Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Yes, Parents Can Decide What School Is Best for Their Child

I am a Houstonian and a child advocate who fights for abused and neglected children. This work is dear to my heart because I was one of those children, too. My salvation was my teachers and my school, and I will not grow tired of thanking God for supportive teachers and for the opportunity to graduate from college. 

As a mother, I wanted that same safe school haven for my son Nicolas. In the fifth grade, he started to struggle with some growing pains at school. My husband and I knew he needed a small environment with supportive teachers who would act as another set of eyes and ears for us parents. He needed a place where he would not get lost. He needed teachers who would look out for their students, to ensure that their dreams of going to college would become a reality. 

But our zoned school could not provide that. I heard mixed messages about the school. With all that a growing preteen has to deal with, he did not need such a large environment and so many other students to deal with. I was extremely worried about Nico’s future in middle school, but felt I had no alternative. 

However, our saving grace was a brand new YES Prep campus opening up close by. My husband and I knew this was a sign of hope. Now, we had a choice. 

Since starting YES Prep, our son has become more independent and responsible. When problems arise, we are notified immediately and the issues are addressed. Nico has developed a greater awareness of key values for life that are supported in this school environment.  Education is a priority for our family, alongside life skills and values, and we feel all of those things are reinforced at YES Prep.

Nico knows that his schoolwork is preparing him for college life. He is amazed at how students are expected to read some college material and be able to understand it. I have seen him thrive in his worst subject, English Language Arts. Not only is he reading more, he’s excited about it.

Nico is pushed hard in this school and although it may be tough, he likes it. Nico knows that there are high expectations of him and the other students and that the work is not easy, but his teachers are great motivators, supportive and inspiring. He has been able to connect with the teachers and the environment. He feels like he belongs.

Despite the lack of electives, having to wear uniforms and the 90-minute bus ride each way, Nico prefers YES Prep. He even had the opportunity to return to his district school and still chose YES Prep. He is now in his second year at the school and is motivated to remain there as a founding student and be part of its first graduating class, in 2025. 

It upsets me that parents are not given enough credit to be able to decide what is best for their children.When my husband and I finally decided to choose YES Prep, we were told to reconsider because the district frowned upon charter schools. No reasons that the district gave us were worth changing our mind. We did not take this decision lightly and did our own research. 

We are thankful that we had a choice in Nico’s education. Our decision was not taken lightly. We weighed the pros and cons and are very happy and thankful with our choice of YES Prep. 

Martha Martinez Gomez
Martha Martinez Gomez is a Mexican immigrant who arrived in the United States at the age of four. She is a first-generation college graduate and currently works for Child Advocates, Inc. She has one son, Nicolas Gomez. Together, she and her husband have five children and seven grandchildren.  


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