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ASU Prep Digital to offer Utah families unprecedented access to college-prep education

ASU Prep Digital CEO Julie Young and retired Utah Sen. Howard Stephenson sit in front of radio mics

ASU Prep Digital CEO Julie Young and retired Utah Sen. Howard Stephenson, who sponsored the 2011 bill that established Utah’s Statewide Online Education Program (SOEP).

July 22, 2019

This fall, back-to-school time in Utah will feature an unprecedented opportunity for free college-prep education for all Utah students through ASU Prep Digital, a program where the high school and university experience converge in a unique learning opportunity.

The new offering is made possible because of a collaboration between ASU Prep Digital and Juab School District in Nephi, Utah. Utah requires that all high school students take at least one online course to graduate. In order for ASU Prep Digital to offer its courses there, state law requires a partnership with a local district. The Juab partnership makes ASU Prep Digital’s virtual courses available to students throughout Utah.

“The opportunity to work with such a premier university in this capacity to serve our students is awesome,” Juab Superintendent Rick L. Robins said.

“This innovative partnership will provide Juab School District students as well as students across the state of Utah with new and exciting educational experiences.” 

For advocates of digital learning options in Utah, the partnership is the culmination of years of work. Retired Utah Sen. Howard Stephenson sponsored the 2011 bill that established Utah’s Statewide Online Education Program (SOEP). 

Though online secondary education programs have operated in Utah since then, Stephenson said that ASU Prep Digital’s arrival represents the fruition of what he had in mind when he championed the bill. 

“This is a dream come true,” he said. “The quality offered by ASU Prep Digital is unsurpassed, and that is what excites me about this.”

Stephenson’s passion for online education stems from his time in the Utah Senate, where he saw poignant examples of students who needed educational choices, such as a rural student looking for an advanced math class, home-schooled students whose parents weren’t able to teach certain subjects or students who needed a more adaptive option.

“This type of program is what I hoped for. I am grateful to Juab School District for enabling every Utah public, home school and private high school student to have this option.”

Robyn Bagley, board chair for Parents for Choice in Education and an advocate for digital options, celebrated the announcement as well. 

“We welcome Juab School District and their outstanding provider partner, ASU Prep Digital, to the family of districts and providers currently serving students in this innovative course choice program. Their new partnership will dramatically strengthen the learning possibilities for all Utah students,” she said.

ASU Prep Digital’s class of 2019 exemplified how digital learners can thrive: Graduates used the flexibility available through the program to graduate early, pursue competitive robotics, travel, work and more. One graduate was 18-year-old Allie Reckinger from Gilbert, Arizona. When she enrolled at ASU Prep Digital for her senior year, she wasn’t sure she would graduate on time.

“I went to a traditional high school, and it just wasn't working for me at the time,” she said. “I stumbled across ASU Prep Digital online ... and I fell in love with it.” 

Reckinger said she was grateful for the tight-knit virtual community and the confidence her peers and educators gave her to succeed.

“This is a great place to flourish. You’re on your own time and your own schedule, but you have amazing support and amazing helpers to be there for you,” she said. “They’re there to see you succeed.”

ASU Prep Digital CEO Julie Young calls the partnership an example of ASU’s commitment to the idea of the universal learner — typified by learning anywhere, anytime and continually through our lifetimes.

“We couldn’t be happier,” Young said. “Utah students are gaining an outstanding college prep program that is embedded in the most innovative university in the nation. As our teachers and learning success coaches work with students, we have the joy of watching students thrive and, some for the first time, gain the confidence to go on to college. Some are even the first in their families to attend college. We love being part of that, whether in Arizona, Utah or anywhere else.” 

Learn more about the ASU Prep Digital-Juab School District partnership. Students will be able to enroll beginning Aug. 19.

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