Promesa Academy, located in San Antonio, is a place rooted in love, equity, and innovation. At the core of Promesa is building strong relationships with every student and supporting them with love. Coupled with this, Promesa designs rich learning experiences for their students that are both engaging and relevant. On November 1, 2022, Promesa Academy will begin accepting applications for enrollment for the 2023–24 school year. Open enrollment continues through February 10, 2023, and the lottery will be on February 17, 2023. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about Promesa Academy in San Antonio and take steps to enroll your child for the next school year.
About Promesa Academy
Promesa Academy opened in August 2020 to serve elementary students with a school model that invites children to love learning. “There are no boundaries to what kids can do,” said founder Ambika Dani. In the 2023–24 school year, Promesa will expand to serve students in kindergarten through fifth grade. They have plans to expand into a middle school and possibly even a high school by adding one grade annually.
One of the unique features about Promesa Academy is that students learn from subject matter expert teachers, even as young as kindergarten. So, the math teachers are people who love math and problem solving, and they get to spend their time teaching math to multiple groups of students. The teachers who focus on literacy, art, and music are themselves authors, artists, and musicians, respectively. When young children are taught by subject matter expert teachers, it builds a strong foundation in those areas and the teachers’ passion and knowledge helps to inspire their youngest learners.
Building strong relationships with every child is a core element of the school culture at Promesa. The process of building relationships starts at the very beginning. “It’s in how we greet students at the door, when we open the car door,” said Dani. “We learn that a student likes Baby Yoda, and that’s the beginning of a bond.” Once students feel loved and safe, then they are capable of learning, but without that foundation of love and safety, no one can expect students to be ready to learn.
Through partnerships, Promesa Academy is able to introduce their students to authentic learning experiences. For example, they were able to accomplish this virtually through a partnership with Youth Code Jam to help kids learn coding. As Promesa grows, they continue to have field trips and bring experts into the classroom to continue to help their students make connections between what they are learning in the classroom and what is happening in the world around them.
To learn more about Promesa Academy in the news, we recommend that you click on the articles 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 Promesa Academy families who can comment with answers based on their own experiences.
Promesa Academy in San Antonio
Promesa Academy has one campus on San Antonio’s West Side, serving grades K–4 in 2022–23, and expanding to K–5 in 2023–24. The address is 603 Merida St., San Antonio, TX 78207 (map), and the main phone number is 210-942-1700. As seen on the 2022–23 calendar, the school follows a traditional academic calendar. In 2022, the school received their first district report card and school report card.
Download the free San Antonio Charter Schools app for an interactive map that includes Promesa Academy. You can also find campus information about Promesa Academy (and many other schools of choice) in our Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio.
Enroll at Promesa Academy
Families can apply online to enroll their children at Promesa Academy in San Antonio. Enrollment for the current school year is ongoing. Open enrollment for the 2023–24 school year will began on November 1, 2022 and will continue through February 10, 2023. The lottery will be on February 17, 2023. Students who are selected will receive a notice inviting them to register; the remaining students will be placed on waiting lists, and will be notified if a spot becomes available.
During application season, there will be opportunities for families to learn more about Promesa Academy. School tours are available upon request. Families can get more information, or ask for help with their applications, by calling 210-942-1700, reaching out through the website, or sending a message through social media. We recommend that you follow these Promesa Academy social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and get feedback from current Promesa Academy families.
Facts About Promesa Academy
In addition to time spent on core subjects, students at Promesa Academy take electives such as coding, community beautification, creative writing, dance, fitness club, gardening, STEAM, Spanish stories, and yoga.
The campus has three buildings, containing classrooms and a cafeteria, that are located surrounding a courtyard area for outdoor learning. Promesa Academy has eight acres of land, so there is room for community-designed play spaces and gardens as the school grows.
Promesa Academy has an active Parent Teacher Organization. The members work in service to the school community and have a voice in school decisions that affect families. The school works to be responsive to the needs of its families by offering services such as free transportation for students and distributions of food, books, and holiday gifts.
Early on, Dani made a conscious decision to locate Promesa Academy in the 78207 zip code, a historically underserved area of San Antonio. For years before Promesa Academy opened its doors to students, Dani and her team built relationships with nonprofits that work with families on the West Side of San Antonio. Because of those contacts, the Promesa Academy team is able to call on those nonprofits and businesses to provide aid for students and their families. The school serves a racially and socioeconomically diverse group of students.
Promesa Academy is a partner of Choose to Succeed, a nonprofit organization working to attract the nation’s best public charter schools to San Antonio and help successful schools to grow.
Before founding Promesa Academy, Dani learned from innovative schools around the country. She was a 2018–19 New Schools Creation Fellow with the High-Tech High Graduate School of Education. Before that, Dani was a 2017 BES Fellow.
If you like what you have learned so far about Promesa Academy in San Antonio, we recommend that 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 Promesa Academy families.
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Ambika Dani, Founder and CEO/Superintendent of Promesa Academy, and Gabby Joseph, Principal at Promesa Academy, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on October 25, 2022 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.
Ambika Dani is the Founder and CEO/Superintendent of Promesa Academy. Ambika began teaching when she was 14 years old, in Lagos, Nigeria, when she gathered a group of underserved children in the living room of her apartment to help supplement the education they were receiving. Since that summer of teaching children on mats in her living room, she has dedicated herself wholly to education and to ensuring that children everywhere have equal access to the quality education they deserve.
Ambika comes from a strong mathematics background. During her undergraduate years in college, she provided SAT tutoring and additional after-school support to low-income students of all ages on a volunteer basis. Following her graduation from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, she spent six years teaching math at the elementary, middle, and high-school levels in both charter and private schools. Two of the schools she taught at, THINK Global School and Saint Ann’s School, have been recognized as two of the most innovative schools in the United States. These opportunities helped her recognize high-quality, effective instruction and made her further appreciate how rare it is. In 2015, Ambika returned to Columbia University to pursue a master’s degree in mathematics education from Teachers College in order to further improve her teaching practice.
As Ambika worked to found Promesa Academy, she was a New Schools Creation Fellow with the High-Tech High Graduate School of Education. Ambika continues to seek out opportunities to learn from schools around the country that are being truly innovative and student-centered to help inform the vision for Promesa Academy.
Gabby Joseph is the Principal at Promesa Academy. Gabby grew up in Venezuela, a beautiful country where she learned to love hiking, the ocean, reading, and writing. She moved to New Jersey as a teenager where she faced the struggles of learning a new language but was fortunate to have kind and supportive teachers who helped her find confidence and build new friendships. A year after moving to the United States, her family made another transition to The Woodlands, Texas, where she went to high school and found her love for running. She then headed off to UT Austin, with the hopes of becoming a journalist or writer. After a summer job as a camp counselor, she realized that she loved being around kids and teaching them. She decided to become a teacher and completed her degree in education while spending her free time nannying, running marathons, waitressing, and coaching other runners. Her first job as a teacher was as a 4th-grade bilingual teacher in Hays CISD. She then moved closer to home to be a 2nd-grade bilingual teacher in Austin ISD. Her second year there is when she got her first taste of leadership as a Reading First Coach, coaching teachers as they implemented Balanced Reading Instruction.
She later moved to San Antonio, where she joined Alamo Heights ISD as a fourth-grade Spanish Immersion teacher. As a teacher, she focused on getting students to love reading and writing, have fun learning, and see themselves as creators and problem solvers (and loved giving yoga breaks!). After five years, she eagerly took on a position as a bilingual interventionist, working with students from first to fifth grade. In her five years as an Interventionist, she took on various leadership roles, including the Language Program and RTI Coordinator, and helped start the Dual Language program at Cambridge Elementary. It was during that time that she was lucky enough to join the Educational Leadership cohort at Trinity University. This experience helped her grow, understand her strengths, and build a strong passion for leadership towards equitable and innovative education. Her first administrative role was as an Assistant Principal at Alamo Heights Junior School, where she learned the importance of building strong systems, proactive communication, and building a positive culture.
Three years later, she joined the amazing staff of Advanced Learning Academy as their Associate Principal of the elementary school, happy to become part of the mission to design schools where collaboration and student-centered education are at the core. She learned so much from teachers who tirelessly work towards doing what is best for students, and who are eager to learn and collaborate to design experiences to empower them. She knows the most powerful thing she can do as a leader is to support gifted and passionate educators, by building an environment where they find joy and are able to create and grow together.
She feels ready to take on the call as Promesa’s principal because of her 20 years of working with educators who are relentless in creating educational opportunities for students, with the mission to empower them to wonder, love, create, and inspire.
Read More About Promesa Academy
- “Local elementary school welcomes back students and staff with therapy dogs,” News 4 San Antonio, September 5, 2022
- “Charter Moms Chats — Promesa Academy Charter School, With Ambika Dani,” YouTube, October 28, 2021
- “Virtual learning opportunity creates real enrollment spike at San Antonio charter school,” Lauren Kendrick, Spectrum News 1, September 3, 2021
- “Charter Moms Chats — Promesa Academy, With Ambika Dani,” YouTube, December 14, 2020
- “Masked up and Zoomed in: Sights and sounds of a virtual first week of school,” Emily Donaldson and Jackie Wang, San Antonio Report, August 19, 2020
- “Discover Math All Around Us,” Ambika Dani, San Antonio Charter Moms, June 10, 2020
- “Brand new charter school surprises families with puppy parade,” Danielle Moody, News 4 San Antonio, May 22, 2020
- “3 New San Antonio Charter Schools Plan to Open in Fall 2020,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, April 27, 2020
- “Kids learn coding to thank those working during COVID-19,” Alicia Barrera, KSAT 12, April 16, 2020
- “Seven new San Antonio-area charter schools planned to open by 2020,” Ryan Salchert, San Antonio Business Journal, June 12, 2019
- “Two Applicants Look to Open New Charter Schools in San Antonio,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, May 1, 2019
- “State Board of Education Approves New San Antonio Charter for Fall 2019,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, June 15, 2018
- “‘It Should Be a Challenge’: How Charter Schools Get Approved in Texas,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, June 15, 2018
- “An Introduction to Promesa Academy at the First Information Meeting,” San Antonio Charter Moms, November 9, 2017