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Pitbull's SLAM charter school opens next month in Tempe

Posted at 7:09 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 22:09:34-04

PHOENIX — A new charter school with ties to rapper Pitbull will open in Tempe next month.

SLAM Arizona is a tuition-free, public charter school that will begin by offering grades kindergarten through 5th grade. After that it will change to grades K-12.

Armando Christian Pérez (Pitbull) opened the first SLAM school in Miami in 2012.

Now, there are 14 schools in four states including Florida, Georgia, Nevada and now Arizona

Most of their 7,000 students are Hispanic and a majority come from low-income homes.

"We wanted to be in the Tempe/Mesa area because of the demographics," said Shannon Beem, the school's founding principal.

"What we do with children works," she added.

According to the SLAM foundation, the schools have a 100% graduation rate.

Beem helped open the SLAM school in Nevada before moving to Arizona.

She said some of Arizona's policies help charters succeed including new legislation signed by Gov. Doug Ducey.

"One -- that gave more funding to charter schools, two -- that will help us with transportation and three -- it allows our teachers to go through programming and be active students while they're in the classroom and that makes them better teachers," she said.

The school will have a STEM-based curriculum and use sports and movement to help kids learn.

"Instead of having them to raise their hand to ask questions or anything we might throw a ball to them," said Jeff Huber, the school's athletic director.

"Just that little extra stimulation, that little extra excitement -- that gets them going where learning can be fun." he added.

Huber tells ABC15 that using sports to teach kids will help make the student more competitive in life.

The school is currently located in Tempe near McClintock and Apache Boulevard.

Beem says they are fully staffed and are mostly full when it comes to students. However, they'll be adding one grade each year moving forward until they have 12th graders.

They also may move to a bigger location down the road.

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