Governor Doug Ducey joined Janine Yass, founder of The Yass Prize, to unveil the winners of the STOP for Arizona Education Awards, which rewards six Arizona education providers who best articulated how they would scale to meet the demands of a growing number of parents wishing to utilize the state’s pioneering Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. The STOP Awards are an initiative of the Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless education (STOP), dedicated to supporting those who outperform for underserved students no matter what the challenges.
“Governor Ducey has set a new standard for the entire nation. We created this award to honor his and all of Arizona’s efforts to expand access to exceptional education opportunities for students. While we initially pledged $500,000 for the Ducey Prize and $100,000 for each of the five other STOP for Arizona Awards, we were so excited by the plans we read that we decided to double it, to accelerate the work of these stellar educators and innovators,” said Janine Yass, the Prize’s visionary.
The Ducey Prize for $1 million was awarded to Science Prep Academy of Phoenix for its capacity to open at least another five micro school locations and increase capacity to 800 students throughout metro Phoenix. Science Prep helps neurodivergent students transition into adulthood and the workforce in outstanding and transformational ways.
“What a great day for this group of Arizona educators and advocates,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “We’re proud of each and every one of these and of all the great schools, innovators, stakeholders and everyone else that puts our children first. Thank you, Yass Prize, for all that you do and for coming here to our great state, we truly appreciate you.”
Each of the additional $200,000 prizes are awarded to five organizations which are also expanding in critical areas of the state to meet demand, or helping parents find the opportunities that are available to them. Those organizations are:
- St. Mary-Basha Catholic School, an elementary school in the greater Chandler area, is educating with a tech focus including the school’s maker space and a Robotics team that enriches their core programs.
- Kino Learning Center, a private microschool with individualized learning pods located in Tucson, is planning to double the number of students they serve.
- Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, located in Lake Havasu City, is creating new teacher training partnerships to be able to serve all families on their waitlist in their expansive, rural community.
- St. John the Evangelist Catholic School, serving over 420 K-8th students in Tucson, is planning to develop an online faith-based blended learning environment for the entire Diocese of Tucson, doubling students served.
- Love Your School, a statewide support organization that helps parents to find the right schools so that all families can take advantage of the education opportunity in Arizona. With this award, Love Your School plans on placing 50,000 students in the school of their choice by 2025.
“The education providers honored today are but a fraction of those doing the hard work of reaching and teaching the students entrusted to them, no matter what the challenges. They endured during the pandemic and continue to offer student-centered learning environments that not only serve their students but impacts their entire communities,” said Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform which oversees the Yass Prize and STOP Awards Initiative.