Mohave County
May 2024
Volume 24 Issue 3

Desert Star Academy opens high school

February 2024, General, Journal | 0 comments

February 2024

MOHAVE COUNTY — Desert Star Academy, a cornerstone in Mohave County’s educational landscape, is embarking on a new venture with the opening of Desert Star High School in the 2024-2025 school year. Located at 5902 Highway 95, the school is set to welcome freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, marking a significant expansion in the Academy’s educational offerings. This development comes as a response to a longstanding community demand for more comprehensive educational options in the region.
The conception of Desert Star High School, according to DSA Director Margie Montgomery, has been brewing for about three years, fueled by continuous requests from parents. The decision to start with freshmen through juniors and exclude seniors in its inaugural year is strategic, considering the school’s ongoing accreditation process. Montgomery assured that the high school, already in good standing with the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools, is on track to complete its accreditation review by spring 2026.
One of the unique aspects of Desert Star High School is its operation from a collection of offices dubbed the “Hideout” at 5902 Highway 95. Despite the unconventional start, the school is poised to offer a full-fledged high school experience, including elective courses such as sports, weightlifting, culinary arts, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. Students will be transported to the existing Desert Star Academy campus for these electives, integrating the new high school into the Academy’s broader educational system.
In addition to the core curriculum, Desert Star High School plans to offer dual enrollment opportunities in partnership with Mohave Community College. This initiative aligns with Montgomery’s vision of exposing students to college-level workloads and expectations. Such exposure is crucial, as Montgomery highlighted the experiences of former students who felt overwhelmed in higher education settings. The dual enrollment options, including courses like sign language and Spanish, aim to equip students with a clearer understanding of their post-secondary educational preferences, whether that be a four-year university, trade school, or a two-year college.
Parents’ concerns about supervision at the college and interactions with adult students were addressed by MCC High School Recruiter Caitlin Morris. She clarified that initially, classes for DSHS students would likely be conducted on the high school campus through online electives, and when on the MCC campus, many classes would be oriented towards high school students, though some would be open to all ages, including subjects like welding.
The strategic planning for Desert Star High School extends beyond its curriculum to its leadership and administrative structure. Jesus Osuna has been appointed as the principal, bringing a wealth of experience from his tenure in education since 2015, including roles at Fox Creek Junior High School and as the middle school vice principal at Desert Star Academy. His appointment is a testament to the Academy’s confidence in his leadership and vision for the new high school.
Collaborating closely with Osuna is Jonathan Clark, who has been named the assistant principal and athletic director. Clark, with his rich background in sports, including his tenure as head football coach at River Valley High School and Desert Sunrise High School, is set to spearhead the sports programs at Desert Star High School. His experience is invaluable in shaping the athletic and extracurricular landscape of the school, promising a diverse and engaging sports program for the students.
Clark’s vision for the school’s sports program is ambitious yet student-centric. He plans to introduce a variety of sports, including 11-man football, volleyball, swim, cross country, track, basketball, wrestling, cheer, baseball, and softball. The selection of sports is not set in stone; it will evolve based on student interest, a flexible approach that underscores the school’s commitment to catering to its students’ needs and passions.
The plans for Desert Star High School also include significant infrastructural developments. In its second year, there are plans to expand the campus north of the existing elementary school, including the construction of a high school campus and a football field. This expansion is part of a broader strategy to establish a fully-equipped educational facility that can accommodate the growing needs of the high school students.
DSA Director Montgomery’s commitment to seeing the high school come to fruition has been unwavering. She acknowledges the school’s journey from a mere idea to reality as a serious, four-year process. With the school’s excellent academic standing and the community’s support, Montgomery is confident in the high school’s success and its positive impact on Mohave County’s educational landscape.
The anticipated opening of Desert Star High School is a reflection of the community’s evolving educational needs. Montgomery’s vision for the high school is rooted in her belief in the transformative power of education and her dedication to providing top-tier educational opportunities to the youth of Mohave County. This new institution is poised to become a pivotal part of the community, contributing significantly to the educational and personal growth of its students.
The school’s choice of location and its initial setup in the “Hideout” is a strategic move, offering a space conducive to learning while plans for a more expansive campus are underway. This pragmatic approach ensures that the high school can commence operations without delay, meeting the immediate educational needs of the community while laying the groundwork for future expansion.
Priority enrollment at Desert Star High School is being offered to existing students and those who have previously left DSA for high school elsewhere. This policy underscores the Academy’s commitment to its community and its dedication to fostering long-term educational relationships with its students. It reflects a deep understanding of the importance of continuity in education and the value of a familiar learning environment for student success.
The introduction of Desert Star High School into Mohave County’s educational scene is much more than the addition of a new school. It represents a new horizon of possibilities for students, offering them a diverse array of academic and extracurricular opportunities. The school’s commitment to providing a balanced and holistic education is evident in its curriculum, leadership, and future plans.
As the opening of Desert Star High School draws nearer, the excitement and anticipation within the community are palpable. With a strong leadership team, a robust curriculum, and a clear vision for the future, Desert Star High School is set to make a significant impact on the educational landscape of Mohave County, providing a new avenue for academic excellence and personal growth.
— Jeremy Webb

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