Superintendent's Report: Flinn Scholars a testament to Prescott schools
List of Prescott High School Flinn Scholars
2016 Luke Aslanian
2015 Alexa Nguyen
2014 Peter Lewis
2014 Naomi Worob
2013 Cooper Temple
2013 Julianna Renzi
2012 Charles Miller
2010 Nikil Selvam
2010 Savannah Martin
2010 Ryan Lane
2005 Adrienne Contos
2004 Annie Roethel
1998 Esther Ellsworth
1996 Clare Ellsworth
1993 Matt Ellsworth
1992 Jacob Batsell
1990 Kristen Mayes
1988 Kiril Tomoff
1986 Timothy West
1986 Cheryl Dunn
I am excited to share with our Prescott readers about the many opportunities for accelerated students in Prescott Unified School District (PUSD). Our motto, “Every Child, Every Day” sums up what we are most proud of in PUSD. We give all we have, every day, to every student. There are so many programs to focus on, I hope to fill columns for years with great things that we offer to our students. My focus on accelerated programs in this article comes on the tail of Prescott High School’s 20th Flinn Scholar, Luke Aslanian.
As our congratulations go out to Luke, we continue to be asked within the community how and why so many students from Prescott High School have earned this prestigious award. First, we have amazing students from outstanding families that are focused on personal excellence. We see education as a partnership between home and school that takes strong communication and support from both directions. Coupled with a strong curriculum and the flexibility to accelerate at a student’s own rate, this teamwork is hard to beat.
Winning the Flinn is no easy task. From the Flinn Scholars website at www.flinn.org, here is what the buzz is about:
“The Flinn Scholars program, in partnership with Arizona’s public universities, annually awards approximately 20 top Arizona high school graduates an education package that covers the full cost of undergraduate study, plus other benefits including study-related travel abroad. The program aims to strengthen the ability of the universities to compete for Arizona’s top students and to provide the students an outstanding academic experience. More than 700 students apply every fall for the 20 awards.”
In the 30 years of the Flinn Scholars existence, 20 Prescott High School Students have received the award. Proportionately, this is certainly an anomaly of success in Arizona.
The accelerated journey in PUSD can begin in the early years of elementary school when students are clustered into groups of “gifted and talented” where the elementary teacher can differentiate to their needs, challenging them while teaching them the intended curriculum, and extending that learning when appropriate. Then in the middle grades, at Granite Mountain and Mile High Middle School, students are able to participate in honors courses, which also extend the intended curriculum.
At PHS, students have 11 Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses available to them during their sophomore, junior and senior years. Students that take these courses have demonstrated their readiness for college and these courses earn college credit in many universities and colleges. Flinn scholars have received high marks in many of these AP courses. One of the strategies that teachers use to help students be successful on the AP exam as well as through the screening process of the Flinn is DBQ’s. A DBQ is a document-based or data-based question. This is used in an essay or a series of short answers questions where students construct their answers by using their own knowledge combined with support from several provided sources. Another option for our PHS students is to take dual credit classes offered through both Yavapai College and Grand Canyon University. Many of our students can enter their first year of college as sophomores, and some have actually completed their Associates of Arts Degree while in high school! Thanks to our great partnerships with these higher learning institutes, students receive these college credits at an extremely discounted rate, and even for free. Last year, we accentuated the concept of “Pathways” in learning, where we communicate and offer to our students the choice to try more accelerated endeavors.
In doing so, we began to offer more high school classes in middle school, more middle school classes in elementary and even opportunities for students to take a bus to the school at the next level to take a course. Our goal is to allow our students the flexibility to learn at their appropriate level, while pushing them to their highest potential.
All of our students are different and have different needs. One of the beauties of public school is that we pool many people and resources together to build a strong capacity in order to offer an unbelievable amount of opportunities where students can challenge themselves. Our job is to take each student from where we meet them and to move them as far as we can during our time with them.
We have many student success stories in PUSD. See it for yourself! Run a search on the Daily Courier website under “Prescott High School Student” or visit www.prescottschools.com. In just the last year, a multitude of articles have run outlining the success of our students and alumni from all walks of life, in many areas of achievement, scholarship, college and career. We are quite proud of these students representing our community and making our future look very bright. Another option to see if for yourself is to set up an appointment to walk the halls of our schools. You will see amazing things happening every day!