New Florence charter school American Leadership Academy blends learning with value-based lessons

Alexis Young
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By Alexis Young/ NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Pinal County, AZ) — American Leadership Academy, Anthem South (7-12) is the newest, tuition-free addition to Charter One’s American Leadership Academy. Besides ALA, Anthem South (7-12), which is still under construction, there are only three other facilities schooling students grades seventh through twelfth: ALA, Gilbert North (7-12); ALA, Queen Creek (7-12) and ALA, Ironwood (7-12).

The other nine schools authorized by the Arizona State Board of Charter Schools were formatted for kindergarten to sixth grade. Florence families need more and closer options for their older and growing kids. The community called and ALA answered.

“Parents in the area, including from American Leadership Academy Anthem South K-6, asked us for more school choice and another high school in the area,” Marketing and PR Director Melody Hudson explained. “We only go where we are wanted and where parents ask us to be.”

Though the non-profit prides itself on serving the communities that want their services, their financial character was called into question after AZCentral published, Arizona charter school founder makes millions building his own schools. Charter school operator and ALA founder Glenn Way, was investigated revealing an IRS debt and ownership or equity in several companies involved in ALA’s operations. Hudson reiterated ALA’s non-profit, tuition free status.

Hudson said, “unfortunately [the article is] ridden with unfounded claims and misinformation that is not factually accurate, some of which has been retracted by the author.

Their approach to education provides parents with a sense of academic autonomy and involvement in their kid’s curriculum. Naturally, ALA already utilizes an A-rated curriculum awarded by the Arizona Department of Education. It combines traditional learning with “values-based lessons.” ALA instills five core principles, “referred to as RAISE […] Respect, Accountability, Integrity, Service, and Excellence,” according to Hudson.

The more traditional aspects of the curriculum Hudson mentioned include the classical Core Knowledge curriculum, Eureka math, improving literacy, age appropriate homework assignments and access to several colleges through ALA, Anthem South High/Jr High School’s accreditation.

“ALA has several well-established relationships with state colleges and community colleges that allow high school students to dual enroll in their ALA school of choice and partner colleges, so they can earn college credits while still in high school,” Hudson said.

The “College Ready” tab on ALA’s website breaks down the offered opportunities with Snow College, Central Arizona College and Maricopa Community Colleges in Chandler-Gilbert and Glendale for students in grades 10-12. There’s also an option for concurrent enrollment that allows students to receive high school credits for independently completed college courses upon their transcript’s delivery to their advisor.

In addition to developing and implementing these approaches to academics, ALA aims to house a host of extracurricular activities that will provide a robust and dynamic junior high and high school experience for students.

“ALA Anthem South will follow the model of our other schools by offering students the full high school experience, including championship sports, high-end fine arts, and more, Hudson announced. “We believe these things are important real-world, hands-on opportunities to develop and practice the values and leadership we teach in class.”

Leadership is the name of this whole game … or more accurately, this whole charter. And to Hudson, the math needed to combine the amalgamation of academics, extracurricular activities and values-based lessons is a no brainer.

“It all adds up to students who are not only ready for college and careers, but who are ready to learn, lead, and change the world!”

Applications for enrollment at the American Leadership Academy, Anthem South (7-12) are open; their next info session is March 29.

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