Located on 51st Avenue and Bell Road, Jefferson Preparatory has had a meteoric rise in the charter world. Established in 2013, at the urging of parents from sister school Adams Traditional Academy, Jefferson began with only a 9th grade class. Jefferson increased by one grade level per year. In the fall of 2016, Jefferson added a middle school and gained accreditation through AdvancEd. In May 2017, Jefferson graduated its first senior class. The class of 30 graduates earned over $500,000 in college scholarships. When US News and World Report released their annual list of “America’s Best High Schools”, Jefferson Preparatory was included. A recipient in the bronze medal category, Jefferson is recognized as being in the top 16% of high schools in the United States.
How does a small charter high school gain national recognition in such a short period of time? “From the beginning, our academic emphasis has been on developing critical thinking skills,” commented Tawnya Mecham, Principal. “Our motto is that we teach our students ‘how’ to think, not ‘what’ to think. As a result, our students meet the academic challenges of a college preparatory school with great success.”
Despite size, Jefferson offers high school students a wide range of options for core subjects and 31 different electives, from computer design and robotics to 3D art and band. College concurrent and duel enrollment classes increase the number of learning options available. Student to teacher ratios can be as small as 10 to 1.
Mrs. Mecham emphasizes that academics are not all Jefferson has to offer. “We recognize that successful students need to feel as if they are part of a strong school community. While academics remain the focus of the school, sports, band, drama, and a wide variety of clubs develop a sense of belonging and inclusion within the school. We are excited to add a swim team and an adventure club to our extracurricular activities this year.”
Jefferson Preparatory is committed to helping close the gap between standardized test results achieved by Arizona students and those of students nationally. The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017 report issued by ACT stated over 2,000,000 students (or 60 percent) of 2017 graduates took the ACT in the 2016-17 school year. Of that number, 33 percent did not meet expectations on any of the four ACT content area tests and only 27 percent met expectations in all four content areas. The 2017 ACT national composite score was 21, Arizona students achieved a composite score of 19.7. Students in New Hampshire achieved the highest composite score of 25.5.
More information on Jefferson Preparatory can be found on www.JPHSChoice.org, or call (602) 595-2990.