ASU Prep Digital now offers full-time K–8 virtual school option

July 10, 2020

As school reopenings remain uncertain in Arizona and beyond due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASU Prep Digital is rolling out full-time online school options for elementary school students, ready to serve thousands of parents scrambling to make decisions about school, work and health. 

ASU Prep Digital launched in 2017 as a public charter school for grades nine through 12, but on Aug. 10, 2020, the first classes of kindergarteners through eighth graders will gather online to learn from the school system’s rigorous and personalizable curriculum that serves more than 33,000 full- and part-time enrollees throughout Arizona, the United States and internationally. A child logging on to a computer Download Full Image

More than 400 parents registered for the first of several virtual information sessions June 30, asking questions ahead of the July 13 deadline to enroll. ASU Prep Digital Executive Director Jill Rogier led the session and fielded questions about cost, curriculum and logistics.

Rogier shared that Arizona students attend free; out-of-state tuition is $6,900 per year but may vary for international students. Enrollment won’t be capped, but there likely won’t be spaces available beyond the enrollment deadline based on current interest levels. Class sizes for kindergarten will be about 20 students and about 25 for first through eighth grade. ASU Prep Digital teachers are all certified and highly qualified and have an average of 15 years of teaching experience, and as a public charter the school offers special education, speech therapy and staff dedicated to gifted students as well as “specials” like art and music, clubs and more.

The school is AdvancEd accredited as well as NCAA approved for student athletes. ASU Prep Digital uses adaptive diagnostic indicators that allow students to have individualized Lexile (reading) and quantile (math) scores that individualize learning experiences, offering students the chance to get one-on-one help when they need it or take courses outside of their grade level if they have a special interest or an area they’re excelling in. 

Rogier said that overall the school’s advantages to families are that it’s customizable so that every student can reach their potential and that it’s a dynamic program that cultivates curious learners and critical thinkers. She knows how critical the customization is — from personal experience. 

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Media Relations and Strategic Communications

“Adaptive software supports us to be able to personalize instruction and tailor learning to meet the needs of your child,” she said. “I’m a parent as well. I have a gifted child. I have a child with dyslexia. I understand that one size does not fit all.”

Though most of the equipment you need is simply a device (touch-screen tablets are recommended for the primary grades), connectivity and a few standard classroom supplies, Rogier said that parents shouldn’t expect kids to be in front of a screen all day. 

A day in the life of an elementary ASU Prep Digital student would see students working from about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, but that just means 35 hours of learning a week, which includes guided, tactile learning and social interaction with peers and teachers. Students meet several times a day with the same homeroom teacher either as a class, in small groups or one-on-one, but along with the live lessons they might be instructed to go outside to get a rock for a geology lesson or go to the kitchen to get food to illustrate fractions. They’ll also have work and projects to complete independently and at their own pace. 

“We know that learning happens all the time, not just during lessons,” Rogier said. 

Lessons are recorded in case students miss them, and standards-based core subjects of English language arts, math, science and social studies are covered every day. 

Associate Vice President of ASU Educational Outreach and Student Services Amy McGrath said during the information session that rigor is what separates ASU Prep Digital from other online K–12 programs she’s seen because of the quality of educators, the infrastructure and the pedagogical philosophy. 

“We use innovative tools and wrap them around our rigorous ELA, math, science and social studies curriculum, but it’s more than a bunch of worksheets. We are project-based learning,” McGrath said. “We will drive your students to deeper and more authentic learning.”

Learn more about enrollment, curriculum and more at the ASU Prep Digital website or join an upcoming information session. The deadline for fall K–8 enrollment is July 13.

Hannah Moulton Belec

Digital marketing manager, Educational Outreach and Student Services


ASU Law and Behavioral Science initiative wins 2020 President's Award for Innovation

July 10, 2020

In just three years’ time, the group of faculty behind the Law and Behavioral Science initiative took Arizona State University from relative obscurity in the field to one of the most dominant players. In recognition of their dedication and hard work, the original team of eight who founded the initiative has been named the recipient of the 2020 President’s Award for Innovation.

Nicholas Schweitzer, founding director of the group and an associate professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, said it is an honor to be recognized, but their success would not have been possible without the commitment of the ASU faculty and students who have contributed to the initiative’s success over the years. statue of Lady Justice Download Full Image

“It’s pretty unusual to go from nothing to the kind of scale and the scope we have in just a few years,” Schweitzer said. “When I looked back at how many times ASU has presented at national and international conferences, we had more people presenting than any other university in the world. And we’ve been very fortunate because we’ve been able to recruit the best students and the very best faculty.”

The purpose of the initiative is to bring together scholars and students from across ASU whose research interests are at the intersection of law and psychology, an area which has broad appeal and an exciting potential for real-world impact.

“This team has been incredibly innovative in taking scientific principles about human behavior from psychology — including social, cognitive and affective processes — and integrating them with an understanding of law and legal institutions to address important societal problems,” said School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Associate Director Nicole Roberts.

“They were front-runners in bringing together topics to create a new, and hugely popular, field of study at ASU — forensic psychology. Although there are now many interdisciplinary teams at ASU, they were one of the first not only to engage in this, but also to gain traction among students at all levels — undergraduate through doctoral — and to draw national attention as a destination for cutting-edge research in psychology and law. Their research questions have widespread implications, such as how to reduce bias in the legal system; how to understand who is convicted or exonerated and under what circumstances; and how to change ineffective or unfair practices within the criminal justice system. Their collective work allows them to examine individual- and institutional-level processes using a variety of descriptive and experimental methods.”

The initiative’s founding team will be recognized by ASU President Michael Crow at a ceremony this fall. They include faculty from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions and the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences:

  • Nicholas Schweitzer, founding director – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College.
  • Hank Fradella – School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Watts College.
  • Michael Saks – Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
  • Jose Ashford – School of Social Work, Watts College.
  • Jessica Salerno – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College.
  • Tess Neal – School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, New College.
  • Tosha Ruggles – director of academic services for Graduate Studies, New College.
  • Todd Sandrin – dean, New College.

The President's Award for Innovation honors ASU faculty and staff who have made significant contributions to the university and higher education in general through the creation, development and implementation of innovative projects, programs, initiatives, services and techniques.

Since its founding, the Law and Behavioral Science initiative has grown to include 32 core and affiliated faculty across seven schools and colleges at ASU, operating five cross-school academic programs that educate over 1,300 students at the undergraduate, master's degree and doctoral levels, placing it among the largest in the world of its type.

“We already had the intellectual base to do something like this and just needed to be brought together with some organizational structure,” Schweitzer said. “Once that happened, we realized we were really poised to do something big.”

The initiative is responsible for research that has looked into such issues as how emotion affects jury members’ decision-making, the effectiveness of tools used to assess one’s competence to stand trial and more.

Emma Greguska

Editor, ASU News

(480) 965-9657