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General Information

The Arizona Association of Independent Schools, incorporated on May 26, 1970, promotes high standards, educational quality, and ethics as the voice of Indpendent Schools in Arizona by strengthening member schools through professional development, outreach, and advocacy.

AAIS expects member schools to follow NAIS standards and best practices. It sponsors a program of professional development opportunities for faculty, administrators and trustees and promotes the benefits of independent schools to increase brand awareness and enrollment demand. AAIS also represents independent education to the community and provides leadership on educational issues.

Independent Schools are private schools that are independently governed by their own board of trustees. They are mainly financed by tuition payments, charitable contributions, and endowment revenues and receive little, if any, government funding. Independent school accreditation standards are rigorous and are validated by a national commission. Independent schools offer pre-K through 12 education and include coeducational and single-sex, day and boarding schools. Each has a distinct educational mission. Yet, they all share a commitment to achieving excellence and inspiring innovation. This commitment attracts high quality teachers and promotes a supportive learning environment.

Independent schools focus on educating the whole child, offering learning experiences that reach beyond core academic areas such as math, science, history, and English, They have the freedom to promote creative thinking in hands-on ways and to introduce students to exciting and challenging subjects including art, music, foreign languages, global and environmental education, and technology. Students come from diverse backgrounds to develop their interests - and a love of learning - at independent schools. Independent schools maintain small class sizes, so that teachers can learn about every student and attend to each child's individual skills and needs. Teachers form close relationships with students and their parents, and go above and beyond to ensure each student's success.

The U.S. Department of Education Finds that:
  • Independent schools tend to be smaller than other schools, which often results in higher achievement for students.

  • Independent schools offer exceptionally low student-teacher ratios, and thus more individual attention, responsible in part for greater success in college and future endeavors.
  • Teachers at independent schools are able to communicate consistent goals to their students and collaborate more effectively on raising achievement.
Information on this page has been reprinted, with permission, from the
NAIS bulletin