Earlier this week, the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools approved the expansion of nine high-performing charter schools around the state. Their decision created 1,500 new seats in quality charter schools. That’s 1,500 new opportunities for Arizona students to access high-quality, in-demand schools.

In just the last year, the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools has used its smart growth strategy to allow only Arizona’s best schools to expand, giving an additional 9,000 students access to quality charter schools. This is a total gamechanger for kids and families who now have new opportunities to succeed and have their needs met.

From Flagstaff to Yuma, these public schools offer students curriculum as varied as their locations. At Vista College Prep, the school is opening more possibilities for students at its Hadley campus in Central South Phoenix by adding a new college prep focused middle school that will support an additional 250 low-income students once built out. Academy of Math and Science plans to open two news schools in Glendale and Peoria, serving an additional 300 students next year, with plans to serve nearly 2,000 more students by 2020.

These are examples of the critical work many of the high poverty, high performing public schools all over Arizona are doing to support and improve student learning.

The best news is that these 9,000 new seats do not include all of the additional students who will be served by rapidly expanding district and magnet schools throughout the state. In Southern Arizona, at least 750 K-8 students in the Sahuarita area will have access to a brand new highly performing school in the Sahuarita Unified School District. Meanwhile, Phoenix Coding Academy in the Phoenix Union High School District is adding another grade in the upcoming school year, helping at least 100 additional students develop the critical thinking and computer science skills necessary to be career ready on Day 1 of high school graduation.

At A for Arizona, we firmly believe that expanding excellence is our best chance to rapidly increase the number of children in high quality schools.

Seeing our top performers make their unique brand of excellence available to more and more students, especially in communities that need it most, is what will continue to propel Arizona forward in achievement. More importantly, it is what will change the futures for thousands of Arizona school children, their families, and our community.

Bravo to the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools for recognizing excellence and making this expansion possible. Over 1,500 students and families thank you for their new choices and future possibilities.