YES Prep Public Schools’ Story
A gong sounds in the hallways of YES Prep Public Schools every time a senior gets a college acceptance letter. For 15 years in a row, it has sounded as many times as there are seniors because 100 percent of YES Prep seniors have graduated from high school and been accepted to four-year colleges and universities. The vast majority of students in these charter schools, now in Houston and Memphis, Tennessee, are from low-income families. Almost all are the first in their families to go to college. That’s why YES offers a college readiness course every year of high school that covers everything from SAT prep to understanding the financial aid process to writing college application essays. Students take annual college tours beginning in 6th grade. All seniors are required to apply to at least eight four-year colleges by mid-November. YES leaders even convinced 24 colleges to commit to giving special consideration to qualified YES students and meet 100 percent of their documented financial needs. YES maintains a scholarship fund for alumni and sends care packages to freshmen, and many college campuses with a large number of YES graduates also have alumni designated to support their peers. More than 30 alumni have even returned to teach for their alma mater. No wonder the waiting list to get into these outstanding charter schools is more than 7,000 names long.