January Newsletter

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ASU Prep Digital’s mission is to design new models for educational success to raise academic achievement for all learners.

Note from Your Director

Dear ASU Prep Digital Students and Families, 

Welcome back from Winter Break! Our teachers and staff are eager to connect with all of you as we begin our Spring semester. You will receive many welcome calls and communication over the next few days (if you haven’t already). There are a lot of exciting events and stories of success occurring throughout ASU Prep Digital, and we’re proud to showcase some of them below. Be sure to check out the information on our upcoming 2nd Annual ASU Prep Science Fair along with opportunities to observe, reflect, and learn about International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2022. 


Dr. Laura Maloney, Director of Academics

Mr. Michael Kasper, M.Ed, Director of Academics

Meet Our Teachers

Christy Birch, Kindergarten Teacher

Christy Birch is one of our amazing Kindergarten teachers. She “believes in the power of education to change the world, as corny as that may sound. Innovation, healing, progress, and peace are all dependent on a society that values knowledge from literature, arts, science, history, and facts. In my small way, as a teacher, I contribute towards that immense ideal. Everyday at my job, I am lucky enough to spend time with students I care about, families I can support, peers who inspire me, and leaders who push me to be better.”

Lindsay Mackie, 7th and 8th grade Social Studies Teacher

Mrs. Lindsay Mackie teaches 7th and 8th grade social studies for our U.S. students and teaches U.S. History for our Ukrainian partnership students.  She is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant that LOVES teaching and has been working as a teacher for over twelve years.  Mrs. Mackie officially “lives” in Ohio but is currently enjoying the mild winter in Florida as a traveler in her motorhome with her husband and two Australian Shepards (Brody and River).  While in Florida, Mrs. Mackie has been staying on military bases and has enjoyed seeing dolphins, manatees, alligators and even just witnessed a SpaceX Rocket launch! This is Mrs. Mackie’s first year working with ASU Prep Digital and we are THRILLED she’s with us!

Sean Murphy, High School Science Teacher

Mr. Sean Murphy is one of our newest full-time H. S. Science Teachers. When asked why he chose ASUPD to work and teach, Sean responded: In combination with a growth mindset and heart of a teacher, I thrive in environments that require flexibility and change. Working at ASU Prep Digital has enabled me to maximize my skill set as well as provide me the opportunity to collaborate with an innovative team that is on the cutting edge of online education. Sean added, in our ever-changing global economy, our future citizens require an education that embraces 21st-century skills. Integrating technology with education will not only enable my students to be successful in the future but also produce leaders in sectors of industry that have not yet been created. I LOVE to teach ALL things SCIENCE!!! From the nuances of electrons in quantum mechanics to aquatic Keystone Species in our oceans. When he is not teaching our wonderful students, Sean loves to watch movies, exercise outdoors, & mountain climb with his family.

School Updates

Elementary School

Learning Pods Are Coming to ASU Prep Digital

Learning pods, also known as “pandemic pods” became popular when schools across the world became remote due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It quickly became an innovative way for students and families to connect and collaborate in a safe, controlled environment. ASU Prep Digital is excited to announce that in January 2022, we will be introducing learning pods in our K-5 Elementary school with the help of our teachers and Learning Success Coaches (LSCs). Learning pods will be a completely optional opportunity for students and families and once created, will be maintained by the learning pod itself. 

Mix-It-Up Art Club

From turkey paintings to Christmas tree sculptures, check out these art projects done by the Mix-It-Up art club students.

Veterans Day Projects

Our 5th graders honored Veterans Day by drawing pictures, creating videos, and writing about what Veteran’s Day means to them. Check out the projects!

Native American Projects

Our 4th graders learned about Native Americans and their different types of dwellings. Check out their recreations here!

Learn more about our Elementary School here: https://www.asuprepdigital.org/elementary-school-program/

Middle School

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center Field Trip

We had a great time learning about native mammals and about the rescue, rehabilitation and release program at SW Wildlife.  We were able to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures! – Jessica Berger, MS Science Teacher

The Spark

The Spark is a production of the ASUPD Sparky Broadcasting Club. It is a student-created video series made to bring some ASU entertainment and information into ASUPD and student lives. Check back regularly for new episodes! We strive to produce one episode every week. You can view The Spark here!

Learn more about our Middle School program here: https://www.asuprepdigital.org/middle-school-program/ 

High School

Summer Opportunity for HS Students

W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University has a unique summer 2022 program. Selected students will spend the summer working with W.P. Carey, and will take the ASU Prep Internship digital course in the fall. Students who are interested must complete the following rigorous application process:


  • Students selected for the Fleischer Scholars summer program benefit from a multitude of resources, and they learn necessary skills for success in college and beyond.
  • Receive a free laptop
  • Obtain free college course credit
  • Learn the keys to academic and professional success
  • Discover academic and career opportunities
  • Interact with current W. P. Carey students, faculty, staff, and alumni


  • Arizona high school student graduating in 2023 or 2024
  • Teacher or professional recommendation
  • Involvement in the school and/or community

Application deadlines

  • Jan. 15, 2022 – Early Consideration
  • Feb. 15, 2022 – Final Consideration
  • March 1, 2022 – Late Consideration

Click here to Learn More.

Social Media Club Openings

The ASU Prep Digital Social Media Club has openings. Students will have the opportunity to gain knowledge of social media channels, strategy as well as leadership, collaboration, and communication skills. Students will have the opportunity to apply their skills in real-world situations and internship opportunities. Join now!

Student Feature

Anthony is thriving at ASU Prep Digital. He is finding the connection and support he has been looking for in his education! He masterfully embraced all we have to offer- attends live lessons, reaches out for help, remains in weekly contact with his LSC, and engages in Homeroom! He worked extremely hard to earn Honor Roll last year, and now is continuing to challenge himself academically by taking an ASU Concurrent Course as a 10th grade student! He is respectful, responsible, and all around wonderful student and person!

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on January 27, 2022. ASU Prep Digital is proud to offer students and staff a variety of ways to learn, reflect, and remember this important event in history. We will be hosting an art challenge, a book review, a poetry contest, along with a journal reflection and even a Flipgrid “call to action” opportunity. Each activity is designed for students to choose how they want to remember and observe, along with bringing awareness to their fellow classmates and school community. This experience will culminate in a gallery where students will be able to view the work of their peers between January 26th-28th, followed by an opportunity to participate in a guest speaker presentation of a Holocaust survivor on January 27th. If interested in learning more about how you can participate in this event, please click HERE for high school students or HERE for middle school students.

ASU Prep Digital Blog

Virtual Learning Grows During COVID

Virtual learning in K-12 education continues to grow due to the health threat caused by coronavirus variants and the assistance this learning model can provide to at-risk students, according to two papers released today by Pioneer Institute. Read more.

How to Thrive as a Digital Teacher in 2022

It can be hard to keep New Year’s resolutions, but if there’s one that teachers should commit to when January rolls around, it’s to enroll in one of the new training courses debuting in 2022 on the ASU Prep Digital online training portal. Read more.

ASU Prep Digital Students Are Changing the World

Global leaders could learn a thing or two from a handful of ASU Prep Digital 8th graders and their peers half a world away. As part of the Global Leadership Exchange pilot program, this small group of online middle school students is tackling herculean challenges on a global scale, from human migration, plastic pollution and climate change to deforestation, clean water and access to technology. Read more.

Academic Support

Academic Enrichment Programs 

When student curiosity is ignited, their learning knows no bounds. Our selection of academic enrichment programs let students join small groups that dive deep into learning areas of their choice, advancing their subject knowledge, building their confidence, and increasing their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. 


  • The beginning of the semester provides an opportunity to do better, make changes, or maintain excellence. Our families, students, and staff members have faced many challenges already this year and the illness associated with Covid-19 is not letting up for some. Please continue to bear with us with patience and understanding as we continue to team teach when our teachers are out sick. 
  • LSCs are offering students and families a time to sign up and discuss success plans for the second semester.
  • New Families have the opportunity to participate in a New Parent Orientation as well as an Open Office Hours later in the month to support. These sessions are hosted by LSCs.


  • Homeroom starts this Wednesday, January 12 at 10am AZ with your student’s Learning Success Coach (LSC)! This week, the theme is “Starting Your Semester Off Strong”
  • Live Lessons for spring courses will offer strategies for navigating courses and utilizing resources to stay on track this semester. 
  • Teachers are calling students and parents/guardians to offer a ‘welcome back’ for returning students and ‘welcome to our school’ for new students. This is your opportunity to ask questions and get to know your teacher and LSC. 


  • The start to a new term can present a lot of new challenges for digital students. At the high school level, all teachers will offer a “Welcome Back” session the first week of course start and provide a Welcome Announcement on the course home page to offer tips for success, links to helpful resources and pacing guides for students to more easily manage their assignment workload. Additionally, students and parents/guardians should receive a phone call from 100% of their assigned teachers within the first few days of the course start date. During this call, teachers will introduce themselves, provide a summary of the course expectations and answer any questions. Building a relationship of support with all of our students and providing a welcoming learning environment is our primary goal at ASUPD!

Socialize and Accelerate Learning 

We’re building a supportive academic culture that lets students connect with others who share their passions and academic interests. Not only does this make learning more fun, but it allows students to encourage each other on their learning journeys. 

Learn more about our Academic Support Program offerings here.

Get Connected With ASU

ASU Family Virtual Yoga

Invite healthy fun into your home. Tune in for free Zoom yoga classes designed with young yogis in mind. Classes will be easy to follow for all ages and cover concepts like healthy stretching and mindful breathing. No materials are needed to participate, but comfortable clothing and a yoga mat are recommended. Yoga instruction will last 45 minutes. Register now!

Immersion Health and Safety Updates

Face Coverings

Face coverings are strongly recommended for everyone who is in a building on any ASU Prep campus. Please strongly consider having your child wear a mask in school. We have also strongly recommended this for our teachers and staff.

Face coverings work to reduce transmission of the virus and the CDC recommends that people wear face covers in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status in areas of substantial or high transmission of the virus. Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ has endorsed this recommendation and has urged the public to follow suit.

Keep all students who are sick at home.

This also applies to students sick without a fever as the COVID-19 virus does not always induce a fever. Please also notify the health office when your student is out sick. 

Keep in mind guidelines regarding frequent hand washing, social distancing, minimizing contact with those not in your household, etc. We encourage students to wash their hands as soon as they get home from school and take any other precautions your family deems necessary, such as a clothing change.

The vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19 in reducing serious illness, hospitalization and the spread of the virus. ASU strongly recommends getting the vaccine for our teachers, staff, and students (if your student is old enough). Reach out to your provider for more information.

Eat healthy, exercise, get adequate sleep, drink plenty of water, etc. to help your immune system.

COVID Mitigation and Quarantine Procedures

  • Daily cleaning protocols will continue and staff will leave items used in the classroom out for mist cleaning.
  • Common school areas will be open (lunchrooms, libraries, etc.) and will be cleaned using daily cleaning protocols.
  • Hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing will be available and encouraged.
  • Drinking fountains can be used and are included in daily cleaning.
  • Shared objects in the classroom can be used and are cleaned nightly.
  • Physical distancing will be maintained when feasible, with students to have 3 feet between them.

Quarantine procedures will be followed:

  • Contact tracing will be done by a nurse.
  • Students will be sent home if identified as a close contact
  • Close contacts are determined through the information we gather during contact tracing, as well as consulting with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health
  • Students who are asymptomatic can test on Day 5 or after and with a negative test and no symptoms may return to school.

Family Communication

  • If your student has been identified as a close contact of someone who is COVID-19 positive, you will be notified. We do not notify students who were not in close contact. 

Donate to ASU Prep

Do you support nonprofits through end of year giving? When you donate to ASU Prep, your gift impacts the children at our schools. You can dedicate your contribution to one of the following areas:

  • Academic Enrichment
  • After School Clubs
  • Innovations
  • Field Experiences
  • Arts and Culture
  • Sports and Athletics
  • General (the school picks)

Additionally, Arizona residents may qualify for a tax credit (up to $200 if filing single, up to $400 if filing jointly) when they donate to ASU Prep. Please consult a tax adviser to discuss your tax credit eligibility or questions.

Check out the 21-22 School Calendar and the 21-22 Parent Handbook for additional resources.
Make sure to #RepThePrep and check out the ASU Prep School store!