Thoma Foundation Awards $1 Million to Arizona Student Opportunity Collaborative
|October 4, 2022|
A three-year grant to Arizona Student Opportunity Collaborative will create access to high-quality, virtual college & career advising for rural students.
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to Arizona Student Opportunity Collaborative (AzSOC) to support the expansion of the organization’s college & career advising offerings. AzSOC is a virtual platform created by rural educators for rural students, offering students in Arizona the chance to take advanced courses with top teachers from across the state. The program particularly benefits students at smaller or underserved schools that do not have the capacity to provide a full line-up of AP or dual credit courses. AzSOC’s main innovation lies in recruiting underutilized teachers; existing or retired instructors who are certified to teach advanced courses but are not currently deploying these skills.
Earlier this year, AzSOC received $6 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds, allowing the program to scale to reach more than 6,000 students annually across Arizona over the next three years. The Thoma Foundation’s grant will increase impact by funding an integral expansion of college & career advising built on AzSOC’s existing infrastructure. As AzSOC broadens access to advanced dual-credit and AP courses, advising is the next step toward improving long-term educational outcomes for Arizona’s rural and underserved high school students.
“AzSOC’s model is fundamentally driven by unmet student needs that exist within rural education across Arizona and the nation,” said Holly Harrison, Director. “It is an elegant model that harnesses the talent of underutilized teachers to better prepare rural high schoolers for the rigor of college coursework and fulfilling, well-paid careers. We are thrilled to be supporting the expansion of AzSOC’s college & career advising platform, ensuring that students have the support they need to pursue their educational ambitions.”