IDEA schools eye Broad Prize

IDEA Public Schools has been nominated for the 2016 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools award for the third year in a row, according to a recent press release.

The Broad Prize for Urban Education describes the award as an honor to a public charter school that has demonstrated an outstanding overall student performance while reducing achievement gaps for low-income students and students of color.

“To me, the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools is the equivalent to the Academy Awards for film or the Nobel Prize for literature. It is a huge honor to have been nominated for the last three years,” said Tom Torkelson, founder and CEO of IDEA Public Schools in a press release.

IDEA is competing alongside the Success Academy Charter Schools of New York and YES Prep Public Schools of Houston.

The winner will receive $250,000 toward college-readiness efforts.

JoAnn Gama, president and superintendent of IDEA, said the nomination would not be possible without the work of its teachers and staff.

“Everything we do counts towards getting our students to and through college, and this prize symbolizes how such dedication can pay off,” Gama said.

Torkelson said there is no secret to IDEA’s success. It all comes down to each of the faculty and staff working at the schools.

“IDEA is having its best year yet, and the data and evidence is unmistakable,” he said. “To be honest, our secret is that there is no secret. At IDEA, we have some of the most talented and dedicated adults ensuring that every child that attends one of our schools has the best opportunity at reaching his or her fullest potential and making our communities and our nation stronger and better.”

Several high school students chat on the sidewalk at the end of the school day Monday at IDEA Public Schools in San Benito. Enrollment at the campus has jumped significantly over the last year.