Top High Schools in the Phoenix, AZ Metro (page 3)

Top High Schools in the Phoenix, AZ Metro

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Updated on Aug 24, 2011

Great Hearts Academies

Veritas Preparatory Academy School District


Great Hearts Academies is a charter school system with multiple campuses in the Greater Phoenix area which provide a classical education using the Socratic Method for students in grades 6-12. All students take the exact same courses and sequence without leveling or elective choices. Because there is no differentiation between students, students get to know each other well and develop a common rapport with one other.

With a 15:1 student teacher radio and a low drop-out rate, students receive individual attention that helps them thrive. The curriculum focuses on the Great Books of Western Tradition, including Greek and Roman Authors. Four years of a single foreign language, or two years of Latin combined with two years of Greek, is required.

While each of the 12 academies follow the same philosophy and curriculum, each campus has the freedom to offer extracurricular activities, athletics, and other programs that meet the needs of their campus. Three of the Great Hearts Academies are on's list of top-ranked schools – Chandler, Veritas and Mesa Prep.

Veritas Prep: At the Veritas Prep campus, music plays a big role and many students participating in choir after their required credits in ninth and tenth grade are met. The campus also hosts an Old English Linguistic Club that is very popular.

Athletics are important on campus and the Girls' Volleyball team has won two state championships in recent years. The Varsity boys' basketball team is also very competitive. All teams on campus are non-cut, and all interested students will have some role on the team.

Chandler Prep: The Chandler Prep campus is the only campus where the facility is owned by Great Heart and designed with the school in mind. The facilities include athletic fields, a theater, and a gym. In addition, this campus has a larger student body than the other campuses.

To ensure that the campus retains the small school feel despite the number of students, the school focuses on a student mentor program. The teachers also make a conscious effort to know the name of each student.

“Since getting our own campus, the students have a sense of home base that we didn’t have before. We are able to say this is our home court and our field. It has been a wonderful transformation,” said Helen Hayes.

Mesa Prep: At the Mesa Campus, the staff and faculty use the Love and Logic Discipline philosophy to help instill the standards of Great Hearts Academies. The staff helps students look at how their actions affect others, and learn lessons about possible consequences. The caring nature and teacher/student relationship that the school works to instill helps make this method a success on campus.

The school's philosophy applies to the athletic program as well; All students who try out make the team and get reasonable playing time. “If they left it on the field and did everything they could to prepare, then you have done the best you can do and then the score can’t be the measure of success,” said Robert Wagner, Principal Robert Wagner.


Hamilton High School

Chandler Unified District

Hamilton High School has a reputation of being a friendly school with high achieving academics. Students can take challenging courses such as three levels of Calculus and a Science Research course. The school has the largest selection of Advanced Placement courses in the state of Arizona and teams with University of Arizona to offer a dual-enrollment Engineering 101 course.

Specialty academies are available to students in Bio-Tech, Engineering, and American Studies. The Athletics Academy is available to members of certain sports teams and allows them to incorporate training into a specialized course schedule.

The school has been ranked by Sports Illustrated and CNN as having the top high school athletic program in the state. The football, boys' and girls' soccer, baseball, boys' and girls' golf, and volleyball teams have all earned national rankings. The performing arts program, especially theatre and marching band, have also received outside recognition. The schools also offers 67 after school clubs.

“Visitors usually comment on how friendly our students are. They say the kids look at them, smile, and greet them. They also comment on how clean and attractive the facilities are,” said Fred DePrez, Principal of Hamilton High.


Hamilton Prep

Chandler Unified District


Hamilton Prep is a small school that provides rigorous college preparation to students. The school is open to all students in Chandler Unified School district, and interested students go through an admission process based on testing and an interview. The school also has a discipline policy and students wear uniforms to school each day. The school opened in 2007 and has been adding a grade level each year. As of fall 2010, the school will include grades 7 through 12.

In high school, students take mainly AP courses, including Calculus and Spanish. Students can choose from some electives, including the Hamilton High Sports Academy and Orchestra. The school offers athletic teams and the Hamilton Prep Social Committee organizes events, such as dances, for students to participate in outside the classroom.

“Founded on academic rigor and strong discipline, students receive the personalized education that many families yearn for and some students need in a smaller academic setting. Students can look forward to quality and dedicated instruction from highly qualified teachers who specialize in the subject area they teach,” writes Director Rob Bickes on the website.


Heritage Academy

Heritage Academy Inc. District


Students at Heritage Academy are asked to follow the Golden Rule of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as a code of conduct. The school has a strict dress code and advises students to dress as they would for a job interview. The school uses a block scheduling that includes 95 minute classes and no Friday classes.

Field trips, such as an annual trip to Washington DC, are an important aspect of the school. Dual enrollment opportunities are available for Heritage Academy Students through online courses, and to help students stay on track, each student is assigned a personal advisor for their four years at the school.

In addition to core classes, students can choose from various electives such as art, orchestra, instrumental ensemble, choir and drama. Ballroom dancing is one of the most popular electives on campus. The school has a competitive athletic program, including basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, weight training, tennis, golf, dance, bowling, and kenpo.



Paradise Valley Unified District


Horizon High School is focused on college preparation and sends 96 percent of the students to college each year.

Horizon High School offers several signature programs that allow students to focus on a specialized theme of study, and students take a course sequence specific to each signature program. Signature programs include Engineering, Law-Related Education, Biotechnology, and Business Management. Students can also enroll in the Community Outreach Signature program, in which they can create their own program based on electives and community service.

Opportunities for fun and learning outside the classroom are offered through extensive clubs including NHS and Key Club. The school also offers fine arts programs including the Horizon Production Club, chorus, and band. Many athletic teams are available, and the school recently won state championships in volleyball and baseball.

The website states the “mission of Horizon High School is to provide the building blocks for the ABC’s in the 21st century – A Academic Excellence, B Belief in Self and Others, C Community Responsibility in Changing Society.”


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