Veritas Preparatory Academy was founded to provide the young men and women of Metropolitan Phoenix with a classical, liberal, college preparatory education. Its founding mission was to make this time-tested and high-minded education available to every young man and woman – as a public school, with no admissions requirements and no tuition. The model of education was an old one: a classical, liberal arts education built upon the greatest intellectual, scientific, historical, and artistic achievements of Western Civilization. But to deliver this education in a public, tuition-free school was truly revolutionary.
Veritas believes that every child should have access to this rigorous curriculum, and to talented teachers who will prepare great-souled, great-hearted graduates to lead full and profound lives. This vision is what has made the school such a success to date, and it is this vision that propels it into the future.
A Bold Idea With Humble Beginnings
Veritas first opened its doors in 2003 in the constrained leased facilities of a church on Lincoln Drive, which thousands of Phoenicians pass each day while driving towards the 51 freeway. The campus provides 12,000 square feet of space with 17 classrooms on just three acres of land. It was converted into a serviceable school facility at a cost of over $250,000 without any funding from the state or federal grants. Veritas began with 120 students in grades 7-9 through the help of personal loans from several founding families. They were families seeking a better education for their children, an education not found in the public schools around them, and an education within reach of those who could not afford the lofty tuition of local private schools. They believed in the idea of Veritas.
There were also plenty of doubters. Public charter schools were created in Arizona only in the early 1990’s. And Veritas was one of the first public schools in the country to deliver a classical liberal arts curriculum amid a rigorous academic culture, combined with a full athletic and extra-curricular program. As a new institution, Veritas was aiming high, just as it was asking its students and families to do the same. It also intended to serve as a challenge to education in Arizona - not just to struggling public schools, but even to schools that were considered strong, including excelling district schools and private schools with admissions requirements and $15,000-plus annual tuition costs.
Veritas has since grown to serve 465 students in grades 6-12, with over 300 students on its wait lists, and is now one of the top schools in Arizona, public or private. Its AIMS scores consistently place it in the top ten of all public high schools in Arizona; its students score 20 percent higher than the national average on the SAT (and higher than most local private prep schools); and 95 percent of its seniors are admitted to selective universities nationwide such as Vanderbilt, Dartmouth, Harvard, and Claremont-McKenna. In fall 2011, Archway Classical Academy – Veritas opened its doors as a new companion primary school serving 520 students in grades K-5, marking the beginning of a full K-12 Veritas community to serve as a model for Arizona and the rest of America to follow.
"First we shape our buildings, then they shape us." - Winston Churchill
Over many years, the Veritas Board of Directors explored and pursued several new campus opportunities, all of which were beyond the reach of the school because of the cost of real estate or construction. Throughout the facilities search, the 142,000-square foot, 13.5-acre former Motorola building on 56th Street south of Indian School repeatedly came up as a dream site, but at an original listing price of $24 million, it was for a long time too expensive to consider seriously.
The downturn in the Phoenix real estate market, combined with the decision to open a new companion K-5 school on the site, created a golden opportunity for Great Hearts Academies and Veritas. After a lengthy process with many ups and downs, and days when it looked like a lost cause, this dream campus was purchased for $6 million on March 18, 2011.
Construction teams commenced a renovation project the minute after the close of escrow to transform the building into the full K-12 Veritas campus. The new K-5 Archway school opened at the new campus in fall 2011, with the 6-12 Veritas campus still under construction and the school moving over in the fall of 2012.
See the Project Elements and Campus Visuals to see the full details of the campus renovations.