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Arizona School Guide

a resource for arizona families


Community Investment Corporation has created a guide we hope will assist families in finding the right schools for their children. 

5 steps to find a school 📖


School Types

Learn about different school types and Open Enrollment in AZ

School Locators

An Online Guide to Finding 
Arizona Schools

Ratings and Rankings

Understand how schools in Arizona get rated, measured and compared

Questions for School Tours

The questions ALL parents should ask schools – but rarely do!

Funding Private School

Opportunities in AZ to fund private school or other education expenses

Special Needs Info

Resources for parents with Special Needs students

Preschool Info

How to find, pay for, and enroll in Pre-School PLUS transition to Kinder Info

Parent Pitfalls to Avoid

Don’t let distractions take away from your goal to find the best school for your child(ren)

Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled a list of common queries parents can consider when choosing the right schools for their family.

  1. Use a school locator map to make sure you understand what ALL your options are in the areas you would consider or that would logistically work for your family.  Start with schools near your home.  Then perhaps consider schools near where you work or near a relative that might be providing care.  Below are a few school locators: 
  2. Start asking around.  Word of mouth can be a very helpful tool in understanding what options exist and hearing of other families’ experiences.
  3. Email us at and someone from our Family and School Engagement team will support you.
  4. Call our non-profit partners (Families Empowered) for free, bilingual support to families Monday-Friday. (520) 900-0224.

Please call or text a Family Success Specialist today! (520) 900-0224

CIC has partnered with another non-profit, Families Empowered, to offer one-on-one bilingual support services. This organization helps families understand and navigate all of the school options that are available to them in Tucson.

Email us at CIC directly and we will assist you!

A School Finder or School Locator is the most commonly used tool to help families see ALL the schools in their area. These are helpful mapping tools to make searching for a school and researching some of the schools data. You can search based on location, school type, grade level, or other school data and demographics. Below are a few school locators: 

YES, Arizona public schools have something called “Open Enrollment.” Arizona state law allows students to apply for admission to any public school, based on available classroom space (A.R.S. § 15-816.01).

Students in Arizona have the ability to apply for admissions to ANY public school – regardless if you live inside the district/school boundaries or outside those boundaries. Essentially, in Tucson you can apply for admission to ANY public school you would like. However, most districts have open enrollment applications and deadlines to meet (typically in the Fall).

There are NO fees to apply to any public school.

All families will differ in what they need to consider. Some general considerations are:

  1. FAMILY NEEDS: Location, transportation, and before/after school child care are important family logistical concerns.
  2. STUDENTS’ NEEDS: Does your child need any special accommodations? Is there a particular style of learning that your student would thrive in?
  3. CURRICULUM & ACADEMICS: Are you looking for fine arts, music, and world languages to be incorporated into the daily curriculum? How academically rigorous of a program are you wanting? Will the school curriculum appropriately challenge your child?
  4. EXTRA-CURRICULAR OPPORTUNITIES: Are extracurricular opportunities important to your child? What is available to each grade level?
  5. SCHOOL DIVERSITY: Does the school fit what you hope for in terms of diversity and demographics?

There are a variety of ways to look into school data to see academic trends, growth, or simply the demographic makeup of a school. Some important things to pay attention to are:  

  • How the school’s standardized test scores in Reading and Math compare to district or state averages.
  • If the school has experienced growth or decline in their standardized test scores.
  • If the school’s student population is diverse. 

Different ways to find answers to your questions or locate this school information are:

  1. Ask the school to answer these questions for you. Many schools create what is called a “school profile” which often summarizes and gives a quick school overview and snapshot.  
  2. For ALL Public schools (charter and district schools) you can check the Arizona Department of Education website to review the “Letter Grade” for the school and look through the data that has been collected.
  3. Explore a school locator site to get easy-to-read data on the essential school information. CLICK HERE to find school data for all public and public charter schools in Arizona.

The answer depends on the school you are applying to. However, MANY schools DO require an application and may have a fall deadline to apply. This is true even for some public district schools. Here are some “general guidelines:”

Traditional Public District Schools (Neighborhood School) Tips 

  • All Arizona students are assigned a “neighborhood” public school based on home address.
  • Enroll to the school online at the district homepage.

DEADLINE TO CONSIDER: Enroll by early Spring.

Public Schools VIA “Open Enrollment”

  • “Open Enrollment” in AZ allows ANY student to apply to attend ANY public school – regardless of your home address.
  • Limited number of open enrollment seats are available – be mindful of enrollment deadlines.
  • Application is required to attend a school that is NOT your neighborhood school.

DEADLINE TO CONSIDER: Enroll by early November

Public Charter Schools

  • Although charter schools in AZ are also public schools, you are NOT guaranteed admission.
  • Limited seats are available and schools fill quickly (which is why there are often waitlists).

DEADLINE TO CONSIDER: Enroll by early November

Private Schools

  • Applications can take some time and can include an admissions test, interviews, and letters of recommendation.
  • State tax-credit programs and scholarship (ESA) opportunities have separate applications and deadlines.

DEADLINE TO CONSIDER: Enroll by Early November.

YES! There are two programs within the State of Arizona that help allow families the ability to pursue (and afford) flexible options to customize their child’s education. Families can drastically reduce the cost of tuition (or in some cases completely cover the cost of tuition) for private schools in the State of Arizona via:

  • Arizona Empowerment Scholarship (ESA)
  • Arizona Tax Credit Scholarships

The Tax credit programs and the State’s ESA program are intended to expand educational opportunities outside of the public school system. The programs provide public funding for a wide range of personalized education expenses, including private school tuition, tutoring services, textbooks, and more. 

CLICK HERE for more information on how to fund a private education.

School ratings are done by the State of Arizona in an attempt to help families assess and review schools. Each year, ALL Arizona Public Schools (traditional district and charter) are measured quantitatively and subsequently given a “Letter Grade A-F.” The Arizona Department of Education has established a set of metrics to meet each letter grade.

These letter grades give you, the consumer, a snapshot of the school by giving you a yardstick to compare schools. However, just like with your student, the letter grades may not give you the whole picture of a school. Many aspects of a school’s culture and climate could be omitted. Ratings should be only one of many tools families use when researching schools. 

You can see the State of Arizona letter grades for all public schools using the links below:. 

For information on Arizona A-F Letter Grades
AZ Dept. of Ed. K-12 School Report Cards (State Letter Grades A-F)

  • Looking for the “perfect” school – no school will have everything you are looking for.
  • Choosing a school solely based on reputation, prestige, or name.
  • Selecting a school without actually taking a visit or tour of the school.
  • Not being aware of admission and enrollment deadlines (this includes public magnet and public charter schools).
  • Finding a “forever” school may not be possible. Kids grow and change. Choose for NOW and reassess down the road.  

We are here to help you along the way!

Email our Family and School Engagement Team at We would be happy to help you! 


Call our non-profit partners (Families Empowered) for 1:1, bilingual support 520-900-0224

Tucson School District Links