One-hundred and forty seniors at YES Prep at Northbrook High School will make history next May. They will be the first graduates of SBISD’s seven-year running, district and charter school experiment known as the SKY Partnership.
The partnership supports YES Prep and KIPP middle school student programs at Northbrook, Landrum and Spring Woods middle schools and, since 2014, has operated the YES Prep program for both feeders based at Northbrook High School.
Under this special partnership, YES Prep and KIPP operate separate programs across three campuses, but the public and charter programs there also share ideas, best practices, and even staff development. Charter students also gain access to fine arts and athletics offerings at the public school campuses.
On Aug. 16, SBISD’s first day of school, we asked a small gathering of YES Prep at Northbrook students what it meant to them personally to be the first graduating class. Here is what several seniors there said:
Beanca joined YES Prep at Northbrook Middle in sixth grade. She is interested in the nursing program offered at the University of Houston.
“I guess we always talked about going to college here. We started talking about colleges in sixth grade. It all seemed so far away, even last year, because of SAT and all the requirements for college. Now, it seems more real.”
Like Beanca, Andy enrolled in the YES Prep charter program in sixth grade, back at Northbrook Middle. If he enrolls as a business student next spring at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, he will be the first in his family to attend college.
“I feel like we’re leaving a legacy, showing others that we did it and that they can do it, too. I did not think at the beginning that I would make so many friendships, with both students and teachers here. But I made friends quick. Our teachers put it into our heads, quite honestly, that we could and would go on to college.”
Kevin’s keen interest in hip-hop and related modern music may guide him to the University of North Texas in Denton, which has a matching music program. Kevin started at YES Prep with the initial Northbrook Middle student group.
“I feel like I’ve been running a race, but now I see the finish line. I just need to get there, and I will. I want to make and to have music in my life, whatever that might mean – marketing, or recording, or just being around music and musicians.”
Marcus, a running back, receiver and cornerback on the Raiders football team and a four-year letterman plans to enroll at Prairie View A&M University, staying close to home. He sees his future in the “people’ business as a counselor or therapist. “I like to help people. That’s my thing.”
Like others, he joined YES Prep as a sixth-grader at Northbrook Middle School.
Mayeli joined YES Prep at Northbrook in her freshman year, transferring from the traditional, comprehensive high school. Her goal is to attend Sam Houston State, and then study math education.
“I’m excited and proud of myself for deciding to make this change for myself, and then making that change happen.”
In all, students from more than a dozen area middle schools are now enrolled at YES Prep at Northbrook High School after their families moved into the school district and chose the charter program.