YES Prep Public Schools

At a Glance

National Office: 
6201 Bonhomme Road, Suite 168-N
Houston, TX 77036
Phone: 713.967.9000

Jason Bernal
People Served: 
7,895
Year Founded: 
1998
Tax ID: 
76-0563835

Focus area(s):

Charter Schools
K-12 Reform
College Access

Description

YES Prep Public Schools (YES Prep) is an open-enrollment, public charter school system that currently operates 13 schools and serves nearly 8,000 students in an integrated 6th-12th grade program. All our schools are strategically located in under-resourced, low-income communities where neighborhood schools are chronically underperforming. YES Prep is a model for what is possible within the public education system: high-performance, sustainable, and replicable schools that provide a college preparatory education for ALL students.

Impact and Outcomes

100% of graduating seniors are accepted to college
93% of alumni matriculate to college within one year of high school graduation
73% of alumni are currently enrolled in college or have already earned their degree – more than six times the national average for economically disadvantaged students

Mission & Goals

YES Prep’s mission is to dramatically increase the number of economically disadvantaged students who graduate from four-year colleges prepared to compete in the global marketplace and give back to their communities. We received our state charter in 1998 and began with a single school located in a trailer in a southeast Houston parking lot. Fifteen years later, YES Prep is a thriving school system of 13 schools and 8,000 students. Throughout our history, two things have never wavered: our mission and the quality of our student achievement results. In communities where half of all students earn a high school degree and less than 10% are expected to graduate from college, YES Prep is shattering the status-quo and ensuring that our students are accepted to college, matriculate to college, and graduate from college.
 

Program

Our core programming includes five features that ensure student success:

1. Small and Integrated 6th-12th Grade Schools: We operate small, integrated, 6th-12th grade schools that enable our teachers and school leaders to build transformative relationships with students. By creating a family-oriented culture on every campus, our students feel valued and supported throughout their middle and high school careers.

2. Rigorous Academic Curriculum and Assessment: From Day One, our students are held to higher academic standards than students in traditional public schools across the country. YES Prep uses the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards (TEKS) as a floor rather than a ceiling when setting the bar for student achievement. Students are assessed multiple times during the school year to identify gaps in learning, and interventions are implemented based on the results. Additionally, all of our students are required to take the SAT exam and at least one Advanced Placement (AP) course in high school.

3. Student Interventions: In order to ensure that every student is college-ready by the end of 12th grade, YES Prep requires all students to attend an extended school day and school year. Because most of our 6th graders come to YES Prep performing below grade-level, additional time during the school day is dedicated to strategic interventions in order to guarantee that students are able to meet academic standards.

4. Enrichment Opportunities: YES Prep students have access to a variety of life-changing extracurricular activities that enhance their middle and high school experiences. For example, annual spring trips give most students their first opportunity to travel outside of Houston and visit colleges around the country. By graduation, on average, YES Prep students have visited 20 schools. Moreover, service learning is an important pillar of our program. Students have the opportunity to volunteer and give back to their communities through Saturday service days and other projects. Finally, students who are interested in participating in rigorous academic summer programming have the opportunity to apply for Duke TIP, Breakthrough Houston, and a variety of study abroad opportunities.

5. Personalized College Counseling & Support Through College: YES Prep has developed one of the most innovative college counseling programs in the country with a single focus – college graduation. Our unwavering commitment to this goal begins in 6th grade and continues on well after students leave YES Prep. Our alumni receive ongoing support throughout college to ensure they persist and earn a degree.

 

Impact

All YES Prep schools are strategically located in under-resourced, low-income communities where neighborhood schools are chronically underperforming. Students are admitted by random lottery; and we maintain a wait list of over 5,500 students. YES Prep’s 2013-14 system-wide student demographics are as follows:

•    97% Hispanic and African American
•    82% economically disadvantaged
•    21% limited English proficient
•    37% at-risk (e.g., retained, pregnant and/or parenting, juvenile delinquent, homeless)
•    90% first-generation college-goers
•    58% of students enter one or more grade levels behind in reading and/or mathematics

We ensure that our students are accepted to college, matriculate to college, and graduate from college:

•    100% of graduating seniors are accepted to college
•    93% of alumni matriculate to college within one year of high school graduation
•    73% of alumni are currently enrolled in college or have already earned their degree – more than six times the national average for economically disadvantaged students

YES Prep has become a model for other CMOs. For example, IDEA Public Schools in southern Texas, LEAD Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, and YES Academy in Detroit, Michigan, have all replicated YES Prep’s successful model and sought our CMO’s guidance. YES Prep staff have traveled to these charter schools, as well as countless others, in an effort to expand educational opportunities for children and youth nationwide. As Douglas Ross, one of the founding partners of YES Academy in Detroit, stated, "Our partnership with YES Prep is going to give the children who attend this school a world-class education.” Furthermore, school visits and personal endorsements by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and other education reformers highlight the role that YES Prep is playing in the national education reform movement. We intend to leverage this spotlight to drive practice and create impact beyond the students we directly serve.

 

 

 

Growth Plan

 

One of YES Prep’s hallmarks is its ability to grow quickly but efficiently and to do so without compromising the quality of its program or level of its results. YES Prep is able to maintain its success because of its innovative, outcome-driven operating principles:

  • All schools and the Home Office (i.e., central office) are located in Houston.
  • All schools and the Home Office are aligned through a single performance management initiative.
  • All beginning teachers and school directors (i.e., principals) are trained, certified, and mentored internally through the Teaching Excellence and Leading Excellence programs.
  • All teachers are compensated and promoted based on performance, not tenure.
  • All schools implement the same comprehensive educational program.
  • All end-of-semester student assessments, called common assessments, are developed and graded collectively by lead teachers from all of the schools across the system.
  • All schools require that students be accepted to a four-year college or university to graduate.

PHASE II GROWTH PLAN

YES Prep embarked on a plan to expand its reach beginning in November 2008. At the time, YES Prep operated five schools that when fully grown out would house approximately 4,000 students. YES Prep’s growth plan provides for the addition of eight schools, bringing YES Prep to 13 schools that will accommodate 10,000 students.

SCHOOL YEAR

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

School Count

5

7

8

11

13

 

PROGRESS TO DATE

As of October 1, 2012, YES Prep has opened six additional schools. The first campus site acquired, renovated, and opened was the Revolution Campus, which opened at the beginning of the 2008-09 school year and was supported with fundraised dollars. It initially housed the YES Prep Gulfton, YES Prep West, and YES Prep South (now YES Prep Brays Oaks) schools. YES Prep purchased and renovated buildings to house YES Prep West and YES Prep Brays Oaks. Both moved into their respective buildings in Fall 2011.

In 2011, YES Prep began construction of a permanent classroom building for YES Prep Southeast, its first school. The new building is now completed and houses the classrooms and administrative offices of Southeast and allowed for the disposal of the modular buildings that have served the students previously. Funding for this project was also through a bond offering. Also in 2011, YES Prep replaced the modular units at YES Prep East End with a permanent building for classrooms and offices. Construction was provided through an acquisition and construction loan.

YES Prep acquired financing to complete the YES Prep Northside and YES Prep Fifth Ward campuses, which will provide space to accommodate the full 6th-12th grades, as well as for the renovation of what will be our twelfth campus. The financing for both schools is coming from a New Markets Tax Credit transaction and the School 12 funds are through a Qualified Zone Academy Bond, continuing YES Prep’s track record of low-cost financing.

In 2012-13, YES Prep will finalize preparations for the opening of Schools 12 and 13 in July 2013, which will complete Phase II.

COLLEGE GRADUATE OUTCOMES AND RETURN ON INVESTMENT

When YES Prep achieves its growth goal of 13 schools and 10,000 students, it will have a school in the center of every economically disadvantaged community in Houston. The system will serve 10 percent of the 6th-12th grade students currently enrolled in Houston ISD. YES Prep believes this will serve as a “tipping point” that creates an additional incentive for traditional public school districts to improve their college ready programs—or risk further deterioration of family/public support and enrollment rates for their schools. Moreover, at scale, YES Prep will also contribute roughly 1,100 more college graduates to the city every year. Collectively, YES Prep will triple the number of low-income Houstonians who graduate from college annually and will be the largest producer of economically disadvantaged college graduates in the region, playing a direct role in preparing the next generation of Houston’s civic and business leaders.

Studies indicate that a high school graduate has the potential to nearly double his/her annual salary by earning a college degree. Over a lifetime, a college graduate can anticipate earning a million dollars more than a non-graduate.[1] At YES Prep, more than 90 percent of students are the first in their families to attend college. For every college graduate it produces, YES Prep is radically increasing individual lifetime earnings potential and transforming the long-term economic prosperity of the city. Even more significantly, about 80 percent of YES Prep alumni return to live and work in Houston after earning a college degree, which is good news for Houston.

PHASE III GROWTH PLAN

On October 3rd, YES Prep’s Board of Trustees approved a multi-year, Phase III growth strategy focused on two things: accomplishing critical scale and raising our national influence. 

·         Accomplishing critical scale. In the next five years, we will open the equivalent of 10 new schools, ultimately increasing our enrollment to more than 20,000 students. This will make YES Prep the size of a traditional school district and end the excuse that charters cannot work at scale. 

·         Raising our national influence.  In the next five years, we will become more purposeful in shining a national spotlight on the practices that have made YES Prep successful. More students across the country will be able to benefit from the work that YES Prep developed in Houston. We will accomplish this through a variety of strategies, such as the expansion of YES Prep schools to one new region, select partnerships with other school districts, and a more active approach to thought leadership.  

In our next phase of growth our commitment to Houston will remain strong. We intend to open the equivalent of six new schools in Houston’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods, increasing our Houston enrollment by nearly 50 percent. We believe that now is the right time to expand to one new region. The Board of Trustees has established a regional selection committee to evaluate the implications of launching YES Prep schools in one new city. This committee also will engage in an extensive due diligence process to screen possible candidates for expansion.

YES Prep is currently developing a business plan for Phase III.


[1]Bizjournals, April 14, 2008: Brainpower Rankings of Top 100 Metros

 

Location of Sites

National Office: 
6201 Bonhomme Road, Suite 168-N
Houston, TX 77036
Phone: 713.967.9000
List of locations

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Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2014

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$0
Government Funding: 
$71,117,985
Contributions from Individuals: 
$0
Special Events: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$4,867,927
Membership Dues: 
$604,000
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$8,739,803
Other Revenue (Description): 
Individual, corporate, and foundation contributions
Total Revenue: 
$85,329,715

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$66,105,916
Occupancy: 
$2,213,991
Travel & Entertainment: 
$3,404,220
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$4,188,688
Telephone & Communications: 
$0
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$7,227,055
Other Expenses (Description): 

Issuance and bonding costs, dues, and interest, student scholarship, insurance

Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$83,139,870

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$2,189,845

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2013

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$0
Foundation Grants: 
$0
Government Funding: 
$55,867,710
Contributions from Individuals: 
$0
Program Services Fees: 
$6,932,031
Membership Dues: 
$800,809
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$7,380,848
Other Revenue (Description): 
individual, corporate, and foundation contributions
Special Events: 
$0
Total Revenue: 
$70,981,398

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$54,718,986
Occupancy: 
$5,669,385
Travel & Entertainment: 
$3,155,357
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$4,489,088
Telephone & Communication: 
$0
Payments to Affiliates: 
$0
Other Expenses: 
$2,656,041
Other Expenses (Description): 

Issuance and bonding costs, dues, interest, student scholarships, insurance

Total Expenses: 
$70,688,857

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$292,541

Major Funders

Laura and John Arnold

Charter School Growth Fund

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

Kinder Foundation

Pyramid Peak Foundation