Omkar Bharath, 2019 Arizona Spelling Bee Champion  

 6th grader at Desert Canyon Middle School, Scottsdale 


Spelling Bee

Spelling Bees are a great American tradition. Bees help students improve oral and written literacy skills and build self-confidence. Each year, over 200,000 Arizona students participate in Bees that begin in classrooms, take over schools, advance to districts, and then on to regional and county qualifiers.


The State Spelling Bee is the penultimate showdown with 27 students from across the state competing to determine who will represent Arizona in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

The AEF Arizona Spelling Bee 2021 will be held on March 20th, 2021.


The Arizona Spelling Bee is made possible through:


eligibility        enroll your school        the speller's path        faqs        timeline        past winners


county and regional bee coordinators

enrollment now open.

Registration for the 2021 spelling bee is now open!

Registration closes December 18th, 2020.


Important Note: You are registering directly with Scripps. The Arizona Educational Foundation does not take payment for your registration fees. All registration fees and eligibility policies are set by Scripps. Scripps accepts checks or credit cards only, they do not accept purchase orders. 


2021 deadlines.

School Registration Deadline: December 18th, 2020

Deadline to Finish School Spelling Bee: January 8th, 2021

Deadline to Finish District Spelling Bee: February 1st, 2021


Deadline to Complete County/Regional Spelling Bee: February 19th, 2021

path to the Arizona Spelling Bee.


Classroom Bee

School Bee

District Bee

County/ Regional Bee

AEF™ Arizona Spelling Bee



  • To participate in the 2020 Arizona Spelling Bee, a student must attend a school in Arizona that is enrolled with the Scripps National Spelling Bee on or before the deadline December 18th, 2020.

  • There is no minimum grade or age level at the state or national finals; however, spelling bee officials at the classroom, school or district level may, at their discretion, set a minimum grade and/or age limit.

  • A student is eligible to compete if he or she has not passed beyond the eighth grade on or before February 1, 2021 and has not reached his or her 15th birthday before August 31, 2020.


  • To qualify for the AEF™ Arizona Spelling Bee, a speller must win preliminary bees at the classroom, school, district*, and county/regional levels.  A district run-off is needed in the following instances:

    • Public Schools: If there are multiple schools from the same district enrolled, you must hold a district wide run-off to select the student(s) that will advance to the county/regional bee.

    • Charter Schools: If there are multiple charter schools operating under the same LEA, CMO, EMO, (such as BASIS, Great Hearts, etc.), you must hold a run-off to select the student(s) that will advance to the county/regional bee. Even if each school in a charter network is considered an independent LEA, if they are part of a larger network, a run-off is needed.

    • Private Schools:  If there are multiple private schools operating under the umbrella of an organization (such as a Diocese or private management organization), you must hold a run-off to select the student(s) that will advance to the county/regional bee. 

    • Home Schools: If there are multiple home schools operating under the umbrella of an organization or collective, you must hold a run-off to select the student(s) that will advance to the county/regional bee.

    • Independent Schools: If the enrolled school (charter, private, home, virtual) is entirely independent (not associated with any other schools or management organization) the winning speller will advance to the county/regional bee. 

Not sure if your school needs a district bee? Contact Matthew Feller at




Enroll school with Scripps


Hold school spelling bee

early Feb

Hold district spelling bee

late Feb

County/Regional spelling bee

enroll your school.


  • Step #1: Enroll your school on the Scripps National Spelling Bee website. To enroll, click here. In order to compete, Spellers must attend a school enrolled with Scripps. The deadline to register wish Scripps is December 18, 2020.

  • Step #2: Schools pay enrollment fees directly to Scripps. Important note: The Arizona Educational Foundation (AEF) does not accept payment on Scripps' behalf. Questions regarding payment should be sent directly to Scripps. Scripps only accepts checks or credit cards. They do not accept purchase orders.

  • Step #3: Review the materials provide by Scripps such as:

    • Official study lists for students, organized by grade level

    • Study materials for each school spelling champion

    • Official pronouncer guides for classroom and school spelling bees

  • Step #4: Schedule and hold your school bee before Arizona's deadline of January 8th, 2021.

  • Step #5: Send your school champion's information your district bee coordinator (if applicable).

    • If you are a district bee coordinator and need a copy of the District Pronouncer Guide, contact Matthew Feller at

  • Step #6: District bee coordinators will send the name(s) and student information to the County/Regional Bee Coordinator.

    • Maricopa regions are determined by the boundaries of the public school districts. If you are a private, charter, or home school, the region is determined by the physical address of your school within those boundaries. This resource can be used to help you determine your region.

    • To determine the numbers of students that will advance from your district run-off, divide the number of schools participating by 4.

    • If you are sending more than one speller, but the students' schools are in different regions, the number of spellers advancing does not change, but each speller will advance to the region in which their school resides.


Unsure? Contact Matthew Feller at



Our school has registered with Scripps. Now what?

It's time to start distributing Bee resources from your online portal to your students and planning your classroom and school spelling bees. AEF recommends reviewing the spelling bee RULES and INSTRUCTIONS documents.

Where can I find study resources for my students?

Scripps approved study resources can be found by accessing your school's online account at Grade-level-based spellings lists are adequate study for spellers competing at the classroom and school level. After winning a school level spelling bee, it is recommended that a student use "The Words of the Champions" lists for all further levels of spelling bee competition. To protect fair and equitable competition, spellers should never be given access to current or old pronouncer guides to study.

My student does not attend a public school. Do they still compete in a district bee?

If the student attends a school that is a part of a wider network (i.e. – Charter Management Organizations (CMO), Education Management Organization (EMO), Diocese, etc,) and another school in the network is participating, there needs to be a run-off among those schools. If you are an independent school or are the only school in a district participating, the school winner will advance to the County or Regional Bee. Due to a smaller quantity of schools, some less populated counties are not required to include a district bee. This is on a per-county basis and schools should check with their county spelling bee coordinator for further details.

Maricopa county does not qualify for the district bee exemption, therefor all schools within Maricopa county that are a part of a network of schools (with 2 or more schools competing) will hold a district bee.

When and where do district spelling bees take place?

District spelling bees are managed by individual district coordinators. These coordinators are often appointed by administration. The location, date, and time of your district bee will be determined by the assigned coordinator. We advise reaching out to your school administration for support if you are unaware who your district coordinator is.

When and where do county and regional bees take place?

AEF has a list of county and regional bee coordinators on our website. Maricopa County is divided into six regions based on school district. Coordinators can better provide details on the time and place of the County or Regional Bee. Please reference our county/regional bee page to find contact information for your county/regional coordinator.

staff contact.

For questions about the Spelling Bee, contact Matthew Feller at

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