TEXT: (602) 737-2808

info@vsihq.org

What is Vita?

Vita is an innovative micro high school model and nonprofit focused on dream achievement, practical life skills, compassion.

Vita's 4 Pillar Model was inspired by student voice and proven practices.

Grades 9-12

High School, up to age 22

3 Uniques

- Help Achieve Dreams

- Prepare for the Real World

- Compassionate Environment

Tuition-Free

Vita offers Arizona families two tuition-free high school options:

(1) Independent School (ESA)

(2) Charter School (Sequoia Choice)

School Options

- In-Person (Tuesday - Friday)

- Online

- Hybrid

Mission & Vision

Mission: To empower young adults to prepare for life and realize their dreams now, using the best practices from around the world.

Vision: A world where all people are prepared for life, empowered to realize their dreams, and compassionately serve others.

Core Values

Self-Awareness

I am always learning new things about myself

I know what I need to feel my best and give myself what I need

I understand how my feelings and actions affect those around me

Initiative

I take action on my own

I lead others by first leading myself

I am the only person who can make my dreams happen

Innovation

I enjoy testing my new ideas

My unique ideas help other people

I am creative and think of better/faster ways to do things

Changemaking

The work I do has a positive impact on others

Anywhere I visit, I leave the place better than I found it

I have the power to change the world

Compassion

I express my care for others through words and actions

My words and actions make other people feel better

I seek to first understand people before saying or assuming anything

Theory of Change

Vita's History

Andrew & Rio Join Teach for America (May 2016 - 2018)

Founder, Andrew Lee, graduates in aerospace engineering May 2016 and joins Teach for America, teaching math at a large Title 1 public high school. His class averages are 20-30% better than school averages from excellent teaching practices learned from his mentors Adam Morales and Jason Catanese. Founder and Rio Stinger first meet in Teach for America. Both earn their Master's Degrees in Education.

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Founder Learns About Passive Income (2017 - 2021)

During his teaching years and low $38,000 teacher salary, the 4.0 rocket scientist founder learns about passive income. He meets people his age (mid-20's) making $20,000 per month passively and legally. The founder eventually has his first 5 figure month. Founder learns that personal development (inner-work, self-image) is crucial to success. Founder wonders why school doesn't teach this.

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Meets "Serial School Founder" and Vita School Ideas Begin (2018)

Founder attends workshop with a "Serial School Founder" on the panel, Andrew Collins. Something sparks. Ideas begin brewing about what school could look like. Master's courses discussions conveniently aid in this process. Founder is suggested to visit schools and apply to different incubator programs like Moonshot, Camelback, 4.0 Schools. He applies to many and is rejected by most...

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Piloting Vita: 4.0 Schools Round 1 (February 2020)

Founder is accepted into 4.0 School's Essentials Fellowship! They provide curriculum to test out ideas, a mentor, $300 to pilot the idea, and a data infographic of your pilot! Founder attends the LAST in-person training in New Orleans before COVID-19 strikes. Founder pilots exercise about discovering one's purpose via zoom with 9 participants during COVID-19. Every student completes the exercise with impressive results and newfound clarity.

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Driving from Phoenix to Georgia: Life School of Atlanta (August 2020 - December 2020)

Founder's 4.0 Schools Mentor's (Denise Streeter) Daughter (Mikala Streeter) runs an independent high school similar to Vita. Founder completes school founding apprenticeship at the Life School of Atlanta in Georgia, researching and journaling 100+ pages/documents for Vita, visiting schools, helping to run the Life School (setting up ACT, organizing supplies, events, teaching, etc.).

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Vita Receives Nonprofit Status (January 28, 2021)

Vita Education Foundation (dba Vita Schools of Innovation) is officially recognized as a nonprofit 501(c)3 entity.

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Piloting Vita: 4.0 Schools Round 2 (June 2021 - December 2021)

Founder returns to home. Rio joins the team! Vita completes 4.0 Schools' New Normal Fellowship. In this fellowship, there is still coaching and curriculum, but now there is $10,000 in funding to pilot. Vita pilots their Purpose and Life Curriculum in 4 different high school classrooms and hosts their first summer camp. Vita completes 4.0 Schools' pilot "Pathways Fellowship," developing organizational documents vital to securing Vita's future partnership with Edkey.

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High Tech High's New School Creation Fellowship (May 2021 - June 2023)

Vita is accepted to High Tech High's New School Creation Fellowship ($10,000 funding). Founder visits many different innovative schools with fellow school founders and leaders. Founder's mentor, Sam Seidel, suggests he connect with a certain CEO to learn about how their school finances work...

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Edkey Partnership (November 23, 2021)

Founder's email to the CEO of Edkey (as suggested by mentor, Sam Seidel) leads to a partnership. Vita will be a high school program! Students enroll with Sequoia Choice (accredited online charter high school within Edkey), but attend Vita, using Vita's programming. It's time to get rolling! Vita's first year begins August 2022!

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Facility Discovered (March 2022 - April 2022)

While enrolling students at Phoenix International Academy, their founder recommends local church as facility. Founder tours it with Executive Pastor in that moment and it is perfect. The next week, Vita had a facility. The Vita team furiously recruits through summer, knocking on doors. Rio's father paints the facility walls for free. Furniture is procured. Friday, August 5th approaches!

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Vita Opens (Friday, August 5th, 2022)

Vita begins its first year with 24 students and 2 educators. Vita receives $80,000 from the Innovation Fund from A for Arizona to pilot Vita's first year.

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Vita is Awesome (May 17, 2023 - Present)

Vita ends its first year with 30 students and 4 staff. The first year is a wild success. See Testimonials. Highlights: massive credit recovery, student businesses generating thousands of dollars, 40% ACT score increase, Vita's 1st graduate, and the heartwarming stories shared by Vita's families! Vita has its sights on its 2nd physical location to open August 2024.

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Vita's 4 Pillar School Model

Holistic Model Designed to Support the Entire Human

In addition to College Readiness, Vita focuses on Dream Achievement and

Practical Life Skills, while providing Unique Support to each student

Purpose Curriculum (Dream Achievement)

Purpose Curriculum contains a variety of proven personal development exercises designed to help people achieve their dreams, create fulfilling lives, and better understand themselves. These are exercises inspired by Tim Ferris's 4 Hour Work Week, Bob Proctor, Tony Robbins, Think and Grow Rich, Blake Boles' College Without High School, and OneStone's Lab 51 (Independent High School in Idaho).

Exercises Include:

- Passion Exploration: mapping out interests and updating each semester.

- Dream Life Journaling: writing out one's dream life as if failure wasn't possible.

- Purpose Statements: reflective writing exercises for their life purpose.

- Dream Mapping: turning their abstract dreams into concrete SMART goals (SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risky, Timeline).

- Passion Projects: their Dream Map goals become projects they complete each quarter.

- Community Engagement: interviewing experts, job shadowing, mentorship, apprenticeship, and internships.

Students ultimately complete their dreams, measurable by percentage completion.

The kids all enjoy working on their goals and dreams and counts towards elective credit.

Notable projects include:

- Selling their photography prints

- Video game design

- Writing a novel

- Achieving a target weight

- Generating thousands of dollars per month with their business.

Speak with us or watch our videos to learn more!

Life Curriculum (Life Preparedness)

Vita's Life Curriculum includes a variety of practical life skills in the 4 categories of:

- Finance: banking, financial plan, budgeting, credit, purchasing car and home, and funding college.

- Social Emotional Learning: mental health, communication, conversation starters, personal boundaries, public speaking, meditation, self-care, and resources.

- Physical Health: nutrition, fitness, health insurance 101, and cooking.

- Workplace Skills: resume, cover letter, digital literacy, team dynamics, and strengths finder.

Weekly Life Skills Workshops take place every Thursday during a 75 minute block, with videos and hands-on, life-applicable assignment.

Academic Curriculum (College Readiness)

Vita's Academic Curriculum contains 4 components:

- Online Curriculum

- Group Activities

- Project Based Learning

- Community Learning (Field Trips & College Visits)

Online Curriculum

This includes primarily Arizona State University's Universal Learner Courses (ASU ULC) and PrepMedians (ACT Prep using sketch comedy to instruct). If the student is going the Charter path, there is significantly additional coursework to complete on ELMS (Sequoia Choice's online platform).

ASU ULC Courses Include:

- MAT 117: College Algebra

- MAT 210: Brief Calculus

- ENG 101: First Year Composition

- ENG 102: First Year Composition

- SES 106: Space and Earth Science

Vita pays the $25 enrollment fee to ASU. The students continue to take the course until they receive the grade they desire. Then the family can choose to pay $400 to "transcript" the course for college credit, with the earned grade. Vita will help the family fundraise.

Group Activities

In addition to the online courses, each educator hosts various group activities for STEM and Humanities. These might include: lessons, review games, experiments, lessons, Socratic discussions, and editing sessions.

Project Based Learning

There is rich learning in discussion, team projects, failing forward, and community interaction. Vita's Signature Projects tap into these learning and developmental strategies. They include projects in STEM (science and math), Humanities (English and social studies), and World Language.

Vita Signature Project Samples:

- Kim Chi Chemistry

- School Garden

- Personal Website Design

- Water Quality

- Vita Elections

- The Whole Meal

- The Decisions of Humanity

- Healing Humanity

Community Learning (Field Trips & College Visits)

This includes field trips and industry professionals speaking at school! Field trips might include Arizona State Capitol, local bank, engineering firm, Heard Museum, Arizona Science Center, and College Visits.

Success System (Educational Equity)

Educational Equity is about ensuring everyone receives what they need to succeed. That is exactly what Vita's Success System does.

Key Elements Include:

- 16:1 Student-Educator Ratio: the structure ensures that the educator can give every student the support they need to succeed.

- Weekly 1:1 Coaching: student and educator plan out the week's action items, provide support, and do a human check-in.

- Student Mastermind Teams: students support each other through brainstorming, weekly meetings, accountability, and more!

- Student Exhibitions: students share their progress and accomplishments with their community and are celebrated!

- Flexible Schedule and Calendar: accommodates family needs and life's surprises. No more stressing to catch up in math.

- Student-Led Clubs & Events: student leaders emerge to form clubs and host events, such as boxing, government, and video game club.

- Compassion: Vita Educators will ask a napping student "are you okay" instead of yelling at them. Kindness goes a long way.

Schedule & Calendar

Independent vs Charter

Vita offers Arizona families two tuition-free high school options:

Independent School (ESA) and Charter School (Sequoia Choice).

Independent

Overview: Vita utilizes Arizona's Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) to fund an independent school for our families who want further customization for their educational experience.

How it Works: AZ's ESA awards families about $7,000 annually to be used for any type of education, including homeschooling resources, private school tuition, curriculum, and more. Families would send Vita the entire amount. Vita still operates with its normal graduation requirements and there is room to adjust, based on the family's needs.

Main Benefit: This option provides educational freedom, as AZ has very loose homeschooling educational requirements, meaning more time for your child to work on their business, passion projects, employment, sports, etc. It means less busy work, while still maintaining high rigor with Vita's graduation requirements and college courses.

Graduation: There is a graduation ceremony for students who choose this option and they will graduate with an independent school diploma.

Potential Concerns: Vita is not currently accredited by an accrediting institution. However, this seems to matter less and less. "Homeschool" classified students tend to have higher college acceptance rates as well.

Resources: ASU's resource on homeschooling and college. Khan Academy's resource on homeschoolers applying to college.

Charter

Overview: Vita partners with the online charter high school called "Sequoia Choice" and its online district "Edkey," offering an accredited charter high school diploma.

How it Works: In this option, students are officially enrolled with Sequoia and attend Vita, with Vita's Curriculum, in addition to significant coursework required by Sequoia on their online platform "ELMS". Regarding funding, Sequoia/Edkey receives state funding and then Vita receives payment from Edkey.

Main Benefit: Accredited high school diploma. Though this is becoming less important. It can be situational. Perhaps this is just important to you!

Graduation: There is a graduation ceremony hosted by Sequoia. Of course, students will also attend Vita's graduation.

Potential Concerns: Significant additional coursework is required on top of Vita's Curriculum (completed through their online platform ELMS), including 3 science classes (such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy & Physiology), 4 social studies classes (World History, US History, Government, Economics), CPR course, and a graduation course. Students have found that it has detracted from their passion projects. Some students manage to get it all done and still have free time.

Resources: Sequoia Choice Website

Meet Our Team

Vita Educators are multi-dimensional in comparison to the standard "teacher"

Mr. Andrew Lee
Founder, CEO

CFO, COO

andrew@vsihq.org

Andrew Lee is an Arizona native, Eagle Scout, ex-rocket scientist, professional artist, and educator. He holds a B.S.E. in aerospace engineering, M.Ed. in Secondary Education, Harvard Certificate in School Management and Leadership, and is a fellow at 4.0 Schools and High Tech High’s New School Creation Fellowship. He has taught math at public, private, charter high schools, and as faculty at Arizona State University. One of his painting clients was the Phoenix Suns.

Mr. Rio Stinger
Co-Founder, School Director
Humanities Educator

rio@vsihq.org

Rio Stinger holds a B.S. in Business Management, B.A. in Business Communication, and M.Ed. in Secondary Education. He is a professional songwriter, producer, traveling musician, and educator (Teach for America Alum) and has taught for 7 years in Arizona. He has participated in the Vans Warped tour as a full-time touring musician, performing his music across the country for tens of thousands of people, writing songs for professional musicians, producing music, and more.

Ms. Alyssa Zielinski
STEM Educator

Former Engineer of 6 Years

alyssa@vsihq.org

Alyssa Zielinski, an engineer-turned-educator at Vita, merges technical prowess from her industrial engineering background at Purdue University with a passion for modern pedagogy. After roles in Supplier Quality, Project Management, and Product Management, Alyssa's drive for meaningful education led her to Vita. Challenged by students questioning the real-world application of their studies, Alyssa became an advocate for practical, hands-on learning. At Vita, she champions an education where curriculum seamlessly integrates with real-world scenarios.

Mr. Charles (Charlie) Kaplan
Director of Recruitment

charlie@vsihq.org

Based in Phoenix, Charles Kaplan is a versatile operations and business director with a storied background in industries like education and fashion. As the Founding Director of Operations for Phoenix Modern, he's shaped an innovative public school experience. His entrepreneurial streak is further highlighted by his role at Silver Linings Clothing and his significant contributions in Chicago's manufacturing sector. A proud Purdue alumnus, Charles's expertise spans marketing, HR management, and technology.

Ms. Heather Adams
Registrar

Operations Manager

heather@vsihq.org

Heather Adams, an Arizona native and guardian of a Vita student, previously worked as a medical assistant and paramedic. She now holds the dual roles of Vita's Registrar and Operations Manager, where she greets everyone with her warm energy. Heather strongly advocates for Vita's model, having witnessed a remarkable transformation in her child since joining Vita.

Ms. Gloria Astudillo
Educator In-Training
Operations Assistant

gloria@vsihq.org

Gloria Astudillo, a 2018 graduate of Mesa High School in Arizona, was born in Mexico and later relocated to Arizona with her family. Despite an initial misplacement in remedial algebra due to a poor assessment of her Mexico school credits, she showcased her prowess in mathematics. Gloria not only excelled but also actively supported ELL students. She is now on her way to complete her education degree at Arizona State University with aspirations to become a Vita High School Educator.

Mrs. Deborah (Debbie) Yung
Operations

Deborah is an adept school operations professional with a rich history of roles spanning from school clerk to miracle worker. Her journey includes significant contributions to institutions like Mendoza Elementary in Mesa Public Schools and New Vistas Center for Education. Currently, Deborah selflessly dedicates her time to volunteer efforts, ensuring students receive nutritious meals and benefit from her unparalleled support.

Mrs. Vicki Massey
Advisory Board

With over 25 years of elementary teaching experience, Vicki Massey later served as a Secondary Science Specialist and has a Master of Arts in Science Teaching from NAU. She has been associated with several science organizations, including ASTA, NSTA, NSELA, and AzSEF. Furthermore, Vicki is an adjunct instructor at both NAU and ASU and has authored "Doing Good Science in Middle School". Her dedication to science education is evident through her trainings in STEM and Gifted Endorsements.

Mrs. Amanda Stolee
Advisory Board

Law

Amanda Stolee graduated with the Highest Pro Bono Distinction from the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at ASU in 2008. Her diverse legal career spans areas such as Criminal Prosecution, Civil Liability, and Child Welfare. Additionally, Mrs. Stolee is an Associate Broker for Locality Real Estate, serving clients for over a decade.

Mrs. Denise Streeter
Advisory Board

Accounting, Higher Education

Denise, a seasoned finance professional and academic, brings over 30 years of experience in fields like accounting, economics, and finance. She has educated students globally and is a prominent professor at Harvard University. Her affiliations with 4.0 Schools and the Life School of Atlanta highlight her commitment to education.

Mr. Steve Alvarez
Advisory Board

Business Scaling

Steve Alvarez, originally from New York, self-financed his college education and later embarked on a successful real estate venture, managing 65 properties in Albany, NY. With a dedication to large-scale societal betterment, Steve's initiatives focus on providing low-income housing, enhancing the education system, and spearheading technological advancements.

Mrs. Susan Dong
Advisory Board

Human Resources

Susan Dong, a results-driven leader, has played pivotal roles in high-tech business integrations and team development. Her illustrious career includes leadership positions at BAE Systems, Marconi Information Systems, and General Dynamics. Holding a BA from the University of Southern California and an MBA from ASU, Susan has consistently delivered excellence throughout her career.

ArieAnna (Arie) Richardson
Student Board Member

ArieAnna Richardson, a dedicated 12th grade student at Vita, harbors a deep passion for both basketball and medicine. During her impactful time at Vita, she established a pivotal connection with a college recruitment basketball coach. She's a trailblazer, having completed her high school graduation requirements ahead of time. Now, she's actively engaged in college classes at Vita in partnership with Arizona State University. Arie has her sights set on top-tier colleges, aiming to pursue medicine and surgery.

Danny Villegas
Student Board Member

Danny Villegas, a resilient 12th grader at Vita, faced challenges that nearly led him to abandon his educational journey. However, with Vita's nurturing environment, he discovered his latent interests. Today, he stands tall as an aspiring bioengineer and a budding photographer with an entrepreneurial spirit. Vita's unparalleled mentoring transformed his trajectory, allowing him to pivot from an initial interest in electrical work to bioengineering. Danny also hones his photography skills, securing profitable opportunities across events, all while preparing for his next big step: college.

Isaiah Prescott
Student Board Member

Isaiah Prescott, an enterprising 11th grade student at Vita, showcases an unwavering enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. Seizing the vast opportunities Vita offers, Isaiah has remarkably scaled his car detailing business. Implementing insights from 1:1 coaching sessions and has brought onboard his first employee. The supportive ecosystem at Vita, characterized by flexibility and freedom, perfectly complements his entrepreneurial zeal. Currently, Isaiah is broadening his horizons with a college-level accounting class.

Zobeida (Wen) Frietz
Student Board Member

Zobeida, fondly known as Wen, is a 12th grade student at Vita and has the distinction of being Vita's former student body President. Previously, the taxing environment of a high-performance charter school weighed heavily on her. However, at Vita, she found a renewed sense of purpose. Wen has been diligently saving for her mission, immersing herself in enriching literature, ensuring restful nights, and exploring diverse career pathways. With Vita Educators' guidance, she ventured into the realm of sociology, interacting with professionals and making informed decisions, potentially saving her from years of misdirected study. As college looms, Wen is meticulously evaluating her options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What documents do I need for enrollment?

You will need your student's birth certificate, immunization records (or exemption form), and proof of residency (such as driver's license, utilities bill, lease, etc.).

Can I skip the steps?

If you are already sold, the only steps you need to complete are Steps 1 and 3. We require a phone call to ensure we have space and ensure we can serve you. The enrollment form is then the main component afterwards. Vita will then onboard you like normal in Step 4.

What's the difference between ESA and Charter?

Our Charter option (with the online charter high school called "Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning School" and its online district "Edkey") offers an accredited high school diploma from Sequoia Choice. However, significant additional coursework is required (offered on their online platform ELMS), including 3 science classes (such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy & Physiology), 4 math classes, 4 social studies classes (World History, US History, Government, Economics), CPR course, and graduation course.

Our ESA option (empowerment scholarship account) is in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education. It is essentially a scholarship account of about $7,000 or more for any student to use for their education. ESA would fund the student to attend Vita as an independent (private) school, potentially with a classification for homeschooling. This provides educational freedom, as AZ has very loose homeschooling educational requirements, meaning more time for your child to work on their business, passion projects, employment, sports, etc. It means less busy work, while still maintaining high rigor with Vita's graduation requirements and college courses. There is a graduation ceremony for students who choose this option and they will graduate with an independent school diploma. Vita is not currently accredited. However, this seems to matter less and less. "Homeschool" classified students tend to have higher college acceptance rates as well. ASU's resource on homeschooling and college. Khan Academy's resource on homeschoolers applying to college.

What if I am not sure if I want to do ESA or Charter?

We would suggest completing the application, since it's required for both. Then we are happy to chat with you to help you decide!

info@vsihq.org

6027372808

Do you provide transportation? How does pick-up work?

Vita does not currently have its own vehicle for transportation. We do, however, have a carpool network that has work for many of our families. Please contact us so we can help!

What time does school start and end?

School starts 7:30am and ends 2:15pm. Staff is at school until 3:30pm. If you happen to be late, etc. please contact your school staff and we'll make sure your family is taken care of. Sometimes, we'd have staff wait until 5:30pm. It's obviously not preferred and we don't want this to be the normal, but sometimes stuff happens and we are here for you!

Do you provide lunch?

Yes and we encourage students to bring lunch. Vita has a partnership with St. Mary's Food Bank where we stock our kitchen area with snacks and cookable food. There isn't a set menu. Vita also has microwaves, etc. for students to heat up their food from home. Sometimes students will order food. It feels a lot like home here.

What do students do on Monday?

Mondays are normally online days. Students should have planned out their work for the week during their 1:1 coaching section. They should be doing focus work on 1-2 classes for the Monday school day. Other Mondays are reserved for in-person assessments, events, and field trips. Please see the calendar.

How many students do you have?

Each Vita campus can range between 32-128 students.

What does online and hybrid look like?

For online, let us start by saying we do NOT expect students to be glued to a computer from 8am-5pm in zoom. Students are expected to follow the same weekly schedule to structure their day and do their work. Online students have 3 online check-in periods during the day. First at 7:30am, then 11:00am, and last at 2:30pm. These serve as coaching, accountability, and tutoring sessions. Students report if they completed their assignments. Educators provide support where needed and help plan for the future. Our online/hybrid students have really enjoyed this structure because it balances freedom, structure, and support very well.

For hybrid, it operates just like online. However students come in when they can. We encourage students to attend in-person for the first 2-4 weeks of school. Then afterwards minimally every Thursday, for our Life Skills Workshop. Often, we determine an attendance plan together with families.

What about Sports? Extracurriculars? Clubs? Events?

Vita does not currently offer sports in-house. However, we do connect students and families with community organizations. For example, we connected Arie with a basketball coach who gets high school students into the college basketball world.

Each Vita campus offers different extracurriculars and clubs based on their students and community. In 2022-23, Vita had student government and later in the year, there were enough Vita students that they created boxing club. Additionally, Vita can connect families to community organizations for their unique interests.

Vita has its own set of unique school events. In the past, we have talked about attending other high school football games and prom. That's still on the table! Students have agency in leading events.

Do you have data of students doing well?

During 2022-23, student ACT scores improved by 40%. 100% of students reported that they felt Vita was preparing them for real life and was actually helping them achieve their dreams. Though... our best data is our qualitative data. You just can't beat a good story. Watch them below!

Vita Family Testimonials

Mission Statement:

No matter their circumstances, the Vita Schools of Innovation empowers human beings to prepare for life and realize their dreams NOW, using the best practices from around the world.

Visit Us:

Google Maps

4302 E Broadway Rd

Phoenix, AZ 85040

(Entrance Across from Phoenix International Academy)

Nondiscrimatory Policy:

Vita welcomes all and therefore does not discrim­i­nate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, marital status, disability, age, or other factors of diversity in the admin­is­tra­tion of its educa­tional poli­cies, admis­sions poli­cies, and other school-administered programs.

TEXT: (602) 737-2808

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