Students at Phoenix Coding Academy, a specialty high school in the Phoenix Union High School District, learn to turn personal tech interests into careers (submitted photo).

Phoenix Coding Academy (PCA) is a one-of-a-kind, specialty high school that provides a student-centered learning experience focused on computer coding and technology.

One of PCA’s goals is to transform its students into “tech creators not just consumers,” PCA Principal Seth Beute said. PCA’s innovative classroom environment allows students to turn their personal interests into careers.

Each quarter students complete a project that tests their knowledge across different subjects. Junior Nicholas Cruz created an app, alongside three other students, that took first place in Representative Ruben Gallego’s district for the 2022 Congressional App Contest. His grandparents were the inspiration behind the app.

“Sometimes they struggle navigating through their laptop or tablet, and I wanted to build something to help them,” Cruz said.

Sophomore Gabriella Bastida created a future city efficient in green energy. The project helped Bastida put into perspective how people function as a society dependent on the culture, technological advancements and major events within a city.

According to PCA teacher and professional development specialist, Gina Vullo, students at PCA are encouraged to “embrace and create who they want to be.”

The students agree. Cruz explained that “no one is afraid of expressing themselves or being who they are here” while Audrey Fischer, a freshman, called the school a “comforting and inclusive space.”

PCA is one of two schools in the Phoenix Union High School District to receive an “A” grade from the Arizona Board of Education. The school received the maximum number of points in overall growth and college and career readiness.

Students at PCA are graduating with paid internship experience and “are better prepared for interviews and the workforce than those with two years of college experience,” Vullo said.

Senior Parth Dinubhai is currently an intern at Chandler Police Department and will receive a certificate in homeland security prior to graduation.

“We don’t expect our students to change the world, but we want to help them change their world,” Beute said.

Phoenix Coding Academy is currently accepting student applications for the 2023–24 school year. Learn more at

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