IDEA Public Schools is an independently managed charter school system based in the Rio Grande Valley in deep South Texas. The schools have a significant focus on academics and are committed to ensuring that all of its graduating students will attend college. Faculty members in this charter school system adopt the mantra of "No Excuses!" showing their dedication to their students' success.
IDEA was founded in 2000 by Tom Torkelson and JoAnn Gonzales, TFA Corps Members dedicated to making sure all underserved students can go to college.
- IDEA Frontier - Brownsville, TX (launched 2006º
- IDEA Quest - McAllen, TX (launched 2006)
- IDEA Donna - Donna, TX (launched 2000)
- IDEA San Benito - San Benito, TX (launch set for 2008)
- IDEA Mission - Mission, TX (launch set for 2008)
All schools in the IDEA system are composed of two campuses, an Academy and a College Preparatory school. The Academy is the school for primary grades, generally kindergarten to fifth grade. The College Prep is a secondary school, a combination of middle school and high school, with grades six to twelve. Starting with College Preparatory classes, students have different teachers for different subjects, as in a traditional school system.
Selection of students is initially carried out by lottery; thereafter, students are taken from the waiting list, first-come, first-served. There is no tuition to attend the schools; however, some schools have an activity fee to help cover certain events, such as field trips or experiments. This fee may be made in payments and may be waived for families with financial limitations.
Each campus requires uniforms for each student. The standard uniform generally consists of a polo shirt with the IDEA logo and campus name, khaki or navy pants or shorts, a belt, and tennis shoes and socks appropriate for the pants worn. On designated days, a "college uniform" may be worn: a college jersey with jeans.
New schools in the IDEA system are launched with limited grade levels, typically kindergarten and the middle school grades. Each year, as students are promoted, additional grades are added. Within six years, each campus will be fully scaled with grades PK-12.
The IDEA Donna campus was founded in 2000 by Tom Torkelson and JoAnn Gonzales. The school is currently under the direction of Jeremy Beard, principal of the College Preparatory school, and Paula García, principal of the Academy. The school is located at 401 South 1st Street, Donna, TX 78537. IDEA Donna is fully scaled.
The IDEA Quest
campus was founded in 2006 under Dr. Scott Hollinger, principal of the College Preparatory school, and Sharon Chapman, principal of the Academy. The school is located northwest of McAllen
, TX. The address is 14001 North Rooth Road, Edinburg, TX 78541. During its first two years, all classes were held in portable buildings; however, the first permanent buildings are scheduled to be ready for Fall 2008, with grades PK-4 and 6-10. IDEA Quest will be fully scaled in 2010.
The IDEA Frontier
campus was founded in 2006 under Ernesto Cantú, principal of the College Preparatory school, and Roberta Harris, principal of the Academy. Currently, the College Prep principal is Rolando Posada. The school is located at the intersection of Dockberry and Dakota in Brownsville
, TX. During its first two years, all classes were held in portable buildings; however, the first permanent buildings are scheduled to be ready for Fall 2008, with grades PK-4 and 6-10. IDEA Frontier will be fully scaled in 2010.
IDEA San Benito
The IDEA San Benito
campus is slated to launch in 2008 in San Benito, TX, under the leadership of principal Carrie Sauceda, with grades K and 6-8. IDEA San Benito will be fully scaled in 2013.
The IDEA Mission
campus is slated to launch in 2008 in Mission, TX, under the leadership of College Prep principal Natalie Basham and Academy principal Bethany Solís, with grades K and 6-8. IDEA Mission will be fully scaled in 2013.
IDEA Public Schools
plans to launch a total of 10 campuses (20 schools) along the Rio Grande Valley