For more than 20 years, teachers and staff at YES Prep have worked tirelessly to increase the number of middle and high school students from underserved communities who graduate from college prepared to lead. I am thrilled about our plans to seek the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) approval to open YES Prep Public Schools’ first two elementary campuses, giving Houston families more options for their children’s K-12 education.
YES Prep is committed to thoughtful growth to give communities in Houston access to the college-prep education they deserve. We now serve more than 13,000 students at 18 campuses and have a wait list reaching a record 7,000 students. With every incoming class of sixth graders, our teachers see students with reading and math skills far behind grade level. These students are not alone. State officials report only one in three third graders in Texas can read and do math on grade level, which leaves many to struggle throughout their school experience. YES Prep students work closely with caring teachers to make academic leaps year over year and earn college degrees at four times the rate of their peers.
Parents frequently tell us they wish their children could have had YES Prep’s level of rigor and attention sooner. If we receive official approval from TEA, that option will be available for families soon. Under our plan, starting the 2020-21 school year, families with children entering Kindergarten through second grade will have the option of attending one of two YES Prep elementary schools, as space permits. The schools will add Pre-Kindergarten classes and grow students into grades 3, 4, and 5 in subsequent years. It is our goal to have 10 elementary schools to serve 10,000 Houston children in Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade by 2025.
We are recruiting more education leaders and staff than ever as we continue to expand, and I hope you will join me in welcoming Lance Menster, Managing Director of Elementary Schools, to our team to lead this charge. Lance has a 25-year history of success in elementary education and comes to YES Prep from the largest school system in the state where he formerly served as the elementary curriculum and development officer.
We are on the lookout for more excellent, certified school teachers and extraordinary staff who will work with families to determine each child’s goals and areas of support needed.
If you or someone you know is interested in providing students a college-ready education, or if you are a family interested in having your elementary-aged child attend YES Prep, more information is available here: www.yesprep.org/elementary. YES Prep students and staff are ready and eager to support them!