Friday, August 16, 2013

SKY Partnership opens doors for second year at two middle schools

At YES Prep Northbrook, new sixth-grader Sebastian Rey put down his backpack and searched for words to describe summertime Rocket Camp and his first day at his new charter school program. “It’s really fun to get to know the teachers. I’ve seen friends and had a good time. I like the school a lot. This is to get me ready for college.

I think that the University of Houston is where I want to go, but I’m still thinking about my future,” Sebastian said. In recent days, hundreds of students at YES Prep Northbrook Middle and at KIPP Courage College Prep at Landrum have been thinking about their futures as these two public charter programs have opened their doors for a second year in a unique operating alliance with Spring Branch ISD known as the SKY Partnership.

On Thursday, Aug. 8, YES Prep Northbrook welcomed 279 students to sixth- and seventh-grade for the 2013-14 school year. The school had 125 sixth-graders from last year return. More than 140 sixth-graders won lottery invitations and a summer Rocket Camp session for those students was held July 9-16.
“We’re excited,” YES Prep Director Cendie Stanford said. “Doubling in size both in adults and students in just one year is rewarding. It means that we must be doing something right. The word is out and we are on our way.”

“We’re twice as big, and this year will be twice as good in all kinds of ways,” she also said. Leaders and staff at KIPP Courage College Prep at Landrum Middle prepared to welcome 207 students to its fifth- and sixth-grade program on Monday, Aug. 19. KIPP’s summer session for new and returning students, affectionately known as little KIPPsters, ran from June 13-27.

SBISD electives teachers also attended the summer session to increase their grasp of KIPP classroom expectations. Little KIPPsters attend electives classes taught by Landrum Middle teachers.  “KIPP Courage staff has doubled along with our students,” school leader Eric Schmidt said. “We were a small, seven-person team last year. Now we are doubling. We’re seeing our dream turn into a reality this year.”

Among other goals, Schmidt and Landrum Middle Principal Luis Pratts will work closely this year to connect staffs and programs where the two education systems meet, such as in student fine arts and athletics, and in other areas. YES Prep Northbrook’s administrative team this year includes Assistant School Director Victor Cota, who opened a YES Prep East End campus in Houston six years ago. Standing in the cafeteria at Northbrook Middle on opening day with sixth- and seventh-graders reminds him of his experience at East End.

“We started with sixth- and seventh-grade there, just like here. Our first class at that school graduated in June. When I talk to the parents here, it’s very real that we’re making a promise to our Rockets about the future,” he said.

“We’re committed to impacting the community. We believe that kids from any Zip Code should be going to the college of their choice,” he also said. YES Prep and KIPP are highly rated public charter school systems with records of preparing under served youth for later success in colleges and universities, as well as for their adult lives. Preparing students to be college ready is a theme in both schools.

“I want to be either a marine biologist or a geologist. I do like learning about rocks and minerals,” said German Aguirre, a new sixth-grader at YES Prep Northbrook. German and former Edgewood Elementary classmate Sherlyn Ochoa applied after hearing about the charter school program at their elementary school. “I like how the teachers are nice and how they teach,” Sherlyn said.

“I want to be a medical doctor. I have a goal of going to a good college. I will study there.”

To learn more about the SKY Partnership, its two school programs and their yearly school lotteries, program leadership and contact information, please visit SBISD’s SKY Partnership website. SKY site:


Post a Comment

Do you have feedback? Tell us.