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News & Events

Here’s what’s happening at IDEA Austin

3 Books Your IDEA Scholar Will Love This Holiday Break

IDEA Public Schools will be closed for Winter Break from December 21 through January 6. During this time, we recommend fixing up some hot chocolate, snuggling under some covers, and reading with your child.  When your child finishes a book, remind him or her to test on it online via the Accelerated Reader software!  Afterward, throw in some fun math games online too!

That’s right, IDEA’s Accelerated Reader & iLearning Hotspot software will be availa...

IDEA Seniors are Getting Into Tier 1 Colleges and Universities--Here's How

For 12 consecutive years, 100 percent of IDEA's graduating seniors have been accepted into college, and an increasing number are accepted into Tier 1 and 2 level schools. This staggering number speaks volumes to the dedication, not only of IDEA students, but also the staff.  Producing quality college applications for dozens of seniors is no small feat, just ask Janet Magana, IDEA's Director of College Counseling at IDEA College Preparatory Pharr.

"We have 80% of our students applying to t...

9 Steps IDEA Public Schools Uses to Get Students To and Through College

How does high school at IDEA prepare students for success in college and in life? Take a look at these nine unique steps that ensure 100% of IDEA alumni were accepted to colleges and universities for the past 12 years.

Step 1: Rigorous Courses

IDEA Public Schools follows the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB)* For All model. AP and IB courses are taught in high school but aligned with the rigor ...

Spotlight: Changing Lives As An IDEA Special Education Teacher

William Pierce has enjoyed eight years teaching at IDEA San Benito College Preparatory and plans to spend many more focused on being the best special education teacher possible. His passion for teaching special education is longstanding and stems from his time as a middle school student.

“The school that I went to in Tyler (Texas) partnered with the local special education campus and we would get introduced to a buddy and go to places...

IDEA Names Nate Lowry as the Executive Director for Tampa Bay Region

Nate Lowry, a respected leader in education, has recently been named IDEA Public Schools’ Executive Director of Tampa Bay, the second IDEA region outside of Texas. Nate is poised to take the helm in the Florida-based community when its first four schools open in fall 2021.

About Nate

Nate began his career in education as a middle school math and special education teacher with Donna Independent School District. During hi...

Ready! Set! Race! IDEA Hosts 5K Run/Walk and Healthy Living Expo

On your mark...get set...go! On Saturday, December 1 more than 500 runners participated in IDEA Public Schools'  annual 5K Run/Walk and Healthy Living Expo in Harlingen, Texas. The competitive event was part of IDEA’s Healthy Kids Here initiative and seeks to promote fitness, health, and wellness amongst IDEA students and families, as well as community members. The goal was to provide an opportunity for IDEA families to be active together, as well as conn...

IDEA is Coming to New Orleans in 2019!

IDEA Public Schools, a high-performing network of public charter schools in Texas and Louisiana, announced it will open IDEA Oscar Dunn in fall of 2019 and will serve students in grades K - 5. The campus will add a grade level each year until it is a fully-scaled K - 12 school. IDEA Oscar Dunn will be located at 12000 Hayne Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70128.

“We are excited to open IDEA Oscar Dunn in New Orleans Ea...

The Basics of Pre-K at IDEA

IDEA is a family of tuition-free, Pre-K – 12 public charter schools open to serving all students and committed to ensuring every scholar is prepared for success in college and life. That journey begins in Pre-K. 

Here are some frequently asked questions about IDEA's stellar Pre-K program.

What does the day-to-day schedule look like?

7:45-8:00 Breakfast8:00-8:45 Morning Meeting & Science8:45-9:45 Math9:45-10:45 Reading and Writing10:45-11:15 Lunch


IDEA Health Professions Construction Begins

On November 14, IDEA Public Schools joined Austin community members, and supporters in the groundbreaking of IDEA Health Professions. The campus will serve more than 468 students when it opens in August 2019.

IDEA Health Professions, located in East Austin at 5816 Wilcab Road, will be the first health professions secondary school in the city of Austin, and the first comprehensive public charter magnet school in the country focused on building a diverse STEM and health pro...

An IDEA Campus: An Inside Look

Walk the halls of an IDEA school and you’re greeted by teachers, principals, cafeteria managers, custodians, receptionists, and more of our campus staff who share a common belief—the scholars who learn within our walls are on a path to college.  At an IDEA school, we get students ready for college, so that when they graduate from IDEA, they’re truly ready to obtain that four-year degree.  We strive to ensure IDEA alumni graduat...

Flipping the Switch at IDEA's Headquarters

On Thursday, November 15, IDEA Public Schools partnered with Green Mountain Energy Sun Club and Alba Energy to "flip the switch" for a 1,072 solar panel system at the IDEA headquarters in Weslaco,Texas. The ceremony served a dual purpose--to celebrate IDEA going solar and the IDEA headquarters building turning two years old! 

The powering of the 364-kilowatt solar array system at IDEA was made possible, in part, by a $100,000 sustainability grant from Green Mountain Ene...

What Students Learn at IDEA: Wit & Wisdom

From the first day students set foot on an IDEA Public School campus—whether at Academy or College Preparatory—we instill in them the expectation that they will go to college. This expectation is woven in the fabric of everything we say and do. To see our students to and through college, we provide a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum.

To prepare for college, our scholars must be strong readers and writers. One of ...

Great IDEA: Side Dish Recipes for a Healthy Thanksgiving

What’s a Thanksgiving meal without plenty of side dishes? Well, IDEA has just the recipes you need to complete your Turkey Day spread.

We’re pulling these scrumptious recipes from our Healthy Kids Here cookbook. 

The dynamic wave of wellness and nutrition at IDEA Public Schools known as Healthy Kids Here is in its fifth year. This initiative was started to provide a healthy and active lifestyle for our stud...

Top 4 Reasons to Utilize Accelerated Reader & Hotspot Software During Thanksgiving Break

With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, it’s time to relax, spend time with family and friends, and…continue learning!  

Did you know that IDEA’s Accelerated Reader & iLearning Hotspot software will be available during Thanksgiving Break, November 17 through November 25? 

Here are four reasons your child should log on and keep the learning going while snuggled up at home, or on a fun trip to the local library.

Reason 1...

Saluting Veteran and Educator, Christina Flores

Today, IDEA is paying homage to our nation’s heroes—those who have served our country and protected our freedoms in the United States Armed Forces.  On this significant day, we would like to highlight one of IDEA’s veteran leaders, Christina Flores, for her years of dedication and service to our country and our IDEA scholars.

Christina joined the United States Army in 1991 at the budding age of 19. The most petite soldie...

IDEA Will Change Your World

Like many parents, Dariana Jefferson was anxious about her son Kaleb’s transition into middle school. Unsatisfied with many of the local school options, she heard about a Texas charter school network that was making its way into Southern Louisiana for the first time. 

“I wanted to find a good school for him and kept hearing about a school called IDEA Bridge. So, I decided to learn more,” she says. “They were lo...

On-Campus Farms Teach the Value of Health and Hard Work

Imagine a place where school children spend their days learning both inside and outside of the classroom; where students can spend time outdoors harvesting bountiful crops of vegetables they have grown themselves, while studying about how they help fuel the human body.

This scenario is real and occurs daily at each of IDEA’s four farm campuses and gardens. The first of these kid-friendly co-ops was founded in 2008 at IDEA Donna with seve...

IDEA's Newest Principals Revealed

The room was filled with anticipation on Monday, November 5, during IDEA’s Halftime event in preparation for the announcement of our newest principals. Once the names and schools were revealed, attendees cheered and applauded the eight audacious leaders who have dedicated their careers to education and will lead IDEA students on their journeys to and through college.

These eight outstanding individuals will become principals of IDEA schools during the 2019-20 school year. They...

Spurs Legend David Robinson Announces $500k Gift to IDEA Carver

On Sunday, November 4, Spurs legend, David Robinson, and Tom Torkelson, CEO and Founder of IDEA Public Schools, joined forces to formally announce the gifting of more than $500,000 to IDEA Carver.

The gift, made possible by Friends of Carver Academy/IDEA Public Schools, a supporting organization of the San Antonio Area Foundation, will provide financial support for college-bound seniors graduating from the San Antonio-based high school. The gift will cover the cost of ...

IDEA Public Schools is Going Solar

Thanks, in part, to a $100,000 sustainability grant from Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®, the IDEA headquarters in Weslaco, TX, is being fitted with 1,072 solar panels for a 364kW system! This project will help establish IDEA Public Schools as a leader in sustainability, and with the inclusion of edible gardens, power generation and innovative waste solutions, IDEA Headquarters could become the first self-sustaining building in South Texas.

Solar panels will allow IDEA to ...

IDEA Health Professions Opening in Austin for Future Healthcare and STEM Professionals

By the year 2026, an estimated 2.4 million health profession jobs will be added in the United States, making healthcare one of the most sought after and highly projected occupations in the nation. In the burgeoning city of Austin, the healthcare industry is booming, but lacks racial diversity among its health professionals. In Travis County, merely 13 percent of physicians are Asian, 10 percent are Latino, and 2.2 percent are African-American.

IDEA Public Schools will train the...

​Tarrant County Bound: An IDEA Parent Perspective

Written by Imelda Arevalo, IDEA Public Schools parent

"For any parent, our child is most valuable to us. We stretch our time, money, resources and ourselves to give them the best life they can possibly have.

If there’s one thing I hope for my child, it is for her to have experiences and opportunities that mold her into the best person she can be. I want my daughter, Daniela, to...

IDEA Leader Spotlight: Bethany Solis

Executive Director of Permian Basin Bethany Solis, didn’t always plan on having a career in education, the calling eventually found her. As a young adult living in New York City, Bethany spent time with families in the local community through volunteer work. She experienced the systemic inequities that kept excellent schools out of reach for children, she knew she had to make a change. Bethany graduated from Brigham Young University and immediately started her career...

National School Bus Safety Week at IDEA Public Schools

Every third week in October, school districts throughout the country observe National School Bus Safety Week to raise awareness of the importance of school bus safety.

IDEA Public Schools also leverages the week to highlight the impact of our transportation team, honor our bus drivers and share important safety tips across the various modes of transportation for our scholars- bus riders, car riders, and walkers.

IDEA bus drivers transport more...

IDEA Student Spotlight: Mario Marquez

The support of a community makes all the difference when it comes to success, and no one believes that more than Mario Marquez. This bright, articulate 6th grader at IDEA Edgemere loves the sense of community that IDEA affords students and is quick to tell you so himself.  

“Everyone is family here,” he says emphatically. “Everyone on campus is here to support you and guide you to succeed.”  

Just a few weeks into his...

IDEA Public Schools Celebrates Red Ribbon Week: October 23-31

Did you know that according to National Family Partnership, children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t?

IDEA is proud to celebrate National Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in October in the United States. The Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth a...

IDEA Public Schools Celebrates 6 Years of Existence, Achievements in Austin

This week, IDEA Public Schools celebrated 6 years of educational excellence in Austin and honored the contributions and achievements of  senior leadership, founding students, teachers, and community leaders at a luncheon on Wednesday, October 17.  The luncheon welcomed 250 attendees who heard from IDEA Board member and parent, Yolanda Davila, IDEA CEO and Founder, Tom Torkelson, and three founding IDEA Austin students.

This academic year, IDEA’s Austin region is serving 4,500 students and 9,000 parents and emp...

6th Grade at IDEA Public Schools

6th grade is a pivotal year for IDEA students, marking the transition from Academy to College Preparatory.  At the College Preparatory level, further responsibility is placed on IDEA 6th graders to grow to become resourceful learners who take initiative.  

The goal of our college-readiness efforts is for every student to enter their first year of college well-prepared to succeed in college-level courses.  

While an IDEA student’s foundational years at the ac...

Grow, Flourish, and Thrive: Pre-K at IDEA Public Schools

At IDEA, we offer Pre-K at 29 of our campuses, and we’re growing!   

Four years ago, IDEA launched its half-day Pre-K program at IDEA Pharr Academy.  The mission:  Place four-year-olds on the path to success in college and in life with a quality Pre-K program.

“We saw the data explode—kids were responding,” Dolores Gonzalez, IDEA’s Chief Program Officer, said about the pilot. “They were beginning to learn the building blocks o...

National School Lunch Week at IDEA Public Schools

October 15-19 is National School Lunch Week (NSLW), and IDEA is celebrating in a big way! This annual celebration raises awareness about the availability of the National School Lunch Program.  NSLW is a chance to increase lunch participation and give our community visibility of our healthy school lunch program.  Every day we are doing something to promote eating a healthy lunch in a creative way. 

IDEA's Southern Louisiana region will celebrate with the...

IDEA Hotline Launched

The IDEA Hotline is now available.

The safety and care of our Team & Family is of utmost importance, and the introduction of the IDEA Hotline will allow us to respond to urgent campus and headquarter issues in a timely manner. This phone number is designated for anonymous tips submissions regarding safety concerns, staff misconduct, or child abuse related to our campuses, headquarters and regional offices. This service is only accessibly by...

National Taco Day: Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

It's National Taco Day!  As a recent National Healthy Schools Award winner, and part of IDEA’s Healthy Kids Here initiative, we have created a nutritious taco recipe from our latest Healthy Kids Here Cookbook! Bon appétit!

Taco-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


1 pound ground lean turkey8 ounces low sodium refried beans1 cup canned, no salt added yellow corn, drained1 medium onion, finely dices2 tablespoons taco seasoning4 medium sweet po...

​IDEA Mission Academy designated as National Blue Ribbon School

IDEA Mission Academy has been designated as an Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools National Blue Ribbon School for 2018 by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. 

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. The Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in clo...

Celebrating IDEA Elsa's Ribbon Cutting

Welcome to the Team & Family, IDEA Elsa!

On Tuesday, September 25, IDEA Public Schools gathered with community leaders, board members, IDEA students, and others to celebrate the official ribbon cutting of one of our newest campuses, IDEA Elsa.

The blossoming campus opened on August 13 for the 2018-2019 school year, welcoming approximately 733 students in grades Pre-K through 2nd and 6th-7th. Faculty and staff spent months preparing for the school’s offi...

IDEA Class of 2018 Achieves Nearly 100 Percent College Matriculation Rate

It’s official! 

IDEA Public Schools is proud to announce that, in addition to 100 percent of seniors in the Class of 2018 gaining admission to college, nearly 100 percent of these students matriculated to college. IDEA granted nine exceptions, supporting students who entered the armed forces, one religious exemption, and one health exemption. In total, 100 percent of graduates from the Class of 2018 gained admission to a 4-year college, with nearly 47 percent of students getting int...

Celebratory Ribbon Cuttings Ceremonies for IDEA Innovation and IDEA Kyle

Celebrations abounded last week for IDEA Public Schools in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Kyle, Texas! IDEA Innovation and IDEA Kyle celebrated their historic ribbon cutting ceremonies among community leaders, board members, IDEA students and other special guests.

On Wednesday, September 19, IDEA Innovation—one of the two new IDEA campuses in the Baton Rouge area—held their highly anticipated ceremony.

Located at 7800 Innovation Park Dr. in Baton Rouge, Innovation opened its doo...

IDEA Principal In Residence Program: Are you ready to lead with IDEA?

With the start of the academic year also begins the search for a cohort to join IDEA’s Principal in Residence (PIR) Program for the 2019-20 school year. Candidates that are accepted into the program spend 1-3 years learning and supporting students in campuses across the IDEA network.

We caught up with Luzdivina Lozano, Senior Director of Leader Development for the Rio Grande Valley and Denise De La Rosa, Senior Director of L...

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

IDEA Public Schools is proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), a time when we highlight the cultures and traditions of those who trace their routes to Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking countries within Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.   

As an organization who believes a great education is the pathway to success in college and in life, we champion this month as an opportunity to educate our students about Hispani...

IDEA Celebrates Ribbon Cutting for IDEA Owassa Campus in Pharr

On Monday September 10, IDEA Public Schools gathered with community leaders, board members, IDEA students, and others to celebrate the official ribbon cutting of one of our newest campuses, IDEA Owassa.

Located at 1000 W Owassa Road in Pharr, Texas, IDEA Owassa opened on August 13 for the 2018-2019 school year, welcoming approximately 762 students in grades Pre-K through 2nd and 6th.

Faculty and staff spent months preparing for the school’s official opening and ...

Apply Today: The IDEA Public Schools 2019-2020 Student Applications Is Live!

The application window to apply to IDEA Public Schools for the 2019-2020 school year is now open!  

IDEA is a family of tuition-free public charter schools committed to seeing each child to and through college. We achieve our record of 100% college acceptance through a focus on personalized learning, core subjects, critical thinking and college preparedness. IDEA’s expert teachers partner with students and families every step of the way to ensure students are pre...

IDEA Ewing Halsell Academy Wins Wesley Becker Excellent School Award

Congratulations to IDEA Ewing Halsell Academy Principal, Pamela Ray, on winning the Wesley Becker Excellent School Award from the National Institute of Direct Instruction.

The national award was presented last month in Eugene, OR by the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). IDEA Ewing Halsell Academy was selected as a 2018 recipient from a selection of public and private schools across the country that use the Direct Instruction teaching method.

The N...

IDEA Public Schools Breaks Ground on New Brownsville Campus

IDEA Public Schools gathered with community leaders, students, and local supporters yesterday to celebrate the official groundbreaking of IDEA Robindale located at FM 802 and Robindale Road in Brownsville.

“We could not be more excited,” says Jill Dominguez, IDEA Lower Valley Executive Director. “With the addition of the Robindale campus, IDEA continues its commitment to offering families in the Brownsville area with greater educational opportunities, and a solid pathway on the road to and t...

IDEA Public Schools Breaks Ground in Fort Worth, Texas

Yesterday, IDEA Public Schools joined local Tarrant County community leaders and supporters to celebrate the groundbreaking of IDEA Rise. The campus will serve more than 468 students in August 2019.

IDEA Tarrant County Executive Director, Ana Martinez, Executive Director of the Sid Richarson Foundation, Pete Geren, and Brian Byrd City Councilman District 3, initiated construction on the newest IDEA Tarrant County campus.

“We are very excited to become a part of an incredibly s...

Simply Satisfying: Delicious Recipes for a Healthy Labor Day Celebration

Looking for the perfect Labor Day dish to enjoy while spending time with family and friends? Look no further! We have compiled a list of delicious and nutritious kid-friendly recipes to make your holiday that much sweeter. From healthy appetizers to savory dishes to delicious desserts, we’ve got you covered with these fantastic recipes and more featured in our 2018 Healthy Kids Here Cookbook.


Cook T...

IDEA Public Schools Announces Plan to Open Schools in New Orleans, Louisiana

IDEA Public Schools is pleased to announce it will open schools in New Orleans in the fall of 2019.

Based on the demand from parents for more high-performing public schools that prepare their children for college, IDEA has enjoyed steady growth within the state of Texas and recently celebrated the opening of two new out-of-state campuses in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the 2018-2019 school year.

“We are excited to open IDEA s...

IDEA Public Schools Kicks-Off 2018-19 School Year With New Schools in Texas and Louisiana

For the first time ever, IDEA Public Schools celebrated its first day of school in two states, as campus staff welcomed nearly 44,000 students across 5 regions in both Texas and Louisiana.

Students and families entered IDEA’s beautiful new campuses, and teachers waved hello as students laughed and hugged their parents before giving campus staff big high-fives and beginning the school day.

This year, IDEA also opened 9 new campuses including IDEA K...

Back to School: Meal Applications Now Available for Students at New IDEA Campuses

The 2018-2019 school year is nearly upon us and parents of students who are attending new IDEA campuses are urged to complete the free and reduced priced meals (FARM) application as soon as possible.

Students attending the following schools will need to fill out an application for free-and-reduced-lunch:

·         IDEA Bridge

·         IDEA Edgemere

·         IDEA Elsa

·         IDEA Ingram Hills

·         IDEA Innovation

·         IDEA Kyle

·         IDEA Owassa


IDEA Receives $1.5 Million grant to fund 21st Century Community Learning Centers

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has selected IDEA Public Schools as the recipient of a $1.5 million award for its 2018-2019 Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Programs like the 21st Century Community Learning Centers federal grant program have proven beneficial for offering students a range of after school activities that complement and align with academic programs and improve student performance. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, these programs offer schools...

Free Meals Offered to All Students at Select Campuses this Fall through Community Eligibility Provision

Last school year, the Child Nutrition Program (CNP) at IDEA Public Schools adopted the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) which provides free breakfast and lunch to all children at select schools.

Recently, the schools that qualify for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for the 2018-2019 school were announced.

“Through the Community Eligibility Provision, we can ensure that more students will receive nutritious meals every day without burdening o...

Great IDEA: Recipes for a Happy and Healthy 4th of July

The 4th of July is upon us and for many, celebrating our nation’s independence means food, family, and fun. From delicious family recipes to evening fireworks displays, what’s not to love? As a recent National Healthy Schools Award winner, and part of IDEA’s Healthy Kids Here initiative to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for our students and increase student access to healthy and nutritious foods, we have compiled some of our f...

IDEA Allan: New name. Same Excellence.

IDEA Allan, in Austin, Texas, will be renamed IDEA Montopolis, effective July 1, 2018.

Since its founding in 2012, IDEA Allan has created an incredible track record of leading every scholar on a path towards college and success. The school’s legacy and rich history is widespread in the communities in which it serves.

After it was recently brought to the attention of campus and senior leadership that the Allan campus was named a...

IDEA Staff Spotlight: Mara Wenzel

As a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) at IDEA Headquarters, Mara Wenzel says she is motivated by changing the lives of children in the region she grew up in. When Mara started her career as a teacher, she knew right away that she wanted to make an impact and minimize obstacles that would prevent students from meeting their potential.

“I feel like that’s what IDEA is all about,” Mara said. “We enco...

Nine IDEA Schools Ranked Among “America’s Healthiest Schools”

June 27, 2018

The dynamic wave of wellness and nutrition at IDEA Public Schools known as the Healthy Kids Here initiative is in its fifth year and is making another splash nationwide. Recently, nine IDEA schools made the Alliance for a Healthier Generations list of “America's Healthiest Schools” after winning the prestigious National Healthy Schools Award for their hard work in creating a healthier school environment.

Awarded schools met best practice criteria est...

IDEA CEO & Co-Founder Inducted into National Charter School Hall of Fame


What a historic week for IDEA Public Schools!

On June 19, The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools inducted Tom Torkelson, IDEA CEO and Founder, and JoAnn Gama, IDEA Co-Founder, President, and Superintendent, into the 2018 National Charter School Hall of Fame.

The momentous occasion occurred during the two-day National Charter School Conference in Austin, Texas. During the induction ceremony, the room was bursting with IDEA supporters, some of whom also served as conference speak...

IDEA Rescue Buses

Since 4:00 a.m. this morning, the IDEA Child Nutrition Program staff has been preparing 1,500 meals for families across the mid-Rio Grande Valley who have been displaced from their homes due to severe flooding.  IDEA Team & Family members have traveled around on buses, driven by IDEA bus drivers, to help families in need.  Members of the IDEA Transportation Team and Child Nutrition Program have been transporting and feeding more than 75 displaced families in the m...

Inclement Weather Update Regarding Summer School

Wednesday, June 20 2018

At IDEA, the safety of our students and staff is a top priority. We are continuing to closely monitor weather and flooding conditions across our regions this afternoon.

Due to inclement weather, IDEA summer school sessions in the Rio Grande Valley will be canceled on June 21, 2018, with the exception of schools in Brownsville and San Benito. Additionally, camp sessions at Camp Rio are canceled today, and IDEA San A...

Limited Spots Available at IDEA Campuses

Attention parents! There are limited spots available for the 2018-2019 school year at select IDEA campuses. Registration is now open for the upcoming school year, so the time to enroll is now.

If you'd like to enroll in one of our open grades, take 3 minutes to fill out this quick application. We'll enroll students in the order in which applications are received!

Atención padres! Hay espacios limitadas disponibles para ...

IDEA Staff Spotlight: Leslie Prado

Leslie Prado is currently a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) at IDEA Headquarters in the Rio Grande Valley but will be transitioning to her role as an SLP Manager. When Leslie started her professional journey, she didn’t know that she would grow her career for six years with the IDEA Team & Family. After she pursued her studies at the University of Texas Pan American it became clear her future would support children in t...

Top Picks For Summer Reading

The school year may be over, but the IDEA Team & Family knows that learning never ends. We encourage all IDEA scholars to remain scholastically sharp by engaging in summer reading. Not only is it fun, data shows that students who read during summer vacation are more likely to score higher on tests once school resumes.

To avoid the “Summer Slide”—the tendency for children to lose some of the academic gains they ...

IDEA Public Schools Recognized as a Texas Honor Roll District

Great news!  

IDEA Public Schools was recently recognized as a Texas Honor Roll school district.  Due to high achievement and student excellence in academics, IDEA was recognized as one of 7 districts who achieved this honor in the state of Texas. 

The program, sponsored by the Institute for Productivity in Education (IPE), is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and districts that are improving student outcomes. IDEA Public Sch...

2018-19 Campus Registration Events at IDEA Public Schools

Registration at IDEA is an important step in the onboarding process for all new-to-IDEA families.  At registration events, students and families receive information about food services, after-school activities, special education services, and more.  

During the registration event at your campus, campus staff will ensure all student information is accurate and collect any further information needed.  Additionally, students and families will learn more information about the upcoming year.  Parents and children will also get t...

IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Margaret Summer

Margaret Summer is currently an English Language Arts Pre-Advanced Placement teacher at IDEA Rundberg College Preparatory. After spending the last four years teaching, she is well on her way to achieving her goal of leading her own school one day.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Margaret found her way to Austin after spending some time teaching with Teach For America. Her passion for education has been embedded in her for as long...

TAGS: Teacher Spotlight

IDEA Parents—You Can Access Your Child’s STAAR Results!

The 2017-2018 year at IDEA has been a great one, Team & Family!  We’ve opened new schools to serve more children, one hundred percent of our seniors have been accepted to college, and our academy and college preparatory scholars have prepared for and thrived on their STAAR exams!   

Our IDEA scholars have worked hard all year to be successful on end-of-year assessments, and now is the time to see how they did!...

New IDEA Families—It’s Time for Registration!

Attention new-to-IDEA families!  Thank you for committing to attend IDEA Public Schools this fall.  We hope your experience with us thus far has been enjoyable and that you’re excited for your scholar to start at IDEA in just a few short months.  We certainly are!   

It is now time to officially register your child for the 2018-2019 Academic Year.

At registration, you will receive information about food services, after-school activi...

Registration at IDEA Public Schools: Frequently Asked Questions

Registration at IDEA is an important step in the onboarding process for all new-to-IDEA families.  At registration events, students and families receive information about food services, after-school activities, special education services, and more.  Before the event, families are required to fill out necessary forms on Schoolmint.

Read below for Frequently-Asked-Questions about Registration at IDEA.

I already attend IDEA Public Schools.  Do I need to register? 

No, but you do ...

IDEA Families--Two Important Things to Know This Summer

As we prepare for summer, we want to ensure our families have a safe, fun, and educational break.  Here are two pieces of information we hope will help IDEA families as they prepare for time away from their IDEA campus.

1.  Keep your child’s math and reading skills sharp!  

While you enjoy time to relax with friends and family, be sure your child is keeping his or her math and readi...

IDEA Participates in Child Nutrition Program-Seamless Summer Option

As part of IDEA’s commitment to local communities in the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, and Austin, the Child Nutrition Program (CNP) will be participating in the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Seamless Summer Option (SSO).  The SSO was created to ensure that children, especially in low income areas, can continue to receive nutritious meals during summer.  With this program we are able to provide free breakfast and lunch to all children, 18 years...

IDEA 2018 College-Bound Graduates

Congratulations to IDEA’s Class of 2018! These next two weeks, seniors from across the Rio Grande Valley will attend graduation to commemorate their academic career with friends, family, IDEA staff, and members of the community.  There will be much to celebrate, as the 849 seniors making up the IDEA class of 2018 have accomplished many incredible feats.  Here is a snapshot of their accomplishments:

·         100% college acceptance for the twelfth straight year

·         More than $41 million in g...

IDEA Celebrates Reading Royalty

Happy #IDEARoyalReaders week! What a week it was at IDEA Public Schools. 

Nearly 4,000 IDEA Royal Readers celebrated their commitment to literacy and reading success across all of our regions via events packed with fun activities, dancing, author talks, and more! 

Becoming an IDEA Royal Reader is no small feat.  To become a Royal Reader, IDEA academy students must read a million words and ensure they maintain an 85% or higher testing accu...

Over 280 IDEA Students Become Junior Master Gardeners

This year, over 280 IDEA students became Junior Master Gardeners (JMG). 

Over the past two weeks, we held ceremonies in both the Rio Grande Valley and Central Texas to celebrate our students’ commitment to agriculture and sustainability.  These events celebrated the hard work, achievements and the completion of the 16-lesson Junior Master Gardener curriculum by these students.  The students who received the certification ranged from 3rd-9th grade and throughout the year, participated in ac...

Five IDEA Schools Named to 2017-2018 Texas Honor Roll

Great news, Team & Family!

Five IDEA schools have been named Honor Roll schools for the 2017-2018 Texas Honor Roll, presented by Educational Results Partnership (ERP) and the Institute for Productivity in Education (IPE).

The 2017-2018 Honor Roll recognizes public elementary, middle, and high schools that demonstrate consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps. For high schools, Honor Roll recognition...

An Important Message for IDEA Parents/Guardians

Today, on May 18, Netflix released the second season of its popular but controversial series, ‘13 Reasons Why’. The show’s first season centered around Hannah Baker, a high school student who commits suicide. Hannah leaves behind cassette tapes for 13 people she feels contributed in some way to her decision to take her life. Episodes of the show recount the painful events referenced in the tapes as well as the aftermath of Hannah’s suicide.

Last ...

What are Current Employees Saying about IDEA Public Schools?

These days, employees have the luxury of providing feedback to us either anonymously or with their name by posting a review on sites like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Facebook, Google, and more.

We take these reviews very seriously, and want to share a sampling of what our staff had to say about working at IDEA.  We hope this will help potential educators and staff who are considering applying to IDEA.


IDEA Quest Drumline Visits Six Flags Fiesta Texas to Perform at Mardi Gras Festival

Here at IDEA Public Schools, we ensure that students are not only successful in the classroom but also in the extracurricular activities and athletics they choose to participate in.  Our after school 21st Century Program allows our students to engage in different clubs that speak to their specific interests. Programs offered are hosted by teachers who allow students to not only gain a new connection with staff and students, but also practice a passion o...

Happy School Nutrition Employee Week!

Here at IDEA Public Schools, we ensure that during breakfast and lunch time, your child is getting the nutrients they need. Our Child Nutrition Program works hard to implement delicious and nutritious meals and promote a healthy lifestyle for students and staff.  We are so thankful for their hard work and commitment to serving all students at IDEA.

If you haven’t heard, this week is School Nutrition Employee Week (Ma...

IDEA High Schools Ranked Top 10% in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

One hundred percent of the IDEA class of 2018 signed their commitment to graduate from college this April. 

For the 10th consecutive year, IDEA’s college preparatory schools were ranked among the best performing high schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. This annual list of rankings reflects the rigor and success of our commitment to our scholars on the road to success in college and in life.  It is f...

IDEA, Inductee into 2018 National Charter Schools Hall of Fame, Celebrates National Charter Schools Week

Tom Torkelson and JoAnn Gama with 2018 IDEA seniors at College Signing Day 

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools announced today that Tom Torkelson, IDEA CEO and Founder, and JoAnn Gama, IDEA Co-Founder, President, and Superintendent, were inducted into the 2018 National Charter School Hall of Fame.  IDEA Public Schools joins the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (National Alliance), families, schools, and communities across the country in celebrating National Charter Schools Week, M...

IDEA Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

This week we celebrate our amazing IDEA educators.  Whether they’re building the foundations of learning in Pre-K, fostering college readiness in an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate class, or teaching our scholars in any grade in between, our amazing teachers, co-teachers, and teacher fellows’ hard work is the reason our students achieve stellar success.      

At IDEA, we champion this week as a time for special recognitio...

Good luck to our scholars during May testing

IDEA students, teachers, and leaders have been working hard all year to prepare our scholars for testing season and beyond. May 7 – 18, our campuses will execute more than 12,000 AP and IB tests, and more than 39,000 STAAR tests. Please keep these helpful tips in mind for your scholar so that he/she has the best testing environment:  

Get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before examWake up a few minutes early to avoid feeling rus...

Big Dreams, Bright Futures: IDEA Readies for College Signing Day Celebrations

The stage is set, and the excitement is palpable as 849 IDEA high school seniors prepare to take their first step towards writing a brand-new chapter in their academic careers. We are proud to celebrate our students’ long-standing commitment to receiving a post-secondary education with a series of presentations in observance of College Signing Day 2018 this week.

The State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas will welcome approximately 18,000 guests as families, educators, distinguished guests, an...

Bright Louisiana Beginnings

Fall of 2018 marks an important transition here at IDEA. Why? It’s the first time we’ll open schools outside of the state of Texas. That’s right! IDEA Public Schools will be opening its doors in Southern Louisiana for 1,000 students in grades K-2 and 6 at IDEA Innovation and grades K-3 and 6 at IDEA Bridge, all of whom will begin their journey on the road to success in college and in life. In just a few ...

IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Megan Burnham

Megan Burnham is currently a Special Education teacher at IDEA Mays College Preparatory. Originally from New York, Megan found herself on a path to law school, but after spending time in Northern Ireland, found herself with a calling to assist students in underserved communities.“I’m just very happy to be working here at IDEA,” Megan said. “I’m very blessed especially that I ended up here at IDEA Mays – I love our staff and our team...

The Teacher Career Pathway: What You Can Gain from Joining IDEA Public Schools

The Teacher Career Pathway is a differentiated reward, recognition, and retention program for teachers at IDEA Public Schools.   

By offering many incentive options, the Teacher Career Pathway avoids being a one-size-fits-all reward program. In this way, each individual teacher can more effectively be recognized as they progress along the different levels of the TCP. The menu of incentives is built around four factors:

1.       Influence (Your voice in our Team & Family aro...

Six IDEA Seniors Become Dell Scholar Finalists

Have you heard the great news?  Six IDEA scholars, all of whom are part of IDEA’s 2018 graduating class, have just been named Dell Scholar Finalists.  This means that these 6 individuals will receive the nationally renowned Dell Scholarship, which provides students with financial assistance, resources, and mentoring to ensure they have the support they need to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Congratulations to the following scholarship recipients!  The whole IDEA Team & Family...

Re-registration at IDEA Public Schools: Frequently Asked Questions 

We are very much looking forward to having you back next year. To guarantee your spot, you will need to re-register your child on SchoolMint by April 23, 2018.  Read below for some frequently asked questions about the re-registration process.     

Why do I need to re-register my child?  They already attend IDEA! 

Great question!  Re-registration is so important because it lets us know that your child is coming back to IDEA, and it...

It’s Time to Re-Register for the 2018-19 School Year!  

Hello IDEA Team & Family!   

We hope your child’s year has been going fantastic.  With only a few months left in the 2017-2018 school year, it’s time for our annual re-registration process.  We are very much looking forward to having you back next year. To guarantee your spot, you will need to re-register your child on SchoolMint by April 23, 2018.   

Re-registering online is quick and painless, and it will ensure your chi...

Limited Spots Available at IDEA

Attention parents! There are limited spots available for the 2018-2019 school year at select IDEA campuses. If you'd like to enroll in one of our open grades, take 3 minutes to fill out this quick application. We'll enroll students in the order in which applications are received! 

Atención padres! Hay espacios limitadas disponibles para el año escolar 2018-2019 en determinados campus de IDEA. Si desea inscribirse en una de nuestras calificaciones abiertas, ...

IDEA Operations Staff Spotlight: Carlos De La Pena

Carlos De La Pena is the Sr. Facilities Manager at IDEA Brownsville and is committed to great service as well as keeping every student on his campus safe. Beginning his journey with IDEA 10 years ago, Carlos started as a purchasing clerk and steadily climbed the leadership ladder.

Now, education is the new challenge Carlos would like to take on. Following his daily routine of campus safety, Carlos expands his education in the...

IDEA Operations Staff Spotlight: Virginia Lopez

Virginia with her family during the holidays!

Meet Virginia Lopez. She is the Assistant Principal of Operations at IDEA Pflugerville, and she is excited to have the opportunity to launch a brand new campus this fall. 

Ready to improve the education of IDEA students, she served as a co-teacher at IDEA Allan in 2013. Virginia admits her first love has always been operations management. Utilizing her 11 years of experience as a leade...

IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Debricca Webster

Debricca Webster is a Founding Teacher Fellow at IDEA Frontier College Preparatory.  IDEA’s Founding Teacher Fellowship is a program that hires dedicated and talented individuals to participate in a one-year fellowship as a teacher or co-teacher in some of IDEA’s award-winning Rio Grande Valley campuses.  Then, the following year, these Fellows return to their home region to launch an IDEA school.

We sat down with Debricca to see how her year ...

IDEA Celebrates World Water Day Through Healthy Competition

Healthy Kids Here is an IDEA initiative to provide a healthy and active lifestyle for our students, increase student access to healthy and nutritious foods, and educate the IDEA Team & Family on health, wellness and nutrition.

Did you know that World Water Day is March 22?  This day is very important to our Team & Family, as drinking water is essential to student health.  Just consider some of the following f...

IDEA El Paso is Ready to Partner with the Local Community

This fall, IDEA will join the El Paso community, as they launch 4 schools this fall.  We look forward to working together with public independent school districts in the area to continue the mission of offering quality school choice for children. 

IDEA collaborates with local school districts, staff and parents to develop programs that meet the needs of all students. When we work together, there is no limit to what our children can a...

IDEA Extends Online Learning Fun Over Spring Break

Attention parents! IDEA Public Schools will be closed for Spring Break from March 12 through March 16.  This week is a great opportunity for your scholar to soak up the sun and catch up on some reading.  Once your child finishes a book, remind him or her to test on it online via the Accelerated Reader software!

Just in case you need a little help figuring out what books your scholar should read, here a...

Family Partnership in IDEA El Paso

An IDEA senior and parent sign the pledge to graduate from college in 4 years together at College Signing Day.  

Each of IDEA’s students, teachers, staff and parents work together to reach their highest potential every day.  Our teachers help students identify their goals, track their progress and adjust instruction as needed to ensure each student masters every subject and realizes their goals.  At IDEA, we know parent involvement is critical to stude...

IDEA Operations Staff Spotlight

Meet Tanya Torres.  She is a Founding Staff Member and Assistant Principal of Operations at IDEA McAllen.  Every morning, she meets with fellow principals and her operations team while simultaneously making sure instructional staff and students have what they need for the day.

Tanya has coupled her nine years of experience from being a store manager at Walmart with her love of teaching. It is a position she holds near and dear t...

10 Things You Should Know About IDEA El Paso

IDEA Public Schools is so excited to open 4 public schools in El Paso this fall.  Read on to learn 10 facts about IDEA El Paso. 

We come to El Paso with experience.  

IDEA Public Schools was started in 1998 by Tom Torkelson and JoAnn Gama in Donna, Texas.  It was created as a way to help combat some of the major educational deficiencies they saw in their students, focusing the prog...

Ana Martinez, IDEA Tarrant County Executive Director, Looks Forward to Working Together

IDEA Public Schools is headed to Tarrant County, where they will open 4 schools in 2019.  Led by Ana Martinez, executive director and respected educational leader, IDEA looks to work together with both high-performing charter schools and public independent school districts to continue the mission of offering quality school choice for children in the Fort Worth, Texas area. 

About Charter Schools 

IDEA is a public charter school.  Public charter schools are...

IDEA Weslaco’s Dominoes Champion

Photo credit: The Monitor

At IDEA, we emphasize student success inside and outside the classroom. IDEA Weslaco’s Brynn Ebe is a stellar student, and she has also made a name for herself in Texas as a champion, a champion in a game that has been around for centuries—Dominoes!

At just 5 years old, before Brynn was even in school, Brynn began playing Dominoes with her great uncle.  This is wher...

Southern New Hampshire University Partners with the Shapiro Foundation and TheDream.US to Launch $20 Million Initiative to Educate DREAMers at IDEA-U

IDEA is thrilled to announce that Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), with generous support from The Shapiro Foundation and TheDream.US, announced a new initiative to educate 1,000 DACA students over the next five years, which will directly benefit students attending IDEA-U in the Rio Grande Valley. The initiative will provide full scholarships to DACA students to pursue associate and bachelor’s degree programs through SNHU’s competency-based education program, College for America.  

Last year, I...

Black History Month Recap at IDEA Public Schools

IDEA Carver students read to a crowd about important African-American figures in U.S. history. 

This month was a time for our organization, and our nation, to further highlight the profound impact of African-Americans in our country’s history.  Black History Month, or National African0American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African-Americans in the story of the Uni...