ASU Prep celebrates achievements as Super Bowl draws near

students on football field

In 2009, Arizona State University set out to transform a group of underperforming public schools in downtown Phoenix into a single, college preparatory K-12 charter school. The school would focus on serving the existing members of that community and ensuring them an equal opportunity to obtain the kind of high-caliber education that would set them on the path to a college degree.

They have had terrific success.

This year, ASU Preparatory Academy-Phoenix will be graduating its first class of seniors on May 28. The class boasts a 100 percent four-year graduation rate, with 76 percent having been accepted to four-year universities and more than $720,000 in scholarship money awarded.

Arriving at this achievement was no small task. School administrators worked in partnership with University Public Schools Inc., a nonprofit organization that works in affiliation with ASU, to implement a new curriculum that aligns student outcomes to match college entrance requirements. They also initiated a family engagement program and worked with the local community to establish partnerships that supported college-going for every student.

For Sergio Mejia, the father of ASU Prep-Phoenix student Sergio Mejia, Jr., the changes have benefited his son greatly.

“You can tell the teachers really care about the kids and that they love what they do,” Mejia said.

In the short amount of time the school has been operating, it has already received significant recognition for its efforts. ASU Prep-Phoenix has been recognized as an Outstanding STEM School in Phoenix; it has been the recipient of an Investing In Innovation Fund from the U.S. Department of Education; and it has been part of an exclusive school partnership with the Phoenix Symphony in developing the Mind Over Music program.

Most recently, ASU Prep-Phoenix was chosen by the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee in partnership with the NFL Foundation and Arizona Cardinals to be the recipients of a newly refurbished football field and scoreboard. The school was chosen because of its recognized academic excellence, which the committee felt could and should be matched with athletic excellence.

“The Cardinals and NFL Foundation are proud to assist with this Super Bowl XLIX Legacy Field,” said Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, who also serves on the board of the NFL Foundation, at the unveiling of the new field in September 2014. “When discussing the positive effects of having the Super Bowl in this community, you often hear about the economic impact and invaluable exposure the game brings. But just as important are the many meaningful community projects like this that will positively impact the Valley long after the game has been played.”

The new field has already been put to good use. On Jan. 14, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, UnitedHealthcare and Playworks held the World’s Largest Recess there, and set the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest game of Red Light, Green Light. A total of 1,100 children participated in the event, which was designed to promote a healthy lifestyle for youth.

Other NFL-related events are scheduled for this week, including a press conference that will be attended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on promoting and ensuring player safety by educating players and coaches about practicing best techniques.

A celebrity football game is also scheduled to be played on ASU Prep's field on Jan. 31, as part of Super Bowl XLIX activities.

For Sergio Mejia, who also has a daughter and stepson at the school, the attention being lavished on ASU Prep-Phoenix is well-deserved. But the reality of what the school has meant to his family is far more important.

“We’re really happy with the teachers and the environment at ASU Prep, and the school has had such a positive effect on my kids,” he said.

ASU Preparatory Academy has two locations, one in downtown Phoenix, consisting of Phoenix Elementary, Phoenix Middle and Phoenix High School, and one in East Mesa on the Polytechnic campus, consisting of Polytechnic Elementary, Polytechnic Middle and Polytechnic High School. To learn more about ASU Preparatory Academy, visit