College & Career Readiness

At DHPA, our 5th-12th grade program is developed to prepare students for the next step in their educational journey. Our goal is to progressively expose students to resources that allow them to gain life skills, apply for scholarships as early as 5th grade and prepare them for college readiness tests while also employing them with tools for college, career and social experiences.

As students enter high school, they begin to receive individual attention and access to an Academic Adviser to plan for their future, a rarity in traditional public schools. Advisory offers students an opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops designed to assist students in the development of their post-graduation plans.  From building resumes, learning interview skills, completing community service hours and applying for scholarships, students gain irreplaceable life skills.  In addition to the workshops, high school students frequently meet with their grade level adviser and attend several local college tours. College tours present an opportunity for students to explore options which helps them narrow down their preferences.

We intend to provide resources like the ones listed below that offer students the competitive readiness advantage they deserve, whether they are planning for college or direct workforce entry.

  • 5th-8th Grade Roadmaps
  • Grade Level Workshops (5th-12th)
  • Education Career Action Plan (ECAP)
  • Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment Coursework
  • College Preparation Tests, Testing Dates and Tips
  • Scholarships
  • Financial Aid Assistance
  • Senior Projects
  • Advisory Posts
  • And much more!!

Throughout the school year we offer a variety of workshops covering topics that are developmentally appropriate, based on age and need. While one grade may be learning about self esteem and conflict management, another may be engaged in resume writing and learning workforce skills. Each workshop is designed to help students think independently and build a life skills toolkit. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Middle School (5th/6th) – 1 College based and 1 specialty workshop (e.g., cyber bullying, etc.)
  • Junior High (7th/8th)– 1 College based and 2 specialty workshops (e.g., cyber bullying, girls leadership, etc.)
  • 8th Grade – 1 college speaker and 1 college tour
  • High School students participate in monthly workshops that cover topics like resume building, importance of GPA, interview skills, AZCIS guide, senior projects, scholarships, FAFSA, college applications, letters of recommendations, etc.  In addition to these items, students also participate in the following:
    • 9th Grade – 2 college speakers
    • 10th Grade – 3 college speakers
    • 11th/12th  Grade – 4 college speakers

Throughout the school year events are scheduled to further support our college readiness initiatives.

  • On Fridays, students are encouraged to participate in College Awareness Day (CAD) by wearing a college top and dress code appropriate bottoms.
  • November is Coyote College Campaign month. With a focus on college awareness, all grade levels participate in pennant competitions, college trivia, classroom door competitions, create college future boards and more. High School students additionally host a college awareness activity for our younger kindergarten through 4th grade Coyotes at Desert Heights Charter Schools.
  • During our Annual College Fair, we feature a variety of local and out-of-state colleges, along with trade schools and military programs.

College tours expose our students to post-graduation options and to evaluate college sizes, programs and types (2-year, 4-year, private, etc.). During the tours students have an opportunity to hear from college representatives and ask questions of college professors and students. Locations vary throughout the students 4 years at DHPA, but will likely include Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Arizona Christian University, Maricopa Community Colleges, Ottawa University, Midwestern University, St. Benedictine University, and more!

  • 8th Grade – 1 college tour
  • 9th Grade – 2 college tours
  • 10th Grade – 3 college tours
  • 11th/12th Grade – 4 college tours each

We offer a variety of opportunities for all students to prepare for college exams by utilizing applications, college preparation toolkits, practice tests and more.

  • The ACT Aspire, available for 5th-10th grade students, is intended to provide students with a testing atmosphere that prepares them for the longevity and knowledge needed to be successful when taking the ACT test as a Junior.  We’ve learned that this test prep activity is an efficient and cost effective way for students to boost their confidence while also exposing them to the concepts that allow them to improve ACT scores.
  • High School students are highly encouraged to complete the Practice SAT (PSAT) and Practice ACT (PACT) to have an understanding of both and to measure readiness for each.
  • ACT and SAT tests are college admissions test measuring what students have learned in high school to determine academic readiness for college. Additionally, these test scores are evaluated when colleges issue merit based scholarships. Click below for testing dates and locations.
  • When students receive their college acceptances, advisers guide them through placement test requirements as needed.

*Note: See the “Resources” tab for additional tips, tricks and reference material to assist in preparing for these exams. 

Our high school program includes rigorous college credit opportunities through Maricopa County Community Colleges, the CollegeBoard AP program and more.

Advanced Placement
Advanced Placement classes allow students to take college-level courses and earn college credit, advanced placement, or both while still in high school.  To qualify for a 5.0 weighted GPA scale available for AP courses, students must take the associated AP test which is $100/course. Additionally, to earn college credit, students must pass the test with the score designated by the student’s college of choice. We currently offer the following AP opportunities and plan to continue growing the program next school year.

  • AP Biology
  • AP European History
  • AP Chemistry
  • AP US/American History
  • AP English Composition
  • AP English Literature
  • AP Government
  • AP Economics
  • AP Calculus I/II
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Physics

Dual Enrollment
In partnership with Maricopa County Community Colleges, we also offer dual enrollment courses. Dual enrollment classes provide high school students with college level coursework and credit in a DHPA classroom by a DHPA teacher.  These courses require students take the necessary college placement exam(s) and a $86/credit hour fee applies.  Students enrolled in these courses, earn college credit when completing the class with a passing grade per the Maricopa County Community Colleges policy.  The following dual enrollment courses are being offered, but we plan to continue growing the program next school year

  • Math 151 (4 College credits/1 High School credit)
  • Spanish 101 (4 College credits/1 High School credit)
  • Spanish 102 (4 College credits/1 High School credit)

Other College Coursework/Credit Opportunities
As a college preparatory program, we are continually looking for student opportunities to earn college credit and participate in rigorous coursework.  Students interested in any of the following options should communicate with their adviser for additional details.

*Note: Refer to the “Resources” section for additional reference material including recommended study materials for AP courses.

  • AzCIS
  • SAT app/website
  • ACT app/website
  • Scholarship app/website
  • Financial Calculator
  • TED Talks
  • Khan Academy
  • Trend resources (cyberbulling, self-esteem, etc.)
  • Bullet the academic and advisory requirements and link to docs.
  • Transfer students’ disclaimer……

Courtney Martin
Advisory Program Administrator

Courtney’s bio…….

Marissa Robles
Freshman Adviser

Marissa’s bio…….

Stephanie Delion
Sophomore Adviser

Stephanie’s bio…….

Amanda Brownlow
Junior Adviser

Amanda’s bio…….

Michelle Robles
Senior Adviser

Michelle’s bio…….



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Tips and tricks…..

Senior Projects

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Prematurity Awareness
By: Marina Jado

Special Olympics – Fostering Hope Project
By: Trevor McFarlane

Buckeye Kennel Project
By: Jacob Nicholas

The Healing Butterfly
By: Emma Fry