The Ultimate Realtor Toolkit: Lighthouse 5.0 and MySchoolsTucson

Lighthouse 5.0 and MySchoolsTucson Realtor Toolkit

While we’re getting ready to drop Lighthouse 5.0, we wanted to share a new tool for realtors to add to their tool-kit. Enhance your value with, a free resource for comprehensive, unbiased school data in Tucson and Pima County.

For buyers, it supports informed decision-making about children’s education. For sellers, it highlights nearby quality schools, making properties more attractive. Boost your listings, demonstrate expertise, and support faster transactions with this invaluable tool.

Benefits for Realtors:

  1. Demonstrate Expertise: Show your clients that you are knowledgeable and resourceful by directing them to
  2. Enhance Listings: Use detailed school data to make your property listings more compelling.
  3. Community Engagement: Align with a community initiative aimed at improving access to educational information.
  4. Commitment to Families: Showcase your dedication to helping families make well-informed decisions about their children’s education.

For more information on this resource, CLICK HERE

Lighthouse 5.0 and MySchoolsTucson Realtor Toolkit

Assessing Your Child’s School Performance: What You Need to Know

By Scott Evans, Community Investment Corporation

Recent research shows that the vast majority of K-12 parents believe their child is performing at grade level, when (in actuality) they are not.

In a national study from , Almost 9 in 10 parents think their children are performing at (or above) grade level.*  Yet, the reality is that only half of students start the year on grade level.** *B-flation: How Good Grades Can Sideline Parents, Gallup 2023  **School Pulse Panel 2022-2023, Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

All schools should have a variety of ways to help parents understand how their child is doing academically. Unfortunately, many parents don’t understand how this is measured nor do they ask the school for clarification.  In order to avoid what is being called the “Parent Perception Gap” parents should parents should frequently ask their teach for feedback and progress updates. 

To determine if your child is performing at grade level academically in Arizona K-12 public/charter schools, you should look for the following information from your child’s school and teachers:

Monitoring Student Progress

  • All Arizona public schools (district and charter) are required to administer the Arizona’s Academic Standards Assessment (AASA) This test measures proficiency in reading, writing, math, and science.

  • Arizona public schools are required to give benchmark assessments during the school year to monitor student progress and inform instruction.

  • Review report cards and ask what the different grades/scores mean in terms of meeting grade-level standards.

Questions to ask:
  • What are the specific grade-level standards and expectations in core subjects like reading, writing, and math that my child should meet (or should have met) this year?

  • How do you measure my child’s progress towards mastering grade-level skills beyond just standardized test scores?

Understanding Standardized Test Scores

  • All Arizona public schools (district and charter) are required to administer the Arizona’s Academic Standards Assessment (AASA) This test measures proficiency in reading, writing, math, and science.

  • The scores will show if your child is “proficient” or “partially proficient” compared to grade-level expectations. Proficient means they are performing at or above grade level.

  • Student’s scores are reported using percentile rank, which shows how they performed compared to other students in the same grade. A percentile rank of 50 means they scored better than 50% of students.

Questions to ask:
  • Inquire about how your child is performing on the standardized tests and  quarterly benchmarks. Find out if they are “on grade level”, “one grade below”, etc.

  • What support will the school give in helping you understand your child’s scores and performance levels on recent state assessments like AASA or AZELLA? 

Understanding Quarterly Benchmark Assessments

  • Benchmark assessments are typically given quarterly (every 9 weeks) to measure student mastery of grade-level standards in core subjects like reading, writing, and math.

  • Benchmarks provide immediate feedback to teachers on student performance

Questions to ask:
  • How frequently will I receive updates on my child’s academic performance relative to grade-level expectations? 

  • How will you be informed of progress or struggles identified by the benchmark testing?

  • How will you use assessment data to provide additional support for my child?

English Learner Progress

  • If your child is an English learner, ask for their scores on the AZELLA test and what their current English proficiency level is. This shows their progress in learning English.

Questions to ask:
  • Ask the school what support services the school is providing based on your child’s English proficiency level.

  • How is your English Language Learner’s coursework and curriculum different based on their current English proficiency level?.

  • What resources or strategies can you recommend for me to support my child’s learning at home and ensure they stay on track?


The key is having an open dialogue with your child’s teachers and school to understand how they are monitoring your child’s performance relative to grade-level expectations.  By asking focused questions in these areas, parents can gain a clear understanding of whether their child is performing at, above, or below the expected grade-level expectations. 


Don’t hesitate to ask for explanations and help interpreting test scores or progress – it can be difficult and the school should provide support and assistance. 


Tips to Prevent Summer Learning Loss for Children

By Scott Evans, Community Investment Corporation

Summer is upon us! While our kids dream of lazy summer days filled with splash pads, friends and freedom –  we as parents may worry about “summer learning loss” and how to prevent our kids from experiencing the “academic summer slip-n-slide”. We certainly don’t want to take the “fun” out of Summer, however, it can be an opportune time to strengthen their academic skills.


Here are some tips to keep a child academically challenged over the summer:

Find Learning Activities

  • Look for summer camps, classes or workshops focused on academic subjects like math, science, writing, etc. 
  • Take advantage of free online resources, library books, museum visits, etc.
  • Look for hands-on projects, workbooks, educational games/videos aligned with your child’s chosen topics.

Let Your Child Choose Topics of Internet 

  • Allow your child to decide what subjects or topics to focus on over the summer. 
  • If your child has a passion for science, history, coding, etc., help them dive deeper with projects, museum visits, or online resources.
  • Encourage them to pick a new topic each week to research and teach you about what they learned.

Encourage Reading, Writing, and Problem Solving

  • Have your child read books above their grade level – allow them to have a say in the books they read.
  • Suggest keeping a summer journal or writing creative stories.
  • Look for math camps or competitions that make problem-solving fun.
  • Incorporate math into summer activities like cooking recipes with measurements, budgeting for a trip, calculating travel times,etc.

Set Goals, Track Progress, and Give Rewards

  • Work with your child to set achievable academic goals for the summer.
  • Use a calendar or checklist to track reading minutes, assignments completed, etc. and celebrate milestones.
  • Choose a reward your child will love, like an outing, ice cream or small prize, to help motivate them towards completing their goals

The key is finding ways to make learning interactive, hands-on and related to your child’s interests to prevent “summer slide”. With some planning, you can keep their mind engaged over the long break.

Transforming Communities: Inside Tucson’s Restart SMART Schools

By: Rae Joseph, Research and Policy Specialist

The community school strategy aims to enhance student learning by transforming both the community and school environment to be more resourceful, engaging, and supportive. Community schools offer various services such as after-school and summer enrichment, family engagement, health resources, and strategies to overcome barriers to learning. These schools also provide early childhood education, adult education, and community events to address diverse family needs, ultimately striving to improve learning opportunities for students and enhance community wellness.

Higher Ground’s Restart SMART is a customized version of the community schools model, implemented in seven schools across Tucson. These schools were identified based on high-risk factors, such as chronic absenteeism. Tailored to community needs, Restart SMART focuses on being Strategic, Mindful, Agile and Aware, Resilient, and Trauma-Responsive. Each school has a dedicated team integrating life skill development, trauma-responsive practices, and executive function support. Restart SMART collaborates with community organizations to provide resources for students and families, emphasizing non-academic needs, enabling teachers and principals to concentrate on delivering high-quality education.

Higher Ground has been able to transform schools based on the specific needs of the community.  Schools have experienced:
● Academic success
● Healthy students (physically, emotionally, and socially)
● Active family involvement in children’s education
● Increased attendance and decrease in chronically absent students
● Fewer logged discipline incidents

Undoubtedly, Higher Ground’s efforts and ability to help transform these schools is a tremendous benefit to the Tucson community!  Here are some of the accomplishments that have occurred at the seven Tucson Restart SMART schools over the past few years.


  • Arizona State Letter Grade Increase (2019-2023):  D to C
  • 86% Decrease in disruptive behavior


  • Arizona State Letter Grade Increase (2019-2023):  D to C
  • 86% Average attendance rate


  • 39% Decrease in chronic absenteeism since last year
  • 75% Decrease in minor-to-minor aggression


  • Arizona State Letter Grade Increase (2019-2023):  F to C
  • 78% Reduction of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among students in caseload


  • Arizona State Letter Grade Increase (2019-2023):  F to B
  • 89% Reduction of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among students in caseload


  • Arizona State Letter Grade Increase (2019-2023):  C to B
  • 90% Average attendance rate


  • Arizona State Letter Grade Increase (2019-2023):  D to B
  • 9% Decrease in chronic absenteeism

Unique to Restart SMART is the use of Data-Powered Strategic Coaching Methods, which involves a documentation and interaction system. This system tracks student progress, sets goals, provides services, and continuously improves methods based on community feedback. The approach relies on four pillars of community schools: integrated student support, collaborative leadership, active family and student engagement, and extended learning time and opportunities. This has resulted in numerous positive outcomes, including academic success, increased attendance, and decreased discipline incidents.

To further enhance support, Higher Ground is developing the BeMapt™ app, currently in beta-testing. This scalable solution builds on the Restart SMART method, allowing youth to drive their success by documenting progress and offering continuous and responsive care. The app collects data from various sources, including interviews, schools, and partner organizations, to tailor personalized services and support based on the individual’s needs. BeMapt™ aims to empower youth, promote wellness, and eliminate limitations of space, location, or access.

Restart SMART’s commitment to prioritizing youth, family, and community needs through personalized support is evident in its innovative approach. To connect with Restart SMART and learn more about the schools involved, resources offered, and their specific locations, visit the Higher Ground website.

To learn more about these schools and view all seven Restart SMART school sites on MySchoolsTucson locator, click here.

Empowering Families: A Discussion on Informed School Selection

Scott, Director of Family and School Engagement with MySchoolsTucson
Check out this insightful open discussion dedicated to strategies communities can take to help families navigate the diverse educational landscape. This session, centered on families and students, was led by Scott Evans, Director of Family and School Engagement

Navigating the Back-to-School Transition: ADHD Accommodations for a Successful Home Environment

By Nicole Moore, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Semi-fall has arrived in southern Arizona. This is the time of year when the monsoons are winding down, and the scorching hot temperatures persist. While no falling leaves are in sight, there is still a change in the season for families in the desert.  As the rush of returning to school settles and new routines begin to take shape, parents find themselves delicately balancing the management of their children’s school and home lives. The start of a new school year often brings a mixture of excitement and challenges, especially for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


This transition also adds an extra layer of contemplation for families, as the unstructured days of summer are behind them, replaced by scholastic demands.  Parents supporting children with ADHD must take into account their child’s distinct experiences to provide customized support spanning academic, cognitive, emotional, social, and familial aspects. This can sometimes result in families feeling overwhelmed by these demands and uncertain about where to initiate their efforts.

Hence, comprehending the situation is pivotal. ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by challenges in sustaining attention, controlling impulses, and regulating hyperactivity. These symptoms can significantly impact a student’s ability to concentrate, organize tasks, and manage time effectively. Consequently, academic performance and daily routines may suffer, leading to frustration, family conflicts, and anxiety/depression.

Therefore, preparing your child for success requires careful planning. Incorporating your child’s perspective can bolster their readiness to engage in home-based accommodations that might be different from those of their siblings. This can be an opportunity for collaboration and empathy. Your child’s insights, suggestions, and ideas hold great significance in this process. 

They might have previously attempted successful approaches or possess fresh concepts you have not considered. Children are resilient and can evolve into your most steadfast allies in their own support.
So, gather a notepad, create a comfortable space, and put on your thinking caps as you and your child/teen come together to strategize a successful academic year within the home environment.

Together, here are some things to explore:  

1. Homework Space:
Take a moment to assess your home surroundings. Identify a spot where you and your child can establish a productive study area. This space should be free from distractions, clutter, and noise, creating an optimal setting for your child’s concentration. Make sure there’s ample lighting, comfortable seating, and suitable tools to address fidgeting when necessary.
It’s important to acknowledge that it’s typical for kids with ADHD to read while standing, fidget their legs under the desk while counting, or require frequent breaks to re-center their focus after extended periods of concentration. Therefore, integrating these elements into the learning environment will contribute to an extra layer of success. Friendly Reminder: Parents are masters of multitasking. It might seem convenient to have the kids work on homework at the kitchen island while preparing dinner. However, this approach is likely to result in distractions, difficulty focusing, frequent need for redirection, and potentially even moments of frustration, yelling, or tears for your child with ADHD. Bear in mind that your child with ADHD has distinct requirements compared to their siblings and may benefit from dedicated, one-on-one attention from parents (without multitasking) during homework sessions. It could be worthwhile for parents to reevaluate their expectations concerning homework space and time management, considering the individual needs of their child.

2. Time Management and Scheduling
Managing time poses challenges for numerous students, particularly those with ADHD. Allocating sufficient time for extracurricular activities, chores, and homework can reduce the need to rush through tasks, ultimately leading to a decrease in behavioral challenges. Visual schedules, reminders, and timers serve to enhance structure after school hours. For older students, digital tools, school planners, and apps can aid in task management. Teaching your child time-blocking techniques can effectively aid in prioritization and time allocation. What is the most age appropriate tool you and your child can use to help increase time management and scheduling? What would need to be done to put this into place?

3. Breaking Down Tasks and Setting Goals
The concept of sending your 7-year-old to clean their room might seem practical, but for a child with ADHD, it could prove to be an overwhelming endeavor. That’s why, after about 10 minutes, you might find them engrossed in playing with magnets instead. The key lies in breaking tasks into manageable portions to foster success.

For instance, instead of a broad directive, you could ask them to pick up and put away all the books in their room onto the bookshelf. Then, move on to the next task, one step at a time, until the entire room is tidied up. Complex assignments can be particularly daunting for students with ADHD. The intensity of focus required for such tasks often triggers a feeling of being overwhelmed, leading to shutdowns, procrastination, or task avoidance.

To address this, encouraging the division of assignments into smaller, attainable segments can make the process more feasible. Establishing both short-term and long-term goals imparts a sense of direction. Guiding your young scholar to break tasks into smaller parts and allocate time for each short-term goal within their schedule will nurture vital task-completion skills.

Don’t forget to acknowledge times of positive task completion. Commemorating even the tiniest accomplishments can heighten motivation.

4. Effective Study Techniques for ADHD Learners
Customizing study techniques to align with the distinctive learning styles of students with ADHD can lead to favorable results. Incorporating active learning strategies, like hands-on activities or discussions, can heighten engagement. Employing multi-sensory methods that encompass visual, auditory, and kinesthetic components can strengthen the learning process. Moreover, integrating self-testing and retrieval practices can enhance information retention. Transforming a regular paper-and-pencil homework task into something more dynamic can significantly contribute to maintaining your child’s engagement. If they are bored, get creative!

5. Incorporating Sensory Strategies & Breaks
Collaboratively, pinpoint some indicators for both you and your child to recognize as signals that it’s time for a break. One method to counteract burnout involves implementing structured breaks. For instance, after every 30 minutes of concentrated work, allow for a 10-minute break. Often, children and teenagers may be uncertain about how to spend these breaks. Here, parents can offer support by introducing sensory reset techniques, like calming activities or gentle movement exercises. Drinking water, doing wall pushes, heading outdoors for a quick run, or even performing push-ups can be beneficial for those seeking sensory input.

Sensory strategies hold a pivotal role in helping students with ADHD maintain engagement and focus. It’s worth noting that, at times, parents might interpret these strategies as play during homework time. However, fidget tools can channel excess energy, ultimately enhancing concentration.

6. Communication and Collaboration
Effective communication among parents, teachers, and students is paramount to your child’s success. Sharing ADHD accommodations and strategies across both home and school environments ensures everyone is aligned and working collaboratively toward a shared objective. Having consistent accommodations in both settings enhances support and coherence.

Empowering students to express their needs and challenges cultivates a sense of empowerment. Many students find it challenging to seek help in the school context due to social embarrassment. However, the ability to advocate for oneself is an invaluable skill. Teaching your child to identify their strengths and areas for improvement empowers them to seek appropriate assistance, fostering a heightened sense of achievement and self-assuredness.

At home, engage in regular check-ins with your child to discuss in-home accommodations. Collaboratively identifying areas for refinement ensures your child receives the most beneficial support and the space to explore and advocate for their needs. It’s important to keep in mind that what proved effective in one school year might necessitate adjustments in the next, reflecting the evolving nature of your child’s needs.

7. Time In
Children and teenagers with ADHD often experience frequent refusals, and it can feel like you’re constantly telling them no. Dedicate a minimum of 15 minutes each day for “time-in” with your child – this is your “YES” time. Say yes to watching them play video games, yes to participating in a board game, and yes to being present as they attempt to learn their new favorite TikTok dance (without making remarks about the tidiness of their room).

Kids with ADHD possess remarkable talents, and when they discover something they love, their hyperfocus – a hallmark of ADHD – propels them to excel. Engaging in your child’s passions offers you the opportunity to view the world through their eyes. This unique time investment fosters connections and enhances relationships.

8. Setbacks and Celebrating Progress
Setbacks are an inherent aspect of every learning journey. One of the toughest aspects of parenting is witnessing your child face difficulties. Nonetheless, affording your child room to stumble, being there to catch them when they falter, and aiding them in their efforts to rise and try again play a pivotal role in their long-term success. Grasping this concept and extending unwavering support to your child during trying moments is crucial.

There might be moments when it appears that setbacks are occurring. However, it could be that your child is not aligning with your expectations. This path might lead to a slippery slope of guilt and shame as a parent/advocate. At times, this could drive you to push your child beyond their capacity, inducing feelings of guilt and shame for not meeting your expectations.

Hence, consider involving a trusted co-parent, friend or therapist to assist in evaluating your expectations. Paradoxically, as you support your child, you may uncover the necessity for additional support for yourself. This process might even unveil an opportunity for the catalyzing change and healing on an intergenerational level. This may be challenging, however, it is a sign of growth.

Similarly, do not overlook the power of celebration! Make sure you are acknowledging and commemorating small triumphs and enhancements, regardless of their magnitude, for this fosters self-esteem and nurtures a resilient attitude. Maybe the celebration focuses on the mere fact that your child is trying. That is huge! How can you celebrate your child in big and small milestones?

Alright, you’ve got your strategies all mapped out and ready to implement! Great job, everyone! Just keep in mind that things won’t magically fall into place and go smoothly right away. These changes will require time and adjustment as you gather data on what works best. Be sure to give yourself some grace as a caring parent who wants the best for your child. With time, these home accommodations you’re putting in place will become second nature, and you’ll start seeing those positive outcomes. Hang in there, because you’re doing an amazing job too!


In conclusion, establishing a supportive home environment for students with ADHD requires a joint endeavor marked by comprehension, patience, and flexibility. By putting into practice the personalized strategies that you and your child devise, parents, students, and educators collectively contribute to a smooth back-to-school transition. Through transparent communication, customized accommodations, and a nurturing atmosphere, students with ADHD can not only excel academically but also cultivate the essential skills for a promising future.

Nicole Moore

Nicole Moore is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist based in Tucson, AZ. With a focus on mental health, Nicole brings considerable experience in assisting individuals and families. She has a specialization in working with ADHD, spanning children, teenagers, and adults.

Beyond her professional role, Nicole possesses firsthand understanding as a parent of a child with ADHD. Her perspective aligns with the belief that ADHD, when channeled effectively through positive accommodations, can become a unique strength. Outside of her clinical work, Nicole relishes quality time with her family, outdoor pursuits, and embarking on new adventures. 

The 8 questions every parent should ask at parent-teacher conferences

Two adults reviewing paperwork in a classroom

By Scott Evans, Community Investment Corporation

Can you believe it is already almost time for parent-teacher conferences?

Parent-teacher nights are coming up soon. This is a great first step in engaging with the teacher and supporting your child. This is your opportunity to form a relationship with the teacher and learn more about the time your child spends at school.

So let’s get prepared!

Why Are Parent/Teacher Conferences Important?

There is no magic wand for you to wave that will increase your child’s chances at school success. However, researchers have continually pointed to one key success factor: family engagement or parental involvement. Research has shown that students whose parents are involved in their education have better attendance, get better grades, demonstrate better social skills, and have less disciplinary issues.

Dive into the research here:

Two adults reviewing paperwork in a classroom

What Should I Expect at the Parent/Teacher Conference?

In most cases, your time will be limited, as the teacher has many families to meet with during the week of conferences. Therefore, coming prepared with questions will help ensure the conversation touches on things you want to know. Here are some tips to help you get started!

  • Meetings are typically held at the school, in-person and one-on-one.
  • Meeting length is typically 15-30 minutes in length (so time will be limited).
  • Ask questions that will help you gain insight into your child’s performance and behavior during class time.

Tips to Team Up with Your Teacher

You are the expert of your child at home and your teacher is the expert in the classroom. Be prepared to share and help the teacher get to know your child.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions… even if you are afraid to hear the answer OR you think you already know the answer.

You don’t have to be an expert in reading and math to advocate for your child. But, you certainly can learn how to better support your child academically. Find out what your child is expected to learn, what “grade level” looks like in key subjects, and how you can best support them at home.

Go beyond grades! Grades are only part of the story. There are many other important child development milestones and qualities to nurture. Inquire about listening skills, social and emotional skills and character development.

8 Essential Questions to Ask the Teacher!

To be best prepared for these meetings here are 8 of the most important questions to ask during a parent/teacher conference.

  1. How do you prefer to communicate? (Email, phone, text, school app, planner)
  2. In what moments do you see my child thriving and struggling?
  3. How does my child get along with other students and teachers? (Do they have friends, include others, being left out, etc.)
  4. Does my child ask questions and advocate for themselves when they don’t understand?
  5. What are the key grade level math and reading skills my child is expected to learn this year?
  6. How will I as a parent/guardian know if and when my child is struggling or excelling academically?
  7. How can I best support my child at home?
  8. How can I best support you (the teacher)?

Hopefully, these questions will help make your parent/teacher conference productive, insightful and informative. We hope you take advantage of this opportunity to engage with your child’s teacher and learn how you can best set your child up for success!

For more research on Family Engagement visit the Research Blog at the Annie E. Casey Foundation
For more family resources and a Parent’s Guide to Student Success visit the National PTA

Scott Evans

Scott Evans is currently the Director of Family and School Engagement at Community Investment Corporation (CIC) and is also the Director of He has his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. His experience includes over 15 years of experience working as the Director of Counseling in both public and private education. In addition, Scott has coached high school sports for over 20 years. He has dedicated much of his life to serving children and their families.

Community Investment Corporation

Community Investment Corporation’s (CIC) goal is to promote economic inclusion for all members of southern Arizona, regardless of socioeconomic status. Our work ensures that more people in our community can buy homes, can access the education they want for their children, and can get the funding they need to start, sustain, and grow their small businesses. CIC proudly powers to ensure that all Pima County families have access to free, accurate, and unbiased information about schools so that they can make informed decisions about their child’s education. For more information please visit

What to Consider as your Child Transitions from Preschool to Kindergarten 

By Amy Morales Baum, First Things First

As a parent there are many decisions to make. Some decisions are easier, for example what to make our children for breakfast, while others are much more weighty. As a parent, I found that deciding which elementary school my child would attend to be one of those weighty decisions. In the state of Arizona, there are many options for education. When you are navigating this for the first time it can be overwhelming. As a former preschool director and parent who has navigated this transition for myself and others, here are few considerations I think are important to prioritize: 

What school will fit my child and our family best?

This is a question that is important to consider. What setting will your child thrive in a small or larger class setting, traditional or more hands-on learning? Is location important? Do you wish to have a school or district that continues on to upper grades? Do you desire language immersion? Are finances a concern? What is/are your goal(s) for your child at the end of their elementary education? Do you desire a faith-based education? Will this be a school that will work for all of your children or do you plan to take your children to different schools? Take a moment to consider these questions as you research schools.

Start Early! Open Enrollment and Time Frames

In Tucson, you have lots of school options including public, private, charter, homeschool and combination schools. To open enroll, meaning enroll in a school outside of your district, there are strict deadlines and timeframes to do so. Dates and enrollment typically start in November and deadlines close between December and January for many schools. Make sure to look up the dates and information for the potential schools you would like to send your child to and enroll as soon as the dates open. If you live in the district and desire for your child to attend the district school you can enroll your child online. Time frames are not quite as tight for this.

Kinder Round Ups

Kinder Round Ups are meetings at your potential next school to discuss the ins and outs of the school. You usually learn about the program and what their focus is, meet some teachers and get a chance to ask questions. It can be very helpful to attend these as meeting administrators, teachers and hearing first hand can be a good indicator of what the school will be like. These usually begin in November. Call any schools you are interested in the early Fall to get these dates on your calendar.

Funding Options

Arizona has many funding options for private schools for your child. These include the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program and tax credit programs. The programs can be used for private schools, both religious and secular. If you are desiring a private school, ask the school administrators about the options for funding. It is 100% possible to get your child’s private education fully funded through these programs with a little work and knowledge of the process.

Anticipate the Transition

This is a big transition for you and for your child. Big emotions may come for children and parents. This is normal. Allow your child and yourself to process the changes, while encouraging them and comforting them in this transition. The step from preschool to elementary school is one of the first steps from our child being a little kid to now stepping into the big kid world.

With these considerations in mind, hopefully the overwhelming nature of this decision feels a little less overwhelming. Ultimately, I hope this process allows you to find a school where you feel confident sending your child and your child is able to thrive.

Amy Morales Baum

Amy Morales Baum is currently the Regional Director of Pima North for First Things First. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Her experience includes teaching in public, private and international settings, working with the Arizona Early Intervention Program, serving children and families in the Department of Child Safety, and leading as a preschool administrator.

First Things First

First Things First is a voter funded initiative that is committed to seeing all of Arizona’s children ready to succeed in school and in life. This is done through the work of local volunteer Regional Councils who decide on programs to fund in the region that support young children and their families. In Pima County, programs include scholarships for early childhood education; literacy programs that show families how literacy starts at an early age; home visitation programs that provide voluntary in-home parent coaching from a trained parent educator a few times a month; and more. For more information go to: