Essence Preparatory Public School is a tuition-free public school on the Eastside of San Antonio, opening in August 2022. Essence Prep will scale to kindergarten through 8th grade and was created to meet Black and Brown children’s educational, social, and emotional needs. Essence Prep has begun accepting applications for enrollment for the 2022–23 school year. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about Essence Prep in San Antonio and take steps to enroll your children for the coming school year.
About Essence Prep
Through rigorous academics, intentional character development, and cultivating student knowledge of self, Essence Prep prepares all K–8 students for high school, college, and beyond as leading agents of change in their communities.
Essence Prep will connect and work alongside families, other schools, and community partners to shape education in San Antonio, improve outcomes for students, and show that home zip codes are not predictors of educational success. Their student services will include free transportation, free meals, a community Bibliotech, and a University Health System school-based health clinic.
Their firm belief is that all students deserve a transformative, high-quality school in the neighborhood in which they live. They deserve a school with staff who represent and reflects the students and communities in which they serve. They deserve a school that has a student-centered lens of excellence, equity, and care. And they deserve a school that ensures that every student has the opportunity to learn, thrive, and self-actualize.
Grade Level Offerings
When the school opens in August 2022, the school will offer grades K–2 and 4–5 for the 2022–23 school year. In the years following, Essence Prep will grow to a full-scale school offering courses to students from kindergarten through 8th grade.
For family convenience, Essence Prep is partnering with Pre-K 4 SA, allowing parents to drop off their children at the campus and be transported to a Pre-K 4 SA site and then safely transported back to Essence Prep at the end of the school day.
Essence Prep will soon break ground on a phenomenal, student and community-focused school on the Eastside of San Antonio. Look for an important announcement coming soon!
How to Apply
Families can apply online to enroll their children at Essence Prep as the founding scholars. Open enrollment for the 2022–23 school year continues through April 30, 2022. Essence Prep’s student lottery will be held on May 15, 2022. Students who are selected will receive an email inviting them to register. Students who are not selected will be placed on a waiting list and notified if a spot becomes available.
There will be in-person and virtual events in the community during application season for families to learn more about Essence Prep. We recommend following Essence Prep on Facebook and Instagram for event notifications and school updates.
Charter Moms Chats
Akeem Brown, Superintendent of Essence Prep, and Jennipha “Jae” Ricks, Chief Learning Officer and Principal of Essence Prep, join Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on February 8, 2022 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Akeem Brown is the founder and Superintendent of Essence Prep—and one of the youngest superintendents in Texas. Akeem Brown (he/him/his) has dedicated his career to serving students living in San Antonio’s Eastside. By founding a school, he seeks to provide his students with the pathways to opportunities he feels are lacking in many areas of the city. Essence will utilize a project-based learning model that focuses on public policy. Students will grapple with real-world issues and develop the skills necessary to be effective agents of change. The school will also adopt community-building traditions like morning circle meetings and weekly family gatherings and use a “whole self” curriculum to teach social and emotional learning skills. “Our school should be an environment where children learn the skills they need to advocate for themselves and the needs of their communities after graduation.
Jennipha “Jae” Ricks is the Chief Learning Officer and Principal of Essence Prep. Mrs. Ricks is a native Texan and has a proven record of creating curriculum and leading schools. Before her new role at Essence Prep, she was the Principal of Brentwood STEAM School of Innovation in Edgewood ISD. She also served as the assistant principal at Young Women’s Leadership Primary and an elementary math instructional specialist for SAISD. Mrs. Ricks plans to prepare students through a specifically designed curriculum. She says Essence Prep will focus on social-emotional learning, group work, project-based work, and individualized learning. She looks forward to instructing teachers at Essence Prep to focus on building relationships and trust first with students.
Read More About Essence Prep
- “The Essence of Essence Prep: Cultivating Leading Agents of Change,” Jennipha Ricks, San Antonio Charter Moms, April 20, 2022
- “A proposed Texas charter school promised to be antiracist. Then it got caught up in the critical race theory fight,” Matt Barnam, San Antonio Charter Moms, January 6, 2022
- “Building Agency: How Akeem Brown Is Helping Kids See Their Strengths at Essence Prep,” San Antonio Charter Moms, December 16, 2021
- “New charter school to serve San Antonio’s East Side in 2022,” Brooke Crum, San Antonio Report, July 15, 2021
- “Leading SA: Akeem Brown talks East Side developments, future of education in San Antonio,” Max Massey, KSAT, April 11, 2021
- “Akeem Brown is out to strengthen community, education,” Ed Arnold, San Antonio Business Journal, March 25, 2021
- “Making a Difference: Akeem Brown, Essence Prep,” Robyn Oguinye, FOX San Antonio, February 22, 2021
- “Akeem Brown: Serving San Antonio with Love, Justice, and Peace,” BES, February 2021
- “San Antonio’s Brown is one of the new young leaders advocating for the East Side,” Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, February 26, 2017