Love Your School and A for Arizona announced the recipients of the A for Arizona Expansion and Innovation Fund Small Learning Communities (SLC) grants this past week! At Love Your School, we’re all about celebrating the unique and innovative options available to families, including these new communities. So of course, we couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce the very first schools launching these brand-new SLCs! Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be highlighting each of them – starting with Tanque Verde High School!
Tanque Verde High School is a public district school in Tanque Verde Unified School District that serves students and families from the northeast suburbs of Tucson in Pima County.
What inspired this school to launch an SLC? Here’s the story.
Since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, parents and families across the Tanque Verde school district have raised concerns about their students not being challenged academically in preparation for college. Many feared that virtual learning was inhibiting the ability of their child to receive a rigorous education.
Tanque Verde High School is also experiencing an influx of student applicants interested in receiving in-person instruction in their district, given that their neighboring district is still closed due to COVID-19 – with no indication that the restrictions will be lifted soon. In fact, over 200 students have applied to Tanque Verde High School since July!
On top of that, Tanque Verde is also home to a halfway house and treatment center for parents struggling with drug addiction and homelessness and low-income veterans and their families. These facilities give parents the chance to live with their children while battling their addictions. These students are at increased risk of falling through the cracks due to exposure to immense trauma.
Facing these unique challenges, Tanque Verde High School was understandably thrilled to learn about an opportunity to address these issues through the Governor’s Educational Emergency Relief fund and A for Arizona.
Tanque Verde school district went to work right away developing a cutting-edge “school-within-a-school” learning community that prioritizes underserved students to prepare them for advanced coursework! Their thorough and innovative proposal earned the school the needed funds to launch this SLC.
Students in this program will work closely with a counselor and receive special academic and sociol – emotional support. Addressing families’ call for more robust preparation in the midst of COVID-19, the coursework will reflect an interdisciplinary approach similar to an honors college experience to prepare these high schoolers for college. All we can say is…wow!
This program meets the needs of underserved students and working families who are learning at home alone and disengaged by virtual learning. For the first time ever, a 4-year honors college is partnering with a high school honors program to deliver cutting edge education that prepares students for a rigorous college experience. There are no barriers or obstacles to joining this program, this SLC is equally available to all students in the Tanque Verde school district!
Tanque Verde High School has partnered with the University of Arizona Honors College and Agricultural Department, Biosphere 2, IBM, Center for the Future of Arizona, and the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce.
This is exactly the type of innovation and creativity that has made Arizona so attractive for families! We at Love Your School couldn’t be more thrilled to work with organizations like A for Arizona to promote these unique and exciting educational opportunities for Arizona families. We are grateful for the priority that Governor Ducey has placed on educational choice in our state, and look forward to continuing to highlight the impact of these Small Learning Communities that will impact hundreds of Arizona students and their families.
Stay tuned for our next school – Edison School of Innovation!