SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Students in Bexar County have a new charter school to consider now that Anne Frank Inspire Academy is opening up a second campus and offering enrollment for kindergarten through second grade for the upcoming school year.
The campus is located inside the Barshop Jewish Community Center on NW Military Highway. The school takes the place of a charter school that recently moved to a larger facility and AFIA is set to hit the ground running next school year.
The charter school features a non-traditional approach to education that focuses heavily on critical thinking and tapping into natural curiosity.
“Our fundamental idea about learning here at Anne Frank is that students need to have a sense of belonging in their education,” said Dr. Ruben Carrillo, principal at Anne Frank Inspire Academy – NW Military campus. “They also need to find joy every day they go into a classroom and then that hopefully allows them to become great learners and students as they progress in their educational career. That’s kind of our mantra here: The students belong, they find joy and they become great people.”
Carillo has spent more than 20 years in traditional education as a teacher and coach in addition to time working as a campus and district administrator.
“One of the things that attracted me most to AFIA was that they deviate from tradition, they look at education differently and they provide plenty of opportunities for students to involve themselves in their learning, to be responsible for their own learning and really develop those critical thinking skills they need,” Carillo said.
Teachers at AFIA allow students to not only ask questions but encourage them to research answers and solutions on their own and then reflect heavily on what was learned. That reflection is something that traditional education is lacking, Carillo said.
“We pride ourselves on how we allow students to really build their own questions, find their own answers, and then communicate those answers and findings to not only their peers but also to their classroom facilitators,” Carillo said. “And then hopefully that opens up their eyes and allows them to say, “This is what I’ve learned, these are my weaknesses and this is where I want to develop a little bit more.'”
Student-to-teacher ratios will stay low
AFIA is opening this campus on NW Military Highway following the immense success of the flagship campus in Bandera that has been open since 2014. The K-12 campus in Bandera is at capacity and Carillo said the expansion into Bexar County is a natural next step.
Teacher-to-student ratios will be kept small with a teacher and instructional aid in each classroom.
“To continue the Anne Frank educational approach for more families and more guardians and at the same time keeping that small classroom size and that approachability between campus and home. We want to make that connection,” Carillo said. “We want to make that strong tie between myself as a principal, our facilitators and staff, and the guardians at home.”
Families who are interested in applying for the school’s lottery-based enrollment system can visit the campus on NW Military Highway to start the inquiry process or schedule a tour online. The lottery will select about 100 students to fill two kindergarten classes and a single first and second-grade classroom for the campus’ inaugural school year that will begin August 16.
AFIA will move to include up to fifth grade for the 2022-23 school year and then add one grade level per year through eighth grade.