High School Academics

Individual Plan of Study

Highly personalized approach, where each student has the curriculum that fits his/her needs

95% Pursue College

Students are college-ready when they leave FA


Students play a range of sports in the Charter Athletic Association

College Credits

Through dual and concurrent enrollment, students have multiple options to earn college credits before they graduate

Don Senneville

In implementing our mission, the words we used to describe the qualities of our ideal students – self direction, competence, excellence, leadership – have taken on new meaning as we’ve grown and as the skills needed for success have become more complex and arguably more critical.  When we talk about teaching for self-direction, we are talking about the development of learning skills, students taking hold of their own education, solving problems and finding the best path to success – on a scale that is broader daily.

Competence in the 21st century involves facility with core subject knowledge combined into interdisciplinary themes.  It is gained through  engagement in a wide range of global issues, personal and public health, economics, civics, environmental sensitivity, sustainability, aesthetics – and the development of the ability to see and understand  through lenses of technology, media, and a massive store of information.   The focus is on skills.  Skills in thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration.

Today’s Foothills Academy provides an expanding array of opportunities for students to practice and begin to excel in using these skills.  Through class activities, online study, membership in school organizations, volunteering and internships in the local and global community, students begin to develop the skills necessary to lead.  A key part of the job of the Foothills Academy teacher is to help our students find the best path to success as they grow, according to their interests and learning styles.  The Foothills Academy graduate is not just qualified to get into the college or university chosen.  The Foothills Academy graduate has the skills to succeed there and go on to bigger things, perhaps to take the lead in helping to solve the problems of the local community, the state, and the world.


  • Nine years on the Department of Education’s “Excelling” label and “A” school list
  • College Board scores consistently above the national average
  • Finalists for a Flinn Scholarship, a Baird Scholarship, and a National Merit Scholarship
  • Arizona Regents Scholarships
  • High School Division Champion Arizona Science and Engineering Fair 2007
  • Top Awarded School in Kiwanis Science Fair  2010 and  2011
  • National Yearbook Program of Excellence Award 2012

Our accomplishments extend beyond academics. In 2003, Foothills Academy received the Valley Forward Association’s top Environmental Excellence Award, the Crescordia, for “outstanding contributions to the physical environment of Valley communities.” This prestigious award is recognition of our commitment to energy efficient design, water conservation via xeriscaping, and visual integration of the architecture within the natural landscape.



Preparing Students for College is What We Do

We start working with students to think beyond high school in ninth grade,  by helping them craft exciting aspirations and connect their interests with their academic program. Read more…



A mainstay of Foothills Academy’s Curriculum has been the year-long community service project undertaken by our seniors. Projects have ranged from volunteering in various animal rescue organizations, hospitals, Habitat for Humanity; one student went to a village in India to help feed the hungry there. Projects may also take the form of internships for students to gain actual experience in their fields of interest. Whichever route they choose, they research their project thoroughly under the supervision of their Senior Project Advisor, and then spend at least 100 hours ‘on the job’ at their chosen project site. At year’s end, they present their work to their faculty and high school peers. Students are encouraged to consider a global component to their project. This may be met several ways, from adding a thesis addressing global ramifications of the project to developing a contact somewhere across the globe with whom the student can collaborate on aspects of the project. Students graduate with a portfolio highlighting their experiences.


Learners in the 21st Century must be equipped to comprehend and contend with uncertainty and complex problems. The intentional integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Art + Design (STEAM) provides a framework for grabbing hold of complexity toward understanding and innovation. Foothills Academy has embraced this idea in a big way. Under the leadership of our STEAM Director, Mary Beth Abbey, we have a lab on each campus that encourages to explore using a wide range of tools, including 3-D printers, and a global view of issues that are investigated through this multifaceted and dynamic lens. The ramifications of our STEAM projects to humans are investigated in the process – the perspectives of history, economics, philosophy, sustainability, and environmental impact are addressed as well. In 2016, we were honored to receive a $25,000 grant from Kiwanis for the STEAM lab at our Ashler HIlls campus.  This is step two of a three-step development process.  Step 1 was the development of our STEAM lab for elementary students.  Step 2 is designed for middle school students, and we’re extremely grateful to the Kiwanis organization for their support of this effort.  The 3rd step is to develop a sophisticated, state of the art STEAM lab for high school students.


FA students have a range of options to earn college credits in high school through FA’s partnership with Paradise Valley Community College-Black Mountain. We do a lot with our students to help them grab hold of their aspirations and form them into college bound plans. What’s become clear nowadays for college bound students is that the extent to which they can jump-start their college careers, while maintaining a strong academic foundation, the better off they’ll be as they move into their post-secondary educational choices. Students going into technical fields especially (fields such as engineering, medicine, business management) will find that their undergraduate programs, because the requirements have grown, may take 5 or 6 years to complete. That can be an expensive proposition for most students and their families. To assist families with this problem, students may earn as many as 25 college credits from FA instructors (through dual enrollment) and more on PVCC’s campus through courses FA co-schedules with the college (called concurrent enrollment).

 Students may satisfy the core requirements of Arizona’s General Education Curriculum before leaving high school!


Our Model UN Program has grown since its inception at Foothills Academy a number of years ago. Model United Nations is an authentic simulation of the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, and other UN agencies, which introduces students to global diplomacy, negotiation, and decision making. Students step into the shoes of ambassadors of countries that are members of the UN, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The students, after they’ve done extensive research, debate current issues on the UN’s agenda. They prepare resolutions, plot strategy, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and navigate the UN’s procedural rules – all in the interest of resolving problems that affect the world.


AdvanceED Accreditation (formerly NCA)

Established National Honor Society Charter in 1999

Established National Junior Honor Society in 2002


7191 East Ashler Hills Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85266
Phone: 480-488-5583
Fax: 480-488-6902