School Spotlight: Sonoran Science Academy

einstein - Sonoran Science Academy
- Sonoran Science Academy

In 2009, a group of educators came together because they recognized that students in the United States were lagging behind their peers from other countries in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). They held a shared belief that a rigorous, skill-level curriculum that focused specifically on these areas would prepare America's youth to achieve success in college, the workplace, and the 21st century.

Sonoran Science Academy was born with the vision "to be America's premiere STEM school organization, graduating future leaders and world caliber talent."

With four campuses in Phoenix and three campuses in Tucson, the public charter school seeks to meet these goals with a STEM-focused curriculum, dedicated and talented teachers, high academic and behavioral expectations, data-driven decisions, and parent & community involvement.

In addition to the interdisciplinary curriculum, SSA offers many unique STEM courses at the high school level such as Exploring Engineering Through Robotics, Advanced STEM Program, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Calculus III, Differential Equations, and all major AP science and math courses.

Sonoran Science Academy consistently ranks on "top 50" and "top 100" high school lists in the USA. 85% of graduates pursue higher education following graduation.

Because SSA is a charter school, there are no tuition fees and no geographic restrictions. Any Arizona student may attend.

Sonoran Science Academy AT A GLANCE

Type of School: public charter

Location: Three campuses in Tucson

  • Sonoran Science Academy Broadway, K-8 - 6680 E. Broadway Blvd.
  • Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan, grades 6-12 - 5741 E. Ironwood St.
  • Sonoran Science Academy Tucson, K-5 AND Sonoran Science Academy Tucson, grades 6-12 - 2325 W. Sunset Rd.

Number of students per campus: 

  • Sonoran Science Academy Broadway, K-8: 340
  • Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan, 6-12: 210
  • Sonoran Science Academy Tucson, K-5: 320
  • Sonoran Science Academy Tucson, 6-12: 400

Student/Teacher ratio: Elementary 16:1; Middle/High School 13:1


  • STEM-FOCUSED CURRICULUM - emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math
  • COLLEGE PREPARATORY - As a college preparatory academy, SSA "expects each and every one of our students to graduate, enter college, and receive significant financial aid."
  • STEM ELECTIVES AND CLUBS - Computer Programming, Web Authoring, Robotics, A+ Math, Science Bowl, Lego Club, Puzzle Club, etc.
  • ADVANCED MATH CLASSES - Whereas some schools offer math up to Calculus, SSA offers AP Calculus, AP Statistics, and Calculus III.
  • THREE MATH "TRACKS" PER GRADE LEVEL - Students test into one of three math grade levels each year - regular, accelerated, or advanced.
  • OPTIONAL ONCE A YEAR HOME VISIT - Teachers visit students in their home once a year to build stronger connections.
  • COMMUNITY SERVICE REQUIREMENT - High school students must complete 20 hours of community service before graduation.
  • HIGH COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT - dual-enrollment classes, business partnerships, mentoring, and events

Tuition: None

Uniforms: Yes. Gently used uniforms are available for purchase at a discount.

Bus service: No

Cafeteria: Students bring their lunch or a hot lunch can be purchased through the catering company.

Full Day or 1/2 Day Kindergarten:

Half-day kindergarten is free; full-day is available at a fee. Needs-based scholarships are available to qualified families.

Foreign language: No foreign language in K-6. Students choose between Turkish and Spanish in 7th-12th grade.

Foreign language is a required elective for grades 6-8. In high school, all students are required to take two years of foreign language (same language) to graduate.


At the elementary school, PE is part of the standard curriculum for all grades and a Sports Club is offered as an extracurricular activity, where students learn how to play sports such as basketball and soccer.

In middle school, PE is part of the standard curriculum for all grades, while students in high school are required to have 1 credit of PE to graduate. The middle and high school maintains membership in the Southern Arizona Athletic Association and has teams in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and flag football.

Social Media: Sonoran Schools on Facebook and Sonoran Schools on Twitter

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