Educational Institutions

IDEA Public Schools

  • Weslaco, TX
  • www.ideapublicschools.org

Mission Statement

IDEA Public Schools prepares students from underserved communities for success in college and citizenship and is committed to developing students with the academic, social, and leadership characteristics to apply, matriculate, and succeed in a four-year college or university.

Main Programs

  1. Primary Curriculum
  2. Secondary Curriculum
Service Areas

Self-reported

Texas

Currently, IDEA Public Schools operates 20 schools on 10 campuses across the Rio Grande Valley on the border of Texas and Mexico.  In August of 2012, IDEA will open four more schools in the Rio Grande Valley cities of Brownsville and McAllen.  IDEA will also open an In-District charter school in partnership with Austin ISD, IDEA Allan.
 

In addition to its exemplary academic achievement, IDEA is moving forward with growth and expansion efforts to help serve more students throughout the Rio Grande Valley and Central Texas.

ruling year

2000

Principal Officer

Self-reported

Thomas Torkelson

Co Principal Officer

Self-reported

JoAnn Gama

Keywords

Self-reported

Charter school, public school, education, nonprofit, Texas partnership, exemplary

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EIN

74-2948339

 Number

1078487588

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

To ensure the Rio Grande Valley and Central Texas reach its fullest potential, IDEA Public Schools will become the region’s largest creator of college graduates in the state of Texas.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Primary Curriculum

The goal of IDEA Academy (grades K-6) schools is to set up students for success in our rigorous College Prep environment beginning in 6th grade. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, IDEA Public Schools operates an elementary school program called BetterIDEA.

BetterIDEA is made up of two components: core curriculum and the hybrid-learning for individualized learning.
Direct Instruction (DI) powers IDEA’s core curriculum.  The model emphasizes carefully-planned lessons focused on learning in small increments and focuses instruction around clearly-defined teaching tasks. DI is based on the theory that by using clear instruction and teaching to mastery, teachers can accelerate learning for all students – high performers as well students with learning disabilities.  
Individualized Learning is made up of a computer-assisted math lab and an independent reading lab.
In the learning lab, students work on adaptive math software.  Data culled from the software will help drive interventions in the math classroom, as it provides teachers with information of students’ strengths and weaknesses.
The more time a student spends actively reading a book at his or her level, the better reader he or she becomes. The purpose of the reading lab is to provide students with ample time to complete independent reading at their level. In the Accelerated Reading Zone, students choose from a selection of books to read in the lab and take software-based Accelerated Reader exams to monitor progress.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Hispanics

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Budget

$2,400,000.00

Program 2

Secondary Curriculum

The vision of the IDEA secondary program is for every student at IDEA to graduate ready for college. The primary goal of college-readiness is for every student to enter their first year of college without the need for remedial courses in any content area. Because we know that students who take remedial courses in college tend to pay more, take longer to graduate, and have reduced likelihood of graduating, this first part of our drive towards college-readiness is of primary importance to the ultimate success of our students in college and citizenshifor many of our students, gaining college-credit through dual-enrollment, AP, or IB courses. Each of our core content areas are highly rigorous at all levels and aligned with these goals in mind. 

English/Language Arts

Humanities

Math 

Science

Spanish

Instructional Coaching: We believe that teachers have the most important role to play in student achievement. Because the influence teachers have is so great, we believe it is the responsibility of every educator to continuously reflect and improve their craft. We also believe that this journey of on-going development is easier to navigate, and can be more strategic if we collaborate with one another and share our reflections. Therefore, at every campus, each teacher is assigned an instructional leader who is responsible for his or her instructional coaching and evaluation. In addition to the campus instructional coach, teachers of math, science, English language arts, and humanities, have a district instructional coach as a member of their team for student achievement. Teachers will see their district coach during observations, feedback sessions, and district collaboration meetings where all teachers of a course gather to debrief interim assessment results and adjust instructional strategy. The mission of the instructional coaching team is to provide the support teachers need to be great at what they do.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Hispanics

Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Budget

$4,400,000.00

Service Areas

Self-reported

Texas

Currently, IDEA Public Schools operates 20 schools on 10 campuses across the Rio Grande Valley on the border of Texas and Mexico.  In August of 2012, IDEA will open four more schools in the Rio Grande Valley cities of Brownsville and McAllen.  IDEA will also open an In-District charter school in partnership with Austin ISD, IDEA Allan.
 

In addition to its exemplary academic achievement, IDEA is moving forward with growth and expansion efforts to help serve more students throughout the Rio Grande Valley and Central Texas.

Funding Needs

Every gift to IDEA Public Schools is an investment in the future of a student and the future of the Rio Grande Valley. IDEA Public Schools is a tuition free, public charter school - open to all students. As a public charter school, IDEA receives 20% less state and federal funding compared to traditional public schools: $1,200 less per student, each year and NO funding for facilities. Although IDEA students attend smaller schools, longer school days, college field lessons in the spring and summer school, it costs the same amount to educate an IDEA student as it does a student attending a traditional public school. To meet the $60 million in unmet philanthropic need over the next 9 years, we need to raise $17 MM to fund school launches in the Rio Grande Valley, $27.5 MM to fund school launches in Central Texas, and $15.8 MM for the HQ and regional offices that support these schools.   To donate, please visit our website:   https://donate.ideapublicschools.org/

Accreditations

External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

IDEA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

IDEA Public Schools

Leadership

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  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair, Board Co-Chair and Board Members
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Principal Officer

Thomas Torkelson

Co Principal Officer

JoAnn Gama

BIO

Upon graduating from Georgetown University (Washington, DC) with a degree in economics in 1997, Tom joined Teach For America and taught fourth grade in Donna, Texas for three years, after which he successfully launched the IDEA Academy in 2000, serving as the first board president and founding principal. At 24 years of age, Tom was then Texas’ youngest-ever charter school founder. Since 2000, Tom has led the replication efforts of the original school, and system-wide there are now over 9,500 students enrolled in the 20 schools that comprise IDEA Public Schools, with seven more schools set to open in the fall of 2012.In 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked IDEA College Preparatory Donna as the 13th best high school and second best charter high school in the nation.  Also in 2009, IDEA Public Schools was the first-ever charter organization to be named the best school system in the state of Texas (H-E-B Excellence in Education Award).In 2009, Tom was featured in Time magazine as Wendy Kopp’s pick for the 100 most influential global citizens. Tom is the recipient of the prestigious Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership (2009), University of Michigan Ross Business School’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2010), the Freddy Fender Humanitarian Award (2008), and served as Chairman of the 2007 National Charter Schools Conference. Tom is often called upon to provide expert testimony to state and local officials on issues of education policy and school choice.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"IDEA Public Schools was launched in 2000 on the belief that through hard work and commitment and dedication of great teachers and school leaders, all students, regardless of their family background, socio-economic standing, or previous academic accomplishment, could achieve at the same or higher levels of their more affluent peers.

Ten years ago, when the State Board of Education first approved the charter for IDEAAcademy in Donna, little did they know they had empowered us to transform education for the entire Rio Grande Valley. 

Together we can close the achievement gap."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Michael Rhodes

Rhodes Enterprises

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?