HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A new charter school is opening up two locations in the Houston area. In the fall, students in grades K-8, in Katy, and Mission Bend will be able to attend International Leadership of Texas charter school. Thursday, IL Texas broke ground on both campuses.
"The mission of this charter school is to make sure we're preparing kids to be exceptional leaders in the international community," says Eddie Conger, Superintendent for IL Texas.
Students at IL Texas will learn English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese, and also what is called "servant leadership."
"Too often leaders think they are emperors or kings," Conger explains. "We want our students to understand a little bit of humility. Understand that they have a responsibility to serve and take care of others."
The ceremonial shoveling of dirt attracted several Katy parents anxious to have new education options. Nancy Salazar says Katy ISD's bilingual programs don't go far enough.
"It's been a very good program," Salazar says, explaining that her children were in the bi-lingual program up to 5th grade. "But for me, I wanted them to continue on into secondary. And, obviously, because of many other reasons, I just wanted this school to come here and be part of Katy."
Salazar and two other moms, Manya Leach and Sandra Warner, did the leg work to find IL Texas and coax them into expanding into Katy.
"We live in an international community here in Houston and there's business done all over the world with different languages," Leach says. "How better to prepare children but to have them in a school where they're learning 3 languages?"
Warner adds, "They also focus on the whole student. They focus on developing character, integrity, and qualities such as that. That really prepares the student to be a servant leader in a global community."
What's ironic, is that none of these women know if their children will be able to attend IL Texas. Parents can only apply, and then hope their child's name is chosen in a lottery. Parents are putting in applications right now for the 1,400 spots at each K-8 campus. The lottery in April will determine the students who will attend in the Fall.
IL Texas runs on taxpayer money. It's not free, per se, but parents don't pay a tuition. Conger says the expenses to the parents are required uniforms, food, and insurance on the Chrome Books that will be issued to all students in 4th grade and above.
IL Texas will be adding a high school in 2017. They expect that one campus to be located between the Katy's and Mission Bend's K-8 schools, so that no one will have to drive more than about 10 miles to drop off their children.