We all want our kids to get the best possible education, but it can be hard to get good information about high-quality school options. I created this blog to help solve that problem for San Antonio families. My goal is to provide fair information about different types of schools, especially high-performing public charter schools, but also traditional public schools, private schools, magnet schools, homeschooling, and other alternatives. I also want to share tips about fun, educational activities for families.
Too many students in San Antonio are not getting the quality education they deserve. Too many children are leaving 3rd grade unable to read, putting them at risk of dropping out of high school. Among the kids who do earn high school diplomas, too many show up for college unprepared and unlikely to complete their degrees. Currently, San Antonio schools are not educating enough knowledge workers for the jobs of the future.
To improve K-12 education in San Antonio, traditional public school districts will need to innovate and adapt. What I am most excited about is the growth of high-performing public charter schools in San Antonio. These schools offer different education models and allow students to cross district boundaries in search of a better education. Unfortunately, there are not enough spaces at the best charter schools, so families have to navigate lotteries and waiting lists. Parents will need to get more engaged in the political process to advocate for better education options.
Let me tell you about my own journey, and why I created this blog. In my first semester of college, I wrote a term paper in support of public school choice, but it wasn’t until 2011, when my kids and I were on a playdate with my longtime friend Victoria Rico, that I started to feel like I could make a difference. Rico is a trustee at the George W. Brackenridge Foundation, and she told me about a project (now known as Choose to Succeed) that would bring more high-performing charter schools to San Antonio. I wanted to help spread the word to parents, so I started this blog in April 2012. “San Antonio mom blogger Inga Cotton with SA Charter Moms”, Colleen Pence, San Antonio Mom Blogs, January 25, 2013.
Also in 2011, my family and I moved to a different neighborhood, hoping to find better public schools for our kids. “Wave of New Charter Schools Enhance Inner City Living for Families”, Inga Cotton, Rivard Report, November 12, 2012. My son (he goes by “F.T.” online—see more below) attended our neighborhood public school from 2011 to 2013. Unfortunately, by April 2013, it was clear that our neighborhood public school was not a good fit for F.T. “A Lesson for New Homeschool Parents”, Inga Cotton, Red White & Grew, August 19, 2013. From 2013 to 2014, I homeschooled F.T., and it was a blast, but it was also hard work; I have great respect for long-term homeschoolers. In December 2013, we entered F.T. in the lottery for Great Hearts Monte Vista. He spent months on the waiting list, as discussed in this earlier post, but finally got an offer in June 2014. F.T. is currently in third grade at Great Hearts Monte Vista, and we love it. My daughter, known online as “G.N.”, is now in kindergarten at Great Hearts Monte Vista.
I am always looking for educational enrichment activities that we can do as a family. We love going to the San Antonio Symphony, to museums like the Witte Museum and the San Antonio Children’s Museum, and to parks like the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Sometimes, I offer giveaways of tickets, books, etc., but I always disclose who provided the goodies.
In addition to writing this solo blog, I am also a contributor at Alamo City Moms Blog, where you can find local knowledge and perspectives about all things relevant to moms. I am grateful for the support of the San Antonio blogging community, especially the mentorship of Colleen Pence of San Antonio Mom Blogs; I’m proud to be listed in her directory. In January 2016, I joined Families Empowered as a School Partnership Analyst; the views expressed on this blog and on my other social media accounts are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Families Empowered.
As @sachartermoms, I am on Instagram and Twitter. I also have a public page and a discussion group on Facebook. Every Monday, my weekly newsletter sweeps up the previous week’s posts and emails them to you. If you have a question for me, or information to share, you can message me at one of those social media accounts, or email me at mail [at] sachartermoms [dot] com. Connecting with my readers is one of the greatest joys of blogging.
Best wishes for your journey, as you search for the right schools for your kids, and make the most of the educational activities available in San Antonio.
Inga Munsinger Cotton
San Antonio Charter Moms
February 2, 2016
p.s. Wondering where my kids’ online nicknames came from? Well, the apple falls not far from the tree, as my grandfather used to say. My son looks like his great-great-grandfather, known as F.T., and my daughter looks like her great-grandmother, whom we called G.N. Hopefully, as my kids grow up, these nicknames will spare them some of the embarrassment of having a mom who blogs.