Rapper Pitbull’s newest public charter school will open in Tempe in August, and SLAM! Arizona Elementary is enrolling students now.
The K-5 school was originally planned for Mesa, which Pitbull announced at his Celebrity Fight Night performance in Phoenix on March 12.
He first announced plans for the school in 2018 at Woz U’s DesTechAZ consortium of technology leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials.
SLAM! Arizona Elementary’s principal is looking forward to the opening.
“My hope is that we will be a shining light in this city that students will want to come and be excited at school, want to stay and be involved and grow academically in a way that they have never before,” principal Shannon Beem said.
Here’s everything you need to know about the school before it opens.
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What are Pitbull’s charter schools?
The Tempe school isn’t the first for the entertainer, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez.
He opened two charter schools in Miami in 2012 — a high school called Sports Leadership Academy of Miami and a middle school called Sports Leadership and Management. The SLAM Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization that represents 13 public charter schools in underrepresented communities.
SLAM stands for science, leadership, arts and management. The schools, which also operate in Nevada and Georgia, use a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum and sports themes to prepare students for careers in sports medicine, media production and marketing.
Pitbull founded SLAM! schools alongside Alex Tamargo and SLAM Foundation CEO Millie Sanchez. Its first campus opened in 2012 in Little Havana, the neighborhood where Pitbull grew up in Miami, Beem said. Pitbull is the ambassador and spokesperson for the school network.
“I think a lot of people look at giving back as a responsibility,” Pitbull told The Republic in March. “I see it as an obligation. If you’ve been blessed to be able to be at a certain level in your life, a certain platform, then you should lead by example, and always give back. Living is giving.”
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Why did SLAM! choose Tempe for its Arizona school?
Tempe was chosen for Slam! Arizona Elementary because of its proximity to pro sports teams and universities.
“The city of Phoenix, being one of the largest cities in the country, has affiliation with every pro sports team in every area, in addition to large universities like Grand Canyon University and Arizona State University,” Beem said. “We have the ability to partner with them and give them great internships through high school.”
The school already has partnerships with NASCAR and the Arizona Coyotes.
SLAM! Arizona signed a lease for the building of the former Esperanza Community School on July 1.
The Tempe location also allowed SLAM! Arizona Elementary to meet the needs of students in difficult economic situations. The school will provide school supplies for students who need them, as well as a washer and dryer for families to do laundry.
“We call ourselves a ‘SLAMily’ because we encourage the family unit to come together in the school,” Beem said.
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When will the SLAM! Arizona school open?
slam! Arizona is slated to open Aug. 3, 2022.
At first, it will enroll 120 students in kindergarten through Grade 5. There are currently 50 opening left in all grades.
Class sizes will range from 21 to 25 students, with the youngest grades having an average of 21 students per class.
The school will add one grade each year, with plans to expand through 12th grade. The school currently has 10 full-time staff members.
After leasing the current building for a couple years, the hope is to build a campus that can accommodate more children, Beem said.
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How can I enroll in SLAM! Arizona?
Parents can apply on the SLAM! Arizona Elementary website or by calling 602-422-9079.
Details: SLAM! Arizona Elementary, 1938 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe. https://slamaz.com.
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