With over 300 public schools across 30 school districts and more than 200 charter, magnet and private schools, the options for education and schools in Phoenix abound. As a parent making the move to Phoenix, you'll have to do your research and consider several factors.

The standard of teaching, the type of school, and the proximity of the school to home and the parents' place of work are major factors you'll have to consider. Cost also plays a part in the ultimate decision, especially when considering private schooling options.

As in the rest of the US, schools in Phoenix are split between three levels: elementary schools (preschool to grade 5), middle school (grade 6 to 8), and high school (grade 9 to 12).

Public schools in Phoenix

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While there are some excellent public schools in Phoenix, there are many more that are failing, plagued by issues of underfunding as well as safety concerns. On the whole, the state of Arizona has a long way to go before its public schools come close to the average national US or international standard. 

That said, the local government in Arizona have started to take the matter of public education more seriously in recent years. There has been a recognition that offering residents a globally competitive education is essential to boost the area's future economy by retaining talent. Standards are gradually improving as a result of these efforts. 

Because public schooling is available to all legal residents at no cost, it is definitely an option worth considering. Parents must investigate the standard of schools and decide where they’ll set up home, according to proximity to good schools. 

Charter schools

These semi-autonomous public schools still receive public funds and operate under the appropriate school's district. While the governing bodies at charter schools do have some flexibility in terms of school management and assessment, they still follow the state-mandated curriculum. There are fewer catchment area restrictions regarding admission to charter schools. 

Magnet schools

Like charter schools, magnet schools are also partially funded by the state. But because they receive external funding too, they aren’t strictly bound by the US national curriculum and therefore have the opportunity to develop a more subject-focused curriculum. 
Typically, these schools focus on subjects such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths), the performing arts or languages. As teachers at magnet schools are required to be specialists in a given area, the standard of teaching tends to be better. 

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Private schools in Phoenix

Prospective residents may choose to enrol their children in a private school. Over 200 private schools in the wider Phoenix area cover pre-K to 12th grade. The standards at private schools tend to be better than those at public schools. Students can access good-quality facilities and various extracurricular activities such as sports, music and the performing arts. Class sizes also tend to be smaller, so students can get more attention, if necessary.

The downside of private school attendance is the cost. In addition to paying tuition fees, you will need to factor in other expenses such as the cost of textbooks, extracurricular activities, uniforms, and field trips. 

International schools in Phoenix

There are a handful of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in Phoenix. Attending one of these schools is a good option for expats relocating to Phoenix, especially if their children have previously studied at an IB school overseas. Those who plan to relocate overseas in the future might also consider this option for their children, as the IB is one of the most widely recognised academic qualifications at a global level.

While some IB schools are public schools, these tend to be oversubscribed, so parents must apply well ahead of time to increase the likelihood of securing a place. There are also several private IB schools where parents will be required to pay tuition fees, so those must be factored into the equation when making a decision to apply. 

Special-needs education in Phoenix

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The support services available for students with special needs and disabilities in Phoenix are fairly good. The Arizona Department of Education offers a range of support features for students with learning difficulties and various service delivery options. 

There is an Individualised Education Programme (IEP) Team that assesses students to determine the level of support necessary. If possible, measures will be implemented to accommodate students within the mainstream public schooling system. In cases where disabilities are more severe, more specialist facilities are available to help. 

Phoenix has a wide variety of specialised schooling options that cater for the unique needs of students with learning difficulties or those who suffer from various developmental, emotional and behavioural issues. While some of these schools are publicly funded charter schools, others are tuition-based private schools. Families who can’t afford to send their children to a private special-needs school can apply for financial assistance through various government programmes. 

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Tutors in Phoenix

Whether a student needs to catch up in a particular subject or wants to get ahead with some support for their college entrance exams, there are lots of private tutors on hand to help in Phoenix.

If you want a good private tutor for your child, the best place to start the search is by asking for recommendations at your children's school or talking to other parents in the neighbourhood. The alternative would be to utilise an established tutoring service. Parliament Tutors and Club Z! Tutoring Services are examples of established tutoring companies in Phoenix. These companies offer a range of packages from one-to-one tuition in the comfort of the student's home to small group sessions at a training centre.

The additional support provided by private tutors can allow students to address any gaps in their knowledge, progress in a certain subject area, or simply build confidence.

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