Guide to Enrolling at Southwest Prep in 2024–25

Southwest Preparatory School photo collage

Southwest Preparatory School—known as Southwest Prep—is a network of open-enrollment charter schools offering college preparation and career readiness in a safe environment with individual attention and an academically enriched curriculum. Open enrollment for the 2024–25 school year will begin on February 26, 2024, and continue through March 22, 2024. We have put together a guide to help you learn more about Southwest Prep and take steps to enroll your child for the next school year.

About Southwest Prep

Southwest Prep was established in 1998 by Jim Neal and Gary Short, who had been teachers together at Roosevelt High School. Neal had experience providing alternative education to at-risk students for Alamo Heights ISD and Judson ISD. He adapted two of the features of the alternative school—character education and self-paced learning—and incorporated those into the charter application for Southwest Prep.

For over 25 years, the school district has taught students to be self-motivated, self-reliant, and optimistic about learning and growing. The overarching vision of Southwest Prep is to do profound good in the community by providing an adaptive educational program that better meets the needs of our youth and prepares them for the future. In today’s world, teaching traditional American values to our youth is more important than ever, so Southwest Prep teachers and staff are guided by a set of core values that create an environment to prepare students to succeed in the real world through academic achievement, career readiness, developing good character, and a civic purpose.

Southwest Prep in the San Antonio Region

During the 2024–25 school year, Southwest Prep will have four schools in the region, including three in San Antonio and one in Seguin. The school calendar, as you can see from the 2023–24 calendar, follows a typical academic year schedule. On its district report card, Southwest Prep earned a B rating; the list below includes links to campus report cards.

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

Southwest Preparatory School photo collage sports

Enroll at Southwest Prep

Families can apply online to enroll their children at Southwest Prep. Open enrollment for the 2024–25 school year will begin on February 26, 2024, and will continue through March 22, 2024. Families can still apply for enrollment after the lottery, but they may be added to the waiting list.

Each campus will be hosting open house events called The Power Hour in the spring. These events will allow interested families an opportunity to learn about the school, ask questions, meet with staff, tour the campus, and enjoy refreshments and special kids’ activities. 

Southwest Prep has a mazagine-like enrollment guide that you can flip through.

We recommend that you follow these Southwest Prep social media accounts:

In addition, please join the San Antonio Charter Moms discussion group on Facebook to post questions and search previous discussions about Southwest Prep. Families with students who are currently enrolled at Southwest Prep can comment based on their experiences.

Southwest Prep enrollment timeline

Facts about Southwest Prep

Southwest Preparatory School has many programs that set it apart from other schools, including their pre-K program, the Media Education Design Academy (MEDA), Early College High School, Capturing Kids’ Hearts, and college and career scholarships.

Full Day Pre-K

All of Southwest Prep’s elementary schools offer a full-day pre-K program for four-year-old students. The Northwest Elementary campus also serves three-year-olds in its pre-K program. The program is free for those who qualify; for families who don’t qualify, the tuition rate is less than half of most daycares.

The Frog Street curriculum focuses heavily on social-emotional development and managing big feelings in new situations. Students receive a solid foundation in academic skills that set them up for success in kindergarten and beyond.

Children learn through discovery and exploration during independent play, whole-group activities, and small-group instruction to promote a love of learning. The program is designed to encourage family involvement and for teachers to build relationships with the students that last through elementary into middle and high school. The pre-K teachers are focused on whole child growth and development.

Southwest Preparatory School Media Education Design Academy MEDA

Media Education Design Academy (MEDA)

The Northeast campus offers a Media Education and Design Academy (MEDA) to provide students with the tools, knowledge, and work ethic needed in the media industry. Students master various software tools and industry-based skills through real-world professional experiences and partnerships. Students have certification opportunities as Certified Associate Premiere Professionals.

Students are prepared for success and ready to lead the way in the rapidly changing multimedia landscape. The MEDA program is a partnership with Alamo Arts Academy and is open to students in grades 6–12.

Early College High School

The Northwest campus offers an Early College High School program where all students can earn up to 60 college hours at no cost to the family. The students attend classes earning high school and college credit, saving the student and the family time and money. Students can work on essential, real-world proficiencies like developing their work ethic and time management skills.

The Northwest Early College High School is unique because it is housed on the Texas A&M University—San Antonio campus. This allows the students to fully immerse in the college experience by attending classes and events offered by the college.

Capturing Kids’ Hearts

Southwest Preparatory School believes building positive relationships with all staff and students is key to the overall success of the students. Southwest Preparatory Schools are proud to implement a program called Capturing Kids’ Hearts (CKH). The CKH program provides training and support to schools in creating a positive and supportive school culture.

The program emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships between teachers and students and focuses on creating a positive and safe learning environment. It includes activities, tools, and strategies for improving communication, reducing disciplinary incidents, increasing student engagement, and addressing challenging behavior.

The program is designed to be used by schools, teachers, and administrators, and it helps Southwest Preparatory School create a positive and supportive culture that promotes student success and well-being. 

Southwest Preparatory School capturing kids hearts

College and Career Scholarships

The Southwest Winners Foundation’s College and Career Scholarship Program is designed for dedicated students in grades 6–12 committed to working hard to achieve their future career goals. Through this program, students can earn up to $4,200 in scholarship funds. Since its inception in 2012, the program has awarded our graduates over $250,000 in scholarships. These funds aim to support their educational pursuits, whether in College, University, Trade, Tech, or Vocational schools.

Southwest Prep scholarship recipients

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Southwest Prep principals, including Cheryl Wills-Pacheco from the Northwest campus, Ray Martinez from the Northeast campus, and Dana Fornabaio from the Seguin campus, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on February 6, 2024 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Cheryl Wills-Pacheco is a highly accomplished educator who currently serves as the principal of Southwest Preparatory—Northwest and Early College High School. With over 20 years of experience in the field of education, she has dedicated her career to helping students achieve their full potential. Ms. Wills-Pacheco earned her Bachelor’s degree in Science with a concentration in Special education from Our Lady of the Lake University. She then went on to obtain her Master’s degree in special education from the University of Texas. In addition, she attended the McNeil Foundation for her Leadership program, further enhancing her leadership skills. With her extensive education and expertise, Ms. Wills-Pacheco has been a valuable asset to the Northwest Campus and Early College High School community.

Ray Martinez became the proud principal of Southwest Preparatory—Northeast in February 2021. Mr. Martinez has been an educator for over eight years, all with Southwest Preparatory School. Before becoming a principal, he taught Secondary Science and coached athletics. During Mr. Martinez’s time as Northeast Principal, the school has earned an “A” rating in accountability with the Texas Education Agency and a School of Distinction recognition from Cognia School Accreditation. Mr. Martinez earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry from Schreiner University and a Master’s in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. In Mr. Martinez’s free time, he enjoys spending time with his children and playing sports. 

Dana Fornabaio is in her sixth year as an educational leader at Southwest Preparatory School—Seguin. Prior to becoming Seguin’s campus principal, she was a classroom teacher, career teacher leader, academic dean, and assistant principal at the Southwest Preparatory School—Northeast. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education from Florida International University, as well as a Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education. She truly believes that learning never stops, and this is something she always wants to instill in her students and teachers.

Read More About Southwest Prep

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