IDEA alumni


Welcome to IDEA: A Student Perspective

You may have heard the Welcome to IDEA buzz these last few weeks on our IDEA blog and media channels.  These events really make for an exciting time to be part of the Team & Family.  

New-to-IDEA families!  You can learn all about Welcome to IDEA by clicking here, but we also thought: what better way to capture the essence of Welcome to IDEA than by having one of our students write abo...

Digital Learning Day at IDEA Public Schools

Happy Digital Learning Day, IDEA Team & Family! 

Alongside thousands of school systems, teachers, and students across the country, IDEA champions this day as a time to celebrate and spotlight the technology we use in our academic programs to promote learning and improve student outcomes.

Why celebrate Digital Learning Day?

In 2012, Digital Learning Day started as a platform for educators and leaders to highlight great teaching practices and ...

Welcome to IDEA Is Around the Corner

A Welcome to IDEA Event at IDEA Weslaco Pike

Welcome to IDEA, an exciting event for all new-to-IDEA families, is right around the corner.  If you have accepted an offer to enroll at IDEA Public Schools in the 2018-19 school year, we’d like you to join us at a Welcome to IDEA event. This event is the next step in the onboarding process, and it officially kicks off your family’s jour...

IDEA Teacher Spotlight: An Interview with Ana Gaby Chapa de Ibarra

Ana Gaby Chapa De Ibarra is a kinder teacher at IDEA Academy McAllen.  Ana started her career at IDEA as a co-teacher and wanted to continue to be a co-teacher because she wasn’t used to being out of her comfort zone. After two years of working as a co-teacher, she was offered a lead-teaching position.  Now, Ana is a Kinder Grade Team Leader and Direct Instruction Coach. 

From the day Ana deci...

IDEA McAllen Builds Butterfly Garden On Campus

IDEA McAllen 3rd graders and staff recently headed outside to build a butterfly garden for a unit they are studying on life cycles and ecosystems in the Rio Grande Valley.  The goal?  Incorporate hands-on learning and memorable experiences in science for students of all grade levels. 

“It’s part of a pilot program associated with Learning Landscapes, a local collaborative that focuses on learning in nature,” said Mary Jones, Science Elementary Curriculum Manager f...

What is Welcome to IDEA?  3 Things You Should Know About the Event

Attention all new-to-IDEA families! If you have accepted an offer to enroll at IDEA Public Schools in the 2018-19 school year, we’d like you to join us at a Welcome to IDEA event. This event is the next step in the onboarding process, and it officially kicks off your family’s journey with IDEA on the road to success in college and beyond. We can’t wait to see you there!


25 IDEA Scholars Place at Regional Science Fair

IDEA is beaming with pride. 

At the recent 58th Annual RGV Regional Science & Engineering Fair, IDEA scholars from across the Rio Grande Valley achieved tremendous success and recognition for the projects they had been working on.  A special congratulations to David Garcia from IDEA College Preparatory McAllen, who won 2nd Runner Up Grand Prize and an automatic entry to the international competition.  Hiriam Martinez from IDEA McAllen College Preparatory won the Gr...

30 IDEA Scholars Named Dell Scholarship Semifinalists

IDEA seniors will announce their final college choice this April at College Signing Day events.

Have you heard the great news?

30 IDEA seniors recently qualified as semifinalists for the nationally renowned Dell Scholarship, which provides students with financial assistance, resources, and mentoring to ensure they have the support they need to obtain a bachelor’s degree.    

About the Dell Scholarship

The Dell Scholars Program is a coll...

Black Student Alliance Fosters Dialogue, Learning at IDEA Allan College Preparatory

This year, a new club was founded at IDEA Allan College Preparatory.  It’s the first of its kind at IDEA, but club members suspect it will catch on across the Team & Family.

It’s called the “Black Student Alliance.”  The purpose?  Club member and IDEA Allan 11th grader Jacque’lynn Walker said it best: 

“Black Student Alliance (BSA) allows students to hold onto cultural experiences and take on new ideas to create ...

IDEA Holds First District Spelling Bee

This past Saturday, IDEA Public Schools held its first District Spelling Bee.  IDEA students from 12 campuses across the Rio Grande Valley participated in the friendly spelling competition held at IDEA Headquarters in Weslaco, Texas. 

“The event was a tremendous success,” said Colleen Stearns, Director of Secondary Humanities at IDEA Public Schools and Spelling Bee coordinator.  “Next year, we plan to expand the Spelling Bee to our other regions as well.”

The event ...

IDEA Greater Houston Area PIR Program Now Accepting Applicants

Pictured above is Allison Serafin, Executive Director of IDEA Public Schools Houston

At IDEA, we know our vision of College For All Children is possible, but not without individuals who want to make positive change in education.  This path to real change starts with our principals.  We educate nearly 36,000 students in 61 schools, all on the road to success in college and in life.  By 2022, IDEA will grow to 100,000 college-bound students in 173 schools nat...

​IDEA Public Schools Announces Expansion to the Greater Houston Area

We at IDEA are excited to announce our expansion to the Greater Houston Area. In December, 2017, the IDEA Public Schools Board granted approval for IDEA Public Schools to begin expansion to Houston, with plans to open four schools in 2020 and 16 additional schools over six years.  By 2022, IDEA will operate 173 schools in ten regions educating 100,000 students on their road to and through college. 

“We are excited to offer children and families in Houston an add...

Students Shine at IDEA Regional Science Fair

IDEA scholars were proud to showcase their scientific explorations this past weekend. 

The entire IDEA Team & Family is very proud of the amazing students who participated in this year’s IDEA Regional Science Fair at our IDEA McAllen campus this past weekend.  In total, there were over 214 student participants who presented over 160 projects! 

The campuses that participated were IDEA College Preparatory Mission, IDEA College Preparatory McAllen, IDEA College Preparatory Nort...

So You’re Awaiting IDEA’s Student Lottery Results: 8 Things You Should Know

IDEA’s Student Lottery was held on January 27, 2018, to ensure equal access for all student applicants.  Read below for 8 things you should know about this important event. 

You can also review IDEA's Lottery FAQs here:

Random Selection - During the Lottery, names will be selected at random using SchoolMint, an automated enrollment software system that is fair, transparent, and complies with data privacy regulations. When ...

IDEA Public Schools Breaks Ground on Second Campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

On Monday, January 22, 2018, IDEA Public Schools joined local Baton Rouge community leaders and supporters in celebrating the groundbreaking of IDEA Innovation, one of two IDEA campuses opening in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this fall!   

IDEA Southern Louisiana Executive Director Kenneth Campbell initiated construction on the second IDEA campus in Baton Rouge.  “We are thrilled to continue our expansion to the Baton Rouge community,” said Kenneth Campbell, executive director of IDEA Southern Louisiana. “IDEA believes...

Celebrating National School Choice Week

This week, we at IDEA will join thousands of schools, districts and communities in recognition of National School Choice Week (NSCW). NSCW is an initiative created to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for children, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling.  

We believe that every child, regardless of race or income, should have access to a high-quality education. Across our regions, tho...

IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Paola Guerrero

This month's teacher spotlight features Paola Guerrero, English & Language Arts Teacher at IDEA Academy Brownsville.  Read about her journey, and how she's giving back to the community she loves.  

How long have you been with IDEA?

I have been with IDEA for 5 years now. I began at IDEA Frontier as a 2nd grade co-teacher in English Language Arts (ELA).  I worked at IDEA Frontier for 2 years and then transferred to I...

Inclement Weather Update

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

At IDEA, the safety of our students and staff is a top priority. We are continuing to closely monitor weather conditions across our regions this afternoon.

As of this evening at 8:30 p.m, all IDEA Public Schools in Austin will operate on a 2-hour delayed start on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.  

As of this afternoon at 3:30 p.m., All IDEA Public Schools in the ...

IDEA Public Schools Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”

At IDEA Public Schools, we could not agree more with Dr. King.  Today, Monday, January 15, 2018, IDEA schools will be closed in the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life, work and legacy.

Through the education of over 36,000 students from the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Austin, and our soon-to-be regions of El Paso a...

Four-Year-Old Fountains of Knowledge

IDEA’s Student Lottery is less than 3 weeks away, and limited spots are still available in our Pre-K program.  If your child will be 4 years old by September 1, 2018, you can apply now!

Why Pre-K? 

While only about half of students in the United States attend Pre-K, numerous studies have shown that a child who begins their academic career in Pre-K, as opposed to starting in kindergarten a year later, will more ...

Top 17 Moments of 2017 at IDEA Public Schools

We had another amazing year at IDEA Public Schools. We are so proud of these accomplishments, and we know none of it would be possible without the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our Team & Family.

Here are some of our favorite moments and accomplishments of 2017. Take a look at just some of the feats we’ve accomplished together. We can’t wait to see what 2018 holds!

Our Pre-K scholars continue to sho...

IDEA Allan Academy Partners with Waste Connections to Surprise Students with Holiday Gifts

On Friday, December 15, 50 students at IDEA Allan Academy in Austin, Texas were surprised with a holiday present at school—a brand new bike!

IDEA Allan Academy partnered with Waste Connections, a recycling and disposal service in Austin, Texas, to build 50 bikes and give them out to students at school.  IDEA Allan Academy Principal, Disha Jain, and other staff members visited Waste Connections to help construct the bikes the week before giving them ou...

3 Books Your IDEA Scholar Will Love This Holiday Break

IDEA Rio Grande Valley and IDEA Austin will be closed for the holiday break from December 21 through January 7, and IDEA San Antonio will be closed from December 22 through January 7.  During this time, we recommend fixing up some hot chocolate, snuggling under some covers, and reading with your child.  When your child finishes a book, remind him or her to test on it online via the Accelerated Reader software!  Afterward, throw in some fun math ga...

​IDEA’s Food Program Ranked Number One Among Public Charter Schools for Low-Income Students in Texas

If you’re a member of the IDEA Team & Family, you’ve probably heard the phrase: “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Results.” Through our Healthy Kids Here program, we are committed to offering well-balanced, farm fresh and nutritious meals to every student and encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle.  Hence, we are so excited to share the following great news!  

The Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation recently released CHILDREN AT RISK’s ann...

More Than Just a Classroom

IDEA is more than just a classroom. We support the development of the whole child including emotional and physical health and wellness.                

At IDEA South Flores Academy, and schools across the IDEA family, students use mood meters to discuss and share their feelings. Emotional intelligence is a crucial factor in the success of every student, so while kids as early as Pre-K are excelling in their academics, they’re also making sure they’re in...

Show and Tell: IDEA Pre-K Students’ Favorite Thing About School

Sofia De La Cruz, a proud Pre-K student at IDEA Brackenridge Academy, is so glad you’re here to check out IMPACT Magazine Student Takeover bonus material!  If you haven’t yet, go read pages 12-15 of our latest issue to learn more about our stellar Pre-K scholars’ work and the program they love.

In the magazine, we asked students at IDEA Academy McAllen to explain what their favorite part of Pre-K is, th...

Student Creative Exhibition Extended

Can’t get enough of IDEA student creative work?  Fear not.  We’ve compiled even more amazing poetry and artwork from our scholars.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our featured artists and writers on page 48 of IMPACT Magazine Student Takeover!      


By Imani Sullivan, 9th grader at IDEA College Preparatory Mission

You were once beautiful

I could get lost in your deep blue color f...

A Conversation with Frankie Mendoza, IDEA Bluff Springs College Preparatory Teacher: Restorative Circles

Welcome.  If you’ve come here, you’ve probably read “Restorative Circles,” in IMPACT Magazine’s Student Takeover!  If not, be sure to check it out on page 40 of our newest issue. 

Now, let’s dive a little deeper into Restorative Justice Circles.   

We sat down with Frankie Mendoza, IDEA Bluff Springs College Preparatory teacher, to talk about the practice he started with his scholars, and why it’s paying off.  


Internet Safety During the Winter Break

With winter break approaching, children often increase the amount of time they spend using technology. But, the break also provides parents with the perfect opportunity to check in with their child about their online habits. IDEA has developed a helpful internet safety resource for families and parents. We encourage you to use this resource to have informative conversations with your child(ren) about internet safety and rules in your home.

Applying to IDEA: 3 Reasons The Lottery Matters

Next month at IDEA, we will hold our annual random lottery to ensure equal access for all student applicants.  Our lottery will be held Jan. 27, 2018 at 9am CT.  For those families who have applied, and for potential families thinking about applying, here is why this event is important. 

The lottery ensures every student has a fair chance to attend IDEA—no excuses. 

The new student selection process is done ...

​IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Cristina Reyna

We sat down with Cristina Reyna, a Founding Teacher Fellow at IDEA Quest Academy, to see how her year is going so far, and to discuss her eagerness to help launch a new IDEA region.  Read her answers below!

How have you enjoyed your year so far? 

My year has been amazing in every way possible, from learning new things in Direct Instruction to working with 4 year olds M...

Inclement Weather Updates

Friday, December 8 at 5:45 am


Team & Family, all IDEA Austin schools will be closed on Friday, December 8, 2017. All other IDEA regions will be open and operate on a normal schedule on Friday, December 8, 2017. 

At IDEA, the safety of our students and staff is a top priority.  

We are continuing to closely monitor weather conditions this evening.

Please continue to check the IDEA website and social ...

Hard Work, Together at IDEA Public Schools

We work hard, so do our students, and together we’ve achieved impressive results. 

As part of the IDEA 55, a collection of essential rules we use in class and at home, IDEA 3 is: “Congratulate a classmate, and clap like you mean it.”  Well, we want to take this time and congratulate all of our scholars and staff for their hard work every day.  Check out what we’ve been able to accomplish in the pursuit of...

IDEA Recognized on the College Board’s 8th Annual AP® District Honor Roll

Great news!  

IDEA Public Schools is one of 28 school districts in Texas being honored by the College Board with placement on the 8th Annual AP® (Advanced Placement) District Honor Roll.  To be included among this Honor Roll is no small feat.  In order to qualify, our schools have had to, since 2015, increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3...

New IDEA Principals Announced

We are thrilled to announce 17 outstanding individuals who will become principals of IDEA schools during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.  These leaders will serve as campus principals in our Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Southern Louisiana, and Rio Grande Valley regions, continuing our mission of college for all children.        

IDEA Public Schools is honored to welcome this dynamic group of leaders who will lead their staff to success and impact the lives ...

Camp RIO Summer Day Camp Registration Opens

Today is an exciting day—Camp RIO Summer Day Camp registration is now open!

IDEA Public Schools offers Summer Day Camp to kids ages 6-13.  Students from ANY SCHOOL, IDEA or non-IDEA, may attend this exciting summer adventure.

This summer, we will be offering six sessions starting June 11, 2018. Each session runs Monday through Friday with the day starting at 8 am and ending at 3:45 pm. For the early bird rate of $125 yo...

IDEA: Bringing Team & Family to Life

Each of IDEA’s students, teachers, staff and parents work together to reach their highest potential every day.  We work with parents to maximize their child’s education and support them on their road to success in college and in life.  

Parent involvement is critical to student success.

Early Connections

Ms. Laura Lerand, kindergarten teacher at IDEA Bluff Springs Academy in Austin, Texas, noted that the parent partnership is a cataly...

The Top 4 Reasons to Utilize Accelerated Reader & Hotspot Software During Thanksgiving Break

With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, it’s time to relax, spend time with family and friends, and…continue learning!  

Did you know that IDEA’s Accelerated Reader & iLearning Hotspot software will be available during Thanksgiving Break, November 18 through November 26? 

Here are four reasons your child should log on and keep the learning going while snuggled up at home, or on a fun trip to the local library.

Reason 1...

Personalized Learning at IDEA Public Schools

IDEA’s academic model is built upon personalized learning, because every scholar learns at their own pace.  

Small learning groups, regular access to technology, tailored reading programs and personal attention from expert teachers are just some of the ways we make sure each student is learning at the level just right for them.

For example, IDEA Academy Edinburg student, Ethan Gobina, was thriving in his reading and language arts class.  If he comp...

IDEA Scholar Publishes Debut Novel at Twelve Years Old

We want to congratulate an IDEA scholar for an amazing literary achievement.  Raul Ceron Garcia, 8th grader at IDEA College Preparatory Donna, just published his first book.  That’s right, you heard correctly—Raul is just 12 years old, and is already a published author!   

Rocio Garcia Lara, Raul’s mother, said this of her amazing son: “Raul is a natural writer.  At the age of 6 years old, he came to me with a constructi...

IDEA Athletes Excel In State Competitions

Some exciting IDEA news has just rolled in.

Teams and individuals across the IDEA family are achieving stellar athletic accomplishments, from flag football, to volleyball, and cross country. 

The following IDEA sports teams qualified for the Texas Charter School Academic & Athletic League state tournament.  They will compete this weekend in Georgetown, Texas, in hopes of achieving state champion status.

IDEA Mission Middle School Girls Volleyball 


IDEA Announces Second Campus Location in Southern Louisiana Region

Today, we announced the second of two new IDEA campuses that will open in Baton Rouge in the fall of 2018.  IDEA Innovation Academy and College Prep will join IDEA Bridge Academy and College Prep to serve students in Baton Rouge in Kinder through 2nd & 6th grade in its first year. The school will add a grade level until it serves grades Kinder through 12 in 2024.

Parents, you can apply to an...

Supporting Students to and Through College: A Conversation with an IDEA Director of College Counseling

We’ve shared insight around how we prepare our students for college. But, at IDEA, our promise to our students doesn’t end when they are accepted to college. We partner with families to see every student to and through college. We believe that IDEA students succeed because, together with their families, we set them up for success and follow through on our promise.

We provide every student with college counseling, support and...

IDEA Frontier Chargers Continue Legacy of Cross Country Excellence

We have some exciting IDEA athletic news! 

IDEA Frontier College Preparatory senior, Sabrina Garcia, qualified for the University Interscholastic League State Cross Country Meet last week when she took 1st place in the region IV-3A competition in Corpus, Christi Texas.  Sabrina finished the race with a personal best—12 minutes and 1.9 seconds! 

"I followed a strategy my coach taught me," said Sabrina.  "I didn't start off leading, but I sprinted hard towar...

IDEA Leader Spotlight: Maya Martin

At IDEA, our leaders are trailblazers with a passion for education.  Our leadership fellowships and opportunities afford talented individuals the opportunity to chart their own path.  They have the time and space to focus on what matters most—our students and their learning.

Just ask Maya Martin, 1st Year Principal in Residence (PIR) at IDEA Allan Academy in Austin, Texas.  As a PIR, Maya participates in a full-time residency where she continues to d...

An IDEA Campus: An Inside Look

Walk the halls of an IDEA school and you’re greeted by teachers, principals, cafeteria managers, custodians, receptionists, and more of our campus staff who share a common belief—the scholars who learn within our walls are on a path to college.  At an IDEA school, we get students ready for college, so that when they graduate from IDEA, they’re truly ready to obtain that four-year degree.  We strive to ensure IDEA alumni graduat...

IDEA Public Schools Celebrates Five Years of Achievement in Austin

IDEA Public Schools celebrated five years of educational excellence in Austin on Wednesday, October 25 at the annual IDEA Austin Luncheon. During the event, IDEA honored the contributions and achievements of senior leadership, founding students, teachers, and community leaders.

Attendees heard from IDEA leaders and students, and learned more about the impact IDEA Public Schools has made in the Austin community.  IDEA Austin Executive Director, Tricia Noyola, also stated that she looks forward to ...

IDEA Quest Scholar Sets Math Program Record

Have you heard the amazing news?  

We are so proud of IDEA Quest third grader, Mariem Banales, for her outstanding work in the iLearning Hotspot, where students work on their math skills via fun, adaptive technology on the computer.  Just recently, Mariem broke the RM (Reasoning Mind) City program record for the longest streak ever!  A “Streak” is a run of correct answers in a row without getting a question wrong.  Mariem got 1,137 answers correct i...

No Limitations for an IDEA Student 

At IDEA, there are no limitations for our scholars.  We know that every child is capable of success in college, a career and in life, and we go the extra mile to help them succeed.  Learn more on our curriculum page. 

Just ask a current 7th grader at IDEA Eastside, Keanu Ramos-Vasquez.  Keanu wants to studying avionics in college and be a pilot one day.  Fewer than 10% of current U.S. pilots are of ...

Continuing to Advocate for Our DACAmented Team & Family Members

Last month, when the Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration's decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), IDEA affirmed our commitment to live up to our responsibility for all students.  We promised that during these tumultuous times, we would continue to advocate for and support the undocumented and DACAmented members of our Team & Family.  

The DACA change jeopardizes the future of nearly 800,000 young people already approved under the program, as well ...

IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Cristal Chapa Reyes

Cristal Chapa Reyes, a Math teacher at IDEA Academy Edinburg, sat down to tell us about her experience being a part of the IDEA Team & Family as both an educator and a proud parent of an IDEA scholar.  Read about her experience below!    

I was drawn to apply to work at IDEA after learning about the amazing record of success the public charter school was experiencing.   Their student achievement rates...

Grow, Flourish, and Thrive: Pre-K at IDEA Public Schools

At IDEA, we offer Pre-K at 19 of our campuses, and we’re growing!   

Four years ago, IDEA launched its Pre-K program at IDEA Pharr Academy.  The mission:  Place four-year-olds on the path to success in college and in life with a quality Pre-K program.

“We saw the data explode—kids were responding,” Dolores Gonzalez, IDEA’s Chief Program Officer, said about the pilot. “They were beginning to learn the building blocks of litera...

IDEA Public Schools Honors David Robinson with Museum Opening

IDEA Public Schools, in partnership with Spurs Sports & Entertainment, Red McCombs, U.S. Olympic Team, and the U.S. Navy, celebrated the opening of the David Robinson Museum with 175 special guests during a private event held on Wednesday, October 11.  The museum was developed by IDEA to honor Regional Board Member, NBA Legend, and Carver Founder David Robinson, in commemoration of his impact and countless contributions to education and to celebrate his personal and ...

IDEA’s Recipe For Success

Our first class of seniors graduated high school eleven years ago, and since then, we have achieved 100% college acceptance and nearly 100% college matriculation.  What’s more, IDEA alumni are graduating college at four times the national rate of students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds.  We are very proud of our students, who are going on to achieve success in college and in life.  But what is our recipe for this success?  How are we ensuring our s...

National School Lunch Week at IDEA Public Schools

This week, October 9-13, we are celebrating National School Lunch Week (NSLW)! This is a national annual celebration to raise awareness about the availability of the National School Lunch Program.  NSLW is a chance to increase lunch participation and give our community visibility of our healthy school lunch program.  Every day we are doing something to promote eating a healthy lunch in a creative way. 

The Battle of the Cucumbers 

This week, we ...

IDEA’s Teacher Application Is Now Open!

The IDEA teacher application is now live.  You can apply today to join IDEA’s Team & Family for the 2018-2019 school year and prepare students on the road to and through college.  We are looking for passionate and compassionate educators dedicated to growing as professionals. High expectations and excellence are how we achieve great results for our kids.

Read below to learn more about what makes IDEA Public Schools a great pla...

​IDEA Public Schools Goes the Extra Mile

At IDEA Public Schools, our students and our teachers go the extra mile.  It’s one of our core beliefs, and it’s one of the main reasons why our students are prepared to succeed in college and in life when they graduate from IDEA.

Success in college and in life requires determination, grit, and confidence in oneself.  We gradually build these essential qualities in every one of our students. Read on to le...

IDEA Public Schools Awarded More Than $85 Million in Grants to Support College Matriculation, Growth, and Expansion

The US Department of Education announced Friday that IDEA Public Schools has been awarded more than $85 million in grants to support college matriculation, growth, and expansion. The Department awarded IDEA with $67.2 million under its Charter Schools Program (CSP), which funds the creation and expansion of public charter schools across the nation, $14.9 million under the Magnet Schools Assistance Program grant to support the development of IDEA’s Health Professions School in Austin, and $3.9 million under th...

IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an AP United States History teacher at IDEA College Preparatory Weslaco.  We sat down to chat about his experience as an IDEA educator.  

What motivated you to apply to work at IDEA?

I was a substitute teacher for multiple school districts in the area, including IDEA Public Schools. When I began as a substitute at IDEA Weslaco, I fell in love with the students and staff. I j...

Siblings and Friends at IDEA Public Schools

We hope you and your children are having a great year.  We are excited for a successful year ahead—and we’re even starting to plan for the 2018-2019 school year! 

Now that our current application has opened, we want to ensure our current families have the opportunity to enroll siblings and refer friends to join our Team & Family. 

Do you have additional children who want to enroll at IDEA? ...

IDEA Class of 2017 Achieves Nearly 100% College Matriculation Rate

It’s official! 

IDEA Public Schools is proud to announce that, in addition to 100 percent of seniors in the Class of 2017 gaining admission to college, nearly 100 percent of these students matriculated to college.  IDEA granted two exceptions, supporting students who entered the military, and one student will matriculate in the spring. In total, 100 percent of graduates from the Class of 2017 gained admission to a 4-year college, with nearly 50 percent of students getting int...

IDEA Programmer in the Making

At IDEA, our approach is different, and it works.  One of the ways we are unique is through our focus on technology and personalized, student learning. Small learning groups, regular access to technology, tailored reading programs and personal attention from expert teachers go together to make sure each student is learning at the level just right for them.   Read our IDEA scholar spotlight below to learn more. 

Join our family today!


IDEA Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

IDEA Public Schools is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a time when we highlight the cultures and traditions of those who trace their routes to Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.  

As an organization who believes a great education is the pathway to success in college and in life, we champion this month as an opportunity to educate our students about Hispanic heritage ...

IDEA Public Schools Update

The safety of our students and staff is a top priority. This morning, as our students were engaging in learning at IDEA McAllen, we were notified of an incident involving a small science lab fire. A teacher and students sustained minor injuries, and as a precautionary measure, were transported to the hospital to be examined. IDEA has suspended all science lab experiments while it does an internal review of what caused this preventable accident....

IDEA Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Tres Lagos Campus

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, we celebrated the opening of our newest campus, IDEA Tres Lagos Academy and College Preparatory, with a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony. IDEA Tres Lagos is one of two new campuses that opened its doors in the Rio Grande Valley this August. At the ceremony, the campus was dedicated to Mike and Lori Rhodes, who have supported IDEA’s growth in the Rio Grande Valley throughout the years with generous donations.  We...

IDEA El Paso Is Opening Schools in Your Neighborhood

This August, IDEA Public Schools will begin serving more than 1,000 Pre-K-1st and 6th grade students in the El Paso community.  Read on to learn more about us! 

“Over the last year, we have met with hundreds of families in El Paso who are ready to learn more about us, and we are honored to provide a new high-quality school option for them and others in this wonderful community,” said Ernie Cantu, executi...

IDEA Public Schools Celebrates Mexican Independence Day

September 16 is Mexican Independence Day, and campuses across the IDEA Team & Family celebrated this important day on Friday, September 15.

At IDEA Riverview Academy and College Preparatory, students and staff dressed up in traditional Mexican attire, and after school, the campus will host a loteria night in the cafeteria for students, family, and staff.

The Riverview Roadrunners aren’t the only IDEA campus celebrating this important day.  Throughout the Rio Gr...

​IDEA Academy and College Preparatory Rio Grande City Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Welcome to the family, IDEA Rio Grande City, our first campus in Starr County!

Yesterday, September 14, IDEA Rio Grande City held a celebratory Ribbon Cutting Event to commemorate the campus opening last month to serve students in the community. 

IDEA Rio Grande City is led by Fernando Salinas, Campus Principal and Rio Grande City native, and a talented and passionate team of educators dedicated to the success of their scholars.  I...

IDEA Public Schools Enters Fourth Year of Healthy Kids Here Initiative

Four years ago, we developed the Healthy Kids Here initiative to provide a healthy and active lifestyle for our students, increase student access to healthy and nutritious foods, and educate the IDEA Team & Family on health, wellness and nutrition.

We know healthy bodies lead to healthy minds.  Join our family.  Apply today!

So far, we’ve made great strides in accomplishing this mission.  We’ve implemented Fitness Gram Health reportin...

IDEA Southern Louisiana Is Opening Schools In Your Neighborhood

In August of 2018, IDEA Public Schools will begin serving more than 1,000 K-2nd and 6th grade students in the Baton Rouge community.  Read on to learn more about us!

IDEA is a family of tuition-free public charter schools committed to seeing each child to and through college. We achieve our record of 100% college acceptance through a focus on core subjects, critical thinking and college preparedness. IDEA’s expert teachers partner with students and ...

Standing with our Dreamers and our DACA Team & Family

A message from Phillip Garza, Chief College and Diversity Officer at IDEA Public Schools:    

On September 5, during a press conference Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), ending the program in six months.  The change jeopardizes the future of nearly 800,000 young people already approved under the program, as well as the 65,000 undocumented students who are set to graduate from high school this year.  Though the new policy will...

IDEA Public Schools Breaks Ground on First Campus in El Paso, Texas

Today, IDEA Public Schools joined local El Paso community leaders and supporters in celebrating the groundbreaking of IDEA Rio Vista. The campus will serve more than 525 students in August 2018.

You can apply now for the 2018 school year!

IDEA CEO Tom Torkelson, IDEA El Paso Executive Director Ernesto Cantu, Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREED) chairperson Richard Castro, and IDEA El Paso regional board members Juan Alderete and...

IDEA Public Schools Breaks Ground on First Campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, IDEA Public Schools joined local Baton Rouge community leaders and supporters in celebrating the groundbreaking of IDEA Cortana, the first IDEA school in Southern Louisiana.  The campus will serve more than 525 students when it opens in August of 2018.  IDEA Cortana began accepting applications on Sept. 1, and will serve grades K through 2nd and 6th graders in its inaugural year.

Apply today!

“We are thrilled to begin our exp...

IDEA Public Schools’ Student Application Window Opens

Attention parents!  Our student application for the 2018-19 school year is now live! 

IDEA is a family of tuition-free public charter schools committed to seeing each child to and through college. We achieve our record of 100% college acceptance through a focus on personalized learning, core subjects, critical thinking and college preparedness. IDEA’s expert teachers partner with students and families every step of the way to ensure students are prepared for success in ...

IDEA Public Schools Announces School Locations in El Paso Region

Great news!

We recently announced the locations of our schools in El Paso, TX. In the first year, these schools will collectively serve more than 1,000 students in El Paso in grades Pre-K through 1st and 6th. The campuses will add a grade level until they serve Pre-K through 12th grade in 2024. IDEA Edgemere Academy and College Prep will be located on Edgemere Boulevard, and IDEA Rio Vista Academy and College Prep will ...

Alert: Hurricane Harvey Updates

Sunday, August 27 8:00 pm 

Team & Family, as of this this evening at 8:00 pm, all IDEA Austin classes, activities and operations including bus routes will be delayed two hours. 

All IDEA schools in the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio will be open on Monday, August 28, 2017. 

We will continue to monitor the weather and receive updates from the National Weather Service. 

Please continue to check the IDEA web...

IDEA Public Schools Breaks Ground on First Campus in Elsa, Texas

On Thursday, August 24, IDEA Public Schools joined local Elsa community leaders and supporters in celebrating the groundbreaking of IDEA Elsa. The campus will serve more than 525 students when it opens in August 2018.

IDEA is so excited to welcome IDEA Elsa students next fall into our Team & Family. 

IDEA Elsa will begin accepting applications on Sept. 1, and will open in August 2018, serving Pre-K through 1st and 6th grade in its in...

IDEA Public Schools Announces School Location in its Southern Louisiana Region

Great news!  Today, we announced locations for one of the two new schools we will open in Baton Rouge in the fall of 2018—IDEA Cortana Academy and College Prep!  IDEA Cortana will serve students in Baton Rouge in Kinder through 2nd & 6th grade in its first year. The school will add a grade level until it serves Pre-K to 12th grade in 2024.

“We are excited to open IDEA schools in Baton Rouge,...

The Solar Eclipse: Enjoying the Phenomenon Safely

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will have a solar eclipse. The Moon will cover at least part of the Sun for 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through, anyone within a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse. The Moon will completely block the Sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Day will turn into night, and (weather permitting) one of nature’s most awesome sights wil...

​TEA Releases 2017 Accountability Ratings: 11 Campuses Earned All Eligible Distinctions

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) released the annual campus distinction and 2017 state accountability ratings.

These ratings revealed that 11 IDEA schools received all eligible distinctions. These 11 campuses include:

·         IDEA Academy Edinburg

·         IDEA Academy Weslaco

·         IDEA Academy McAllen

·         IDEA Quest College Prep

·         IDEA College Prep Edinburg

·         IDEA College Prep McAllen

·         IDEA College Prep Weslaco Pike

·         IDEA South Flores College Prep

·         IDEA Monterrey Park College P...

​The First Week of School at IDEA Public Schools

What a week it has been at IDEA Public Schools!  We kicked off our 17th school year on August 14 as more than 4,000 employees welcomed more than 36,000 students to 61 schools across Texas.  From the Rio Grande Valley, to San Antonio, and all the way to Austin, our Team & Family committed to whatever it takes as we embarked on another record-setting year for our scholars. 

Be sure to check out all the First Week ...

IDEA Welcomes College-Bound Scholars on First Day of School

IDEA Public Schools kicked off its 17th school year on August 14 as more than 4,000 employees welcomed nearly 36,000 students to 61 schools across Texas.  From Pre-K students taking their first step on the road to and through college, to seniors preparing for the transition to the university of their choice in 2018, the entire IDEA Team & Family is ready for another record-setting year.  This year's graduating class will mark the 12th consecutive year that IDEA Public Scho...

IDEA Celebrates at Back to School Bash Events

This year’s Back to School Bash was the best ever!

During our time together with the entire Team & Family, we celebrated our very own IDEA Idols and rock stars. We heard from our executive directors, Lisa Garza and Jill Dominguez in the Rio Grande Valley, and Rolando Posada and Tricia Noyola in San Antonio and Austin.  Each director had fabulous things to say about the work of our employees in ea...

IDEA to Open Four New Schools in Elsa and Pharr in 2018

We at IDEA Public Schools are so excited to announce plans to open four new schools in Elsa and Pharr in August 2018. The two new locations, IDEA Academy and College Prep Elsa and IDEA Owassa Academy and College Prep, will collectively serve nearly 1,300 students in the Rio Grande Valley in their first year.

Parents, you can visit to submit an application for the 2018-19 school year starting on ...

IDEA South Flores Academy Wins Wesley Becker Excellent School Award

Great news has just rolled in regarding one of our amazing campus leaders!

Congratulations to IDEA South Flores Academy Principal Haley McCarthy on winning the Wesley Becker Excellent School Award from the National Institute of Direct Instruction. 

The National Institute of Direct Instruction had this to say about the prestigious award:

"This award is named after Wesley Becker, co-creator of Direct Instruction and longtime Professor of Educational Psychology ...

Preparing for the First Day of School on August 14

It’s that time of year again.  In just a few weeks, IDEA students will step foot on campus for their first day of school as we kick of the 2017-18 school year at IDEA!  Returning students, we hope you are excited to continue along the road to and through college, and for our new students, welcome to our Team & Family!  We are so glad you’re here.

This year, IDEA Public...

IDEA to Open Four New Schools in Pflugerville and Kyle in 2018

We are very excited to announce plans to open four new schools in Pflugerville and Kyle in August 2018. The two new locations, IDEA Academy and College Prep Pflugerville and IDEA Academy and College Prep Kyle, will collectively serve nearly 1,000 students in the Austin area in their first year.

Attention parents!  You can visit to submit an application for the 2018-19 school year starting on September 1. Additionally, IDEA will ...

IDEA to Open Ingram Hills Campus in the Fall of 2018

Have you heard the news?  IDEA San Antonio will welcome a new campus to the Alamo City in the fall of 2018—IDEA Ingram Hills Academy and College Preparatory! 

“We are thrilled to continue to expand in San Antonio to serve more students and their families in Ingram Hills in 2018,” said Rolando Posada, executive director at IDEA Public Schools San Antonio. “With over 1,400 students on a waiting list at a nearby IDEA school, we will b...

Pre-K Students Thrive at IDEA Public Schools

At IDEA Public Schools, we believe the road to college starts at a young age. You can still join IDEA’s Team & Family for the 2017-18 school year. Enrollment is open through July 31 for limited spots at IDEA Rio Grande City and IDEA San Juan in the Rio Grande Valley, and IDEA South Flores, IDEA Harvey E. Najim, and IDEA Ewing-Halsell in San Antonio. Enroll today, or fill out an interest form to learn more!

IDEA Public Schools to Offer Free Breakfast and Lunch to All Students at Select Campuses this Fall

Starting with the 2017-2018 school year, the Child Nutrition Program (CNP) at IDEA Public Schools will adopt the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The CEP provides free breakfast and lunch to all children, at selected schools, and eliminates the collection of meal applications. This adoption allows CNP to extend free lunch to all children at selected schools. This is in addition to the free breakfast already offered to all students.  

IDEA’s philosophy?  Healthy bodi...

NBA Champion Kevin Durant Surprises IDEA Students at Summer Basketball Camp

Students can learn life’s biggest lessons on the basketball court.  This phrase was a theme of the morning on July 20 at IDEA Rundberg Academy and College Preparatory. 

Last year, BBVA Compass and the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation funded a $100,000 outdoor basketball court at the IDEA Rundberg campus.  In September of 2016, Kevin Durant surprised IDEA Rundberg students by stopping by to check in on the construction of the court.  While he was there...

Two New IDEA Campuses to Join the IDEA Rio Grande Valley Team & Family this Fall

IDEA Public Schools will grow from 31 to 35 schools this fall in its flagship region of the Rio Grande Valley.  Read on to learn more about these new campuses, and their excitement to educate more students on the road to and though college. Join us for the 2017-2018 school year!  

IDEA Academy and College Preparatory Rio Grande City

Rio Grande City, Texas    

Meet Fernando Salinas.  Fernando is a long...

IDEA Campuses Host Culture Camp for New Students

Each year, prior to the first day of school, we invite all Pre-K and new-to-IDEA students of all grade levels to their prospective campus for Culture Camp so they can meet their peers and get acclimated to their new school environment in a stress-free, fun setting.  It’s one of our favorite traditions, and we can’t wait for you to participate this year. 

At Culture Camp, you’ll meet new students, teachers, an...

The IDEA Collegiate Summer Away Program 

The IDEA Collegiate Summer Away Program  

In 11th grade, IDEA students take part in a special program-- the IDEA Collegiate Summer Away Program (CSAP).  CSAP helps IDEA junior attend summer programs at colleges and universities across the country before they start their senior year. Through this program, students get to “try-on” the college experience and help them get acclimated to transitioning to a college campus near or far from home. Through the Collegiate Summer...

IDEA Students Receive 80 extra days of Math Instruction and 74 Extra Days of Reading Instruction, Stanford University Finds

Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), recently released a comprehensive report that identifies IDEA Public Schools as one of the highest performing public school networks in the country, delivering the equivalent of 80 extra days in math and 74 days in reading instruction per year.

CREDO’s nationwide analysis used data from the 2011-12 to 2014-15 school years and assessed hundreds of charter schools across 24 states, New York City and Was...

IDEA pilots new summer school program: Summer Odyssey

Jaime Martinez, a current student at Boston College and a Summer Odyssey teacher, gives firm expectations for the families of Summer Odyssey at Parent/Family Night.

Have you heard of a term called: Summer Slide? It’s where a student’s learning comes to a halt while they are not at school.  Summer after summer of little academic engagement for students contribute largely to the Achievement Gap, as much as 67%, acco...

Innovating Recess at IDEA Bluff Springs

What is Jad Abu Khudair’s favorite activity at recess?  “Driving the cars!”  He says filled with laughter.  “You get to pretend you’re on the real road.”  Jad is referring to the blue steering wheels fastened adjacent to the slide on the IDEA Bluff Springs playground.  On a typical early afternoon, you’ll find many IDEA Bluff Springs students taking turns pretending to drive, making “zoom!” noises, and dodging imaginary obstacles on the road. 

Other h...

Summer Learning at IDEA

As you enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation, we encourage all of our students and families to keep your academic skills sharp to avoid what’s called the “Summer Slide.”  Here are some tips to make sure your child continues to learn, grow, and progress during the summer months.

Choose the right books.

Utilize the “Goldilocks Effect” – not too easy, not too hard. Series books are especially good for struggling readers.

IDEA San Antonio Middle Schooler has College in her Sights

“Building a strong work ethic will get me to a better college, and get me a better job,” says Lincy Leonard, sixth-grader at IDEA Carver College Preparatory. Although she is just in 6th grade, Lincy already has some ideas about what her future holds. She’d like to be a veterinarian or an engineer, and both UT San Antonio and Boston University are in her sights.

At IDEA Public Schools, Lincy and her fe...

IDEA Quest graduate to give TED-Ed talk

As seen in Valley Town Crier

EDINBURG - Recent high school graduate Michael Mireles will be in New York on Saturday, June 17, to give a TED-Ed talk about his experience growing up in the Valley. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a media organization that posts lectures, or “talks,” about various subjects from expert speakers, with their TED-Ed division featuring students. As their tagline suggests, Mireles was picked for his...

Welcome to IDEA: A Student Perspective

Welcome to IDEA: A Student Perspective

You may have heard the Welcome to IDEA buzz these last few weeks on our IDEA blog and media channels.  These events really make for ...

Digital Learning Day at IDEA Public Schools

Digital Learning Day at IDEA Public Schools

Happy Digital Learning Day, IDEA Team & Family!  Alongside thousands of school systems, teachers, and students across the country, IDEA champions this day as a ...

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