IDEA Public Schools kicked off its 19th school year with 96 schools in six regions across Texas and Louisiana.

IDEA’s Southern Louisiana campuses in Baton Rouge and a new campus in New Orleans began school last week, while Texas regions including the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, and for the first time in Tarrant County (Fort Worth/Arlington), Texas return to school today. This year, IDEA is welcoming over 53,000 students district-wide for the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.

Two new IDEA campuses opened their doors this morning in the Rio Grande Valley including IDEA Los Encinos in south McAllen and IDEA Robindale in Brownsville. With the addition of these new campuses, IDEA will continue to prove that equitable education is, in fact, an achievable feat.

“I am beyond excited that months of planning and preparation has made our vision a reality,” says IDEA Los Encinos Academy Principal Esmeralda Ortiz. “We are excited to be able to serve families in South McAllen with a quality education to help close achievement gaps and while boosting educational opportunities for every student.”

Other new campuses opening this year include IDEA Health Professions and IDEA Parmer Park in Austin, IDEA Burke in San Antonio, IDEA Mesa Hills in El Paso, IDEA Los Encinos and IDEA Robindale in the RGV, IDEA Rise and IDEA Achieve in Tarrant County and IDEA Oscar Dunn in New Orleans.

Over the last 19 years, IDEA has grown from a small school with 150 students to the fastest-growing network of tuition-free, Pre-K-12 public charter schools in the United States. From Pre-K – 12th grade, IDEA Public Schools is focused on sending 100% of students to college. For the last 13 years, 100% of IDEA graduates have been accepted to college.

IDEA’s Pre-K program teaches the foundational skills every student needs. As IDEA Academy students persist each year, they are exposed to a combination of intimate, individualized instruction, and web-based, support from the nation’s leading educational technologies and software. In May, IDEA had over 4,360 Academy students qualify as Royal Readers for reading more than 1 million words and broke a district record with and IDEA Academy Pharr student reading over 14 million words.

Through IDEA’s AP For All initiative, every IDEA college preparatory student is required to take at least 11 AP courses as part of their core coursework. This strategy provides equity of access to rigorous and challenging coursework for all students. Not only does the coursework help prepare students for college, it allows them the opportunity to earn college credit before ever stepping foot onto a college campus. To date, over 5,000 IDEA alumni are currently in or have graduated from 171 colleges and universities across the country.

“We take pride in the fact that as we continue to grow to serve more students in the Rio Grande Valley, our results continue to get better year after year,” says Lisa Garza, Area Superintendent of IDEA Public Schools. “Everyone, from our school leaders and teachers to campus operations staff, are committed to sending 100 percent of our students to and through college, and we are looking forward to another great year ahead.”

IDEA is home to eight of the best high schools in Texas and the nation, according to US News and World Report with two schools in the top 10% of charter schools in the state, and two ranking in the top quarter of the nation. Eleven IDEA College Preparatory schools are also ranked among the Top 1% best performing schools in the nation by the Jay Mathews Challenge Index High School Rankings formerly known as The Washington Post rankings.

By 2022, IDEA will operate 173 schools in ten regions educating 100,000 students on their road to and through college.