Idea bulb logo

Our Blog

Here’s what’s happening at IDEA.

#GuzmanGrads: A College Counselor's Commitment to Student Success

In a recent Facebook post, Yvette Guzman, Director of College Counseling at IDEA Weslaco Pike College Preparatory, displayed what it truly means to support IDEA Public Schools scholars to and through college. She posted a heartfelt collage of the IDEA alumni who she once advised, who have since graduated from college and titled it #GuzmanGrads. 

Her inspiration for the post happened when Yvette was suddenly awakened in the middle of the night. 


Hispanic Heritage Month: How IDEA Public Schools is Proudly Celebrating

In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week to recognize the rich culture and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded the observance to a month long celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15. 

Hispanic Heritage Month – like its shorter precursor – always starts on September 15, a historically significant day tha...

Yale University Presents Prestigious Educator Award to IDEA College Preparatory Brownsville teacher

IDEA Public Schools proudly sends our alumni to Ivy League universities every year to receive a stellar college education. This year, one Ivy League is not only welcoming one of our alumni as a college freshman, but is also recognizing a standout IDEA educator in the Rio Grande Valley.  

Andres Altamirano, an International Baccalaureate (IB) English Language Arts teacher at IDEA College Preparatory Brownsville, was recently recognized by the Yale University’s Office of Under...

Apply Today: The IDEA Public Schools 2020-2021 Student Applications Is Live!

The application window to apply to IDEA Public Schools for the 2020-2021 school year is now open!   

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 pr...

IDEA Public Schools to Raise Salaries for All Teachers 

IDEA Public Schools is proud to announce that based on the recent school finance reform law passed during the 2019 Texas legislative session, all IDEA teachers in Texas will receive a $2,000 - $5,000 pay increase, effective this school year, and other critical staff groups including co-teachers, counselors, bus drivers, and custodians will receive pay raises as well. Additionally, IDEA Public Schools has allotted funds to hire additional coordinators at each campus, providing IDEA counselors with more time to contin...

Frequently Asked Questions about IDEA Public Schools' Application Process

IDEA Public Schools' new student applications for the 2020-21 school year will open on September 1, 2019! So that our prospective families know what to expect, we have listed answers to frequently asked questions about the application process!

Where will IDEA have schools during the 2020-21 school year? 

Beginning in August 2020, IDEA will have schools in the following eight regions across Texas and Louisiana: 

Rio Grande Valley 

Austin <...

IDEA Public Schools Kicks-Off 2019-20 School Year With New Schools in Tarrant County

For the first time ever, IDEA Public Schools celebrated its first day of school in Tarrant County, welcoming nearly 1,000 scholars on two campuses—IDEA Achieve and IDEA Rise. Students and families entered IDEA’s beautiful new campuses, and teachers waved hello as students laughed and hugged their parents before giving campus staff big high-fives and beginning the school day. 

The last two weeks have been filled with excitement for the IDEA Team & Family! ...

TEA Releases A-F Accountability Ratings: See How IDEA Fared

Today, the Texas Education Agency released its School and District A-F Accountability Ratings, and IDEA Public Schools earned a B (89).

Each year, the Texas Education Agency grades schools based on their performance, and just like students – the highest score a school can earn is an A. So, while your child is getting graded for reading fluency, writing readiness, and math mastery, we’re getting graded for student achievement, school performance, and closing the...

Did you know? August is National Immunization Awareness Month!

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and at IDEA Public Schools, the safety and well-being of every student is our top priority. We are committed to ensuring that every IDEA campus is a safe, healthy environment where students can learn. Maintaining high immunization rates in schools is critical to preventing contagious disease outbreaks and ensuring the health of our students.  

Texas and Louisiana state laws require students attending school to be immunized again...

Frequently Asked Questions About the First Week of School

The first week of school is an exciting time for our Team & Family! As we prepare for the best year yet, we wanted to share a few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that will help you prepare for the first day of school!  

Who are my scholar's teachers? 

Your scholar’s teacher will be introduced before the first day of school during the Meet the Teacher event at your campus. 


From AC to SIS: The Ultimate IDEA Glossary

To help our IDEA families become more comfortable with the IDEA culture and our frequently used terms, we have created this IDEA Glossary of Terms! In no time, you will be using these terms on your campus and with your scholar!  

Academy or AC– Academy is a school on an IDEA campus for scholars in grades Pre-K - 5. 

AR (Accelerated Reading) Zone - Libraries for our Academy schools are known as AR Zo...

Top Six Things to Know as You Prepare for the 2019 – 20 School Year

It’s that time of year again!  Soon, scholars will set foot on an IDEA campus for the first day of the 2019-20 school year!  Returning IDEA families, we hope you are excited to continue along the road to and through college. New IDEA families, welcome to our Team & Family!  We are so excited to partner with you to ensure your child is successful in college and in life. 

This year, IDEA Public Schools wi...

Principal Chris Joyce Has a Royal Vision for IDEA Oscar Dunn in New Orleans

 IDEA Public Schools will open the doors to it’s first school in New Orleans—IDEA Oscar Dunn—on August 5. This will be the third campus to open in IDEA’s Southern Louisiana region and will serve grades K-5 in New Orleans East. 

Serving as Founding Principal of IDEA Oscar Dunn is Christopher Joyce who has lived and served in Louisiana as an educator for more than a decade. He is working hard to provide...

Meal Applications Available for Scholars at New IDEA Campuses

The 2019-2020 school year is quickly approaching and parents of students who are attending new IDEA campuses are encouraged to complete the free and reduced priced meals (FARM) application as soon as possible. 

Students attending the following schools will need to fill out an application for free-and-reduced-lunch: 

IDEA Achieve    

IDEA Burke 

IDEA Health Professions 

IDEA Los Encinos 

IDEA Mesa Hills 

IDEA Oscar Dunn

Team & Family: How Dalia Mendoza Went from IDEA Sibling to IDEA Founding Teacher

It is not uncommon for siblings to want what the other one has—whether it be a toy, a game, or a snack. But for Dalia Mendoza, she didn’t want her younger brother’s belongings, instead she wanted to have an opportunity to be a part of IDEA Public Schools like he did. The issue? She graduated from high school years ago and was almost done with her bachelor’s degree. So, she found a solutio...

19 IDEA Schools Graded an ‘A’ by Children at Risk

IDEA Public Schools is pleased to announce that 19 of our campuses were ranked and graded an ‘A’ by Children at Risk, a Houston-based nonprofit.  

Every year, Children at Risk ranks and grades Texas public schools to help parents, educators, and community members understand how schools in their community are performing and spark dialogue on the quality of public education across Texas.  

The rankings are based on student achievement on standardized tests, st...

IDEA Recognized as a Texas Honor Roll School District

Great news!   

IDEA Public Schools was recently recognized as a Texas Honor Roll school district.  Due to high achievement and student excellence in academics, IDEA was recognized as one of six districts who achieved this honor in the state of Texas.  

The program, sponsored by the Institute for Productivity in Education (IPE), is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and districts that are improving student outcomes. IDEA Public Sch...

​Opportunity for All: IDEA Mother and Proof Point LaShawnda Moore

LaShawnda Moore’s grandmother believed so much in the power of education that she did something remarkable to get her children into a better school district.  

“My family lived in Grand Prairie, Texas right along the border of Arlington,” explains Moore. “My grandmother bought a house and moved across the street and a quarter mile down just to get her kids in a better school district. My mother and aunts and myself all went t...

Faith, Family and Fortitude: Meet Luisa Ramos

In May 2017, Luisa Ramos had to make a critical decision. Her second daughter, who was born with a kidney defect, was in need several surgeries much earlier than expected. The news came just as Ramos was also about to embark on her last summer session of school before completing her bachelor’s degree as a first-generation college student—an accomplishment that had been a long time coming.  

Tired and overwhelmed, Ramos knew she h...

Whatever It Takes: Arath de la Rosa, IDEA Class of 2019

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to become a doctor. I am not sure where the desire came from, but I want to help people. As a child, I would play with a toy stethoscope and pretend that I was curing patients.

I lived in Mexico with my family until I was in the 4th grade. That year, I moved with my father to the United States and ...

Fun Summer Reading: How to Avoid the "Summer Slide"

The school year may be over, but the IDEA Team & Family knows that learning never ends. We encourage all IDEA scholars to remain scholastically sharp by engaging in summer reading. Not only is it fun, but data shows that students who read during summer vacation are more likely to score higher on tests once school resumes. 

To avoid the “Summer Slide”—the tendency for children to lose some of the academic gains th...

IDEA Texas Parents, Learn How to Access Your Scholar's STAAR Results

The 2018-2019 year at IDEA has been a great one, Team & Family!  We’ve opened new schools to serve more children, 100 percent of our seniors have been accepted to college, and our Academy and College Preparatory scholars have prepared for and thrived on their STAAR exams!   

Our IDEA scholars have worked hard all year to be successful on end-of-year assessments, and you can now begin to see results for certain grades and s...

Come Join the Summer Fun at Camp RIO! Open to All Children Ages 5-14!

Located at the historic Camp Lula Sams in Brownsville, Texas, Camp RIO is a summer program aimed at providing children in Texas with a quality nature and ecology education and camp experience that will enhance classroom learning. In addition to boosting their social and outdoor skills, campers can also participate in a range of fun activities including:

ArcheryPaddling Canoeing Slingshot Shooting Geo-Caching  Plant and Animal Identification Yoga FishingArts and CraftsSports

Open to ...

Free Lunch Offered Through IDEA's Child Nutrition Program-Seamless Summer Option

As part of IDEA’s commitment to local Texas communities in the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio and the Baton Rouge community in Louisiana, the Child Nutrition Program (CNP) will be participating in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Seamless Summer Option (SSO). The SSO was created to ensure that children, especially in low income areas, continue to receive nutritious meals during summer.  With this program, we are able to provide free b...

IDEA High Schools Ranked Top 1% of High Schools in the Nation

IDEA college preparatory schools were ranked among the best performing high schools in the nation by the Jay Mathews Challenge Index High School Rankings formerly known as The Washington Post rankings. Eleven IDEA high schools received rankings on the list.

IDEA Frontier College Preparatory – 4th IDEA San Juan College Preparatory – 8th IDEA Alamo College Preparatory – 10th IDEA Pharr College Preparatory – 11th IDEA Mission College Preparatory – 12thIDEA Edinburg College Preparatory – 15th IDEA Weslaco College Preparatory...

IDEA McAllen Principal Awarded Prestigious Ryan Award for Closing the Achievement Gap

In a surprise ceremony in front of students, staff and family, IDEA College Preparatory McAllen Principal Joán Alvarez was honored with the Accelerate Institute’s 2019 Ryan Award for exceptional school leadership, a national award honoring transformational school principals who are closing the achievement gap. Alvarez is one of only two school leaders selected for the Ryan Award this year out of hundreds of school leaders nominated from across the nation.

Pat Ry...

Meet IDEA Special Education Leader: Carmen Rincon

Over the last three years, IDEA’s Special Education population has grown by approximately 65 percent. This rapid expansion has created wonderful opportunities to grow our Team & Family by hiring more licensed and certified Special Education teachers and leaders (Speech Language Pathologists, Licensed Specialists in School Psychology, Special Education Managers, and Course Leaders) in every region. 

Just two years ago, Carmen Rincon joined the Special Education team serving five campuses as their Speech Language...

IDEA’s Special Education Program: College for ALL!

In the last three years, IDEA Public School’s special education program has grown by 65 percent! We are so proud of our expanding Team & Family! 

Across each of our regions, we provide a high-quality Special Education program that supports our students on the way to and through college.  

IDEA proudly serves special education scholars. We have a dedicated Special Education team whose mission is to train and support campuses in extending an...

IDEA Mom Cried When Daughter Excelled in IDEA’s Special Education RISE Program

LaShawnda Moore is an IDEA parent and first-generation college graduate who truly believes that College is for All.  Years ago, while the mother of four was working on her alternative teaching certificate and was homeschooling her children, she saw a commercial for IDEA Public Schools on TV, which immediately piqued her interest.    

“College for all really struck me because of my own education as a child,” she says. “Here was this school that says regardless of...

IDEA Public Schools is headed to the Permian Basin Area!

IDEA Public Schools recently announced its expansion to the Permian Basin Area. IDEA will open schools in Midland starting in 2020 and Odessa in 2021. Eventually, IDEA will serve roughly 10,000 students across 14 schools on 7 campuses. In response to community needs and bold leadership from both Midland ISD and the Texas Education Agency, IDEA is committed to partnering with Midland ISD to operate exceptional schools within the district, as well as traditional independent charter schools. 


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, IDEA!

As leaders, mentors, and educators, teachers are at the heart of our schools. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we would like to salute our teachers for their hard work and dedication as they transform the lives of our students. While every week is a time to be grateful for IDEA teachers, we want to say, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for all that you do to ensure every IDEA student...

IDEA High Schools Rank Among U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best High Schools

For the 11th consecutive year, IDEA college preparatory schools in the Rio Grande Valley were ranked among the best performing high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This annual list of rankings reflects the rigor and success of our commitment to our scholars on the road to success in college and in life.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the 2019 Best High Schools rankings take...

Next Steps for New IDEA Families: Register Your Child and Attend a Welcome to IDEA Event

We are so excited to welcome you to our Team & Family!  

The first big step in the enrollment process is completing registration. Registration is required to confirm your child’s seat for the 2019-20 school year and should be completed online via SchoolMint. For a list a list of required documents and for step-by-step instructions, please visit our Registration webpage.  

After registration is complete, plan on attending your school’s Welcome to IDEA event...

College Signing Day 2019: Their Legacy Starts Here

For families at IDEA, no event represents every family’s hopes and dreams more than College Signing Day. From tearful thank you speeches to the roar of the crowd as each student joyfully proclaims where he or she will attend college this fall.

Nearly 25,000 spectators across three regions are expected as 1,185 IDEA seniors celebrate their commitment to college at our annual College Signing Day events in the Rio Grande Valley, and for t...

The Road to Safety Starts with Our Bus Drivers

As a parent, nothing is more important than a child’s safety. No one wants to think of their child waiting alone to be picked up or getting off at the wrong stop. Parents expect to know exactly where their kids are and that they are safe.   

IDEA’s Transportation Department has found success in both safety and efficiency by using an app for parents called Here Comes the Bus®. Powered by software from Syno...

STAAR Testing at IDEA Public Schools

STAAR testing kicks off this week for our IDEA scholars in Texas. Take a look at the testing schedule, along with a list of helpful testing tips for your IDEA scholar. Best of luck to all of our scholars and teachers this week!

April 2019 STAAR Testing schedule

Tuesday, April 9:

4th grade Writing7th grade Writing9th grade English I5th grade Mathematics8th grade Mathematics

Wednesday, April 10:


Spotlight: From Business to Education, A Journey of an IDEA Mathematician

Meet Gabbria Parker. Gabbria is a Mathematics Pre-AP teacher at IDEA Innovation College Preparatory, one of IDEA's schools in Baton Rouge. As one of our founding teachers in Southern Louisiana, she admits that her love for education came later in life after she spent five years in business administration.

“I realized business was not the place for me because it did not bring me excitement and gratification,” Gabbria said. “I have always loved ...

Giving Back: Why an IDEA Graduate was Compelled to Become an IDEA Teacher

Alexandra joined IDEA as a student, worked her way through college and now teaches at IDEA Montopolis CP. She has since joined IDEA's Relay Residency program which allows her to teach and earn her master's degree. Below is Alexandra's journey through IDEA in her own words. 

I joined the IDEA Team & Family in 2009 and graduated in 2013 as a member of the first graduating class from IDEA Mission in the Rio Grande ...

IDEA Quest's Girls Soccer Team Kicks it into Gear to Win District

The lady IDEA Quest Trailblazers are bringing home the District 31-4A record after being name with UIL Girls District Champions in varsity soccer. This is the first district championship for the school’s soccer program. 

Junior Alexa Salas was recently quoted in an RGV Sports article about the team’s perseverance and their win, saying, “It was an amazing feeling because we worked really hard for this. We are lucky enough to have a field. S...

World Social Work Day: Honoring IDEA's Student Advocates

IDEA Public Schools is proudly celebrating World Social Work Day on March 19. This special day promotes the importance of human relationships.  It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to celebrate the achievements of the profession and take the theme message into their communities, workplaces and to their governments to raise awareness of the social work contributions and need for further action. 

IDEA is proud to have ...

Fifteen IDEA Seniors Named Dell Scholar Finalists

Have you heard the great news?  Fifteen IDEA scholars, all of whom are part of IDEA’s 2019 graduating class, have just been named Dell Scholar Finalists.  This means that these 15 individuals will receive 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.

Congratulations to the scholarship recipients!  The IDEA Team & Family is so pro...

From South Asia to South Texas: How This Founding IDEA Principal Journeyed Through Education

The early path of education for Raj Desai, the founding principal of IDEA Los Encinos College Preparatory, was traveled on with a small, yet sturdy bicycle.  Every morning in Gujarat, India, he would bike 2.5 miles to elementary school, no matter the weather. Even though the commute was long and tiring, Raj understood the importance of his journey. His parents, although they never graduated from college, knew the value of education and made sacrifices for ...

Help Us Celebrate IDEA's 19th Birthday!

Today, March 3, marks IDEA Public Schools’ 19th birthday! To help us celebrate in a big way,  check out our birthday Facebook page to donate to our birthday scholarship campaign.

In 1998, Tom Torkelson and JoAnn Gama made their way to the Rio Grande Valley as Teach For America corps members. Little did they know, this would be the first step towards starting a Pre-K-12, high-achieving public charter school network for nearly 45,000 students across 79 schools in fi...

Heart of Innovation: Ashley and Connor Funchess

“Mom, do you know what I learned at school today?” asked Connor Funchess, jumping into his mother’s car after his first day in kindergarten at his new school. “‘IDEA kids never give up!’ that’s what I learned.” His mom Ashley Funchess had expected an answer related to reading or writing but was delighted to hear that he was learning about persistence right from the start. “That’s right Connor, IDEA kids never give up,” she reite...

Building a Bridge

Jervion’zoe Brown, 3rd grader, and Kiante Walker, 1st grader, are students at IDEA Bridge Academy. They also happen to be cousins and give each other a cheery wave and a greeting when they pass in the school corridors each day. 

 Both children were at the former Baton Rouge Bridge Academy charter school before it merged with IDEA to become IDEA Bridge. In fact, it was Jervion’zoe’s mother, Roshare Sylvester, who introduced her sister Taysh...

Meet the Teacher: Lauren Joseph, Kindergarten teacher, IDEA Innovation

For most parents, Open House Night at their child’s kindergarten classroom in a brand-new school would be an important event. But Lauren Joseph, Kindergarten teacher at IDEA Innovation, went the extra mile to make sure it would be a truly special night. She and co-teacher Sydney Bernard served up a home-cooked meal of rotel dip, meatballs, and cookies for the parents of their new students. The evening included a sample teach, so parents could see what happ...

What Does Black History Month Mean to You? An IDEA Leader Perspective: Ruben Johnson

IDEA Public Schools will make its New Orleans debut when we open the doors to

IDEA Oscar Dunn in August 2019. The K-5 grade school will serve approximately

360 students in the city’s east side.

Recruiting hundreds of students in an unchartered territory for IDEA is no small task,

but it is one that student recruiter Ruben Johnson is taking head on because he

believes i...

Spotlight: Journey From Teacher to Leader as an IDEA Founding Teacher Fellow

Morgan Johnson is a Founding Teacher Fellow from IDEA South Flores Academy. Morgan found himself traveling from California to Texas last year after being accepted into the Founding Teacher Fellows Program.

“I chose to work at IDEA after reading about the IDEA mission to help all scholars make it to and through college,” he said. “I had never heard of another school who had the same track record of success along with the s...

What New IDEA Families Can Expect After Lottery

If your child was selected to attend IDEA for the 2019-20 school year, congratulations! Welcome to our Team & Family! You’ve made a great decision to partner with IDEA to ensure your child succeeds on the road to and through college. 

Although the excitement of lottery is behind us, we have so much to look forward to together as we prepare for the first day of school in August 2019 and the year ahead...

8 Things to Know About IDEA's Lottery Process

IDEA’s Student Lottery is held annually to ensure equal access for all student applicants.  Read below for eight 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 privac...

Hard Work, Handsome Rewards: IDEA's Employee Appreciation Suite

“We like to take time to thank our Team & Family for being the heartbeat of IDEA and the real-life connection between our mission and our students,” says Tom Torkelson, Founder and CEO of IDEA Public Schools. 

One of the most staff-favored forms of appreciation is the Employee Appreciation Suite at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. This privately funded space is leveraged to recognize and reward high-performing teachers, leaders, and sta...

What Does Black History Month Mean to You? IDEA Leader: Cristen Martens

Walking down the hallways of IDEA Walzem, you would know if you saw Cristen Martens, the school’s Assistant Principal of Instruction (API). She would be the petite administrator, beaming from ear to ear, greeting students, and encouraging teachers.

This radiant educator recently took time to reflect on the meaning of Black History Month and shared who inspired her to always execute what she references as the “fruits of the spirit.”


IDEA Public Schools Achieves 100 Percent College Acceptance for 13 Consecutive Years

IDEA Public Schools is proud to announce that 100% of the Class of 2019 have been accepted to college.  We take pride in this momentous achievement because we believe a college degree is the most important steppingstone to success in life.  This accomplishment is the culmination of our students’ hard work throughout their academic careers.  Every one of our seniors will graduate from IDEA ready to excel in college and eventually seek out the career of their...

What Does Black History Month Mean to You? IDEA Leader Perspective: Danielle Christina Mullings

“I believe that I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams”— Danielle Christina Mullings, IDEA’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The celebration of Black History Month —although recognized nationwide—is honored by individuals in a multitude of ways. One size doesn’t fit all. Take IDEA’s inaugural Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Danielle Christina Mullings, for example. Learn about her role, her personal connection with Black History Month, and who inspires her to c...

Rewarding Our Staff Who Sweat the Small Stuff

Our staff members are our most valuable asset in achieving our mission of College for All Children.

IDEA Public Schools has more than 5,600 employees across Texas and Southern Louisiana. Every team member is encouraged to sweat the small stuff and do whatever it takes to ensure our scholars and fellow team members are successful. To ensure our Team & Family is acknowledged and rewarded for their devotion and attention to detail, we...

IDEA Public Schools Proudly Celebrates Black History Month

IDEA Public Schools is proud to join our nation in honoring Black History Month. The celebratory month also known as National African American History Month, is an annual celebration in the month of February of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in the story of the United States of America. 

History Fact: It was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 to encompass t...

Houstonian, Allison Serafin, Proudly Leads the Greater Houston Region for IDEA Public Schools

Houston, Texas is the fourth most populated city in the United States with more than 2.3 million residents, and according to the Education Equality Index (EEI), fewer students from Houston’s low-­income families are likely to attend schools that provide them with similar educational opportunities as their more advantaged peers. IDEA Public Schools is ready to help close this achievement gap. In this grand metropolitan area, IDEA Public Schools has a comprehensive plan to op...

IDEA’s quest to become the healthiest school district in America

In the fertile borderlands of South Texas, agriculture is booming. The mild climate and bright sunshine offer farmers the chance to grow a wide range of crops and fresh produce year-round. However, this agricultural oasis is also home to one of Texas’ most notorious food deserts, and while many lack access to fresh produce, there is no shortage of fast food options. 

Recently, the Rio Grande Valley was named one of the unhealthi...

Safe and Sustainable: From Farm to School

Imagine a place where school children spend their days learning both inside and outside of the classroom; where students can spend time outdoors harvesting bountiful crops of vegetables they have grown themselves, while studying about how they help fuel the human body.   

This scenario is real and occurs daily at each of IDEA’s four farm campuses and gardens. The first of these kid-friendly co-ops was founded in 2008 at IDEA Donna with several objectives i...

An Inside Look: 6th Grade at IDEA Public Schools

6th grade is a pivotal year for IDEA students, marking the transition from Academy to College Preparatory.  At the College Preparatory level, further responsibility is placed on IDEA 6th graders to grow to become resourceful learners who take initiative.  

The goal of our college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college well-prepared to succeed in college-level courses.  

While an IDEA student’s foundational years at the ac...

What Students Learn in Kindergarten at IDEA Public Schools

Kindergarten is a fundamental year for students at IDEA Public Schools. It is an exciting time when students learn foundational skills like math, reading, and English Language Arts by combining fun and challenging classwork and activities. IDEA’s engaging curriculum piques the interest of young learners and enhances a variety of skills necessary for success throughout Academy (grades Pre-K-5), College Preparatory (grades 6-12), and college.

During the school year, kinder students complete E...

FAQs for Kindergarten at IDEA Public Schools

How old must a student be to enroll in kindergarten?

Per law, a child must be five years old by September 1 in Texas and five years old by September 30 in Louisiana.

Can my child attend if s/he did not attend Pre-K?

Absolutely! The completion of Pre-K is not a requirement.

What are the school hours for a kindergarten student?

Kindergarten students follow the...

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 February 16, 2019 at 9 a.m. CST.  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...

Texas Ranks Low in Education; IDEA Seeking to Change It

On January 21, the San Antonio Current published a revealing article, detailing the recent education survey results from WalletHUB, a financial website. And sadly, the results showed that the Texas public education system ranked low in most categories, including educational attainment, school quality, and gaps in achievement between gender and races. Texas was ranked a disheartening 49th in the High School Degree Holders category, 19th in the Quality of Education category, and 43rd in the...

Re-Registration FAQs for the 2019-20 School Year

We look forward to having our scholars return to IDEA Public Schools for the 2019-20 school year! To guarantee your scholar’s spot, you will need to re-register your child through SchoolMint by February 9, 2019.  Please read the information below for frequently asked questions about the re-registration process.     

Why do I need to re-register my child?  They already attend IDEA.

Great question!  Re-registration is so important because it lets us...

Re-register Your Scholar for the 2019-2020 School Year by February 9!

IDEA Team & Family,

We hope your child has had an amazing year so far at IDEA Public Schools!  With only a few months left in the 2018-19 school year, it’s time for our annual re-registration process. We look forward to having our scholars return next year. To guarantee your scholar’s spot, you will need to re-register your child using SchoolMint by February 9, 2019.   

Re-registering online is quick and easy, and it ...

Celebrating National School Choice Week

This week, IDEA Public Schools 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, thous...

IDEA Public Schools Closed on January 21 in Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, January 21, 2019, IDEA Public Schools will be closed in observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Through the education of more than 45,000 students from across five regions in Texas and Louisiana, we hope to do our...

IDEA Quest Nominated For 2019 National Blue Ribbon Honors

IDEA Quest College Preparatory has been named as one of 24 Texas schools nominated as a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The Edinburg, Texas campus was founded in 2006 and is led by Principal Jose Luis DeLeon.

“We are extremely proud of the staff and students at IDEA Quest College Preparatory for their commitment to excellence,” says JoAnn Gama, Co-Founder, President and Superintendent of IDEA Public Schools. “This nomination places IDEA ...

Welcome to IDEA - Frequently Asked Questions

I have accepted IDEA’s offer for my child to attend. Now what?

Now that you have accepted your scholar’s offer, your next steps are to complete registration online via SchoolMint and attend your school’s Welcome to IDEA event.

What is Welcome to IDEA?

This event is a welcome and orientation event for all New-to-IDEA families in the 2019-20 school year. At the event, parents will learn a...

Top 18 Moments of 2018 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 2018. Take a look at just some of the feats we’ve accomplished together. We can’t wait to see what 2019 holds!

For the first time...

Learn What Parents Are Saying About Their Child’s Future

At IDEA Public Schools, we partner with families to ensure their children get the education they deserve to have a successful future. We recently asked parents what they wish for in their child’s future and here’s what they had to say.

“I want my children to realize their potential and use it to further their education, so that in adulthood they can use it to inspire and help others.”

“My h...

IDEA Launches Inaugural Family Advisory Council

An open dialogue between families and staff is critical to the success of any school. By incorporating the thoughts, perspectives and opinions of our IDEA families, we can enhance our ability to improve the IDEA family experience. This is why IDEA Public Schools launched an inaugural Family Advisory Council (FAC) in fall 2018. 

After receiving hundreds of applications, approximately 80 council members were chosen, representing each of IDEA's six regions: Upper Valley, Lower Valley, San Ant...

3 Books Your IDEA Scholar Will Love This Holiday Break

IDEA Public Schools will be closed for Winter Break from December 21 through January 6. 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 games online too!

That’s right, IDEA’s Accelerated Reader & iLearning Hotspot software will be availa...

IDEA Seniors are Getting Into Tier 1 Colleges and Universities--Here's How

For 12 consecutive years, 100 percent of IDEA's graduating seniors have been accepted into college, and an increasing number are accepted into Tier 1 and 2 level schools. This staggering number speaks volumes to the dedication, not only of IDEA students, but also the staff.  Producing quality college applications for dozens of seniors is no small feat, just ask Janet Magana, IDEA's Director of College Counseling at IDEA College Preparatory Pharr.

"We have 80% of our students applying to t...

9 Steps IDEA Public Schools Uses to Get Students To and Through College

How does high school at IDEA prepare students for success in college and in life? Take a look at these nine unique steps that ensure 100% of IDEA alumni were accepted to colleges and universities for the past 12 years.

Step 1: Rigorous Courses

IDEA Public Schools follows the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)* For All model. AP and IB courses are taught in high school but aligned with the rigor ...

Spotlight: Changing Lives As An IDEA Special Education Teacher

William Pierce has enjoyed eight years teaching at IDEA San Benito College Preparatory and plans to spend many more focused on being the best special education teacher possible. His passion for teaching special education is longstanding and stems from his time as a middle school student.

“The school that I went to in Tyler (Texas) partnered with the local special education campus and we would get introduced to a buddy and go to places...

Ready! Set! Race! IDEA Hosts 5K Run/Walk and Healthy Living Expo

On your mark...get set...go! On Saturday, December 1 more than 500 runners participated in IDEA Public Schools'  annual 5K Run/Walk and Healthy Living Expo in Harlingen, Texas. The competitive event was part of IDEA’s Healthy Kids Here initiative and seeks to promote fitness, health, and wellness amongst IDEA students and families, as well as community members. The goal was to provide an opportunity for IDEA families to be active together, as well as conn...

IDEA is Coming to New Orleans in 2019!

IDEA Public Schools, a high-performing network of public charter schools in Texas and Louisiana, announced it will open IDEA Oscar Dunn in fall of 2019 and will serve students in grades K - 5. The campus will add a grade level each year until it is a fully-scaled K - 12 school. IDEA Oscar Dunn will be located at 12000 Hayne Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70128.

“We are excited to open IDEA Oscar Dunn in New Orleans Ea...

The Basics of Pre-K at IDEA

IDEA is a family of tuition-free, Pre-K – 12 public charter schools open to serving all students and committed to ensuring every scholar is prepared for success in college and life. That journey begins in Pre-K. 

Here are some frequently asked questions about IDEA's stellar Pre-K program.

What does the day-to-day schedule look like?

7:45-8:00 Breakfast8:00-8:45 Morning Meeting & Science8:45-9:45 Math9:45-10:45 Reading and Writing10:45-11:15 Lunch


IDEA Health Professions Construction Begins

On November 14, IDEA Public Schools joined Austin community members, and supporters in the groundbreaking of IDEA Health Professions. The campus will serve more than 468 students when it opens in August 2019.

IDEA Health Professions, located in East Austin at 5816 Wilcab Road, will be the first health professions secondary school in the city of Austin, and the first comprehensive public charter magnet school in the country focused on building a diverse STEM and health pro...

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...

Flipping the Switch at IDEA's Headquarters

On Thursday, November 15, IDEA Public Schools partnered with Green Mountain Energy Sun Club and Alba Energy to "flip the switch" for a 1,072 solar panel system at the IDEA headquarters in Weslaco,Texas. The ceremony served a dual purpose--to celebrate IDEA going solar and the IDEA headquarters building turning two years old! 

The powering of the 364-kilowatt solar array system at IDEA was made possible, in part, by a $100,000 sustainability grant from Green Mountain Ene...

What Students Learn at IDEA: Wit & Wisdom

From the first day students set foot on an IDEA Public School campus—whether at Academy or College Preparatory—we instill in them the expectation that they will go to college. This expectation is woven in the fabric of everything we say and do. To see our students to and through college, we provide a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum.

To prepare for college, our scholars must be strong readers and writers. One of ...

Great IDEA: Side Dish Recipes for a Healthy Thanksgiving

What’s a Thanksgiving meal without plenty of side dishes? Well, IDEA has just the recipes you need to complete your Turkey Day spread.

We’re pulling these scrumptious recipes from our Healthy Kids Here cookbook. 

The dynamic wave of wellness and nutrition at IDEA Public Schools known as Healthy Kids Here is in its fifth year. This initiative was started to provide a healthy and active lifestyle for our stud...

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 17 through November 25? 

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...

Saluting Veteran and Educator, Christina Flores

Today, IDEA is paying homage to our nation’s heroes—those who have served our country and protected our freedoms in the United States Armed Forces.  On this significant day, we would like to highlight one of IDEA’s veteran leaders, Christina Flores, for her years of dedication and service to our country and our IDEA scholars.

Christina joined the United States Army in 1991 at the budding age of 19. The most petite soldie...

IDEA Will Change Your World

Like many parents, Dariana Jefferson was anxious about her son Kaleb’s transition into middle school. Unsatisfied with many of the local school options, she heard about a Texas charter school network that was making its way into Southern Louisiana for the first time. 

“I wanted to find a good school for him and kept hearing about a school called IDEA Bridge. So, I decided to learn more,” she says. “They were lo...

On-Campus Farms Teach the Value of Health and Hard Work

Imagine a place where school children spend their days learning both inside and outside of the classroom; where students can spend time outdoors harvesting bountiful crops of vegetables they have grown themselves, while studying about how they help fuel the human body.

This scenario is real and occurs daily at each of IDEA’s four farm campuses and gardens. The first of these kid-friendly co-ops was founded in 2008 at IDEA Donna with seve...

IDEA's Newest Principals Revealed

The room was filled with anticipation on Monday, November 5, during IDEA’s Halftime event in preparation for the announcement of our newest principals. Once the names and schools were revealed, attendees cheered and applauded the eight audacious leaders who have dedicated their careers to education and will lead IDEA students on their journeys to and through college.

These eight outstanding individuals will become principals of IDEA schools during the 2019-20 school year. They...

Spurs Legend David Robinson Announces $500k Gift to IDEA Carver

On Sunday, November 4, Spurs legend, David Robinson, and Tom Torkelson, CEO and Founder of IDEA Public Schools, joined forces to formally announce the gifting of more than $500,000 to IDEA Carver.

The gift, made possible by Friends of Carver Academy/IDEA Public Schools, a supporting organization of the San Antonio Area Foundation, will provide financial support for college-bound seniors graduating from the San Antonio-based high school. The gift will cover the cost of ...

IDEA Public Schools is Going Solar

Thanks, in part, to a $100,000 sustainability grant from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®, the IDEA headquarters in Weslaco, TX, is being fitted with 1,072 solar panels for a 364kW system! This project will help establish IDEA Public Schools as a leader in sustainability, and with the inclusion of edible gardens, power generation and innovative waste solutions, IDEA Headquarters could become the first self-sustaining building in South Texas.

Solar panels will allow IDEA to ...

IDEA Health Professions Opening in Austin for Future Healthcare and STEM Professionals

By the year 2026, an estimated 2.4 million health profession jobs will be added in the United States, making healthcare one of the most sought after and highly projected occupations in the nation. In the burgeoning city of Austin, the healthcare industry is booming, but lacks racial diversity among its health professionals. In Travis County, merely 13 percent of physicians are Asian, 10 percent are Latino, and 2.2 percent are African-American.

IDEA Public Schools will train the...

​Tarrant County Bound: An IDEA Parent Perspective

Written by Imelda Arevalo, IDEA Public Schools parent

"For any parent, our child is most valuable to us. We stretch our time, money, resources and ourselves to give them the best life they can possibly have.

If there’s one thing I hope for my child, it is for her to have experiences and opportunities that mold her into the best person she can be. I want my daughter, Daniela, to...

IDEA Leader Spotlight: Bethany Solis

Executive Director of Permian Basin Bethany Solis, didn’t always plan on having a career in education, the calling eventually found her. As a young adult living in New York City, Bethany spent time with families in the local community through volunteer work. She experienced the systemic inequities that kept excellent schools out of reach for children, she knew she had to make a change. Bethany graduated from Brigham Young University and immediately started her career...

National School Bus Safety Week at IDEA Public Schools

Every third week in October, school districts throughout the country observe National School Bus Safety Week to raise awareness of the importance of school bus safety.

IDEA Public Schools also leverages the week to highlight the impact of our transportation team, honor our bus drivers and share important safety tips across the various modes of transportation for our scholars- bus riders, car riders, and walkers.

IDEA bus drivers transport more...

IDEA Student Spotlight: Mario Marquez

The support of a community makes all the difference when it comes to success, and no one believes that more than Mario Marquez. This bright, articulate 6th grader at IDEA Edgemere loves the sense of community that IDEA affords students and is quick to tell you so himself.  

“Everyone is family here,” he says emphatically. “Everyone on campus is here to support you and guide you to succeed.”  

Just a few weeks into his...

IDEA Public Schools Celebrates Red Ribbon Week: October 23-31

Did you know that according to National Family Partnership, children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t?

IDEA is proud to celebrate National Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in October in the United States. The Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth a...

IDEA Public Schools Celebrates 6 Years of Existence, Achievements in Austin

This week, IDEA Public Schools celebrated 6 years of educational excellence in Austin and honored the contributions and achievements of  senior leadership, founding students, teachers, and community leaders at a luncheon on Wednesday, October 17.  The luncheon welcomed 250 attendees who heard from IDEA Board member and parent, Yolanda Davila, IDEA CEO and Founder, Tom Torkelson, and three founding IDEA Austin students.

This academic year, IDEA’s Austin region is serving 4,500 students and 9,000 parents and emp...

6th Grade at IDEA Public Schools

6th grade is a pivotal year for IDEA students, marking the transition from Academy to College Preparatory.  At the College Preparatory level, further responsibility is placed on IDEA 6th graders to grow to become resourceful learners who take initiative.  

The goal of our college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college well-prepared to succeed in college-level courses.  

While an IDEA student’s foundational years at the ac...