At IDEA Public Schools, our approach to education is focused on academics and character building that will prepare students for the road to and through college.
Our Pre-K program is a half-day program that creates small, intimate learning groups with no more than 10 students per group. This allows teachers to devote plenty of personalized attention to each student, and also provide opportunities for re-teaching when needed.
Our K-5 academy curriculum includes a hybrid learning model, which provides students with a combination of intimate, individualized instruction, and web-based, adaptive support from the nation’s leading educational technologies and software.
Beginning in third grade, IDEA students go on college field lessons. The trips can last as little as a day or as much as a week, taking students to college and university campuses, museums, and historical sites.
Our 6-12 college prep curriculum focuses on college preparation across all subjects. The primary goal of our college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college without the need for remedial courses in any content area, and to be well-prepared to succeed in college-level courses.
IDEA’s Pre-K program is focused on ensuring every student is reading, writing, and performing math on level. Our organization places tremendous importance on the building blocks of education. If students start strong, they finish strong, particularly when it comes to literacy. Great readers are great learners, no matter the subject. That’s why ninety-four percent of our youngest learners finished the year completing kindergarten work across all classes. Our IDEA Pre-K students end the year ready to start kindergarten strong and grow each year in school.
Our K-5 academy curriculum includes a hybrid learning model, which provides students with a combination of intimate, individualized instruction, and web-based, adaptive support from the nation’s leading educational technologies and software. All elementary students participate in rigorous reading, writing and mathematics instruction and continually yield some of the highest STAAR scores in the state. Within these core classes, students also learn the fundamentals of science and participate in field trips and activities that promote the development of problem-solving and social skills. In addition, students rotate daily specials that include:
- The iLearning Hotspot, where students complete math software—DreamBox and Reasoning Mind—that understand where your child is and continue to challenge them based on their level. We know students learn best when they’re having fun, so these software programs work like an educational videogame, and students love it!
- The Accelerated Reader (AR) Zone, a space devoted to promoting a culture of reading to help our students unlock the world of opportunity and equip them for a lifetime of learning and enjoyment. Through the AR Zone, students read books, complete a test about each story they read, and keep track of the total amount of books, and words, they read throughout the year. The ultimate goal is to read one million words by the end of the school year. Our readers meet important milestones and receive incentives along the way.
- A Physical Education class, which implements cutting-edge technologies from Adidas. Students wear wrist heart rate monitors that help track their physical activity during PE. IDEA’s physical education curriculum is centered around students improving their health and wellness.
Our 6-12 college prep curriculum focuses on college preparation across all subjects. The primary goal of our college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college without the need for remedial courses in any content area, and to be well-prepared to succeed in college-level courses. We provide students the opportunity to experience rigorous and challenging course content in high school and gain college-credit through Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate courses. Each of our core content areas is extremely rigorous at all levels and aligned with these goals in mind.
All IDEA students are on the college track and participate in Advanced Placement courses. Our “AP for All” program provides rigorous coursework for every one of our college preparatory students. Taking advanced placement courses can positively impact a student’s academic growth and readiness for college through challenging assignments, diverse course content, and college-level expectations. All IDEA students are required to complete 11 AP courses by the time they graduate from one of our high schools.
Several IDEA campuses, including IDEA Donna, IDEA Frontier, IDEA Brownsville, IDEA McAllen, and IDEA South Flores, have or are in the process of receiving authorization from the International Baccalaureate (IB) organization to offer Diploma Programmes, serving students in grades 9 to 12. IB programmes are renowned for challenging students to excel in their studies, and encourage both personal and academic achievement. International Baccalaureate programmes aim to go above and beyond to foster curious, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to excel. Students attending schools that have been authorized to offer Diploma Programmes have the opportunity to graduate from high school with an IB diploma and earn 24 or more college hours.
IDEA’s Special Education Program
Our special education program supplements teaching methods and caters to the learning styles of every student, but never lowers learning expectations for any student.
Our special education and general education teachers provide learning opportunities for diverse learners and/or students with disabilities in accordance with state, federal, and local policies and procedures. As a result of these efforts, students are able to participate in a broader number of activities and achieve the highest of expectations.
Our campuses service students who are English Language Learners (ELL) and/or receive 504, Homebound, Dyslexia, or Special Education services, which including Autism and Down-Syndrome accommodation. Our special education teachers utilize the Response to Intervention (RTI) process to service students who receive a specialized learning plan. This RTI plan documents student-response to interventions and accommodations on a daily basis, so that we know what practices work for each student.
At IDEA, we provide support for students with special learning needs through individualized academic coaching by expert special education teachers who maintain constant communication with families and support systems. Campus and district staff are in constant communication with parents to develop and implement programs and activities that will meet the needs of all students and ensure that all students receiving special services are fully included in campuses’ instructional and extracurricular programs in accordance with least restrictive environment (LRE).
Our special education program is dedicated to providing every student with the accommodations and modifications they need to succeed at IDEA, in post-secondary programs, and beyond. With innovative and progressive service delivery models, ongoing and specialized professional development, and excellent supervision and support, we are committed to offering not only appropriate educational services, but services of the highest quality.
First and foremost, services are always dictated by student needs, not student disabilities. Additionally, IDEA believes that what you do before instruction begins is just as important as what you do during instruction. The following are three options that can occur and may vary by course/subject:
- General Education Courses (mainstream, inclusion)
- Modified Courses (both inclusive and through a resource/self-contained model)
- Remedial Curriculum designed to accelerate students to master grade-level content independently.
IDEA has general education courses with special education support (inclusion). This support can be provided by a general-ed or special-ed teacher through accommodations and/or modifications.
Examples of student support include but are not limited to: audio recordings instead of reading text, digital media instead of reading print versions, working with fewer items per page or line and/or materials in a larger print size, a designated reader, hear instructions orally, recording a lesson instead of taking notes, being given an outline of a lesson, using visual presentations of verbal material, such as word webs and visual organizers, being given a written list of instructions, using a spelling dictionary or electronic spell-checker, using a word processor to type notes or give responses in class, working or taking a test in a different setting, such as a quiet room with few distractions, sitting where he/she learns best (for example, near the teacher), using special lighting or acoustics, using sensory tools such as an exercise band that can be looped around a chair’s legs (to help with fidgeting), taking more time to complete a task or a test, having extra time to process oral information and directions, taking frequent breaks, such as after completing a task, taking a test in several timed sessions or over several days, using an alarm to help with time management, marking texts with a highlighter, having help coordinating assignments in a book or planner, and receiving study skills instruction.