Guide to Enrolling in IDEA Public Schools in San Antonio for 2020–2021

IDEA Public Schools students

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IDEA Public Schools is one of the fastest growing and most visible charter school networks in the San Antonio area. On September 1, 2019, IDEA Public Schools campuses began accepting applications for enrollment for the 2020–2021 school year. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about IDEA Public Schools and take steps to enroll your child for the next school year.

About IDEA Public Schools

Since its founding in 2000, IDEA Public Schools has focused on helping children from underserved communities to get ready for college. The student population is over 88 percent economically disadvantaged, and over 34 percent of students are English language learners. Nevertheless, IDEA Public Schools has had 100 percent college acceptance for 13 years and 99.6 percent college matriculation. Several well-established IDEA Public Schools high schools appear in national rankings, including US News & World Report and the Jay Mathews Challenge Index (formerly Washington Post).

IDEA Public Schools is known for events that celebrate learning, including lively College Signing Day ceremonies when students announce to classmates, friends, and family where they are going to college.

IDEA Public Schools San Antonio College Signing Day 2019

Young students who meet ambitious reading goals can attend parties for Royal Readers.

The College Prep curriculum includes Advanced Placement (AP) courses to help students prepare for college and earn credits to help them finish their degrees sooner. Some, but not all, IDEA Public Schools campuses offer pre-K programs.

For more information about recent events at IDEA Public Schools, we recommend you read some of the news stories 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 IDEA Public Schools families who can comment with answers.

College Prep students at IDEA Public Schools

IDEA Public Schools in San Antonio

In 2020–21, IDEA Public Schools will have 28 schools on 14 campuses in the San Antonio region. On its most recent school report card, the district earned a B rating; the list below includes links to campus school report cards.

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 IDEA Public Schools (and many other schools of choice) on our page Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio.

IDEA Public Schools students at the luncheon honoring David Robinson | San Antonio Charter Moms

Enroll at IDEA Public Schools

Families can apply online to enroll their children at IDEA Public Schools. Open enrollment for 2020–2021 began on September 1, 2019 and will continue through February 14, 2020. On February 15, 2020, IDEA Public Schools will hold a random lottery, and the students who are selected will receive an email inviting them to register. The other students will be placed on waiting lists; if a spot becomes available, they will be notified. Find more information at IDEA’s Frequently Asked Questions.

During application season, there will be events in the community for families to learn more about IDEA Public Schools. We recommend following the local IDEA Public Schools campuses on social media, as well as joining the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook.

Academy student at IDEA Public Schools

Facts about IDEA Public Schools

IDEA Public Schools has a joyful, hardworking, competitive, high-achieving culture. In turn, every campus has its own mascot, sports teams, and unique features, like the mariachi ensemble at IDEA South Flores and the farm at IDEA Monterrey Park.

Co-founders Tom Torkelson and JoAnn Gama started IDEA (an acronym for “Individuals Dedicated to Excellence and Achievement”) as a school-within-a-school in 1998 in Donna, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. In 2000, IDEA Public Schools applied for and became a Generation 4 charter school.

IDEA Public Schools’ headquarters are still in the Rio Grande Valley, but the network is expanding in other regions of Texas—including San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Tarrant County, Greater Houston, and the Permian Basin—as well as Southern Louisiana.

In 2018, Torkelson and Gama were inducted into the Charter School Hall of Fame.

David Robinson at IDEA Public Schools San Antonio College Signing Day 2019

Basketball legend David Robinson is on the regional board for IDEA Public Schools in San Antonio. Robinson and his wife founded Carver Academy as a private school in 2001, and in 2012 it became IDEA Carver—the first IDEA Public Schools campus in San Antonio. IDEA Carver College Prep is now home to a David Robinson museum.

IDEA Public Schools in San Antonio is partner of Choose to Succeed, a nonprofit organization working to attract the nation’s best public charter schools to San Antonio.

Academy teacher and students at IDEA Public Schools

Read More about IDEA Public Schools

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