Expansion & Growth
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 experience life differently and to receive an education that challenges her beyond her expectations.
The first time I heard about IDEA Public Schools, was a little over two years after we moved to San Antonio from Fort Worth, Texas. Daniela was ready to enroll in kindergarten and IDEA South Flores was also ready to open its doors to scholars. There was buzz all around the new school, but I wanted to know the full approach IDEA would take for my child.
I soon learned that IDEA believes that a quality Pre-K through 12 education is the key to success for college and life and that 100% of their students have been accepted into college for the past 12 years. These stats were compelling, and I knew I wanted similar success for my daughter. Daniela was coming right out of a daycare facility that worked with her to start learning her ABC’s. She was already recognizing letters by herself and was demonstrating a genuine excitement for learning.
As a mom, it’s important to me that the school I choose for my child desires to partner with me in pursuit of my child’s hopes and dreams. My daughter’s experience and my experience at IDEA was characterized by meaningful partnership between the school and our home.
Academically, I noticed that IDEA’s focus on direct and personalized learning was incredibly beneficial for Daniela. Their academic program, supported Daniela by providing her with a hybrid learning experience that incorporated individualized learning that met her needs while ensuring she was accessing grade level material consistently.
As such, Daniela participated in flexible groups that focused on language, reading, and math. Her teachers really understood what she needed, how to meet her needs so she can flourish at school, and how to challenge her appropriately.
This approach worked for my daughter and put her on the track of accelerated learning.
The teachers were so focused on ensuring Daniela succeed in their classroom. Their desire to work with every child, no matter what level they were at or what their needs were, made me feel confident that they were supporting Daniela in experiencing success so that she can feel confident and successful. I noticed that when students were behind, her teachers would spend the time necessary to bring them up to speed and for those who were excelling, they’d take the time to challenge them as well.
In Daniela’s time at IDEA South Flores, she was in kindergarten and reading at a first-grade level. Her teacher connected with me personally to provide me with weekly updates on their subjects and goals for the week and established the communication with me that made me feel a part of the process. And for me, as a single mother, that meant the world.
Unfortunately, a few weeks before Daniela finished kindergarten, we had to relocate once more back to Fort Worth and IDEA Public Schools was no longer in the picture. Both Daniela and I were sad to leave IDEA, but I remained hopeful that she’d attend IDEA again someday.
As time went by, I noticed that Daniela was having a different experience. In third grade, I really started to see her grades fall behind. Her test scores subtly transitioned from A’s to C’s and the frequency with which I received feedback from the teacher had diminished. When visiting the library together, I’d noticed her reaching for books that weren’t challenging for her.
I reached out to her former kindergarten teacher at IDEA South Flores for help. I was incredibly thankful that she was still willing to offer me advice on how to get Daniela back on track with her grades. She’d review Daniela’s test scores with me and instruct me on what I could practice with Daniela at home to help her.
Since then, I’ve been able to learn how to better track where she should be at and how I can monitor her learning progress. Daniela’s teacher never gave up on me through the process, and, most importantly, she never gave up on Daniela.
When we received the call that IDEA Public Schools was coming to Tarrant County, we were both ecstatic! I knew that Daniela was going to get back on the accelerated learning track, and I knew that she’d get back to the goals and dreams that started at IDEA.
When IDEA Tarrant County opens IDEA Rise in west Fort Worth and IDEA Achieve in Haltom City in 2019, it will also be opening opportunities for 100% college acceptance, AP classes, and community and citizenship of each student. As a parent, I know this is something many of us are excited about!
IDEA Public Schools not only focuses on the student, but they focus on the family. Just like they got to know my daughter and me, they are ready to get to know more children and more families to work alongside the Tarrant County community to help more students achieve success on the road to and through college."
IDEA Public Schools is accepting student applications for the 2019-20 school year for Pre-K-2 and 6 grade in Tarrant County.