Arizona State University’s ASU Prep Digital program provides educational services for families with untraditional living situations, allowing children to keep up with the standard American curriculum.
Kids know better than most the sacrifices that military families make, a press release stated. New orders mean packing up and leaving everything familiar behind. New teachers. New friends. New everything. Over and over again.
Yet some military families are discovering that it’s possible to find consistency even when you’re moving from coast to coast, or even across the ocean, the release continued.
One such family is the Morenos. Jose and Amy Moreno met as freshmen at Arizona State University in the early 90s. A military brat herself, Amy Moreno doesn’t have what she considers a hometown.
So when her husband’s military career began not long after they married, they agreed to make ASU — the place they met and fell in love — their home base. Little did they know how prophetic that decision would be.
Fast forward a couple of decades, the Morenos, stationed in Japan, enrolled their three children in local schools. It was an experience of a lifetime and one the whole family agrees was worthwhile.
However, doing so put their oldest daughter, Emma, a year behind in high school credits by U.S. standards. While puzzling over how to reclaim that lost time, a serendipitous email arrived. It was from the ASU Alumni Association and it described a new option called ASU Prep Digital.
The accredited online K-12 program is based in Arizona and serves students around the world – including a growing number of military kids who crave consistency as they travel the world. The Morenos credit ASU Prep Digital with seamless transitions as they’ve moved from base to base.
According to the release, the kids log in and poof, they’re back in school. The same school, the same friends — and in the Morenos’ case, the same Learning Success Coach every step of the way.
ASU assigns LSCs to ensure students stay on track to meet their education goals. Michelle Ugalde first met the Morenos when Emma Moreno was a freshman four years ago.
The release explained that he’s played an integral role in the family’s experience, helping guide Emma to make up time and graduate in just three years (with 24 concurrent college credits, no less); Elias, who is poised to graduate this spring; and Lucas, who joined ASU Prep Digital in ninth grade and is now a sophomore.
The school has also given the family freedom. They’ve been able to choose housing based on convenience rather than fighting local real estate markets to rent in desirable school districts.
Through the years, when opportunity allowed, the Morenos made a point to return to ASU and ground the kids with a sense of home, whether it was exploring campus or attending sporting events. Now, after 25 years of service, Jose Moreno officially retired in October 2022.
He’s transferring years of experience in the Army’s Signal Corp into a career as a senior project manager in ASU’s Research Technology Office. His wife has officially come “home” as well; she’s an academic advisor for Barrett Honors College at ASU.
While these new roles mean more residential stability and the option to return to traditional schools, the younger Morenos prefer to stick with their digital classrooms. For Elias Moreno, in particular, the flexible schedule and no school commute mean he has plenty of time for a part-time job and work on his Eagle application through Scouts BSA.
While the Morenos are quick to acknowledge that online learning comes with its own challenges — each of their kids has a different learning style.
“It’s what you make it,” Amy Moreno said in the release. “As a complete package, it has been everything we could have ever needed. It gives them consistency that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”