Moving to a new school district in most cases is fairly straightforward; however, in Arizona, it often poses MANY questions as there are several K-12 tuition-free options to explore!

The Southeast Valley area offers varied options for K-12 District and Charter School, tuition-free education. Here you’ll find a brief overview of some options to consider.

The Southeast Valley has a premier education system and offers many choices and experiences for families. Researching and exploring the tuition-free (District and Charter) school options is essential in the decision-making process. 

Reflecting and knowing what experience suits your child and family is the next best step, whether it’s online research or setting up tours for an in-person experience.

Whether you chose a District or Charter School, there is a process of enrollment that varies from school to school. School Choice and public tuition-free schools set Arizona aside from numerous states across the country. Choices are plentiful and the doors are open regardless of your address.

A Local’s Perspective to Help Guide Your Educational Decision!
Local resident Kelli Fite found the below checklist helpful in guiding her family’s educational pathway!

Does the school offer different experiences (Classical Liberal Arts, Gifted, Montessori, Performing Arts, Traditional, Special Education, etc.)?

Is the proximity of the school important to you? Do you need/want preschool, K-6, 7-12, within minutes of each other?

Does the school’s calendar schedule work for your family?

Is the arrival/dismissal process streamlined and well organized? Does it work with your schedule?

Do you need before/after care? Does the school offer it at times you need?

Are there reasonable class sizes and above-average classroom resources?

What is the school’s teaching approach (large-group direct instruction/small-group project-based)?

What are the homework expectations and uniform options? Do they align with your family’s wants?

What is the school’s curriculum? Does the school offer electives, specials, access to EVIT and/or extracurricular activities that are important to you? Are they available to every child?

What is the school’s recess and discipline philosophy, and how is it implemented? Does it align with your beliefs?

What parent involvement is allowed/encouraged in the classroom setting? Are there opportunities for parents and/or grandparents to volunteer?

Does the school provide the special education services your family desires?

What is the school’s participation in field trips? Are parents allowed to chaperone?

Is there daily/weekly principal communication?

Is there a streamlined communication process between teacher and student/family?

Is the overall campus friendly and approachable, and feel like a good fit?

Is there a sense of community amongst school attendees, families, and local neighborhoods?

Is the campus clean and well maintained? Does it feel safe to you?

Is family participation/volunteering encouraged and welcomed?

Does the school spirit and focus meet your family’s needs?

Is your child valued and important?

What is the registration process? Are there multiple steps?
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“San Tan Charter School was the final tour of many before we made the decision to move forward with registration. It was the 'We have an educational journey that suits your growing family!' that ultimately put our choice at ease.” – Kelli F.

Local Tip:
"Kindergarten is optional in Arizona. A child is eligible for kindergarten if he or she turns 5 before Sept. 1 of the current school year for public school and before Dec. 31 of the current school year for charter school." – Kim H.

Fun Fact:
Higley was once an unincorporated community in Maricopa County named after Stephen Weaver Higley, who was one of the first landowners in the area in 1905. Higley also had its own elementary school in 1909, along with its own post office and zip code. Because most of the Higley area has officially been incorporated into Mesa, Gilbert, or Queen Creek, all that is left of Higley is the school district.