Families Empowered Announces Charter School Common Application Timelines via ApplyHouston.org

Families Empowered, YES Prep partner

School Applications for Harmony, KIPP Houston, YES Prep, and 3 More Open November 1
HOUSTON, Texas, October 18, 2016 –  Families Empowered, a Houston-based nonprofit organization, has announced today that five public charter school networks serving Houston parents will accept applications on a common timeline: opening November 1, 2016 and closing February 10, 2017.
Parents applying the five public charter school networks for the 2017/2018 school year - Harmony Public Schools, KIPP Houston Public Schools, Neighborhood Centers- Promise Community Schools, Houston SST, and YES Prep Public Schools - will now be juggling fewer important deadlines in their search for a school.
Families Empowered has launched a new tool to help parents understand the application process: ApplyHouston.org. Parents are encouraged to visit the site to find resources and begin their school application journey for the 2017/2018 school year.
"Creating one unified timeline simplifies a very complicated process for parents," said Families Empowered Founder & Executive Director Colleen Dippel. "Parents can now submit multiple school applications during the same window, rather than watching the calendar for five to ten different application dates. With that many balls in the air, it's easy for one to get dropped, and that can mean a big disappointment for a family looking for a school."
By bringing five school networks together with one shared application timeline and new ApplyHouston.org website, Families Empowered seeks to empower parents navigating the marketplace of schools.
"This is streamlining an overly complicated system,” Dippel said. “We appreciate our charter school partners taking a risk in order to better serve parents."
Parents must apply for a seat in a public charter school, and applications received between November 1, 2016 and February 10, 2017 are for the students wanting to enroll for the school year starting August 2017. Any public charter school that receives more applications than there are seats available must randomize all applications and select applications via blind lottery. Parents will be notified if they have been selected to attend or placed on a waiting list in the Spring.
"Having a common application timeline is a big benefit to the families in Houston who are seeking high quality public schools for their children. This change makes choice more accessible for families and might even introduce our great schools to new families who might benefit from a YES Prep education," said Mark DiBella, CEO of YES Prep Public Schools.
"Harmony Public Schools is proud to partner with Family Empowered and other charter schools to give parents greater choice in the education of their children," said Zekeriya Yuksel, Superintendent for Harmony Public Schools. "A common application period will allow parents to review all of their options and choose the school that best fits their child's individual needs."
"At KIPP and public charter schools across Texas, parents’ voices matter. We are proud to collaborate with Families Empowered, YES Prep, and Harmony to better support parents who want options for their children’s educations.” said Sehba Ali, Superintendent of KIPP Houston Public Schools.
“All families should have the right to choose a quality school that best fits their child’s needs. We are excited to join forces with Families Empowered and other charter networks. Together, we are committed to providing excellent educational options in Houston,” said Anastasia Lindo Anderson, Neighborhood Centers Promise Community Schools Superintendent.
According to Families Empowered, Fall is “Application Season,” when most school applications are open for parents looking for options. The not-for-profit organization recommends parents consider all their school options – traditional public school options, public magnet schools, public charter schools, and private schools. The key to finding that best-fit campus is to start early and submit complete applications on time.
Families are also encouraged to attend the School Connection Fair from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, November 12 at HCC West Loop in Houston, where they can meet school representatives in person, and complete school applications on site via a live Application Zone. The event is free to attend.
About Families Empowered
Families Empowered is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower parents to engage in the marketplace of schools in the cities of Houston and San Antonio, Texas. The organization provides parents with tools, resources, and events to choose a school for their child. Families Empowered connects parents to diverse school options and does not advocate any schooling option over another. www.FamiliesEmpowered.org
About Harmony Public Schools
Harmony Public Schools is a network of 48 high performing K-12 college preparatory charter schools throughout Texas. Harmony blends the highest standards and expectations with a rigorous math- and science-centered curriculum and dedicated and engaged teachers and families to cultivate excellence and prepare students to succeed in college, careers and life. At Harmony Public Schools, we believe every child can succeed, and we are committed to helping them realize their full potential. To learn more about Harmony Public Schools and our 48 campuses across Texas, please visit: www.harmonytx.org, and follow us on Twitter at @HarmonyEdu and ‘Like’ us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HarmonyTexas.\
About KIPP Houston Public Schools
KIPP was founded in Houston in 1994 and has since grown to 200 public charter schools in 20 states and D.C. educating 80,000 children. Houston is KIPP’s largest region and educates 13,500 students in 26 schools and serves an additional 2,300 alumni in college and beyond. While only 10 percent of students from low-income communities in Houston graduate from college, nearly 50 percent of KIPPsters, tracked from the 8th grade, graduate college. www.kipphouston.org
About YES Prep Public Schools
Serving over 11,600 students in 16 campuses across Houston, the mission of YES Prep Public Schools is to increase the number of students from underserved communities who graduate from college prepared to lead. YES Prep received the inaugural Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, is nationally ranked by the U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post, and others, and has consistently been named one of Houston's "Best Places to Work" by the Houston Business Journal.
About Neighborhood Centers Promise Community Schools
Promise Community Schools play a direct role in helping to keep Houston a place of opportunity by providing students with an education that enables them to take control of their future and shape their community.  Our unique positions as Neighborhood Centers- community schools allow us to support both children and the whole family with economic opportunity, connection, heath, workforce development and college preparation. We believe that it is our job to give students the foundation for true (postsecondary) choice by focusing on academic excellence, personal agency and community leadership. Students leaving our network go to Houston’s best high schools with a plan for their future that is grounded in their interests, passions and strengths.
About SST Schools
SST Schools are high performing K-12 college preparatory charter schools focusing on math, science, engineering, and computer technologies. Our schools have provided students from under-served communities the opportunity to excel in their studies in a small classroom environment focused on providing the skills they need to succeed in life.

Rachael Dempsey, Manager of Communications
(713) 589-8767, Ext. 301