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Wed, June 23

Heritage School to add eighth grade class in fall

Heritage Elementary School students concentrate on their school work. The charter school will offer eighth grade in the fall. Ryan Williams/WGCN

Heritage Elementary School students concentrate on their school work. The charter school will offer eighth grade in the fall. Ryan Williams/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Starting this fall, Heritage Elementary will start offering eighth grade at its Williams location.

The expansion came about after administrators brought an amendment before the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools in March.

Heritage's Williams Principal Kaytie Thies said the board approved the eighth grade addition because of the school's performance on the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards test.

In addition, Heritage received a B rating from the Arizona Department of Education for the 2012-2013 school year, up from a D rating the year before.

With the board's approval, Heritage will now offer kindergarten through eighth grade at its Williams campus.

"We have kids who are in sixth and seventh grade who have been with us since kindergarten," Thies said. "And parents have been asking me and meeting with me and sending letters (saying), 'please add an eighth grade.'"

Heritage has four seventh graders this year, all of whom will return as the school's first eighth grade class. Thies said without offering eighth grade in the past, several families chose for their children to switch schools before sixth grade so they could go to one school for middle school. However, Thies anticipates more students will stay on through eighth grade once Heritage starts offering it in the fall.

Thies sees the expansion as a positive change for local families.

"I wanted to add (eighth grade) because the kids do well here, we want to keep them as long as possible, and seventh grade is a weird cutoff," she said. "And with the parents, they feel very passionate about their kids coming here, and they are just ecstatic that we are able to add an eighth grade."

Heritage is a tuition-free character-based charter school with campuses in Williams and Glendale. The Williams location has been in operation for six years. The school is located at 790 E. Rodeo Road. More information is available at (928) 635-3998.

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