Guide to Enrolling in Essence Preparatory Public School in San Antonio for 2024–25

Essence Prep Classroom small group

Essence Preparatory Public School is a tuition-free public school on the Eastside of San Antonio that was created to meet Black and Brown children’s educational, social, and emotional needs. On February 5, 2024, Essence Prep began accepting applications for enrollment for the 2024–25 school year, and open enrollment will continue through April 12, 2024. 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 Preparatory Charter School prepares all students in grades PK–8 for high school, college, and beyond as leading agents of change in their communities.

Superintendent Akeem Brown (he/him/his) has dedicated his career to serving students living in San Antonio’s Eastside. By founding Essence Prep, he seeks to provide his students with pathways to opportunities that he feels are lacking in many areas of the city.

Essence Prep uses a project-based learning model that focuses on public policy. Students grapple with real-world issues and develop the skills necessary to be effective agents of change. The school is establishing community-building traditions like morning circle meetings and weekly family gatherings. Teachers 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,” said Brown.

“We hold ourselves accountable to the highest performance standards in pursuit of success,” Brown continued. “We must always set expectations as high as possible and become comfortable struggling to achieve our goals because we know that we ‘grow our brains’ best when challenged.”

The culture at Essence Prep stays true to their core values and beliefs, RISE: Responsibility, Intellectual Investment, Service, and Excellence.

Essence Prep student drop off carline Akeem Brown superintendent

Essence Prep in San Antonio

Essence Prep will serve students in grades K–7 for the 2024–25 school year. They will add another grade level each year until the school serves grades PK–8.

In January 2024, Essence Prep moved into a new campus at 723 SE Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78220 (map).The main phone number is 210-997-5636. You can reach them online through the contact form at the foot of their website, Here is the 2023–24 calendar. There is no school report card data available yet.

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

Essence Prep classroom large group

New Campus Building in 2024

Essence Prep moved into a new campus facility in January 2024 school year. The building encloses approximately 65,000 square feet of academic and administrative space and a 6,000-square-foot gymnasium. The two-story building can accommodate up to 1,100 students in grades PK–8. The site also includes a playground and field. Read more about the ribbon cutting ceremony on January 20, 2024.

Essence Prep campus school building exterior

Enroll at Essence Prep

Families can apply online to enroll their children at Essence Prep. Open enrollment for the 2024–25 school year began on February 5, 2024 and will continue through April 12, 2024. Essence Prep’s student lottery will be held on April 15, 2024. 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. Find more information in the enrollment FAQs.

Essence Prep is a tuition-free public charter school. In addition, they provide each student with four sets of school uniforms at the beginning of the school year. Essence Prep provides free transportation to students living within a five-mile radius of the campus.

There will be in-person and virtual events in the community during application season for families to learn more about Essence Prep. Families can get more information, or ask for help with their applications, by calling 210-997-5636 or sending an email to Damika Burton, Director of Family Engagement and Enrollment, at

We recommend following Essence Prep on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn for event notifications and school updates.

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

Facts About Essence Prep

With a wealth of experience, expertise and talent, the team at Essence Prep is paving the way and building success for today, tomorrow, and the future. The staff instills and embraces joy and excellence in their students by teaching character development with a culturally affirming curriculum to foster student’s growth. Essence Prep has highly qualified, caring staff who bring subject matter expertise and unwavering commitment to set each student on a path to success. They have intentionally hired staff who not only have the expertise but mirror and have roots in the community in which they teach.

A typical class at Essence Prep has 28–30 students, with two teachers per class in grades K–2.

Essence Prep teachers communicate at least weekly with parents and caregivers via Classtag and class newsletters.

In partnership with the San Antonio Ballet School, all students in grades K–2 are offered free ballet courses. The American Ballet Theatre curriculum provides students with physical and mental benefits such as proper posture, muscle development, and flexibility, and positive impacts on mental health, confidence, and cognitive and communication skills.

Essence Prep also has partnerships with local organizations such as The AM Project and Gardopia Gardens to provide enrichment and after-school activities for students.

Charter Moms Chats

Jennipha “Jae” Ricks, Chief Learning Officer and Principal of Essence Prep, and Damika Burton, Director of Family Engagement and Enrollment at Essence Prep, join Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on February 8, 2024 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

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. 

Damika Burton is the Director of Family Engagement and Enrollment at Essence Prep.

Read More About Essence Prep

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