Love Your School: Guest Article by Jenny Clark
By Jenny Clark
Jenny Clark is an Arizona native and mother of five. As her kids began to approach school age, she was inspired to create a platform to inform other parents of the amazing and diverse educational opportunities available in Arizona. Prompted by this passion for students and their families, Jenny started Love Your School, a movement designed to come alongside parents and celebrate school options in Arizona. To find out more about Love Your School, click here.
It’s time to celebrate all the K-12 schooling options Arizona has to offer. Contrary to what we often hear from the media, there are some incredible things happening in Arizona schools. Because of the array of educational options, more and more kids throughout Arizona have been able to find the educational setting that best meets their needs. These stories are ready to be told!
As I reflect on my years at Desert Cove Elementary, Shea Middle School, and Shadow Mountain High School, I see what a critical role the teachers and the education I received had in developing and shaping my future. That’s why it’s so important that families have options, and that kids can be in a place where they can thrive. That’s why I started “Love Your School.”
Love Your School is all about celebrating school options in Arizona. Because every kid is unique, parents need to know that Arizona has more schooling options than any other state. Whether that’s a district, charter, online, private, or homeschool environment. Arizona also has several incredible scholarship opportunities through Tax Credit Scholarships (STO) and Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA).
A few years ago, when my oldest was approaching school age, I realized that my husband and I would have some decisions to make. What were our options? When should we start? What school would be best for him? Like so many parents during this season, these questions weighed on my mind. It’s a mixture of excitement and uncertainty as one begins to decide what educational environment is best for their own children.
Throughout this process, I began to realize that Arizona had blossomed into a state with an incredible amount of educational opportunity. Many of these exciting possibilities weren’t around when I was a kid. In fact, I began to realize some of these options, like charter schools, didn’t even exist in other states I had lived in. A deep sense of gratitude began to develop for my home state, as the realization that no matter what educational path we ended up on, just by living in Arizona, my kids have an advantage.
Little did we know at the time, but our oldest two sons would be diagnosed with specific learning disabilities, and would need an individualized education plan for them to succeed. Thankfully, my sons qualified for the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account, which has allowed them to get the resources and help that they need. As parents, we can prepare and plan for our children’s future, but their educational needs might change over time. That’s why having a variety of educational opportunities is so important.
We want families to love their school, no matter what option works best for them. After all, parents know their kids better than anyone else! And let’s show a little more love to our state, which has paved the way for one of the most beautiful things we have to offer the next generation: an education that meets their unique needs through a variety of school options. That’s something to celebrate!
Jenny Clark is an Arizona native and mother of five. She is a graduate of the Eller College at the University of Arizona and is passionate about educational options for Arizona kids.