San Antonio Preparatory Community School, known as SA Prep, is a new charter school on the East Side of San Antonio that provides a college preparatory education through high-quality instruction and rigorous curriculum inside a supportive learning environment. On November 16, SA Prep began accepting applications for enrollment for the 2021–2022 school year, and open enrollment continues through February 28, 2021. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about San Antonio Preparatory Community School and take steps to enroll your child for the next school year.
About San Antonio Prep
SA Prep opened in August 2020 under the leadership of CEO/Superintendent Stephanie Hall Powell, who drew on her experiences as a black student and the mother of black children to create a school that offers a different educational experience. The school will grow year by year into an institution ensuring all its students in grades 5–12 graduate college and succeed in the careers of their choice.
TiJa Mitchell, Director of HR & Community Relations at SA Prep, has enrolled both of his children at SA Prep. At their previous school, they felt awkward and out of place, and got in trouble for not participating and talking in class. Now, they are in sixth and seventh grades at SA Prep, and they sometimes get in trouble for talking too much. TiJa said, “SA Prep has transformed their lives.” His children wake up before he does and are eager to be at school; they are sad when they find out there’s a day without school.
At SA Prep, students like TiJa’s children see themselves reflected in their teachers and the school leadership. They learn that they can be in power, and they can be leaders. Instead of feeling “less than,” they feel like they belong and can make friends and grow their social skills. Teachers and students build relationships with each other and feel like family.
The school culture is built to develop social and emotional skills, and provide a place of healing. Students may have experienced racism or mistreatment at their previous schools or in the community. SA Prep is a supportive place where students can be immersed in their culture and learn about their identity.
SA Prep builds connections with small businesses in the surrounding community. These businesses provide perks for students, such as haircuts and hair braiding. These relationships are also the foundation for introducing students to future careers. It’s part of building an affirming identity for students as future leaders and business owners.
To read more about SA Prep 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 SA Prep families who can comment with answers based on their own experiences.
SA Prep in San Antonio
SA Prep opened in August 2020 serving students in grades 5–7, with plans to expand each year until they are serving grades 5–12. Currently, they are collecting survey data to gauge interest in adding both 8th grade and 9th grade for the 2021–22 school year.
Download the free San Antonio Charter Schools app for an interactive map that includes the SA Prep campus and many more. You can also find campus information about SA Prep (and many other schools of choice) in our Guide to Charter Schools in San Antonio.
Enroll at San Antonio Preparatory Community School
Families can apply online to enroll their children at SA Prep. There are still openings in grades 5–7 for the current school year. Open enrollment for 2021–22 began on November 16, 2020 and will continue through February 28, 2021. If needed, SA Prep will hold a lottery on March 1, 2021. 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.
In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and search previous discussions about SA Prep.
Facts About San Antonio Preparatory Community School
The curriculum at SA Prep is designed to be both rigorous and culturally responsive. All students are expected to achieve at high levels, but their teachers will give them the support they need to get there. The academic work will require students to engage in critical thinking, to communicate, and to collaborate with each other. The school year is longer—August 10, 2020 to June 8, 2021—and the school day is longer, 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
The school uses a two-teacher model. Every middle school class will have two teachers of record: the first teaches ELA and History, and the second teaches Math and Science. The teacher-student ratio is 1:15, which allows teachers to build stronger relationships with their students. Teachers receive weekly professional development and extended summer training.
To create a supportive and inclusive learning environment, leaders and teachers will use restorative practices to resolve conflict. Bringing together students—victims, offenders and their supporters—in circles to address wrongdoing promotes inclusiveness, build relationships, and teaches problem solving skills. When caring for students and trying to understand and redirect behaviors, the adults will take into account the students’ past traumatic experiences and any resulting coping mechanisms.
SA Prep is building a robust offering of sports: basketball, flag football, soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, golf, tennis, cross country, swimming, track, and wrestling. They are also developing their selection of clubs, including gardening, financial literacy, chess, dance, cheer, photography, clothing design, business and entrepreneurship.
Visual and performing arts are part of the curriculum. For visual Arts, the offerings include drawing, painting, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, film making, and architecture. Performing arts offerings will include theater, music, and dance. SA Prep has a partnership with San Antonio Sound Garden to teach music industry skills and tools to write, produce, record, and publish their own music, so they can build a sustainable career.
In spite of the challenges of opening a new school in a pandemic, the leaders, teachers, students, and families of SA Prep have found ways to come together and build bonds of community. So far this school year, they have held parent academy sessions, town halls, a writing competition, and a trunk-or-treat. On December 12, they are planning Christmas at SA Prep, a talent show, fashion show, and block party.
SA Prep 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. Learn more about Choose to Succeed in this post.
If you like what you have learned so far about SA Prep as an academically rigorous and culturally responsive community school, 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 SA Prep families.
Charter Moms Chats
Stephanie Hall Powell is the CEO/Superintendent of San Antonio Preparatory Community School, known as SA Prep. She is a 2018 BES Fellow and has worked as a teacher and school leader at IDEA Public Schools. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force. She has a bachelors in Psychology from the University of Maryland and a masters in Education from Concordia University.
Read More About SA Prep
- “Who Gets SPED Services in Texas? A Special Education Data Analysis,” Bekah McNeel, San Antonio Charter Moms, September 16, 2020
- “Single mother starts charter school from the ground up,” Camilla Rambaldi, FOX San Antonio, September 10, 2020
- “San Antonio school districts will welcome thousands back to class—from a distance,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, August 17, 2020
- “Two-teacher classroom model to help new charter school opening in coronavirus crisis,” Marvin Hurst, KENS 5, July 17, 2020
- “3 New San Antonio Charter Schools Plan to Open in Fall 2020,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, April 27, 2020
- “Cultivating the Culture with Stephanie Hall Powell,” K&P Presents, April 6, 2020
- “‘Quarantine schooling:’ Veteran homeschooling parents share advice for helping kids learn amid the coronavirus school closures,” Ashley McBride, San Antonio Express-News, April 2, 2020
- “Starting From Scratch: The Woman Behind San Antonio Prep Charter School,” Bryan Boes, Spectrum News 1, January 22, 2020
- “Groundwork: Stephanie Hall-Powell is putting relationships at the heart of school in San Antonio,” Alec Patton, Unboxed, October 3, 2019
- “After fight, state education panel OKs new San Antonio charter schools,” Alia Malik, San Antonio Express-News, July 17, 2019
- “Board of Education Approves Two New San Antonio Charter Schools for 2020–21,” Emily Donaldson, San Antonio Report, June 14, 2019
- “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
- “New charter school hopefuls eye San Antonio for expansion,” Liz Teitz, San Antonio Express-News, February 22, 2019
- “Stephanie Hall Powell Founder of San Antonio Preparatory Charter School,” Shemaiah Reed, I Am Refocused Radio, January 10, 2019