February 26, 2019

School Profiles of the Month – February 2019 – Acorn Montessori and Phoenix Union Bioscience High School

Set in Prescott Valley, Arizona lies Acorn Montessori Charter School, a blended Montessori and Traditional program in Yavapai County serving about 280 K-8 students. Established in 2001, Acorn Montessori activities promote academic as well as social growth and the school has earned an ‘A’ letter grade for the past two years.

Along with its ‘A’-rating, Acorn Montessori Charter School has earned Results-Based Funding for the past two years, providing nearly $122,000 each year, which the school can reinvest back into its teachers and curriculum.

With nearly 70 percent of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, the school opens its doors to all students who are able to experience their studies through field trips to explore science and the arts. A recent project allowed nearly 100 middle school students to build a garden, calculating the area of a plant bed as well as learning science of how plants grow.

The Montessori charter school not only achieves academic success, but also has an undefeated ISSA Flag Football League which has secured a first-place finish in the play-offs, making them back-to-back champions for both the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In addition to the extracurricular activities, Acorn offers a chess club, a gardening green thumbs club, and other activities aimed at serving the community.

The school aspires to serve the needs of the “whole child” and every classroom is comprised of values such as harmony, respect, independence, learning and unity.

Acorn Montessori Charter School is a hidden gem in the Yavapai County with both academic and extracurricular success.

Located in Phoenix’s downtown Biotechnology Center, Phoenix Union High School District’s Bioscience High School opened its doors in 2006 and currently serves over 360 students. For the past two years, the school has earned an ‘A’ letter grade. Bioscience offers students an integrated learning experience focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics along with opportunities in the arts and humanities.

Bioscience provides students an accelerated and collaborative academic program with a unique and flexible schedule. Instead of a traditional bell schedule, the teachers work with students to decide what the students need that week, month, and semester. The high school empowers students to demonstrate their learning and continue to refine their understanding.

Among being recognized for the stellar letter grade, Bioscience High School is also a pipeline to post-secondary attainment, with nearly 87 percent of the graduates in 2018 directly entering a four-year post-secondary education. The urban high school provides a college readiness class where students work on college applications, scholarship essays, FAFSA, and brag sheets, helping the students earn over $18.7 million is scholarships in 2018.

All Bioscience graduates also complete one or two internships. Students can meet prospective companies though an internship fair held by the school or through personal connections.

 “That’s something that gives our kids an advantage for applying for scholarships to some of the prestigious college,” said Biosicience principal Holly Batsell.

The internships vary from researching, writing, and producing their own podcasts at the KJZZ radio station to the non-profit Restore Arts that recycles and refurbishes musical instruments and gives them back to schools.

Due to the school’s exceptional results, the school has also earned Results-Based Funding for the past two years, earning over $125,000 this year. Batsell said she used the funding to support her teachers with additional professional development and new math curriculum.

Phoenix Union Bioscience High School continues to empower their students to flourish in postsecondary education and in the workplace.

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