YES Prep Public Schools
Nella Garcia Urban
YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary Students

YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary Students 

Last Wednesday, the YES Prep Board embarked on a highly-anticipated visit to YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary, nestled in the heart of the Houston Fifth Ward community. It was an invaluable opportunity for the board members to engage with the campus' passionate principal, Kenya Pinkard, dedicated teachers and enthusiastic students.  

The tour offered a comprehensive glimpse into the college-ready educational experience offered at YES Prep Fifth Ward, recently ranked in the top 10% of high schools in the country. The visit also highlighted the close-knit and family-oriented culture that permeates the school. 

Senior Juan Alanis

Senior Juan Alanis 

The campus tour was led by senior Juan Alanis, who has been at the school since he was in sixth grade. Juan truly represents the YES Prep mission, as he founded a mentorship program for new students to the school to partner up with older students. He shared one of their recent projects was to paint stones now part of the front area of the school.  

Exploring college-ready instruction 

As the YES Prep Board and various members of C-Suite navigated the hallways of the Fifth Ward campus, they were treated to a diverse range of classroom experiences, each characterized by excellent teacher preparation and engagement on the part of students. The board members had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the instruction taking place in subjects such as English, mathematics, science and social studies. Highly prepared teachers engaged students in discussion, essay writing and rigorous academic practice.  

Sixth graders were challenged to read and respond to the characteristics of limited and unlimited government. Other middle schoolers conducted observations of the impacts of weathering. High schoolers defended their answers on The Call of the Wild.  

The tour group left impressed with the talented teaching staff, working to ensure every student was working to be college ready. It’s clear this is why YES Prep Fifth Ward was awarded Gold on the recent College Board AP Honor Roll.  

A culture of close-knit community 

One resounding reflection from the YES Prep Board and executive leadership was the palpable sense of community that enveloped the Fifth Ward campus. From the moment the board members stepped foot in the school, they were greeted with warmth, enthusiasm and a genuine sense of belonging. The bond between teachers and students was particularly noteworthy, as teachers went above and beyond their roles to build meaningful relationships, provide personalized support and create a safe and inclusive space for learning. 

At YES Prep Fifth Ward, 97% of families reported they are happy with their school on the October 2023 family survey. One parent commented, “Thank you for the effort that the teachers give to teach my children. I have always liked this school.” 

Student enthusiasm and pride 

YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary Students

YES Prep Fifth Ward Secondary Students 

An undeniable highlight of the visit was the opportunity for the YES Prep Board to engage with the heart and soul of the Fifth Ward campus—the students themselves. Throughout the day, students exuded pride as they shared their personal journeys and experiences at YES Prep. These conversations served as a powerful reminder of the profound influence YES Prep has in shaping the dreams and goals of its students. 

Gratitude and appreciation 

Eric Calderon – Board Chair, Kenya Pinkard – Principal, Lakeisha Henderson – Director of Student Support, Juan Alanis -Senior

Eric Calderon – Board Chair, Kenya Pinkard – Principal, Lakeisha Henderson – Director of Student Support, Juan Alanis - Senior, Stacy Thompson – Director of College Counseling, Eric Newcomer – Head of Schools 

The YES Prep Board and executive team expressed deep gratitude to the Fifth Ward community and leadership for extending a warm invitation to visit the campus. YES Prep Board Chair, Eric Calderon, shared his takeaway from the day was that “at YES Prep, you’re never alone.”  

The afternoon spent at the Fifth Ward campus left a mark on the board members, further solidifying their commitment to supporting the school's mission. The visit showcased the unwavering dedication and passion of the entire YES Prep community, leaving each person with a renewed sense of purpose, determination and boundless belief in the potential of every student. 



Sign up to receive The News Update directly in your inbox

The News Update is YES Prep Public Schools monthly e-newsletter where we share the latest news, teacher and student stories, as well as upcoming events and important dates. 

Subscribe to newsletter