Educational Institutions

Aristoi Classical Academy

Katy, TX

Mission

The mission of Aristoi Classical Academy is to provide students with an academically challenging Classical Liberal Arts education that encourages them to develop a passion for learning and that gives them the means to become responsible citizens of virtuous character.

Ruling Year

1996

Superintendent/Headmaster

Brenda Davidson

Main Address

5610 Morton Road

Katy, TX 77493 USA

Formerly Known As

West Houston Charter School

Keywords

Education, K-12

EIN

76-0495959

 Number

4369745089

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

The community at Aristoi Classical Academy values relationships, or as we like to say where iron sharpens iron. Aristoi is a place where strong, supportive relationships are made between home and school as well as between parents, faculty,and staff. It is a place where all employees are committed to forming the hearts and minds of students so that they may become honorable citizens who seek to improve their communities and the world rather than passively traveling along the road most followed. The School requires a rigorous pursuit of knowledge, teaches the habits of hard work and perseverance, and develops students who embrace truth, goodness, and beauty.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Classical Education K-12

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Aristoi Classical Academy aims to graduate young men and women who seek the truth in all things; who understand that learning is a life-long pursuit; and who listen carefully, reason critically, communicate clearly, and write persuasively. We desire them to be honorable citizens who seek to improve their communities and the world rather than passively traveling along the road most followed. We desire to cultivate in our students the virtues of courage, moderation, and wisdom. We aim for them to be humble and magnanimous when dealing with others. We seek to help each student become who he or she is meant to be. As Aristoi moves into its 23rd year, the School Board is solidifying goals, both long and short-term, at this pivotal moment in our school's history. Over the next five years, the school board will be strategizing plans that include our mission, vision, philosophy, and core beliefs. ACADEMIC Improve student performance on standardized testing in the areas of math and science by 5% during each of the next five years across tested grade levels. ENROLLMENT Increase retention of students, particularly at the middle school and high school grade levels. FINANCIAL Refinance 2016 bonds at a lower interest rate and finance the completion of the Morton Road Campus as a unified K-12 flagship site. FACILITIES Complete the flagship K-12 campus on Morton Road in Katy and replicate Aristoi on at least one site in the greater Houston area within the next five years. This new campus will start with grades K-4 and grow a grade per year until the campus is a complete K-12 school. STAFFING Improve retention of administrators and faculty who are committed to the classical charter school model by 5% during each of the next five years.

ACADEMIC GOALS Hire additional math coaches for elementary and secondary students Hire additional consultants and mentors for Singapore Math instruction who will also assist in alignment with TEKS Develop culture and expectation that all students with a math grade below a B will attend tutoring ENROLLMENT GOALS Consistently communicate the school’s unique academic and cultural advantages Improve collaboration among all departments to ensure that struggling students can succeed Promote the benefits of an Aristoi education by tracking and reporting the success of Aristoi graduates Expand student life options such as extra-curricular and club offerings FINANCIAL GOALS Refinance 2016 Bonds at a lower interest rate and finance the completion of the Morton Road campus as a unified K-12 Flagship site Attract mission-oriented donors through the Director of Development, School Board, and Administration Outreach Establish Value and Marketability of 11th Street Campus as a means of funding Morton Campus Development FACILITIES GOALS Complete the Flagship K-12 Morton Road Campus in Katy (See Financial Goal Section for Details) Replicate Aristoi on at least one site in the Greater Houston area within the next 5 years, beginning with K-4 and growing to a complete K-12 campus. Hire/Recruit Head of School for Greater Houston area replication campus Open Greater Houston campus with K-4 classes in Fall 2020 Locate a second replication site within the next 5 years and secure TEA permission to open that campus (with actual opening to be accomplished by 2025) STAFFING GOALS Improve retention of administrators and faculty who are experienced in classical education by 5% during each of the next 5 years Build relationships with colleges and universities with classics and liberal arts programs to consistently recruit top graduates Develop robust mentoring program to guide/support new teachers to excellence at Aristoi Hire full time guidance counselor who has strong relationships with top colleges and universities Hire an alumni coordinator to track successes of Aristoi graduates and offer encouragement to graduates through college

Recognizing the central role of teachers in improving student outcomes, we have prioritized teacher retention across grade levels. We have strong campus and district leadership, providing instructional support and a shared vision of curriculum and instruction. Aristoi is building upon a strong humane letters program in the upper school. In addition, Aristoi is employing widely respected strategies to improve reading at the early elementary level. Our emerging programs in the visual and performing arts, along with physical education, align with our classical philosophy. Aristoi has demonstrated consistent increases in enrollment over the past 10 years. Aristoi has hired a Director of Development to support growth effort, working in collaboration with our Marketing Department. To foster parental involvement, we have strong participation in PTO, Booster Club, and Dads’ group (“Watch DOGS”). Aristoi has hired a well-known financial advisor, Masterson Advisors, which specializes in charter school funding. We have enjoyed steady growth in student enrollment, allowing us to fund a Director of Development in 2018 who secured $102,000 in eight months. Aristoi’s state financial rating is A+, with a score of 100%. Based upon a recent survey, 90% of parents indicated they planned to re-enroll their child in 2019-2020. Having finished Phase One of Morton Road campus, the Aristoi team is better prepared for future construction projects. Aristoi has a new board member who is an expert in complex construction, providing insight into the logistics and practicality of building high-quality and economical facilities. We have been successful in attracting top talent for leadership and teaching positions. Our philosophy of promoting teacher leaders from within the organization has been a central element of our teacher retention strategy.

ACADEMIC GOALS SAT/ACT Scores increase 5% STAAR/EOC scores increase 5% Top colleges and university acceptance of graduates will increase annually Percentage of National merit scholars, finalists and commended students will increase ENROLLMENT GOALS Increase the waiting list for middle school and high school to 25 students for grades 6-11 Increase retention of students at each grade level by 5% each year Increase the number of graduates annually FINANCIAL GOALS Confirm cost of completed build-out of Morton Road master plan Sell 11th Street Campus Raise remaining funds for completion of Morton Road campus through Capital Campaign, Increased Donations, and Refinancing of 2016 Bond Debt FACILITIES GOALS Aristoi secures a representation agreement with a Commercial Real Estate Broker to locate quality sites for new schools Leadership has toured 5 potential new sites before the end of 2019 Head of School at first replication site in Greater Houston is trained for 6 months under Aristoi leadership team prior to opening in Fall 2020 All renovation is complete at Greater Houston replication site by April 1, 2020 and Certificate of Occupancy is secured Refinance of 2016 Bond is complete 11th Street Campus has been sold Aristoi has hired architect and construction company to complete the build out of Morton Road campus Construction is completed and Morton Road Campus is a unified K-12 school STAFFING GOALS Increase Aristoi retention of top teachers annually Increase number of applications from experienced classical educators Solidify relationship with 5 high quality liberal arts colleges for new teacher recruitment

Aristoi Classical Academy is a first-generation, tuition-free, public charter school. The school opened in 1996 as West Houston Charter School, with an emphasis on fine arts. The educational niche never really caught on, and the school was struggling academically and financially. By 2006, the school’s Kindergarten through 8th-grade enrollment was well under 200 and falling. After careful deliberation, the 2006 school board voted to transition to a classical school model, an educational option previously available only in area private schools. Enrollment increased immediately as new families recognized the value of a tuition-free classical education. The school’s reputation began to change as it focused on delivering a challenging liberal arts curriculum. In 2010, the K-8th grade charter school was renamed Aristoi Classical Academy. This open-enrollment charter school has become increasingly popular in the Katy community. In 2014, the school opened its first high school class with the addition of 9th grade. In 2018, the school celebrated its first graduating class. Aristoi Classical Academy served more than 900 K-12th grade students in the 2018-19 school year. Today, students from Aristoi Classical have a record of distinctive performance on a range of assessments. Recognizing that many of the virtues of a classical education resist measurement, we are confident that our academic program helps students exceed performance targets on empirical measures. The school board is solidifying goals, both long and short-term, to support the growing demand for high-quality classical education. In the coming years, Aristoi will be completing the build-out of its flagship site in Katy, Texas, and replicating the classical charter school model in the Houston-Cypress area. Over the next five years, Aristoi Classical Academy will implement strategies to improve performance on STAAR/EOC in math and science by 5% across tested grade levels, to maintain a waiting list at each grade level, to have 75 annual graduates, and to improve retention of administrators and faculty by 5%. Aristoi’s school board and administration understand that there is not a one-size fits-all solution for every child but believe that classical education is the tool that can transform the lives of children, especially those from low-income communities and backgrounds. In order to give young people the opportunity to succeed Aristoi is working closely with community leaders and creating strategic goals to prepare students for a lifetime of success. Through scaled surveys, open-ended surveys with parents, teachers, and students, focus groups, classroom observations, and a Board retreat, the board has developed a balanced framework for distinctive and areas for improvement to measure impact on student success both inside and outside of the classroom.

External Reviews

Financials

Aristoi Classical Academy

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Not Applicable

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable