A for Arizona is thrilled to announce our inaugural class of public school Expansion Fund grant recipients. Our Expansion Fund is a first-of-its-kind, statewide privately-funded grant program designed to help Arizona’s best district, magnet, and charter schools expand to serve more students in their communities.

When we launched our Fund in August 2018, we knew that our district, magnet, and charter leaders were hungry for access to a seed funding resource that could help them expand and grow their impact. Even with all that demand, we couldn’t be sure whether any schools would take the plunge and apply to our brand new Expansion Fund. Soon enough, October 2018 was upon us and the applications began to roll in.

From an overall pool of 17 strong proposals and after six months of careful vetting, A for Arizona has awarded five grants ranging from $40,000 to $75,000 for a total of $300,000. Our grant recipients encompass five legislative districts across three counties that include rural, suburban and urban communities, across both district and charter school models. We also saw a wide range of innovative partnerships, including district-community college and district-charter strategic partnerships. In all, Expansion Fund recipients will serve close to 2,000 additional students, beginning this August. None of this would be possible without support from our local philanthropic partners, especially The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and the Burton Family Foundation.

We are so excited to share the amazing and innovative work of the first-ever A for Arizona public school Expansion Fund recipients: Vail School District, Academy of Math & Science, Nogales Unified School District and Mexicayotl Academy, Arizona Charter Academy, and Somerset Academy.

As we approach the one year anniversary of A for Arizona’s public school Expansion Fund, we are thrilled to have had such a strong inaugural class and are excited to jump feet first into a new grant cycle later this year.

A for Arizona shares a heartfelt congratulation with all our 2019 Expansion Fund recipients. We can’t wait to watch you blossom!

Vail School District


Vail plans to use the grant to expand its Middle College program in partnership with Pima Community College. Inspired by the successful Early College program, Vail’s Middle College program allows high school seniors to enroll in full-time coursework at Pima Community College’s East Campus. Middle College students will receive supplemental classes and additional study skills support from a Vail teacher to ensure success in college and high school. Through the Middle College program, as many as 50 Vail students will be able to earn a full year’s worth of free college credit during their senior year, setting them up for success in a multitude of college and career pathways upon graduation. Vail plans to use its Expansion Fund grant to support the hiring of a full-time staff member to manage the launch of the Middle College program and, eventually, the expansion of Middle College to all six Pima Community College campuses and to more high school students across southern Arizona.

Academy of Math & Science


This public charter school plans to use the grant to help launch a new Glendale campus. Academy of Math & Science Glendale will bring an in-demand STEM curriculum to more than 1,000 students in the West Valley starting Summer 2019. Since launching the first Academy of Math & Science in 2000, the AMS network has developed a particular knack for delivering an exceptionally high quality STEM-focused education in high-poverty communities. In 2016, AMS was named Arizona Charter School of the Year by the Arizona Charter Schools Association. With the addition of the Glendale campus, AMS now operates seven K-8 public charter schools in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.

Nogales Unified School District and Mexicayotl Academy


This district/charter duo plan launch an innovative academic partnership to support increased academic achievement for all students in Nogales. Mexicayotl Academy, an ‘A’-rated K-8 charter school in Nogales, has a longstanding track record of delivering dual language and culturally sensitive curriculum to families in the border community. Likewise, Nogales Unified has shown a deep commitment toward constant growth and improvement of academic outcomes across the district. Nogales Unified and Mexicayotl have decades-long history of informal corporation arising out of their leaders’ shared vision for the greater Nogales community. As a first step towards formalizing their partnership, Nogales Unified and Mexicayotl will use their $70,000 to hire a shared curriculum coordinator to develop a streamlined STEM curriculum with an emphasis on the unique environmental challenges of the Sonoran Desert. The addition of shared curriculum—an unprecedented form of district/charter collaboration—will allow the partnership to provide many more Nogales-area students with a high quality STEM education in the future.

Arizona Charter Academy


This public charter school plans to use the grant funds to support a 12,000 square-foot expansion of its Surprise campus. A true community school, Arizona Charter Academy enrolls nearly 900 local Surprise students grades K-8. A for Arizona is not alone in recognizing the school’s successes. Earlier this year, Arizona Charter Academy was the only public charter school recognized as an A+ School of Excellence™ by the Arizona Educational Foundation. When construction is complete in summer 2020, Arizona Charter Academy will be able to serve up to 250 additional students.

Somerset Academy


This public charter school plans to use the grant funds to support the launch of its Skyway campus in Goodyear. Somerset Academy is the first national charter management organization to replicate into Arizona, and has a track record of successful schools in Florida, Texas, and Nevada, as well as internationally. In all, the Somerset network serves 29,900 students in 67 schools. Somerset Academy Skyway Campus will launch with 200 students grades K-5 and will eventually serve over 800 West Valley students at full capacity. Somerset Academy Skyway will use its $40,000 Expansion Fund grant to support retrofitting and technology improvements at their new school site.