image title

New ASU dean ready to take on the system

New teachers' college dean wants to harness energy of entire ASU community.
August 2, 2016

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College's new leader is a 'boundary spanner'

Carole Basile took a circuitous route to the dean’s office in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.

After a degree in education and a short time student-teaching, she got her master’s degree and entered the business world. She worked for the Amoco Oil Co., doing training and organizational development.

"I woke up one day and said, 'These are the kinds of things we should be teaching kids at a much younger age — problem-solving, communication skills, leadership skills, team-building, all those kinds of things.' ”

After earning her doctorate, she spent years in higher education, while at the same time pursuing her avocation of teaching kids at nature centers. She was most recently dean and professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Education.

“I talk about myself as a boundary spanner who can deal with different populations of people and stakeholders because I’ve had various experiences dealing with them,” said Basile, who takes over Aug. 2.

Basile is eager to harness the entire ASU community to improve education.

“For a very long time, I’ve said that education has to move away from thinking about programs, projects and activities and really move toward thinking about systems and structures and culture.

“The real trick to sitting in a deanship where you have this entire university, this entire intellectual capacity and community, how do you bring that together to better our education system and structures?”

Learn more about Basile here:


Top photo: Carole Basile is the new dean of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now. Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now.

image title

ASU Prep Casa Grande debuts

ASU Prep Casa Grande debuts with maroon-and-gold spirit, innovative learning.
August 2, 2016

Charter high school is the future of education with personalized, blended learning

Arizona State University has expanded its innovations in education to its K-12 charter schools, and the newest one opened this week.

ASU Preparatory Academy Casa Grande started classes Monday with 50 students in grades 9-12.

Every student gets a laptop and learns at an individualized pace, said Art Lebowitz, the head of schools.

“Interestingly enough, in Casa Grande, which seems far away from the big city, this is an incubator of what the future of learning will look like: the personalization, the blended learning, the students working at their own pace, the technology-driven education with faculty involved,” Lebowitz said.

In the old days, students would walk into a classroom and the daily goals would be on the blackboard, the same for everybody, said Deborah Gonzalez, chief academic officer for the ASU Prep network, which is supported in part by a grant from the Sullivan Foundation.

“Now, when you come into the classroom, you open your laptop and your learning objectives are personalized to you as an individual as opposed to everyone has to be on the same page on the same day at the same time.”

Students spent the first day of class learning to sign into their accounts, getting to know each other and learning about the four pillars of ASU Prep: academics, partnership, leadership and innovation.

Sylvia Mejia, director of blended learning, helps ninth-graders on the first day of school Aug. 1 at ASU Prep Casa Grande. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


Casa Grande is the third ASU Prep campus, and like all charter schools, there is no tuition to attend. The ASU Prep campus at Seventh and Fillmore streets in downtown Phoenix houses a preschool, elementary and middle schools, and ASU Prep High School. The university’s Polytechnic campus in Mesa is home to a preschool, a K-8 STEM academy and ASU Prep High School Poly. The Phoenix and Poly schools, with about 2,000 total students, graduated 100 percent of the class of 2016, and about two-thirds of the graduates went on to attend ASU.

All the ASU Prep high schools use the internationally benchmarked Cambridge International Curriculum, which focuses on getting students ready for college. In some cases, end-of-course exams can be converted to university credit.

“It’s a high-level preparatory program designed to help every student graduate from a university,” Gonzalez said. “Because the learning is personalized, the students are able to find areas of interest and go in depth into those areas.”

Juniors and seniors will get to partner with faculty at the ASU Polytechnic campus for advanced study, take ASU Online courses and have hands-on internships in the community.

ASU Prep Casa Grande is housed on the grounds of the Francisco GrandeThe Francisco Grande was developed in 1959 as a spring-training camp for the San Francisco Giants and, later, the California Angels. The hotel was popular with Hollywood stars and once hosted John Wayne. The resort’s pool is shaped like a baseball bat. Hotel and Golf Resort, about 50 miles southeast of Phoenix. The school took over the resort’s conference center, and the students will walk next door to the hotel restaurant for lunch every day.

ASU Prep Casa Grande also is unique because of its partnership with Grande Sports AcademyMore than 60 of Grande Sports Academy’s players have been chosen by their home countries to compete for their national teams during the past five years, and two players have signed contracts with Liverpool and Manchester United football clubs in England., an elite soccer-training center for boys ages 14 to 18. The soccer academy shares a campus with the school and the resort, and about 60 student-athletes will have the opportunity to attend ASU Prep next year.

Like the other ASU Prep sites, the Casa Grande school is decorated with Sun Devil banners, pennants and posters, and the students wear maroon polo shirts. Everyone wears gold on Fridays.

That college-prep focus was what drew 10th-grader Alejandro De La Cerda to the new school.

“It was a great opportunity, and I couldn’t pass up on it,” De La Cerda said. “I knew it would be different, but at orientation I realized it was a whole different experience from other schools.

“To have something like this come to Casa Grande is pretty big.”

Top photo: Raylene Lerma (center) shows her schedule to fellow ninth-grader Elaysia Colts on the first day of classes at the new ASU Preparatory Academy in Casa Grande. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now