Guide to Enrolling in KIPP Texas—San Antonio for 2020–2021

KIPP Texas—San Antonio is part of a pioneering network of charter schools that continue to show that students from all backgrounds are capable of achieving at high levels. On November 1, 2019, KIPP Texas began accepting applications for enrollment for the 2020–2021 school year. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about KIPP Texas—San Antonio and take steps to enroll your child for the next school year.

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About KIPP Texas—San Antonio

Since its founding in Houston in 1994, KIPP has grown into one of the largest and most influential charter school networks in the United States. Along the way, KIPP culture and practices have evolved and improved. For example, the time horizon has extended: Back when KIPP offered only middle schools, the goal was to get kids into good high schools; now, with KIPP Through College, the goal is to not only get KIPPsters enrolled in college, but to see that they graduate from college and enter their careers. Nevertheless, the core values have remained: Every kid deserves to go to a high quality school regardless of what zip code they live in; they deserve academic excellence and an environment that supports character education. A 2017 study by Mathematica showed that attending a KIPP middle school had a positive and statistically significant impact on those students’ achievement.

The KIPP network now covers 28 regions, including 242 schools, serving over 100,000 students. In 2018, KIPP Texas, a region of 52 schools and over 27,000 students, formed from the merger of four regions, including KIPP San Antonio, which began in 2003 when Mark Larson started KIPP Aspire, a middle school. In 2019, Allen Smith joined KIPP Texas—San Antonio as regional superintendent. 

signs in KIPP Poder classroom

KIPP Texas defines its core values in these terms: 

  • Champion equity: The belief that ALL students will learn. The adults must be aware of equity at all times.
  • Chase excellence: Make excellence a habit and “Prove the Possible.”
  • Persist with purpose. Find a way or make a way. Be tenacious in the face of obstacles.
  • Bring joy. Show appreciation. Generously give praise, recognition, and rewards.
  • Rise together. Team is more important than individual. Give help, and ask for help. Engage in healthy debate and conflict.

KIPPsters talk about “Team and Family.” For teachers, students, families, and leaders, both in the workplace and in their personal lives, there is a culture of stepping up and helping each other no matter what. 

Facts about KIPP Texas

KIPP Texas is a leader in creating diverse and inclusive environments. Across Texas, the student population is 88% economically disadvantaged, 37% English language learners, 7% special education, 71% Latinx, and 25% African American. In the San Antonio region, leaders have made choices that demonstrate cultural competence, such as offering Mexican American Studies courses and advocating for students who are immigrants. KIPP Texas–San Antonio is one of the few charter school networks in the San Antonio area that offers free transportation. It’s costly for the schools, but free transportation increases access to high-quality education for students who don’t live close enough to walk to school or have a family member who can drive them to school.  

KIPP University Prep seniors march down the hallway
KIPP University Prep seniors march down the hallway

KIPP Through College is a program that supports KIPP alumni as they progress towards completing their college degrees or career preparation programs. Students who may be the first in their families to complete high school or enroll in college benefit from extra support and guidance. Current students meet with college counselors as they research programs and file applications. Every year in May, the Team and Family gather at the AT&T Center for a noisy, joyful College Commitment Ceremony, when graduating seniors announce which colleges they will be attending. The support continues while KIPP alumni are enrolled in college and facing the challenges of being first-generation college students. The college completion rate for KIPP Texas alumni is about three times higher than their peers from similarly underprivileged backgrounds. They are sharing this knowledge: staff at KIPP Through College have partnered with San Antonio ISD and other traditional public school districts to build college counseling teams. 

KIPP Texas San Antonio students mailing college applications
KIPP Texas—San Antonio students mailing college applications

To read more about KIPP Texas—San Antonio in the news, we recommend that you click on the articles linked at the bottom of this post. Also, we invite you to join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook and ask questions; the group includes current KIPP families who can comment based on their own experiences.

KIPP Texas—San Antonio Campuses

In 2020–21, KIPP Texas—San Antonio will have seven schools in the San Antonio area, all located within Loop 410. On the statewide district’s most recent school report card, they earned a B rating; the list below includes links to each campus’s school report cards. The network and the district also report their results. 

Download the free San Antonio Charter Schools app for an interactive map that includes these campuses and many more. You can also find campus information about KIPP (and many other schools of choice) on our page Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio.

KIPP San Antonio students voting
KIPP Texas—San Antonio students voting

Enroll at KIPP Texas—San Antonio

Families can apply online to enroll their children at KIPP Texas—San Antonio. Open enrollment for 2020–2021 will began on November 1, 2019 and will continue through February 21, 2020. On March 2, 2020, KIPP Texas will hold a random lottery. Students who are selected will receive offers to enroll; the remaining students will be placed on waiting lists, and will be notified if a spot becomes available. If you have questions about how to apply, contact applySA@kipptexas.org or call 210-880-8080.

During application season, there will be information sessions, school tours, and other events in the community for families to learn more about KIPP Texas—San Antonio. Joining the KIPP Texas interest list will subscribe you to email updates about these events. 

We also recommend following these KIPP social media accounts:

In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and search previous discussions about KIPP Texas—San Antonio.

KIPP Poder cafeteria

Facts About KIPP Texas—San Antonio

On a recent tour of KIPP Poder Academy, we collected some stories that show the distinctive culture of KIPP Texas—San Antonio. The student ambassadors spoke about their morning advisory period, a time when students can talk about what is bothering them and get support from their fellow students. Perhaps a student had witnessed a traumatic event outside of school, and came to school feeling preoccupied; by talking it out in a circle with their peers, they can feel safe and soak up the love and concern from other students. These restorative practices help students be more aware of their emotions and get into a state where they are ready to learn.

KIPP Poder Academy students with Inga Cotton and Regional Superintendent Allen Smith
KIPP Poder Academy students with Inga Cotton and Regional Superintendent Allen Smith

The students at Poder showed us their classrooms, including a space for Mexican American Studies courses. They also took us to the music room, the gym, and the soccer fields, where students participate in extracurricular activities and sports. For a school culture that is so dedicated to academic excellence, the KIPPsters are also well-rounded students who find creative ways to express their joy.

Music rack at KIPP Poder
Music room at KIPP Poder

Innovation is also part of KIPP culture. In May, KIPP Texas—San Antonio partnered with Tech Bloc, to host a conversation with Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix and a KIPP Foundation board member. Hastings spoke about how small changes that may not even have been noticed at the time—such as releasing an entire season of a TV show at once—can turn out to be major innovations that disrupt industries and create new behaviors, like binge watching. Hastings has chosen to dedicate resources to charter schools because he wants to support their innovative practices and disrupt how education works; he is also politically savvy and wants to see charter schools collaborate with traditional public schools.

The downtown campus that is home to three schools—KIPP Esperanza Primary, KIPP Aspire Academy, and KIPP University Prep—came about with the help of the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund. This social impact venture is a partnership between Bobby Turner and tennis legend Andre Agassi, who was forced to drop out of school as a teenager to pursue professional tennis, and in midlife became dedicated to giving back to education.

KIPP University Prep High School is an International Baccalaureate campus. This is unique in the KIPP network, and there are currently only a handful of IB high schools in San Antonio. At KIPP University Prep, the IB program is universal—all 11th and 12th graders participate. 

KIPP San Antonio student

The district issued a revised 2019–20 calendar that changed the date of Spring Break to align with other local districts.

KIPP Texas—San Antonio is a partner with Choose to Succeed, a nonprofit organization working to attract the nation’s best public charter schools to San Antonio.

As KIPP Texas—San Antonio continues to reinvent itself, we are confident that the big KIPPsters will hold on to their core values of providing an excellent education to all students, especially those in underserved areas, and being mindful of equity. Their new leader, Allen Smith, will shape the organization and help the network to continue to grow. As they have for so many years, the KIPP Team and Family will continue to lead in educational excellence and innovation. 

KIPP San Antonio Regional Superintendent Allen Smith
KIPP Texas—San Antonio Regional Superintendent Allen Smith

Read More About KIPP Texas—San Antonio

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