Parent to Parent: On School Choice and YES Prep Partnership Campuses

KembaDavis2Guest blogger Kemba Davis is the parent of two YES Prep students. Her son, Gavin, is a sophomore at YES Prep Eisenhower and her son, Canaan, is an 8th-grader at YES Prep Hoffman. YES Prep Hoffman and YES Prep Eisenhower are part of the YES Prep-Aldine ISD partnership and are co-located within Aldine ISD’s Hoffman Middle School and Eisenhower High School. We interviewed her about the importance of school choice and her decision to send her students to YES Prep.

Why is it important for parents to have the choice of where to send their students?

If you have choice, you will work harder and strive for better for your students. Sometimes the schools you are zoned to are not the best environment for your child. Choice allows you to ask: Will this school be a good fit for your child? Will your child be able to do what he/she wants and then some? Will you be able to work with the staff to make sure your child can achieve what they dream of? Every parent deserves to ask these questions and select a school where their child is safe and supported.

Why did you choose YES Prep for your children?

I knew that YES Prep had a great reputation of getting students ready for college and that their curriculum was top-notch. We were coming from Fort Bend and we wanted to establish ourselves somewhere that would propel our sons toward success. Upon getting to YES Prep, I saw that it was a great community. The teachers and administration network and communicate with families. They make you feel involved, and I just loved that.

What do you love about YES Prep now?

I love the administrators. I have a huge respect for Mr. Sander and Mr. Downs. These are people that go above and beyond. They have a love and respect for what they do. It’s not a job for them. They have a passion for it. It makes me feel at ease when I’m at work because I know my children are going to be supported. The teachers and staff really relate to kids and make them feel respected and known.

I also think the academics are very strong. The content and materials they are given are way more advanced than that of my son’s counterpart at other schools in the city. They’ll say, “You’re doing that already? We haven’t done that yet.”  I want my young men to be successful and empowered. I want hem to be able to be in a position of power and be able to say, “I worked hard and this is what I have to show for it. And all because YES Prep pushed me.”

How do your students benefit from being at YES Prep-Aldine partnership campuses?

I really love that my students are able to participate in the after-school activities with the partnership schools. My oldest son joined theater. There were only three YES Prep kids and about 50 Eisenhower children in the program. However, he was not an outcast. He felt welcomed and made so many friends.

How was the transition to YES Prep for your sons?

There was a lot of adjusting for my oldest son, but midway through his eighth-grade year, he said, “I see that they really do care about me. It’s weird.” And I said, “If you see that, then give them that respect.” He loves Eisenhower now. My younger son was resistant to all the rules. I just kept encouraging him, “You’ll like it. You’ll see. If you always quit at something, you’ll never see how great you can become.” And guess what? A year later, he can’t stop talking about it. He’s so glad he stayed at YES.

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