Great Hearts Academies

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Great Hearts Academies
Great Hearts logo.jpg
Great Hearts logo
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
USA
Information
Type Non-profit Charter School Management Organization
Motto Classical Education, Revolutionary Schools
Established 2004
Website

Great Hearts Academies is a non-profit charter school management organization that operates a network of primary, middle, and high schools in the Phoenix, Arizona Metropolitan area and in San Antonio, Texas.

In Arizona, Great Hearts Academies has 7,469 students enrolled for the 2013-14 school year.[citation needed]

National expansion[edit]

Great Hearts Texas is a sister network to Great Hearts Arizona and its twenty two academies. Great Hearts Texas will first open schools in San Antonio and then, if approved by the state for further charters, in Dallas, Houston, and Austin.

Great Hearts Texas began the 2014-15 school year with 590 students in grades K-9 enrolled at the Monte Vista campus in San Antonio.[citation needed]

Results[edit]

Great Hearts' students score near the highest in the state on standardized tests, with nationally-norm referenced test performance across grades and subjects typically in the 80th to 95th percentile.[citation needed]

Nearly 19% of Great Hearts graduates are recognized by the National Merit Foundation. Over the past five years, 10% of Great Hearts graduates have received National Merit Scholarships.[citation needed]

Controversies[edit]

Policy on Transgender Students[edit]

In June 2016, the Great Hearts corporate Board of Directors adopted a policy that requires their transgender students to align all school activities with their biological sex, rather than the student's gender identity.[1] The student's participation in extra curricular clubs, sports, and the use of facilities (restrooms, et. al.) all must align with the sex of the student as printed on his or her birth certificate. This requirement extends further to Great Hearts' gendered hair cutting standards, school uniform requirements, "girls line/boys line" classroom management, and daily pronoun usage.[2]

Great Hearts' policy on transgender students is strongly opposed by local LGBT organizations and transgender advocates.[3] Opponents to the policy argue that Great Hearts has chosen to ignore clear guidance from the medical and psychological communities regarding how best to support their transgender student population.[4] Instead, by demanding the student's birth sex be the sole consideration with respect to the student's gender, Great Hearts is advocating for a form of conversion therapy.

Great Hearts argues that, since the civil rights of the transgender population is not yet a matter of settled law in the United States, the Board of Directors will define school policy in line with current statutory guidance and use the birth certificate as the official document that defines a student's gender.[1]

Local Reaction[edit]

On April 25, 2017, the city council of Scottsdale, Arizona discussed whether or not to move forward with exploring a land agreement between the city and Great Hearts Academies to build an athletic complex near the community of DC Ranch. The City Council cited a number of concerns they have before finalizing any agreement with Great Hearts, chief among them, the Great Hearts policy on transgender students.[5][6]

The Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a strongly worded press release opposing the city's partnership with Great Hearts until the discriminatory policy is replaced.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Great Hearts - Scottsdale Preparatory Academy - Family Handbook" (PDF). http://scottsdaleprep.greatheartsacademies.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2016/12/SPA-Handbook.pdf.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ "Transgender Student Says Arizona Great Hearts Academies' Policy Is Discriminatory". KJZZ. 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  3. ^ "Great Hearts Transgender Policy". Great Hearts Transgender Policy. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  4. ^ Olson, Kristina R.; Durwood, Lily; DeMeules, Madeleine; McLaughlin, Katie A. (2016-02-26). "Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities". Pediatrics: peds.2015–3223. doi:10.1542/peds.2015-3223. ISSN 0031-4005. PMC 4771131Freely accessible. PMID 26921285. 
  5. ^ "Scottsdale Councilwoman: Great Hearts Must Change Transgender Policy To Partner With City". KJZZ. 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2017-04-28. 
  6. ^ "Scottsdale City Council approves initiation of DC Ranch park planning". Scottsdale Independent. 2017-04-26. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  7. ^ "ACLU of Arizona Urges Scottsdale to Refuse Park Partnership with Great Hearts Academies". ACLU of Arizona. 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-04-27.