- Family Update
October 13, 2023
Dear YES Prep families,
We are only halfway through October and the month has been super busy for YES Prep schools and students! From celebrating Latinx Heritage Month, National Principals Month to College Fair and of course, our student lottery launch! We look forward to closing the month strong, empowering our students, and supporting our families and staff.
This month’s Family Update covers the following topics: Elementary Family Conference Day, student lottery details, information on November elections, Possip Survey, Family Engagement policy, Attendance policy, STAAR assessment, FAFSA changes, college testing and so much more!
Elementary Family Conference Day – Fri. November 3
SPARKS families, at YES Prep, we believe that families and the school working together is crucial for a child’s success in school.
Family-teacher conferences provide a wonderful opportunity for families and teachers to come together as equal partners to share insight and information. These conferences are scheduled during the time of year when schools have more information to share with families on students’ progress and growth.
Please save the date for Friday, November 3, Family Conference Day. There will be no school for elementary students on that day. More details about specific times from your school will be forthcoming closer to this date. Thank you for your support and partnership in educating your SPARK!
Get ready to apply! Student lottery application is now open!
The time has arrived! The YES Prep lottery application for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year is now open. Families eager to apply can do so already through SchoolMint Enroll. Please note that existing YES Prep students do not need to reapply. We also extend a special invitation to all YES Prep families to consider applying for the YES Prep legacy. YES Prep legacy gives siblings of current YES Prep students who apply priority in the lottery. To get started, visit yesprep.org/sayyes.
Ensure other children also have access to a quality education by referring family and friends! We greatly appreciate your assistance in spreading the word. If you know of a family interested in YES Prep, please direct them to us. Learn how by visiting yesprep.org/referafamily.
To our Spring Branch families: The application process for YES Prep Northbrook Middle and YES Prep Northbrook High schools will begin on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, at 9 a.m. For further details on the lottery procedures for these two schools, please click here.
November Elections – Vote and make an impact!
The November Elections are quickly approaching. While national campaigns attract a lot of attention, local elections have the largest impact on our community. Vote and make an impact! Items on the ballot include electing the City of Houston mayor and comptroller as well as Houston City Council district and at-large positions. The 2023 November Election is your opportunity to make a difference.
Last week, eligible seniors at YES Prep registered to vote in time for the November elections. Families, make sure to encourage them to go out and vote. To learn if you are registered to vote at your current address, visit the YES Prep voter registration portal.
Early voting is from October 23 to November 3 and Election Day is on Tuesday, November 7. For more information on voting locations and to view what is on the ballot, visit houstonvotersguide.org/.
Possip “Pulse Check” results – Thank you, families!
Possip is a survey platform for YES Prep families to share their sentiments. Every quarter, families will receive a “Pulse Check” email or text message asking to share their perspective about their YES Prep school. The Pulse Check questions: “Are you happy with your YES Prep Campus?” and one additional bonus question. We encourage families to share their comments, feedback and positive praise. Families also have the option to share feedback or praise and remain anonymous.
Here are the results of our first Pulse Check that was sent October 5-8:
95.9% of our families are happy or mostly happy with their YES Prep campus.
We received responses from 3,399 YES Prep families! Thank you to those that answered.
The bonus question sent to our schools was about how to best support your students' academic growth and the bonus question sent to our Northbrook partnership schools was on uniforms.
If you expressed concern or feedback, please expect a phone call from our school staff in the next few weeks.
Our next Pulse Check will be sent December 7- 10. In addition to receiving an email/text from Possip, schools will share out the link to the feedback form in their Family Notes.
Family Engagement Policy
YES Prep is committed to working together with students, families, and the community to achieve ambitious student learning goals. Parents and families play an important role as their child’s first teacher and are valued partners in their child’s schooling. YES Prep families will be included in appropriate decision-making opportunities to support student achievement.
To read our Family Engagement policy, please visit our website at yesprep.org/familyengagement to view our Parent and Family Engagement Policy for the 2023-2024 school year.
Attendance matters - How families can request additional support
We are here to help! We know that needs may arise that may impede you from being able to get your child to school. If this is the case for your family, you can receive direct help by submitting a “Student Assistance Form” or, a SAF. Through this form you can communicate any support needs you may have to your school. Once you have completed the form, a student support counselor from your child’s school will follow-up to determine the best way to support you and your family.
A Student Assistance Form (SAF) can be submitted for:
Urgent family concerns
Family or student supplies or resources needed for school (i.e. uniforms, calculator, books, food)
Student social and emotional concerns
Student home or family concerns (food insecurity, clothing needs- uniform support, community resources, etc.)
Student relationship concerns
Concerns about bullying
It is important for your child’s success that they do not miss school. If there is a situation or circumstance that is affecting their attendance, do not hesitate to fill out the Student Assistance Form. To learn more about this support process and to access the form, visit yesprep.org/saf.
STAAR Interim Assessments for elementary
STAAR Interim Assessments were created by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to help educators monitor student progress and predict student performance on the STAAR. These interim assessments are especially helpful for students who are performing below grade level. These tests will help your child’s teacher understand where they need support and provide them with the tools they need to do their best.
To learn how you can prepare your family and your child for the upcoming STAAR Interim Assessments, please click here.
Reminder: College-Ready Testing Day for seniors is on October 26
On Thursday, October 26, schools across our district will host College-Ready Testing Day for our seniors, the Class of 2024. Alongside their college counselor, seniors selected whether they’d be taking their third and final administration of the SAT or the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA).
You can learn more about the SAT (here) and TSIA (here). If you or your child needs help or has questions on test day, please contact your college counselor or school’s director of college counseling.
Important Note: This information DOES NOT apply to partnership schools.
Changes to FAFSA, now available until December
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process and system has made big updates, rolling out a new process called Better FAFSA, to improve the experience for students and families. Among the changes made to the 2024-2025 FAFSA form are:
Expanded eligibility for federal student aid
More streamlined application process
Better user experience for the FAFSA form
For families of current Seniors and college students renewing their FAFSA, these changes have changed the timeline to apply. As a result, the updated FAFSA form has been delayed, and will not be available until December 2023. The Department of Education has not shared the launch date yet, but we will provide updates when they do. The Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA) has also postponed its opening to align with the changes to the FAFSA.
Although the launch has changed, students and families can prepare right now for the new FAFSA by:
Both students and their parents will have to set up an online account to apply. If you are in a two-parent household, or a student receives financial support from two households, all parents will need to have an email account set up to file.
Tax information will be added to the FAFSA directly from the IRS. Please ensure your 2022 tax records are in order.
For students who are applying to a college that accepts the CSS Profile or attend a college that uses this application, it is currently open. Counselors at YES Prep will be supporting students and families with the CSS Profile later this month and in November, particularly for students applying to college early action and early decision.
For more information about federal student aid, including FAFSA, visit StudentAid.gov.
YES Prep hosted Success After YES: College & Career Pathways Fair on October 12
Yesterday, we hosted our 17th annual college fair, renamed this year to Success After YES: College & Career Pathways Fair, where over 3,500 YES Prep juniors, seniors, and the founding sophomore class of YES Prep Hobby Secondary had the opportunity to interact with representatives from over 120 institutions, including colleges, universities, service academies, the armed forces, and local trade unions from across the United States.
If your child attended, ask them about the colleges they interacted with and review the brochures they brought home. These conversations are important in understanding where they may be applying to college, the GPA and test scores they may need to attend, and their plans for after graduating from YES Prep!
Social and Emotional Learning at school
“Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all people acquire and apply their knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” -Casel.org
We utilize the curriculum Harmony SEL for programming at YES Prep schools. You can explore more by visiting https://www.harmonysel.org/ Our SEL programming consists of several components listed below, which you can learn more about on our website at yesprep.org/sel.
Please look for a letter from your school with each unit’s concepts, learning goals and activities that can be completed to reinforce skills at home! An example of these unit letters is located on the SEL learning webpage and Harmony SEL website.
Celebrating National School Lunch Week - Level up with school lunch!
This week, YES Prep celebrated National School Lunch Week. This year's theme was "Level Up with School Lunch!” During this week students had a chance to win daily prizes when they went through the lunch line!
National School Lunch Week promotes the importance of a healthy school lunch in a child’s life and the impact that it has inside and outside of the classroom. To view our weekly lunch menus, please visit yesprep.org/menu.
Attention Northbrook families: The breakfast and lunch meals offered at your schools are done so through Spring Branch Independent School District. To learn more about school meals, click here.
October is Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Month
There is a growing threat to the health and safety of our youth that we want to bring to your attention.
Fentanyl is a man-made narcotic that has reached a growing number of communities of all sizes across Texas and has impacted so many lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), within the last two years, teen overdose deaths related to Fentanyl have tripled. Over half of all overdose deaths are related to Fentanyl use. Death from Fentanyl overdose happens when the respiratory system slows, or not enough oxygen gets to the brain. There have been some cases where the Fentanyl pills were made to look like candy. Oftentimes, the teen has no idea that what they are taking has Fentanyl in it.
There are many ways you can prevent your teen from falling prey to this deadly trend, among them talking to your teen about this topic, monitoring their social media and app usage, monitoring their behavior and seeking help and/or reporting any suspicion of drug use. To learn more about this topic, click here.
Together, we can help our youth make better choices to avoid this dangerous drug and to keep it out of our schools and communities.
As always, thank you for reading this month’s Family Update. Our next Family Update will be on Friday, November 10.