by Amanda Mace, School Leader, Mission Heights Preparatory High School, Casa Grande
Education in Arizona has been under serious scrutiny.
One area of concern is whether schools are preparing their students for the future. The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has added more college and career readiness standards for a school’s letter grade. According to the ADE, “Students are considered college and career ready when they have the knowledge, skills, academic preparation and behaviors needed to enroll and succeed in college.”
The vision at Mission Heights is, “Every student will be prepared to succeed at the nation’s top institutions of higher learning.” As a staff, we have considered how we are doing in this area, and if we are addressing the state’s concerns. Last year, Mission Heights sent 94 percent of our graduates to university, community college or the military. This contributed to our “B” letter grade given by ADE.
As an AVID school, the college and career-going atmosphere is prevalent. It is in our classrooms, in our curriculum, and in our culture. Last year, we joined hands with Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (CAVIT) to expand our career readiness. We broadened our Youth Entrepreneurs program, adding internships in the community. We also added a Career Prep class that focuses on resumes, portfolios, budgeting and interviews. We continued our College Prep class for juniors to prepare them for life after graduation. Tours of every major Arizona university occur twice a year. We host a FAFSA and College Night, as well as proctor the ACT and Accuplacer test on campus. We also require the ASVAB for upperclassmen. We added CAC classes on our campus. In fact, over 50 percent of our graduates were enrolled in college classes. Every time a student is registered for the SAT/ACT, is accepted into a university, or has filled out the FAFSA, we recognize them. This past spring, we had our first College Signing Day, in which 95 percent of our graduates revealed their plans to the student body.
The question at Mission Heights is not “Are you going to college?” it is “Where are you going to college?” It is the expectation for all to have a plan, and we are confident our students are college and career ready. More than that, they are PREPARED TO SUCCEED on those paths.