By August of 2020, Travis Elementary will be a tuition-free charter school

Published: Jun. 12, 2019 at 1:06 AM CDT
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More than 50 community members gathered at Travis Elementary in Midland Tuesday night to learn more about a partnership between a charter school and Midland Independent School District that will establish a new school at Travis Elementary.

Travis Elementary will be an in- district charter school under the umbrella of IDEA Public Schools by August of 2020.

The Executive Director of IDEA Permian Basin, Bethany Solis, said Idea will use the building and the results the students achieve will be part of Midland ISD’s overall results. But in every other way, it will follow the IDEA Public Schools format.

The Travis Elementary location will be the first Midland location for an IDEA Public Schools campus, but several more are slated to open, according to the executive director.

Solis said a student’s parent will fill out an application to the school, which will be available on the IDEA Public Schools website beginning in September.

The around 800 student slots will be filled by lottery. Solis said students who already attend Travis Elementary will have automatic acceptance after filling out an application.

The charter school at Travis Elementary is tuition-free. Parents will be responsible for providing uniforms, which normally cost around $20. The students also go on “field lessons.”

Solis said there are many fundraising opportunities available to help students with these activities.

One parent at the meeting, Ariana Navarrete, said her son previously attended Travis Elementary. Navarrete said they moved and he switched schools, but she plans on filling out an application for him to attend IDEA at Travis Elementary.

“I would like for him to be a little bit more challenged. I would like to see him go up in grade levels and be excited about learning. I love reading, and I want him to love to read and want him to be excited about learning. I teared up a little bit on those videos they were showing because it looks like they do have a very high success rate,” she said.

The charter school is planning on raising Travis Elementary School’s overall score, which landed it on the improvement required list during the 2017-2018 school year. Solis said the charter school has a plan in place to make it an A-rated campus.

“In math, in science, in writing for example, we’ll have that same rigorous engaging curriculum. And that’s because children deserve to have grade-level instruction even if they’re not on grade level. At the same time though, we’ll be building a schedule that ensures that children will have a significant amount of time to catch up in those areas where they might be behind. Whether it be reading, math, English language proficiency, whatever they need,” she said.

Solis said around 16 teachers have committed to moving to the Permian Basin to teach at Travis Elementary. Teachers already working at Travis will have a preference, with an automatic interview guaranteed, according to the executive director.

IDEA Public Schools stands for “individuals dedicated to excellence and achievement.” It began as an after school program in 1998. In 2000, the state of Texas granted IDEA a charter.

According to IDEA representatives, the mission of the organization is to prepare all students for college success and good citizenship. IDEA focuses on a small campus model, providing students with the academic intervention they need to flourish while also using a rigorous academic curriculum, Solis said.

According to the IDEA Public Schools website, all students are on a college preparatory track. All students take Pre-AP courses in middle school, and AP courses in high school.

Around 45,000 students are in 79 IDEA schools or in-district IDEA schools across Texas and Louisiana, according to the charter school’s website.