The COVID pandemic has made us all rethink the purpose (and effectiveness) of our Arizona educational system. Stories surface daily about kids falling through the cracks of public hybrid schools, virtual schools, and traditional classes. The backdrop of a health crisis has run a UV light over our educational system and brought to the surface some troubling things we had been collectively ignoring. But some parents are taking advantage of new Arizona rules to find a better way forward for their family.
An article in the AZMirror recently detailed the real heartbreak faced by one Phoenix-area mom, Emily McIntosh, as she battled for answers. Her son, Mo, was slipping in school…and fast. Emily was at her wits’ end–frustrated and frozen. In a story that’s all-too-relatable for parents all across Arizona right now, she felt powerless to give her son the school experience he deserved. She knew that what he was getting from his public school just wasn’t making the grade, so to speak.
By the time he was in the fifth grade, Mo had moved through several schools, and nothing had worked. He was essentially three years behind state standards on his math skills and felt “very, very insecure reading.” He was a bright kid. In fact, far brighter than his results would indicate. At home, Mo was engaged and interested in learning. He was able to grasp concepts quickly. Something about the school environment wasn’t working.
Right now, all across Arizona, we are becoming aware of tens of thousands of Mos. Parents across the state are seeing some major pain points in education. Many parents have found their at-home learning time far more successful, with their kids far more engaged, than they’d ever seen before. They’re stuck asking, “Why isn’t school doing this for them?” Another group is getting a unique insight into their kids’ schools, sometimes even following how it operates over their kids’ shoulders on Zoom. These things are exposing challenges to the system that had been papered-over for decades, and it’s leaving Arizona parents asking for options. Just like Emily and her Mo, challenges can create real change.
Midway through Mo’s fifth-grade year, Emily decided to try something new: she enrolled him in a Prenda microschool. By the time he was halfway through his sixth-grade year, Mo had not only caught up but was doing math at a seventh-grade level! He had regained confidence, found a cohort, and reignited his interest in learning. Emily has since become somewhat of a high profile cheerleader for Prenda, and for good reason.
“I had all these fears as a parent that his first few years had tainted his whole educational experience… now there is no stopping him.”
Wishes can come true…for you too!
Emily and Mo felt alone in their struggles. Maybe you do too? But as each day thousands of Mos surface, their frustration is met with inspiration, and the result is changed. They find a school that fits their individual interests. They get the education they deserve.
Over the past few years, the popularity of microschools has increased exponentially in Arizona. There is no better illustration of this than Mo’s school, Prenda. In the AZMirror article, Prenda estimated that there were about 1,000 students across the state in its microschools when the last school year ended. Prenda’s enrollment has effectively doubled from this time last year, and on July 7, the map on the company’s website showed 126 Prenda schools in the state. By July 28, that number had swelled to 264.
Prenda is just one example of a new path forward. In Arizona, due in large part to some progressive legislation, diverse schooling options are popping up all over the state. But finding the right solution still remains a challenge. One group is stepping up to meet it. LoveMySchool, a nonprofit organization, is asking that confused, frustrated, and eager parents contact them to get started. Their team of experts will help educate and guide Arizona parents to find the right fit for their family.
You have choices. With the right information and a little help, you can find your kid’s custom-fit education! There are dozens of organizations dedicated to helping parents wade through the choices, the funding, and the implications of each path. The form on this page will connect you with an expert from one of those groups. They’ll walk you through your options and work with you to find the right-fit school for you and your family.