What is SKY?

Because They Are All Our Children 

All About SKY
Partnership Goals
KIPP Courage at Landrum & YES Prep Northbrook
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

All About SKY

Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) has partnered with KIPP Houston Public Schools (KIPP) and YES Prep Public Schools (YES Prep), two high performing charter management organizations, to expand middle and high school choices and opportunities for SBISD students. This partnership, known as the SKY Partnership, launched in the 2012-13 school year with KIPP Courage at Landrum Middle School and YES Prep Northbrook at Northbrook Middle School. KIPP Courage currently serves fifth and sixth graders and will grow to include seventh and eighth grades over the next two years. YES Prep Northbrook serves sixth and seventh grades and will grow to include eighth grade next year. Students from both programs will attend YES Prep Northbrook High School. SBISD students participating in these programs benefit from the KIPP and YES Prep curricula and approaches to learning. They also participate in SBISD electives such as band and athletics. Program enrollment is through a lottery process.

Hear SBISD's Superintendent of Schools Dr. Duncan F. Klussmann share insights on the SKY Partnership:

Partnership Goals

The SKY Partnership has three objectives:

  • Accelerate the transformation of the culture of a traditional public school system where every adult believes that every child can and will pursue and complete higher education.

  • Non-traditional public school systems, i.e. charter schools, will learn how to scale while maintaining quality and sustainability.

  • The SKY Partnership and its best practices and lessons learned will be replicable with other similar partnerships across Texas and the nation. 

In order to achieve these objectives, SKY has established initiatives and outcomes and milestones that focus on creating a program charter-within-a-school charter model to best serve economically disadvantaged students, developing systemic SBISD leadership competency and teacher training models, and connecting the three partners with intention at multiple levels to create circles of best practices that continuously promote innovation, high expectations, and exemplary achievement for all students.

The partners’ main learning objectives center around deep collaborative study of strategies for changing school culture; raising student achievement to college ready levels; collecting, sharing, and using student data to inform instruction; and developing systemic leadership and teacher development frameworks for a public school district.

SKY will change the mindsets of all stakeholders who may believe that poor and minority children cannot learn and, most importantly, change the trajectory for students—not just in SBISD, but across our city, state, and nation.


KIPP Courage at Landrum

& YES Prep Northbrook

One key partnership goal was the opening of first-year KIPP and YES Prep school-within-a-school programs for the 2012-2013 school year at SBISD’s Landrum and Northbrook middle schools, respectively. KIPP Courage at Landrum and YES Prep Northbrook opened their doors to their first classes in the summer of 2012. At Landrum, the KIPP Courage College Prep program has started with 105 fifth-graders; YES Prep’s Northbrook has started with 141 sixth-graders. An additional grade will be added to each program yearly until the inaugural class hits eighth grade, with an option for students to then enroll in a Northbrook High combined YES Prep program after middle school graduation.
These new programs will serve as a catalyst to create a deep and meaningful exchange of ideas, expertise, best practices, data, and resources that benefit all 64,000 children served by the three districts en route to erasing the college completion achievement gap.
The videos below provide a Spanish and English overview of the SKY Partnership:



The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

On Dec. 6, 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation welcomed the new SKY Partnership to its District-Charter Collaboration Compact cities after leaders of all three groups signed an initial SKY Partnership Compact during a foundation meeting in Chicago. The partnership compact is a general “roadmap” for continued collaboration and planning that capitalizes on the strengths of each school organization to enhance educational options for SBISD secondary students. It includes $100,000 in grant funding from the foundation.

The SBISD Board of Trustees gave formal approval to the three-way collaboration on Feb. 27, and the same SKY compact design and plan details were approved by KIPP and YES Prep boards in March and April of 2012. On December 5, 2012, the SKY Partnership’s effort to build a national model for cooperation within a traditional public school district was awarded an additional $2.1 million grant funds from the Gates Foundation to improve collaboration and student achievement.

In addition to the SKY Partnership in Spring Branch, 15 additional cities have signed similar foundation compacts. They are: Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Central Falls, Chicago, Denver, Hartford, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Rochester and Sacramento.
Leaders of the three groups are: Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed.D., SBISD Superintendent of Schools; Sehba Ali, KIPP Houston Superintendent; and Mark DiBella, YES Prep Public Schools President.


Working Together for All Students

The SKY Partnership’s effort to build a national model for cooperation within a traditional public school district has been awarded $2.1 million in grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


SKY Timeline


Links of Interest