College For All Children: IDEA Carver Academy and College Prep

IDEA Public Schools IDEA Carver Academy San Antonio Texas public open enrollment charter school accelerated reading zone libraryLast Friday, I toured IDEA Carver Academy and College Prep, an open enrollment, tuition-free, public charter school on San Antonio’s East Side. The campus started by David Robinson as The Carver Academy is now part of IDEA Public Schools, with Robinson’s continued involvement and leadership.

I got to watch their teaching methods up close, and I am convinced that bringing the IDEA academic model to San Antonio is a great thing for our families. This blog will feature a series of posts about IDEA’s curriculum and their plans for growth in San Antonio.

First, I want to tell you about this young man, a 6th grader at IDEA Carver. On Wednesday evening, he was assisting at an event for Choose to Succeed at the Southwest School of Art. After talking with him and his classmate, I was impressed with their poise and confidence. When I told him I was going on a tour at IDEA Carver on Friday, he said to be sure and stop by his 6th grade class, and gave details on how to locate him.

When I saw him on Friday, he spotted me right away, even though he was busy reading a book in the Accelerated Reading Zone. It looks like a library, but in addition to books there are computers that take students’ reading to the next level. During reading time, each student selects a book and sits down to read it. When they are finished, they take a comprehension test. Younger children might read several short books a day, whereas the 6th graders might read a book over several days. Principal Mackee Mason encourages students to carry a book around with them all the time in case they have a quiet moment to fit in a little more reading.

Teaching strategies like this are what help IDEA to live up to its motto of “College For All Children.” I visited campus on a Friday, and instead of school uniforms, everyone was wearing college T-shirts. My 6th-grade friend is wearing a burnt orange University of Texas T-shirt. It’s never too early to start: even the kindergarten classrooms have college pennants above the doorways.

There are so many more stories about IDEA Carver that I would like to share with you. Next up: Who’s that guy going around asking, “What are you reading?”

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