District-Charter Collaboration: Aldine ISD & YES Prep
The National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC) recently observed a large and expanding district-charter collaboration and documented findings in five videos. Aldine Independent School District (Aldine) serves over 70,000 students and YES Prep Public Schools (YES Prep) serves nearly 10,000 students in Houston, TX. In 2010 and 2014, YES Prep received a U.S. Department of Education Charter Schools Program Grant for Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools. Both Aldine’s and YES Prep’s student populations are over 80% economically disadvantaged.
By the end of the 2012-2013 school year, both organizations had formalized a partnership to better meet their students’ needs. Aldine had been losing students to charter schools, including a nearby YES Prep campus, and saw the collaboration as a way to retain students and offer them more choices. YES Prep's college seminar courses also interested Aldine as a way to bolster its college preparatory work. YES Prep sees the collaboration as an opportunity to grow its influence on education and learn from a much larger organization that has its own record of successfully serving disadvantaged students. The partnership began operations in the 2013-2014 school year, when YES Prep Hoffman served its first class of 6th graders within Aldine's Hoffman Middle School. All of the students YES Prep serves remain Aldine students as it pertains to electives and reporting requirements.
The opening video discusses the impetus for the partnership. We invite you to meet the Aldine and YES Prep superintendents, campus leaders, and staff dedicated to the collaborations:
As mentioned in the video, the collaboration began with 140 6th graders that enrolled in YES Prep Hoffman at Aldine’s Hoffman Middle School campus in the 2013-2014 school year. YES Prep will continue to serve more students in Aldine ISD as seen below. This expansion is examined in the remaining videos.
2: Hoffman Middle School: A School within a School
This video focuses on Hoffman, the first campus housing the collaboration. In addition to the individuals from the last video, we introduce Aldine and YES Prep teachers. A central goal is to create a culture of sharing:
3: Realizing College Aspirations
YES Prep’s college-prep seminar program was one reason Aldine was interested in collaborating. YES Prep will begin offering its seminar program at Eisenhower 9th Grade School in the 2015-2016 school year as part of the iAspire program. Eighth-grade students currently at Hoffman will be able to enroll into this program in 2016-2017 when they are in 9th grade. We hear from experienced seminar teachers at YES Prep Brays Oaks who provide insight on the implementation of iAspire at Eisenhower. This video also offers parents’ and students’ perspectives:
4: Community Involvement
Aldine and YES Prep’s collaboration includes wide community buy-in by YES Prep and Aldine teachers, students, and parents:
5: Future of the YES Prep-Aldine Collaboration
Aldine and YES Prep have made the decision to commit to the partnership long-term and continuously tweak the collaboration to improve. Superintendent of YES Prep Mark DiBella says the view that "there is more common-ground than there is battleground” between charter schools and traditional school districts is key to sustaining district-charter collaborations: