BIG CITY, SMALL SCHOOLS
The Phoenix Union High School District (PXU) is not a typical big-city school district. It is a portfolio of schools that can accommodate every student in a choice-rich educational environment. One size does not fit all. Of the 21 schools in the District, four are considered small specialty schools, two are micro-schools, and one is a digital academy. PXU is renowned for its menu of unique small schools that specialize in economy-driven areas such as biotechnology, coding, public safety, differentiated learning for gifted students, or college preparatory. Explore our small schools and see which one might be just the right size for you.
PXU’s Small Schools have no attendance boundaries, but first priority is given to students residing within the District boundaries. Because of their popularity, size, and specialized curriculum, the enrollment process is a bit different at each school. Apply early to avoid a waiting list.
Franklin Police and Fire High School
Franklin Police & Fire High is not only a unique small specialty school focused on public safety careers, but it is nationally recognized for its academic performance. Named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in 2014, it is annually ranked as one of the best high schools in the country, as reported by US News and World Report. Franklin provides a full college-prep high school curriculum. Students also prepare for careers in law enforcement or firefighting, taught by public safety professionals, with the opportunity to earn dual credit for community college.
Phoenix Coding Academy
This innovative small, specialty school, focused on computer coding and multiple technology pathways through an inquiry-based instructional design, is one of the first public high schools of its kind. Opened in 2016, students receive a full high school curriculum of core academic classes and electives, as well as Career and Technical Education areas such as software development, web design, networking, information security, engineering and entrepreneurship to meet the workforce demands of the booming technology sector.
Phoenix Union Bioscience High School
Bioscience High School is routinely ranked as one of the top high schools in Arizona. Opened in 2007 in Phoenix's downtown Biotechnology Center, its emphasis is on an integrated rigorous curriculum incorporating science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students can choose career pathway courses such as biomedical and engineering. Senior capstone projects and internships result in hundreds of scholarship offers for Bioscience graduates.
Phoenix Union-Wilson College Prep
Wilson College Prep, opened in 2017 is the first high school in the world to offer the highly successful AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) College Readiness System to every student for four years. AVID prepares students who are in the academic middle who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard, access to rigorous curriculum and preparation for entrance into a four-year university.
Camelback Montessori is the first and only public Montessori High School program in Arizona. Montessori education is structured around the individual needs of the student, utilizing self-directed activity, hands-on engagement, collaborative work and practices that encourage the development of the whole person. Students take core classes in math, social studies, science, and English, but take elective classes and participate in extracurricular activities with the larger Camelback community.
Maryvale Gifted and Talented Academy
Opened in 2017, the Gifted and Talented Academy calls the Maryvale campus home, providing an alternative learning model for students. Accelerated course work, including opportunities for Advanced Placement, dual enrollment and technology-based classes, project-based learning and personalized instruction allow students to excel academically and grow holistically. Students also take advantage of courses such as drama, art, music, dance, JROTC and a host of extracurricular activities on the larger Maryvale campus.
PXU Digital Academy
PXU Digital Academy (PXU DA) is an online high school that offers self-paced, virtual-only learning. Students in Grades 9 through 12 may enroll full-time or concurrently (simultaneously at PXU DA and their home school) at any point during the calendar year and begin coursework immediately. PXU Digital Academy provides all students with choices for academic pathways to success as well as serves at-risk students who need flexibility within the school day.
Cesar Chavez ARCH, Coming Fall 2021
PXU City, Coming soon
Educator Preparatory, Coming soon
Small Schools Facts
Open Enrollment: Students residing within the PXU boundaries are eligible for priority enrollment at small schools. Out-of-District students are welcome to apply, but please note, openings may be limited. Each school has a similar application process that involves a student interview. All small schools accept 9th-grade students, however, because of curriculum sequencing, credits earned, or capacity, upper-level students may not be accepted. Check with individual schools.
High School Credit, Graduation: Each small school offers a full high school curriculum of courses eligible for graduation and students graduate from that school. Micro schools (schools within a larger school campus) offer students the opportunity to take elective classes and participate in extracurricular activities at the school site. Micro school students may have special events upon graduation, but they graduate as part of the larger campus class. Camelback Montessori and Maryvale Gifted and Talented Academy are PXU’s two micro-schools.
Advanced classes, Career and Technical Education: Small schools may offer Advanced Placement (AP), AP Testing, Honors, Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, or dual enrollment (community college credit.) Check with each school.
Size: Phoenix Union small school capacity is no more than 400 students at full capacity. Some schools, based on space limitations, may have smaller enrollment numbers.
Uniforms: Student uniforms are not required at small schools except at Franklin Police and Fire, where students receive school t-shirts.
Tuition: All small schools are public schools in the Phoenix Union High School District and do not charge tuition.
Transportation: Small school students are eligible for a free public bus pass if they live over 1.5 miles from campus.
Meals: All PXU students are eligible for free breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, regardless of family income.
Interscholastic Athletics: Small schools do not have interscholastic athletics. Small school students entering high school as 9th graders can participate in any comprehensive high school athletic program, despite the student’s home address or location of the small school. However, if a student wants to transfer to another PXU school’s program during their high school career, he/she risks eligibility. It is preferable for practice and competition to participate at a school close to the small school or close to home.
Band/Choir/Extracurricular activities: Small schools do not have many of the same extracurricular activities as a large comprehensive high school. Small school students can participate in band, dance, choir, drama, and other District activities. JROTC is not offered at small schools.
Clubs, Student Activities: Small schools have student activities such as clubs, student government, dances, field trips, and community service opportunities.
Counselors: All small school students have a counselor.
Exceptional Student Services: Small schools have various school personnel to provide support and services to students with disabilities. When students are accepted through the application process, IEP or Section 504 Teams will convene to review and determine if revisions are needed and/or if the student will receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) at the small school.
Student Shadowing: Our small schools offer student shadowing for 8th graders interested in learning more about the school. Contact the school you are interested in attending.
Summer School: Free summer school is offered at many Phoenix Union high schools. Incoming 9th graders can attend free Freshman Academy and earn one half credit if they attend a PXU school the next school year.
Technology: Small school students have access to the same technology as our comprehensive campuses. All PXU students check out laptops when they enroll.