I'm so glad that my daughter agreed to attend Desert Academy at the beginning of her senior year. At her previous school, her grades had been slowly, progressively sinking since junior high, and we knew it was not a reflection of her abilities. She had a hard time feeling motivated, she had a hard time understanding what some of the teachers wanted in terms of assignments, and overall, the morale seemed not only low but infectious. At Desert, she was welcomed warmly both by faculty and students. Soon, her "worst" subjects became her best subjects, and she was also challenged to improve her performance in her former best subjects--and rose to the task. She worked hard, knew what was expected of her, and felt comfortable communicating with her teachers when she needed clarification. Her senior year grades have soared, and with them, her confidence, too. She made wonderful friendships that will last way beyond high school. Her horizons have been broadened by being in such excellent company. The administration supports students on an individual basis, from using a collaborative approach to create their schedules to making sure a student can make alternative arrangements if two final exams are scheduled at the same time. The campus is beautiful, has a lovely location, and the parent community is so involved and warm. As a parent, I loved getting weekly information about all that was going and coming up in the school's Desert Times. Desert Academy worked with us to make sure tuition would be sustainable for our budget. It's so valuable and rare for a private school to work so hard to be available to families with different financial situations. I don't think I would have imagined that it could work for us unless a friend who worked here at the time hadn't brought it to my attention, so please don't assume that it's out of reach.
Candace Walsh, (Parent, 2019 Graduate)
For our family, becoming part of Desert Academy happened by accident. This IB school was not on our radar and turned out to be much different from the vague ideas we had about the school. My daughter Iza and I love Desert Academy for its happy and safe environment, the wonderful social atmosphere amongst its students, the creative and exceptional level of academics, the personal interaction with teachers and staff, its small class sizes, and the true care that’s always present. I feel very confident that the education my daughter receives at Desert will be her best possible preparation for a happy and effective college education.
Arian Roefs (Parent of 10th Grader)
Happiness is positively associated with personal drive to learn, and the relationships students form with their teachers play an influential role in their happiness at school. Our son is happy at Desert, not only because he enjoys learning and is stimulated by the curriculum, but because he feels known and valued by his teachers. Part of the reason why students at Desert feel so comfortable taking risks and thrive as learners is because they feel such genuine warmth from all their teachers.
Kirsten Mitchell (Parent of 10th Grader)
My daughter is in her first year at Desert Academy and wow what I difference I have seen in the first month of attending your school. For the past 2 years my daughter has been depressed, distant and very angry. She could not communicate to me her frustrations and pain very well. She did not want to get up for school and would through temper tantrums every morning. It was not pleasant to say the least. Since starting at Desert Academy she is up every morning and ready to go to school. She comes home and gets right down to her homework. She is getting straight A's and for the first time in her life she is truly happy with her life and her school. I want to thank the Head of School and all the staff at Desert for contributing to my daughter's happy life. She tells me how supported and understood she feels. Thank you so much from the happiest mother on earth. I cannot tell you all how much nicer my life is having my daughter back to herself after a couple horrible years. Desert Academy is the best school we have ever attended.
Amrita Reitz (Parent 7th Grader)
I am so grateful that I have been able to spend the last 6 years of my life at Desert. The immense encouragement to do more than a typical “high school student” has not only made applying to college easier, but has allowed me to create so many connections with my teachers and peers that I am so appreciative of through extracurriculars and the classroom. The experiences that I have been lucky enough to have have helped me grow as a person and feel more connected to local and global issues. And although I am extremely confident that the academic strength I have gained will put me ahead in college, I am so thankful for the memories I will take with me as I move forward- ones that I can always look back to and smile about.
Jessica LeBron (Class of 2019)
Desert Academy is a rigorously academic school, but that doesn’t mean I sacrifice anything. Teachers are supportive and understanding, and Desert has allowed me to develop passions in and out of the classroom.
Ki Cooley-Winters (Class of 2018, Columbia University)
At Desert Academy, students have the opportunity and support they need to find out who they are in a safe and creative environment. Whether it’s participating in clubs or activities, working on projects, sitting in the classroom, dressing up for Halloween (a rarity these days), or just interacting with each other and staff, kids get the chance to truly express themselves and know that they are heard and appreciated. Middle school and high school are tough years, and my kids have emerged from Desert Academy with a strong sense of self, which sets them up for success in college and in life!
Carolyn Graham (Parent of a graduate, 2018, and 9th Grader)
After six years in a community where hard work, kindness, and curiosity are not just encouraged, but cultivated, I am beyond honored and excited to share “Desertness” with the world.
Natalie Longmire-Kulus (Class of 2018, Stanford)