Promesa Academy Charter School is a new elementary school opening in August 2020. To ensure personalized attention and a nurturing environment, the school will open small with a maximum of 176 students in kindergarten and first grade. This accounts for four classes per grade, each with no more than 22 students. The school will grow by one grade every year until it reaches a capacity of 528 students in kindergarten through fifth grade by 2024.
(1) Teacher Specialization
Promesa recognizes that elementary education is the foundation for students’ future success in middle school, high school and college, and as a result, they will ensure that their students have teachers who are deeply knowledgeable and passionate about the subjects they teach. This approach reduces the pressure on elementary teachers to plan five or six different lessons every day and gives them time to put more thought into each of their lessons, better ensuring they deliver instruction that teaches students to a high level of mastery in each critical content area.
(2) Creating Authentic Learning Experiences
Promesa believes that to truly engage students in the academics they are learning inside of the classroom, they need to also expose students to how the content they learn is relevant to the world beyond the classroom. Too often students ask the question, “When will I ever use this?” as they lack engagement in the material they are being taught. At Promesa, they will design learning experiences so that their students are aware of the importance and relevance of the material they are being taught.
(3) School-Family-Community Partnerships
Promesa will start the year by conducting home visits with every new family and holding parent orientations for all families. During the year, they will hold two family conferences in which they discuss the most recent report cards. They will also hold eight other family-oriented events such as Back to School Nights and Literacy and Math Nights which will give families an overview of how to support their children outside of school in ELA and math. Promesa strongly believes in engaging the surrounding community and will partner with local organizations to offer extracurricular and enrichment activities, as well as much needed resources for their parents and families.
(4) Nurturing the Whole Child
Promesa believes that relationships should be at the foundations of every classroom. They will work to build a strong sense of both classroom and schoolwide community and to develop their students’ social emotional learning skills to help their students grow into caring, respectful, responsible members of their community.
Promesa will be located west of downtown in 78207 – a zip code where over 92% of students are classified as economically disadvantaged and only 4% of the adult population over 25 has attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Promesa is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of race, socioeconomic background, native language, or zip code should have options. Through rigorous and engaging academics, high-quality instruction, and a commitment to excellence in all that they do, Promesa aims to ensure every kindergarten through fifth grade students acquires the skills and knowledge necessary for middle and high school success, college graduation, and a life filled with opportunity.
A year and a half ago, Ambika Dani arrived in this volatile landscape, intent on opening a public charter school. Her plan was for Promesa Academy Charter School to serve elementary-age pupils in the city’s most impoverished zip code. Four of the nine elementary schools located in the 78207 are on the state’s failing list, and almost half of residents 25 and older did not graduate high school.
Despite the neighborhood’s need for better schools and the public demand for alternatives, the Texas Board of Education this year turned down 17 applications for new charter schools throughout the state. Dani’s was one of four approved — and the only one in San Antonio to get the green light. Read more
My journey to wanting to start a charter school began when I moved to San Antonio. I knew very little about San Antonio and as I considered my next steps as an educator, I began to do some significant research of my own into the academic performance of the traditional school districts in the city. I quickly discovered that there were large pockets of the city that had struggled academically for decades, and that these areas corresponded to primarily low-income communities. I was shocked to learn that San Antonio is also the most economically segregated city in the United States. As someone who has always been passionate about educational equity, I determined there was a significant need to ensure that families in the poorest communities in San Antonio had access to the high-quality education they deserve. Read more
Ambika Dani, Promesa Academy’s head of school, told the Rivard Report her campus plans to open in Fall 2019 as an elementary school with students learning from subject matter experts, rather than teachers who cover multiple subjects. The school will start with kindergarten and first grade, adding one grade to the school in each subsequent year. Read more