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WELCOME TO RANCHO SOLANO Kids today are curious, creative, engaged. They are eager to experience and change the world. To fulfill their dreams, these motivated young people need to have deep, sustaining values, diverse cultural experiences and the opportunities to explore and develop their passions. They need modern critical thinking skills, exposure to the arts, and access to state-of-the-art technology. They need to understand and take responsibility for themselves so that they can navigate the fast-moving world around them. At Rancho Solano Preparatory School, we answer these needs and give young people the strength, courage, character and competitive edge they need to excel in college and beyond. We are proud to say that we provide our families with a rigorous academic environment and strong sense of community. We would like to share these stories with you through the personal viewpoints of those who know – and love – Rancho Solano the best: our students, parents, teachers and administrators.


Rancho Solano Preparatory School is an international learning community committed to educating, empowering and inspiring students from early childhood through 12th Grade. We are dedicated to accelerating each student’s academic achievement and maximizing their individual growth in a highly supportive and nurturing environment. Our challenging, yet collaborative educational approach prepares students to lead and succeed in today’s fast-paced world with poise, courage and confidence. Our small group and individual instruction create an inspired curriculum, targeted goals and differentiated instruction. This unique education is designed to develop critical thinkers and ethical leaders who will contribute to society throughout their lives.

“I was looking for a school with a strong academic program but also a focus on character traits. I think it’s important for children to not just be highly motivated academically and grow vertically. It’s important that they are considerate, responsible to be successful. Rancho delivers on that.” Parent


We believe that learning to be respectful, responsible, empathetic and open-minded is just as important as learning calculus, chemistry and history. We also believe that a strong partnership and collaborative setting among students, parents, faculty and administration is the finest foundation for academic success. These core principles have made us beloved by our families, esteemed in our community and admired by other private, public and charter schools in Arizona.

“There is a difference that sets Rancho students apart from typical students their age. I’ve heard so many stories about their maturity and good behavior in public and recently experienced it first-hand on a flight to Orlando. I could see the eye rolling by fellow passengers at the sight of a large group of students getting ready to board. I thought to myself, boy, are you going to be surprised. In fact, the flight attendant came on the intercom at the end of our flight and praised the students for their good behavior.” Parent



The world is changing rapidly and we need people who can think, solve problems and figure things out. Rancho students learn to figure things out.

We encourage young people to look at issues, take thoughtful risks and find unique solutions. Jeannine McDonald, Principal of the High School


CRITICAL THINKING Our students at Rancho Solano are taught to ask “why?” rather than just “what?” Critical thinking involves broad, in-depth analysis of evidence to make decisions and communicate one’s beliefs clearly and accurately. Whether our students are learning American History or Geometry or how to play a team sport, we inspire them to ask thoughtful questions, use higher-order reasoning and solve problems creatively.


Find a spark. Blow on it. And create a bonfire. That’s the powerful idea behind our Personal Learning Plans. Personal Learning Plans encourage the range of abilities, needs and interests of each individual student with the goal of moving every student to a higher standard of achievement. We know that when students are challenged and excited, their love of learning always burns bright.

“We place a priority on academics and Rancho has always been the community leader. There are several alternatives in the area but none of them provides the balance and the depth that Rancho does. The education you get at Rancho is real, measurable and long-lasting.” Parent

MEASURED ACHIEVEMENT Using the most sophisticated methods of monitoring and measuring student progress, we constantly assess what’s been learned in our classrooms and hold ourselves accountable for each student’s academic growth and progress.


“The world is becoming more global each day and technology is changing at lightning speed. Our children will be involved in careers and leadership opportunities that may not even exist yet. We really appreciate Rancho’s commitment to this new and better teaching strategy.” Parent

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE (IB) DIPLOMA PROGRAMME – THE GOLD STANDARD OF EDUCATION IN THE U.S. AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. Rancho Solano Preparatory School is the only private school in the greater Phoenix area to receive IB authorization. The IB Diploma Programme, is recognized worldwide for its academic rigor and holistic approach to education. This challenging and balanced curriculum is designed to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, international-minded, caring young people who will help create a better, more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. In the IB Diploma Programme 11th and 12th grade students study six courses at both standard level (SL) and higher level (HL). Subjects include English, foreign languages, history, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject is an IB elective which often includes the arts. Few students follow the same path, as class selection is tailored to individual student strengths and interests. IB LEARNERS STRIVE TO BE: INQUIRERS, KNOWLEDGEABLE, THINKERS, COMMUNICATORS, PRINCIPLED, OPEN-MINDED, CARING, RISK-TAKERS, BALANCED, REFLECTIVE “The IB program and curriculum is seen as an excellent preparation for a college or university challenge. College Admissions Deans and their admissions officers rate the demanding courses of the IB as the very best background not only for further study but also for life in general. The Upper Level courses are often viewed on a par with a demanding college level curriculum.” Lee Stetson, Former Dean of Admissions, University of Pennsylvania

TOUCHPOINTS TEN SCHOOLS. THREE COUNTRIES. ONE CLASSROOM. A WORLD OF PROBLEMS SOLVED. Imagine students thousands of miles apart working face-to-face to tackle giant global issues like deforestation, peacekeeping and poverty. That’s the whole idea behind Touchpoints, the unique, year-long learning experience for 2nd through 8th Grades. Under teacher guidance and with on-going parent engagement, Rancho Solano students collaborate with peers from other Meritas schools. Together they research a global issue, post questions, findings, solutions and ideas using Skype as well as Smartboards. The highlight of the program is an end-of-year video-conferenced Lincoln-Douglas style debate between the paired classes on their proposed resolution to the assigned global issue.


Rancho Solano is a member of The Meritas Family of Schools. Meritas provides highly-personalized education to more than 12,000 students at 10 elite college preparatory schools in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Meritas graduates are prepared to excel at the goals they set for themselves and to make a difference in the world. At Rancho Solano, we encourage young minds to see the world from diverse perspectives. Our students participate in exciting international academic, athletic, music and art programs that develop cultural knowledge, global experience and develop friendships that that will last a lifetime. Academic Olympiad • Balliol College at Oxford • Student Government Summit • Fine Arts Summit • The Meritas Games

INTERNATIONAL BOARDING Rancho Solano offers an elite international boarding program where students from around the world make American friends and visit American homes. Our entire student body benefits from the experience as they build global awareness and a better understanding of cultural and social diversity. These ideals are core to both the IB philosophy as well as Rancho’s longstanding commitment to the development of students as global citizens.

We host students from around the world.


This allows us to learn about other cultures and teach about our own. Student

“Rancho takes great care to give students an international perspective. Our son traveled to Switzerland and Mexico as well as stateside to Florida and Texas to visit other Meritas schools.” Parent


A STUDENT’S PASSION FOR LEARNING STARTS WITH OUR FACULTY’S PASSION FOR TEACHING. There’s nothing like an inspired teacher to make learning irresistible. At Rancho Solano, our teachers are enthusiastic, involved and passionate about unlocking the potential in every student. Our small class sizes give teachers one-on-one time to nurture and develop each child in a loving, supportive manner. In turn, we support our teachers with state-of-the-art resources including science labs, wireless networks, computer labs and superb facilities for athletics and the arts. Classrooms are designed to maximize teaching effectiveness and student development. “I love teaching at Rancho Solano because of the immense support I receive from my fellow faculty members, the administration and the parents. Working in an atmosphere that is warm, supportive and growth-oriented has helped me positively evolve as a teacher, mentor and colleague.” Kavita Tatapudi, Middle School Humanities Teacher “Rancho Prep created an environment where the faculty and students interact with one another with kindness, dignity and authenticity. An unanticipated benefit is how joyful our children are on a daily basis regarding their friendships. In Alex’s words, she feels safe, understood and appreciated.” Parent

MERITAS TEACHERS COLLEGE Every teacher is a member of The Meritas Teachers College. The Meritas Teachers College provides our teachers with intensive professional development, ongoing feedback and consistent opportunities to collaborate and share best practices with colleagues at other Meritas schools.

“Rancho Solano Lower Schools offer a learning experience that encourages a student’s curiosity, challenges their minds and develops a true love of learning. Moreover, the school fosters community and promotes the personal attributes that develop integrity and success as they enter a global work setting.” Salli Mahaffy, Principal of Greenway Campus

Optimistic. Respectful. Ahead of the curve. Excuse us for bragging, but again and again, our students out-perform, out-polite, out-participate their peers. And this commitment to academic excellence and deeply ingrained values begins with our youngest students.


We believe that curiosity, creativity, independence, cooperation and persistence enhance early learning and development. Our Early Childhood curriculum promotes social, emotional, intellectual and physical development in a safe and nurturing environment. Our children learn and have fun at the same time through exploration and hands-on experiences. The key areas of development include promoting leadership skills, self-motivation, expressive and receptive language, self-confidence and positive self-esteem. The Kindergarten curriculum at Rancho Solano is designed to encourage students’ natural interest in the world through creative, age-appropriate activities and the exploration of topics that are meaningful to young students.


FIRST GRADE THROUGH FIFTH GRADE Elementary school at Rancho Solano provides students with a firm foundation in the core curriculum including humanities, language arts, foreign language, social studies, math and science. Students work above grade level in most subjects, with enrichment activities and projects to enhance their learning. Students are also instructed and guided on how to organize and manage their time. Activities develop research, note-taking and outlining skills in preparation for our rigorous middle school curriculum. Students learn to work independently and in groups.

“With the tremendous support of administration and parents, I have been able to make additions to an exceptional mathematics program that most teachers only dream about. Critical thinking is a major part of my instructional day. Here at Rancho Solano, I am able to try methodologies that most teachers can only read about in current research. My students can dare to be creative, challenged and amazing. So can their teacher.� Jane Kay, Middle School Math Teacher


Rancho Solano students enter sixth grade as children and complete eighth grade taking their first steps to becoming responsible young adults. We offer academically-demanding classes and give students the personalized skills and tools they need to accomplish their goals. Each student is part of a small advisory group that offers a safe, supportive forum for dealing with issues of significance. The result: a well-rounded, happy, confident and successful middle-school child. “One of the biggest influences that Rancho has had on my kids has been to encourage girls to embrace math and science. This does not happen in most schools. In fact in most schools it’s very unfashionable to engage in math and science as girls.” Parent

STRENGTHS4SUCCESS (S4S) We recognize that in today’s fast-moving world, the path from adolescence to college and beyond is tougher than ever before. Information overload, fierce global competition and social pressures intensify stress levels. Our S4S program helps prepare students to navigate the journey to adulthood smoothly and confidently. It introduces students beginning in 6th grade to the study skills, self-knowledge, career discovery and college readiness they need to succeed in the classroom and throughout their lives. Students learn how to make good choices long before they have to make difficult decisions.


“The college advising process at Rancho Solano spans from 6th through 12th grade. Beginning in 6th grade students are engaged in building study skills, character development and interest exploration. By the time students enter into their freshmen year, they are equipped with the foundational skills necessary for success in their high school journey. Our college advising culminates with intensive support in the application process during senior year, guiding students to admission into their college or university of choice.� Lacey Fricker, College Advisor

Our high school supports student success via outstanding academic programs, high expectations for all community members, a large variety of co-curricular activities, project days, and internships with neighboring government, non-government, artistic, environmental, educational and financial organizations. Our college preparatory curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and is brought to life in a student-centered environment. Students engage daily with other students from around the world via this challenging and inquiry-based curriculum that prepares them for this ever-changing world. All of this ensures that our students will graduate with the character and knowledge necessary to ensure success at their top choice colleges and in lifelong pursuits.

Graduates of Rancho Prep report, ‘I am extremely well-prepared for my classes in college because I have developed my writing and critical thinking skills; I am confident to share my ideas,

and collaborate with my peers in solving complex problems. Rancho Solano Preparatory School prepared me with life skills necessary to achieve success.’ Jeannine McDonald, Principal of the High School


Rancho Solano believes that participation in sports is a vital part of a student’s educational experience. While academic excellence is the core of Rancho’s mission, athletics contributes to the development of intellectual, social and emotional skills. Athletic experiences provide teachable moments outside the classroom, better preparing student-athletes for future success in school, sports and life. Our students compete in a variety of interscholastic athletics: • Fall: Cross Country, Volleyball, Football, and Spiritline • Winter: Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball, Spiritline, and Soccer • Spring: Tennis, Golf, Baseball, and Softball • Year-Round Athletic Training


At Rancho Solano we believe that the arts help facilitate development of the whole child. They build self-esteem, inspire creativity and enable students to think critically about the world around them. Therefore, the fine and performing arts are an integral part of our curriculum.

“Being a parent of two Rancho students, it’s extremely easy for me to speak highly of Rancho. I believe my children are who they are because of Rancho (maybe a little part of dad and me). They are smart, but in a different way – critical thinkers, outside the box. They are not only athletic but musically inclined. They do both and love it!” Parent

“Rancho starts preparing their kids at a very young age to be in front of an audience with performances in things like the Spring Shows where every kid participates. From what I see, most Rancho kids are confident up in front of audiences.� Parent

“The Rancho approach to education is about collaboration. In the new middle/ high school, the physical plan, the resources, the labs, the fine arts facilities, the music areas – even the libraries and cafeterias – are designed around bringing people together so they can share ideas. And the fact that teachers have break rooms that are next to the kids rooms fosters interaction. We are very impressed with it. And the kids get it – they immediately understand what a unique opportunity this is.” Parent



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Just as an orchestra sounds clearer and more compelling in a concert hall with superior acoustics, and just as an athlete runs faster, jumps higher and reaches his or her potential on a surface designed for sports, students and educators excel in environments specifically designed to foster curiosity, discovery, collaboration, and inspiration.



On August 6, 2012, Rancho Solano opened the doors of our new Middle and High school campus at 9180 E. Via de Ventura Blvd., conveniently located just off the 101 Freeway and Via de Ventura in Scottsdale. This state-of-the-art facility features: an engaging library; state-of-the-art science, language and computer laboratories; dining areas with a wide variety of healthful dining options; a 25,000 square foot athletic center; multiple learning commons; spaces dedicated to artistic endeavors; and the latest in optimal classroom design.




9180 E. Via de Ventura Scottsdale, AZ 85258 480.646.8200


7877 W. Hillcrest Blvd. Peoria, AZ 85353 623.581.1234


1305 S. Gilbert Road Gilbert, AZ 85296 480.899.6877

GREENWAY CAMPUS 5656 E. Greenway Scottsdale, AZ 85254 602.996.7002


Rancho View book 2012 _magazine  

Rancho View Book