A charter school with ties to Scottsdale is the third-best high school in the nation, according to Newsweek magazine’s list of the 100 best American high schools released Monday.
BASIS Tucson, a sister school to BASIS Scottsdale, was the only Arizona school to make the list, earning national attention and a nod on “Good Morning America.”
The magazine ranked the rigor of public schools around the country by examining the number of graduating seniors who took Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams.
“BASIS charter schools are founded on the belief that typical students can excel when that’s expected of them,” said the school’s co-founder Michael Block. “We create a culture of high expectations for every one of our students.”
Block credited much of the success to Arizona charter law, which he said gave schools like BASIS latitude and freedom.
BASIS Tucson began in 1998 as a college prep school with a rigorous science and math program. All graduating seniors must pass at least one Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam, which qualifies them to earn college credits.
Founders opened the Scottsdale middle school in 2003. They planned to open a Scottsdale high school in fall that would mirror the Tucson school’s curriculum — but did not reach enrollment targets, said BASIS Scottsdale’s director Diane Moser.
Instead, Moser will run BASIS Tucson next year, before returning to Scottsdale and trying, again, to open a high school in 2007.
But unlike BASIS Tucson, the Scottsdale high school will most likely be private and tuition-based because of the high cost of operating in the Valley, she said.