The founders of The ASK Academy were motivated to write the ASK charter in 2010 because they wanted to provide families of the northwest section of Albuquerque and the greater Rio Rancho area an academically challenging science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) middle school and high school choice. The founders feel the current public school system in New Mexico needs to be transformed from what we know school is to what we know school needs to be.
We believe the current public education system needs to change from a liberal art approach for middle and high school learners to a more college and career-focused approach. The replacement system needs to help the New Mexico learner discover their personal interests, passions, and their aptitudes and connect them to existing career pathways. When learners discover these things, the system needs to provide them choices that can maximize their cultivation and growth toward existing career choices in the world. The ASK charter is an educational model accomplishing choice academic rigor, critical thinking, and test taking skills for scholars and families who desire careers in engineering and design (E&D) or biomedical (BMS) areas. In the academy’s first years of infancy, the empirical data has verified that this focused approach to middle school and high school curriculum is benefiting New Mexico scholars.
We can raise the rigor for graduation, raise the rigor to achieve course credit, and relate the standards to relevant applications in BMS and E&D areas. At the same time, we want our scholars to demonstrate their high abilities through standardized testing. Such testing conveys part of our school’s high standards. ASK learners also enjoy applying Common Core standards to life-sized angry bird competitions, designing solar hot dog cookers, and learning dissociation strategies for the medical field, while learning how to prepare, perform, and prevail on standardized tests.
In five short years of existence, ASK graduating classes are significantly out-scoring national averages on the ACT test in every category; writing, reading, science, mathematics, social studies. This trend also holds true for composite scores. Not many schools in the nation can say that. This rings particularly true at ASK, where 100 percent of eligible students take the ACT. We say that proudly.
Come visit our campus, talk to the learners, and learn from them what makes us so different and so special as we “build relationships to create self-directed learners.”
ASK Founders: Paul Stephenson, Daniel Barbour and Edgar Short