Max Ehrmann's Poem "Desiderata" (latin for "desired things") is a prose poem that has an positive message, and was used as the moniker for a unique alternative program that has served Phoenix Union High School District since 1977.
Desiderata Alternative Program serves exceptional students who have needs that are more effectively addressed in a small school environment. Students are referred to Desiderata by their home school campuses. The Desiderata program emphasizes academic achievements and helps to support the social, emotional and behavioral development and growth of students. All students are taught district approved curriculum that meets Arizona Common Core Standards and content specific Arizona Academic Standards. Classroom activities stress student acquisition of literacy and life skills.
Desiderata Alternative Program is housed in a 30,000-square foot facility near 35th Avenue and Thomas and was opened in 2006. The campus is designed to be functional and supportive: there are 11 classrooms, library, fitness center, sports court, cafetorium, group therapy room, instructional kitchen, and assistive technology support.