ARIZONA NEWS

Scholarships give more students with autism a chance at Phoenix school

Jan 18, 2020, 5:00 AM

PHOENIX – The classrooms of Gateway Academy are a safe place where challenges are learning opportunities and students are celebrated for their differences. The private school now will be able to serve more “Twice-Exceptional Students,” thanks to scholarships available through its new school tuition organization.

Arizona law allows individuals and corporations to get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for giving to nonprofit school tuition organizations, which are required to spend at least 90% of tax contributions on scholarships.

With the recent certification of its school tuition organization, Gateway will be able to provide more resources for students with high-functioning autism in grades 3 through 12. About 98% of its students are on scholarship.

“Our students are very unique in that academically they’re very bright, but socially, emotionally, they’re a lot younger,” said Robin Sweet, executive director and CEO of Gateway Academy in north Phoenix.

Roughly 110 students on the autism spectrum work collaboratively with each other, faculty, staff and families alike to “discover and develop their individual gifts and strengths, become self-advocates, and realize their full potential with a cohesive curriculum that emphasizes the practice of social skills as the link connecting each student to the school community,” according to Gateway’s mission statement.

“Gateway is a place where children are safe, they are heard and they are supported,” Sweet said. “We know that these are complicated kids that have good hearts, great brains, they’re the kindest, nicest kids on the face of this Earth, and at Gateway they can be warriors.”

Angelo Chavez, a senior, is among the Gateway students who rely on empowerment scholarships for schooling that caters to him.

“Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be here,” Chavez said. “I’m very glad that my parents don’t have to stress out and that I can just come to school without thinking about the money.”

Many families with special needs children carry an extra financial burden for sending their kids to private schools to learn in a safe space. And despite the help of school aides, parents may have challenges getting Empowerment Scholarship Account funds from the state. Gateway’s new school tuition organization will assist students who aren’t eligible for Empowerment Scholarship Account funding.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

7 minutes ago

Brian Galvez and broken window...

Nick Borgia

Man arrested for allegedly throwing rocks through windows of Mesa businesses

A man was arrested for allegedly throwing rocks through the windows of eight Mesa businesses, police said.

1 hour ago

Arizona CD-3 primary debates: Recap of Democrats, Republicans...

Serena O'Sullivan

Republicans, Democrats running for CD-3 debate on economy, border, abortion before primary election

Did you miss the two Arizona CD-3 primary debates between Republicans and Democrats on May 22, 2024? This recap covers the important parts.

3 hours ago

U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona delivered a speech on the Senate floor regarding the failed bor...

KTAR.com

Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema blasts ‘bickering’ Senate before border bill test vote fails

Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema expressed her frustration Thursday with the U.S. Senate's unwillingness to pass meaningful border legislation ahead of its failed test vote of a bill she helped negotiate.

3 hours ago

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)...

KTAR.com

Katie Hobbs believes Secure the Border Act would drive businesses out of Arizona

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs believes the Secure the Border Act would drive businesses out of Arizona if passed.

5 hours ago

Anti trust lawsuit filed against live nation...

KTAR.com

Arizona joins major antitrust lawsuit seeking split between Live Nation and Ticketmaster

Arizona joined a lawsuit against Live Nation, owner of Ticketmaster, alleging the companies monopolized the live entertainment industry.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Scholarships give more students with autism a chance at Phoenix school