New Common School Application Opens for Houston Parents

HOUSTON, Texas, November 1, 2017 – A groundbreaking new way for families to apply for Pre-K to 12th grade public schools in Houston launches today. is home to the new common application that streamlines the school application process. Parents can fill out one application and submit it to multiple schools at once, instead of sorting through multiple forms and different application dates.

The new digital application platform launches with the collaboration of five networks: A Plus Unlimited Potential, Étoile Academy, KIPP Houston Public Schools, Promise Community Schools, and YES Prep Public Schools. Combined, there are more than 50 schools to choose from.

By bringing five school networks together with one shared application, Families Empowered is empowering parents navigating the marketplace of schools.

"The Apply Houston initiative increases equity and access for Houston parents looking for school options,” said Colleen Dippel, Founder and Executive Director of Families Empowered. “We appreciate our school partners who are collaborating on this process, and taking a big risk in order to better serve parents."

Applications submitted by February 10, 2018 will be considered in the first round of each network’s lottery. While the application remains open after this date, schools will begin filling seats and creating their waitlists after that date.

The common application is mobile friendly for parents completing school applications via a mobile phone or smart devices. Families Empowered will also host a series of in-person application nights to benefit parents with the greatest need and limited internet access.

The in-person event series starts with the School Connection Fair taking place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, November 4 at Houston Community College West Loop in Houston. Parents can meet representatives from many Houston-area schools in person, and complete school applications on site via a live Apply Houston Application Zone. The event is free to attend.

“For too long, the school choice system in Houston has been overly complicated. One application and one timeline just makes sense for parents,” said Dippel.

Parents must apply for a seat in a public charter school, and the Apply Houston applications received between November 1, 2017 and February 10, 2018 are for the students wanting to enroll for the school year starting August 2018. 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.

“A student from a low-income family has a 10% chance of earning a college degree compared to an 80% chance for a student from the top income quartile. We exist to eliminate this gap and by simplifying the application process, we are eliminating barriers to enter our schools and thereby, increasing choice for low-income families. Having a common application is a step towards realizing our vision, that every child in Houston will have equitable access to a college ready education,” said Mark DiBella, CEO of YES Prep Public Schools.
"We are proud to join Families Empowered and our partner networks as we collaborate to better 
serve families seeking to access to high-quality education for their children,” said Sehba Ali, Superintendent of KIPP Houston Public Schools. “We are honored to be a part of simplifying the application process for Houston families. Through this partnership, the potential for families to have access to a top-notch education for their children will grow exponentially. We are excited to put the power of choice back in the hands of parents,” said Anastasia Anderson, Superintendent of Promise Community Schools.

November is what Families Empowered considers prime time for application season. Most schools open up applications that month for parents looking for options. Families Empowered recommends parents consider all their school options, including traditional public, public magnet, public charter, and private schools. The key to finding that best-fit campus is to start early and submit complete applications on time.

To find even more school options, including those schools not currently using the Apply Houston application, parents can visit

About Families Empowered
Families Empowered’s mission is to empower parents to engage in the marketplace of schools. Serving Texans located in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, they provide 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.

About KIPP Houston Public Schools
KIPP was founded in Houston in 1994 and has since grown to 209 public charter schools in 20 states and D.C. educating 88,000 children. Houston is KIPP’s largest region and educates 14,500 students in 28 schools and serves an additional 2,300 alumni in college and beyond. While only10.6 percent of students from low-income communities in Houston graduate from college, 50 percent of KIPPsters, tracked from the 8th grade, graduate college.

About YES Prep Public Schools
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, has consistently been named one of Houston’s “Best Places to Work” by the Houston Business Journal, and is nationally ranked by the U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post, and others.

About 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 position as community schools located inside of BakerRipley’s community centers allows us to support both children and the whole family with economic opportunity, connection, health, workforce development, and college preparation. We believe that it is our job to give students the foundation for true post-secondary 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.