Math & Science Academy

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Math & Science Academy

The Math & Science Academy in Scottsdale Unified School District focuses on the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—often referred to as STEM. Academy students graduate motivated and fully qualified to pursue degrees in the STEM field at the post-secondary level.

Our Vision

  • Strong emphasis in math and science with an infusion of technology
  • Designed to meet the needs of academically motivated and dedicated students
  • A challenging experience that's comparable with nationwide Math & Science Academy programs
Math & Science Academy

Math & Science Distinction Program

  • Accelerated Instruction
  • Academic advisor 
  • Program of study
  • Internship or Senior Project

Accelerated Instruction Includes:

  • Intense writing assignments designed to improve a student’s skills and hone their ability to communicate effectively and report information related to scientific study
  • A program of study which requires a minimum of nine advanced units of math and science and completion of at least two extended academic events
  • An internship or senior project

Additional Math & Science Academy Info

 STEM Competitive Opportunities

Science OlympiadThe Saguaro Science Olympiad team competed in the State Science Olympiad held at Glendale Community College. Each school-based team is allowed to bring 15 students who cross-train for a variety of events in their skill set, but Saguaro had two teams competing with a total of 28 students involved. Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 25 team events. This year, our students competed in a variety of events focused on genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. Forty three teams from across the state participated this year—that’s more than 600 students. Seventy five percent of the Saguaro team members won awards in at least one event.

If you are interested in being a part of the Saguaro Science Olympiad Team or The Saguaro Science Bowl team as a student, parent or volunteer please contact Mrs. Johnson at

FIRST Robotics Competition FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand, hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.

 It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. SaguaroChaparralArcadia and Coronado had FRC teams participate in the two Arizona Regionals.

The program requires about 20 hours a week for six weeks straight. That would means after school and on Saturdays for six weeks (this is less time commitment than most sports). If you are interested in being a part of the (first) Saguaro FIRST Robotics team contact as a student, parent or volunteer please contact Mr. Brandt at

The Arizona Science Bowl is the most unique and exciting STEM competition there is! The competition consists of school teams from throughout the state. The teams are four students, one alternate, and a teacher who serves as a coach. Together, they face-off in fast-paced question and answer rounds and tested on a range of science disciplines.

Science Olympiad is a National Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program that allows students to apply what they know in a competitive setting. Welcome to the exciting possibilities for you and your students that happen with Science Olympiad. Arizona Science Olympiad has three divisions divided by grade level: Division A is for grades 2-5, Division B is for middle school students, grades 6 through 9 and Division C is for high school students, grades 9 through 12. We can offer you information on integration of STEM education in your science and math classroom as well as numerous opportunities for your students to practice and compete in the various Science Olympiad events. Explore our site more and contact us for more information.

Mathleague sponsors a series of high school math contests each year to determine the individual and team state champions in several states, as well as national champions. Local qualifying tournaments are held throughout the school year at various sites in these states. Within space limitations at each site, schools may attend any or all of these tournaments in an attempt to qualify for the state meet. Each event has a cutoff score, and all students and teams attaining the cutoff score will be invited to compete at the state championship, provided their schools are members of and located in a state where holds a championship. State meets will be held in April; details will be emailed by early April to all schools with qualifying students.

The Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) is the state fair for Arizona. Managed by Arizona Science Center, AzSEF brings together first-place winners from school, homeschool, district, county and regional science fairs across Arizona to compete for thousands of dollars in prizes and scholarships. The Grand Award winners in the Senior Division from the state-level fair will be selected to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

FIRST Robotics Competition. The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. Engage kids in kindergarten through high school in exciting, mentor-based, research and robotics programs that help them become science and technology leaders, as well as well-rounded contributors to society.

In the VEX Robotics Competition, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. Classroom STEM concepts are put to the test as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership, communications, and more. Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state, and national levels and culminate at the VEX Robotics World Championship each April!

The MAA’s American Mathematics Competitions program leads the nation in strengthening the mathematical capabilities of the next generation of problem-solvers. Through classroom resources and friendly competition, the MAA AMC program helps America’s educators identify talent and foster a love of mathematics. The MAA AMC program positively impacts the analytical skills needed for future careers in an innovative society. The American Mathematics Competitions are a series of examinations and curriculum materials that build problem-solving skills and mathematical knowledge in middle and high school students. The AMC 10 and AMC 12 are both 25-question, 75-minute, multiple choice examinations in high school mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem-solving skills. The AMC 10 is for students in 10th grade and below, and covers the high school curriculum up to 10th grade. Students in grade 10 or below and under 17.5 years of age on the day of the contest can take the AMC 10. The AMC 12 covers the entire high school curriculum including trigonometry, advanced algebra, and advanced geometry, but excluding calculus. Students in grade 12 or below and under 19.5 years of age on the day of the contest can take the AMC 12.

These competitions are administered around the country on Thursday, February 7, 2019 and Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. The AMC 10/12 provides an opportunity for high school students to develop positive attitudes towards analytical thinking and mathematics that can assist in future careers. The AMC 10/12 is the first in a series of competitions that eventually lead all the way to the International Mathematical Olympiad (see Invitational Competitions).

 Distinction Program Requirements

Scottsdale Math and Science Academy Distinction Program Requirements

Each academy student will:

  • Complete a minimum of four units of high school math beginning with Geometry Trigonometry Honors followed by Algebra II honors, Trigonometry pre-calculus honors and AP Calculus.
  • Complete a minimum of three high school science courses, including honors chemistry, honors biology, honors physics.
  • Complete a total of nine units of advanced STEM courses receiving a unweight grade point average of no less than 3.0 in those courses.
  • Complete in two Honors English courses or an advanced college-level English course.
  • Complete at least two years of one foreign language. Students are encouraged to complete three years to be competitive applicants to selective colleges and universities. (It is recommended that entering freshmen complete one year of a foreign language prior to ninth grade.)
  • Take a minimum of six classes each semester. The mentorship/research project may replace one semester class during the senior year.
  • Participate in several science or math state or national competitions.
  • Complete a field experience.
    • As a capstone experience of each Mathematics & Science Academy student’s program of study, the field experience/mentorship/research project truly sets our students apart.
    • The focus of the project must be in a field related to math, science, engineering or technology and integrate the foundational topics studied in the preceding years. Students may elect to complete a research/mentorship project or internship with a practicing scientist, mathematician, or a like professional.  

Academic Competitions

Each Mathematics & Science Academy student, during their program of study, must compete in a minimum of two academic competitions. A student may take a semester class in which they prepare, under the guidance of a staff member, for the competition.

Once the competition is completed the student will write a self -evaluation summary paper, which will include recommendations to future students who will compete in the same or similar arena. A student may satisfy this component outside the regular class day in an approved competition under the guidance of a staff member in order to free up time to take additional electives during the regular school day. The following competitions are pre-approved (but not limited to) for meeting this requirement:

  • AZ State Science Fair  
  • Science Olympiad
  • First Robotics
  • Odyssey of the Minds
  • Science Bowl
  • AZ State Math Contest*
  • The Math League High School Contest
  • American Mathematics Contest 10,12
  • American Invitational Math Exam
  • Vex Robotics

* Every Math and Science Academy student is expected to participate in the AZ State Math Contest.

 Math & Science Academy Academic Advisor

Students meet with the science or math chair to develop their plan to complete requirements to graduate with academy distinction. 
The advisor helps the students formulate their program of study, become aware of and choose opportunities related to participation in various academic competitions, and helps find and complete their internship or senior project.

There are four standard strands of study for academy students to choose from:
Life Sciences, Mathematics, Medical Science and Physical Science.

Each strand has a specific course sequence; however, the first two years of study for academy students will be similar to allow students the opportunity to change or modify their program of study through their junior year.

 Ninth and Tenth Grade Cohort Groups

Students are grouped in Math, Science and English. They have the opportunity to work with peers that have the same interests and motivations. Cohort classes offer opportunities for enhanced instruction such as more speakers and additional field trips. Enhanced instruction includes:

  • Extensive laboratory experiences using the latest technologies and current computer-based software and hardware
  • Emphasis on critical thinking skills in advanced math and science courses
  • Focus on technical writing skill development

Math & Science Academy Field Trips

This past year, students from the Math & Science Academy participated in a field trip to Glendale Community College for the Science and Nursing Day as well as the Forensics Day.

Saguaro students attended the Health Science Day at Grand Canyon University. Students from our health science classes, HPA and our Math & Science Academy who have an interest in pursuing a career in healthcare learned from speakers working in various health-related career fields and participated in many other exciting activities.

Saguaro's Math & Science Academy students attended a field trip to the Arizona State University Biodesign Institute. They also attended a field trip to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN) to learn about the latest technological advancements happening with the human genome.


MSA Program Coordinators
Christopher Brandt
Raymond Miller
Susan Lindberg

Saguaro High School
6250 N 82nd Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85250


Upcoming MSA Events

Information Night
Monday, 10/21
6 p.m.
Saguaro High School Library
6250 N. 82nd Street

MSA Graduation
Class of 2020
Date:  Thursday May 14, 2020
Saguaro Community Room
6:30 – 7:30 pm

Upcoming Booster Meetings