Hacks to Make the New School Year a Breeze

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How to Start the 2018-2019 School Year Off Right

It’s no secret that preparedness is one of the keys to success. With a new school year approaching, that last thing you need is to kick things off by feeling behind. Not to mention, starting the semester feeling organized and prepared can help you knock your academic goals out of the park. Even if you are just starting your freshman year, what you do now has an effect on graduation and beyond. High school can be busy, stressful, and overwhelming, but thankfully, these back to school prep hacks can leave you (or your teen) feeling set up for success—both in the now and in the future.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #1: Organize your time with a planner.

We know this one seems obvious. But we also know how many times we’ve all purchased cool planners only to leave on a bookshelf to gather dust after using them for only two weeks. High school only gets busier as graduation approaches. With homework, tests, and extracurricular activities all competing for time and attention, organization is essential to success in high school. Our first of the four back to school prep hacks is simple — start out the school year strong by making a habit of using a planner or calendar to keep track of assignments, tests, extracurriculars, application deadlines, and other important dates. And while phone calendars are handy and convenient, physical planners and notebook agendas are even more useful for visually mapping out multiple days and weeks at a time.

When you get your class syllabi on the first day of school, go ahead and enter test dates and project deadlines for the whole year into your planner, so that they won’t catch you by surprise later on. It’s also smart to add SAT test dates and even social events to your planner, so you can plan how to schedule school work around the rest of your calendar.

Don’t have a planner? Download this free printable weekly planning calendar.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #2: Get to know your state’s graduation requirements.

You can only be as prepared as you are informed. Spend the time to become intimately familiar with your state’s graduation requirements, so you know how to plan your course load. We’re all about working smarter, not harder, and reverse engineering your class schedule after you’ve learned the requirements makes your life easier, your efforts more efficient, and your transcript stronger.

Click here for comprehensive information about Arizona’s graduation requirements.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #3: Amp up your schedule (and earn college credit) with online courses.

Thanks to online education, your academic career doesn’t have to be limited by the courses you take in high school. Whether you need to take an extra class to catch up, want to learn a subject not offered at your own school, or want to get ahead by earning college credit with a concurrent enrollment course, online courses are a great way to supplement your regular academic schedule. ASU Prep Digital offers courses designed with part-time students in mind (meaning you can take just one or two courses if you want to), covering everything from college-level math to high school English and a wide variety of language courses.

The third of our back to school prep hacks may seem like an odd one to consider, but having a strong course schedule is vital. Especially as you approach your last two years in high school. Most online schools offer this part-time option but remember that they also have registration deadlines for each semester, so make sure you don’t miss the window to amp up your Fall schedule.

Back-to-School Prep Hack #4: Find an ally in your guidance counselor.

Hold your eye-roll! The fourth of the back to school prep hacks could be the most helpful! Even if you’re still an underclassman, the earlier you start thinking about your post-high school plans the better. Schedule a meeting with your college guidance counselor to make sure you’re on track to meet your graduation requirements, and create a plan to take courses that will help you in your college admissions process.

our guidance counselor can be one of your greatest allies. Leverage their expertise to help you research colleges and build a list of schools you’d like to apply to. Knowing where you want to study will help you and your counselor create a roadmap, including which courses to take, scholarships to look into, what kind of SAT scores you should strive for, and more.


Questions about how online courses might fit into your 2018-2019 schedule? Contact the ASU Prep Digital admissions advisors, at or toll-free, at 844-692-3372.

Learning Agility: Harnessing the Power of Failure

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Think about your adjustment period when you first entered the workforce: colleagues driving you mad with their opinions, work-life balance challenges, micromanaging bosses, team meeting tangents, fire drills—and so much more. Add to these challenges the fact that today’s market requires fast, nimble response to market demands through new processes, systems, or technologies. Our global marketplace thrives on change and innovation but offers little time to learn what is needed to achieve either! How do we prepare students for a workplace that demands consistent performance in spite of these challenges?

Of course, academic development matters, but the realities of today’s fast-paced work environment fuel the need for what researchers are calling “learning agility,” and the implications are huge for traditional K-20 learning environments. The Harvard Business Review defines learning agility as “a mindset and corresponding collection of practices that allow leaders to continually develop, grow, and utilize new strategies that will equip them for the increasingly complex problems they face in their organizations.”

Essentially, learning agility correlates with emotional intelligence, but it is exemplified by learners who are not afraid to take risks, to fail, and to quickly incorporate feedback into their next step.

Perhaps most important, agile learners are not defensive. To be open to learning, they can’t be closed to feedback. But, how do we begin to teach the idea of “knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do?” And how do we infuse learning agility into our curriculum and our teaching practices?

I believe that teaching learning agility goes hand in hand with student agency. It’s about letting our students generate new ideas, take risks and fail, and then guiding them, through feedback, to recalibrate, try again, and grow resilience. Speaking of feedback, how about we teach our students to ask for it, or even better, teach them to see the value in a 360-degree approach to feedback? What if we teach our students to offer and receive valuable feedback from their teachers, their peers, and from tech-based learning systems? From there, what if we coach them to avoid a self-justifying posture? Think about it. These are skills than many adults have yet to master, yet they are critical to surviving the continuous change foisted on us via a globally connected, ever-evolving world. We need to foster classroom cultures that value the continuous improvement necessary to survive such a world. We need students, and eventual employees, who are insightful and curious, who do not feel pressured to give perfect answers, and who have the resilience both to keep learning and to apply what they are learning as they go.

This kind of learning is powerful…it’s authentic.

And it isn’t going to happen with a uniform instructional approach where we ‘teach to the middle’ in a classroom of 25ish students. Cultivating learning agility demands out-of-the-box, meshed-up learning experiences. I think my favorite aspect of learning agility is that it reassures students who beat to their own drums. When we value agile learners, we value “different” and understand that innovation doesn’t always come from status quo or standard responses.

Insert the hard part: measuring learning agility. This is inevitably difficult to implement. It is the opposite of linear progress and well-defined content areas. It is ambiguous and relies on the emotional intelligence needed to generate students who can put themselves into uncomfortable situations for the very purpose of growth! It requires the learner to want and know how to look at a problem from multiple angles. That kind of learning requires confidence, learning agile instructional frameworks, teachers, and administrators.

But if the outcome leads to a pioneer-like workforce capable of continuous cycles of learning and confidence-building to realize success, count me in to help translate learning agility into our education processes and systems.

Just thinking about how messy it is to teach like this jazzes me because it offers opportunities to let go of presuppositions and teach in the moment. Even more significant – it compels us to focus on student-centered teaching. Instead of moving on to the next set of objectives because that’s what the lesson dictates, teachers who value learning agility capitalize on failure and encourage students to pivot from the original plan and harness the value of the failure before moving on. The changing landscape within the workforce demands agility and it will likely start with educators and educational leaders themselves becoming more learning agile. So teachers, why not get our agility on in the classroom?

i. Improve Your Ability to Learn by J.P. Flaum and Becky Winkler, June 8, 2015, Harvard Business Review

ASU Prep Digital Student Spotlight: Krystina Ellaine Eaton

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How Krystina became an ASU Prep Digital student

On the surface, Krystina Ellaine Eaton is your average teenage girl. She hangs out with her friends, lounges out by the pool (especially since she lives in one of the hottest cities in the country), and spends time with her latest obsession, an 8-month old bichon poodle named Jasper. But beneath her seemingly normal exterior, Eaton deals with issues that leave her feeling less like herself.

“It took me two years to get out of a difficult situation I was dealing with at my previous school,” Eaton said. “I don’t know how long it will take me to overcome everything I’ve been through, but I work through it every single day.”

Eaton and her mother, who is a teacher at Mohave Community College, decided that she needed a change of scenery that would help put her in a positive mindset both emotionally and academically.

“We thought ASU Prep Digital would be a great way to get my schooling on track and boost my education level as well,” Eaton said. “I didn’t want to be in a toxic environment anymore and this felt like a great way to start over.”

Eaton decided to ease herself into the online education world by enrolling part-time, taking just one course to begin with as an ASU Prep Digital student. Like many students who decide to give online learning a try, she had a few reservations.

“I was afraid I wouldn’t finish the program or that I’d fail my class,” Eaton said. “Ultimately, I was afraid I wouldn’t succeed.”

With a strong work ethic and an abundance of support from her mom, teacher, and Learning Success Coach, Eaton went on to pass her English class as an ASU Prep Digital student—and she’s already looking forward to the coming fall semester.

“Now that I’m settled and feeling more confident, I can’t wait to become more involved,” Eaton said. “My plan is to enroll full time this year, so I’m excited to take more classes, especially since the course catalog is expanding. I’m also hoping to join some extracurricular activities, like journalism club.”

But Eaton isn’t just looking forward to her 10th-grade year—she already has her sights set on college and beyond.

“My plan is to graduate high school with my associate’s degree by taking concurrent courses over my next few years,” Eaton said. “I really want to go into engineering. Specifically, I’m interested in robotics. I love figuring out how everything works and seeing how everything is put together.”

Lucky for Eaton, ASU has an excellent engineering program—and ASU Prep Digital offers courses that can give her a head start on earning college credits and prepare her for her chosen career path.

“I’ve been looking into the engineering program at ASU and even though I’m still a few years away, I can’t wait to get started,” Eaton said. “There are a few concurrent courses that I want to take to earn college credit, starting with Introduction to Engineering.”

Eaton is on the path to success and shows no signs of slowing down. Now that she has some experience under her belt, she offers advice to students who are thinking about enrolling in online courses.

“Use your time wisely, stay on task, and don’t blow through your assignments,” Eaton said. “Above all, listen to your teachers. They provide great feedback and great advice that will not only help you as a student, but also as a person as well.”

We couldn’t be happier to have Eaton as an ASU Prep Digital student and part of our family and we can’t wait to see where this next year takes her!

4 Tips for Making Friends in Your Online Class

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Online classes are made up of a community of students, just like any traditional classroom. Thanks to social media, interactive online tools, and digital curriculum design, students have plenty of opportunities to help facilitate making friends with their virtual classmates.

Being proactive about forming friendships goes a long way when you learn online. Here are four tips for building friendships with your digital peers. 

1. Connect on social media. 

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are already cornerstones of interaction for friends IRL. In fact, a third of the 76% of teenagers who use social media say they spend time with friends through social media every day. Social networking apps are a key place where friends interact and express themselves, so connecting with classmates through these online platforms is a great way to build deeper relationships and make new friends outside of school.

Social media is even being embraced by online professors, who encourage students to introduce themselves to classmates via Instagram, or engage in course-related discussions using Twitter or Google Hangouts. Connecting with your peers who are comfortable doing so is a good first step to getting to know one another better and making friends in your online course.

2. Join a virtual club. Or, better yet, start your own!

There’s a giant community of online students out there, and many of them are members of student-created clubs and organizations centered around professional development and student networking. These groups often host video lectures featuring faculty members or industry professionals, and sometimes even plan events where members can meet in person. If you and your classmates are interested in similar subjects, then getting active in, or even leading one of these clubs, is a great way to get to know each other. But what if you can’t find a club to fit your passions or interests? Go ahead…start your own! Making friends usually begins with having shared interests. Many online high schools, including ASU Prep Digital, will provide faculty advisors to help students establish new student clubs. Taking the initiative is not only good for your social life, it’s also a great resume builder for your college apps.

3. Use the resources available through your online classes. 

Thankfully, most of today’s virtual classrooms have been developed with student collaboration in mind. Many online courses have discussion boards and live video lessons built into their interface, which students are encouraged to actively use. These tools are not only useful for collaborating and sharing information, but can also be used for non-academic group chats where classmates can interact casually and bond.

4. Plan an in-person meetup.

If you happen to live near your classmates, you can use the tools and resources mentioned above to organize a physical meetup. Having shared experiences away from the academic setting is an ideal way for classmate relationships to evolve into friendships. If you and your online classmates are scattered across a region, then planning a day-trip to meet up or work on a project together at a central location can be an exciting and unique shared experience.

Remember, making friends isn’t always easy and can take time — even in a traditional classroom — but it is certainly untrue to think that being in an online environment removes all opportunities to make friends.

Are you are virtual high school student? If so, we’d love to hear your pro-tips for staying connected with your classmates. Visit our Facebook page and let us now some of the ways you make friends in your online classes.

Our Favorite Extracurricular Activities for Online Learners

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Admit it—when you think about your high school days, you definitely remember the clubs you were part of more than you remember the specific lessons you learned in math class. Extracurricular activities are an important part of high school because they give students a chance to interact with their peers, develop important life skills and explore different interests outside of the classroom. Just like traditional schools, virtual schools also offer a variety of clubs for students to join. Here are six extracurricular activities for online learners that will enhance your child’s online learning experience:

Student Government

If your child is a natural born leader and great at decision making, student government will be a great experience for them. Students will develop and expand their leadership skills, represent the interests of their peers and learn how to make a difference at their school. Some duties of student government include: keeping students informed about news and events, brainstorming fundraising ideas and drafting proposals for in-person events where students connect.

School Newspaper

Extra, extra! Read all about it! Joining the school newspaper gives students the opportunity to hone their writing skills, learn how to perform efficiently under deadlines and keep their peers and teachers updated with school news and events. If they plan on majoring in journalism when they attend college, the pieces they write for the school newspaper can even be used to build their portfolio.

Language Clubs

Is your child a lover of language? Do they want to travel the world and be able to communicate with the locals? Language clubs give students a space to practice the language, learn about the countries that speak the language and explore the different components that make up the cultures, such as music, food, clothing and holidays.

Book Club

Sometimes English class just isn’t enough for the bookworms—and that’s where book club comes to the rescue. Students read and discuss books on a weekly basis through video chat with peers who share their love of reading. They are exposed to different genres and learn how to have intelligent and insightful conversations about what they’re reading.

Academic Clubs

For the students who want to continue their learning beyond the virtual classroom, academic clubs are a great option for an extracurricular activity. In most cases, an academic club will focus on a particular subject, such as math, history or philosophy, and dive deeper than your regular course with expanded lessons, fun games and eye-opening discussions.

Model UN

Has your child ever expressed an interest in learning more about international relations? If so, Model United Nations (UN) is a great place to start. They will have the opportunity to roleplay as delegates for various countries, develop leadership, public speaking, and negotiation skills, and learn the value of teamwork.

While most virtual schools have established clubs that are ready to join, some schools, like ASU Prep Digital, also encourage students to start their own clubs based on their interests.

To find the complete list of extracurricular activities for online learners that ASU Prep Digital offers, please visit our resources page