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Make no mistake about it, school districts in the state of Arizona are competing for students.

According to schools are doing everything they can to attract both students and parents.

The Deer Valley Unified School District hosts focus groups aimed toward parents and charts what programs other districts are offering, while the Peoria Unified School District has developed social media sites to keep parents informed and engaged.

Arizona Charter Schools Association president Eileen Sigmund made light of the fact that parents have far more options these days when it comes to their children's schooling.

"The past thought was, ĎI live in this ZIP code, therefore I have no choice,'" she said. "But parents now know they have options."

Of late, charter schools have joined in on the educational competition. noted that more than 145,000 Arizona students attended charter schools in 2012, or nearly triple the number (54,000) that attended private schools.

Arizona School Boards Association communications director Tracey Benson explained that school districts are becoming more strategic and direct in trying to attract students.

"Word of mouth is really the most effective way to attract new families to your schools," Benson said. "Parent outreach programs have become more important - engaging the parents you have so they can become ambassadors for your schools and districts.",

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