At its early college high school programs, New Frontiers Public Schools offers students the opportunity to attend high school and begin their college journey at the same time. New Frontiers is currently accepting applications for enrollment for the 2022–23 school year and preparing for enrollment for the 2023–24 school year. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about early college high school programs at New Frontiers Public Schools and take steps to enroll your student for the next school year.
About New Frontiers Public Schools
Founded in 1998, New Frontiers Public Schools is one of the longest-established public charter school networks in San Antonio. Known primarily for their success in early college programs, the district has refocused its mission to expand the early college experience in grades 6–12.
In partnership with Palo Alto College (part of the Alamo Colleges District), New Frontiers operates Frank L. Madla Early College High School (FLMECHS), an A-rated early college high school program. In 2018, the first graduating class of FLMECHS students crossed the stage, having earned not only their high school diplomas but their associate’s degree. Frank L. Madla, Jr. was an educator and state legislator who advocated for education and for economic development in San Antonio.
Early college high schools are innovative schools that provide an opportunity for students to earn a distinguished high school diploma and an associate degree. The schools provide college tuition at no cost to students, and offer rigorous instruction and accelerated high school courses. They also provide academic and social support services to help students succeed, increase college readiness, and reduce barriers to college access.
In August 2022, the district opened the Imelda Davis Early College High School (IDECHS) in partnership with San Antonio College. The new school offers education pathways in three career fields: nursing, information technology, and education. Imelda Davis was a beloved community leader who touched many lives through her work at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
At IDECHS, students have real, hands-on experiences to supplement their coursework. School leaders are seeking internships with private sector IT partners to allow students to gain professional experience. Education-tracked students gain critical classroom experience as New Frontiers Public Schools explores the use of district campuses as laboratory schools. They are also exploring a non-traditional school day schedule.
Additionally, New Frontiers Public Schools will open the Greg A. Garcia Early College Intermediate (GAGECI) in August 2023 in a brand new facility near Palo Alto College. The middle school will be a true feeder campus for families interested in pursuing an early college high school experience. The school will open by serving grades 6–8. The campus model aims to provide an environment where scholars gain the necessary skills and experiences that will lay the foundation for their success in early college. Greg Garcia is a higher education advocate and staff/alumnus of the Texas A&M University System.
To learn more about New Frontiers Public Schools in the news, we recommend that you click on the articles listed 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 New Frontiers families who can comment with answers based on their own experiences.
In 2023–24, New Frontiers will operate two early college high school programs, as well as a middle school. New Frontiers earned a A on its district report card; school report cards are linked below.
- Imelda Davis Early College High School (IDECHS): located on the grounds of San Antonio College 1819 N. Main Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212 (map); grades 9–10 in 2023–24, expanding to 9–12; no school report card data
- Greg A. Garcia Early College Intermediate (GAGECI): 9550 S. Zarzamora St., San Antonio, TX 78224 (map); opening in August 2023 with grades 6–8; no school report card data
- Frank L. Madla Early College High School (FLMECHS): 1400 Villaret Blvd., San Antonio, TX 78224 (map); 210-486-3686; grades 9–12; school report card—rated A
Download the free San Antonio Charter Schools app for an interactive map that includes these campuses and many more. You can also find information about New Frontiers Public Schools (and other networks) on our page Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio.
Enrollment at New Frontiers
Enrollment for New Frontiers Public Schools is ongoing. Students who will be in 9th or 10th grade in the 2023–24 school year can apply for enrollment at Frank L. Madla Early College High School and Imelda Davis Early College High School. At Greg A. Garcia Early College Intermediate, they will be enrolling students for grades 6–8 for the 2023–24 school year.
Families can apply online for enrollment in an early college high school program at New Frontiers .
We recommend following these social media accounts related to New Frontiers and their community college partners:
- New Frontiers Public Schools on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
- Imelda Davis Early College High School on Facebook and Instagram
- Frank L. Madla Early College High School on Facebook and Twitter
- Greg A. Garcia Early College Intermediate on Facebook
- Alamo Colleges District on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
- Palo Alto College on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
- San Antonio College on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn
In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and search for previous discussions about New Frontiers Public Schools, Frank L. Madla Early College High School, Palo Alto College, San Antonio College, and the Alamo Colleges District.
Facts About New Frontiers Public Schools and Alamo Colleges District
At Frank L. Madla Early College High School, a key element in helping students succeed is providing college advising that helps them assess their current status, set ambitious goals, and make a realistic plan to get there. They also believe in commemorating and celebrating the steps along the way—the Madla Milestones.
- The first step is the pinning ceremony. To symbolize the beginning of students and families commitment to FLMECHS, a pin is awarded to each scholar that symbolizes the three part agreement between the school, the student, and their parents.
- The next milestone is college readiness—students begin college courses, usually in the 9th grade. Students receive a journal to encourage them to begin writing their story as they begin their college journey while in high school.
- Once students have earned 15 college hours— the amount of college hours that a traditional college student earns during their first semester—they are awarded a varsity letter. It’s significant for students to earn this status while still in high school.
- Mi Exito, Su Orgullo: At the annual senior dinner, each student gives a serape stole to a parent or any adult who has played an integral role in their success.
- At graduation, the entire New Frontiers Public Schools community gathers in celebration of the end of the students’ high school experience at FLMECHS, and transition to the next phase of their academic life.
The culture at FLMECHS recognizes that students need lots of friends and allies, including peers, counselors, teachers, and professors, to make the journey through high school and college. During the early months of the pandemic, when campuses were closed and students participated in distance learning, advisors at FLMECHS encouraged every student to build a friend tree. Like a family tree, a friend tree is a chart showing interconnected friendships and circles of support. When students were physically separated, the friend tree reminded them that they were not alone, and encouraged them to connect with each other virtually.
Palo Alto College, part of the Alamo Colleges District, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, is the 2019 Rising Star winner of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. With over 11,000 students, Palo Alto College is accredited to offer associate degrees and short-term certificates. The college is located on the Southside of San Antonio at 1400 W. Villaret Blvd. at I-410 and Texas Hwy 16.
San Antonio College is the 2021 winner of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, making it the number one community college in the nation. It is part of the Alamo Colleges District and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It provides high quality general education, liberal arts and sciences, career path education, continuing education and developmental education. One of the largest single-campus community colleges in the state and nation, SAC enrolls approximately 20,000 students each semester and awards more than 5,000 degrees and certificates each year. The college is located just north of downtown San Antonio in the Tobin Hill area, bounded roughly by San Pedro Ave., Cypress St., Main Ave., and Ashby Pl.
New Frontiers Public Schools is building on its success in early college high school programs by expanding its partnerships with community colleges in the Alamo Colleges District. These programs provide advice and mentorship to high school students, and give them access to college coursework so they can make faster progress towards their career goals. We encourage you apply for enrollment now. You are also welcome to join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group to learn more and interact with current families who have students in enrolled in early college high school programs with New Frontiers Public Schools and the Alamo Colleges District.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Khalid Zakaria, Principal at Frank L. Madla Early College High School, Jeffrey Flores, Principal at Imelda Davis Early College High School, and Dr. Monica Villarreal, Principal at Greg A. Garcia Early College Intermediate, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on October 18, 2022 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Jeff Flores is the founding Principal of Imelda Davis Early College High School, an open enrollment charter school where high school students have the opportunity to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree (60 credits) from San Antonio College at no cost. Mr. Flores also has experience as Principal at Frank L. Madla Early College High School, Principal at Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School for Art + Design; as Director of School Operations, Planning, and Accountability for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR); and as a Field Service Agent for the Educational Service Center, Region 20. In addition, he has been a teacher, coach, and school administrator overseeing and developing curriculum and instruction, special education, discipline, and guidance counseling programs. Mr. Flores holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government with an emphasis on Southwestern Studies, as well as a Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Our Lady of the Lake University. He also holds a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Leadership from the University of Texas at San Antonio, as well as a Master’s in Business Management from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Khalid Zakaria is the Principal at Frank L. Madla Early College High School, an open enrollment charter school where students in grades 9–12 have the opportunity to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and an Associate’s Degree (60 credits) from Palo Alto College at no cost. He is a graduate of East Central High School here in San Antonio, TX. Upon his graduation from East Central, Mr. Zakaria went to Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Development/Education. Mr. Zakaria spent seven years teaching at the elementary level, before transitioning to the middle school level in 2012 at New Frontiers Middle School. While at New Frontiers, Mr. Zakaria served as an 8th grade math teacher and as Academic Counselor. In May 2013, Mr. Zakaria graduated from Texas A&M University—San Antonio, where he earned his Master of Arts in Counseling. Mr. Zakaria also completed his Education Administration Certificate at Texas A&M University—San Antonio. He is now working toward his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies.
Monica Villarreal is the Principal at Greg A. Garcia Early College Intermediate. Dr. Villarreal is a tenured educator with over 20 years of experience. During her career, she has served as a bilingual teacher, a campus leader in both elementary and secondary settings, and a district-level administrator.
Read More About Early College and New Frontiers
- “Early College middle school opening on San Antonio’s south side August 2023,” Victoria De Leon, KENS 5, March 25, 2022
- “Charter Moms Chats — Early College High Schools, With Robert Vela And Alfredo Segura Jr.,” YouTube, October 14, 2021
- “San Antonio College launches early college high school focused on city’s workforce needs,” News 4 San Antonio, August 12, 2021
- “SAC Partners with New Frontiers Public Schools for New Early College High School,” Alamo Colleges District, August 12, 2021
- “Frank L. Madla Early College High School Graduates Prepare for Graduation,” Live from the Southside, May 25, 2021
- “‘A win for the good guys’: San Antonio College lauded as best community college in US,” Brooke Crum, San Antonio Report, May 18, 2021
- “Exploring the Paths to Success in High School and Beyond,” Melissa Rayworth, San Antonio Charter Moms, April 8, 2021
- “Friend Tree: Draw Strength from Your Community,” Jeff Flores & Khalid Zakaria, San Antonio Charter Moms, July 14, 2021
- “Discussing College and Career,” Lisa Cunningham, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 30, 2020
- “San Antonio’s Palo Alto College ranked among nation’s top community colleges,” Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, April 2, 2019
- “First Class From Early College HS Program Set To Graduate,” Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio, May 18, 2018